A Shi'ite Encyclopedia (chapter 9)

Introduction : Free Will, Fatalism, and the Problem of Evil

Written by: Dr. Vahid J. Majd

Since the early history of Islam, those who did not follow Ahlul-Bayt (AS) were mainly divided into two schools of thought: A main group who believed in compulsion (Jabr) on the actions of Allah's creation, and another group who believed in independent freedom of will and the relinquishing of the authority by Allah to His creation (Tafwidh) on their actions.

The school of compulsion claimed that since Allah mentioned in many verses of Quran that everything happens according to the will of Allah, then man's actions are Allah's actions. In the view of this school, human has no real choice because Allah has already decreed his actions as well as his fate. They claimed that the will of Allah is the cause for all actions in the world.

On the other hand, the school of independent freedom of will, stated that Allah did not will man's voluntary actions because He has given him choice on the domain of his volition. They believed that Allah left the planning (Taqdir) of people's voluntary actions to themselves.

In contrary to both, the school of Ahlul-Bayt (AS) maintained that although all human's voluntary actions have been in the will of Allah, His will was not a compulsory will and was not the cause of man's choice of actions. The Ahlul-Bayt (AS) maintained a position between the two positions.

In this article, we will examine the claims and the evidence of these schools as well as the consequences of their beliefs in the light of the verses of Quran and the traditions.

The Sunni View of the Will of Allah

Let us now see how the revered Sunni scholars took side on this issue, and to which group they inclined when presenting their creed. Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324) who was one of the leading Sunni theologians and the founder of Ash'arite school, wrote in his creed:

"Surely everything exists by the will of Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, and no one is able to commit (an action) before Allah does it. (p9)... They (i.e., Mu'tazila) think disbelief is not performed except by a disbeliever (p51)... When Allah enabled them for disbelief, He was able to create disbelief for them, and when Allah plans disbelief for His creation, then why do you think creating their disbelief is contradictory and invalid? This is while Allah, the Glorious said: 'He does what He intends'.

Thus, since disbelief was of His intention He was indeed the One who did it, planned it, and He averted His Grace from them. (p52)... Since you (i.e., Mu'tazila) think you are able to do your deeds and that you do them instead of Allah (doing them), you are the real Qadariyya (that are denounced in the prophetic traditions).

We are not the Qadariyya since we do not attach the deeds to our souls instead of Allah (p57)... Allah's intention cannot be a created thing, because a person who does not intend and then starts to intend, should have deficiency (p46)... And if one asks about the saying of Allah: 'And We did not create the Jinn and the human except that they may worship Me (51:56)',

the answer is that by this verse Allah meant the believers, not the disbelievers, because Allah has informed us that He has made Hell for many of His creation. Therefore, those whom He created for Hell are other than those whom He created for worshipping Him (p55) ... It is not required that Allah gives people capability to perform the deed when He commands them (p55) ... Allah said: 'When their appointed time comes, they would be able to neither postpone (it) for a single moment, nor advance (it).

(16:61)' If you think a murderer is able to avoid murdering and the person that was supposed to be killed remains alive, then the murderer has been able to delay the appointed time, and to keep alive people and to take their souls (as he wishes). This is infidelity in the religion (p59)."

  • al-Ibana, pp 9-59.

Moreover, other statements in his creed show that he believed the will of Allah and His intention are in accordance with His pleasure. For instance, he wrote:

"... If you say that something can exist in His Kingdom that He did not intend, then He has permitted in His Kingdom what He did not like... If His servants do that which He does not intend and does not like, they have indeed compelled Him. This is the state of coercion and Allah is most exalted from this... If He did not will the existence of the sins He would have disliked its existence and would have refused its existence."

  • al-Ibana, pp 48-49.

Another great Sunni theologian, Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi (d. 321) wrote in his creed:

"The Pen has dried having written down all that will be in existence until the Day of Judgment. Whatever a person has missed he would have never got, and whatever he gets he would have never missed. It is necessary for the servant to know that the knowledge of Allah preceded on everything that is going to happen in His creation and that He had foreordained everything with a solid and non-revocable planning."

  • Usul al-'Aqida al-Tahawiyya, #47& #48

al-Ghazzali (d. 505) is yet another great Sunni theologian who wrote in his creed:

"And that His intention (Irada) is of His Essence (Dhat), among His attributes. He has eternally been attributed by it. He intended, in His Eternity, the existence of things at their destined moments. Thus, they came to existence at their proper times as He intended in His eternity without any advance or delay.

They happened according to His knowledge and His intention, without any substitution or change (Ch. 1)... The first principle is to know that any event in the world is His action, His creation, His innovation... and that had Allah disliked the sins and had He not intended it, then it would have been based on the intention of His enemy, that is Satan, the accursed.

In that case, most of what happens would have been according to the intention of His enemy. This is the utmost weakness and helplessness, and the Lord of lords is most exalted from such a saying by the wrongdoers... It is admissible that Allah, the Exalted, charges/burdens the creation with that which they cannot bear... It is for Allah, the exalted, to torture and to punish the creation even if they have not committed any crime. (Ch. 3)"

  • Qawa'id al-'Aqa'id, al-Ghazzali, Ch.1&3

It is unanimous amongst the Sunni scholars that the will of Allah is eternal and that Allah never makes changes in His will. Some of them also clearly expressed that any event including people's evil deeds are Allah's actions, and had He disliked their happening He would not have let them exist.

The supporters of the school of compulsion have used many verses of Quran to strengthen their views. The fact that every thing, including our voluntary actions, happens according to the will of Allah has been clearly mentioned in many verses of Quran. For instance:

"And ye shall not will unless Allah wills, the Lord of the Worlds. (81:29)"

"They are not the ones to believe, unless Allah wills. (6:111)" "Those against whom the Word of thy Lord hath been verified will not believe; Even if every Sign was brought unto them, until they see (for themselves) the painful punishment. (10:96-97)"

"If Allah willed, they would not have been polytheists. (6:107)"

"If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other. But Allah does what He intends. (2:253)"

"Say: I do not posses any benefit or harm for myself except what Allah willed. (7:188)" "Nay, this surely is a reminder: Let any who will, may heed! But none will heed unless Allah wills: He is the Lord of Righteousness, and the Lord of Forgiveness. (74:54-56)"

"This is an admonition. Thus, whosoever wills, let him take a (straight) Path to his Lord. But ye shall not will unless Allah wills, for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom. He will admit to His Mercy whom He wills; but the for the wrongdoers, He has prepared a painful Chastisement. (76:29-31)"

"Nor say about anything, 'I shall surely do that tomorrow' (unless you say) 'except if Allah wills (otherwise)'. (18:23-24)"

In translating the verses of Quran concerning this issue, the Sunnis often translate "He wills" as "He pleases". As we quoted already, some of their great scholars consider the will of Allah equivalent to His pleasure. The mainstream Sunnis maintained that Allah's will is eternal, (i.e., His will is His Essence) and thus there is no change in His will, and that it is non-revocable even by Allah.

By taking advantage of some verses of Quran, including the above, the school of compulsion attempted to establish that if the tyrants do wrong it is because of Allah's will, and therefore, they have to do it. They asserted that the will of Allah is the cause for people's action, and that people's actions are Allah's actions in reality.

They adopted this doctrine since they wanted to justify the injustice of their tyrannical rulers. As Ahlul-Bayt (AS) pointed out (see the traditions that will be quoted later), if such an idea is established, then the tyrants should be rewarded on the day of Judgment even more than the righteous because they were forced to play the role of a bad person in this world.

The Shia View of the Will of Allah

The followers of Ahlul-Bayt (AS) never overlooked the verses of Quran about the will of Allah, and their Imams maintained that everything (even our voluntary action) happens according to the will of Allah and His intention. However, His will on our voluntary actions is not a compulsory/necessitated will, nor is it the cause for our choice of actions. Therefore, our choice of wrong action cannot be attributed to Him.

