Qadr refers to the perfect and absolute knowledge of Allah. He knows everything ahead of time. Having knowledge of someone does not mean Allah has imposed His will against someeone and deprived him of his independent will.

To understand the issue of qadar in a simple way, consider the following example:

Zayd and Ahmad were sitting and talking about some important work that they need done. These two saw two other men coming towards them. Zayd said, "Let's ask these two if they can do this work." When Ahmad looked up and saw them, he recognized both of them and said, "The man on the right wearing white will be able to do this work, but the one on the in green will not."

Zayd asked, "How do you know that?" Ahmad replied, "From my personal experience." Zayd said, "If you're so sure, put it down on paper so you can't deny it later on." Si Ahmad wrote down what he had said regarding the two men and sealed the paper in an envelope.

When the two men came and sat near them, Zayd and Ahmad requested each one of them to help in their work. Just as Ahmad had said, the one in the green excused himself saying he would not be able to do the work as he was busy. The man in the white, though, said he would be more than happy to help them out.

Since what Ahmad had said was true, he began telling Zayd, "I should get some kind of reward since what I wrote down about these two was right. I told you that he was going to do it, while the other was not," and he began waving the paper on which he had written that information down.

When the man in the green saw that, he became angry and he said, "See, you had written this down from before that I was not going to do it and that is why I did not do it!"

If you think about this man's response, would anybody accept that he didn't do the work because Ahmad had akready written down that he wouldn't?

So just as that man's answer corresponded with Ahmad's opinion of him, every person has a choice but Allah already knows what every person will do and when he will do it right down to the minutest detail. All this has already been written down. [This is just an example to understand whereas in reality no one's knowledge or experience can ever compare with that of Allah, and for Him is the highest description.]

If a person's personal experience or perspective based on 10 years or 20 years of work in a given field can be given can be right many times, then just think of the supreme and perfect knowledge of Allah, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing.

Another simple way to understand this is to look at our ability to see or hear. This is from Allah. However, there are limits to our seeing and hearing. If there is an obstacle in the way like a wall or a barrier we cannot see beyond that point. So, while there are certain limits to our seeing and hearing. we still have a certain degree of control over what we see and what we hear. In the same way, we have control over the choices we make even if it's not absolute control.

Based on this you can now understand that reward and punishment, heaven and hell, all these make clear that our ability to choose a particular course of action (good or bad) is not finished or taken away. Rather, whatever action we do corresponds exactly with what Allah already knows is going to happen and Allah bringing into existence what He already knows is going to happen is predestination (qadar).

Tawfiq is that divine success and favor from Allah without which one cannot perform a good deed or even if he performs it it will lack sincerity in which case it will not have any value.

How and why is tawfiq granted sometimes and not at other times? Why are some given more and less?

The spiritual teacher, Shaqiq al-Balkhi (may Allah have mercy upon him) has provided deep insight about this in the following statement [ii]:

The door of tawfiq has been closed on the people because of six things:

→ They busy themselves with the blessing bestowed upon them and forget about giving thanks (shukr) for it.

→ They desire knowledge but don't practice upon it.

→ They are quick to commit sin but delay repentance.

→ They keep company of the righteous but deceive themselves when they do not follow in their footsteps (by doing as the righteous do).

→ The dunya is behind them but they continue to chase after it

→ The akhira is in front of them but they persist in turning away from it

It is also recorded that the Prophet Dawud (alayhis salam) had organized his time such that every hour of the day and night, one or another member of his household was engaged in worshipping Allah.

On a certain day Dawud (alayhis salam) mentioned this to Allah, and Allah saidm "O Dawud all this comes from My taqfiq. If I do not help you to do it, you cannot do it on your own and one of these days I'm going to leave you on your own."

Soon, a day came when his entire schedule was shattered and he became involved in resolving a dispute at the time of his worship. At that time no other member of his household was engaged in worship, and Dawud (alayhis salam) recalled the slip of tongue, sought the forgiveness of Allah and fell in prostration. [iii]

Now taking the above into account, it is rewardable to perform any good deed because wed had a choice and we opted to perform that good deed. At the same time that good deeed was not entirely carried out by us alone since we are entirely dependent (fuqara) for all our needs on Allah. Rather, the ability to perform that good deed with sincerity (ikhlas) came from the divine success (tawfiq) which only Allah can grant.

Therefore, we praise Allah for the tawfiq, and Allah out of His infinite Mercy also rewards us for the good choices we made. If Allah had left us to ourselves, we would not have benen able to perform that good deed with sincerity (ikhlas) even if we wanted to.

Finally, it should be noted that we should not delve into the depths of taqdur. [iv] Allah does not treat anyone unjustly. Keep this in mind and it will being you serenity and peace of mind regarding tawdir and tawfiq

َلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا

“…and your Lord treats no one with injustice.”

[Surah al-Kahf, 49]

In dealing with us, apart from Allah being just, He is even Merciful. If Allah has to apply His justice on us, we will never stand up to the absolute measure of justice of Allah. We will fail in every measure. If we do good deeds through our independent will, we will be rewarded but bear in mind, Allah created all the means for us to do good deeds. If the means of were not there, we will never be able to do the good deeds even with the greatest level of sincerity. The reward we receive for the good deeds is actually a bonus from Allah and an expression of Allah's mercy.

When a person does wrong, it is by his indepent will and in fact Allah has created a deterrent in a human being against his will to commit sins. The deterrent is his Imaan and sense of guily of doing wrong. When a person commits a sin, it is not only his independent will, he goes against all the context, he is given a chance to repent and turn to Allah. Even in sinning, Allah is merciful to His slaves. What a loving and kind Allah.

May Allah have mercy upon us against all our sins when we pass away, when we are entrusted in the Qabr, when we are questioned in the Qabr, and when we are raised on the day of Qiyyaamah and when we stand before Allah. Oh Allah, have mercy on us. We proclaim your unlimited mercy and forgiveness.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best