Bodies have limits but not Allaah

Wahabi contention: “But whatever has no limit is not separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be above the world because all of this is necessitated by the meaning of al-hadd [i.e. limit]”

Comment: Note that they mean by this “whatever has no [physical] limit is not [physically] separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be [physically] above the world.” This statement is based on drawing analogy between creation and the Creator. It assumes that Aļļaah is a body (something with a size), and must therefore, as they say, have a physical boundary. This assumption is made, because they think of Aļļaah in terms of what is true for creation.

The Sunni belief on the one who says Allaah has a limit is that He is a kaafir

Just to remind ourselves of the Sunni belief in this matter, Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy stated {in brackets}: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and following {the Jamaaˆah}. Later he stated, as part of this remembrance,{Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}. He also agreed that believing that anything else is an insult to Islam, for he said in the same remembrance: {Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.} Note that he said this after having already pointed out that the six directions apply to all created things, which includes humans. In other words, the Sunni belief is that attributing a limit to Aļļaah makes one a non-Muslim.

A brief synopsis of the fallacy contained in the argument for a limit

The concepts of physical separation and connection relate to bodies, not to Aļļaah. If they said a body cannot be separate and extinct from another body unless it has a limit, then this is true. It is not true, however, that Aļļaah is a body, so it is not true that He must have a limit. Therefore, it is also not true that Aļļaah is either physically outside or inside the world. This is a fallacy called “false dichotomy,” which is when someone argues and gives you a choice between two things, none of which are true, like if someone said, “the stone is either blind or seeing, which is it?” The problem with this is that a stone is neither said to be blind nor seeing. That is, you neither say, “the stone is blind” nor “the stone is seeing.” So when they say, “Aļļaah is either inside or outside, which is it?” they are using a false dichotomy to trick you into thinking that there is no other alternative. This is not correct, because the two choices a person has about something existent is first, “Is it in a place or not?” If the answer to that choice is “in a place,” then one may ask, “it is inside or outside area so and so?” If the answer is, “not in a place,” however, then the question, “is it inside or outside area so and so?” is pure nonsense. To illustrate in terms of the example of the stone, there was another question before “is the stone seeing or blind?” which was, “does the stone have sight?” Since the answer is “no,” it makes not sense to ask, “is it seeing or blind?”

The stated wahabi contention that “what is not limited cannot be above,” assumes that Aļļaah’s aboveness is physical, but no Muslim says that He is. Muslims believe that Aļļaah is above us in status and power, not in physical location. Being physically above something else can only be for something physical, and there is no greatness in being physically above something anyway. If there was, then Tibet would be better than Makkah. By saying that Aļļaah’s aboveness is one of status and power, we have chosen the most beautiful meaning of “aboveness” and we have avoided attributing a limit to the Creator.

A detailed explanation of why the wahabi argument is invalid

To recap, the wahabi argument in formal terms is that they say:

1) Everything that exists is in a place.

2) Everything that occupies space has a limit.

3) Allaah exists.

4) Therefore (they say) Allaah has a limit, and claiming otherwise is sophistry

While we accept premises 2) and 3), we do not accept premise 1). The reason why we do not accept premise 1), namely that everything that exists is in a place, is:

First, there is no evidence that could be claimed for premise 1) except observation of what we have perceived with our senses in our daily lives. Essentially what they are saying is that “everything I have perceived in my life is physical, therefore everything that exists is physical.” This is clearly not a logical argument, but it is the core of their argument. The underlying trick in this claim is that our imagination is limited to what our five senses have experienced in this life. Our minds record these experiences, and in our minds we are able to manipulate these recordings in different ways as concepts. Our ability to conceptualize is limited to these recordings, and any fact that does not agree with these recordings is difficult to deal with in our minds, and will even often be rejected based on it. It is this limit of our minds that the devil uses to trick people into anthropomorphist belief. He makes them think that what one cannot imagine cannot exist, and makes them ignore the fact that our imagination is based on a limited set of sensory experiences, and it does not cover all that exists in creation, let alone what could have existed, and what must exist.

Second, since there is no actual proof of premise 1) being valid by logic alone, we take guidance from the Quranic fact that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation,

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him, and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11) Accordingly, what is necessarily true regarding creation’s existence is not true of His. (For a more complete discussion of the meaning of this aayah, you should read this very important article: Wahhabi Contention: How are “Ar Rahmanu `alal `arsh istawa” and “Laysaka mithlihi shay`” different?)

