A Case Inbetween Two Concerns
This book tackles a vital ideological subject which the thought of the progeny (A.S.) has already enriched.
One thousand three hundred years ago Imam AsSadique(A.S.) issued his famous statement (Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns).
If people ever have extracted from the progeny’s glamour (A.S.) and drank from their fountain they would have never gone astray, never would they have gone to the extreme, or refuged to extravagance; nor would have they deluded each other.
Imam Ali Foundation – Central Office – Holy Qum took into consideration the endless need of different schools and various levels of students to know the thought of the progeny(A.S.); hence it introduced this English translation realizing how urgently man needs this book in his mental and daily life.
From Allah the Sublime we obtain success and content.
Imam Ali Foundation Holy Qum
“In the name Allah the Merciful the compassionate”
Prologue of the Center
Praise and thanks are due only to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and prayer be only upon our most gracious prophet who is sent as a grace for the worlds Muhammad the Mustafa (well chosen) and upon his kind and virtuous progeny.
One of the essential matters that has occupied – and still does – a vast zone in the Islamic thought is man’s deeds and perceiving whether they are attributed to him or to Allah the Great and Almighty, or both to man and Allah the Great and Almighty.
Man due to the mentality and ability to think which has given him superiority over all creatures, is disposed to attribute his deeds – in case he had made them – to himself or to somebody else.
Is he the one who had prepared the introductions, reasons, means and devices under a certain determination and a specific conception for his deed, achieving it thereafter by his own will, choice and desire?
Or, did he undertake that deed without any previous planning and arrangement?
Or, was there a proportional compromise between both cases?
Hence, the Muslims differed about that matter adopting three trends.
Some of them believed that the suitable interpretation for man’s deeds is the concept of (determinism) (AlJabr) so as to keep on the safe side about some very dangerous matters that concern the Muslim’s dogma, such matters like Allah’s non finite potency and his great vast sovereignty being the only creator of every thing; they certify their claim by some Quranic verses such as:
[But Allah is the one who has created you and the material of which you make your gods]. As Saffat v. 96.
[Say: Allah is the creator of all things and beings] Ar Ra'd v. 16.
On such grounds, determinism means negating any relation between man and his deed, for he is deprived of free choice in his deeds, and any act he takes may not be regarded as a reflex for his desires, tendencies, trends and whatever he owns of personality or talents. He has not the slightest influence on his deeds; he is a device no more.
Others believed quite the opposite to this, hence they thought that the core of the matter lies in free choice so as to keep on the safe side about other matters that are no less dangerous from those which the determinists showed their reservations about; such as Devine Justice; for it will not be fair to punish a man for a deed that he has been obliged to do, being deprived of the ability not to do it.
They think that Allah the Great and Almighty has created mankind giving them the potency to act, authorizing them – at the same time – to carry on deeds and acts as much as they claim or like.
This actually means; man’s independence to bring about an act by means of the will and potency consigned to him; moreover, it connotes that Allah the Almighty has no impact whatsoever on any deed a man may do; for without his optional independence of action, the Holly commandments would have been meaningless and reward and punishment would have turned unjust.
Followers of this trend too tried to make use of the facial meaning of Quran to serve their purposes:
[And say (O, Messenger) act as much as you can, soon Allah will observe your deeds and so will His messenger and the believers.] All Taubah v. 105.
[Then he who has done a particle – weight of good will see it, and shall receive the reward for it, and he who had done a particle. Weight of evil will see it (and will receive the recompense for it)] Az Zilz'al v. 7-8.
A third party advocated that the verses of the Holy Quran frankly contradict the theory of determinism.
[And everyone is in pledge of his own deeds] At-Turv. 21.
[Then We showed him the straight path, whether he chooses to be grateful or shows ingratitude and be disbeliever] AlInsan v.3.
[This Quran is a reminder and a guide and whoever wishes can find through it a way towards his Creator and Nurturer] Al-Insa'n v. 29.
In other verses of the Quran free choice of man is repelled, the Sublime said:
[Following their pray they defeated them by Allah’s leave] Al Baquarah v. 251.
[And it is not possible for any (disbelieving) person to believe except by Allah’s will] Yunus. V. 100.
Therefore, this party adopted a midway view in between determinism and free choice – which is defined by the Imams of the progeny of Muhammad (Aa'ymat Ahlu Albait) (A.S.) (who were the original advocates for it) by their expression (A case inbetween two concerns); meanwhile it does not degrade Allah’s destiny, fate, sovereignty and justice. It also maintains the concept of attributing man’s deeds both to Allah the Sublime and to himself, to this end they employed some Holy verses:
[Whatever of good reaches you (O, man) it is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself] An-Nissa'a v. 79.
For, if there is no relation between the Creator and man’s deeds it would not have been correct to attribute man’s good deed to Allah the Great and Almighty.
