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Introduction

Unit overview, learning objectives, and content standards

Lesson 1: Perceiving tension in the qadar doctrine

Thinkers from various faith traditions and philosophies have been vexed by the apparent paradox that humans can have free will when God has already decreed our fate. Unlike others who have shared the same concerns, Islam has not only offered a logical explanation, but one that evokes calmness and serenity in the hearts of its believers. In this lesson, students will explore this explanation and the role of Islamic theology in addressing questions about God.

Lesson instructions
1.1 Teacher's reference
1.2 Worksheet: Your past experiences
1.3 Worksheet: Two truths
1.4 Worksheet: Theology
1.5 Homework
Presentation

Lesson 2: Understanding qadar: the free will debate

Do we have free will or is everything predetermined? In this lesson, students will recognize that the debates around divine decree are dialectical in nature: opinions emerged through conversations over time that sought to draw nearer to the truth. By exploring some of the social and historical factors that have shaped the debates, students will be able to better understand the various opinions that emerged regarding divine decree and free will.

Lesson instructions
2.1 Worksheet: Qadar inquiries
2.2 Worksheet: A class dialectic
2.3 Worksheet: Qadar dialectic
Presentation

Lesson 3: Acquiring our actions

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the concept of acquisition (kasb or ikitsab), a doctrine that emerged to explain the paradox between divine decree and free will. Students will also recognize the limitations of human language when speaking about God, and the role of theology to help express and resolve apparent tensions they encounter in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Lesson instructions
3.1 Worksheet: Moving Jeopardy
3.2 Worksheet: Prophet Adam's story
3.3 Worksheet: The qadar podcast
Presentation

Lesson 4: Psycho-spiritual benefits of the qadar doctrine

To wrap up this unit, students will shift their attention from the mind and reflect on the state of their inner lives. Students will learn to appreciate how deeply internalizing their belief in al-qadaa’ wal-qadar can nourish their spiritual psyches and, consequently, transform their behavior for the better.

Lesson instructions
4.1 Worksheet: Take what you need
4.2 Worksheet: The qadar workbook
4.3 Worksheet: A letter to my future self
Presentation

References

References

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