Sunni Sayings: Al-Maturidi on the verse “Ar-Rahmanu `alal `Arsh Istawa”

قال أبو منصور رحمه الله وأما الأصل عندنا في ذلك أن الله تعالى قال ليس كمثله شيء فنفى عن نفسه شبه خلقه وقد بينا أنه في فعله وصفته متعال عن الأشباه فيجب القول بالرحمن على العرش استوى على ما جاء به التنزيل ونفي عنه شبه الخلق بما أضاف إليه، إذ جاء به التنزيل وثبت ذلك في العقل ثم لا نقطع تأويله على شيء لاحتماله غيره مما ذكرنا وإحتماله أيضا ما لم يبلغنا مما يعلم أنه غير محتمل شبه الخلق ونؤمن بما اراد الله به وكذلك في كل أمر ثبت التنزيل فيه نحو الرؤية وغير ذلك يجب نفى الشبه عنه والإيمان بما أراده من غير تحقيق على شيء دون شيء والله الموفق

Abuu Manşuur, may Aļļaah have mercy on him, said: “Our principle regarding this (understanding Allah’s attributes) is that Aļļaah (تعالى) said that He does not resemble anything, so He denied that He has any resemblance to His creation. We have in this regard already clarified that He is in His actions and attributes greatly above having a like (such as being in a place or direction, as Abu Mansur stated earlier in this book.) For this reason one must say “الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى [طه/5]” “Ar-Raĥmaanu ˆala-l-ˆArsħi-stawaa” (Tahaa, 5) as it came in the revelation, and deny that He has any resemblance to creation in what has been ascribed to Him. This is because it came in the revelation, and it was affirmed by the sound mind (i.e. “istawa” without Him being in a place, direction or location is not judged by the mind as impossible.) Then we do not assign any interpretation to it with certainty, because its actual meaning might be something else of the possibilities we have mentioned, or something different from what has reached us of meanings that do not involve ascribing to Aļļaah a resemblance to His creation. So we believe in the actual meaning of the aayah, and this is the way to deal with anything that has been confirmed as revelation, such as seeing Aļļaah, in which we must deny any resemblance to creation, and believe in the actual meaning, without authenticating a specific meaning over other (acceptable) meanings.

And Allah is the Creator of the ability to obey Him (Kitab-al-Tawhid 74).

References:

–Abu Mansur Abdul Qahir Al-Baghdadi (429 H). Usul-al-Din. Istanbul, Turkey: Daar Al-Funuun Al-Turkiyah, 1346/1928. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1981/1401.

–Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi (333 AH). Kitab-al-Tawhid. Turkey: Markaz al Buhuth al Islamiyyah, Waqf Diyanah Turkiyah.

Notes:

Surah Taha, 5; its pronunciation is: Al-Rahman `ala l-`Arsh istawa. If someone translated this statement literally, he would say: Al-Rahman (The Merciful) `ala (on) Al-`Arsh (The Throne) istawa (established Himself); “The Merciful established Himself on the throne”. This is not the meaning of the statement, however, and the Arabic Language is not limited to this meaning. Rather, the verb “istawa” in the Arabic language has some 14 different meanings. Moreover, the word Al-`Arsh does not necessarily mean “throne”, it could also mean “dominion”, and some of the Salaf said that. Abdul Qahir Al-Baghdadi said in his book Usul-al-Din, in summary: “Our colleagues differed regarding this āyah. Some said that it is among the ayahs that are Mutashabihat whose meaning is not known by other than Allah, and this is the saying of Malik (and Abu Mansur Al Maturidi, as seen above). Others said that istawa is something that Allah did to the `Arsh that He called istawa, and this is the saying of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash`ari. Others again said that istawa means that He is attributed with aboveness over the `Arsh without contact (i.e. in status, not physical aboveness.) The correct saying in our view, is that Al-`Arsh in this Ayah means the Dominion and istawa is the Dominion’s action, meaning that the Dominion did not settle in equilibrium for anyone but Him (Usul-al-Din 112-113).”

Translation and Notes by: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

8 Responses to Sunni Sayings: Al-Maturidi on the verse “Ar-Rahmanu `alal `Arsh Istawa”

  1. al-faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum

    One of the shaykhs mentioned the following which I thought I’d just post here:

    The passage quoted from Kitab at-Tawhid, is missing a line.

    This line is missing in the edition Sh. Abu Adam used, however the more recent, well-edited turkish edition contains it.

    Here is the correct passage:

    قال أبو منصور رحمه الله وأما الأصل عندنا في ذلك أن الله تعالى قال ليس كمثله شيء فنفى عن نفسه شبه خلقه وقد بينا أنه في فعله وصفته متعال عن الأشباه فيجب القول بالرحمن على العرش استوى على ما جاء به التنزيل
    ونفي عنه شبه الخلق بما أضاف إليه، إذ جاء به التنزيل
    وثبت ذلك في العقل ثم لا نقطع تأويله على شيء لاحتماله غيره مما ذكرنا وإحتماله أيضا ما لم يبلغنا مما يعلم أنه غير محتمل شبه الخلق ونؤمن بما اراد الله به وكذلك في كل أمر ثبت التنزيل فيه نحو الرؤية وغير ذلك يجب نفى الشبه عنه والإيمان بما أراده من غير تحقيق على شيء دون شيء والله الموفق

    You could bring this to his attention , so that he could change it, if he see’s fit.

  2. Ibn Mazhar says:

    as salam `alaykum

    Insha Allah, I shall let him know.

    jazak allahi khayrun

  3. […] (acceptable) meanings. And Allah is the Creator of the ability to obey Him (Kitab-al-Tawhid 74) Sunni Sayings: Al-Maturidi on the verse “Ar-Rahmanu `alal `Arsh Istawa” Sunni Answers __________________ "Do not turn your attention to anyone else, as long as you have […]

  4. uponsunnah says:

    The Jahmites were the first to start denying Allaah is above His creation, above the Throne, and they were the first to start denying the Sifaat Fi’liyyah or af’aal iktiyaariyyah (those actions of Allaah that are tied to His will and choice) – and this happened well over a century, if not two, before the Ash’arites were even known as a faction – so the Salaf stood to refute their falsehood, and to discipline them

    • Once again, Asħˆariyys do not deny aboveness. They say that His aboveness is absolute and necessary, because it is an aboveness in status. This aboveness does not depend on the existence of created things, because it means that it is impossible that anything could be of higher status than Allaah, unlike the Wahabi aboveness of location, which does depend on the existence of created things. This is explained here: https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/the-wahabi-doctrine-of-flawed-aboveness/

      The Ashˆariyys are not a faction that started with Abu Ĥasan Al-Asħˆariyy. They are Ahlu-s-Sunnah, who call themselves Asħˆariyys because Abu Al-Ĥasan defended their creed against heretics like you like no one else has done after him.

  5. faqir says:

    Eid gift to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah:

    THE COMPLETE 10 VOLUME TAFSEER OF AL IMAM ABU MANSOOR AL MATUREEDI!!

    Link to download page:

    http://www.archive.org/details/TafseerAlImamAlMatureedi

    جزى الله خيرا الأخ حماد محمد الشنقيطي الذي رفع هذا الكتاب المبارك

  6. ShamsuDeen says:

    to make things so much more easier please just photo copy these books with there covers and page numbers highlighting there sayings for all to see. any one say this or that scholar said this or that. this why i always show the books that i quote from it puts everything in its place a lot easier.

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