Wahabi contention: Aļļaah is above the Arsh, but we do not say He is a body.

Wahabi wrote:

Allah is indeed above his Arsh and separate from His creation- all the evidence points to this.  We don’t say Allah is a body or anything- we just affirm what He and His Messenger (sallallahu aleyhi wasallam) affirmed. This is in opposition to Abu Aristotle

If you mean by "above the ˆArsh" in the sense of greatness of status or the like, then this is true, and all Muslims must believe that. This is the most beautiful meaning one can understand from this statement, and is therefore how it should be understood, because Aļļaah has the most beautiful namings.

However, it is not true that evidence shows that Aļļaah is above the Arsh in the sense of location and direction, because Aļļaah told us that He does not resemble anything, and because it is not the most beautiful meaning of the statement.

If He was in a place, then He would have a limit adjacent to the ˆArsh, and this limit would be of some shape. Such a shape would need to be specified and brought into existence, i.e. created by a creator, just like all other shapes, which means that Aļļaah would be in need of a creator, and that would mean that He is like creation. That is why the Salaf said that Aļļaah is without a how, that is, without a shape. This is actually very obvious. See also what Al-Qurţubiyy said in this regard at this link, and see Wahabi contention: Maalik says Aļļaah has a how.

As for your, "We don’t say Allah is a body or anything…." this misses the point. It is not about the words you use. If you say that Aļļaah is in a place/location over the Arsh, then you are saying that He is a body, because being in a location necessitates borders for the thing in that place. This is because something in a location is either in all locations, or in some location(s). If it is in some location, but not others, it must be confined by a border and have a size and shape limiting it to that location i.e. it must be a body. That is why it makes no sense to say that Aļļaah is in a place, but is not a body. We do not care about the word body, as much as we care about its meaning. Or put in another way, we care about the word body, because of its meaning. For more detail see this article: Bodies have limits, but not Aļļaah .

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23 Responses to Wahabi contention: Aļļaah is above the Arsh, but we do not say He is a body.

  1. Mutakallim says:

    For someone to say that “Allah is in a place but He is not a body” is like someone saying “He has an afro but he doesn’t have hair”. Both statements are pure nonsense.

  2. Sam K says:

    They (Wahabies) are starting to realise how stupid their faulty belief system is starting to sound … Now they want to say that Allah is not a body after all these years of them saying that Allah has a hand, face, shin, and He claps, laughs, moves up & down between the heavens and the skies, puts His foot in Hell and many other things, and they think they fool switched on people by adding to these claims ‘that we don’t know the HOW of it’… They got shredded worldwide for this and now their sales tools are not as convincing to the people that are just as stupid as they are, so now they want to say Allah is not a body but He is still in a place… I wonder when their going to give that up as well as stop wasting time so we can join hands in trying to convert Christians and Jews!

  3. Mo says:

    Brother, i’ve been having a few debates with some wahabi’s now, and they ask the question, “Where is Allah?”

    How does one answer it?

    • Aļļaah is not in a place, because everything that is in a place is either very small or very big, and whatever is like that needs a creator to specify its size. The rest you can pick up from the post above.

  4. uponsunnah says:

    why doont you label albaqilani,abu hasan ashari and other early ashari scholars who believed Allah is above the arsh as wahabis?

    It has been stated by more than one person from the People of Knowledge about such ahaadeeth, that there is no tashbeeh (resemblance) to the Attributes of Allah, and our Lord – the Blessed and Most High – descends to the lowest heaven every night. So they say: “Affirm these narrations, have Imaan (faith) in them, do not deny them, nor ask how.” The likes of this has been related from Malik ibn Anas, Sufyan ath-Thawri, Ibn Uyainah and Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, who all said about such ahaadeeth: “Leave them as they are, without asking how.” Such is the saying of the People of Knowledge from the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. However, the Jahmiyyah oppose these narrations and say: This is tashbeeh! However, Allah the Most High, has mentioned in various places in His Book, the Attribute of al-Yad (Hand), as-Sama’ (Hearing), and al-Basr (Seeing) – but the Jahmiyyah make ta’weel of these ayaat, explaining them in a way, other than how they are explained by the People of Knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allah did not create Aadam with His own Hand – they say that Hand means the Power of Allah. [Imam Trimdhi's Sunan - Vol 1, pg 128-129]
    why dont you label imam tirmidhi as a mujasim wahabi?

