THE following translation of the Kitabu-l-Qadar will show the general character of the hadith literature, and illustrate the various matters already discussed in this volume. By the kind permission of the Royal Asiatic Society it is reproduced (with the omission of the critical and historical notes that accompanied it) from my article 'Free Will and Predestination in Islam' in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for January, 1924, pp. 42-63.


I. Bab concerning Predestination.

(a) Abu'l Walid Hisham ibn 'Abd il Malik informed us (saying): Shu'ba informed us (saying): Sulaiman al A'mash told me as follows: I heard Zaid ibn Wahb on the authority of 'Abd Ullah2 say: The Apostle of God (may God bless and

for H.M. King Husain, the Amir of Mecca, recovered this office when the Turks were driven from the Haramain. He is a Sharif of the Hashimite line.

1 Kitabu'l Qadar 82. Le recuell des Traditions Mahométanes, par Abou Abdallah Mohammed ibn Ismail el Bokhari, publié par M. Ludolf Krehl, continue par Th. W. Juynboll, Leyden, 1908, vol. iv, p. 251.

2 i.e. Ibn Mas'ud. The isnad will be omitted in future, only the name of the original guarantor being given.


preserve him,1 for he is the Veracious and the Verified) told me as follows: Verily (each) one of you is assembled in his mother's womb forty days; then he becomes a clot for a similar period, and then a lump of flesh for the same period. An angel is sent to him and given four commands with reference to his sustenance, the duration of his life, and he is to be wretched or happy. By Allah! each one2 of you may do the works of the people of hell so that between him and it there lieth but a fathom or a cubit, and that which has been written shall overcome him, and he will do the works of the people of paradise and shall enter therein. And verily a man may do the works of the people of paradise so that between him and it there lieth but a fathom or a cubit, and that which has been written shall overcome him, and he will do the works of the people of hell and shall enter therein. (Variant: Adam [i.e. Ibn Abi Iyyas] said: except a cubit.')

(b) Anas ibn Malik. The prophet said: God commands an angel concerning the womb. The angel says: Lo, Lord, a drop! a clot! an embryo! And when God wills to decree its creation the angel says: Is it to be male or female, wretched or happy, and what is to be its sustenance and duration of life, O Lord? In the mother's womb the answer is written.

2. Bab. The pen is dry (that wrote) according to the (fore)-knowledge of God, and the saying 'According to (fore)-knowledge God leads him astray' (Sur. xlv, v. 22). And Abu Huraira said: 'The Prophet said to me, "The pen is dry (that wrote) of what will befall thee."' Ibn 'Abbas said: With regard to the words laha sabiquna (Sur. xxiii, v. 63) the meaning is that those who hasten after good deeds happiness has hastened unto them.

(a) 'Imran ibn Husain. A man said: 'O Apostle of God, are those (destined) to paradise known from those (destined) to hell?' 'Yes,' replied he. The man answered: 'Then of what use are deeds of any kind?' He answered: Every one

1 The customary blessing on Muhammad will be omitted throughout the book.

2 Textual variant, or 'a man' of you.


does that for which he was created or that which has been made easy for him.'

3. Bab. 'God knoweth better what they would have done.'

(a) Ibn 'Abbas said: The Prophet was asked about the children of idolators (mushrikin). He replied: 'God knoweth better what they would have done.'

(b) Abu Huraira: The Apostle of God was asked about the offspring of idolators. He replied: 'God knoweth better what they would have done.'

(c) Abu Huraira. The Apostle of God said: 'None is born but in the religion of Islam. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian just as you breed cattle. You do not find maimed cattle unless you yourselves first maim them.' They said: 'O Apostle of God, have you considered the case of him who dies as a little child?' He answered: 'God 'knows better what they would have done.'

4. Bab. 'The command of God is destiny predestined' (Sur. xxxiii, v. 38).

(a) Abu Huraira. The Apostle of God said: 'A woman shall not ask that her sister be divorced so that she may enjoy her share of conjugal rights. Let her marry, for verily she shall have what has been decreed for her.' (b) Usama. I was in the company of the prophet when the messenger of one of his daughters came — Sa'd and Ubay ibn Ka'b and Mu'adh were with him at the time — to report that her son was at the point of death. He sent word to her 'To God belongeth what He taketh and to God belongeth what He giveth. Every one (departeth) at the appointed time. Let her therefore be patient under bereavement and earn the reward of patience.'

(c) Sa'idu-l Khudri. The Prophet said: Every living soul whose coming forth into the world has been written by God must come into being.

