Al-Kāfi - Volume 1 > The Capabilities
Hadith #1

عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الْقَاسَانِيِّ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَسْبَاطٍ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا الْحَسَنِ الرِّضَا (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) عَنِ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ فَقَالَ يَسْتَطِيعُ الْعَبْدُ بَعْدَ أَرْبَعِ خِصَالٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ مُخَلَّى السَّرْبِ صَحِيحَ الْجِسْمِ سَلِيمَ الْجَوَارِحِ لَهُ سَبَبٌ وَارِدٌ مِنَ الله قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ فَسِّرْ لِي هَذَا قَالَ أَنْ يَكُونَ الْعَبْدُ مُخَلَّى السَّرْبِ صَحِيحَ الْجِسْمِ سَلِيمَ الْجَوَارِحِ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَزْنِيَ فَلا يَجِدُ امْرَأَةً ثُمَّ يَجِدُهَا فَإِمَّا أَنْ يَعْصِمَ نَفْسَهُ فَيَمْتَنِعَ كَمَا امْتَنَعَ يُوسُفُ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) أَوْ يُخَلِّيَ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ إِرَادَتِهِ فَيَزْنِيَ فَيُسَمَّى زَانِياً وَلَمْ يُطِعِ الله بِإِكْرَاهٍ وَلَمْ يَعْصِهِ بِغَلَبَةٍ.

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from al-Hassan ibn Muhammad from Ali ibn Muhammad al-Qasani from Ali ibn Asbat who said the following: “Once I asked Imam abu al-Hassan al-Rida, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about capability. The Imam said, ‘A servant (of Allah) has the capability if four things exist. That he is free and on his own, that he is physically well and of sound limbs and that for him there is reason and means from Allah.’ I asked, ‘May Allah keep my soul in the service for your cause, please explain it to me.’ The Imam said, ‘Being free and on one’s own, physically well and of sound limbs means that one is willing to commit adultery but does not find a female party and then he finds her. He may now protect his soul and stay away from sin just as Joseph (peace be upon him) did or allow his desire to act and commit adultery and in this case he is called an adulterer. He has not obeyed Allah in coercion and disobeyed Him with defeat.’”



Hadith #2

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ جَمِيعاً عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ وَعَبْدِ الله بْنِ يَزِيدَ جَمِيعاً عَنْ رَجُلٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبَصْرَةِ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) عَنِ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ فَقَالَ أَ تَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تَعْمَلَ مَا لَمْ يُكَوَّنْ قَالَ لا قَالَ فَتَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تَنْتَهِيَ عَمَّا قَدْ كُوِّنَ قَالَ لا قَالَ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) فَمَتَى أَنْتَ مُسْتَطِيعٌ قَالَ لا أَدْرِي قَالَ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) إِنَّ الله خَلَقَ خَلْقاً فَجَعَلَ فِيهِمْ آلَةَ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يُفَوِّضْ إِلَيْهِمْ فَهُمْ مُسْتَطِيعُونَ لِلْفِعْلِ وَقْتَ الْفِعْلِ مَعَ الْفِعْلِ إِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ الْفِعْلَ فَإِذَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُوهُ فِي مُلْكِهِ لَمْ يَكُونُوا مُسْتَطِيعِينَ أَنْ يَفْعَلُوا فِعْلاً لَمْ يَفْعَلُوهُ لانَّ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَعَزُّ مِنْ أَنْ يُضَادَّهُ فِي مُلْكِهِ أَحَدٌ قَالَ الْبَصْرِيُّ فَالنَّاسُ مَجْبُورُونَ قَالَ لَوْ كَانُوا مَجْبُورِينَ كَانُوا مَعْذُورِينَ قَالَ فَفَوَّضَ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالَ لا قَالَ فَمَا هُمْ قَالَ عَلِمَ مِنْهُمْ فِعْلاً فَجَعَلَ فِيهِمْ آلَةَ الْفِعْلِ فَإِذَا فَعَلُوهُ كَانُوا مَعَ الْفِعْلِ مُسْتَطِيعِينَ قَالَ الْبَصْرِيُّ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّكُمْ أَهْلُ بَيْتِ النُّبُوَّةِ وَالرِّسَالَةِ. 3ـ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي عَبْدِ الله عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ زِيَادٍ وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ جَمِيعاً عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ عَنْ صَالِحٍ النِّيلِيِّ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) هَلْ لِلْعِبَادِ مِنَ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ شَيْ‏ءٌ قَالَ فَقَالَ لِي إِذَا فَعَلُوا الْفِعْلَ كَانُوا مُسْتَطِيعِينَ بِالاسْتِطَاعَةِ الَّتِي جَعَلَهَا الله فِيهِمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ وَمَا هِيَ قَالَ الالَةُ مِثْلُ الزَّانِي إِذَا زَنَى كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً لِلزِّنَا حِينَ زَنَى وَلَوْ أَنَّهُ تَرَكَ الزِّنَا وَلَمْ يَزْنِ كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً لِتَرْكِهِ إِذَا تَرَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنَ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ قَبْلَ الْفِعْلِ قَلِيلٌ وَلا كَثِيرٌ وَلَكِنْ مَعَ الْفِعْلِ وَالتَّرْكِ كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً قُلْتُ فَعَلَى مَا ذَا يُعَذِّبُهُ قَالَ بِالْحُجَّةِ الْبَالِغَةِ وَالالَةِ الَّتِي رَكَّبَ فِيهِمْ إِنَّ الله لَمْ يُجْبِرْ أَحَداً عَلَى مَعْصِيَتِهِ وَلا أَرَادَ إِرَادَةَ حَتْمٍ الْكُفْرَ مِنْ أَحَدٍ وَلَكِنْ حِينَ كَفَرَ كَانَ فِي إِرَادَةِ الله أَنْ يَكْفُرَ وَهُمْ فِي إِرَادَةِ الله وَفِي عِلْمِهِ أَنْ لا يَصِيرُوا إِلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ قُلْتُ أَرَادَ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا قَالَ لَيْسَ هَكَذَا أَقُولُ وَلَكِنِّي أَقُولُ عَلِمَ أَنَّهُمْ سَيَكْفُرُونَ فَأَرَادَ الْكُفْرَ لِعِلْمِهِ فِيهِمْ وَلَيْسَتْ هِيَ إِرَادَةَ حَتْمٍ إِنَّمَا هِيَ إِرَادَةُ اخْتِيَارٍ.

Muhammad ibn Yahya and Ali ibn Ibrahim both have narrated from Ahmad Muhammad from Ali ibn al-Hakam and ‘Abd Allah ibn Yazid both from a man from Basra who said the following: “He asked (Imam) abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about capability. The Imam said, ‘Can you do something before its existence?’ He Said, ‘No, I cannot do so.’ The Imam said, ‘Can you stop doing what has already been done?’ He said, ‘No, I cannot do so.’ The Imam then asked, ‘When then can you have the capability?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’ “The Imam said, ‘Allah created people and placed in them the means of capability and then He did not leave all matters in their hands. Thus, they are capable of acting at the time of the act with the act when they do that act. If they did not act the ‘Act’ in His property they do not have the capability to act the ‘Act’ that they did not act. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, is by far Majestic and above being opposed by someone in His property.’ “The man from Basra then said, ‘Are people, then, compelled?’ The Imam said, ‘Had they been compelled they would have been excused.’ The man said, ‘Are then all matters up to them?’ The Imam said, ‘No, all things are not left to them.’ The man said, ‘Then how is it’? “The Imam said, ‘Allah knew that they would act, thus He placed in them the means of capability. If they act at the time of action they are capable.’ The man from Basra then said, ‘I testify that this is the truth and that you are of the family of the Messenger (of Allah).’”



Hadith #3

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي عَبْدِ الله عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ زِيَادٍ وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ جَمِيعاً عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ عَنْ صَالِحٍ النِّيلِيِّ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) هَلْ لِلْعِبَادِ مِنَ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ شَيْ‏ءٌ قَالَ فَقَالَ لِي إِذَا فَعَلُوا الْفِعْلَ كَانُوا مُسْتَطِيعِينَ بِالاسْتِطَاعَةِ الَّتِي جَعَلَهَا الله فِيهِمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ وَمَا هِيَ قَالَ الالَةُ مِثْلُ الزَّانِي إِذَا زَنَى كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً لِلزِّنَا حِينَ زَنَى وَلَوْ أَنَّهُ تَرَكَ الزِّنَا وَلَمْ يَزْنِ كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً لِتَرْكِهِ إِذَا تَرَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنَ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ قَبْلَ الْفِعْلِ قَلِيلٌ وَلا كَثِيرٌ وَلَكِنْ مَعَ الْفِعْلِ وَالتَّرْكِ كَانَ مُسْتَطِيعاً قُلْتُ فَعَلَى مَا ذَا يُعَذِّبُهُ قَالَ بِالْحُجَّةِ الْبَالِغَةِ وَالالَةِ الَّتِي رَكَّبَ فِيهِمْ إِنَّ الله لَمْ يُجْبِرْ أَحَداً عَلَى مَعْصِيَتِهِ وَلا أَرَادَ إِرَادَةَ حَتْمٍ الْكُفْرَ مِنْ أَحَدٍ وَلَكِنْ حِينَ كَفَرَ كَانَ فِي إِرَادَةِ الله أَنْ يَكْفُرَ وَهُمْ فِي إِرَادَةِ الله وَفِي عِلْمِهِ أَنْ لا يَصِيرُوا إِلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ قُلْتُ أَرَادَ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا قَالَ لَيْسَ هَكَذَا أَقُولُ وَلَكِنِّي أَقُولُ عَلِمَ أَنَّهُمْ سَيَكْفُرُونَ فَأَرَادَ الْكُفْرَ لِعِلْمِهِ فِيهِمْ وَلَيْسَتْ هِيَ إِرَادَةَ حَتْمٍ إِنَّمَا هِيَ إِرَادَةُ اخْتِيَارٍ.