    • Did you even read the article above? You are ignorant, and have no idea about what Asħˆariyys say. Asħˆariyy do not negate those narrations. It is the Muˆtazilah that does that, not the Asħˆariyys. Asħˆariyys accept the narrations by consensus, but they all agree that the meaning is not bodily. In other words, the meaning is without a how, or modality. So “yad” does not mean “hand” as in a part, instrument or limb, as you claim, and “nuzuul” does not mean moving from one place to another, because bodies and what exists in them need a creator to specify them in terms of size, shape, movement, stillness, change, place and time. Beyond that some specify an interpretation for some of them, and some do not, but this is a minor disagreement, and not one on basics. Even the salaf made such interpretations. Those who did not, avoided it because they are afraid to claim that Allaah meant something that He did not, while the others are either confident about the interpretation, or feel compelled to specify one in order to deal with deviants trying to spread the idea that Allaah is a figure, like you people. You are not Sunnis, and At-Tirmidhiyy is not one of you. You are figure worshipers trying to destroy Islam from the inside.

      Asħˆariyys also do not say “Allaah is not above the ˆArsħ,” they say that He is above all creation, including the ˆArsħ, but not in the sense of place or creation. In other words, He is above them in status, and He is above being in a place or direction. This is what Asħˆariyys say, and not just the early ones, as you claim. Your problem is that you do not understand what they mean when saying things like “without a how,” without confinement to place,” and so on. This is because you have the habit of accepting self contradictory beliefs as clarified in: The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration.

  5. uponsunnah says:

    you asharis like jahmis explain away these naration, just like you just m,ention Allah being above the throne to mean inv status not in direction or place, you just made taweel of the ayat of allah being of the arsh like jahmis, you asharis also intrepet the yad of allah as his power just like jahmis did as indicated by imam tirmidhee..as you can clearly see

    but the Jahmiyyah make ta’weel of these ayaat, explaining them in a way, other than how they are explained by the People of Knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allah did not create Aadam with His own Hand – they say that Hand means the Power of Allah. [Imam Trimdhi's Sunan - Vol 1, pg 128-129]

    • Actually, many asharis simply deny that “yadayy” has to do with a limb or a part, or any bodily meaning, and leave it at that, while others give interpretations other than power, because the interpretation of power is considered extremely weak.

      What you call explaining away, is simply a non-literal interpretation of a scripture text. This is something everyone does, even you. It is a question of which one to take literally and which one not to. Sunni scholars insist that all scriptures that, on the surface only, seems to mean that Aļļaah is a body, or has shared characteristics with bodies, cannot be understood literally. In other words, they go by the absolute meaning of “nothing resembles Him,” and understand any other revealed text in agreement with it. The anthropomorphists, on the other hand, consider texts that appear to mean that Aļļaah is a body above the ˆArsħ, to be absolute, and interpret everything else in agreement with it, including “nothing resembles Him.” It is a question of which one you choose to consider absolute, it can’t be both.

      Accordingly, many anthropomorphists that believe Allaah is something physically located above the ˆArsħ, figuratively interpret literal understandings of certain scripture texts, such as: “He is the Light of the heavens and the earth” (An-Nuur, 35); and, “We are closer to him than his jugular vein” (Qaaf, 16); and, “He is with you wherever you are” (Al-Ĥadiid 57:4); and, “Wheresoever you turn, there is the Face of God” (Al-Baqarah, 115); and “When I love him (the worshipper), I am the hearing by which he hears, the sight by which he sees, the hand with which he grasps, and the foot with which he walks.” (Al-Bukħaariyy # 6502).” They do not accept these literal understandings, and interpret them figuratively, because they are incompatible with being in a location above the ˆArsħ. After all, these literal understandings give the idea that Aļļaah is somewhere else. After Ibn Taymiyyah, however, many of them also believe that the body of their deity literally surrounds the world. Accordingly, they believe that whatever direction you point in, you are pointing at Aļļaah. Their belief is therefore that the creator has a limit that is adjacent to the outer surface of the world from all sides. That is why they will also accept to say that literally, “Wheresoever you turn, there is the Face of God.”