In light of this we observe that all creation around us are things that occupy space (dead matter and live beings) and attributes of those things that occupy space (like color or love). This is the kind of existence that all creation as we know it has. Based on this, we conclude that Aļļaah is not in a place nor is He an attribute of something in a place, otherwise His existence would be of created kind, and that is contrary to the aayah.

We also take guidance from the Quranic fact that Aļļaah is attributed with absolute pre-existence to everything else:

هُوَ الأَوَّلُ

Meaning: “He is the one that is attributed with absolute precedence.” (Al-Ĥadiid, 03).” We understand from this that He existed before everything else, and that He was not preceded by non-existence or the existence of something else. He existed, and there was nothing with Him and nothing prior to Him. Al-Bukħaariy narrated that the Prophet Muĥammad said:

كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ

“Aļļaah existed and there was nothing else” (Bukħaariy No. 3019) Aļļaah’s existence then, does not resemble the existence of created things. It is a beginning-less and necessary existence, and is not affected by anything.

This aayah and hadiith are another base then, and we say that while it is true that physical things are either inside or outside something, it is not true of Aļļaah, because He is the creator of all places, all insides and all outsides, as He existed before them.

Consequently, the correct belief is that Aļļaah created all places, and He existed before everything else, including place and time. Since He existed before them, it must be true that He existed without them. In other words, as the scholars say, “Aļļaah existed, and there was no place, and He is now as He was eternally – without a place.”

We also take guidance from other aayahs in the Quran to show that the anthropomorphist’s premise, “everything that exists is in a place,” is false, and that sound reason does not dictate what they claim. One way we can do this is by showing that not everything that exists must be limited, as follows:

First, note that whatever has a physical limit is a creation, because a limit must be specified in terms of size and shape etc. That is, it requires a Creator to exist. If one denies this, then one is no longer able to prove that physical limits require a Creator, such as the human body, or the celestial bodies. That is, the shape of the camel, or the skies would no longer be proofs for Aļļaah’s existence and Power, and this is in contradiction with the Quranic statements, such as:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aal ˆImraan, 190)

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?” (Al-Għasħiyah, 17)

Can anyone ponder these aayahs without pondering the physical boundaries of the skies, earth and camel? Of course not, without boundaries, there is no camel and there is no sky and no earth, because this is the reality of their existence. It is the limits of bodies that make us sure that they are created and enable us to ponder upon them as signs of Aļļaah. In fact, the aayahs are requesting us to ponder the boundaries of the skies, the earth and the camel. If someone claims that Aļļaah has a physical limit, then they are saying that physical limits do not necessarily need a creator, and have thereby invalidated these Quranic proofs.

This is true because a physical limit is a physical limit, and once you claim that one limit does not need a creator, then you cannot prove that another limit necessarily needs a creator. Why? Because a physical limit is conceptually just a connection of dots forming a line or surface. Each dot is connected to the next at one of its sides. The choice of placement of a connected dot to another is for any available space at any angle and from any angle. That’s it. The placement of connected dots form limits, and since the way the dots are placed next to each other needs specification in terms of ‘where,’ all limits need to be specified. This means they need a creator and cannot be eternal, because their existence depends on prior specification. So if someone claims that one such limit does not require a creator, then He can no longer logically prove that another limit does need a creator. This means that he can no longer logically prove that shapes need someone to give them a form. To be able to do that, rather, he must hold on to the premise that all limits need a creator. Since Aļļaah is neither specified, nor created, and is definitely eternal, it must be true that Aļļaah exists without limits and therefore without being in a place.

More simply put: anything that has a limit i.e. boundary has a shape because the limit has to have some shape. Anything that has a certain shape could have had any other shape, because any shape isn’t of higher priority than any other shape, so having a certain shape means that there must be someone who specified it and chose it among all other possibilities.

Similarly, the very state of being in a place needs a specifier. The proof that the state of being in a place needs to be specified, is that once something is in a place, it is conceivable that it could have been in another place, just like what was shown true above regarding connecting dots in a limit. Consequently, once we see something is in a place, we ask how it got there. We ask this, because we know that once something is in a place, then something prior to it has put it there. That is, something prior to it specified its place. So the concepts of being physically inside or outside cannot apply to Aļļaah, because if they did, it would necessitate Him being specified, or influenced or changed. Rather, we must believe that Aļļaah is only attributed with attributes that are eternal, and therefore do not necessitate specification. See also what Al-Qurţubiyy said in this regard at this link.