Muhammad ibn abu ‘Abd Allah has narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad and Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad and Muhammad ibn Yahya from Ahmad ibn Muhammad all from Ali ibn al-Hakam from Salih al-Nily who said the following: “Once I asked abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, ‘Do the servants (of Allah) have any capability?’ The Imam said, ‘When they act an act they do have the capability that Allah has placed in them.’ I asked, ‘What is it?’ The Imam said, ‘It is a means. In a sin like adultery when one commits such sins he has the capability when he is in such an act. If he however, desists from such an act he has the capability to refrain.’ The Imam further said, ‘Before the act he does not have the capability in a small or large measure but at the time of the act or desisting, he has the capability.’ “I asked, ‘What for then are they punished?’ The Imam said, ‘It is because of complete justification and because of the means that are placed in them. Allah does not compel anyone into sins. Also He does not will, in a definite form of will, disbelief for anyone, but when one disbelieves it is in the will of Allah for him to disbelieve and it is in the will and knowledge of Allah that he will not turn into anything good.’ “I asked, ‘Has He willed disbelief for them?’ The Imam said, ‘It is not quite like that but I say that Allah knew that they would disbelieve, thus He has willed it for them because of His knowledge of it. It is not a definite will. It is a will of choice.’”



Hadith #4

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ عَنْ بَعْضِ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ عُبَيْدِ بْنِ زُرَارَةَ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي حَمْزَةُ بْنُ حُمْرَانَ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) عَنِ الاسْتِطَاعَةِ فَلَمْ يُجِبْنِي فَدَخَلْتُ عَلَيْهِ دَخْلَةً أُخْرَى فَقُلْتُ أَصْلَحَكَ الله إِنَّهُ قَدْ وَقَعَ فِي قَلْبِي مِنْهَا شَيْ‏ءٌ لا يُخْرِجُهُ إِلا شَيْ‏ءٌ أَسْمَعُهُ مِنْكَ قَالَ فَإِنَّهُ لا يَضُرُّكَ مَا كَانَ فِي قَلْبِكَ قُلْتُ أَصْلَحَكَ الله إِنِّي أَقُولُ إِنَّ الله تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى لَمْ يُكَلِّفِ الْعِبَادَ مَا لا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ وَلَمْ يُكَلِّفْهُمْ إِلا مَا يُطِيقُونَ وَأَنَّهُمْ لا يَصْنَعُونَ شَيْئاً مِنْ ذَلِكَ إِلا بِإِرَادَةِ الله وَمَشِيئَتِهِ وَقَضَائِهِ وَقَدَرِهِ قَالَ فَقَالَ هَذَا دِينُ الله الَّذِي أَنَا عَلَيْهِ وَآبَائِي أَوْ كَمَا قَالَ.

Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from al-Husayn ibn Sa‘id from certain persons of our people from ‘Ubayd ibn Zurara from Hamza ibn Humran who said the following: “Once I asked abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about capability but he did not reply. In another meeting I said, ‘May Allah keep you well, something happens to my heart that will not go away until I will get an answer from you.’ The Imam said, ‘What is in your heart will not harm you.’ I said, ‘May Allah keep you well. I say that Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, does not hold people responsible for what they are not capable of doing or do not have the power to act. They do not do anything except with the will of Allah, His wish, decree and determination.’ The Imam said, ‘This is the religion of Allah that my forefathers and I follow,’ or that the Imam made a similar expression.”