Freewill

Freewill is one of His characteristics/attributes, Glory to Him, and is one of the meanings of His Names, there is no doubt among the theologians at all about it. But they have differed about the reality of His freewill, the most Exalted One that He is. Therefore, we have to delve into two situations:

One: We must review the opinions submitted about explaining freewill in the absolute sense.

Second: We must explain the distinctions of the Divine Freewill.

What is the Reality of Freewill?

One being willing or unwilling reflects two psychological statuses, as is the case with all psychological statuses which man finds by himself without any intermediary like pleasure, pain, and such feelings. But the goal is to analyze this sentimental matter scientifically and coin it also scientifically. Here are the views submitted in this regard:

A. The Mutazilites have explained freewill to be the “belief in benefiting” and hating as “belief in harm,” saying that the ratio of the ability at both ends of the action and inaction is even. If the belief of benefiting happens in one of the ends, it is preferred and the doer becomes effective in its regard. One can notice that this explanation is quite incomplete. The mere belief of benefit is not the start of an effect, of an action, for quite often one’s belief in benefit exists in many actions, yet he does not want those actions. He may believe in its existence in them. Actually, he believes in the presence of harm, yet he seeks it in agreement with some carnal forces.

B. Another group has interpreted freewill as a psychological yearning that takes place in man after he believes in its benefit. One can notice that explaining the will to mean yearning is quite deficient, for there may be a will, but there is no yearning, as is the case when one takes bitter medicines for treatment. Confirmed yearning may be realized, yet there is no freewill that creates the deed, as is the case with a pious man facing prohibitions and banned inclinations. For this reason, the ratio is between the freewill and yearning in general.

C. Freewill is a psychological status that intervenes between positive knowledge and action, and it is described once as objective and as a determination, and once as resolve and a decision. This is not the objective behind yearning in both its sections, what is confirmed and what is not. Also, this cannot apply to knowledge despite its presence in the individual, as is the case with all other methodologies.

In short, the truth of the freewill is “an objective, a sure inclination towards carrying out a deed.”

These are some various explanations of the reality of the freewill, and there are other theories that we have preferred to ignore.

At any rate, the Divine Freewill cannot be explained through the use of any of the above. As for the first, you have already come to know that explaining freewill as belief in a benefit requires the denial of the absolute freewill in the possible existents in addition to Allah, Glory to Him. This is so because they are rendered to knowledge of a benefit, although we find in ourselves something beyond knowledge and belief in a benefit.

One who advocates this theory proves science while denying freewill. If it is wrong to interpret freewill as belief in something beneficial in possible existents, it will likewise be wrong to interpret His freewill, the most Praised One, too. You will come to know that one who explains the freewill of Allah, Praised is He, as being knowledge of what is the best, is influenced by this explanation. But he substitutes knowledge of what is apparently beneficial to the individual with knowledge of what is the best which suits His status, Praise belongs to Him, which aims at looking after the interests of His servants, so consider.

As regarding the second explanation, I mean eagerness or anxiety, the sure yearning, had it been applicable to man, it would have been non-applicable to Allah, Glory to Him, because He, the most Praised One, is above sentimental yearning, anxiety. Yearning for something is the doing of a doer who is deficient and who wants to come out of his deficiency towards perfection, so he definitely yearns for something.

As regarding the third explanation, whether it is explained as an objective and determination, or resolve and decision-making, its reality is something that comes into existence after having been non-existent. In this sense, it is impossible for it to describe Him because doing so requires His being subject to eventualities.1

Since these definitions do not fit Him, Praise belongs to Him, the theologians have been divided into two groups: One group tries to make them among the attributes of the self but in a different meaning. The other group makes them attributes of an action, concluding that the freewill, such as creating, sustaining, etc., are derived from His action, Praise belongs to Him, from the impacts of His might. This group has relieved itself of the burden of confusion about their being self-attributes. Let us now talk about the theories of both of these groups.

