The Pens Have Dried

He, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“The Pen has dried (after having written) all that will occur,”

in another narration,

“The Pens have been lifted and the books have dried,”

and in another narration,

“The Pens have been lifted and the scrolls have dried.”

All of these statements serve as a metonymy (kinayah) referring to the workings of the decree and to the fact that they have all been recorded in an erstwhile, comprehensive book. It is said about a book that has been completed a long time ago: the pens have been lifted from it, or the pens employed to write it have dried, or the page has dried. This is a fine way of alluding to the decree and lends to a greater sense of gravity.

The Book and authentic Sunnah also point to this meaning, Allah Mighty and Magnificent, says,

“Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in your selves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah.” (al-Hadid 57:22)

Dahhak reported that ibn Abbas said, ‘Allah created the Pen and commanded it to move by His leave. The size of the Pen is as the expanse between heaven and earth. The Pen said, ‘Lord, what shall I write?’ He said, ‘Everything that I am to create and everything that will occur in My creation: rain, plant, soul, deed, provision or life-span.’ The Pen wrote everything that was to occur until the Day of Rising and Allah placed it in a Book inscribed under the Throne, with Him.’

Abu Zabyan reported that ibn Abbas said, ‘The first thing that Allah created was the Pen which he commanded, ‘Write!’ It asked, ‘What shall I write?’ He replied, ‘The decree.’ It then recorded all that was to happen until the Last Hour is established.’ The he recited,

“Nun. By the Pen and what they write down.” (al-Qalam 68: 1-2)

Abul-Duha narrated something similar from ibn Abbas. (Tabari)

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi record the hadith of Ubadah ibn Samit that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The first thing that Allah created was the Pen which he commanded, ‘Write!’ In that hour it recorded all that was to happen until the Day of Rising.” (Ahmad)

Muslim records on the authority of Abdullah ibn Amir that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah recorded the fates of all creatures fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.” (Muslim)

Imam Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Nasai record the hadith of Abdullah ibn Amir who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah came out to is carrying two books. He asked,

”Do you know what these books are?”

We replied, ”Messenger of Allah, no, not unless you tell us.” About the book in his right hand he said,

”This is a book from the Lord of the worlds containing the names of the inhabitants of Paradise, the names of their parents and their tribes (in detail). It is completed to the last man and they will not increase in number, nor decrease in number.”

About the book in his left hand he said,

”This is a book from the Lord of the worlds containing the names of the denizens of the Fire, the names of their parents and their tribes (in detail). It is completed to the last man and they will not increase in number nor decrease in number.”

His Companions asked, ”Messenger of Allah, if the affair is already decided, why work deeds?” He replied,

”Remain firm, steadfast and balanced. The last act an inhabitant of Paradise will be a deed of the people of Paradise no matter what he may have done, and the last act of a denizen of the Fire will be a deed of the people of the Fire no matter what they may have done.”

Then the Messenger of Allah gestured with his hands, dropping the books,

”Your Lord has decided everything about the servants: ”one group is for Paradise and one group is for the Blazing Fire!” (al-Shura 42:7) (Ahmad)

Imam Ahmad records the hadith of Abu-Darda that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Allah has decided five matters for every servant: his lifespan, his deeds, his resting, his moving about and his provision.” (Ahmad)

Imam Ahmad and Tirmidhi recorded the hadith of ibn Masud that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, said

“Allah created every soul and decreed its life, its provision and the tribulations it would face.” (Ahmad)

Muslim records the hadith of Jabir that a man asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, ”Messenger of Allah, what is the purpose of the deeds done today, are they for matter concerning which the pens have dried and fates have been decided, or for something in our future?” He replied,

“Rather concerning something which the pens have dried and fates have been decided.”

He asked, ”Then why work deeds?” He replied,

”Do your deeds for everyone is eased (towards what they were created for).” (Muslim)

The are a great many ahadith that convey this meaning and so too narrations from the Companions. One of them said,

Commit the affair wholly (to the Owner)

The Pen has dried, writing all that will occur.

Man has such a Creator,

None can avert His decree or order.

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p 94-99

Advertisements