Predestination

Al-Qadr is the Muslim belief that Allah has decided everything that will happen in the world and in people’s lives, which is also called predestination. Most Muslims believe that humans cannot choose to do something if Allah has not already chosen that path for them. Some Muslims like this idea and find it reassuring that if a bad thing happens it must be part of God’s plan.

Sunni beliefs

Most Sunni Muslims believe that Allah has made it impossible for them to choose anything other than what he has chosen.

Some Sunni Muslims believe that God has already determined everything that will happen in the universe.

quote
Only what God has decreed will happen to us.Qur’an 9:51

Humans do not have the freedom to change their destiny.

Some Muslims often say Insha’Allah, which means “if Allah wills”. This highlights that life has already been planned out by Allah and he has determined how each person will behave.

Shi’a beliefs

Most Shi'a Muslims believe that Allah has ultimate control of the world but that people’s lives are down to their own free will.

Shi’a Muslims believe that God knows what will happen, but this doesn’t mean that he decides it. They believe that God can see everything that happens - past, present and future.

God knows what choices people will make, but they still have the free will to make these choices for themselves.

quote
God does not change the conditions of a people for the worse unless they change what is in themselves.Qur’an 13:11

Some Shi’a Muslims believe that the idea of the Day of Judgement contradicts the idea of Al-Qadr. This is because if Muslims are being judged on their actions, this must be because they had the free will to act in a certain way.

Leadership differences between Sunni and Shi’a

There are many differences between Shi’a and Sunni beliefs. However, one important reason for some of the differences is to do with leadership.

Shi’a Muslims respect the leadership of an imam and believe that the Qur’an must be interpreted by their leader. The imam is a figure with special God-given authority who is both a successor and a descendant of Muhammad. He is without sin and is the intermediary between God and humankind. The doctrine of ‘nass’ teaches that every imam is chosen by the previous imam, which ensures continuity.

Sunni Muslims believe that leadership within the community is not a birth right as it is in Shi’a Islam. There is no set hierarchy in Sunni Islam and the word imam is used to refer to the person responsible for providing religious and spiritual care and leadership for the congregation of a mosque.

Question

What does Insha’Allah mean?

If Allah wills.

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