The Qadariyah School: History, Definition, and Thought

The Qadariyah school is one of the oldest theological schools in Islam. The emergence of the Qadariyah school itself was not solely due to the dynamics of thought in Islam, but was also caused by the political turmoil that existed during the Umayyad dynasty I, namely from 661 to 750 AD.

Some thoughts from the Qadariyah school, such as humans having free will, make this school contradict the Jabariyah school. Where is the main idea that causes the qadariyah school as an ideology and a heretical sect. For more about the qadariyah school, see this article until the end.

Definition of Qadariyah School

The word qadariyah comes from the word qadara which has two meanings, namely having the courage to decide and having the strength and will. While the word qadariyah meant by this school is an understanding, that humans have freedom of will and have the ability to act.

People who adhere to the qadariyah school, are a group who believe that all human actions are realized, because there is a will and human ability itself. Also in the qadariyah school, adherents believe that humans can do all actions themselves, according to the abilities they have.

Thoughts of the Qadariyah School

The adherents of the Qadariyah school believe that humans have power over all their own actions. They also believe that humans who perform good deeds, of their own will and power.

Humans also do or stay away from all evil deeds on their own will and ability. In the qadariyah school, its followers have the understanding that humans are independent beings who are free to act.

The qadariyah school of thought also rejects that human destiny has been determined by God from the very beginning, and that humans act or do activities only by following or living that predetermined fate.

In a history from Al Lalikai from Imam Syafii, it is explained that qadar is a person who states that Allah did not create anything. Meanwhile, Imam Abu Thaur replied that qadariyah was a person who stated that Allah did not create the actions of His servants, according to followers of the qadariyah school as well, Allah did not determine and create immoral acts on His servants.

Meanwhile, when Imam Ahmad was asked about qadariyah, he replied that they were infidels. Abu Bakr Al Marudzi also said that, ‘I asked Abu Abdullah about the qadari, so he replied that he did not disbelieve the qadari who establishes Allah’s knowledge of the actions of His servants before they happen’.

Likewise with Ibn Taymiyah, he considered the qadari to be infidels who denied Allah’s writings and knowledge and did not disbelieve the qadari school which defined Allah’s knowledge. Ibn Rajab Al Hambali also stated, that the qadariyah school that denies the knowledge of Allah is an infidel. (Ibrahim bin Amir Ar Ruhaili, 2002, 83-85).

This flow is called the qadariyah school, because its followers deny destiny and they assume that humans have done their own business, as what has been said by Imam An Nawawi.

There are two main ideas that are carried or believed by the qadariyah school. However, in essence the qadariyah school believes that humans have the power or ability to decide their own will, free and detached from God’s destiny.

On the other hand, the qadariyah school also views that God gives gifts to humans in the form of reason. So that humans are able to consider wisely every behavior, decision and action.

In the qadariyah school, its followers believe that reason is positioned as the most important instrument. Because, reason becomes the weight of human decisions. The view of the followers of the qodariyah school that reason is crucial in religious behavior, will also influence the schools that were born in the next era, namely the Mu’tazilah in 723 AD.

Apart from that, here are two main ideas that exist in the qadariyah school.

1. Against injustice with his own hands

The qadariyah school holds the view that humans have a responsibility to uphold the truth and fight tyranny with their own hands. This understanding, has the belief that God has given power and strength to humans to fight tyranny.

If you do not fight this tyranny, then humans have sinned. Because, he has violated God’s commandments. The command to fight tyranny is also described in one of the words of the Apostle, as follows.

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‘Whoever sees evil, then fight evil with his hand. If he is unable, then with his tongue. If you can’t either, then with your heart and that is the weakest faith.’ (HR. Muslim).

Because of this understanding, followers of the Qadariyah school became an opposition to the policies of the Umayyad dynasty, who considered that the policies of the Umayyad dynasty had exceeded the limits of the Shari’a. Thus, at that time several figures from the Qadariyah school were imprisoned by the rulers of the Umayyad dynasty.

2. Justice from God comes from free will

The second main idea of ​​the qadariyah school is that humans were created by God with free will. Therefore, humans have the independent ability to be able to decide what actions to do.

The thinking of the qadariyah school is based on the reason that Allah has given humans the choice to do good or evil, to believe or to settle in disbelief. Therefore, humans will be judged, rewarded or rewarded or sin according to their own choice.

The adherents of this qadariyah school rely on one of Allah’s words, namely Surah Al Kahf verse 29 which reads,

‘Whoever wants to be a believer, then believe and whoever wants to be an infidel, then disbelieve’.

Those are the two main ideas that are believed by the qadariyah school.

The Founding Figure of the Qadariyah School

The figures who served as the founders of the qadariyah school were Ma’bad Al Juhani and Ghaylan Al Dimasyqi. The first name, Ma’bad Al Juhani, is noted to be more senior than the second name.

Ma’bad Al Juhani was born in Basrah and died in 80 Hijri or 699 AD. He belonged to the tabiin generation. Ma’bad was also known as a hadith expert. Meanwhile, Ghaylan was born in Damascus and was known as an orator as well as a debate expert, Ghaylan died in 105 H or 722 AD.

The Qadariyah school, pioneered by these two figures, began to emerge with the change of the Rashidun Caliphate in the Umayyad Dynasty. Precisely in the era after the division of the Muslim community, because the Caliph Ali bin Abi Talib was killed then Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan ascended the throne and became the first caliph in the Umayyad dynasty.

