Four categories of fate
Fatwa No: 7460

Question

A caller to Islam once mentioned that after creating mankind, Allaah The Almighty divided them into two groups: a group for Paradise and another for Hell. This means that whoever is predestined to be among the wretched will inevitably enter Hell and this is perfect justice. My question is: How could it be called perfect justice when someone enters Hell who was predestined ever since he was created to enter Hell? Please clarify.

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 ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

First and foremost, you have to know, dear brother, that Allaah The Almighty is Just and All-Wise and that Islam must be established on the grounds of full submission and surrender. You also have to know that delving in the issue of fate is wrong and dangerous. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, became enraged when he saw his Companions arguing about fate. He commanded them to give up these arguments and do what they have been commanded to do and keep away from whatever they have been prohibited. [‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ahmad]

At-Tabaraani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded Muslims not to delve into the subject of fate because it is mysterious and cannot be easily comprehended by most people. Sadly, when Muslims indulged in arguments about fate, thus disobeying the Prophet’s command, they became disunited and divided into groups and parties.

This introduction was meant to stress the danger that lies in arguing about fate. Now we shall clarify the right methodology that was adopted by the Companions and their two successive generations.

Fate has been classified into four categories, which are:

1-Knowledge: It refers to the fact that Allaah The Almighty is the All-Knowing, meaning that He encompasses all things in His Knowledge. He knows what was in the past, what will be in the future and what would have been in the past had it happened.

2-Will: It refers to the fact that everything that has occurred and is occurring in this universe occurs by the Will of Allaah The Almighty and that nothing can occur against His Will.

3-Writing: It refers to the fact that Allaah The Almighty has written what He has decreed and foreordained in the Preserved Tablet. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {We have not neglected in the Register a thing.}[Quran 6:38] The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, told us that the pen was the first thing created by Allaah The Almighty and that He ordered it to write down the fate of everything. [At-Tirmithi]

4-Creation: It refers to the fact that Allaah The Almighty is the Creator of everything; good and evil. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {That is Allaah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things.}[Quran 6:102]

Once you are aware of all this, you must try to understand the Hadeeth where the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, mentioned that Allaah The Almighty created Aadam (Adam)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and then created his offspring from his back, and said: “Those are for Paradise and I do not care and those are for Hell and I do not care." [Al-Haakim]

This Hadeeth is related to the first category of fate, meaning knowledge. Allaah The Almighty already knows the deeds of each of these two groups, hence, He Says about the group of believers: "Those are for Paradise and I do not care", whereas He says about the group of disbelievers: "Those are for Hell and I do not care." Neither the obedient nor the disobedient are compelled in any of their acts; on the contrary, each of them is granted free will and acts according to his own choice. Their fate is unknown to them and they only know what is good and what is evil and choose either to obey or disobey Allaah The Almighty. Everyone has been commanded to do good and prohibited from doing evil, and they all have equal chances to be blamed or pardoned.

However, this does not mean that because people are free to choose, their acts can go beyond the will of Allaah The Almighty for nothing can happen except by His will. Guidance and support are granted by Allaah The Almighty to anyone He wills and are withheld from anyone He wills. In fact, withholding divine support from some people is not considered injustice because this support is not originally one of their rights. The true believer is certain that Allaah The Exalted does not stand in need of any of His creation, and that He is Just and Merciful and is never unjust in the least degree. On the contrary, Allaah The Almighty blesses His slaves with His grace and bounty despite their disobedience of His commands, so how could anyone think that Allaah The Almighty can ever be unjust?

If you are able to understand this, then you will no longer feel confused about fate. However, if you fail to grasp this, it will be sufficient for you to know that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered us to work because everyone finds it easy to do the deeds that will lead him to his fate.  That is to say, if he is destined to be from the dwellers of Paradise, he will find it easy to do what would lead him there and vice versa. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Therefore, do not preoccupy yourself with what you do not know but concentrate on performing the duties that you have been assigned with.

And Allaah Knows best.

Related Fatwa