Both Imam (Al Baquer) and (Al Sadequ) (A.S.) relate: (Allah is too merciful to Oblige His creatures to commit sins thereafter to torment them for those sins; further Allah is too dignified to demand something that would not come true).
Imam Sadiqu (A.S.) too relates:
(Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns).
Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) too on hearing a conversation among his visitors about determinism and authorization said : (Allah the Great and Almighty may not be obeyed by force, nor is He disobeyed in spite of Him, He does not forsake and neglect the people in His kingdom, He owns what He had made them own,
and He is capable of what He made them capable to do; so if they decided to obey Him He would not reject or prevent them; if they decided to disobey Him and He wanted to forbid them from doing so, He would do; now if He did not forbid them from disobedience, yet they did not obey and really disobeyed; He would not be the One who has obliged them to do so” This book which we put between your hands – dear reader – tackles this matter in its three trends, referring to its evidences and proofs,
discussing them in the light of Quranic verses and the purified example of the prophet (Al Sunah Al Mutahrah); in addition to the reasonable proof, following a modern scientific approach in a comparative study, till it reaches scientific conclusions. Al-Rissalah Center on presenting this book to the dear readers anticipates that it really could have participated in introducing the proper solution for this complicated question.
[And Allah does guide those whom He wills, to the straight path] Al Baquarah v. 213.
Al Rissalah Center
Prologue of the Book
Since man realized the creative potency that has innovated the universe by all its various beings, establishing thereafter a relation with the Absolute (The Unique Creator); he started to think dealing several questions within his mind: can I behave and move away from the domination of (the Creator)? To what extent do I own a freedom of choice in doing or not doing things?
Am I forced and helpless having no will to act or misact? Or, is there a definite margin for my free will and free choice? And if I do possess a certain amount of that freedom and choice, do I possess them independently so that I can say: The Potential Creator had nothing to do with what I do or not do?
The case being so, how does this accord with our belief in the creator’s domination, sovereignty, potency and knowledge?
Man has always raised such questions and the like whether he has faith in one of the religions or does not have any.
Along the ideological history of man various answers for those questions emerged.
The philosophers tried to solve these complications according to their approaches and philosophical theories.
The religious texts presented answers, some of which were clear and accurate (Muhkam); others were metaphorical so as to instigate man to think, meditate and reach to an inner conviction, on condition that it does not contradict the accurate (Muhkam) answers mentioned above, for these accept no misinterpretation.
The scholastics and theologians expressed their points of view; some of them relied on the facial connotation of text making use of philosophy and formal logic thus believing in determinism. Man - to them – is like a feather in a storm, deprived of any will power, free choice to act or not to act.
[Allah is the Creator of all things and beings] ArRa'd v. 16.
Others tried to prettify this notion making it more acceptable by innovating the theory of acquisition (AlKasb).
Allah is the Creator of the deed and man acquires (i.e. gains) it, (Man gets reward for that (god) which he has done and he is punished for that (evil) which he has done) Al Baquarah v. 286; giving a completely different interpretation for the word (Kasb).
Others more, emphasized the free will and free choice in away similar to independence to act or not to act.
[They are free to choose between believe and disbelieve] Al Kahf v. 29.
The progeny of Muhammad’s (Ahlu AlBait) (A.S.) doctrine was distinguished by its inbetween moderate position among these trends – which either went to the extreme right “Theory of Determinism ‘AlJabr’ ”; or to the extreme left “Theory of Free choice – authorization – (Al Tafwedh)”; their phraseology pertaining to this complicated matter “Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns” became famous.
The proponents of the school of the Progeny of Muhammad interpreted this saying elaborating on it and proving its correctness by quoting the religious texts (the Qumran and the prophet’s example), furthermore they benefited from the development of the philosophical thesis and the scientific data of man’s realization and sensation.
Yes, man really has a decisive strong feeling that he is not a mere helpless instrument; such a feeling is accompanied by realization of the same feeling which is no less clear and manifest, yet beside such a sensation it may be said man does not possess his infinite freedom to schedule the process of his life; whether in the positions he takes or in managing his private and public affairs; for man – one way or another – realizes that he has no control over a lot of things, or they take place against his desire and will.
This book intends to demonstrate dissimilar points of view respective of this exciting subject, taking into consideration the process of simplifying the sentence and abridging the way to infer clear connotation depending on the most important and authenticated references.
The research has been made into four chapters, tackling in the first the historical inevitability and the universal inevitability.
In the second it tackles the Holy Quran view of both (inevitability) and (man’s independence).
In the third, it tackles the progeny’s approach to the (case inbetween two concerns) surveying the various conflicting party’s points of view about the subject.
In the fourth and last it deals with the role of the progeny of Muhammad(A.S.) in defending both dogmas (monotheism. Al Tawheed.) and (Justice – Al Adl.).
Then the book ends with a proper epilogue.
And from Him the Sublime we ask assistance and success.