Saying “circumstances willed” or “circumstances dictated”
Question: I read in some stories, literary works and journalistic articles the phrase “circumstances willed” or “circumstances dictated”, or “fate decreed”. What is the ruling on these phrases?
All the Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-'Alameen.
These are inappropriate phrases, because circumstances and fate do not have a will.
The great scholar Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah preserve him) was asked about these phrases, and said:
“‘Fate willed’ or ‘circumstances willed’ or circumstances dictated’ are reprehensible phrases, because the Arabic word for circumstances, zuruf, is the plural of zarf, which is another word for time – and time does not have a will. Similarly, fate does not have a will either.
The One who does have a will is Allah. If a person says ‘the decree of Allah dictated such and such’, there is nothing wrong with that. But it is not correct to attribute will to decrees, because the will does not belong to the description, it belongs to the One Who is described.” [Majmu’ Fatawa wa Rasaa’il Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/131-132]
Source: From al-Eman bi’l-Qadha’ wa’l-Qadar by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Hamad, p. 147; Islam Q&A.