Explaining Particularity of Divine Freewill

Since freewill in the previously stated meanings does not suit Him, Praise belongs to Him, while, on the other hand, freewill and the doer comprise a willing one, in contrast to being non-willing, is His perfection, whereas its absence is a shortcoming. Men of wisdom and critics have tried to describe Him, Praise belongs to Him, in a meaning that properly suits Him, and here is an explanation of this attempt in a different way:

His Freewill, Praise Belongs to Him, is His Knowledge of the Best System.

His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, is His knowledge of the most suitable, the most perfect and the most complete system. They have explained it through the above descriptions because they fled away from describing the most Praised One by something that is incidental and sequential, descriptions that require action and sentiment, as is the case with the human freewill.

Mulla Sadra has said, “The meaning of His having a freewill is that He, Praise to Him, is wise, knowing the system of goodness that is present everywhere through Him, and how each system came to be. System is undoubtedly present and overwhelming.”2

He has also said, “His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, by itself is His knowledge of the most perfect system; He Himself is the One Who bids (and forbids) while nobody else does.”3

The critic al-Tusi has said, “His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, is the knowledge of the system of everything in the most perfect way. If ability and knowledge are the same thing, requiring the existence of what is likely to exist according to the most perfect system, ability, knowledge and freewill would be the same thing in His Essence, varying according to rational considerations.”4

Discussing Theory

Undoubtedly, the most Praised One knows by Himself, is knowledgeable of the most perfect, complete and suitable system. But to interpret His freewill reverts to denying the freewill reality in Him, Praise belongs to Him. Denying it, when it comes to (discussing) Him, leads to denying His perfection.

There is no doubt that a willing doer is more perfect than a doer who is motivated by his own desire. If we interpret His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, as being His knowledge of the system (of all systems), we will have denied His perfection and identified Him as a doer similar to one who is obligated to do what he does. Thus, looking into the statement by al-Tusi the critic, we see that he imagined that ability and knowledge are one and the same when applied to Him while being different according to rational considerations.

Due to the inaccuracy of this explanation, we see that the Imams from among the Ahl al-Bayt, peace with them, deny interpreting it as being knowledge. Bukair ibn Ayan has said, “I said to Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq (as), ‘Are His knowledge and freewill different from each other or are they the same?’ He (as) said, ‘Knowledge is not freewill. Do you not see how you say that you will do something if Allah wills, whereas you do not say that you will do it IF Allah knows?!’”5

If you will, you can say that freewill is a characteristic applied to one of two options: doing or not doing something. This applies to all times, all aspects of an action, whether it is to be done or not. So, it is not the same as freewill that opts for one, treating ability as being equally applicable to both options.

As regarding knowledge, it is one of the principles that are distant from freewill. Freewill is a principle that is close to an action. It does not make sense to regard both of them as being one and the same.

Yes, His knowledge of what is good and bad applies to one of the options. Although this can be regarded as being rational, it cannot be called freewill even if it has something in common with freewill in the outcome which is the following. The doer applies his might to undertake one of two options. Sharing the result does not necessitate knowledge to be regarded as freewill, and it suffices to apply perfection to it, that is, the freewill.

Question and Answer

It may be asked, “Why should the reality of freewill be the same as His knowledge, the most Praised One? Had the reality of the first been different from that of the other, this would have required plurality within Him, Praise belongs to Him. And plurality is the tool of composition, while composition depends on probability because each part needs the other parts, and the Almighty is above all of this.”

The answer is this. It means that the attributes are united with one another, and the whole is united with the self. He, Praise belongs to Him, is all knowledge, all might, all life. These attributes, in their realities, are present in the Self by way of simplicity. It is wrong to say that some of them are life and others are knowledge, whereas a third is might because this requires composition in the Self. This is not meant to render the reality of one of the attributes to the other by saying, for example, that His knowledge is His might. This will end up denying all attributes and proving only one.

