The difference between Fate and Divine Decree
Fatwa No: 11555

Question

As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum,
What is the difference between Fate and Divine Decree‎?
Please provide examples to clarify the meaning.
Are they subject to change?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

 

Scholars have held different opinions regarding the difference between Fate and Divine Decree‎ as follows:

 

The first group is of the opinion that there is no difference in meaning between them, as each of them points to the meaning of the other and whenever one of them is used, it includes the other.

This is the preponderant opinion for many reasons including the following:

  • Those who held a different opinion have no clear evidence from the Quran or Sunnah to support their opinion.
  • Their interchangeable usage proves that there is no difference between them.
  • The differentiation is fruitless, because all scholars agreed that each of them may be used to refer to the other. Hence, we may use one definition for both of them.

The second group of scholars differentiated between Fate and Divine Decree‎ and have had great differences regarding the identification of the difference. The most acceptable difference that they mentioned is that Divine Decree refers to what has already happened, while Fate ‎ refers to what has not yet happened.

 

Allaah Knows best.

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