In conclusion, the first premise of the wahabis is not only unverifiable, but definitely wrong.

18 Responses to Bodies have limits but not Allaah

  1. Sam Kanj says:

    It is known by the sound logic and observation that an object has a boundary and a size. For example, the sun has a boundary and a size and the Creator is the One who created it with that boundary and size. In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 13 verse: 8
    وَكُلُّ شَىْءٍ عِندَهُ بِمِقْدَارٍ. سورة : الرّعد
    Means: Allàh created everything with a specific size. Also, in the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 39 verse: 62
    اللَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَىْ ءٍ. سورة : الزُّمَر
    Means: Allàh created everything. It is Allàh who created the objects and the Creator of all objects is not an object, size, form or shape. In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 42 verse: 11
    لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْ ءٌ. سورة : الشّورى
    Means: Absolutely nothing like Allàh in any way whatsoever.

    Allàh created two types of objects; objects we can grab (tangible), such as a rock or a tree and objects we cannot grab (intangible), such as light or the soul. All the creations come under these two categories. Allàh does not resemble the objects that are tangible and the objects that are intangible. One who resembles something cannot create.

    The Creator is the only One Who existed eternally (i.e. an existence without a beginning). So before Allàh created any of the creations, nothing other than Allàh existed. There was no place, no time, no earth, no Heavens (skies), no space, no darkness, no light, no Hellfire, no Paradise and no ^Arsh. Al-Bukhaiyy, Al-Bayhaqiyy & Ibnul-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allàh, Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said:
    كَانَ اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ شَىْ ءٌ غَيْرُهُ. رَوَاهُ البُخارِيُّ في الصَّحِيحِ وَالبَيْهَقِيُّ في الأَسْماءِ وَالصِّفاتِ وَابْنِ الجارُود في المُنْتَقَى.
    Means: Allàh existed eternally and nothing else existed. This saying of the Prophet clearly proves that the Creator exists without a place, because it’s impossible that after having been existing without a place, Allàh would change and dwell in a place! Also it is determined in the rules of the religion and the judgment of the sound mind that Allàh’s existence does not change. The mind does not accept that after Allàh having been existent without a place, Allàh would change and be in a place! Allàh does not change, because change is a sign of need and need is not befitting to attribute to Allàh. What changes from one state to another can’t be God, because anything that changes is needy of the one that changed it and what needs others is weak and what is attributed with weakness, is not God. The Creator of all things that change, He (Allàh) does not change.

    Imam abu Mansur Al-baghdadiyy who is a reliable scholar in Islam, in his book Al-Farqu Baynal-Firaq, that Imam ^Aliyy ibn abi Talib, the fourth of the caliphs (i.e. fourth leader of the Islamic nation) said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ أَبو مَنْصُورٍ البَغْدادِيُّ في كِتابِهِ ‘الفَرْقُ بَيْنَ الفِرَقِ’ أَنَّ الإِمامَ عَلِيَّ بْن أَبِى طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ :
    كانَ اللَّهُ وَلا مَكان، وَهُوَ الآنَ عَلَى ما عَلَيهِ كانَ.
    Means: Allàh existed eternally and there weren’t any places created and after He created all the places, He is now as He was without a place.
    Beneficial Information: The ^Arsh (Throne) is the largest creation that Allàh created in size; Allàh did not create anything bigger in size than it and it’s the ceiling of Paradise. The ^Arsh has 4 large pillars at each end which are carried now by four Angels. In describing the enormous size of these Angels that carry the ^Arsh, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said the distance between their ear lobes and their shoulders, is the distance of what a fast-flying bird would cover in 700 years flying straight down. It is Allàh who created the ^Arsh as a ceiling for Paradise and did not create the ^Arsh as a place for Himself to sit on as some people wrongly claim. Imam abu Mansur Al-baghdadiyy related that Imam ^Aliyy ibn abi Talib said:
    قَالَ الإِمامُ سَيِّدُنا عَلِيُّ بْن طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ الْعَرْشَ إِظْهارًا لِقُدْرَتِهِ وَ لَمْ يَتَّخِذْهُ مَكاناً لِذاتِهِ.
    رَوَاهُ الإِ مامُ أَبُو مَنْصُورٍ البَغْدَادِيُّ.
    Means: Allàh created the ^Arsh as an indication of His Power and did not take it as a place for Himself.

