Praise be to Allaah.
This is one of the matters which have
caused widespread problems, both on the individual level and on an ummah-wide
The Muslim ummah has gone through many crises and
difficult times, and it has emerged from them through enlightened thinking,
penetrating insight and sound concepts, searching for the right means
and weighing up the consequences and causes, and only then taking the
appropriate means and approaching matters from the right direction.
Thus – by the will of Allaah – they overcame those crises and emerged
from those calamities, regaining their honour and past glory. This is
how the ummah was during its golden ages.
But in these later times in which
the ummah has been swamped by ignorance and overwhelmed by ideas of
heresy and westernization, and bid’ah (reprehensible innovations) and
misguidance have become widespread, many Muslims have become confused
about this matter. They have made belief in al-qadaa’
wa’l-qadar (the will and decree of Allaah) an excuse for
laziness, and a justification for not being determined and resolved
or thinking about higher matters such as how to achieve glory and success.
They have preferred the easy, cheap route to the proper but difficult
Their solution was for a man to
rely on al-qadar (Divine decree), and on the fact that Allaah is the
One Who does whatever He wants; whatever He wills happens and whatever
He does not will does not happen – so let His will be done and let His
decree come to pass. We have no means of changing anything and we have
no involvement in any of that.
In this manner, many Muslims very
easily submitted to the decrees without resisting them by taking the
prescribed or permissible means.
So they did not enjoin what is
good, forbid what is evil, wage jihaad against the enemies of Allaah,
strive to spread knowledge and do away with ignorance, combat destructive
thought and misleading ideas… all on the grounds that Allaah willed
The truth is that this major disaster
and immense misguidance led the ummah into a deep pit of backwardness
and decline, and enabled its enemies to overwhelm it, and brought upon
it calamity after calamity.
But taking the appropriate means
does not affect belief in al-qadar; in fact it is part of perfecting
that belief. Allaah decrees things for us, and He wants things from
us. What He decrees for us is hidden from us, but what He wants from
us, He commands us to do. He wants us to convey the call to the kuffaar
even if He knows that they will not believe. He wants us to fight them
even if He knows that we will be defeated by them. He wants us to be
one ummah even if He knows that there will be divisions and differences
among us. He wants us to be severe against the disbelievers and merciful
amongst ourselves, even if He knows that we will be too severe with
one another, and so on…
It is this confusion about what
Allaah wants for us and what He wants from us that has led to the confusion
about this matter and caused us to fall into haraam things.
It is true that Allaah is the One
Who does whatever He wants, He is the Creator of all things, the One
in Whose hand is the sovereignty of all things, the One to Whom belong
the keys of the heavens and the earth, but He has created laws according
to which this universe operates, although He is Able to go beyond these
laws but He does not do this for everyone.
Believing that Allaah is Able to
help the believers against the disbelievers does not mean that He will
help the believers when they are not doing anything to take the appropriate
means, because victory without taking the means is impossible and Allaah’s
power does not have to do with the impossible, and because it is contrary
to Allaah’s wisdom, and His power is connected to His wisdom.
The fact that Allaah is Able to
do something does not mean that an individual, a group or the ummah
is able to do the same thing. Allaah’s power is an attribute that is
unique to Him, and people’s abilities are unique to them – confusing
Allaah’s power and belief in it with a person’s ability and doing what
Allaah has commanded him to do is what makes people sit down and do
nothing; this is what paralyzes peoples and nations.
This is what was noted and pointed
out by one of the German orientalists, who said, when recording the
history of the Muslims in later periods: “The nature of the Muslim is
submission to the will of Allaah and acceptance of His decree, and submission
with all that he possesses to the One, the Subduer.”
This obedience has two effects.
In the early period of Islam, it played a major role in wars and led
to ongoing victory, because it instilled in soldiers the spirit of sacrifice.
But in later times it was a cause
of stagnation which overwhelmed the Muslim world and threw it downhill,
keeping it isolated from world events. (al-‘Almaaniyyah
by Shaykh Safar al-Hawaali, quoting from Paul Schamtaz in his book Islam
the world power of tomorrow, p. 87)