      Sunnis, like some anthropomorpists, also interpret these figuratively, but because Allaah is not like His creation, so He is not a body. He is therefore not in a place at all, not a particular place and not in every place, because place is only for bodies and their parts. Accordingly they might interpret the literal ” Light” as “Creator of light;” “closer to him than” as “intimate knowledge;” “with you wherever you are” as “in knowledge;” “Face” as “God’s ordered prayer direction,” and the statement ” I am the hearing by which he hears, etc.” as meaning that these bodyparts will act in compliance with what Aļļaah accepts, or the like.

      Then there are revealed texts which’s literal understandings are rejected only by Sunnis, due their indication of body or place. For example those that appear to indicate aboveness, temporary relocation, changes, or bodyparts. Examples are those that mention “yad,” which’s literal meaning is “hand,” or “qadam,” which’s literal meaning is “foot.” These are generally not figuratively understood by anthropomorphists, as they are not incompatible with their deity being located above the ˆArsħ most of the time. At least at first thought, for their belief that Allaah is a body that moves to the lowest sky in the last third of the night actually necessitates it being there always. After all, it is always the last third of the night somewhere on earth.

      The Sunni approach to these, when a particular non-literal interpretation is not obvious, is either to choose a particular interpretation as most likely meant, or to simply reject the literal interpretation, and avoid choosing a particular non-literal interpretation that befits Aļļaah. This will vary from scholar to scholar and from one scripture text to another. When Sunnis interpret such texts figuratively, the wahabis call this interpretation ta’wiil, while the interpretations they themselves make, they will call something else, like “tafsiir.” Then they proceed to attack “ta’wiil” with every imaginable means. At the end of day however, what they call ta’wiil is simply a figurative interpretation that they don’t like. They don’t like it, because the literal meaning is not in conflict with their belief regarding physical location above the ˆArsħ.

      Clearly, however, the Sunni approach is the only sensible one. This is because the anthropomorphist absolute of aboveness in place makes it impossible for them to show that the world needs a creator that is not created. That is, without also saying that Aļļaah would also need a creator, and this is in conflict with Aļļaah’s saying in the Qur’aan:
      لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
      Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him, and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (Asħ-Sħuuraa, 11). Clearly this aayah means that Aļļaah does not have attributes that necessitate specification and being brought into existence, such as a size and shape. It does not mean, unlike what anthropomorphists believe, that Allaah is different from creation in the same way that created things differ, i.e. in size and shape and things that exist in what has size and shape.

      A simple way of putting it is as follows: whenever we see something composed from parts, or with size, we say: “someone has put it there like that.” For example, when you see a car, you know that this car has a beginning; someone put it where it is now. If this is true for a simple car, then what about the entire universe? If one accepts this argument, then one must also accept that God is free of the attributes that makes one say, “someone must have put there like that.” These are attributes such as having weight, volume, length, width, shapes, limits, boundaries, composition, physical movement, physical distance and physical direction. In other words, you must accept that God does not resemble His creation. This is what Muslims mean when they say, “He has no equal,” i.e. nothing resembles Him.
      The anthromorphist belief that Aļļaah is above the ˆArsħ is also impossible to reconcile with the following explicit statement of Prophet Muhammad, the most eloquent of creation, as narrated by Muslim and Al-Bayhaqiyy:
      اللهم أنت الْأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ
      “O Aļļaah, You are the First, so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are Al-Ţħaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baaţin, so there is nothing below you.”

      If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then he is not a body or in a direction, and He does not have physical specification.

  6. uponsunnah says:

    iam not delving into terminologies like size,shape,place, direction which you inherited from greek philosophers,since theses words were not known by the prophet and his sahabas.
    however the word yad, samh,basr have no meaning according to asharis

    • The shabah did not know about size, shape, place and direction? You have a very low view of them. Your claim “yad, samh, basr have no meaning according to asharis” is not true.

