A Case Inbetween Two Concerns
Repudiating the Idea of Man’s Independence To Act
The second point of what the late Al Shaikh AL Mufeed said asserts the repudiation of man’s independence of deed, he illustrates the saying of (a case inbetween two concerns) i.e. (Determinism and Authorization) in this way: ((Intermediate between both theses is this: Allah the Sublime enabled men to act and do, appointing certain limits for their deeds, by doing so, neither was He compelling them, nor authorizing them to act thereafter to prevent them from doing most of these acts by drawing a number of red lines which they should not cross.))([^5])
“Examining the Texts”
When we read the texts narrated by the Progeny(A.S.) that fit within both, the current of the ideological struggle, and the argument taking place between both parties concerned in this struggle; we come across a vivid image that reflects the reality of struggle and of the Progeny’s (A.S.) attitude which is a far cry from the image that some theological studies reflect. The Progeny(A.S.) during the (Aumaway) and (Abbasy) reign went through a powerful ideological conflict about this matter.
It was not a mere ideological theological conflict, rather, the political factors, side by side with the intellectual factor interacted to form that theological ideological debate. Sometimes, the ruling regime formed an opponent party, other times; the political opposition to the ruling regime represented the opponent side. (Al Mutazilah) used to fall into the category of political opposition; or the political opposition itself would gain popular and political support from them.
Whatever the case might be, that was the deepest and most sensitive and dangerous ideological conflict that the Progeny(A.S.) went through; for the authorities frankly and openly adopted the doctrine of determinism, to the degree that (Ghaylan Al Damashqui) had been assassinated by the (Aumiah) caliph (Husham bin Abdulmilik) in that barbarous horrible style which the historians describe, his only crime was adherence to the doctrine of free choice and authorization.
Each of those doctrines left vast negative impact on the Islamic mentality as well as on the political condition of the Islamic world then.
The Progeny (A.S.) used to stand against this party or that now and them fighting on two contradictory fronts.
The First Front of the Intellectual Conflict
The first of these fronts is the official or semi official theological front which was openly committed to the principle of (Determinism), believing that the Devine will directly interferes in all man’s deeds, namely it was (Al Ashairah) front who used to repudiate the cause – effect relationship between things, dismissing any relation among things of the universe, and refusing to recognize any direct impact on things in the universe other than Allah the Sublime’s.
If a log floats on water (and a stone does not!), the reason for this does not lie in the log which necessitates floating, rather it is because Allah the Sublime wanted to make the log float and to prevent the stone from floating, thus it was customary to Him to dictate on things His will.
There is no law, or cause or reason in the universe other than Allah’s habit (which resembles the law), and His authority and will (which resemble the reason).
Man’s acts are part of the universe events, thus they are Allah the Sublime’s creation into which man has no role or authority.
This concept though apparently crude – represented the official concept of a wide stratum of Muslim scholars. Both (Aumiah) and (Abbasy) administration – except for a short while during the reign of the last dynasty – used to adhere to it, punishing whoever might violate it.
The Progeny of Muhammad (A.S.) found in this trend of thought an eminent danger threatening the Islamic mentality, Muslim’s political life, and their understanding of Al Quran and the example of the Prophet(S.A.) (Al Sunnah), for this concept cancels casualty law giving way to the motion that Allah the Sublime imposes on man duties and things beyond his potencies.
It also gives way to the notion that man might be punished by Allah the Sublime for doing a thing that is beyond his free choice and potency, thus attributing injustice and oppression to Allah the Sublime. This concept turns man into a log floating in the current of history, denying him any power, act, or influence to decide his destiny.
Further, it authorizes the ruling authority to terrorize and oppress people, confiscate their rights, kill or torture them. Some of these negative impacts give enough reason to stand against this concept. Thus, the first confrontation within the conflict of thought, which the Progeny’s school went through, took place.
The Second Front in the Conflict of Thought
Opposite to this trend, (Al Mutazilah) emerged as a reflex to the (Ashairah) dogma. (Al Mutazilah) went to the extreme in understanding man and the universe – naturally as any other reflex may emerge; they believed that Allah the Sublime created the universe, rupturing thereafter all relations between Him and it; thus this universe runs within a static code of laws and regulations moving in isolation from Allah the Sublime’s will; exactly similar to an engineer who had thoroughly composed a factory, assigning thereafter some other engineers to run it, to go then to his own business – such a factory will keep on running within a code fixed systems even though the engineer who composed it is absent.
Thus (Al Mutazilah) tend to imagine Allah the Sublime’s relation with this universe as a relation that is conditioned to the stage of making; man – after that – is free to act according to his own will and free choice on earth, for Allah the Sublime has let him to his own, and His only relation to man concerns making, innovating creating and composing him at the stage of making exclusively.
This approach safeguards Al Mutazilah from attributing injustice to Allah the Sublime, but it confiscates Allah’s authority on man and the universe, limiting it to a single stage, theoretically excluding Allah the Sublime’s grace and assistance off man’s life; going so far to claim that Allah the Sublime had created man and bestowed on him whatever talents he chose, then he let go of him, leaving him to his own, alone to face his destiny and responsibilities.