    One should remember these words and he/she would not go wrong. Before the Creator created anything, He did not need anything. So those who believe or say the Creator is in need of things, what we as Muslims reply back to them: ‘Why would the Creator need anything, when He created everything?’ It is easy for one to understand that Allàh created the earth and He is not in need of it. Likewise, Allàh created the skies and all the other places and He is also not in need of them. Allàh existed before their existence and after creating them into existence; He still exists without any need of them. In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 112 verse: 2
    اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ. سورة : الإخلاص
    Means: Allàh does not need any of the creations and all of His creations need Him.

    The Creator of all things is not contained by the six directions. A well known Muslim scholar by the name of Imam abu Ja^far At-Tahawi (b.229 d.321After Hijrah, 828/920), also lived in the Salaf era, wrote a very famous book called Al-^Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah. He mentioned that the subject of this book is an explanation of the Creed of the people of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah, which is also the same Creed Imam abu Hanifah and his two close students. Imam abu Hanifah is also one of the authorities of Salaf (b.80 d.150AH, 679/749). Imam abu Ja^far At-Tahawi in his book: Al-^Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah statement #37 said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ أَبُو جَعْفََََََرٍ الطَحاوِيُّ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ في بَيانِ عَقِيدَةِ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَماعَةِ :
    وَتَعَالَى عَنِ الْحُدُودِ وَالغَايَاتِ وَالأرْكَانِ وَالأَعْضَاءِ وَالأَدَوَاتِ. لا تَحْوِيهِ الْجِهَاتُ السِّتُّ كسائرِ الْمُبتَدَعاتِ.
    Means: Allàh is clear of all limits, boundaries, sides, organs and limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all the created things are. The six directions are (above, below, in front, behind, right and left). These six primary directions which are created by Allah contain only the created things.

    It must not be believed or said that Allàh exists inside everyone or He is everywhere. What we as Muslims believe and say: ‘Allàh has knowledge about everything that is, wherever it is’.

    Beneficial Information: When Muslims lift their hands and face towards the sky when performing du^aa (supplicating to Allàh for something beneficial), it does not mean that Allàh exists in the skies. Imam Al-Nawawi (d.676AH, 1278) said:
    في شَرْحِ صَحِيح مُسْلِم يَقولُ الإِمَامُ النَّوَوِيُّ : السَّمَاءُ قِبْلَةُ الدُّعَاء.
    Means: The skies are the direction for the du^aa (i.e. supplication). Muslims lift their hands and face towards the skies, because it is the direction for the du^aa, just as the Ka^ba (Mecca) is the direction for all Muslims around the world to face towards when praying to Allàh. It is from the skies that the mercies and blessings from Allah descend. The Mushabbihah say that the skies are the direction to perform du^aa to use it as their so-called proof that Allàh occupies the skies. The Prophet made du^aa when his forehead was facing the ground while in prayer. The Messenger of Allàh, Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said:
    مَا في السَّمَاءِ مَوْضِعُ أَرْ بَعِ أَصَابِعَ إلا وَفِيهِ مَلَكٌ قَائِمٌ أَوْ رَاكِعٌ أَوْسَاجِدٌ يَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ تَعَالى. رَوَاهُ الترمذي عن أبي ذر الغفاري.
    Means: There is no space in the sky equal to the width of four fingers, except one would find an Angel worshipping and glorifying Allàh, either in standing, bowing or prostrating position. The Angels stay as such until the Day of Judgement, worshipping Allàh their Creator. This saying of the Messenger of Allàh is another proof that Allàh does not exist in the skies. This is because those whoever claim that Allàh exists in the upper skies, are claiming that Allàh is in between the Angels and His size is the width of four fingers? This is impossible, because the Creator is not a body, object, size, form or shape.