Briefly, there is only one pure and simple fact that incorporates knowledge, life and ability in its reality without creating plurality and composition in the Self. This is not to say that the reality of His will is the reality of His knowledge because it will require a denial of the reality of freewill and resolve. This will end up denying the freewill (altogether). Also, to say that the reality of His might is rendered to His knowledge ends up denying the might rather than proving the unity. In order to explain what we mean, let us say the following.

We can derive many concepts from the simple thing, and each concept can be a reality without multiplying or composing. Take the outside man as related to Allah, Praise belongs to Him. All of man is the doing of the might of Allah, all of him is known by Allah. It is wrong to say that some of him came to be through His might, while some of him came to be through His knowledge. All (beings and inanimate objects) are there through His might while being, at the same time, known by Him. It is wrong to say that some of them are there due to His might while others are there due to His knowledge. All are decreed by Him and, at the same time, are known to Him. Despite all of this, the reality of what is known is not the same like that of what is decreed.

With this much can you find His essence, Praise belongs to Him, to be all-Knowing, all-Might, and every description has its reality without plurality or composition.6

His Freewill, Praise Belongs to Him, Is His Pleasure With What He Does

His freewill, the most Praised One that He is, is the pleasure of His Holy Self with His deeds, His acceptance of them. Since He disseminates and perfects what is good, He is fully pleased. From this self-pleasure comes pleasure in the phase of the deed. When one loves something, he loves its effects and requirements, and this actual love is the freewill in the phase of the action, and it is the one to which reports have rendered freewill as being one of His deeds.

Freewill has two phases: a freewill in the status of the self, and a freewill in the status of the action. His self-pleasure is an innate will. His pleasure with His deeds is freewill taking the form of action.

What one can resign about the above is that it is a theory similar to the one that preceded it, and it does not produce a conclusion. The reality of the freewill is not the same like that of acceptance, and it is not the same like the reality of pleasure. To explain one through the other is denial of this perfection in His Holy Self, Praise belongs to Him.

It has already been stated that a willing doer is better and more perfect than his opposite: one who has to do something out of necessity. Such perfection in Him can never be denied. Rather, He must be described as such according to the particular development that we reviewed in describing life, and its details will reach you in the proper place.

His Freewill, Praise Belongs to Him, Affects Might and Authority

When a group of logicians found out that the most Praised One could not be described as having “freewill”, and it cannot be counted among His attributes, because there are confusions about it which you have already come to know, they made it one of the characteristics of action, such as His being the Creator, Sustainer, etc. They have said, “We cannot imagine a meaning for His freewill, the most Exalted One that He is, other than affecting might and authority.”

Since the might of the Almighty is perfect from all aspects and directions, and no shortcoming can ever be imagined in it at all, naturally, the action is actualized in the outside. It is then that might is affected without relying on another introduction, as we understand from this verse:

“His command is, “Be,” and it is!” (Qur’an, 36:82).

There are indications about it. Affecting might and authority, be it voluntarily as in His case, Praise belongs to Him, or involuntary, and there is no way for the second because it requires the Almighty to be forced to do something, and in this case He cannot be described as being Omni-Potent, Able.

Regarding the first, is it the role of His being a volunteer doer? Prior to affecting might and implementing authority, there has to be something that affects Him, since He is a voluntary doer. So, it is not sufficient to simply affect authority.

Briefly, simply affecting authority without proving that He has somehow chosen it by Himself is to no avail.

His Freewill, Praise Belongs to Him, is Equal Cause: Action Ratio

Allama Tabatabai has regarded this attribute of the Almighty as being one of the descriptions of His actions. The conclusion of his theory is this: The only attribute from among the self’s, which man finds within him and which can be labeled as freewill, is that of “purpose”. This “purpose”, which is a mediator between knowledge and the actualization of an action is the doer’s psychological inclination to undertake the action.

Freewill can never be described correctly as knowledge because we realize, with our conscience, that our will intervenes between our knowledge of the action and our actually doing it, not of the same knowledge.

