Are there different types of Qadr?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes, contingent and fixed Qadr.

يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ

Allah erases what he wills and establishes (what he wills), and with him is the encompassing record. (Surah al-R’ad, 39).

The above verse has been used as a proof by many scholars to establish the opinion that there is a type a Qadr that is contingent and therefore changeable.

عَنْ الضَّحَّاكِ بْنِ مُزَاحِمٍ فِي تَفْسِيرِ قَوْله تَعَالَى – {يَمْحُوا اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ} [الرعد: 39]- قَالَ إنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَصِلُ رَحِمَهُ، وَقَدْ بَقِيَ مِنْ عُمُرِهِ ثَلَاثَةُ أَيَّامٍ فَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى فِي عُمُرِهِ إلَى ثَلَاثِينَ سَنَةً، وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ يَقْطَعُ الرَّحِمَ، وَقَدْ بَقِيَ مِنْ عُمُرِهِ ثَلَاثُونَ سَنَةً فَيَرُدُّ أَجَلَهُ إلَى ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ

Al-Dahaak ibn Muzahim said in his Tafseer (exegesis) of the verse, Allah erases what he wills and establishes (what he wills), and with him is the encompassing record. (Surah al-R’ad, 39), indeed a man connects with his relatives whilst at a time when he only has three days left in his lifespan, so Allah (Most High) increases his lifespan to thirty years. And indeed, a man severs ties with his relatives whilst he had thirty years left in his lifespan and it is reduced to three days. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).

Many scholars have explained that Qadr is of two types. That which changes because it is contingent on ones deeds, they call this Qadr (or Qadaa) Mualaq. And a type that is fixed and does not change, they call this Mubram. The following Hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari gives an example of a deed that can change Qadr Mualaq.

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: «مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِي رِزْقِهِ، أَوْ يُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِي أَثَرِهِ، فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ»

Anas ibn Malik  said, I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, ‘He who would be pleased with his sustenance being expanded and his lifespan prolonged, let him keep ties with his relatives.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 2067).

In his commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani explains the concept of Qadaa Mualaq and Mubram in more detail.

يُقَالَ لِلْمَلَكِ مَثَلًا إِنَّ عُمُرَ فُلَانٍ مِائَةٌ مَثَلًا إِنْ وَصَلَ رَحِمَهُ وَسِتُّونَ إِنْ قَطَعَهَا وَقَدْ سَبَقَ فِي عِلْمِ اللَّهِ أَنَّهُ يَصِلُ أَوْ يَقْطَعُ فَالَّذِي فِي عِلْمِ اللَّهِ لَا يَتَقَدَّمُ وَلَا يَتَأَخَّرُ وَالَّذِي فِي عِلْمِ الْمَلَكِ هُوَ الَّذِي يُمْكِنُ فِيهِ الزِّيَادَةُ وَالنَّقْصُ وَإِلَيْهِ الْإِشَارَةُ بِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ فَالْمَحْوُ وَالْإِثْبَاتُ بِالنِّسْبَةِ لِمَا فِي عِلْمِ الْمَلَكِ وَمَا فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ هُوَ الَّذِي فِي عِلْمِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى فَلَا مَحْوَ فِيهِ أَلْبَتَّةَ وَيُقَالُ لَهُ الْقَضَاءُ الْمُبْرَمُ وَيُقَالُ لِلْأَوَّلِ الْقَضَاءُ الْمُعَلَّقُ (فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري)

For example, it is said to the angel that the lifespan of such a person is one hundred if he keeps ties with his relatives, and it is sixty if he severs ties. And indeed, the Knowledge of Allah (Most High) encompasses whether he will connect or sever, and that will not change. As for the knowledge of the angel, it can incur increase or decrease (meaning the lifespan is more than the angel thought or less than it). This is alluded to in the words of Allah (Most High), Allah erases what he wills and establishes (what he wills), and with him is the encompassing record. So erasing or establishing is with regards to the knowledge of the Angel. That which is in the encompassing record is in accordance with the knowledge of Allah (Most High), so it can never be erased. Thus, it is called Qadaa Mubram (fixed) and the first type is called Qadaa Mualaq (contingent). (Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari).

It must be noted that the issue of Qadr is a complicated one and must be studied as a part of a holistic study of Aqeedah (Muslim Creed), it is not something that can be understood properly via the medium of Q and A. Sometimes attempting to understand complex issues through Q and A can cause greater confusion. Therefore it is important to follow the Sunnah and study Islam in a more formal manner.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (01.06.2021)

See also:

Can Dua change Qadr (divine decree)?

Is it sufficient to learn the Deen through questions and answers (Q&A) only?

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