Moreover, according to Ahlul-Bayt (AS), Allah's will is His creation, and it is not eternal. Thus, He may make changes in it as He chooses. In the view of the Shia, the meaning of the "will of Allah" in our voluntary actions is different from what the majority uphold.

The Shia bind themselves to the guidance of Ahlul- Bayt (AS) for understanding each and every religious concept, and to seek their interpretation before making any conclusion from the verses of Quran. The Shia believe that Ahlul-Bayt (AS) are the only individuals who are authorized by Allah to interpret the verses of Quran. This is due to sayings of Allah in Quran and those traditions of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) whose authenticity is agreed by all Muslims.

In what follows, In-Shaa-Allah, I will explain this subject based on the traditions of Ahlul-Bayt (AS), and will compare it with the Sunni doctrine in the light of the verses of Quran.

According to the sayings of Ahlul-Bayt (AS), for every action to take place, be it our choice or not, Allah creates the following five steps:

Mashiyya -> Irada -> Qadar -> Qadhaa -> Imdhaa In other words:

Will -> Intention -> Detailed Planning/Measure -> Passing -> Signing

All these records are Allah's creations and do not provide any trace to His Essence (Dhat). They are the created/generated/issued (Makhluq/Muhdath/Mabdhul) information by Allah, and are at the level of creation. They do not have any similarity whatsoever with His Eternal Knowledge (that is, His Essence). Any imagination or perception of Allah's Eternal Knowledge by us, is a creation of our mind and cannot be attributed to Allah.

With regard to the Essence of Allah, we are not allowed to talk because we have no way to understand it, and by 'His Eternal Knowledge' we only mean 'He is not ignorant'. We purify His Essence (Dhat) from any type of knowledge that we know (i.e., any generated knowledge) just as we purify Him from ignorance. As such, our understanding of His Eternal Knowledge is only limited to denying its opposite in Allah. In other words, we only purify Him from any defects, such as ignorance.

The first step for existence of anything or occurrence of any event, is the creation of its will by Allah. The traditions state that Allah has created two types of will (Mashiyya) and two types of intention (Irada) for every action to take place. The second tradition that I quote below states that Allah has the following two types of will:

1- The Will of Knowledge (Mashiyyat al-Ilm) 2- The Will of Commandment (Mashiyyat al-Amr)

The first type of "will" means Allah willed that no action happens by/to His creations except that He should have already knew and should have already permitted that action to take place. Allah foreknows what we would choose if we were given a choice on a certain thing. He may then either permit the happening of our would-be action, or He may reject it.

Of course, in the latter case, we would lose our choice in that specific action, and Allah will not question us for not performing that action. We will be questioned only for our voluntary actions, and will not be questioned for the actions we "perform" without our choice. More accurately, if an action is not our choice, then we cannot really call it our action.

In this sense, our action is defined only as our voluntary action. Once Allah permits the happening of our would-be choice, we really have been granted will-power with regard to that specific act, though we will choose what Allah already knew and permitted. The very existence of this type of "will" dismisses the idea of independent freedom of will and relinquishing the authority by Allah to us (Tafwidh) in our voluntary actions. Moreover, depending on our would-be action, this type of 'will' may or may not be in line with Allah's pleasure.

The second type of will is the commandments of Allah, His orders, and His prohibitions for each voluntary action. The existence of this type of "will" dismisses the idea of compulsion (Jabr) in our voluntary actions. This is because if it were really compulsion, His orders, prohibitions, glad tidings, warnings, rewards, and punishments would have been meaningless.

If the action is our choice, then the two "wills" may or may not have conformity. More specifically, in our actions, if we choose to follow the orders of Allah, it shows that the two types of "will" had conformity, and if we choose to disobey Him, it shows the two types of "will" had no conformity. However, we do not consider the foreknowledge and permission of Allah the cause for our action. In fact, there is no external cause for any action with volition, otherwise the word "volition" would become meaningless since the cause—with the meaning that the philosophers imply—would necessarily/urgently result in the effect (i.e., the action).

