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The Decrees

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{You do not get into any situation, nor do you recite any Quran, nor do you do anything, but we are watching over you as you undertake it. Not even the weight of an atom, on earth or in the sky, escapes your Lord, nor is there anything smaller or larger, but is in a clear record.} [Quran Ch10 – V61]

The following excerpt is taken from Maariful Hadith: Meaning and Message of the Traditions pg. 162-164:

It is related by Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth Allah had written the destinies of all creatures. And at that time, His Throne was on water.”

Commentary: A few points in this Tradition are, particularly, deserving of notice.

                Firstly, what does the writing of destinies by Allah mean? It does not, evidently, denote that Allah had written down in the same way as we do by holding the pen in the hand and putting down something on paper or a tablet. To think like that would be to betray one’s colossal ignorance of Allah’s resplendent Glory and Magnificence. It is beyond our understanding to grasp the nature and reality of Divine Functions and Attributes and since there is no separate vocabulary for it, we are compelled to use the same terms while speaking about them as have been devised to describe our own activities and characteristics. Otherwise, there is as much difference between the nature and reality of Allah’s Functions and Attributes and our own traits, actions and doings as between His Exalted Being and our humble selves.

                Be that as it may, it is known only to the Almighty what the writing of destinies mentioned in the above saying actually means. Besides, in the Arabic language the act of determining or settling a thing is also spoken of as writing. Thus, in the Quran the enjoining of fasting as a religious duty has been set forth as:

Fasting is written on you, (Al Baqarah 2:178)

And the prescribing of revenge as:

Revenge is written to you. (Al Baqarah 2:178)

In the present Tradition, therefore, if the word ‘written’ is intended to convey the same meaning it will denote that Allah had determined the fate of all the creatures fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth and ordained each and every event that was to take place. We are, further, strengthened, in our view by the fact that in some accounts of the above saying the word Qaddar [determined] has been used in the place of Kataba [wrote].

It is worth remembering that expressions like ‘pen’ and ‘tablet’ that occur in some unauthentic reports concerning the writing of destiny have been borrowed from the Hebrew scriptures and have nothing to do with the genuine Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Moreover, the fifty thousand years mentioned in the Tradition can also signify a very long period of time. Such expressions are quite common in the Arabic language. It will, then, mean that Allah had determined the destinies of all created beings long, long before the creation of the heavens and the earth.

At the end of the Tradition it is stated that at that time the Throne of Allah was on water. It shows that Allah’s Throne and water had been created by then.

Writes Shah Waliullah: “Just as thousands of faces and details regarding them are stored up in our mind in the same way in some special faculty of the heaven of heavens (which may be compared to our own imagination) Allah has inscribed beforehand the doings and activities , deeds and behaviour and conditions and circumstances of all the creatures; in short, anything and everything that was going to happen in the world. Whatever is taking place in the world is, thus, preserved in this faculty of the heaven of heavens as innumerable faces and information relating to them are in our memory.”

In his view, the writing of the destinies of all the creatures signifies nothing but this.


Abd-Allah, Muhamed. 323 Verses on Science in the Quran . Kindle Edition.

Noomani, Maulana Manzur. (2012). Maariful Hadith – Meaning and messages of the traditions/hadith. (pg. 162-164).

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