(d) Hudhaifa. The prophet preached us a sermon in which he spoke of everything that wilt happen until the hour of the resurrection. He that knoweth it knoweth it; and he that is ignorant of it is ignorant thereof. If I see a thing which I have


forgotten I shall recognize it just as a man knows the face of an absent acquaintance and recognizes him when he sees him.

(e) 'Ali. We were sitting with the prophet who had a stick with which he was writing on the ground. He said: 'There is not one of you whose resting place in hell or paradise has not been written.' Whereupon one of the people said: 'Then may we not (abandoning effort) trust in (our destiny), O Apostle of God?' He replied: 'No! Do (good) works for everything has been made easy.' 1 Then he read (Sur. xcii, v. 5): 'He that giveth to the needy and feareth,' &c.

5. Bab. 'Works (are to be judged) by their results.'

(a) Abu Huraira said: We were present with the Apostle of God at Khaibar when he said of one of those who were with him and professed Islam: 'This fellow is one of the people of hell.' When battle was joined the man fought with the utmost bravery, insomuch that he was covered with wounds and disabled. One of the Companions of the prophet came up and said: 'O Apostle of God, do you see that the man you said was one of the people of hell has fought with the utmost bravery in the way of God and is covered with wounds.' The Prophet replied: 'Nevertheless, he is one of the people of hell.' And while some of the Muslims were on the point of doubting, lo the man, in anguish from his wounds, put forth his hand to his quiver; plucked out an arrow, and pierced his throat therewith. Some of the Muslims then ran to the Apostle of God and said: '0 Apostle of God, God has confirmed thy saying. So-and-so has pierced his throat and killed himself.' The Apostle of God said: 'O Bilal, rise and proclaim: Only believers shall enter paradise. Verily God strengtheneth this religion with an impious man.'

(b) Sahl. The prophet looked at a man who did most service to the Muslims on a raid he made in company with the prophet, and said: 'He who would see one of the people of hell let him look at this fellow.' So one of the people followed him — now he was the most violent of men in contending with the idolators — until he was wounded, when he

1 Or prepared. See Al-Nihaya in loc.


proceeded to hasten his death by putting his sword point to his breast so that it came out between his shoulders. The man quickly went to the prophet and said: 'I bear witness that thou art the Apostle of God!' He said: 'But why?' The man replied: 'Thou saidst of So-and-so, "He who would see one of the people of hell let him look at this fellow." Now he was one who did the Muslims most service, and thou knewest that he would not die thus. And when he was wounded he hastened his death by suicide.' Thereupon the prophet said: 'Verily the slave may do the works of the people of hell when he is really one of the people of paradise. And he may do the works of the people of paradise when he is really one of the people of hell. Actions are to be judged by their results.'

6. Bab. A vow delivers a slave to fate.

(a) Ibn 'Umar. The prophet forbade vows, saying: 'Verily they cannot frustrate anything though something is extracted from the avaricious thereby.'

(b) Abu Huraira. A vow brings nothing to a son of man that has not been decreed for him. Nevertheless, a vow does precipitate a man towards (his) destiny, and it has been decreed that something shall be extracted from the avaricious thereby.

7. Bab. There is no power and no might save in God.

(a) Abu Musa. We were raiding with the Apostle of God, and whenever we climbed or ascended a height or went down into a valley we lifted up our voices and shouted, 'Allah Akbar!' The Apostle of God approached us and said: 'Restrain yourselves, O men. For ye do not call to one who is deaf or absent, but ye call to one who hears and sees.' Then he said: 'O 'Abd Allah ibn Qals, I will teach thee a saying which is one of the treasures of paradise, "There is no power and no might save in God."'

8. Bab. The Protected is he whom God protects ('asama) (in Sur. xi, v. 45, the word 'asima is the equivalent of mani'a). Mujahid said: saddan (in Sur. xxxvi, v. 8, 'we have placed before and behind them an obstacle' means) a barrier against


the truth. They repeatedly fall into error. The word dassaha (Sur. xci, v. 10, in 'Miserable is he who has corrupted it' [i.e. the soul] means) aghwaha misled.

(a) Sa'idu-l Khudri. Every one who is appointed Caliph has two kinds of intimates: one advises him to do good and incites him thereto; the other suggests and incites to evil. The protected is he whom God protects.

9. Bab. It is a necessary lot of (the people) of a city which we have destroyed that they shall not return (Sur. xxi, v. 95). None of thy people will believe save those who have already believed (Sur. xi, v. 38). 'And they will beget only impious unbelievers' (Sur. lxxi, v. 28).