Volition exists if one can choose the either opposite sides of an action (of course, while considering that Allah has given permission to our would-be choice). If we omit the urgency (that was induced by the philosophers) from the cause and effect relationship, we will end up with the general meanings of cause, which are "reason" and "origin". Indeed, any action has an origin.

Moreover, There may be reasons behind our choice of action, but none of these reasons would compel us to perform the action, otherwise there would be no volition. This, in turn, goes to prove that the foreknowledge of Allah does not compel us in our actions.

As for those actions that are the acts of Allah, these two types of "will" always coincide. For instance, Allah commands the angels to do something and He permitted that such action would take place exactly in the way that He has commanded.

Allah's will is further divided into two categories:

1- The will of necessitation/imposition (Mashiyyatu Hatm) 2- The will of decision (Mashiyyatu Azm)

The first type is a necessitated will in which no individual has any choice in it, and it is imposed over the creation solely due to Allah's choice. The actions with the will of necessitation are considered Allah's actions. When Allah states in Quran "He does what He wills (3:40)", He refers to the will of necessitation.

(See the beginning of the verse for the verification of this fact.) In contrast, the second type is the will of giving permission to some of the people's decisions. The actions with the will of decision are people's actions. They are not Allah's action though the will of Allah preceded them. If something imposed over a person due to the choice of another person, Allah is not the one who did it, though He knew, recorded, and permitted its happening for both parties.

Similarly, Allah has two types of intention (Irada):

1- The intention of Knowledge (Iradat al-Ilm) 2- The intention of commandment (Iradat al-Amr)

Intention is the confirmed/endorsed/focused will. The will is more general than the intention. According to the traditions, Allah's intentions are further divided into two types:

1- The intention of necessitation/imposition (Iradatu Hatm) 2- The intention of choice/decision (Iradatu Ikhtiyar/Azm)

Again, the first type of intention is that which is enforced on the creation solely according to Allah's choice. When Allah states in Quran: 'The doer of what He intends (11:107; 85:16)", He refers to the intention of imposition (Iradatu Hatm) in which people have no choice. On the other hand, the second type is the intention of giving permission to some of people's choices.

As for "Qadar", it is setting measure, engineering, and the detailed planning with respect to time and place of each event as well as its relationship with the other events. It also includes synchronizing what happens to an individual without his choice due the voluntary act of another person.

The "Qadhaa" is passing and confirming the event or the command (depending on the type of issue). As we will see in the traditions, Qadhaa has four different meanings in Quran, which are: Qadhaa of Creation, Judgment, Command, and Knowledge.

If a specific action is our choice, then Allah's Qadhaa of creation on it means making things physically ready for the person to act, and Qadhaa of Judgment means passing what would be the reward and the punishment for that specific act in this world and the Hereafter. The Qadhaa of command and knowledge are similar to what we explained about will and intention.

The last step is "Imdhaa" which means Allah's signature for the execution of action. It is Allah's final permission for occurrence of an action (be it our choice or not). Once the occurrence of a certain action is signed, it becomes a definite matter ready for the execution in its appointed time. An action is categorized as "definite" (Mahtum) if the permission for its occurrence is not changed or is unlikely to be changed by Allah.

In the domain of our volition, a signed/definite matter is not an imposed matter. It is rather Allah's firm permission to our choice, which means it is unlikely that Allah would block us from exercising our would-be choice of action. According to the traditions, the actions that are to take place in one year are usually signed in the Night of Qadr of the same year.

However, Allah may postpone the signing of certain actions even up to the moment of their execution. In that case, Imdhaa could be exactly at the time that the action is carried out in the world. This is in agreement with the other lexical meaning of Imdhaa, that is "execution.”

From the time of creation of the "will" for a specific action until the moment of execution (Imdhaa), Allah may withdraw His permission for the occurrence of that action and may cancel the created "will" and change the sequence altogether.

This concept is called "al-Badaa" (initiating a new thing), which is discussed later. This change only occurs to the created information (i.e., the above-mentioned steps) while there is no change in His Eternal Knowledge/His Essence. As Ahlul-Bayt (AS) pointed out, Allah knew what He would change later.

