A Refutation of Blaming Sins on Qadr: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ ذَاقُوا بَأْسَنَا ۗ قُلْ هَلْ عِندَكُم مِّنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا ۖ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ * قُلْ فَلِلَّهِ الْحُجَّةُ الْبَالِغَةُ ۖ فَلَوْ شَاءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will).” Likewise belied those who were before them, till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: “Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but assumption and you do nothing but lie.” * Say: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument. Had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.” [6:148-149]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

هذا إخبار من الله أن المشركين سيحتجون على شركهم وتحريمهم ما أحل الله، بالقضاء والقدر، ويجعلون مشيئة الله الشاملة لكل شيء من الخير والشر حجة لهم في دفع اللوم عنهم. وقد قالوا ما أخبر الله أنهم سيقولونه، كما قال في الآية الأخرى: { وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ } الآية. ـ

This is Allah informing us that the mushrikoon will use al-Qadaa and al-Qadr [Allah’s Divine Decree and Pre-ordainment] to argue in support of their shirk and their declaring what Allah has made permissible impermissible, and that they will take Allah’s will – which encompasses everything, both good and evil – as an argument in their favor for repelling any blame against them. And they did in fact say what Allah informed us that they would say, just as He said in another ayah:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَ‌كُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ نَّحْنُ وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّ‌مْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ فَهَلْ عَلَى الرُّ‌سُلِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

And those who associate others with Allah say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification? [16:35]

فأخبر تعالى أن هذة الحجة، لم تزل الأمم المكذبة تدفع بها عنهم دعوة الرسل، ويحتجون بها، فلم تجد فيهم شيئا ولم تنفعهم، فلم يزل هذا دأبهم حتى أهكلهم الله، وأذاقهم بأسه. ـ

So Allah informed us that the nations of falsehood still use this argument to repel the call of the messengers from them and they argue using this. But it does not do anything for them nor does it benefit them, so this perseverance of theirs will continue until Allah destroys them and makes them taste His punishment.

فلو كانت حجة صحيحة، لدفعت عنهم العقاب، ولما أحل الله بهم العذاب، لأنه لا يحل بأسه إلا بمن استحقه، فعلم أنها حجة فاسدة، وشبهة كاسدة، من عدة أوجه: ـ

For if this line of argument were true, then it would repel punishment from them and Allah would not allow punishment to happen to them because He does not allow punishment to happen except to those who deserve it. So it is known that this argumentation is false and that it is a doubt which falls flat for a number of reasons:

  منها: ما ذكر الله من أنها لو كانت صحيحة، لم تحل بهم العقوبة. ـ

Among these reasons is what Allah said regarding the fact that if this were true, then punishing them would not be allowed.

ومنها: أن الحجة، لا بد أن تكون حجة مستندة إلى العلم والبرهان، فأما إذا كانت مستندة إلى مجرد الظن والخرص، الذي لا يغني من الحق شيئا، فإنها باطلة، ولهذا قال: { قُلْ هَلْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا } فلو كان لهم علم – وهم خصوم ألداء- لأخرجوه، فلما لم يخرجوه علم أنه لا علم عندهم. { إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ } ومَنْ بنى حججه على الخرص والظن، فهو مبطل خاسر، فكيف إذا بناها على البغي والعناد والشر والفساد؟ ـ

And among them is that an argument must be based on knowledge and proof. As for if it is based on mere supposing and guessing – which doesn’t carry any weight against the truth – then it is false. And regarding this Allah said:

قُلْ هَلْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا

Say, “Do you have any knowledge that you can produce for us? [6:148]

So if they had had knowledge – for they are relentless arguers – then they would have produced it. So when they did not produce it, it became known that they did not have any knowledge with them.

إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ

You follow not except assumption, and you are not but falsifying [6:148]

and whoever builds his argumentation upon guessing and supposing, then it is false and sure to lose. So then what about when one builds it on transgression, stubbornness, evil and wickedness?!