The most dangerous thing in this approach – added to the ideological and intellectual dangers it imposes – is that it blocks or weakens man’s relation to Allah the Sublime in his daily life, work and movement. For man’s relation to Allah the Sublime at its most is not attained through (ideology) or (worship) alone, rather it is attained through his permanent need to Allah the Sublime in his daily work and movement; through the support, backing and assistance that Allah gives to man everywhere, at the market, at home, in his political activity, and in time of troubles and problems. Such troubles and problems that face man make him refuge to Allah the Sublime establishing a firm connection with Him. These troubles are in fact Allah’s examination to His good servants.
The Sublime says:
[Then We seized them (upon their disobedience) in distress and adversity in order that they might submit (to the truth) with humility] AL Ana'm v. 42.
The theory of man’s independence to act and choose is situated right at the opposite end to this approach (which the gracious verses reveal); rupturing the daily relationship between man and Allah the Sublime; (AlMutazilah) trend, - in order to confront (Al Ashairah) trend – deepens the concept of man’s independence and freedom to choose, decide, act move, asserting that Allah the Sublime authorized man these options, providing him with the essentials he requires in addition to the freedom to decide, choose and act.
The Holy Quran – on the other hand – gives different kinds of assertions that do not meet with this trend, rather they deepen in man a feeling that contradicts it.
Whoever reads (Al Quran) will no doubt feel that this book tries and intends to draw our feelings, minds and hearts towards Allah the Sublime through this point exclusively; exactly opposite to the (Mutazilah) trend. Zuhdy Jar Allah in his book about (Al Mutazilah) says: (As if AlMutazilah in their defence of the origin of monotheism went so far to fight and repudiate everything that opposes it claiming that: Allah the Sublime distributed the religious graces equally among men, never favouring the prophets and angels with a special grace or infallibility or any other divine grace that might distinguish them from the others.
Furthermore, (Al Mutazilah) denied any kind of intercession to forgive the people’s sins on the Day of Judgment for it implicates a sort of partiality to a certain party.
They went as far as saying that; the Quranic verses which connote that Allah guides people to virtue, success, delusion, deserting some of them and making their hearts (and minds) closed to conversion; those verses – according to them – contradict the principle of Divine Justice and the idea of individual freedom, thus they insisted that such verses should be interpreted in another way; thus they explained the meaning of (Guidance) by saying that it is figuratively used (as a word) to signify righteousness, correct judgment and conversion; Allah the Sublime has nothing to do with actual guidance of hearts.
Interpreting (success) they said: It is a general success achieved through showing people the Quranic verses, sending messengers and revealing His Book.
In respect of delusion, they justified it into two meanings: The first by saying (Allah the Sublime has deluded (misleaded) some one) i.e. He has named him deluded, or that He has told us he is misleaded.
The second by saying (Allah has punished man for his delusion.)
The same interpretation applies to the concept of desertion; for it is a figurative usage of the word (desert) to signify that the Sublime has doomed somebody with desertion. Such an understanding should not ever lead to the conclusion that Allah deludes, tempts, or prevents people from doing something. (AlFutty) and his student (Abbad bin Soliman) were the most rigid among (Al Mutazilah) in relation to this matter.
((Al Futti) for example used to refuse attributing some acts (deeds) to Allah the Sublime – even though the Holy Quran frankly attributed them to Him; hence we must not say that Allah the Sublime brings the Muslim’s hearts together, rather they themselves willingly bring their hearts together; nor should we say that the Sublime makes them tend to faith bringing it close to their hearts, nor should we say that He deludes the wrongdoers.).([^6])
If the first concept (Al Ashairah’s) tends to suspect Allah the Sublime’s (Divine Justice); the current concept suspects (Monotheism) of Allah, and the relationship between man and Allah.
Hence forth the Progeny (A.S.) found themselves facing another front of conflict that was no less dangerous and important than the first one; and if they (A.S.) were defending the (Divine Justice) at the first place; they, at the second place were defending Monotheism as a doctrine. The Progeny (A.S.) confronted this enormous mass of mistakes and deviations that deeply inflict the (Divine Justice) and (Monotheism) as two fundamentals of the Islamic concept; politicians’ hands could easily reach those ideas and fundamentals.
Let us have a look, how did the Progeny (A.S.) face and deal with this case.
([^1]) (AL Bayan Fi Tafseer AL Quran) Ayatullah Sayyed Ab Al Quasim Al Khooa'y. P. 102.
([^2]) (Sharh Aquaid As Sadoque), Sayied Hebatullah. Al Shahristany p. 197-200, Al Haidariah pub. House, Najaf, 1393 Hijrah.
([^3]) Ibid. page 200.
([^4]) Tasheh Al – Eatequad. Al Shaikh Al Muffeed: p. 200 Al Haydryah pub. House., Najaf 1393 Hijrah.
([^5]) Ibid p. 202.
([^6]) Al Mutazilah. Zudhi Jar Allah p: 100 – 102.