According to the traditions, all of this dynamic information is placed in a record called "The Protected Board" (Lawh al-Mahfudh), or equivalently, "The Mother of the Book" (Umm al- Kitab). These terms were mentioned in Quran and were used in our traditions interchangeably (See Quran 85:22 and 13:39).

Now let us study some of the traditions from the heritage of Ahlul-Bayt (AS) in this regard. Referring to the Quran where Allah states: "(Allah) is not satisfied with disbelief for His servants (39:7)" and also the verse "Surely they disbelieved who said: Allah is the third of the three (in a Trinity) (5:73)", Fudhail Ibn Yasar and Abu Basir both narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said: "(Allah) willed and intended while He does not like and is not satisfied." Abu Basir said: "How is that?" The Imam (AS) replied: "Allah willed that nothing (no action or anything) exists except according to His knowledge (of what he has permitted), and He intended the same thing, but He does not like to be told 'He is the third of the three' and He is not satisfied with disbelief for His servants."

  • al-Kafi, v1, p151, Hadith #5
  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p339, Hadith #9
  • Ma'ani al-Akhbar, p170, Hadith #1
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p90, Hadith #10

The second Hadith is from Imam Ali (AS):

The Leader of the Faithful (AS) was asked about the will of Allah (Mashiyya) and His intention (Irada). He (AS) said: "Verily, there are two (types of) will and two (types of) intention for Allah. They are the 'will of necessitation' and the 'will of decision', and similar to that the 'intention of necessitation' and the 'intention of decision'. The intention of necessitation never misses (His command/satisfaction).

However, the intention of (permitting people's) decision sometimes misses (His commandment) and sometime hits. And He has two (types of) will: the will (i.e., command) that He does will and the will (i.e., command) that He does not will.

He (may) forbid while He wills and He (may) order while He does not will. It means that He wanted obedience and He willed (i.e., permitted), and He did not want disobedience yet He willed (i.e., permited). And everything is according to its Qadhaa and its Qadar ...

al-Qadhaa (passing) is used with four meanings in the Book of Allah. The first one is Qadhaa of creation when He, the Most High, said: 'And He passed (to create) (Qadhahunna) the seven heavens in two days (41:12)', which means He created them.

The second one is Qadhaa (passing) of Judgment and it is in His saying, 'And (on the Day of Judgment) it is passed amongst them (based) on the truth (39:69)', which means He judges. The third one is Qadhaa of commandment and it is in His saying 'And your Lord passed that you should not worship but Him (17:23)', which means your Lord commanded.

And the forth one is Qadhaa of knowledge, and it is in His saying: 'And We passed for the Children of Israel (and revealed) in the scripture that most certainly you will make mischief on the Earth twice. (17:4)' It means We knew (beforehand) about the (mischief of the) Children of Israel.

Verily Allah willed (i.e., permitted the occurrence of some of the) disobedience of His servants while He did not want/intend (an intention of commandment). And He willed (i.e., knew their choice and permitted) obedience and intended/wanted it from them (an intention of commandment).

It is because His will consists of the will of commandment and the will of knowledge, and His intention consists of intention of satisfaction and intention of commandment. He commanded obedience and is pleased with it, and He willed disobedience, which means He knew disobedience of His servants but He did not command them to do it. This is due to the Justice of Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, amongst His servants.

  • Fiqh al-Ridha, p410, sec. 119
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p124, Hadith #73

Fat'h Ibn Yazid al-Jurjani narrated:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said: "Verily, there are two (types of) will and two (types of) intention for Allah. One is necessitated and the other one is according to (people's) decision. He forbids while He (may) will, and He commands while He (may) not will.

Don't you see that Allah forbade Adam and his wife to eat from the tree while He willed it (i.e., knew their choice and permitted it to happen)? Had He not willed so, they would not have eaten, and had they eaten it in that case, then verily their will would have overcome the will of Allah (i.e., the knowledge of what is permitted to happen).

He also ordered Abraham (AS) to slaughter his son, Isma'il, while He willed that he would not slaughter him (i.e., He did not give permission for that action to manifest and to become effective), and if He had not willed that he will not slaughter him then verily Abraham's will would have overcome the will of Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic.