Thereupon, if we want to describe the Almighty as having freewill, after stripping it of shortcomings, we cannot apply it to His knowledge because the essence and truth of knowledge is different from that of freewill. Stripping freewill of shortcomings does not, in fact, make it united with knowledge.

Also, once stripped of shortcomings, freewill becomes an actual attribute of Allah Almighty, similarly to the attributes of creating, bringing into being, granting mercy, etc.

Explanation: When all introductions and causes for creating an action are completed, the characteristics of the freewill will then be stripped, so the Almighty becomes “willing” and the action “willed” without the existence, in that case, of any description for the freewill other than the status of completing the causes behind it.

In other words, freewill, in as far as the Almighty is concerned, is an adjective derived from the combination of causes and requirements for bringing a thing into being. At that juncture, the perfecting of the action’s introductions and their perfection is attributed once to the action and once to Allah Almighty. So, if it is attributed to the action, this status of “perfecting the introductions” is called “the will of the action” and the action itself as “the will of Allah”. If it is attributed to Allah Almighty, this status is called “Allah’s freewill” and Allah Almighty is called “the One Who wills it”.

The allama, may Allah sanctify him, says, “The evidences which the men of wisdom have produced to prove that freewill is one of the attributes of the self do not prove more than this: All manifestations of existence rely on the might and knowledge of the Almighty of the best system. They do not prove that His will, the Almighty that He is, is the same as his knowledge or might.”7

One may resign that had the factor for the absolution of freewill been the completion of the action, in as far as the cause is concerned, it would require the soundness of its absolution in case the doer is completely forced with regard to the action’s cause, which you will come to see.

Moreover, the perfection of the cause, whether the doer is knowledgeable and aware, is a reality, while freewill is another reality. We have already said that the descriptions must be applied to Allah, Praise belongs to Him, after stripping them of the impurities of possibility and material nature while having reservations about its meaning, not stripping it of its truth and reality.

The Truth in the Matter

The truth is that freewill is one of the entitative attributes, and it applies to Him, the most Praised One, according to the progress which we mention in “life”. In order to explain our objective, we would like to make a useful statement about all His Attributes, Praise belongs to Him.

Every theologian, in the process of applying His Attributes to Him, Praise belongs to Him, must strip these Attributes of the impurities of shortcomings, space, etc., and must understand them in the sense that suits Him while being reserved about their facts and realities even after such stripping.

For example, we describe Him, Praise belongs to Him, as being all-Knowledgeable, and we apply it stripped of particularities, probable limits, but while being reserved about its reality which is: the presence of knowledge with the all-Knowledgeable One. As regarding His knowledge being entitative or an addition between the Knowledgeable One and what He knows, He is above such particularities.

The case with freewill is similar. Undoubtedly, it describes His perfection, Praise belongs to Him, and it is applied to Him stripped of the characteristics of taking place, eventuality, progression and termination once the objective is achieved, for all of these are characteristics of potential freewill. Rather, what is meant by describing Him as having freewill is that He is a doer by choice versus being a doer who has no choice. This is the basis followed in applying His Attributes, Praise belongs to Him, and here is its explanation for you in the freewill process.

The doer may either be effective by nature, not knowing his action, which is the natural doer, such as the fire when burning. Or he may know his action but not desiring it, becoming a doer without a freewill such as one’s shiver. Or he may be knowing, reluctant in doing his deed that he does because it is the lesser evil and the lighter harm, as is the case with a reluctant doer. Or he may be knowledgeable and willing, not hating his deed yet is pleased with it.

The last two types, though having in common a willing doer, but since the doer in the first division is overcome by an external factor, his deed is not regarded as a manifestation of perfect choice. Contrarily to the second, the doer has perfect choice and his deed is a manifestation of his choice.