    It is Allàh who created everything and He does not resemble anything whatsoever and this is also easy to understand and accept. Humans have limits; they cannot always do what they want to do. Allàh is not like humans. Allàh is not something invisible, because invisible is a created thing. Air is something created, but it is invisible to us. Allàh is not a light, either a white light or a yellow light. Allàh created the light. Light can be stopped by putting a dense solid object in front of its source. Allàh is not air. Air has a volume and needs space. Both light and air occupy a space and Allàh does not occupy a space, because space is contained in the six primary directions. Space is a creation and Allàh is not in need of space, because He existed eternally before space and time were created. The Creator of space is not contained in space and the Creator of time is not bound to time. Allàh is not a colour. Colour is one of the creations of Allàh. Allàh is not a spirit. Spirit is found in humans and in animals and Allàh does not resemble humans or animals. Allàh is not an energy, gas, liquid or a solid.
    Every Muslim must know that our Lord has no shape or form. Shapes and forms are described with how questions and how questions do not apply to Allàh. Muslims believe and say: ‘Allàh exists without a how’. (How?) is a word used only to describe what is created and everything other than Allàh is attributed with a how manner. How is a question related to shapes, bodies, places, depth, height, width and dimensions. Therefore, know beyond a doubt that the question ‘how’ (kayf كَيَّفَ ) does not apply to Allah. Imam Aliyy ibn abi Talib was once approached by a group of people who asked him: ‘How is Allàh’. Imam Aliyy ibn abi Talib answered them by saying:
    ذَكَرَ السُّيوطِيُّ في تارِيخِ الْخُلَفاء : أَنَّ قَوْماً سَأَلُوا سَيِّدَنا عَلِيَّ بْنِ أَبي طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كَيْفَ اللَّه؟
    َقالَ سَيِّدُنا عَلِيُّ بْن أَبِي طالِبٍ : هُوَ الَّذِي كَيَّفَ الْكَيْف فََََلا يُقالُ كَيْف.
    Means: Allàh created what is described with a how. So the word ‘how’ does not apply to Allàh. Hence, the statement: ‘No one knows how Allàh is’, must never be said. This is because the person is attributes a how to Allàh (implying Allàh is a creation), but is ignorant of the how manner of it. Allàh is the Creator of all that is attributed with how, the manner of being (i.e. all things which make up the creations). Also, it’s not permissible and it’s blasphemous to say: ‘Where is Allàh (i.e. location)’, because it is like one is implying that Allàh is in a place and as we have explained previously, Allàh exists without a place. In the book Ar-Risalah Al-Qushayriyyah by Abul-Qasim al-Qushayriyy, Imam ^Aliyy ibn abi Talib said:
    الإم عَلِيَّ بْنِ أَبي طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ : لا يقال أين لمن أيّن الأين.
    Means: The question of ‘where’ (i.e. location) does not apply to the One who created the whereabouts. Imam abu Hanifah, in his book Al-Fiqh Al-Absat said:
    نَقَلَ الإِمامُ أَبُو مَنْصُورٍ الْمَاتُرِيدِيُّ في شَرْحِهِ عَلى الْفِقْهِ الأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ الإِمامَ أَبا حَنِيفَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ : كان قبل المكان، كان ولم يكن أين ولا خلق وهو خالق كل شىء.
    Means: Allàh existed eternally and there was no place. He existed before creating the creation. He existed, and there was no place, creation, or thing. He is the Creator of everything. Also in the same book Al-Fiqh Al-Absat, Imam abu Hanifah said:
    الإِمامَ أَبا حَنِيفَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ : مَنْ قالَ لا أَعْرِفُ اللَّهَ أَفي السَّماءِ هُوَ أَمْ في الأَرْضِ فَقَدْ كَفَر.
    Means: Whoever says: ‘I don’t know if Allàh is in the sky or on the earth’, commits blasphemy. This is so because they imagined Allàh in some place and whoever imagines Allàh in a place, is a person who likens Allàh to the creations. It is also blasphemous to believe or say: ‘No one knows Allàh’s place except Allàh’ or ‘We don’t know how Allàh’s place is’. These two phrases are also attributing Allàh with a place. Our existence is in a place and Allàh’s existence is not in or on a place and if Satan or a devil whispers to you and says: ‘How can Allàh exist without a place?’ Just remember this example. There was once no darkness and no light created. In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 6 verse: 1
    وَجَعَلَ الظُّلُمَاتِ وَالنُّورَ. سورة : الأنعَام
    Means: Allàh created the darkness and the light. Since the human mind is limited to what it can imagine, so can we imagine how it would have been before Allàh created the darkness and the light? The answer is ‘No’. The same judgement applies to the human soul. We as humans are ignorant of the how manner of our soul in our own body. Then how dare some people who have that nerve to come to a conclusion and say: ‘How is Allàh’, when Allàh exists without a how and without a place. As the sound mind determines that Allàh existed without a place before creating the places, the sound mind also determines that after Allàh created all the places, He still exists without a place. A Muslim scholar who is well known for being very God fearing, by the name of Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy al-Kabir said a wonderful statement:
    قالَ الشَّيْخُ أَحْمَدُ الرِّفاعِيُّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : غَايَةُ المَعْرِفَةِ بِاللَّهِ الإِيقَانُ بِوُجُودِهِ تَعَالَى بِلا كَيْفٍ وَلا مَكَانٍ.
    Means: The ultimate knowledge about Allàh is to be certain that Allàh exists without a how and without a place.

