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Qadar

Qadar (Arab., qadara, ‘have strength for, gain mastery over’). The decree of Allāh which, in Muslim belief, determines all eventualities. The Qurʾān reiterates constantly the power of God, who is the sole creator of all that is, and the One who knows all that is to be. Nothing can happen unless God wills it—hence the popular recognition of this in the phrase, inshʾAllah, ‘if God wills it’. How strong is this determinism? If God determines everything that happens, how can humans be held responsible on the Day of Judgement (yaum al-Dīn)? This was a major and divisive issue in early Islam. At one extreme (eventually excluded from orthodox Islam), the Jabriy(y)a (Jabariy(y)a) emphasized the power and authority of God to such an extent that it implied absolute predestination. At the other extreme, the Qadariy(y)a, who became identified with the Muʿtazilites, held that humans, as the caliphs (khalīfa) of God on earth, have the delegated power to create their actions. The mediating positions of the Maturidites (al-Māturīdī) and the Ashʿarites (al-Ashʿarī) held that all possibilities are created by God, but that humans have the responsibility to ‘acquire’ (kasb, iktisāb) actions out of the possibilities, thus becoming accountable (hence ‘the doctrine of acquisition’).

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