Note: the following statement is from Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullah) with the explanation of Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan.
And the Saved Sect is the middle Path concerning the topic of the actions of Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) between the Qadariyyah and the Jabariyyah.
So the Shaykh (rahimahullah) mentioned the foundations of eemaan in the beginning of the treatise. They are: eemaan in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and eemaan in the Qadr, the good of it and the evil of it. And he clarified that he is upon the ‘aqeedah of the Salaf with regards to the Names and Attributes of Allaah. With that he opposes the sects of the Mu’attilah, the Mushabbihah and the Mumaththilah. And he affirmed this principle, which enters into eemaan in Allaah, because eemaan in Allaah comprises of eemaan in Tawheedur-Ruboobiyyah, eemaan in Tawheedul-Uloohiyyah and eemaan in Tawheedul Asmaa’was-Sifaat.
Then he mentioned therein, amongst other things, what is connected to the last principle, and it is eemaan in the Qadr (pre-decree), because a disagreement has occurred about it and there has been division between the groups of the Qadariyyah and the Jabariyyah.
As for the Qadariyyah, then what is intended by them is: those who deny the Qadr. And they are the Mu’tazilah, the followers of Waasil Ibn ‘Ataa. They have been named al Mu’tazilah because they abandoned (i’tizaal) the gathering of al-Hasan al-Basree (d.110H) – rahimahullah – and they made for themselves a group and they built a madhhab in Tawheed that opposes the madhhab of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. Also, in the foundations of eemaan they made foundations (usool) for themselves that oppose other foundations. They are:
Firstly, at-Tawheed; and they desire by it to negate the Attributes. They call negating the Attributes: Tawheed, because affirming the Attributes necessitates numerous deities according to them.
Secondly, al-‘Adl (justice); and they desire by it the negation of al-Qadaa’ (pre-destination) and al-Qadr (pre-decree); because they say affirming the Qadaa’ and the Qadr necessitates transgression and oppression to be the right of Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala), such that He punishes His servants for something that He Himself has decreed.
Thirdly, commanding the good and prohibiting the evil; and they desire by it to rebel against the rulers. So the one who rebels against the rulers is the one who has commanded the good and prohibited the evil according to them.
Fourthly, a level between two levels; this is what they opposed and abandoned the gathering of al-Hasan for. When al-Hasan (rahimahullah) was asked about the ruling upon the one who commits a major sin, he answered with what Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah were upon, he said, “He is a Believer who is deficient in eemaan.” So he did not declare him a disbeliever as is done by the Khawaarij and he did not describe him with perfect eemaan as is said by the Murji’ah. Rather, he is a Believer who is deficient in eemaan. So he is a Believer with his eemaan and a disobedient sinner (faasiq) with his major sin.
So when al-Hasan answered with this answer, and Waasil was his student, he said, ‘I say that he is not a Believer and not a disbeliever. Rather, he is at a level between two levels. He has left eemaan, but he has not entered into disbelief. So he is at a level between two levels; he is not a Believer and not a disbeliever.’ So if he were to die, not having repented, then he would be in the Fire forever, as the Khawaarij say. So he invented the statement of a level between two levels and they became known for that.1
Fifthly, Delivering the threat (of Allaah); and the desire by it that whosoever enters the Fire will never come out of it. So they obligate eternal damnation to the Fire for the one who commits a major sin from the people of the Qiblah. And they say, ‘The one who deserves the punishment does not deserve requital.’
And the point of study now is concerning the second foundation, and it is al-‘adl (justice). As for the study of the one who commits a major sin, then it will come directly after this.
So al-‘adl according to them is the negation of the Qadr, and the Mu’tazilah and the Jabariyyah have erred in this and they are two opposite extremes.
So the Mu’tazilah say that the servant is independent in his actions and Allaah has no Qadaa’ (pre-destination) or Qadr (pre-decree) in it and that the servant is the only one who performs his actions. And the affair is new – meaning original – it has not been pre-decreed, not written in the Preserved Tablet (al-lawhul-mahfoodh). And their extremists say that Allaah does not know anything before it happens. So they deny the knowledge (of Allaah). So these ones are disbelievers without a doubt, because when they deny knowledge, they become disbelievers.
As for the majority of them, then they say, ‘Allaah knows it, but He has not pre-decreed it. He only knows that this will happen, but it is without His (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) pre-decree (taqdeer).
And Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) says in Al-Waasitiyyah, “Indeed, the first group, and they are those who deny the knowledge (of Allaah) have become extinct,” perhaps the ones who said that were few in the time of the Shaykh. “As for the others, then they have not ceased to exist up until now. They have remained saying that Allaah knows, but He has not pre-decreed. And the servant is the only one who initiates his action without Allaah pre-ordaining it upon him.”2
These ones are the Qadariyyah. They have been named al-Qadariyyah because they deny the Qadr. So they go to extremes in affirming the actions of the servants, and they say that the servants are the ones who have originated the actions without them being pre-decreed upon them by Allah.
As for the Jabariyyah, then they are the Jahmiyyah. And whosoever takes their statement is upon an extreme. They go to extremes in affirming the Qadr and the Will (mashee’ah) and they deny the actions of the servants. And they say, ‘The servant is compelled, he has no free will in his actions. And he is only moved like a feather is moved by the wind, or he is like the dead body in the hands of the washer who turns him, he has no free will.’ So they go to extremes in affirming the Qadr and the Will (iraadah) of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala). And they negate the actions of the servants and consider them compelled upon their actions, not having any choice or free will. Due to that, they have been named al-Jabariyyah, because they speak of al-Jabr (compulsion).
Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have taken a middle course, as is their habit in all affairs of the Religion they are the middle-path. So they have affirmed that the servant has an action, a will and a choice. However, he does not exit with that from the Intention and Will of Allah. So they affirm an intention and a choice and a will and actions for the servant, in opposition to the Jabariyyah. However, he does not exit from the Qadaa (pre-destination) and Qadr (pre-decree) of Allaah, in opposition to the Qadariyyah. This is what is proven by the evidence from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messanger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). So if the servant did not have free will, a choice power, Allah would not punish him for his actions. So if he was compelled – as the Jabariyyah say – Allah would not punish him for actions in which he has no choice.
And from the proofs for Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is the statement of Allah,
“For whoever wills amongst you to take a right course. And you do not will, except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.” [Sooratul Takweer 81:28-29]
His Statement, “For whoever wills amongst you to take a right course,” proves that person remains upright upon obedience to Allah by his own free will, he is not compelled upon that; he either remains upright or he disobeys. So he is the one who believes and he is the one who disbelieves. He is the Believer and he is the Disbeliever, he is the disobedient sinner, he is the adulterer, he is the thief and he himself is the drinker.
So He affirmed a will for the servant in His Statement, “For whoever wills amongst you to take a right course,” then He said, “And you do not will, except that Allah wills – Lord of the Worlds.” This is a refutation upon the Qadariyyah. So the first aayah is a refutation upon the Jabariyyah and the last one is a refutation upon the Qadariyyah. So the aayah contains a refutation upon the two groups.
And His statement, “For whoever,” this is a refutation upon the Jabariyyah who deny the will and intention of the servant and say that he is moved without any choice of his own. And His statement, “except that Allah wills,” is a refutation upon the Qadariyyah who deny the Qadr (pre-decree) and go to an extreme in affirming the will of the servant. And they say that the servant wills, even though Allah does not will and Allah does not pre-decree. He acts and wills by his own invention and origination. And some of them say, ‘Allah does not know his actions before they happen.’ And these ones are the extremists. And some of them say, ‘Allah knows them, but He did not pre-decree them.’ This is a condensed study of this issue.
So the Qadaa’ (pre-destination) and Qadr (divine decree) are affirmed in the Book of Allah and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Allah said,
“And He has created everything and determined it with precise determination.” [Sooratul-Furqaan 25:2]
And He said,
“Indeed, We created all things with divine decree.” [Sooratul-Qamar 54:49]
And He said,
“And you do not will, except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.” [Sooratul-Takweer 81:29]
And in the Sunnah there is the hadith of Jibreel, when he said to the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Inform me about eemaan.” He said, “Eemaan is that you believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and the Qadr, the good of it and the evil of it.” 3
And belief in al-Qadr is upon four Levels, it is obligatory to have eemaan in all of them:
The First Level: Belief that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) knows about everything with His eternal knowledge, which He is described with forever and always. And this is the level that is denied by the extremists of the Qadariyyah.