  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p64, Hadith #18
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v4, p292, Hadith #21; v5, p101, Hadith #26

When Imam Ali (AS) was asked: "How is it that we are not compelled in our actions if all our actions are according to the Allah's Qadar and Qadhaa?" the Imam (AS) replied:

"Did you think that it was an imposed passing (Qadhaa), and a necessitated planning (Qadar) (as being the cause for our actions)? If it were so, then reward, punishment, commandment, and prohibition would have become invalid, and glad tiding and admonition would have been meaningless! In that case, there could not be any blame for the sinner and there would not be any admiration for the righteous.

In such a case, the sinner would be more deserving of kindness than the righteous, and the righteous would be more deserving of punishment than the sinner. This is the saying of the idol worshippers and the enemies of Allah and the Party of Satan (who are) the Qadariyya (those who believe in compulsion), the Majus of this nation.

Allah (SWT) has charged the servants while they were granted choice, and forbade them through warnings. He has given for a small amount of good deeds a great reward. He is never disobeyed through overcoming (His will), and He is not obeyed through coercion and compulsion. He does not invest possession by relinquishing it. He did not create the heavens and the earth and whatever is in between as a falsehood (triviality).

He has not sent Prophets and Messengers in vain. 'This is the suspicion of the disbelievers; and woe unto the disbelievers from the Hellfire. (38:27)'"

  • al-Kafi, v1, p155, Hadith #1
  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p380, Hadith #28
  • Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha (AS), v1, p138, Hadith #38
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p13

The Term al-Qadariyya has been used in our Hadith literature for two extreme groups. The first and the largest group were al-Jabriyya who believed in compulsion and maintained that everyone is forced according to the Taqdir/Qadar of Allah and that His decree is the cause for our actions. The second group who were also called by this name were al-Mufawwidha who believed that the Taqdir of voluntary actions are relinquished to people.

The title of Qadariyya has been a notorious one since the Prophet (PBUH&HF) severely denounced its followers and he called them the Majus of this nation in numerous traditions. As we already witnessed in the writings of Abul Hasan al-Ash'ari, there has been a constant battle between Jabriyya and Mufawwidha, each one accusing the other of being Qadariyya!

On the other hand, Ahlul-Bayt (AS) have made it clear that Qadariyya constitutes both the schools of compulsion and independent freedom of will. The previous tradition referred to the former branch of Qadariyya while the next interesting tradition refers to the latter. Yunus Ibn Abd al-Rahman narrated:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said to me: "O Yunus! Do not hold the saying of al-Qadariyya. Certainly, the Qadariyya hold neither the saying of the People of Paradise, nor the (future) saying of the People of the Fire, nor the saying of Satan! Verily, the People of Paradise (shall) say: 'Praise be to Allah who has guided us to this (place): never could we be guided if Allah would not have guided us (7:43)'.

And the People of Fire (shall) say: 'Our Lord! Our wretchedness overwhelmed us, and we have been misguided folk (23:106)'. And the Satan said: 'O my Lord! Since you have misled me ...(15:39)'" I said: "By Allah! I never held the saying of the Qadariyya. I also maintain that nothing exists except that which Allah willed, intended, passed, and measured." (Here, Yunus made the mistake of the philosophers who switch the place of Qadar and Qadhaa in the sequence, and the Imam (AS) corrected him:) He (AS) said: "It is not that way.

Rather, nothing exists except that which Allah willed, intended, measured, and passed. The will is the first reminder. The intention is the determination for what He willed. The measure is the setting of the limits such as the appointed time, existence, maintenance, and the extinction (of the would-be action). The passing is to make things up and ready (for the person to act)."

  • Tafsir Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi, v1, p24
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p116, Hadith #49

A similar interesting Hadith from Imam al-Ridha (AS) has two more phrases, which are as follows:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said: "... O Yunus! Certainly, al-Qadariyya do not hold the saying of Allah, 'And ye shall not will unless Allah wills (81:29)', ... nor do they hold the saying of Noah (AS), 'My advice shall not benefit you even though I intended to advise you if it be that Allah intended to mislead you. He is your Lord and to Him shall you return (11:34)'..."

