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 things that do not exist. 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: Just as all beings indicate and testify to an all-encompassing ‘ilm, so too they indicate the universal Irâdah of the owner of that all-encompassing ‘ilm. It is as follows:
A determined probability among a great many muddled probabilities and a way that produces result among a great many barren ways, and while hesitating among a great many possibilities an extremely regular individuality being given to each being, especially to each living being, demonstrate a universal irâdah through infinite aspects. For, a well balanced and proportioned shape and a regular individuality, which have been given from among the confused and monotonous inanimate elements flowing like flood without balance, with an extremely sensitive measure and delicate weight and an extremely subtle order and delicate regularity, amid the barren and fruitless ways and infinite contingencies and possibilities that surround all beings, necessarily and self-evidently rather through witnessing, demonstrate that the fact that they are the works of a universal Irâdah. For, choosing a state among innumerable states occurs through a specification, a choice, an intention and purpose and an irâdah; and it is specified by a deliberate intention and desire. Specification certainly requires a specifier. Choice requires a chooser. As for the specifier and chooser, they are Irâdah.
For example, the creation of a being like man, a machine of hundreds of different equipment and instruments, out of a drop of water... and a bird, which has hundreds of different members, out of a simple egg... and a tree, which is divided into hundreds of different parts, out of a simple seed; just as they testify to Qoudrah and ‘Ilm, they serve as an indication to the universal Irâdah of their Sâni’ most decisively and necessarily. With that Irâdah, He specifies everything which belongs to that thing, and with that Irâdah, He gives a different and special shape to every component, every member, every part of it, and clothes them with a state.
In Short: Just as the resemblance of the animals’ major members concerning their essentials and results, and their tawâfuq, and the fact that they display a single stamp of wahdah indicate decisively that As-Sâni’ of all animals is one; He is Wâhid, He is Ahad. So too, the different specifications of those animals and different identifications and differentiation of their features with hikmah indicate 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 purpose, and Irâdah.
Since there are indications and testimonies to the ‘ilm of Allah and the irâdah of Ar-Rabb to the numbers of beings, rather to the number of the shuûn of beings, indeed, some philosophers denying irâdah of Allah, and some of the people of bid’ah denying Qadar, and some of the people of dhalâlah claiming that Allah does not possess knowledge about particular things, and the naturalists attributing some of the beings to nature and causes, are a multiplied mendacity to the number of beings and lunacy of dhalâlah compounded to the number of the shuûn of beings. For whoever denies the infinite veracious testimonies perpetrates infinite mendacity.
Thus, compare how mistaken and contrary to the haqiqah it is to say knowingly “Natural, natural,” of actions, states and matters, which come into existence through the will of Allah, instead of, “Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah”.
The Twentieth Letter/2nd Station/9th Word
“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 )