The Second Level: Belief that Allah wrote everything in the Preserved Tablet (al Lawhul Maahfoodh), due to the Hadeeth, “The first thing that Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) created was the Pen. Then He said to it: Write. It said: And what shall I write? He said: Write everything that is happening and everything that will happen up until the Day of Judgement4.” And Allah says,
“No disaster strikes upon the earth, or within yourselves, except that it is in a Book before We bring it into being – indeed that is easy for Allaah.” [Sooratul-Hadeed 57:22]
The Book is the Preserved Tablet. “We bring it into being,” that is, We create it, “indeed that is easy for Allaah.” And the writing occured, “fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth. And His Throne was upon the water5.” So the writing preceded the creation of the heavens and the earth by a long stretch of time.
The Third Level: The Level of Will and Intention. So everything that happens is by the Will and Intention of Allaah, and in this is a refutation upon the Qadariyyah. So nothing can occur in His (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) dominion that He does not will and intend.
“And if Allaah had willed, they would not have fought each other, but Allaah does what He intends.” [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:253]
“Indeed, Allaah does whatever He wills.” [Sooratul-Hajj 22:18]
So everything that occurs has been willed and intended by Allaah after He knew of it and wrote it in the Preserved Tablet.
The Fourth Level: The Level of origination and creation. He (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) knew it, wrote it, willed it and created it.
It is obligatory upon you to believe in all of these levels, and if not, then you will not be a believer in the al-Qadaa (pre-destination) and al-Qadr (pre-decree).
He said, “…and Saved-Sect.” It has been named ‘an-naajiyah’ (saved) because it is saved from the Fire, contrary to rest of the sects, because they are in the Fire, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “And this Ummah shall split up into seventy three sects, all of them being in the Fire, except for one6.” This is the one that is saved from the Fire. And these sects are in the Fire. And they are of varying levels, from them is the one that is in the Fire, abiding therein forever due to its disbelief. And from them is the one that is not in Fire forever, due to its disobedience. So it is not necessitated by this that all of these sects are disbelievers. Rather, they are of varying levels, because the disagreement is of varying levels.
And he said, “…the middle path concerning the topic of the actions of Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’aala) between Qadariyyah and the Jabariyyah.” The Jabariyyah are the followers of al-Jahm ibn Safwaan (k.128H) who speak of al-Jabr (compulsion) and they speak of al-irjaa’ and they speak of at-tajahhum.
Due to this, Ibnul Qayyim (d.751H) says in an-Nooniyyah,
“A jeem and a jeem and then a jeem along with the two of them;
Joined along with the letters in their places.” 7
Meaning, gathering together the three jeems (al-jabr, al-irjaa’ and at-tajahhum), and the fourth jeem is for jahannam (Hellfire) and refuge is sought with Allaah.
1 Refer to al-Milal wan-Nihal (1/48) of ash-Shahrastaanee and Siyar A’laamun-Nubalaa’ (5/464) of adh-Dhahabee.
2 Refer to al-‘Aqedatul-Waasitiyyah (p.36) of Ibn Taymiyyah.
3 Related by Muslim (no.8) from the hadeeth of ‘Umar Ibnul-Khattab (رضي الله عنه). And it was related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 50, 4777) and Muslim (no. 9-10) from the Hadeeth of Abee Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه).
4 Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 4700), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2155, 3319) and Ahmad in al-Musnad (no. 22705-22707), from the hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah Ibnus-Saamit (رضي الله عنه). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Silsilatus-Saheehah (no. 133).
5 Related by Muslim (no. 2653), from the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (رضي الله عنه).
6 Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 2641), al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (1/129) and others from the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibnul-‘Aas (رضي الله عنه). And it was related by Ibn Hibbaan (no. 2831) and Aboo Daawood (no. 4596) and others from the hadeeth of Abee Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه). And it has been related by a group of latecomers from the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), refer to as-Sunnah (no.63-69) of Ibn Abee ‘Aasim and Nadhmul-Mutanaathir minal-Hadeethil-Mutawaatir (p. 45) of al-Kattaanee. It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Silsilatus-Saheehah (no. 203-204).
7 Refer to Sharhun-Nooniyyah (2/114) of Ahmad Ibn ‘Eesaa.
Source: Explanation of the Aqeedah of the Imaam, the Reformer, Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1206H), Explained by the Noble Shaykh, Dr. Saalih Ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan, pp.45-53.