  • al-Mahasin, p244, Hadith #238
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p122, Hadith #69

Notice that misleading/misguiding attributed to Allah as explained by other verses of Quran as well as the traditions of Ahlul-Bayt (AS), is Allah's punishment for those who insist on rejecting faith. Misguidance is the reverse of guidance, assistance, and light, which aids man to choose with better insight.

On the other hand, misguidance is darkness. A person who makes his choice in darkness, although he is not deprived of choice, he is deprived of insight and is under greater influence by Satan. Therefore, this misguidance is not a compulsory misguidance. It is rather a punishment for what he has chosen of disbelief earlier.

Although he still exercises choice, Allah knew that he will choose wrong in darkness and under the advisory of Satan. Again, Allah's foreknowledge, His withholding guidance, and His deserting do not compel a disbeliever to do wrong, just as His foreknowledge, His guidance, and His assistance do not compel a believer to do right.

Below is another tradition denouncing Qadariyya as those who believed that Allah has relinquished the planning of voluntary actions to people. Ali Ibn Salim narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said: "Certainly the Qadariyya are the Majus of this nation. They intended to describe Allah by His justice, but they dismissed Him from His sovereignty. About them the following verses were revealed: 'On the Day that they shall be dragged through the Fire on their faces, (they shall be told:) Taste the touch of Hell! Verily, We have created everything (including this punishment) according to planning/measure. (54:48-49)'"

  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p382, Hadith # 29
  • Close narrations reported from Imam Ali (AS), Imam al-Baqir (AS), and Imam al-Sadiq (AS). See Bihar al-Anwar, v5, pp 117-118, Hadith #50, #51, #54

Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) narrated:

Imam Musa Ibn Ja'far (AS) said: "Certainly Allah created the creation and knew what they will turn to. Then, He commanded them and forbade them. To whatever He commanded, He has indeed made for them a way to take it.

From whatever He forbade them, He has indeed made for them a way to leave it. However, they shall neither take nor leave except by His permission. Yet, Allah never compelled anyone to His disobedience, but rather He tested them as He, the Glorious, said, 'in order to test you which of you is best in (your) deed. (67:2)'"

  • al-Ihtijaj, v2, p387
  • al-Kafi, v1, p158, Hadith #5 (a close narration from Imam al-Sadiq (AS))
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p26, Hadith #32

Again, pointing to the domain of our volition, Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said: "Allah is more Generous than charging people with what they cannot bear, and Allah is more Mighty than having something He did not intend take place in His kingdom."

  • al-Kafi, v1, p160, Hadith #14
  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p360, Hadith #4
  • al-Mahasin, p296, Hadith #464
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p41, Hadith #64

The above Hadith clearly dismisses both the idea of compulsion and independent freedom in our actions. This is also emphasized by the following Hadith. Various authorities narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "He who thinks Allah commands to evil (Soo') and indecent deeds has indeed lied upon Allah. He who thinks the goodness (Khair) and the evil (Sharr) are not according to His will, has dismissed Allah from His Sovereignty.

He who thinks that sins are performed by other than the power of Allah, has indeed lied upon Allah. And he who lies upon Allah, Allah shall enter him to Fire."

  • Tafsir al-Ayyashi, v2, p11, Hadith #14
  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p359, Hadith #2
  • al-Kafi, v1, p158, Hadith #6
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, p127, Hadith #79

Salih al-Nili narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said:: "... Certainly, Allah does not compel anyone to His disobedience and does not intend disbelief for anyone with the intention of necessitation/imposition. However, when one becomes a disbeliever, it was (already) in the intention of Allah and His knowledge that he will disbelieve and that he will not turn to any goodness." I asked: "Did Allah want them to disbelieve?" He (AS) said: "I did not say that.