This true restriction, which revolves between negation and affirmation, drags us to say that His action, Praise belongs to Him, is according to one of the following norms:

He may be a doer lacking knowledge, or knowledgeable lacking freewill, or willing knowledgeable but hating his action because of the existence of a might subduing him, or he is knowledgeable, willing and is pleased with his action. The action of the Creator, Praise to Him, is not one of these norms. The first three do not suit Him, Praise belongs to Him. Therefore, He has to be a doer who is willing, holding the reins of his deed and action, not being forced to create and bring into existence. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, the freewill in the levels of probability never stops taking place, progressing and terminating after the goal is reached. It is known that applying it in this way to Allah, Praise belongs to Him, is impossible because it requires Him to be the object of His deed. So, if we apply it to Him, Praise belongs to Him, we must remove these impurities. The objective behind His freewill will then be His own choice, that He is not forced to do what He does, not falling under the pressure of a higher force.

If it is accurate to label this choice as “freewill”, it is a good objective. Otherwise, we have to say that it is one of the characteristics of action.

In other words, freewill is an attribute of perfection not because it is casual, and it terminates after the objective is reached. Rather, it is an attribute of perfection. This is so because it symbolizes choosing and is a characteristic of non-obligation, so much so that the reluctant doer has a share in making a choice. He chooses one of the ends of an action over that of the other following rational computations, so he prefers doing a deed over the expected harm it will bring.

If the goal and objective behind describing the doer as having the freewill is to prove his having the might to choose, that he is not forced, this describes Him, Glory to Him, as enjoying the ability to choose. He is not being overcome in His might. He is not being obligated to affect His might. Suffices to apply freewill to Him because He is the One Who chooses, who creates the perfect freewill in the most perfect way.

It has already been stated that there is a requirement when applying the attributes to abandon the principles and to stick to the direction of perfection. The perfection of freewill is not in being coincidental, fleeting after the objective is achieved, or due to the doer taking it out of might to the action, or from defect to perfection.

Actually, its perfection lies in its doer having the option, being in control of his action, holding the reins of his deeds. If such is the perfection of freewill, Allah, Praise belongs to Him, is apt to it in the most perfect way. He is the choosing doer, the One Who is not subdued in His domain:

“Allah has full might and control over His affairs” (Qur’an, 12:21).

Freewill in the Sunnah

It appears from precious narrations of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (as) that His command and freewill are among the attributes of His actions, such as His being the One Who sustains, creates, etc. Here are excerpts from these narratives.

1. Asim ibn Humayd quotes Imam Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq) (as) as saying, “… I (Asim) said, ‘Does Allah ever cease to be willing (enjoying freewill)?’ He said, ‘Nobody who is willing is without an objective present with him. Allah never ceases to be Knowing, Able, then He wills.’”8

It seems that the freewill the narrator had in mind and about which he inquired is the freewill in the sense of determination to undertake an action, something that is never separated from a deed. So, the Imam (as) wanted to guide him to the freewill that has such a meaning, that it cannot be one of His entitative attributes because this would require what is anticipated to be timeless or the one who anticipates it to be temporal.

So that the narrator may receive an accurate meaning for freewill that suits his level of thinking, the Imam (as) explained freewill in the sense that applies to Him, Praise belongs to Him, in the station of the action. He said, “Allah never ceases to be Knowing, Able, then He wills,” that is, then He creates. But the context of the narrative does not negate the freewill as being one of His entitative attributes in a way which does not require the objective to be timeless which is: He, the most Praised One, chooses by self, He is neither obliged nor obligated.

Thus, it is obvious there are two phases for His freewill just like His knowledge, and each has its own particular explanation.

2. Safwan ibn Yahya has narrated saying, “I said to the father of al-Hassan (as), “Tell me about the freewill from (the side of) Allah and from creation.”