At that time, many Muslim communities did not agree with Muawiyah’s political style because he was seen as departing far from the reign of the Rashidun Caliphate. Muawiyah as caliph often cornered his political opposition. Even on the power of his son, Yazid bin Muawiyah and the grandson of the Apostle and Husein bin Ali, they were slaughtered in Karbala.

Also during the Muawiyah caliphate, followers of the qadariyah school were hunted down. The leaders were imprisoned and sentenced to death, because the qadariyah school had different views from the jabariyah school, which at that time had the same views as Muawiyah.

History of the Development of the Qadariyah School

The Qadariyah school was first introduced and spread by its two founding figures, namely Ma’bad Al Jauhani and Ghailan Al Dimasyqi in 70 H during the reign of caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan.

The background to the emergence of the Qadariyah school was as a signal, in which adherents of this understanding opposed the political policies implemented by the Umayyads at that time, because they were considered cruel.

When the Umayyads killed people, they said that the killing was preordained by Allah and that the excuse was a cover for the Umayyads to commit other atrocities.

Therefore, this qadariyah school wants to limit the qadar. The adherents of the Qadariyah school say that Allah is fair, therefore Allah will punish those who are guilty and reward those who have done good.

When first introduced to the main points of his thoughts, the qadariyah school immediately gained quite a lot of followers. So that the caliph immediately took action, with the reason for public order.

Ma’bad as the founder of the qadariyah sect and some of his followers were finally arrested. Meanwhile, Ma’bad himself was executed in Damascus. After the arrest, the influence of the qadariyah sect began to recede.

After Ma’bad died of being executed, Ghaylan continued to spread the qadariyah sect to the townspeople in Damascus. Ghaylan’s father had worked for the caliph Usman bin Affan. When the qadariyah flow spread in Damascus, Ghaylan immediately received a challenge from the caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz.

However, after the death of caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Ghaylan continued to spread the qadariyah sect until finally he was arrested and sentenced to death by Hisham ibn Abdul Malik. Before Ghaylan was executed, a debate arose between Ghaylan and Al Auza’i which was also attended by Hisham.

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Some of the adherents of qadariyah say that all good human deeds come from God. As for bad human actions, they have nothing to do with God.

Based on this understanding, the qadariyah school is said to be a magi. Because the adherents of the Qadariyah school say that there are two creators, namely the creator of good and the creator of evil.

The two concepts of creation are the same as teachings in the Zoroastrian or Zoroastrian religions, which explain the existence of a god of light, goodness and day. The god of light was called Ahura Mazda and the god of darkness, darkness and night was called Ahriman or Angra Mainyu.

Another opinion says that actually the figure who developed the qadariyah school was not Ma’bad but an Iraqi resident who was originally a Christian and then converted to Islam.

But in the end he returned to Christianity. It was from the Iraqis that Ma’bad and Ghaylan took their ideas.

The qadariyah school was sued as a heretical thought for two reasons. The first matter, because of the denial of Allah’s knowledge that has preceded an event. While the second case, because of the emergence of the statement that it is man himself who has full power to realize all his actions.

However, the pure qadariyah concept is now extinct, but deviations can still be found today. Where some people still believe that the actions of a creature are its abilities and creations of the creature itself. Even though at this time the deviation from the qadariyah school has determined that Allah already knows all the actions of His servants before they happen.

At present, al qadariyah has agreed that Allah is All-Knowing of all things, knows all the actions of His servants before His servants do those deeds. However, there are still some who disagree about As Salafush Shalih, namely by stating that human actions are the result of human abilities and creations themselves.

Differences of Qadariyah and Jabariyah Schools

As explained above, that the two qadariyah and jabariyah teachings are contradictory to each other. So that during the Umayyad dynasty, which tended to have jabariyah teachings, the adherents of the qadariyah school were hunted down, imprisoned and some were sentenced to death. Between the two streams, here are the differences between the qadariyah and jabariyah schools.

1. Qadariyah flow

Understanding qadariyah is an understanding that says that humans have the ability and power to do or choose not to do something.

In the qadariyah school, adherents believe that God created humans with reason. Reason is a crucial thing possessed by humans and allows humans to think about doing something good or bad.

This flow believes that humans are given freedom and God rewards every human action based on decisions taken by humans, not because of God’s will alone.

2. Jabariyah flow

The Jabariyah school has an understanding that is inversely proportional to the Qadariyah school. The Jabariyah school believes that humans do not have the freedom to determine their own actions, whether in good or bad. Because, everything has been determined by God.

In the Jabariyah school of thought, this human is likened to a shadow puppet whose role, movements until the time when it appears and sinks have been determined by the puppeteer.

Followers of the Jabariyah school have an argument taken from the Koran, namely the letter Al Anfal verse 17. In this verse, it is explained that humans are described as feathers blown by the wind, they cannot do anything.

Because of this understanding, when the Jabariyah school was present or appeared, many people committed immorality and committed other sins. Because they believe that they will still go to heaven, because they still have faith in Allah.

Because the immoral acts they commit are not their choice, but are included in God’s will. Therefore, they think that if Allah does not will, then it is impossible for something disobedience or evil to appear.

The Jabariyah school is also considered as extreme. In fact, this understanding is the background to the existence of the qadariyah school. Where two leaders of the Qadariyah school opposed the assumption of Umayyad high-ranking officials who killed people on the grounds that their actions were the will of God.

But at this time, both the jabariyah school and the pure qadariyah school were both destroyed. However, there are still similar understandings that have developed from these two streams.

That is an explanation of the qadariyah school, starting from its definition, main ideas, founding figures to its history.