The Seal of the Wisdom of the Decree (Qadar) in the Word of 'Uzayr (Ezra)

Know that fate (qada') is the judgement of Allah on things, and Allah's judgement on things is according to His knowledge in them and of them. The knowledge of Allah in things is based on that which known things accord Him of what they are in themselves. The decree (qadar) is the timing of how things are in their source without increase.1 Fate is only decreed for things by themselves. This is the source of the secret of the Decree for the one who has a heart or gives ear. He is a witness "Allah's is the conclusive argument." (6:149)

Properly speaking, the judge (hâkim) studies the source of the question which he judges according to what its essence demands. The one sentenced to what is due him is, in fact, a judge over the judge when he sentences him to that. Every "judge" is sentenced to what he sentences, and in it he is the judge, whoever he is. Grasp this question! The decree is only unknown by the force of its appearance. It is not recognised, so there is much seeking and earnest request in it.

Know that the Messengers, may Allah bless them and grant them peace, inasmuch as they are Messengers – not inasmuch as they are awliya' and gnostics – are in ranks according to that on which their communities are based. They only have the knowledge with which they were sent, according to what the community of that Messenger needs, no more and no less. Communities differ, some have more need than others, so Messengers differ in the knowledge of the message just as their communities differ. It is what Allah said: "Those Messengers: We favoured some of them over others." (2:253)

In the same way, they also differ in what springs from their essences, peace be upon them, in the varieties of knowledges and judgements they have according to their predispositions. This is what Allah said: "We have preferred some of the Prophets over others." (17:55) And Allah said in respect of creation, "Allah has favoured some of you over others in provision." (16:71) Provision from Allah can be spiritual – like knowledges – and sensory – like food. Allah "only sent it down in a known measure." (15:21) It is the due which creation seeks. Allah "gives everything its created form." (20:50) He sends down according to what He wills.2 He only wills what He knows, and so He commands it. What He knows is as we have stated. It is only by what the known accords.

Timing basically belongs to the known. Fate, knowledge, will and volition follow the Decree. So Allah only gives the understanding of the secret of the decree in respect to knowledges to the one who has been given complete gnosis. Knowledge gives complete rest to the knower, and it gives painful punishment to the knower as well. It gives two opposites. By knowledge, Allah describes Himself with both wrath and pleasure, and by knowledge the Divine Names are opposite one another. A reality 3 governs the absolute existent and the limited existent. It is not possible that there be something more complete than it or stronger or greater than it, because of the universality of its jurisdiction, both limited and unlimited.

The Prophets, may Allah bless them and grant them peace, only take their own knowledges from a particular divine revelation. Their hearts are free of logical speculation because they know the limitations of the intellect in respect to its cognitive perception. The intellect is unable to perceive matters for what they really are. Simple communication is also unable to perceive that which is only accorded by taste (dhawq). Perfect knowledge remains only in the divine tajalli and in what Allah removes of veils from the springs of the inner sight and the eyes. They perceive matters - their non-time and in-time, their non-existence and existence, their impossibility, necessity and possibility - for what they truly are in their realities and sources.

Since the request of 'Uzayr, peace be upon him, occurred on the elite path, censure fell on him as is related in tradition.4 Had he sought the unveiling which we mentioned, perhaps censure in that would not have fallen on him. The proof of the simplicity of his heart is in his statement, "How can Allah restore this to life when it has died?" (2:259) His form, peace be upon him, is in this statement of his, as the form of Ibrahim is in His words, "Show me how You bring the dead to life." (2:260) That necessitates the response by the action which Allah manifested when He said, "Allah caused him to die a hundred years, then He brought him back to life," and He said, "Look at the bones – how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh." So he saw how bodies grow with the witnessing of realisation. He showed him how it was. He asked about the decree which is only perceived by unveiling to things in the state of their permanence in their non-existence. That was not granted. That is one of the properties of divine cognisance, so it is impossible that any except Allah know it. They are the keys of the First 5 – the keys of the unseen which only He knows. Allah informs only those slaves whom He wills on such matters.

Know that they are only called keys in the state of opening.6 The state of opening is the state of connecting taking-form to things, or rather the state of connecting the decree to the decreed. None has any taste in that except Allah. Neither tajalli nor unveiling occur in it since only Allah has power and action in view of the fact that He has absolute existence which is unlimited.

When we saw that Allah censured 'Uzayr, peace be upon him, when he asked about the Decree, we knew that 'Uzayr was seeking this cognisance. Thus he was seeking to possess the power (qudra) which is connected to the decreed (maqdur). That is only claimed by the One Who has absolute existence. Thus he sought the impossible. How-things-are is only perceived by taste.

As for what we relate of what Allah revealed to him, "If you do not desist, I will efface your name from the register of prophethood," it means I will remove the path of transmission from you and give you matters based on tajalli. Tajalli only occurs according to what you have of the predisposition by which the perception of taste occurs. You know that you only perceive according to your predisposition. You look at this matter which you are seeking. If you do not see it, you know that you do not have the predisposition which it requires. That is one of the properties of the Divine Essence. You have learned that Allah "gives everything its created form." (20:50) So if He did not give you this particular predisposition, then it is not your creation. If it had been your creation, then Allah, who informed you that "He gives everything its created for," would have given it to you. It is you who desist from this sort of question in yourself. There is no need for any other prohibition. This is a mark of concern Allah showed to 'Uzayr, peace be upon him. He knew that from his own knowledge and was ignorant of that from his own ignorance.

Know that wilaya 7 is the universal encompassing sphere. This why it is not intersected, and so it is informed about things. As for the prophethood of law-giving and the Message, it is intersected, and it was cut off in Muhammad, peace be upon him. There will be no Prophet after him, either giving law or bound by law. There is no Messenger after him, and he is the lawgiver.

This hadith 8 is a fragment of the manifestation of the awliya' of Allah, because it contains the cutting off of the taste of complete perfect slavedom, so the name of slavedom, which is particular to it, was not used. The slave does not want to share with his Lord, who is Allah, in the same name. Allah is not called "prophet" or "messenger." However, He is called Wali and is described by that name. 9  Allah says, "Allah is the Wali of those who believe," (2:257) and He says, "He is the Wali, the Praiseworthy." (42:28) This name, "wali", continues to be applied to the slaves of Allah both in this world and the Next. A name which is particular to the slave and not to Allah no longer remains since prophethood and the message have been cut off.

"Allah is gentle to His slaves," (42:19) so they still have the general prophethood in which there is no law (shari'a), and they still have the law in striving in the confirmed ordinances. They still have heirs in the laws. The Prophet said, "The 'ulama' (men of knowledge) are the heirs of the Prophets."10 The only inheritance here is that they strive with the ordinances, and so they legislate them.

If you see a Prophet speaking a language outside the simple ordinances of the Shari'a, that is due to the fact that he is a wali and a gnostic. For this reason, his station in respect to his being a man of knowledge and a wali is more perfect and complete than it is due to the fact that he is a Messenger or someone who legislates and has a Shari'a. If you hear one of the People of Allah speaking, or it is related to you that he said, "Wilaya is higher than prophethood," that speaker only means what we mentioned. Or if he says that the wali is above the Prophet or the Messenger, he means in the same person. He is the Messenger, and inasmuch as he is a wali, he is more complete than he is by simply being a Prophet. It does not mean that the wali who follows him is higher than him. The follower never overtakes the followed in that in which he follows him. If he had overtaken him, then he would not be his follower. So understand that!

The starting point of the Messenger or Prophet who brings a Shari'a is wilaya and knowledge. Do you not see that Allah commanded him to seek increase of knowledge, not increase of anything other than it? Allah commanded him, "Say: 'Lord, increase me in knowledge!'" ((20:114) This means: you know that the Shari'a consists of making certain deeds obligatory and prohibiting certain actions. These actions take place in this world, so they come to an end. Wilaya is not like that. If it had been cut off, it would have been cut off in respect to itself just as the message is cut off in respect to itself. If it had been cut off, it would not still have a name. Wali is a name which Allah will continue to have.11 This belongs to the slaves by following a model, realisation and attachment.12

He told 'Uzayr, "If you do not desist from asking about how the decree is, I will efface your name from the register of prophethood. The business will come to through unveiling by tajalli and the name "prophet" and "messenger" will vanish from you." Allah will still have his wilaya. The context of the state indicated that this speech came as a threat. Whoever has this state when he is addressed in this fashion, knows that he is threatened with the cutting off of some of the special ranks of wilaya in this abode, since prophethood and the message are a special rank in wilaya based on some of the ranks which wilaya contains. He knows that he is higher than the wali who has neither law-giving prophethood nor the message.

If someone has another state which necessitates that the rank of prophethood be confirmed for him, that then is the promise and not the threat. 'Uzayr's question was accepted because the Prophet is the elite wali. Because of the context, he knows that since the prophet has this prerogative in wilaya, he cannot engage in what he knows that Allah will dislike him doing. He cannot engage in what he knows it is impossible for him to attain. When these circumstances exist for the one who has them and they are affirmed, then this divine statement, "I will efface your name for the register of prophethood" becomes a promise. Thus it becomes a transmission indicating a lasting rank. It is a lasting rank for the Prophets and Messengers in the Next Abode, which is not a place where a Shari'a is prescribed for any of Allah's creatures after they have entered the Garden or the Fire.

We define that as an entry into the two abodes of the Garden and the Fire. When the Day of Rising begins for the people who lived in the times of the gaps between the Prophets,13 young children, and madmen, all of them will be gathered on one plain for the establishment of justice, recompense for wrong actions and the rewards for works which are due to the people of the Garden. Then they will be gathered separate from other people on one plain, 14 and a Prophet from the best of them will be sent among them. The Fire will be shown to them. This Messenger sent to these people will bring it, and he will say to them, "I am the Messenger of Allah to you." Some will affirm him and others will deny him. Then he will say to them, "Plunge into this fire. Whoever obeys me will be saved and will enter the Garden. Whoever disobeys me and opposes my command will be destroyed and he will be one of the people of the Fire." Whoever obeys his command and casts himself into this fire will be happy and receive his reward. He will find this fire to be "coolness and peace".15 Whoever disobeys him deserves the punishment and will enter the Fire and descend into it because of his deed of opposition so that that justice from Allah might be set up among His slaves.

That is like the words of Allah, "Upon the day when legs are bared," (68:42) 16 i.e. for one of the immense matters of the Next World, "and they are called on to prostrate." This is obligation and Shari'a. Some will be able to prostrate and some will not be able to do so.17 These are the one about whom Allah says, "They are called on to prostrate, but they will not be able to do so," just as some of the slaves cannot obey the command of Allah in this world – like Abu Jahl 18 and others. This is according to what remains of the Shari'a in the Next Abode on the Day of Rising before people enter the Garden and the Fire. This is why we have written it down, and praise belongs to Allah, the Wali.

1. Qadar has a specific time and qada' does not. So qadar refers to the particular instances of qada'.

2. Ref. Qurıan, "Were Allah to expand the provision of His slaves, they would act as tyrants on the earth. But He sends downwhatever He wills in a measured way." (42:27)

3. The secret of the decree.

4. Qur'an 2:259 "Or the one who passed by a town which had fallen into ruin. He asked, 'How can Allah restore this to life when it has died?' Allah caused him to die a hundred years then brought him back to life. Then He asked, 'How long have you been here?' He replied, 'I have been here a day or part of a day.' He said, 'Not so! You have been here a hundred years. Look at your food and drink – it has not gone bad – and look at your donkey so We can make you a Sign for all mankind. Look at the bones – how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh.'" According to 'Ali, Ibn Jarir, Ibn 'Abbas, al-Hasan and Qatada, that is 'Uzayr.

5. The realities of sources.

6. Miftah, key, comes from the root, fath, opening.

7. According to the commentator, wilaya is annihilation in Allah, and Allah encompassed all, and "All things are passing except His face." (28:88).

8. "I am the Seal of the Messengers."

9. Wali means the friend of Allah, and refers to the gnostic. It is also one of the Divine Names which means the Guardian or the One who manages people's affairs.

10. Al-Bukhari.

11. As Yusuf said about Allah, "...You are my Wali in this world and the Next." (12:101).

12. According to al-Qashani, it is acquires and realised through annihilation in the Divine Attributes and Essence and attached by the going-on (baqa') after annihilation in the station of drawing near.

13. i.e. those who did not have a Prophet to follow.

14. According to the commentator, al-Qashani, the plain on which they are gathered may be as-Sahira, as in the Qur'an (79:14), "But it shall be but a single scare, and behold they are at as-Sahira!" As-Sahira which, according to some, is the earth Allah will create anew on the Day of Rising.

15. As was the case with Ibrahim, Qur'an 21:69.

16. The expression means to get ready for something difficult.

17. This is also reflected in a hadith in al-Bukhari in which the Prophet said, "Our Lord will bare the leg, and very believer, man and woman, will prostrate to Him. Those who prostrated out of eyeservice and reputation in this world will go to prostrate and find their backs rigid."

18. The Prophet's uncle who was a violent opponent of Islam.

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