A Case Inbetween Two Concerns
Discussing Alkasb (gain) As an Origin
We may not attain a clear sight of (Al Kasb), for these titles which man gains are themselves begotten – and (Al Ashaa'irah) attributes begetting a deed to Allah the Sublime, i.e.: praying, pilgrimage means begetting these acts and gestures which when joined together get the title of prayer and pilgrimage. Other deeds like (fasting) which is achieved by not eating or drinking can actually be attained by forsaking these things that break fasting, (forsaking) is something that man does as much as the rest of the acts done by the senses.
(Al Sheikh Al Baqulany) believes that man’s intention (Al Niah) is the only thing that determines his responsibility for what he does. He claims that a certain act (deed) differs from one intention to another; killing if intended for aggression is a crime, but the same act with the intention (Niah) of legal punishment (Quasas and Had) is a legislative duty, for which Allah the Sublime rewards man.
The act itself is from Allah, but the intention of man which puts the act in a certain direction comes from man, thus reward and punishment do not concern the act itself, they rather concern man’s intention of killing.
We say, if this speech happens to be true, then intention itself is an act of the senses, and there is no difference between one deed and another; I do not know really why should we attribute the intention to man and not the deed itself? An act is an act whether it is done by the senses or by other faculties of man; and if we accept attributing the intention to man himself, we – on the same criterion and justification – ought to attribute to him every deed he commits whether it was done by means of his senses (prayer and pilgrimage) or by his inner faculties (like forsaking food and drinks in the intention of fasting).
Whatever the case might be we do not mean to simplify discussing a theological theory that engaged many Islamic scholastics exerting a lot of time and effort in this way. We only mean to get a sight of this subject. If the reader demands elaboration about it we refer him to theological encyclopedias like (Sharh Al Maquasid) (Altaftazani), and (Sharh Al Mawaquif) by (Al Jurjany).
Contemporary Material Inevitabilities
When we speak about the (Material Theories)- we do not mean those theories which deny faith in Allah the Sublime -, rather we mean the theories that contradict the theory of (Divine Inevitability) adopted by (Al Asha'irah), attributing every act and deed in the individual’s lives and movement of history to Allah the Sublime.
These theories attribute the inevitability which governs the behaviour of individuals and communities to resources other that Allah the Sublime. Some of the advocates of this theory in the west are (Montesquieu) in his book (The Essence of laws), (Spiengler) in his book (The Decline of the Western Civilization) and (Durkheim) the famous French sociologist who believes that the social life is determined separately from the individual’s will and desires.
Social relations and affairs like manners, knowledge’s, social culture, ease (yusr) and distress (Ausur) are characterized by three inseparable qualities namely: (being external), (being inevitable), (being general).
Social affairs by all their particularities are produced by external factors, they never rise from inside the individuals, neither from their will or desires, an individual is obliged to fall under the pressures of social life. Social life as well falls under its own factors of external compulsion, and this is the nature of the relation between causes and results in the movement of history.
The movement of society is (inevitable) so that (results) can never stay behind their (causes). If we may have a look through the reasons and causes of events, we would no doubt have been able to forecast them, this is (being inevitable).
The third quality (being general). Every thing that takes place at a certain time and a certain place may possibly take place any other time at any other place under the same conditions and causes.
One of the most famous contemporary material inevitabilities is the theory of (Karl Marx) – (Fredrick Ingles) which tries to legislate laws for the movement of history arranging them into five stages through the factor of (the struggle of classes) between the exploiting class and the exploited one.
But this theory relapsed at the dawn of its emergence at the stage of appliance; reality proved opposite to it, it became a mere theoretical study today.
Criticism of Historical Inevitability
Whatever the way these material inevitabilities follow to interpret history, some of them proved righteous and others proved wrong, regardless of their scrupulous details.
Righteousness lies in the fact that these theories dedicate history to some scientific laws, causes, and reasons that dictate its movement.
A historical event – similar to any other phenomenon in the universe - is conditioned to its causes and reasons, therefore casualty law governs historical events the way it governs the physical, chemical, mechanical phenomena, accurately reigning over all their familiar reasonable essentials like, inevitability, originality and so on.
This is righteousness, which can never be suspected, except in the Marxist theory, which fundamentally rejects casualty law replacing it with Dialectical Materialism, which has been extracted from (Hegel).
The wrong aspect of these theories lies in negating man and his independent decision that makes history, considering him a piece of wood floating on the ever flowing waves of history; determining only one destiny for history and man, a destiny that never multiplies or shifts. Certainly, this is wrong,
for man (the individual, society, history) is not conditioned to one cause as a choice, rather he is usually conditioned to fall on a cross way; selecting the right way is related to his will, consciousness, culture and to his own decision to a great extent; so if ever he follows one of these ways according to his own will, decision and opinion he would find no way to get rid of compulsory impacts dictated on him by casualty law. Let us state two examples for this, the first concerns the individual; and the other pertains to society.