I rather say He knew they would disbelieve, and thus He intended disbelief due to His foreknowledge on them. This is not the intention of necessitation/imposition (i.e., it is not the cause for their action). It is just the intention of (giving permission to their) choice."

  • al-Kafi, v1, p162, Hadith #3

Thus, when Allah states in Quran: "Allah never intends injustice to His servants (40:31)", or when He states: "Allah never intends injustice to the Worlds (3:108)", the intention that is denied here is the intention of necessitation/imposition. In other words, Allah does not impose injustice to people, and therefore, injustice is not the action of Allah.

However, the injustice imposed by some people over others is in His will and His intention of choice. Allah intended to give permission to the occurrence of some (not all) injustice by people. As such, although injustice by others is in His intention, it cannot be considered His action.

On the commentary of the famous Hadith of Imam al-Sadiq (AS), Yazid Ibn Umair narrated:

I said to Ali Ibn Musa al-Ridha (AS): "O Son of the Messenger of Allah! It has been narrated to us that Ja'far Ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (AS) said, 'There is no compulsion and no relinquishing, but something between the two.' What does this mean?" Imam al- Ridha (AS) replied: "He who claims that Allah does our actions and then punishes us for those (actions), has maintained compulsion (Jabr). He who claims that Allah has relinquished the authority on creation and sustenance to His Proofs (AS) has indeed maintained Tafwidh (to Imams).

The supporter of compulsion is a disbeliever and the supporter of relinquishing authority is a polytheist." I then asked: "O son of the Messenger of Allah! What is the matter between the two?" The Imam (AS) replied: "The existence of the Path for performing what was ordered and for leaving what was prohibited." I asked: "Is there any will and intention for Allah on this?"

He (AS) said: "As for the acts of obedience, the intention of Allah and His will is His ordering to do those (acts) and being satisfied with it and aiding (the person) to accomplish it. On the other hand, His intention and will in the sin/disobedience is prohibiting it and being displeased with it and deserting over it (i.e., letting the person do it without pushing him)." I asked: "Is there any Qadhaa for Allah on this?" He (AS) said: "Yes, There does not exist any act that the servants do, be it good (Khair) or evil (Sharr), except that Allah has a Qadhaa on it."

I asked: "Then what is the meaning of Qadhaa here?" He (AS) said: "The verdict on them for that which they deserve from rewards and punishments in this world and the Hereafter."

  • Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha (AS), v1, p124, Hadith #17
  • al-Ihtijaj, v2, p414
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v5, pp. 11-12, Hadith #18

In the last part of the above Hadith, the Imam (AS) referred to Allah's will and intention of commandment and satisfaction as well as His passing (Qadhaa) of judgment.

The fact that we have no choice over some of the actions is not denied by any group, including the Mu'tazilites. All the problems and arguments in the entire history of mankind have been about those actions that we do voluntarily.

The saying of Imam al-Sadiq (AS) quoted in the beginning of the above tradition does not mean that some of our actions are due to compulsion (Jabr) and some are due to independent freedom (Tafwidh). He (AS) rather pointed to the domain of our volition and stated that there is neither Jabr nor Tafwidh in the domain of our choice. As we already pointed out, only our voluntary actions can be really considered as our actions.

The above Hadith also points to a subgroup of Mufawwidha who believed that Allah has relinquished authority specifically to the Imams (AS) and believed that the Imam's (AS) will is independent of Allah's will.

In many traditions, the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (AS) stressed the fact that the will of Allah, His intention, His measure, and His passing are all His creations, and that any one who thinks they are eternal or are His Essence (Dhat) is a disbeliever and polytheist. This is because Allah's intention refers to the intended things (i.e., His creations), which are many. The multitude of eternal intentions would defy the oneness of Allah and His eternity. Thus, His intentions were not eternal. Sulaiman Ibn Ja'far al-Ja'fari narrated:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said: "The will and the intention are of the attributes of actions. Thus, he who thinks that Allah eternally intended and willed, is not a monotheist."

  • Kitab al-Tawhid, p337, Hadith #5
  • Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v18, p182, Hadith #22449/30
  • Bihar al-Anwar, v4, p145, Hadith #18