Preserved Tablet and the 15th of Sha’ban
First of all, we would like to stress that there are many innovations and wrong concepts attached to the 15th night of Sha`ban. Certainly, it is very disheartening to see enormous difference of opinions among Muslims about this night. What you have mentioned in your question regarding ‘Allah writing what all people will do the next whole years’ on the night of the 15th of Sha`ban has no religious backing from either the Qur’an or the Sunnah, and we wonder from where did you get this information. It is worthy stressing here that we should not believe all what we hear, and we should seek religious knowledge from reliable sources in order to understand our religion in the best way.
Here, Dr. Muzzamil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:
“Some people also say that in the 2nd year of Hijrah, the direction of the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to the Ka`bah in Makkah on the 15th day of Sha`ban. This report is also not confirmed by authentic hadiths. According to most of the exegetes, the Qur’an has not mentioned anything about the Sha`ban night.
There are some hadiths that speak about the Middle of Sha`ban and its night. However, the scholars of hadith say that most of the hadiths concerning this night are not authentic. They are weak (da`if) according to the criteria of the narrators and scholars of hadith. Imam Al-Mundhiri (died in 656 A.H.) in his famous book At-Targhib wat-Tarhib (vol. 2, pp. 116-120) reported fourteen hadiths on the subject of this night.
With the above in mind, we would like to stress here that Allah knows and is aware of all things. Nothing on earth or in heaven is hidden from Him, be it words or deeds, movements or cessation of movement, acts of obedience or acts of disobedience. Allah Almighty says, “Know you not that Allaah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz). Verily, that is easy for Allaah” (Al-Hajj :70)
Allah has encompassed all things with His knowledge, and has written it in al-Lawh al-Mahfuz, as He says “Neither you (O Muhammad) do any deed nor recite any portion of the Qur’aan, nor you (O mankind) do any deed (good or evil), but We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it. And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record” (Yunus: 61)
Anchoring the Muslim’s belief in Predestination, we’d like to furnish you with a detailed discussion of the different queries regarding it as given by Dr Ja`far Sheikh Idris, professor of Islamic studies, Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences, Washington, who states:
“The original meaning of the Arabic word qadar is a specified measure or amount whether of quantities or qualities. It has many other usages, which branch out from this core. Almighty Allah says, “We have created every thing by measure (bi-qadar).” (Al-Qamar: 49)
Allah (Mighty and Exalted be He) knows before creating anything, that He is going to create it and that it shall be of such and such magnitude, quality or nature, etc. He also specifies the time of its coming into being and its passing away, and the place of its occurrence. If so, then one who believes in the true God should believe that there are no accidents in nature. If something disagreeable happens to him, he should say “Allah qaddara (ordained), and He did what He willed” and not grieve himself by wishing that it had not occurred, or worrying why it should occur. If, in contrast, something agreeable happens to him he should not boast of it, but thank Allah for it. In this context, Allah says, “Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before We bring it into being. Lo! That is easy for Allah. That ye grieve not for the sake of that which hath escaped you, nor yet exult because of that which hath been given. Allah loveth not all prideful boasters.” (Al-Hadid: 22-23)
If Allah Almighty predetermines everything, that includes our so-called free actions, in what way can they be said to be free, and how are we responsible for them? This question occasioned the appearance, at a very early history of Islam, of two extreme theological sects. One of them, called the Qadariyyah, asserted man’s free will and responsibility to the extent of denying Allah’s foreknowledge, and claiming that Allah knows our free made actions only after we have performed them. The other, called the Jabriyyah, held the opposite view and claimed that there was no difference between the motions of inani
mate things and our movements in performing so-called free actions, and that when we use intentional language we speak only metaphorically.
But there is no need to go to such extremes, since it is not difficult to reconcile Divine qadar (predestination) and human responsibility. Allah decided to create man as a free agent, but He knows (and how can He not know!) before creating every man how he is going to use his free will; what, for instance, his reaction would be when a Prophet clarifies Allah’s message to him. This foreknowledge and its registering in a ‘Book’ is called qadar.
“But if we are free to use our will” a Qadari might say, “we may use it in ways that contradict Allah’s will, and in that case we would not be right in claiming that everything is willed or decreed by Allah.”
the Qur’an answers this question by reminding us that it was Allah who willed that we shall be of free will, and it is He who allows us to use our will. Allah, Most High, says, “Lo! This is an Admonishment, that whosoever will may choose a way unto his Lord. Yet ye will not, unless Allah willeth. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.” (Al-Insan: 29-30)
“If so,” a Qadari might say, “He could have prevented us from doing evil.”
Yes indeed He could. Allah says, “Had Allah willed, He would have brought them all together to the guidance; if thy Lord had willed whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together.” (Yunus: 99) “Had Allah willed, they were not idolaters; and We have not appointed thee a watcher over them neither art thou their guardian.” (Al-An`am: 107)
But Allah has willed that men shall be free especially in regard to matters of belief and disbelief. Allah Almighty says, “Say: The truth is from your Lord; so let whosoever will believe, and let whosoever will disbelieve.” (Al-Kahf: 29)
But men would not be so free if whenever any of them wills to do evil Allah prevents him from doing it and compels him to do good.
“If our actions are willed by Allah,” someone might say, “then they are in fact His actions.”
this objection is based on a confusion that Allah wills what we will in the sense of granting us the will to choose and enabling us to execute that will, i.e., He creates all that makes it possible for us to do it. He does not will it in the sense of doing it, otherwise it would be quite in order to say, when we drink or eat or sleep for instance that Allah performed these actions. Allah creates them, He does not do or perform them.
another objection, based on another confusion, is that if Allah allows us to do evil, then He approves of it and likes it.
however, to will something in the sense of allowing a person to do it is one thing; and to approve of his action and commend it, is quite another, NOT everything that Allah wills He likes. He has, as we have just read in the Qur’an, granted man the choice between belief and disbelief, but He does not, of course, like men to disbelieve (to be thankless). Allah Almighty says, “If you art ungrateful, Allah is independent of you. Yet He approves not ungratefulness in His servants; but if you are grateful, He will approve it in you.” (Az-Zumar: 7)”