In regard to the example of the individual; if ever he moves, activates himself, and learns he will see his way in life; on the other hand, if ever he idles residing to ignorance and laziness he will remain minor, weak, worthless and powerless in life.
Both results are conclusive and inevitable if ever man chooses the right way to attain them. But it does not mean that man faces a one-dimensional inevitable (destiny and fate) in his life.
In the example of society, a society that resists, makes sacrifices, endures the agony of confrontation and the severity of resistance, it will definitely come safe out of oppression, political suppression and terrorism.
A society that surrenders and does not resist is doomed to the worst kind of political suppression and terrorism. Both are inevitable laws that condition the lives of nations. But society in its political life stands at a crossway, if it chooses the first way the result will be inevitable, and if it chooses the second way the result two would be inevitable. Selecting this way or that falls under man’s will and option, never under the inevitable system of things. Within the course of this research we shall come back to tackle this point again.
The Political Exploitation of Inevitability
Most negative results that are brought about by belief in these inevitabilities cripple man’s role and movement in history suspending his role in determining his destiny. If man believes that his movement and acts are subject to a chain of inevitable factors foreign to his will and option, he will start feeling that he is a useless element who has no role in making his destiny and the destiny of his society; with such a belief and satisfaction man can never be a resource for movement and change in his individual and social life.
Therefore, faith in inevitability (historical or individual) has all the way through the history of Islam been adopted by oppressive regimes. Such a belief mobilizes people to political surrender taming them to accept injustice.
Benu Aumyah used to adopt the theory of (determinism); (Abu Hilal Al Askary) says: (Muawiah) was the first to claim that Allah dictates all deeds on mankind;([^6]) and when Abdullah bin Ommar objected to Muawiah’s assignment of his son (Yazeed) as a successor to govern after him; Muawiah answered him (I warn you, do not segregate the Muslims, disintegrating their unity, spelling their blood. (Yazeed’s) assignment has been predestined by fate, people have no choice about it).([^7])
Muawiah adopted the same logic when (Aiyshah) objected to assigning (Yazeed) as a successor to caliphate; he told her: (Yazeed’s assignment has been predestined by fate, people have no choice about it).([^8])
Some scholars took the initiative to confront that trend of determinism, which Benu Aumyah adhered to, the most prominent of them were (Ma'bed Al Jahny) in Iraq and (Ghaylan Al Damashquy) in Sham; they advocated free choice and free will.
(Ma'bed) with his ally (Ibn Al Ashaath) rebelled against (Beni Aumyah), thus (Al Hajaj) killd him. (Ghaylan) was summoned by (Husham bin Abdul Malik) the Aumayah Caliph to Damascus to be interrogated; he then was condemned and nailed on the cross after having his hands and feet cut.
Apparently (Al Hassan Al Bassry) used to adhere to this opinion too, i.e. free choice.
Al Muquriezy says: (Attaa' bin Yessar) and (Mabed Al Jahny) came to (Al Hassan Al Bassry) and told him:
Those Aumyah rulers are shedding blood claiming that Allah has predestined their deeds. Al Hassan said:
Foes of Allah are lying. (He was condemned for this statement)([^9]). Al Hassan AL Bassry used to propagate openly his opinions that oppose the government of Beni Aumyah; then some people threatened him by the Caliph, thus he kept quiet.
Ibn Sa'ad in his (Al Tabaquat) relates from (Ayub) saying: (I challenged Al Hassan Al Bassry to discuss fate and destiny more than once, then I threatened him by the caliph. He said: I shall never say anything anymore.([^10])
(Benou Al Abbas) did not deviate from following (Benou Aumyah)’s line, they too adhered to Al Ashairah’s approach to destiny; except (Al Mamoon) and (Al Mutasem) who chose to adopt (Al Mutazilah)’s approach of free choice and authorization.
When (Al Mutawkil) seized reign he adopted Al Ashairah’s faith in determinism again, he even used to punish people who do not follow this ideology; his successors too were committed to his line.
Authorization “Free Choice”
Two contradictory trends pertaining to man’s individual behaviour dominate the Islamic history:
Determinism and Authorization.
The first of which is adopted by (Al Asha'irah), the second by (Al Mutazilah).
Al Mutazilah’s approach of authorization was: Allah the Sublime authorized man to choose whatever he likes, thus man is totally independent in what he does.
