WHERE IS ALLAH? 1 of 2
Where is Allah? Is it permissible to ask such a question? Muawiyah Bin Al-Hakam said: “I had a maid-servant who tended goats by the side of Uhud & Jawwaniya. One day I happened to pass that way and found that a wolf had carried a goat from her flock. I am after all a man from the posterity of Adam. I felt sorry as they (human beings) feel sorry. So I slapped her. I came to the Messenger of Allah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) and felt (this act of mine) as something grievous. I said: Messenger of Allah, should I not grant her freedom? He (Prophet) said: Bring her to me. So, I brought her to him. He said to her: Where is Allah? She said: He is in the heaven (i.e. His throne is above the heavens & gestured towards the sky). He said: Who am I? She said: You are the Messenger of Allah. He said: Grant her freedom, she is a believing woman”. The people of Sunnah wa Jama’ah (adherents to the prophetic way) believe that Allah is exalted above His creation because of the evidences of the Quran, Sunnah, consensus of the scholars, common sense & man’s innate instinct (fitrah). “The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established” Q 20: 5. More Quranic verses which establish same include Q2: 29, Q7: 54, Q25: 59, 13:1-2, 10:3, 32:4. A man asked Imam Malik (d. 179): “How did Allah make istiwa’ on the throne?” Imam Malik inclined his head and was silent until the sweat of fever covered his brow, then he looked up and said: “Istiwa’ is not unknown (WELL KNOWN) (ghayru majhul), the modality of it is inconceivable in the mind (al-kayfu minhu ghayru ma`qul); but belief in it is obligatory (imaanu bihi wajib), and inquiring about it is a heretical innovation (bid’ah). You are an innovator.” And he gave orders for him to be taken out.
(1) THE QURAN DESCRIBES THE “EXALTEDNESS” OR “HIGHNESS” OF ALLAH in different ways, as His being high and above, and by describing how things come down from Him, and go up to Him, and by stating that He is above the heavens. “Surely, your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rose over (istawa) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty), disposing the affair of all things.” [10:3]
“… and He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [2:255]
“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.” [87:1]
“And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves …” [6:18]
“They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.” [16:50]
THINGS COMING DOWN FROM HIM:
“He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth … ” [32:5]
“Verily We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., the Quran) …” [15:9]
THINGS GOING UP TO HIM:
“… To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exalt it …” [35:10]
“The angels and the Rooh (Jibreel) ascend to Him …” [70:4]
ALLAH IS ABOVE HEAVEN:
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink with you …?” [67:16]
(2) THE SUNNAH: THE REPORTS ARE “MUTAWATIR” (i.e. with a large number of narrators at every stage of the isnad/chain, such that it is impossible for them all to have agreed on a lie) from the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam), describing his words and deeds and things of which he approved. For example, he used to say “Subhana Rabbi al-A’la (Glory be to my Lord Most High)” in sujood (prostration), and in some ahadeeth (reports) he is reported to have said “By Allah Who is above the Throne.”
Among his deeds is the gesture of pointing up with his finger, when addressing the people in the greatest gathering, on the Day of ‘Arafah during his Farewell Pilgrimage. He asked the people, “Have I not conveyed the message?” and they said, “Yes!” He asked again, “Have I not conveyed the message?” and they said, “Yes!” He asked a third time, “Have I not conveyed the message?” and they said “Yes!” Each time, he said: “O Allah, bear witness!” – pointing up to the sky and then at the people. He also used to raise his hands towards heaven when he made du’a (supplication), as reported in many ahadeeth. This is proof via his actions that Allah is exalted and high. Another example is the hadith concerning the young slave girl mentioned above. This slave girl was uneducated, as many are, and she was a slave, but she knew that her Lord is above the heaven. Some misguided people deny that Allah is above heaven, and say, “He is neither above nor below; neither to the right nor to the left. He is everywhere!”. Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This view has implications that are very, very false, because if you say that Allah is everywhere, this implies that He is in lavatories – Allah forbid – and in other places that filled with impurities and filth, and who would describe his Lord in such terms? It is not possible for any believer to describe his Lord in such terms. End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen.
(3) THE CONSENSUS OF THE SCHOLARS: The salaf (pious predecessors) agreed that Allah is above heaven, as is reported by scholars such as al-Dhahabi, may Allah have mercy on him, in his book Al-‘Aluw li’l-‘Aliy al-Ghaffar.
(4) COMMON SENSE: Highness is a quality which is associated in people’s minds with perfection. If this is the case, then it should be attributed to Allah because every absolute perfection should be attributed to Him.
(5) THE INNATE INSTINCT OF MAN (FITRAH). There should be no dispute that humans instinctively know that Allah is above the heaven. Whenever something overwhelming befalls a person, and he turns to Allah for help, he looks towards heaven, not in any other direction. But it is strange that those who deny that Allah is above His creation still raise their hands in supplication to no other direction than towards heaven.
Even Pharaoh, the enemy of Allah who disputed with Moosa (peace be upon him) about his Lord, told his minister Haman : “O Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways, – the ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Moosa …” [40:36-37]
He knew in his heart of hearts that Allah is real: “And they belied them (those ayat/signs) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their own selves were convinced thereof …” [27:14]
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