Debating with non-Muslim about predestination and fate
Fatwa No: 352765

Question

I was talking with a non-Muslim colleague about God. He was saying that God is evil because He allows evil to happen. We then further discussed this topic, and I told him above free will and so on. I said the exact following words: "God knows the outcome, but we create it." I would really like to know if uttering these exact words is haram, and if so, why? I would also like you to note that I have not studied the religion with a teacher and actually asked myself whether it is haram to do so? Also if someone does not accept Islam after you have called them to it, could you be in error if you possibly did not explain it very well?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, you should know that it is not appropriate to get carried away in debating with non-Muslims about the matter of predestination and fate (Qadar) and other matters that are based upon submission to the Lord of the Worlds as a consequence of knowing that He is The All-Knowing, The Just, and The All-Wise.

If such a topic is presented, then one should direct the talk to inform others about Allah; this is the first fact.

The second fact: the Salaf (righteous predecessors) forbade debating about fate as it is a potential means to misguidance. At-Tahaawi said in Al-Mukhtasar, which he wrote to explain the creed of the Muslim, “The origin of Qadar is the secret of Allah in His Creation; neither a close angel nor a sent Prophet knows it. So investigating that in depth is a reason for misguidance.

The third fact: It is wrong for a person who is not well-grounded in Islamic knowledge to debate with the people of falsehood, as this may lead to one or both of two evils: the first is that he himself might be misguided due to the misconceptions that might settle in his heart, and he might not be able to get rid of them; the second is that the one with whom he debates may increase in his misguidance and disbelief; so one may cause more corruption than good. Hence, you should be aware of these facts.

Regarding your question about the ruling on saying: "God knows the outcome but we create it”; then if you meant that Allah knows the outcome of matters but He is not their Creator, then it is not permissible to say this statement because it includes a false meaning, which is denying that it is Allah Who created the actions of the people.

Believing that Allah creates the actions of the people is an important part of belief in the Divine Decree (Al-Qadar). The scholars stated four levels of Al-Qadar: knowledge, writing, will, and creation. Everything that happens in the universe, Allah knew it, then He wrote it, then He willed it, and then He created it.

Evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah indicates that Allah Almighty created the actions of His Servants; Allah says (what means): {Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.} [Quran 39:62]

Taawoos  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated, “I found some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying, ‘Everything is decreed (by Allah).’ I heard ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar saying that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, ‘Everything is decreed – even incapacity and ability (or ability and incapacity).’" [Muslim]

Also, Al-Bukhaari reported in his Book The Creation of the Actions of the Servants that Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Allah creates every maker and what he makes.” Some scholars then recited {While Allah created you and that which you do?} [Quran 37:96] Allah informed us that the actions and those who do them are created.

The work that a person does is attributed to him, and saying that he created it is permissible. But it is known that every action that he does results from his ability and his will to do it. The One Who gave him this ability and will is Allah Almighty; so the real creator is Allah.

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah, “The slaves (i.e the people) are actual doers, and Allah is the Creator of what they do (their actions), and the slave includes the believer and the disbeliever; the pious and the impious; the one who prays and the one who fasts. The slaves have the ability to do their actions and they have a will, but it is Allah Who is their Creator and the Creator of their ability and will…

For more benefit, please refer to fatwas 2855and 28894.

Allah knows best.

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