IRÂDAH – ارادہ
Literally: A willing. A wishing. Inclining to (a thing). The power or faculty of willing; freewill.
Absolute, perfect, unlimited will of Allah (‘Azza wa jalla). One of the seven attributes of Allah. Irâdah has a more extensive and general meaning than will. Will is to choose among the options. Irâdah is related to the things that are not existent. Irâdah specifies and determines the results and existence of a thing.
“If it is said: ‘Ilm alone is not sufficient; Irâdah is also necessary. If Irâdah was not present, ‘ilm would not be sufficient, would it?
The Answer: All beings both indicate and testify to an all-encompassing ‘ilm, and they point to the universal Irâdah of the owner of that all-encompassing ‘ilm. It is as follows:
The fact that, while hesitating among great numbers of possibilities, an ordered individuality is given to all things, especially to all animate beings, through a determined probability from among a great host of muddled probabilities, and through a result-yielding way from among a great many fruitless ways, demonstrates a universal irâdah of many facets.
Measured shapes and well-ordered identities have been given to all things in a most sensitive and delicate measure and with a finest and subtle order. They have been given these from among the inanimate elements which flow without balance in confused and monotonous floods, and from among the barren and fruitless paths and endless possibilities that surround all beings. This necessarily and self-evidently demonstrates that they are the works of a comprehensive irâdah. For choosing innumerable states occurs by means of a designation, a choice, a purpose, and an irâdah. It is specified by a deliberate intention and desire. For sure, specifying requires a specifier and choice requires a chooser. And that specifier and chooser is irâdah.
For example, the creation of a being like man, who is like a machine assembled from hundreds of different components and systems, from a drop of water; and the creation of a bird, which has hundreds of different members, out of a simple egg; and that of a tree, which is separated into hundreds of different parts, out of simple seed-the creation of these testify to qoudrah and ‘ilm, just as they indicate to the universal irâdah of their Sâni’ in a most decisive and necessary fashion. And with that irâdah, He gives a different and particular shape to every component, every member, every part. He clothes them in a chosen state.
In Short: The fact that there are between different things many resemblances and tawâfuqs with regard to their essentials and results; for example, between the major members and organs of animals' bodies, and the fact that they display a single stamp of wahdah, indicate in decisive fashion that As-Sâni’ of all animals is one; He is Wâhid, He is Ahad. And the fact that these animals have different identities and distinct features, all determined by hikmah and purpose, indicates that their Sâni’ Who is Wâhid is Fâ’il Mukhtâr and He has Irâdah. He does what He wishes to do, He does not do what He does not wish to do; He acts with intention and Irâdah.
There are as many indications and attestations to Ilahî ‘ilm and Rabbânî irâdah as there are beings, indeed as the number of those beings' shuûnah. Therefore, some philosophers denying Ilahî irâdah, and some of those ahl al-bid’ah denying Qadar, and some of the people of dhalâlah claiming that Allah is not concerned with minor matters, and the Naturalists attributing certain beings to Nature and causes, are lies multiplied to the number of beings and a lunacy of dhalâlah compounded to the number of those beings' shuûnah. For whoever denies the innumerable instances of veracious witnessing is telling a lie of infinite proportions.
So, you can see for yourself just how mistaken and contrary to the haqiqah it is to say of events, all of which come into existence through Ilahî will, "Naturally, naturally," instead of, "Inshallah, Inshallah." The Letters (289- 291 )
“اَللّٰهُ اَكْبَرُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قُدْرَةً وَعِلْمًا اِذْ هُوَ الْمُرِيدُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مَاشَاءَ اللّٰهُ كَانَ وَمَا لَمْ يَشَاْ لَمْ يَكُنْ اِذْ تَنْظِيمُ اِيجَادِ الْمَصْنُوعَاتِ ذَاتًا وَصِفَةً وَمَاهِيَّةً وَهُوِيَّةً مِنْ بَيْنِ اْلاِمْكَانَاتِ الْغَيْرِ الْمَحْدُودَةِ وَالطُّرُقِ الْعَقِيمَةِ وَاْلاِحْتِمَالاَتِ الْمُشَوَّشَةِ وَسُيُولِ الْعَنَاصِرِ الْمُتَشَاكِسَةِ وَاْلاَمْثَالِ الْمُتَشَابِهَةِ بِهذَا النِّظَامِ اْلاَدَقِّ اْلاَرَقِّ وَتَوْزِينُهَا بِهذَا الْمِيزَانِ الْحَسَّاسِ الْجَسَّاسِ وَتَمْيِيزُهَا بِهذِهِ التَّعَيُّنَاتِ الْمُزَيَّنَةِ الْمُنْتَظَمَةِ وَخَلْقُ الْمُخْتَلِفَاتِ الْمُنْتَظَمَاتِ الْحَيَوِيَّةِ مِنَ الْبَسِيطِ الْجَامِدِ الْمَيِّتِ كَاْلاِنْسَانِ بِجِهَازَاتِهِ مِنَ النُّطْفَةِ وَالطَّيْرِ بِجَوَارِحِهِ مِنَ الْبَيْضَةِ وَالشَّجَرَةِ بِاَعْضَائِهَا مِنَ النُّوَاةِ وَالْحَبَّةِ تَدُلُّ عَلَى اَنَّ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِاِرَادَتِهِ تَعَالَى وَاِخْتِيَارِهِ وَقَصْدِهِ وَمَشِيئَتِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ كَمَا اَنَّ تَوَافُقَ اْلاَشْيَاءِ فِى اَسَاسَاتِ اْلاَعْضَاءِ النَّوْعِيَّةِ وَالْجِنْسِيَّةِ يَدُلُّ عَلَى اَنَّ صَانِعَ تِلْكَ اْلاَفْرَادِ وَاحِدٌ اَحَدٌ كَذلِكَ اَنَّ تَمَايُزَهَا بِالتَّشَخُّصَاتِ الْمُتَمَايِزَاتِ وَالتَّعَيُّنَاتِ الْمُنْتَظَمَةِ يَدُلُّ عَلَى اَنَّ ذلِكَ الصَّانِعَ الْوَاحِدَ اْلاَحَدَ فَاعِلٌ مُخْتَارٌ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ
This piece consists of one long universal proof of Ilahî Irâdah, which comprises many of the proofs of Irâdah. In a short translation of it, we set out evidence proving decisively Ilahî Irâdah and choice and will. All the above evidences for Ilahî ‘Ilm are also evidences for Irâdah. For the manifestations and works of ‘Ilm and Irâdah are apparent together in all creatures.
