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Raful al-La’imah Aanil Ai’mah – Lifting the Blame From the Imams Series – Part 22 – In Defence of Imam Qatadah b. Di’amah – Repudiating the Allegation of Qadr

Compiled & Translated 
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


I compiled a biography of >>> Qatadah b. Di’amah Sadusi Basri [d.118H] which was published many years ago. A number of people commented he was a Qadari. The orientalists have been at the forefront of this in trying to undermine the hadith corpus and rijal reliability and they have been quick to run with this. Some have presented the argument of the permissibility of taking knowledge from innovators while pursuing this line of argument and using Qatadah as an example.

Imam Qatadah strongly adhered to the Sunnah and sought knowledge from the Successors and Companions. He took the tafsir of the Quran from them and the transmission of hadith and he was an astounding and prolific preserver of hadith. He was particularly a formidable expert in the tafsir of the Quran and is on record for saying,

“There is not an ayah except that I have heard something concerning it”. (Shadhrat adh-Dhahab (1/154)

The innovation of rejecting and denying Qadr ie the belief of the Qadariyyah was rampant in Iraq and the likes of the misguided innovator Ma’bad al-Juhani, the founder of the Qadariyyah were based around that region and in this regard some good authorities were accused of inclining towards that view where as that was not the case.

Qatadah Affirming Qadr

Imam Ibn Battah (d.387H) adds a chapter heading in his book, “The First Chapter – What has Been Transmitted from a Group of Tabui’in (Successors) Concerning Having Iman in al-Qadr and Affirming it” and then transmits this report,

A man came to Qatadah and said to him. “Oh Abul Khattab what do you say concerning al-Qadr”? Qatadah replied, “Do you like of the Arabs or non-Arabs”? He replied, “The Arabs”. He replied, “The Arabs did not believe in this during the time of ignorance whereas Islam affirms al-Qadr” and then he read some couplets of a poem.” (al-Ibanah An Shari’yyatil Firqatin Najiyyah Wa Mujanabatil Firaq al-Mazmumati, (Kitab ath-Thani, al-Qadr (2/219 no.1792) (Dar ur-Rayyah)

Imam Ibn Abi Hatim in his tafsir under Surah Tawbah: 51 transmits through an Mu’allaq (disconnected chain) from Qatadah an affirmatory statement on al-Qadr from his Shaikh Muslim b. Yassar who said,

“al-Qadr are two expansive valleys in which people are destroyed and its extent cannot be comprehended. So perform righteous deeds like the deeds of the man who knows there is no salvation except through his deeds. Have tawakkul like the tawakkul of the man who knows nothing will harm him except what Allah wrote for him”. (Ibn Abi Hatim, Tafsir al-Quran al-A’zim (8/454 no.1182), al-Ibanah (Kitab ath-Thani, al-Qadr (2/310-311 no.1990), as-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur (3/249)

From Sa’id b. Abi Aruba from Qatadah who said,

“I asked Sa’id b. al-Musayyib about al-Qadr”. He said, “Whatever is (written for you) from Qadr will be your Qadr and whatever is not (written for you) in your Qadr will not be from your Qadr”. (al-Lalaka’i, Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnati Wa’l Jama’ah (4/774 no.1295)

The report above from Sa’id Ibn Abu Aruba contradicts what adh-Dhahabi transmits from him and ad-Dastawa’i when they said Qatadah said,

“Everything is from al-Qadr except sins”. (Tazkirratul Huffadh (1/124)

Abdur Razzaq as-Sanani mentions in his tafsir from Ma’mar from Qatadah from al-Hasan who said,

“Whoever rejects al-Qadr he has indeed rejected the Quran”. (Abdur Razzaq as-San’ani, Tafsir al-Quran (2/240 no.1391), Musannaf (9/21 no.21102), Abdullah b. Imam Ahmad, as-Sunnah (2/83 no.984) (ar-Riyashi), al-Ibanah (Kitab ath-Thani, al-Qadr (2/180 no.1666), Muqbil, al-Jam’i as-Sahih Fi’l Qadr (p.524 no.543)

From Abdur Razzaq from Ma’mar from Qatadah who said,

“I asked Sa’id b. al-Musayyib concerning al-Qadr, he replied. “Whatever Allah decreed (al-Qadr) then that is Qadr”. (Musannaf Abdur Razzaq (9/26 no.21018), Abdullah b. Imam Ahmad, as-Sunnah (2/48 no.927) (ar-Riyashi), al-Ibanah (Kitab ath-Thani, al-Qadr (2/221 no.1799), al-Jam’i as-Sahih Fi’l Qadr (p.524 no.541)

The Accusation of Denying al-Qadr

Hanzalah b. Abi Sufyan reports Tawus would flee from Qatadah due to his views on al-Qadr. (Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnati Wa’l Jama’ah (4/704 no.1143), Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (5/275), Tahdhib ul-Kamal (23/509)

Ibn Sa’d said he had something by the way of al-Qadr (Tabaqat al-Kubra (9/228 no.3957)

Al-Ijli said,

“He was accused of al-Qadr and he would not call to it nor speak about it …” (Ma’rifah ath-Thiqat (2/215 no.1513)

