Are Our Actions, Life, and Death Uncreated? Are We Responsible?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

Is it true that we can say that our acts are uncreated?

I ask this because it is said for example that life and death are acts of Allah, and I find it strange to say that our life and our death are uncreated.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

Creation is the result of Allah’s specification (takhsis) with His will (irada), and then His originating with His power (qudra).

Both Allah’s will and power are eternal and absolute. Creating (khalq), giving life (ihya’), and giving death (imata) go back in meaning to the eternal divine attribute of power. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid; Hashimi, Miftah al-Janna]

“If We ever will something ˹to exist˺, all We say is: ‘Be!’ And it is!” [Quran, 16:40]

As for originated traces (athar) of Allah’s Power, those are necessarily created. Thus, our actions, our life, and our death are all created. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid]

“Allah has created you and whatever you do.” [Quran, 37:96]

This doesn’t in any way lift human responsibility nor accountability, however–as we affirm that the human being
(1) has capacity (istita‘a) to will and choose;
(2) has ability (qudra);
(3) and is responsible for their choices and how they direct their ability–referred to, in the Quranic usage, as ‘acquisition’ (kasb) of moral responsibility. [ibid; Nabulsi, Sharh Ida’at al-Dujunna; Maydani, Sharh al-Tahawiyya]

Related:
Free Will and the Divine Decree: A Reader

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.