The Imam (as) said, “The creation’s freewill is the conscience. The action that appears to them comes from the deed. As regarding it’s being from Allah Almighty, His freewill is His creating and nothing else because He does not premeditates, nor does He intends nor contemplates. These actions are negated about Him, they belong to His creation. Allah’s freewill is His action and is nothing else. He says, ‘Be!’ and it is without articulating or speaking or determining or contemplating, nor is there a ‘how’ for it. Also, there is no ‘how’ for His actions.”9

This narrative is united with its predecessor in explaining and analyzing. The freewill that was discussed by both Imam (as) and narrator is the freewill in the sense of the “conscience” and what appears to the anticipator to be the event. It is known that the freewill in this meaning is the norm of happening, the indicator of a probability, and the most Praised One cannot be described as such. For this reason, the Imam (as) focused on negating it in this sense, in as far as the Creator is concerned, saying, “He does not premeditate, nor does He intend or contemplate.”

But, so that the narrator could receive a sound concept of the freewill that suits the level of his mentality, the Imam (as) explained the freewill as the will to do an action. He (as) said, “Allah’s freewill is His action and nothing else. He says, ‘Be!’ and it is…” While observing these aspects, it is not right for us to say that the Imam (as) was in the process of negating freewill as being one of the entitative attributes, not even in the sense that suits the most Holy One.

3. Muhammad ibn Muslim has quoted Abu Abdullah (as) as saying, “Freewill brings about an action.”10

The goal behind describing His freewill, the most Praised One that He is, as bringing about an action is to distance the narrator’s mind from interpreting it as the determination to undertake an action and making it a description of the Self. Interpreting freewill in this sense is not without faults, including the willing doer being timeless.

For this purpose, the Imam (as) explained freewill through one of its two meanings: freewill substituting the action. He said, “Freewill is His action,” an indication that His action takes place and is not timeless.

Thus, you can explain the narratives about the freewill. These narratives focus on its being a description of His action, Praise belongs to Him.11

There are questions here about His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, being an entitative attribute. You have already become familiar with what we have stated about it, so you can answer these questions. Here are some of those questions.

1. The scales in distinguishing the entitative attributes from the operative attributes, as stated by mentor al-Kulayni at the conclusion to the chapter about freewill, is that the first is not categorized within the frame of negation and affirmation; rather it is singly relevant. It is not said that Allah knows and does not know. This is contrary to the second which falls under the cycle of negation and affirmation, so it is said that Allah grants and does not grant. In the light of this, the freewill must be one of the operative attributes. It is the object of negation and affirmation. The most Praised One says,

“Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you” (Qur’an, 2:185).

The answer to this question follows two paths:

One: The freewill that is subject to negation and affirmation stands in the position of action. As for the freewill that stands in the position of the self, which we interpreted as the perfection of freewill, i.e. option, it does not fall within the frame of negation and affirmation.

Two: This question is also answered by Mulla Sadra who believes that Allah, Praise belongs to Him, has a simple freewill the essence of which is unknown, and that the object of negation and affirmation is the numerical particle will which undertakes the function of an action. As for the origin of the simple freewill, the most Praised One being a doer having freewill, is neither obligated nor forced, Allah, Praise belongs to Him, cannot be robbed of it.

The origin of confusion is mixing the simple will that undertakes the position of the self, which cannot be made plural or dual, with the numerical freewill which undertakes the position of action which can be plural, dual, etc., and it can be negated or affirmed.

Sadra said, “The difference between the detailed numerical will, which is relevant to a portion of natural numbers, or to one of two ends of a probability, as is the case with able animals, and between the truly simple Divine freewill the comprehension of which wears out the minds of the greatest men of wisdom and others.”12

2. Had freewill been the same as His Essence, Praise belongs to Him, the world would have had a beginning because it is united with the Self, and the Self is described by it, and it is inseparable from the objective.

The above can be criticized as follows:

First: The confusion is not restricted to those who made the freewill, in its true sense, as a description of His Essence, Praise belongs to Him. Rather, the confusion also reaches those who explained His freewill as meaning knowledge of what is the most fitting based on the existence of things to the knowledge of the most perfect system which is His own Self. It is impossible to separate the effect from the cause.