ومنها: أن الحجة لله البالغة، التي لم تبق لأحد عذرا، التي اتفقت عليها الأنبياء والمرسلون، والكتب الإلهية، والآثار النبوية، والعقول الصحيحة، والفطر المستقيمة، والأخلاق القويمة، فعلم بذلك أن كل ما خالف هذه الأدلة القاطعة باطل، لأن نقيض الحق، لا يكون إلا باطلا. ـ

And among them is that to Allah belongs the effective argument, the one which leaves no excuse for anyone: that which the prophets and messengers, the divinely inspired Scriptures, the prophetic narrations, the sound intellect, the upright natural inclination and the proper manners all agree upon. So it is thereby known that whatever differs from this decisive proof is false, because whatever contradicts the truth cannot be anything other than falsehood.

ومنها: أن الله تعالى أعطى كل مخلوق، قدرة، وإرادة، يتمكن بها من فعل ما كلف به، فلا أوجب الله على أحد ما لا يقدر على فعله، ولا حرم على أحد ما لا يتمكن من تركه، فالاحتجاج بعد هذا بالقضاء والقدر، ظلم محض وعناد صرف. ـ

And among them is that Allah gives each one of the created beings a will; with this will it is able to do what it has been charged with doing, for Allah does not obligate anyone to do anything which they are not able to do nor He did not make anything prohibited which it is impossible for someone to leave off. So making arguments by means of al-qadaa and al-qadr after this is pure wrongdoing and patent stubbornness.

ومنها: أن الله تعالى لم يجبر العباد على أفعالهم، بل جعل أفعالهم تبعا لاختيارهم، فإن شاءوا فعلوا، وإن شاءوا كفوا. وهذا أمر مشاهد لا ينكره إلا من كابر، وأنكر المحسوسات، فإن كل أحد يفرق بين الحركة الاختيارية والحركة القسرية، وإن كان الجميع داخلا في مشيئة الله، ومندرجا تحت إرادته. ـ

And among them is that Allah does not force the slaves to commit their actions; rather He makes their actions to follow in accordance with their free choice. So if they wish, they do, and if they wish, they abstain. This is a well-attested matter – no one denies it except for the contentious one. And sensory evidence denies this argumentation, for everyone makes a distinction between their voluntary and involuntary movements, and indeed all of these things are included in the will of Allah and fall under His will.

 ومنها: أن المحتجين على المعاصي بالقضاء والقدر يتناقضون في ذلك. فإنهم لا يمكنهم أن يطردوا ذلك، بل لو أساء إليهم مسيء بضرب أو أخذ مال أو نحو ذلك، واحتج بالقضاء والقدر لما قبلوا منه هذا الاحتجاج، ولغضبوا من ذلك أشد الغضب. فيا عجبا كيف يحتجون به على معاصي الله ومساخطه. ولا يرضون من أحد أن يحتج به في مقابلة مساخطهم؟ ـ

And among them is that the people who resort to using al-qadaa and al-qadr to object to acts of disobedience contradict themselves in doing so. For they themselves are not able to dismiss this line of arguing; actually if harm were to be done to them – whether being struck or wealth being taken or the likes of these – and one were to invoke al-qadaa and al-qadr to argue with them with the likes of the arguments which they had proffered before, then they would become angry and completely enraged with that. This is astounding! How can they use this to object to acts which involve the disobedience and displeasure of Allah while they would not like for anyone to use that same argument in relation to their own displeasure?

ومنها: أن احتجاجهم بالقضاء والقدر ليس مقصودا، ويعلمون أنه ليس بحجة، وإنما المقصود منه دفع الحق، ويرون أن الحق بمنزلة الصائل، فهم يدفعونه بكل ما يخطر ببالهم من الكلام وإن كانوا يعتقدونه خطأ

And among them is that their argumentation by means of al-qadaa and al-qadr is not their true purpose and they know that this is not really a proof. Their true objective is only to repel the truth, and they view the truth as if it were an assault, so they repel it with everything that their minds can conjure up of speech, even if they believe what they are saying to be in error.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 312-313]

For more on this same ayah, see also: Using truthful speech for false purposes: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: A Principle to Dispel Specious Arguments and Doubts: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: No calamity occurs except that it is written in the Book of Decrees: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Do not say, ‘if only…'”: Imam al-Sa’di

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4 thoughts on “A Refutation of Blaming Sins on Qadr: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: No calamity occurs except that it is written in the Book of Decrees: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Using truthful speech for false purposes: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Do not say, ‘If only…’”: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: A Principle to Dispel Specious Arguments and Doubts: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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