A Case Inbetween Two Concerns

The Progeny’s Position Towards Both Inevitabilities

Through the sequence of Islamic history, the progeny (A.S.) confronted an ideological dogmatic digression by some Islamic sects in their misunderstanding of the movement of history and the universe. This digression is represented by their adoption of determinism and inevitability as influential doctrines in man’s history and behavior, applying at the same time the doctrine of inevitability on the movement of the universe.

The ruler’s of the (Aumawey) and (Abbasy) dynasties’ trends of thinking had a great influence on the sects believing in both doctrines, accidentally the progeny of Muhammad (A.S.) lived contemporaneously with both those dynasties.

The Progeny of Muhammad (A.S.) adopted a strong position against both trends expressing their opinion about man’s free will and choice without suspending the role of Allah the Sublime’s will in affecting man’s life; a fact that the Progeny (A.S.) described as being (A case inbetween two concerns).

It has been narrated that (Al Fadhl bin Sahl) asked Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) at the presence of (Al Ma'amoon) the Abbasi Caliph saying:

  • O, Abal Hassan! Are the people compelled in their behaviour?

Al-Redha (A.S.) said: (Allah is too just to compel his creatures in their deeds, then to torment them for what they did?

(Al Fadhl) then said: Then they are completely free, are not they?

Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) said: (Allah is too wise to neglect man leaving him to his own devices.)([^1])

Al Sadouqu relates of (Mufdhel bin Ommar) from Abi Abdullah(A.S.) saying:

(Neither determinism nor authorization rather a case inbetween two concerns.)([^2])

The Progeny (A.S.) expressed their opinion about the second inevitability; Muhammad bin Muslim relates from (Abu Abdullah Al Sadique) (A.S.) saying:

(Allah never has chosen a prophet unless He made sure that the prophet possesses three characteristics: admitting his submission to Allah; never accepting any counterpart to Allah, and approving that Allah brings forward or delays whatever He chooses).([^3])

The progeny (A.S.) simultaneously rejected and negated both inevitabilities by adopting the doctrine of (A case inbetween two concerns.), further, their refutation of the universal inevitability that was expressed in the dogma of (Al Beda'a) was well known.

Whatever the case might be, we – by the permission of Allah - shall get indulged elaborately through this research in the light of the Holy Quran if Allah the Sublime wishes.

The First Inevitability

The first inevitability pertains to man’s individual behaviour and the history of nations and human communities.

Inevitability theories tackle this field and that, or pertains to individual behaviour one time, and to man’s history another.

These theories sometimes adopt the belief in Allah as a base and a resource for inevitability; theories as such are the Divine inevitability theories.

In other cases these theories adopt other basic resources to explain inevitability in the individual behaviour and the movement of history; such theories might be called (Material Necessity Theories). Theories that rely on inevitability as a foundation to understand man’s behaviour, history, thought and development are old and deep rooted in the history of human culture.

Many elements (namely religious, philosophical and political elements) commingle to shape these theories; it will be very difficult to understand these theories within the framework of science and thought exclusively; political and religious factors that have participated in forming the philosophical formula of these theories must be taken into consideration too.

The Divine Inevitabilities in Man’s Behaviour:

To the religious, the theories of inevitability often pertains to the individual behaviour of man heading to negate his will in his deeds and behaviour, viz. man has no role in his deeds and no sovereignty over them.

This theory is well known by the name of (determinism). The most famous Islamic sect that adheres to determinism is (Al Ashairah) whose founder and leader was (Abul Al Hassan bin Ismaeel AL Asha'ary) who died in the year 330 Hejrah.

This doctrine does not negate man’s will and potency directly, rather it believes that man’s action is not begotten by his own will and potency, rather it is created by Allah the Sublime.

Man has no role in begetting and innovating any deed; his role is only limited to gain the deed, never to invent it. (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) thus tries to join together two fundamental origins of religion namely; monotheism (Al Tawheed) and Justice (Al Adl).

In the first place, he believes that Allah the Sublime creates all man’s deeds, and man has no role in begetting, innovating or inventing them, for Allah the Sublime says:

But Allah is the One who has created you and the material from which you make your Gods revised by translator. A Saffat v. 96.

Thus, mankind has no role in begetting or innovating their deeds, for this is related to Allah the Sublime, He is the Creator of deeds and things and creatures. This according to (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) is the connotation of (Monotheism doctrine).

Actually, this man believes in the doctrine of casualty, never negating its origin, but he also believes that Allah the Sublime is the direct cause for all causes which does not mean that He begets something which will be the cause for other things, replacing only one cause for the many causes that all creatures demand.

In the second place he thinks that trusting the role of man’s will and potency in begetting any deed is a kind of polytheism, which the following gracious verse completely negates:

[But Allah is the One who has created you and the material from which you make your gods] As Saffat v. 96.

The Origin of Gain (Al Kasb)

What we have mentioned above is the first origin to which (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) was committed; his second origin is Gain (Al Kasb) to which he was committed for fear of turning to determinism which might retard the doctrine of reward and punishment, hence man will no more be responsible for his deeds which will result into denying Allah the Sublime’s quality of Justice.([^5])

For, assuming that man has no role in his deeds neither sovereignty over them will lead to cripple the doctrine of reward and punishment, for it is unfair to punish a man for committing an act that he had no role and authority whatsoever in begetting it.

(Al Ashaa'irah) differed in explaining the word (Al Kasb); the best one among their theorists who tried to explain this word was the famous (Abu Bakr Al Baqulany).

His opinion about (Al Kasb) in short was:

Every deed has two aspects: the aspect of begetting, and the aspect of particularity and title which Allah the Sublime made a criterion for reward and punishment.

These are two diverse aspects, each of which is definitely attributed to.

The first aspect is begetting which belongs to Allah the Sublime, attributing this aspect to anything other that Him is a kind of polytheism.

The second aspect is the title that brings man reward and punishment; (Prayer) for instance, (fasting) (pilgrimage) (Backbiting) and (lying)… etc.

The way the first aspect should not be attributed to man, the second one too should not be attributed to Allah the Sublime, man’s will and potency is only related to the second aspect – never to the first – and it is the criterion for reward and punishment.

Thus, this school – as its proponents believe – conjoins both origins (Monotheism) and (Justice) i.e. deserving reward and punishment.

Hence each deed has two directions – never one -; these two directions belong to two different potencies, that of Allah the Sublime, and that of man. No Problem about this, for diversity of directions justifies the multiplication of potencies to which a deed pertains.