It is quite clear without any distinction between calling this knowledge freewill or something else. Had the most perfect system been rendered to His knowledge, with the supposition that His knowledge is timeless, the system itself would have been timeless, too, due to the timelessness of its causality.

Second: If we say that His freewill, Praise belongs to Him, means His being choosing, not obligated by either side, the world would then have to be timeless if He chooses to create the world at a later time.

Mulla Sadra and those who follow in his footsteps believe our ignorance of the reality of this simple unknown entitative freewill and how it functions deters us from knowing how His action comes up, and why He created an incident instead of doing so before then.

There is something very interesting here that needs to be brought up as a comment about this research after having drawn attention to time being a connected whole extracted from something’s movement and change from one status to another, from one place to another, as well as from one quantum image to another. The sum of movement is time. Had it not been for the matter and its movement, time would have had no true meaning; it would have been a thing of the imagination.

The above has been proven by in-depth researches in time and motion. The ancients used to claim that time is born of the movement of the stars, the sun and the moon and other planets, but the fact is that every movement is tied to time that draws and generates it.

In a more precise statement, the alterations, be they elemental or ethereal, contain two matters. The first is the status of moving from the start to the end, whether this movement is in the description or in the self. The other is that this movement takes place gradually, it flows rather than thrusts.

According to the first matter according to which movement is described, and according to the other in which time is described. It is as though one thing that is named change, alteration, movement, becomes the start of our extracting two concepts from it, each having its own consideration. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, matter is realized gradually, in stages, and it does not take place as a whole because its reality is fluid, gradual, similarly to the flow of water. Every material phenomenon takes place following a particular cause. Anything such as this is impossible to materialize as a whole, or a portion of it advances or lags behind. Rather, each part has to materialize within its own condition and place.

Accordingly, numbers and figures are similar. The number 5, for example, has no place to come to exist except between 4 and 6. It is impossible for it to advance before its position or to lag behind it. Thereupon, the causes and causations that result from a particular system are impossible to permit any of its portions to depart from its position and place.

If you come to know this matter, let us return now to explaining this interesting thing which is: What does one mean when he says that the entitative attribute of Allah, Glory to Him, requires the world being timeless? If he means that the world has to materialize in a time that precedes it and in a past period, this (theory) fails due to the first requirement. This is so because it is presupposed that there is no time before the world of matter since you have come to know that the matter’s movement draws time and generates it.

If he means that some of its portions have to precede others, or that they precede the whole world, you know that this is impossible, and that getting each portion out of its frame is impossible due to its nonexistence.

In this regard, Mulla Sadra has made a statement that has a deep meaning. So, one who wishes to review it has to refer to him.13

  • 1. You will come to know, in the discussion of the negative attributes, that His Essence, the most Exalted One, is not subject to events/incidents.
  • 2. Al-Asfar al-Arbaa, Vol. 6, p. 316.
  • 3. Ibid., p. 333.
  • 4. Ibid., p. 331.
  • 5. Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 109 in a chapter on freewill.
  • 6. In his comments about sufficiency, the critic-mentor al-Isfahani makes statements in this regard which are very useful for you; so, refer to the conclusion of Al-Diraya, Vol. 1, pp. 116-17 (Tehran edition).
  • 7. Our objective is to provide a clear report of what this holy person indicated as cited in Taaleeq al-Asfar, Vol. 6, pp. 315-16 and in Nihayat al-Hikma, p. 300.
  • 8. Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 109, in a chapter about freewill, first tradition.
  • 9. Ibid., tradition 3.
  • 10. Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, in a chapter about freewill, tradition 7.
  • 11. Refer to Al-Kafi by thiqatul-Islam al-Kulayni, Vol. 1, pp. 109-11.
  • 12. Al-Asfar, Vol. 6, p. 324.
  • 13. Al-Asfar, Vol. 6, p. 368.