The Distinction between Allah's Knowledge and Qadr (Fate): An Islamic Perspective

By Masood Saeed 22 July 2023

Dear respected audience, today we delve into an essential aspect of Islamic theology: the difference between Allah's Knowledge (Elm) and Qadr (Fate or Predestination). It is imperative to understand these concepts clearly, as they form the foundation of our belief in the divine plan and our place within it.

Definition of Allah's Knowledge

Allah's Knowledge (Elm), is an attribute of Allah (The one true God) that represents His perfect and all-encompassing knowledge of everything. It includes knowledge of the past, present, and future. Allah's knowledge is not limited by time, space, or any other factors. He knows the details of every single occurrence in the universe, from the smallest to the greatest. # The Quran emphasises Allah's Knowledge in various verses, such as in Surah number 2 surah Al-Baqarah verse 255, known as Ayat al-Kursi:

"Allah! There is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what [appears to His creatures as] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills."

Definition of Qadr (Fate)

On the other hand, Qadr, or Fate, refers to Allah's divine decree and predestination. It is the belief that everything that happens in the universe, including human actions and events, is preordained by Allah. Qadr encompasses all aspects of life, including birth, death, success, failure, and other life events. It is Allah's all-encompassing plan for creation.

The Quran affirms the concept of Qadr, as seen in Surah number 54 Al-Qamar verse 49 to 50):

"Indeed, all things We created with predestination. And Our command is but one, like a glance of the eye".

Understanding the Difference

The distinction between Allah's Knowledge and Qadr lies in the nature of these concepts and their implications for human beings. # Nature of Allah's Knowledge: Allah's Knowledge is absolute and perfect. He knows all things, both the visible and the hidden, in the past, present, and future. Nothing escapes His awareness, as He is not bound by time or space.

Nature of Qadr (Fate): Qadr, on the other hand, refers to Allah's divine decree and plan. It is the implementation of His knowledge, where He has decreed everything that will happen based on His wisdom and mercy.

Human Free Will: The key distinction between the two concepts is the role of human free will. Allah's Knowledge includes His awareness of our choices and actions, past, present, and future. However, Qadr involves the divine plan within which human free will operates. Allah knows what choices we will make, but He does not force us to make them. We have the capacity to exercise our free will and choose our actions.

The Quran clarifies the relationship between Allah's Knowledge and human free will in Surah number 18 Al-Kahf verse 29:

"And say, 'The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills, let him believe; and whoever wills, let him disbelieve'"

This verse acknowledges human free will in matters of belief and faith, emphasising that belief is a matter of choice.


Understanding the distinction between Allah's Knowledge and Qadr is crucial for comprehending the divine plan and our role as believers. Allah's Knowledge is absolute and all-encompassing, while Qadr refers to His preordained plan for creation. Our free will operates within the framework of Allah's decree, and while He knows our choices in advance, He does not force them upon us. As Muslims, we submit to Allah's wisdom and trust in His plan, seeking to make righteous choices within the boundaries of His divine decree.

May Allah grant us wisdom and understanding in our faith journey, and may we strive to align our actions with His divine plan. Ameen.