  7. uponsunnah says:

    you said,the earlyy asharis understood allah being above the arsh wihout a how without confinement to a place ,cause the understood allhah being above the arsh necessitate above e arsh being free from maqluqaat,such as place,space and so on.
    they understood that nothing is above the arsh but Allah

    • No, they understood that being without a how or place means that “above” here is not in the sense of location or being in a direction. Al-Baaqillaaniyy said in Al-Insaaf: “والله تعالى لا يوصف بالجهات، ولا أنه في جهة” “Allaah is not attributed with the directions (of up, down, left, right, front, or back), and not with being in a direction.”

      Your statement “nothing is above the Arsh but Allaah,” indicates that you think He is located there, filling an area there. This is the belief of the early Karraamiyah and Hashawiyyah, not Sunnis, or Muslims for that matter. Your combining this belief with “freedom from place, space and so on,” is nothing less than absurd.

  8. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    I wonder how people like this santa claus worshiper answer this question:

    According to your belief, where was Allah before He created space and directions and ‘Arsh and anything?

  9. uponsunnah says:

    above the arsh being free from any creation is just absurd as you asharis reducing allah into a mere existance in your liitle brains.
    my question to yopu is where is allah?
    whats above the arsh? if you have intellect

    • The answer is that Allaah does not have a creator, so He is not something that needs a creator to specify its quantity and shape. Therefore He is not a body. Therefore He is not in a place. So He is now as He was before there was an ˆArsħ, that is, without a place.

  10. albanian says:

    Imam Ja^far as-Sadiq said: <<He who claims that Allah is in something or on something or from something commits shirk (blasphemy). Because, if He was in something, He would be contained, and if He was on something, He would be carried, and if He was from something, He would be a creature.

    Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulusiyy said: <>

  11. albanian says:

    Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulusiyy said: He who believes that Allah fills the heavens and Earth or that He is a body sitting above the ^Arsh (ceiling of Paradise; throne) is a kafir.

  12. Hasan says:

    I agree with ‘uponsunnah’ keep it simple.

    All this stuff about direction and jism etc is not necessary. Because time and space become warped and non-existent in black holes and we haven’t even left the bounds of the universe. So to do Qias of the known onto the Ghaib is full of dangers. Up and down are only known within the bounds of creation. Above ‘Sidratul Muntaha’ the creation ends. So there will be no direction or space etc. This type of argumentation is too rationophilosophical and lacks the light of Prophetic guidance.

    • First, you say, “keep it simple,” then you say, “time and space become warped and non-existent in black holes.” Is this joke? Second, where is the Qias of the known to al-ghaib, explain. You say, “Up and down are only known within the bounds of the universe,” and that beyond creation there is “no direction, space, etc.” This is true. We are not saying more than that. We are saying that Allaah is not in a direction, because He is not in the universe, and therefore not in a direction, or space. This is NOT what uponsunna is saying. He is affirming direction and space to Allaah, and affirming literal meaning to all scriptures. There is nothing simple about that, because it necessitates the denial of proof for the Creator’s existence. If you click here there is a longer discussion of the implication of such heresies.

  13. Ayman says:

    Assalamulaikum Dear Shaykh,

    A number of Muslim brothers are being misled by one Abu Mussab Wajdi Akkari. For example, in his 1 hour + lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQ60Uf6ARA&feature=related

    He gives example after example, early on, about how Allah is physically above the Heavens. This is absolutely pure misguidance. So, I’m referring as many people as I can, to visit your site Inshallah.

    • Ayman says:

      So, I’m simply posting this here as a warning for everyone to STAY CLEAR of the speaker’s misguidance! I didn’t want to label him a deviant in this regard automatically, so I choose to hear him out. Unfortunately, he confirmed my doubts.

  14. HanafiMazhab says:

    Shaykh Abu Adam,

    Some Wahabis are saying that Allah is above the ‘Arsh (in the sense of direction). But meanwhile, they are saying that Above the ‘Arsh is no place. These people believe that Allah has only one boundary. Is this not against the believe of Ibn Tamiyyah, who claimed that Allah has six boundaries?

    • Yes, this is in disagreement with Ibn Taymiyyah, but both sayings are kufr. They say Allaah is in a direction with one boundary and yet is not in place because they define place as the surface of a body, not just space. So, according to them, what they worship is in space, but not in a place, since there is no surface contact involved. They are figure worshipers infiltrating Islam to destroy it from within, la^anahum Allaah.

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