This belief completely contradicts the first one.
If the philosophical and ideological justification of the first doctrine was meant to maintain the origin of (monotheism) thus attributing all things and deeds in this universe to Allah the Sublime (But Allah is the one who has created you and the material of which you make your gods).
As Saffat v. 96; the ideological justification for this doctrine (the second) was meant to deem Allah the Sublime far above compelling man to do things he can not do, meanwhile Allah the Sublime’s destiny was paradoxical to what He commands or prohibits; it was meant to deem Allah the Sublime far above creating wrong doings, wicked deeds, heathenism, polytheism injustice, aggression in man’s behaviour.
Abdul Khader Al Baghdady in his book (Al Farqu Bain Al-Firaqu) demonstrates the dogmas of (Al Mutazilah):
(Some of their dogmas claim that Allah the Sublime is not the Creator of people’s gains (deeds); neither of the acts of animals; they claim that people themselves determine their deeds, and Allah the Sublime has no role or hand neither in their deeds nor in the acts of animals).([^11])
Al Sayied Al Sharif AL Radhy in his book (Sharh Al Mwaqif) said: (Al Mutazilah deduced that many things are attributed to one origin and that is; but for man’s independence to act the way he chooses, assignment (commands) and punishment (which are dictated by the legislations of Allah) would have been suspended, thus there will be no meaning in praising or blaming anybody).
Zuhdi Jar Allah about (Al Mutazilah) relates:
(They have agreed that man is the creator and originator of his deeds, and that Allah the Sublime has no role or hand in man’s deeds (that are gained).)([^12])
The late Sadrul Muta'lihien says: (Some groups such as Al Mutazilah and the like advocated that Allah the Sublime has created mankind enabling people to act; authorizing them to act according to their free choice, thus they are independent to do these deeds according to their own will and potency.
Further they said: Allah wanted people to obey and believe in Him abhorring their disbelief and disobedience. Also they said: The case being thus, some matters become clear:
First: the benefit of commands and prohibitions, and the benefit of promises and threats.
Second: Deserving reward and punishment.
Third: Deeming Allah the Sublime far above ugly and wicked deeds, far above various kinds of atheism, disobediences and bad deeds).([^13])
Al Shahristany in his book (Al Milal wal Nihal) thinks that (Al Mutazila tend to consider people as creators and innovators of their deeds, and that Allah the Sublime has no hand or role in their deeds (which they have gained).([^14])
Al Mutazilah use to advocate authorization (free choice) independence of man in his deeds just to escape from the mistake that (Al Asha'irah) have committed by claiming that man deserves Allah the Sublime’s punishment for a sin or a crime he made in spite of himself; further they wanted to escape from Al Asha'irah’s claim that Allah the Sublime commands man to do things over his power opposite to what destiny and fate dictate.
In order to deem Allah the Sublime far above this and that (Be He Exalted and raised far above all that) they resorted to advocate authorization and the belief that Allah the Sublime has authorized man to handle all his affairs, bestowing on him absolute potency to be independent in all his deeds and behaviour, thus entrapping themselves in something worse than the mistake that (Al Sha'irah) made, namely (polytheism), isolating man’s deeds and acts totally from Allah the Sublime’s will, permission, wish and innovation, is equal to polytheism, if not itself polytheism.
There is a clear difference between the theory of Divine authorization and man’s independence to act apart from Allah the Sublime’s will, permission and wish; and between the doctrine of free choice.
This will be thoroughly explained later in this research.
([^1]) Behar Al Anwar: 5: 56/120.
([^2]) Al Kafi: Al-Tawheed: 8/362.
([^3]) Al Kafi 1: 3/147 Al Bedaa' – Ketab Al Tawheed.
([^4]) This gracious verse has nothing to do with what they claim for it concerns the conversation that took place between Ibrahiem (A.S.) and the Polytheists among his people; before it he told them in denouncement [Do you worship things that you have carved by your own hands?]
([^5]) Though they do not frankly admit this.
([^6]) AL Awail. Abu Hilal Al Askry 2: 125.
([^7]) (Imamah and Syasah) Ibn Qutaibah : 210 – Bairut 1990.
([^9]) Al Kutat. Al muquriezy 2: 356.
([^10]) Tabaquat Ibn Sa'ad 7: 167. pb. Bairut.
([^11]) (Al Farqu Bain Al Firaq) pub 1994 Bairut.
([^12]) Al Mutazilah: 99. Same meaning in (Al Milal Wal Nihal) 1: 91.
([^13]) Al Assfar 6: 369 – 370.
([^14]) Al Milal wal Niha. Al Shahrestany 1: 91.