The meaning of the above Arabic piece in brief:
Everything exists through His Irâdah and volition. What He wills occur, what He does not will does not occur. If He did not will it, nothing would occur. A proof is this:
We see that among infinite, confused possibilities and various fruitless ways, amid intervening and mutually opposing elements which flow like floods causing chaos, in the midst of numerous others resembling themselves, which is the cause of disorder, every creature with its own specific essence, particular attributes, individual character, and distinctive form, is taken within a precise, perfect, regular order; all its members and organs are weighed up with a sensitive, exact measure and balance and attached to it, gives ornamented and regular face and its mutually opposing members are created living and with extreme art from simple, lifeless matter. For example, a human being is created with a hundred different organs from a droplet of fluid, and a bird is made with numerous different members and organs from a simple egg and clothed in a miraculous form, and a tree is drawn out of a tiny seed comprising simple, lifeless carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen, together with its branches and twigs and various members and parts, and dressed in an orderly, fruitful form. This self-evidently, indubitably, decisively, and necessarily proves that all those creatures together with all their parts and particles, form and nature, are given their particular perfect states through the Irâdah, will, choice, and intention of One Absolute Qadîr. It proves too that everything is governed by an all-embracing Irâdah. These single creatures pointing in this indubitable way to Ilahî Irâdah shows that all creatures offer testimony to their number with a certainty as clear as the sun at noon to Ilahî Irâdah encompassing all things and that they comprise numberless proofs of the necessary existence of a Qadîr al-Murîd.
All the evidences for Ilahî ‘Ilm mentioned above are also evidences for Irâdah, since both function together with Qoudrah. One cannot be without the other. Just as all the correspondence and conformities between the members of species and sorts of beings indicate that their Sâni’ is wâhid and ahad; so their features being distinctive and different from each other in a fashion with hikmah indicates definitely that Sâni’ Al-Wâhid Al-Ahad acts with will and choice. He creates everything with Irâdah, choice, will, and intention.” The Rays ( 620 - 622 )
“For sure, man's particular faculty of irâdah and juz’ al-ikhtiyârî are weak and an i’tibârî action, but Janâb-i Haqq the Absolutely Hakîm, made that weak juz’ al-ikhtiyârî a condition for the connection of His universal Irâdah. That is, He says in a ma’mawî manner: "Oh my ‘abd! Whichever way you wish to take with your power of choice, I will take you there. In which case the responsibility is yours!" If the comparison is not mistaken, you take a powerless child onto your shoulders and leaving the choice to him, tell him you will take him wherever he wishes. The child wants to go to a high mountain so you take him there, but he either catches a cold or falls. So, of course, you reprimand him, saying, "You wanted to go there," and you give him a slap. Thus, Janâb-i Haqq, the Ahkam ul-Hâkimîn (Firmest of Judges), makes His ‘abd's irâdah, which is utterly weak, a condition, and His universal Irâdah follows it.
In Short: O man! You have an irâdah known as the juz’ al-ikhtiyârî which is extremely weak, but whose hand in evil acts and destruction is extremely long and in good deeds is extremely short. Give one of the hands of that irâdah of yours to du'â, so that it may reach Jannah, which is a fruit of the chain of good deeds, and stretch to eternal happiness which is a flower of Jannah. And give its other hand to the istighfâr, so that it may be short for evil deeds and will not reach the Zakkum-tree of Jahannam, which is one fruit of that accursed tree. That is, just as du'â and tawakkul greatly strengthen the inclination to khayr, so the istighfâr and tawbah cut the inclination to sharr, putting an end to its transgressions.” The Words ( 483 )