(a) Ibn 'Abbas. The word hirm in Abyssinian means wajaba.

(b) Ibn 'Abbas. Nothing seems to me more insane than Abu Huraira's report that the Prophet said: 'God has written every man's portion in adultery. It must certainly befall. Now it is adultery of the eye to gaze; it is adultery of the tongue to utter (the thought thus engendered); the appetite longs and desires and the body consents or denies.' (Here follows the isnadic authority for the hadith of Abu Huraira to which Ibn 'Abbăs takes exception.)

10. Bab. We have made the vision that we showed thee a cause of dissension for men (Sur. xvii, v. 62).

(a) Ibn 'Abbas. This is the vision of the eye which the Apostle of God was shown when he was conducted on the night journey to the temple of Jerusalem. He said: 'The tree which is cursed in the Quran' is the tree of Al Zaqqum.

11. Bab. Adam and Moses argued before God (to Him belong might and majesty).

(a) Abu Huraira. The Prophet said: 'Adam and Moses were arguing, and Moses said: "O Adam, thou art our father. Thou hast brought loss upon us and caused us to be excluded from paradise." He replied: "O Moses, God chose thee by His word and wrote for thee with His hand. Do you blame me for a matter which God decreed concerning me forty years before He created me?" And Adam confuted Moses


three times.' (The same tradition is reported with a change of two names in the intermediaries between Abu Huraira and the compiler.)

12. Bab. None can withhold what God giveth.

(a) Warrad, the client of Al Mughira ibn Shu'ba. Mu'awiya wrote to Al Mughira as follows: 'Write for me an account of what you heard the prophet say at the end of the prescribed prayer.' Al Mughira then dictated to me: 'I heard the prophet say at the end of the prescribed prayer, "There is no God save God alone; he is without associate. O God, there is none that withholdest what Thou givest and none that giveth what Thou withholdest, and good fortune will not profit the fortunate in place of Thee."' Ibn Juraij said 'Abda told him that Warrăd told him of this. 'Then', said he, 'I afterwards went on a mission to Mu'awiya and heard him laying commands on men in accordance with these words.'

13. Bab. He that taketh refuge in God from the misery that overtaketh him and from the evil of fate. And God's Word: 'Say: I take refuge in the Lord of the Dawn from the evil He hath created' (Sur. 113).

(a) Abu Huraira. The prophet said: 'Take refuge in God from grievous adversity, from misery that overtaketh, from evil fate, and from the reviling of enemies.'

14. Bab. (God) intervenes between a man and his heart (Sur. viii, v. 24).

(a) 'Abd Ullah. The prophet used often to take an oath 'No, by the Reverser of hearts!'

(b) Ibn 'Umar. The prophet said to Ibn Sayyad: 'I have a riddle to ask of thee.' He replied: 'Smoke.' The prophet said: 'Go away, for thou shalt not exceed thy measure (qadr).' 'Umar said: 'Give me permission to strike off his head!' The prophet replied: 'Let him alone. If it is he (the Dajjal) you cannot do it, and if it is not he then you will gain nothing by killing him.'

15. Bab. Say 'Nought will befall us save what God has written for us' ('written' here means) 'decreed' (Sur. ix, V. 51). Mujahid said: (In Sur. xxxvii, v. 102, the word)


bifatinin means bimudillin (ye are not able to) seduce means 'lead astray', save those of whom God has written that they shall burn in Gehenna. 'He decreeth and guideth' (Sur. lxxxvii, v. 3) means 'He decreeth misery and happiness and He guideth the sheep to their pastures'.

(a) 'Aisha said that she asked the Apostle of God about the plague. He replied: 'It is a punishment which God sends against whom He wills. And God makes it a mercy to believers. There is not a servant in a plague-stricken country who remains therein without removing thence in patient belief, knowing that nought will befall him save what God has written for him, but receives the reward of a martyr.'

16. Bab. We should not be guided aright were it not that God guideth us (Sur. vii, v. 41). Had God guided me, verily I had been of the godly (Sur. xxxix, v. 58).

(a) Al Bara ibn 'Azib. I saw the prophet on the 'day of the Trench' helping us to remove the earth, saying the while:

If God were not our Guide, then we should stray
From His straight paths and should not fast nor pray.
Then keep us strong and calm in danger's hour;
Stablish our feet by Thy almighty power.
The idolators have wrong'd us, we sought peace,
But they, rebelling, fight and will not cease.'

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