You are on page 1of 3

The Use of the Word "If" in Relation to al-Qadaa wal-Qadr

Ash-Shaykh as-Sa`dee

What Has Come Regarding (Saying "If") Know that the servants use of the word if occu
rs in two types (of ways), a) blameworthy, b) praiseworthy As for the blameworth
y, then it is when some matter occurs from him or to him which he does not like,
so he says, If only I had done such and such it would have been such and such , so
this is from the actions of the Shaytaan, because it contains two cautioned-aga
inst matters:

The first of them: That it opens up the door of remorse and anger and sadness fo
r him, which is desirable to be closed (in reality), and it contains no benefit
in it.

The second: That this contains bad manners towards Allaah, and towards His qadr
(decree), because all of the occurrences, the small amongst them and the great a
mongst them are by the qadaa of Allaah, and His qadr, and whatever from the affa
irs has occurred, then its occurrence is inevitable, and it is not possible to r
epel it. So it is as if, in his saying, If it was such and such , or If I had done s
uch and such, then it would have been such and such , is a type of criticism (of a
l-qadr) and a type of weakness in faith in Allaah s qadaa and qadr. And as for the
praiseworthy (usage) from that, then it is that a servant says it whilst wishin
g for goodness, such as his (sallAllaahu `alayhi wasallam): a) If I had formerly
known what I came to know lately, I would not have brought the sacrificial anima
l with me. Had there been no sacrificial animal with me, I would have finished t
he state of lhram with you [after `Umrah]... b) And his saying regarding the man
who was desirous for goodness, If I had the likes of what so and so has of wealth
, I would do just like what so and so does with it c) And, If my brother Moosaa ha
d patience [with al-Khidr] Allaah would have told us [more] of their story . And j
ust like when he says (if) wishing for goodness, then it is praiseworthy, and when
he says it wishing for evil, then it is blameworthy. So the use of (if) is in acc
ordance to the situation that carried (a person) to say it. If it was sadness, d
ispleasure, and weak Imaan in al-Qadaa and al-Qadr, or wishing evil, then it is
blameworthy. And if was aspiration for goodness, and directing/instructing (othe
rs), and teaching, then it is praiseworthy[1], and for this reason, the author (
Ibn `Abdul-Wahhaab) made the tarjamah (i.e. the title of the chapter) to carry b
oth matters (i.e. the praiseworthy and blameworthy aspect). (al-Qawl as-Sadeed, a
commentary upon Kitaab ut-Tawheed, p.173).

NOTES [1] Such as what be found in the statements of many of the Scholars, in th
e course of teaching, or instructing, or outlining affairs of the deen, an examp
le is the saying of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah regarding the rebellion of al
-Hussain (radiyAllaahu `anhu) "And in his (i.e. al-Hussain's) revolt and killing
was such corruption which would not have occurred if he had remained seated in
his (home) town". (Minhaaj us-Sunnah 4/527). And this statement of Shaykh ul-Isl
aam is not out of displeasure with al-Qadaa wal-Qadr, but it is due to aspiratio
n for goodness that was lost, and teaching and instructing and admonitioning, wh
ilst discussing the subject of al-khurooj in general. And there are other exampl
es that can be found in the speech of the Scholars, past and present. So as Shay
kh as-Sa`dee explained, the use of the word "if" can be blameworthy and it can b
e praiseworthy, and he explained the nature of each one. Also the explanation of
Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen of this chapter will be posted below as well inshaa'Allaa
h to add further clarity on the prohibited and permissible forms of using "if".

