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I have a theological question regarding the lutf (grace) of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى.


As-Salaamu alaikum,

I have a theological question regarding the lutf (grace) of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى.

I notice in a lot of Shi’i theological books and websites that the grace of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى is described as being obligatory/binding upon Him to guide mankind.

This belief ties in with Adalat and Imamate, in that Allah would never leave the world without an Imam, nor would he ever command someone to do something unjust.

My question is:

Does placing an obligation on Allah conflict with the principle of Tawhid – that is Allah being free and independent of any need?

Surely theoretically Allah could do whatever He likes, as He is truly independent of all needs, He may set a way (sunnah of Allah) for us in terms of good and evil in this world , but this quite different from him being OBLIGATED to do this – if you understand my point?

I understand the Ashari (Sunni theological school) position is roughly like this although perhaps I am misunderstanding the Imamiyyah position?

I am a revert currently trying to learn the Usul ud Deen for the Imamiyyah school of thought so any input would be greatly appreciated.



Wa Alaykumussalam

Thank you for your query and welcome to the righteous religion and sect which will quench your thirst and spirituality.

We have a jurisprudential and shari’a obligation in which a person who is higher, that is, God, wants someone who has a lower rank, that is, a servant, to do something and considers it necessary and obligatory; like praying. This type of obligation does not mean anything to God himself, that is, it cannot be said that someone imposes something on God, because there is no one higher than Allah(swt) who wants to command.

We have another type of obligation, which is an intellectual obligation, not a jurisprudential obligation. In this wajib, according to the characteristics of a person, it is said what he does; for example, according to the wisdom of God, it is said that he does not do things in vain, so when you create creatures that grow and reach perfection, you should appoint prophets for them.

Predestination means that someone is higher and deprives the other person of his authority, but God, despite his perfections, from his discipleship, power, wisdom, etc., it is concluded that it is necessary to send the prophets.

So the obligation which is said in God’s case doesn’t mean the obligation rather means necessary which is the logical necessity and not the jurisprudential.

Just like a man who is Just(Adil), he should show justice in his work. Does it mean we are enforcing him to show the justice or the justice will be seen from his actions? Since Allah(swt) is Just(Adil) He will send the Prophets for guidance and the same way there will be the Day of Judgement. As He has given us the freewill to decide, so He will be holding us accountable on the Day of Resurrection and the Judgement is out of His Justice.

The Asharites you mentioned believe in Jabr, the predestination, that God enforces a person do such and such thing whereas we believe in امر بین الامرین as Allah(swt) has bestowed us with free will and the actions we perform are due to our free will. So the idea of Asharites totally differs from the theological point of Shiites.

The Ash’arites took an intermediary position between the libertarian and fatalistic views, held by the Mu’tazilites and the Jabrites respectively. The orthodox people and the Jabrites maintained a pure fatalistic view. They held that human actions are predetermined and predestined by God. Man has no power to produce any action. “Everything,” they contended, “is from God.” God has absolute power over everything including human will and human actions.

Since, the Ash’arites believe that our actions are predestined by God and we have no power that means if Allah(swt) takes the Prophets from Paradise to Hell, and takes the bad people from Hell to the Paradise is totally correct according to their opinion which is wrong according to our perspective and we don’t believe in it, as Allah is Just and He has given human, the free will to decide and act according to it.

Regarding “Predestination and free-will” I will recommend you to read about it in detail on:

We believe that Allah(swt) has given the free will to all of us and it is we who can decide what we want to do.

The Holy Qur’an states this issue directly and proves the free will of human beings and there are hundreds of verses which talk about free will.

  • All of the verses which relate to commanding virtue and preventing vice are all proof of the free will of human beings because if a person was destined to do so, commanding them to do so would make no sense.
  • All of the verses which speak of blame and reproach against the evil doers and praise for the good doers are proof of free will because if one was destined to do whatever one did, blame or praise would make no sense.
  • All of the verses which speak about the questioning on the Day of Judgement and the Judgement in that Court and then the rewards and punishments and heaven and hell are proof of free will because if one was to assume that everything was predestined then questioning, judging, rewards and punishments would all be oppressive.

To learn more in depth regarding the fate and destiny please read:

Literal Meanings of `Qadha’ and `Qadar’:

Freedom and Liberty:

So, we understand that Allah(swt) has given us the free will to act freely. And it is our choice to perform good or bad. The good and bad has already been told in the Holy Qur’an and ahadith. If we do bad we are responsible for it and would be punished. Allah(swt) always wants good for us.
Hence, the above mentioned Hadith is placed next to the other narrations that say that man can change his own destiny and analyse accordingly.
In the hadith, there are phrases regarding the deeds of the person which makes him heavenly or go to hell. Hadith is saying that Allah has knowledge that person voluntarily performs deeds that will make him go to Heaven or Hell. And these are all recorded in the divine book. Changing his destiny can make him heavenly. We believe that destiny is changed by man himself. This means that by our actions we can change our destiny.
If Qadar here is meant in a way that does not contradict human free will and what we say does not lead to predestination(
جبر), then it understandable and clear.

I hope the confusion about the Shia point view is cleared by reading the above answer. Please write back to us if you still have ambiguity about this or any other issue.

I would recommend you to read the books regarding belief(Theology) to learn and strengthen your beliefs about Shia ideology. One of the easiest books to understand: You can also use the same website( to read Shia books.

If our Usool-e-Deen(roots of religion) are strong, our Furoo-e-Deen(branches of the religion) will get better. So the more we read and make our beliefs firm, the better we will become in performing the deeds.

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider