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In Defence of Bada’

From: Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies
Volume 6, Number 3, Summer 2013
pp. 323-336 | 10.1353/isl.2013.0030



Bada’, which may be loosely translated as ‘the ability of God to change His decree’, is a characteristically Shi‘a doctrine that, historically, has been subject to severe critique outside Shi‘a circles. Here, I would like to respond to these criticisms by explaining how the Twelve Imams derived the doctrine of bada’ from Qur’anic verses. I would also like to clarify misconceptions about bada’ which commonly recur in polemical discussions. Finally, in response to the claim that, psychologically, belief in bada’ would weaken an individual’s faith and is therefore religiously undesirable, I would like to outline a view to the contrary showing how belief in bada’ can, in principle, strengthen individual and collective well-being.

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