Abu Musa Ishaq al-Juzjani also levied a charge against Qatadah (adh-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam (6/201), Mukhtasar Tarikh Dimashq (25/116)

Ibn Shawzab said Qatadah would openly express his view on denying al-Qadr. (al-Fusawi, al-Ma’rifah wat-Tarikh (2/277), (Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (5/275), Tazkirratul Huffadh (1/124)

Others have also reported some affairs of negation of al-Qadr where in Qatadah said,

“Everything is from al-Qadr except sins”. (Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnati Wa’l Jama’ah (4/774 no.1296), Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (5/275), Tazkirratul Huffadh (1/124 no.107)

However al-Lalaka’i directly after this report transmit Qatadah’s statement contradicting the view in the report above. It reads,

“Hakam b. Umar sent Khalid b. Abdullah to Qatadah to ask him some questions on some issues and at the time he was in al-Hiyarah. I asked him about Allah’s statement “Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Majûs, and those who worship others besides Allâh (Surah al-Hajj:17) does this refer to the mushriks of Arabia? He replied, “No, rather the detractor Zindiqs (heretics) who associated partners (i.e. shirk) from Allah’s creation with him and they would say Allah created good and shaytan created evil and Allah does not have power over shaytan”. (Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnati Wa’l Jama’ah (4/774 no.1297), Tarikh Dimashq (15/33)

Another charge by Abu Dawud against Qatadah was that he would remain silent and not speak about al-Qadr; indicating his denial of it (al-Ibanah (Kitab ath-Thani, al-Qadr (2/25 no.1810)

However, Abu Dawud also said, “Nothing is authentic about Qatadah regarding al-Qadr (denying it)”. (Mu’ajam Ibn al-Muqri (2/45 no.183)

Adh-Dhahabi also repeats the charge and said

“He was accused (denying) al-Qadr”

and in Siyar transmits a report from al-Hasan al-Basri which is transmitted from Qatadah that,

“The good is from al-Qadr and evil is not from al-Qadr”. Adh-Dhahabi then said, “Qatadah was accused of (denying) al-Qadr”. (Tazkirratul Huffadh (1/124), Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (4/583), respectively)

adh-Dhahabi presents his summary on Qatadah in Tazkirratul Huffadh when he said,

“I say: despite this foul belief no one held back using his hadith as evidence, may Allah forgive his errors”. (Tazkirratul Huffadh (1/124)

Adh-Dhahabi clearly changes his view and this statement abrogates his previous views when he said Ahmad b. Hanbal said,

“Qatadah and Sa’id spoke about al-Qadr while they both concealed it. I say (adh-Dhahabi): They both repented and retracted just as their Shaikh repented”. (Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (5/275)

Yaqut al-Hamawi said,

“He (Qatadah) spoke of something of al-Qadr and then he retracted from it”. (Mu’ajam al-Adba (5/2233 no.914)

Dr. Ahmad b. Sa’id b. Hamdan al-Ghamidi also mentions in his footnote in his checking of Sharh Usul al-I’tiqad under (no.1297),

“The author (al-Lalaka’i) transmitted two contradictory statements of Qatadah with the first one saying everything is from al-Qadr except sins and in the second that (denying) al-Qadr is the view of the Zanadiqah (heretics), Allah knows best which view is authentic from him. Indications have preceded that Qatadah had a view on al-Qadr and then he repented from it”. (Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnati Wa’l Jama’ah (4/774)

Abdul Hamid Bakhit said,

“Qatadah is trustworthy according to the majority scholars of hadith, the accusation of al-Qadr regarding sins needs investigating and this did not prevent numerous scholars of hadith transmitting hadith from him, they relied and authenticated his narrations since he was hafiz and hujjah. The accusation of al-Qadr is not proven and if it is, it will be explained with that which does not oppose clear Iman and Islam”. (Dirasat Tarikhiyyah Fi Rijal al-Hadith, p.48)

Dr. Abdullah Taha Abdullah as-Salmani has also favoured the view that denial of al-Qadr like the Qadariyyah has not been proven regarding Qatadah and all the scholars of hadith took his hadith. (Majallah Ibhath Kulliyah at-Tanziyyah al-Asaiyyah vol.8 no.2 p.203-207)

In summary, If Qatadah was accused with Qadr and the reports are authentic then his repentance and retraction is established and thus absolved of such accusations. We must also consider some of the accusations are without supporting evidence and therefore questionable. What also supports the previous statement are the statements of Abu Dawud where he said Qatadah would remain silent and not speak of al-Qadr and his saying nothing is authentic from Qatadah denying al-Qadr. Similarly, adh-Dhahabi repeating the charge of al-Qadr and then affirming his retraction from it.

Lastly, another perspective is that he was known as a caller to al-Qadr and this is why the scholars of hadith took his narrations otherwise their rule was very stringent in not taking reports from those wo called to their innovation.

In the words of adh-Dhahabi himself,

“Indeed Qatadah is Hujjah with consensus when he clarifies he heard hadith…” (Siyar A’lam an-Nabula (5/271)

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