In these three names, power is established as an attribute of Allah (swt) – He has absolute power. Allah (swt) calls Himself Al-Qadeer – The One with complete power. Al-Qadeer needs no means to do anything.
Allah (swt) also calls Himself Al-Muqtadir – The Omnipotent, The Powerful Determiner. Al-Muqtadir is the One Who has the power and the ability to do whatever He decides. His power enforces all decrees, and His decree prevails in every situation.
Linguistically Qadeer, Qadir, and Muqtadir are all derived from the Arabic root word ‘qaaf-daal-raa’ which points to four main meanings:
- The first meaning is ‘to have the power to accomplish, to be capable’. He is the One, Who is capable of doing everything.
- The second is ‘to measure, to distribute something, or to make manifest’. He is the One, Who measures everything with perfection.
- The third is ‘to decree or ordain’. He is the One, Who decrees all that was, is, and will ever be.
- The fourth is ‘to prevail’. He is the One, Whose decree prevails in every situation.
How do we balance free will and Qadr (the divine decree)?
Some people rely only on themselves. They mistakenly believe that all their success is because of their own planning and effort. Multibillion dollars of the self-help and self-reliance industry are firing people up with ‘the power of the self’, convincing them that they can do anything. On the other end of the spectrum are people who do not make any effort, believing that what is destined for them will come to them.
Belief in Al-Qadir means that you sincerely take action with the understanding that your commitment and your action is in the hands of your Rabb, and He will only grant it success when you make efforts.
When things go according to your plan, that simply means that your plan and Allah’s (swt) plan was the same. However, sometimes your plans and Allah’s (swt) plans are not the same. Yet, you still have to persevere, because you will get the rewards for your efforts.
How can we be content with Allah’s (swt) decree?
- Trust: Even when matters are not in our control and we do not understand what is happening, there is always Allah’s (swt) plan at work. We might not understand the wisdom behind it, but that does not mean that Al-Qadeer has made a wrong decision – we cannot doubt Allah’s (swt) mercy and wisdom. You can only see part of the picture, while Allah (swt) has decreed the past, present, and future with His complete knowledge. We should respond like the angels responded, when Allah (swt) told them He was going to create man – we must admit that we may not understand His wisdom but trust in Him completely.
- Dua: Pray for contentment, but do not question Allah’s (swt) perfection. Have faith that what Allah (swt) has done is better for you. Even if you do not understand it now, put your trust in Him Who is the Best Planner. Just like some seeds grow in a few days, while others may take years, you do not know the good that will come out of Allah’s (swt) plan in the years to come.
- Seek inspiration: In this life, if problems could go away, they would have gone away a lot sooner for Yaqoob (as) than you and me. Maryam (as) would not have suffered humiliation, Rasulullah (sa) would never have grieved or faced resistance. When you study people, who are close to Allah (swt), you will realise that they continuously struggled. Yusuf (as) suffered injustice since childhood. In the thick of difficulties, when people tell you that you are suffering because Allah (swt) is angry with you, that is when you must keep your thoughts about Allah (swt) positive and maintain your love and reliance upon Him. In return, He will give your heart guidance and peace.
- Have faith: We must have firm belief that when Al-Qadeer plans something, even though it may be painful, He does it out His love and concern for us. He loves us more than we can ever love ourselves. He cares for us more than we can ever care for ourselves. He provides for us more than we can ever provide for ourselves. When we forget this, we lose our guidance and contentment. Likewise, this faith also makes us optimistic about the future. We must not be disappointed and lose hope after listening to the world affairs and start predicting the failure of Muslim Ummah. Instead, we must have hope in Al-Qadir’s planning and decree.