The Use of the Word "If" in Relation to al-Qadaa wal-Qadr

Ash-Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen

What Has Come Regarding (Saying "If")Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen said, commenting upon
the chapter regarding If , And the author (rahimahullaah) made the tarjamah (the ti
tle of the chapter) open-ended, and did not assert anything (in particular), bec
ause lau (if) is used from numerous angles:

The first angle: That it is used to criticise ash-Shar`, (the legislation), and
this is unlawful, Allaah the Most High said (quoting the saying of the Hypocrite
s), "And if they had obeyed us, they would not have been killed..." [Aali `Imraa
n 3:(168)], in the expedition of Uhud, when `Abdullaah bin Ubay, during the jour
ney, fell back to about a third of the army. Then when seventy men from the Musl
ims were taken as martyrs, the Hypocrites criticised the legislation of the Mess
enger (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and said, "If they had obeyed us and retur
ned as we had returned, they would not have been killed, so our opinion is bette
r than the legislation of Muhammad". So this is unlawful, and it can sometimes l
ead to disbelief.

The second: That it is used to criticise al-Qadr, and this is unlawful as well,
Allaah the Most High said, "O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve
(hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or
go out to fight: "If they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been
killed"..." [Aali `Imraan 3:(156)], meaning that if they had remained behind, th
ey would not have been killed, thus, they criticised the decree of Allaah.

The third: That it is used for remorse and distress, and this is also unlawful,
because everything that opens up remorse in you, then it is prohibited. This is
because remorse, makes the soul acquire sadness and distress, but Allaah wishes
that we are (in a state of) open-heartedness and delight. He (sallAllaahu `alayh
i wa sallam) said, "Be eager for whatever benefits you, and seek help from Allaa
h and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you,
don't say: "If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so", but s
ay: "Allaah did that what He had ordained to do" and "if" opens the (gate) for t
he work of the Shaytaan." (Muslim, in Baab al-Qadr). An example of that is when
a man is eager to buy something thinking that their will be profit in it, but he
loses out, and he says, "If only I had not bought it, I would not have suffered
a loss". So this is remorse and distress, and this occurs frequently, and it ha
s been prohibited.

The fourth: That it is employed to use al-Qadr as an argument for (one s) disobedi
ence, like the saying of the Mushriks, If Allaah had so willed, we would not have
associated partners [al-An`aam (6):148], and also their saying, "...If ar-Rahmaan
had so willed, we would not have worshipped them..." [az-Zukhruf (43):20], and
this is falsehood.

The fifth: That it is used in wishing (at-tamannee), and its ruling is in accord
ance with what is wished for, if it is for good, then it is good, and if it is f
or evil, then it is evil, and in the Saheeh, from the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alay
hi wa sallam), in the story of the four men, one of them said, "If only I had we
alth I would have done what so and so does with it" and he wished good (by this)
, and the second man said, "If only I had wealth I would have done what so and s
o does with it", so he wished evil (by this). So the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayh
i wa sallam) said regarding the first, "He is in accordance with his intention,
so their reward is the same", and he said regarding the second, "He is in accord
ance with his intention, so their burden (of sin) is the same".

The sixth: That it is used in mere information (al-khabar al-mahd), and this is
permissible, such as If I had attended the lesson, I would have benefited , and als
o from it is his (sallAllaahu `alayhi wasallam s) saying [to the Companions during
Hajj], If I had formerly known what I came to know lately, I would not have brou
ght the sacrificial animal with me. Had there been no sacrificial animal with me
, I would have finished the state of lhram with you [after `Umrah].... , so the Pr
ophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wasallam) informed that had he known that this matter
would occur from the Sahaabah, he would not have brought the sacrificial animal
, and would have finished the state of Ihraam, and this is what is apparent to m
e. And some of them have said that this was from the angle of aspiring, wishing (
at-tamannee) , as if he said, If only I had known formerly, what I came to know lat
ely so that I did not bring the sacrificial animal . However, what is apparent is
that he merely informed [of what he would have done had he known otherwise] on a
ccount of what he saw from his Companions, and the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi
wasallam) does not wish for something regarding which Allaah had already decreed
something different [to it]
(p.362-363, al-Qawl ul-Mufeed).

taken from:http://salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=8&Topic=2497