What Is the Meaning of Qada and Qadar?
These two Arabic words, qada and qadar, are usually translated as ‘fate’, ‘destiny’, or ‘pre-ordainment’. Many of these English words lead people to incorrectly believe this concept, so it is best to leave them as Arabic terms and understand them in their true light.
What Does It Mean to Believe in Qada and Qadar?
It is to believe that Allah knew everything before it came into being, and what will happen to it afterward. He then brought them into existence, all in accordance to His perfect knowledge and measure. Allah says what means:
Verily, We have created all things with qadar. (Al-Qamar 54:49)
Everything which occurred in the past, that which is occurring in the present and what will occur in the future is known to Allah before it came into existence. Allah then brought it into being, all in accordance to His Will and Measure.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“A person is not a Muslim until he believes in qadar, its good and its evil consequences – until he knows that whatever happened to him would have never missed him, and what did not happen to him would never have occurred.” (At-Tirmidhi)
This belief does not contradict the fact that one must strive to attain things. To clarify this, if a person wants a child, he must do certain things to achieve this goal; such as getting married. After he does all that is in his power, he may be granted what he wishes or not. The reason for this, is that a person would realize that what he does to achieve his goal is not in fact the true cause behind it; rather it is the Will of Allah. These ‘means’ to fulfill our goals are also considered from the qadar of Allah.
The Prophet was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, do the verses and supplications we recite and the medicine we take to cure ourselves waive the qadar of Allah?” He replied, “They are themselves from the qadar of Allah.” (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
Hunger, thirst, feeling cold, are seeks to satisfy hunger through eating, thirst through drinking and coldness by keeping warm. A person seeks to fend themselves from what was decreed for them from hunger, thirst and coldness by what was decreed for them from eating, drinking, and seeking warmth. They seek to prevent one qadar with another.
One must fulfill whatever means are possible to achieve his goal, for the means are also a part of qada and qadr. One becomes pleased with the results (whatever they may be), which in turn produces peace of heart and spiritual comfort.
There is no room for stress, worry, or sadness. It is known that stress and unrest of heart leads to many sicknesses. Having belief in this concept prevents and cures many of these sicknesses. Allah says what means:
No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy for Allah: So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster. (Al-Hadid 57:22-23)
It encourages knowledge and exploration of what Allah created in this universe. Afflictions, such as disease, drive humans to seek their cure, and this is done by searching for the sources of medicine which Allah, the Exalted, created in this universe.
It eases the effects of calamities faced by humans and eliminates the feeling of regret about what has already passed. If someone loses money in a business, this is considered a hardship.
If this hardship was followed by the feeling of remorse and sorrow, it would result in two hardships: the hardship of the financial loss and the hardship of feeling remorse and sorrow.
If one believes in the Divine Measure of qada and qadr, he would be pleased with what has occurred, because he knows that it was inevitable.
The Prophet said: ‘Adhere to that which is beneficial for you. Keep asking Allah for help and do not refrain from it. If you are afflicted in any way, do not say: ‘If I had taken this or that step, it would have resulted into such and such,’ but say only: ‘Allah so determined and did as He willed.’ The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic thoughts”. (Muslim)
It increases one’s dependence upon Allah and removes fear of the creation. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said:
One day, I was riding behind the Prophet when he said, “O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up”. (At-Tirmidhi)
What Are the Merits of Belief in Qada and Qadar?
1- One strengthens his dependence upon Allah (in achieving results) after fulfilling their means.
2- One becomes pleased with whatever results are realized, which in turn produces peace of heart and spiritual comfort. Allah says what means:
No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah, is easy. So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster. (Al-Hadid 57:22-23)
3- It eases the effects of calamities. The Prophet said:
“A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good. Adhere to that which is beneficial for you. Keep asking Allah for help and do not refrain from it. If you are afflicted in any way, do not say: ‘If I had taken this or that step, it would have resulted into such and such,’ but say only: ‘Allah so determined and did as He willed.’ The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic thoughts”. (Muslim)
4- It increases one’s reward and effaces his sins. The Prophet said: “Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience.” (Al-Bukhari)
Source: This article is based on Abdur-Rahman Al-Sheha’ My First Step in Islam published by Osoul International Center.