    The belief that Allàh exists without a place is the creed of the Messenger of Allàh (peace and blessing be upon him), the Companions and those who graciously followed them and it shall be till the Day of Judgment. The proof of this precious statement is what is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 42 verse: 11
    لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْ ءٌ. سورة : الشّورى
    Means: Absolutely nothing like Allàh in any way whatsoever. This verse reflects the core of Tawhid[12] and is the clearest verse in the whole entire Qur’an that when it’s recited, its meaning is so clear that Allàh is absolutely and totally clear from resembling the creations in everyway. Hence, it’s also proof that Allàh exists without a place, because whatever exists in a place would be made up of particles (i.e. it would be a body occupying a space) and the Creator is not a body that occupies a space. The words body, place and space means: That which has depth, height and width. What has depth, height and width is a creation beyond any doubt. Imam Ja^far as-Sadiq who is among the Salaf said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ جَعْفَرُ الصَّادِقُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : مَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ في شَيْءٍ أَوْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ أَوْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَقَدْ أََشْرَكَ إِذْ لَوْ كانَ في شَيْءٍ لَكانَ مَحْصُورًا أَوْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ لَكانَ مَحْمولاً وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ لَكانَ مُحْدَثاً أَيْ مَخْلُوقاً.
    Means: Whoever claims that Allàh is in something, or on something, or from something, commits shirk. This is because if Allàh was in something, He would be confined. If Allàh was on something, He would be carried. If Allàh was from something, He would be something that has a beginning (i.e. creation).

    Beneficial Information: Ta^ala تَعَالىَ which is a word from the Holy Qur’an means: Allàh is absolutely and totally clear of all non-befitting attributes that the blasphemers attribute to Him. The followers of Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah (b.664 d.729AH, 1263/1328) and Muhammad ibn ^Abdil-Wahhab (b.1117 d.1206AH, 1703/1792) are among the group of the Mushabbihah and their followers today are known as Wahabies. They believe Allàh is a body and exists in a place (they believe and teach Allàh exists above the ^Arsh and they say Allàh changes and occupies the skies). These statements are clear blasphemy. The Mushabbihah claim to follow the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), however that is not the case in reality. They take only the literal meanings to the ambiguous verses in the Holy Qur’an and the ambiguous Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) to which they liken Allàh to physical hand or a face, or that He sits on the ^Arsh (ceiling of Paradise), or that He occupies a certain direction and place. Such false interpretations results in likening Allàh to the creations, which Islamically is blasphemous and clashes with a unambiguous fundamental verse in the Holy Qur’an, chapter 42: verse 11:
    لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْ ءٌ. سورة : الشّورى
    Means: Absolutely nothing like Allàh in any way whatsoever. As a result, they have been lead astray and de-railed from the path of Islam. The scholars of Islam have said the Mushabbihah recite this verse in the Holy Qur’an, in chapter 42: verse 11:
    لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْ ءٌ. سورة : الشّورى
    Means: Absolutely nothing like Allàh in any way whatsoever. However, it does not go past their collarbone. If it did go past their collarbone, then the meaning of the verse would have entered their hearts and they would not have contradicted a fundamental verse in Holy Qur’an. They believe and say Allàh exists above the ^Arsh and they (the mushabbihah) also claim Allàh is sitting on the ^Arsh. Imam abu Hanifah (b.80 d.150AH, 679/749) who was also among the Salaf, in his book Al-Wasiyyah, said:
    قَالَ الإمامُ أبو حنيفَةَ رضي اللَّه عنه في الوصيَّة : نُقِرُّ بأنَّ اللَّهَ تعالى اسْتَوَى على العَرشِ مِن غيرِ أنْ يكونَ له حاجةٌ واستِقرارٌ عليه، وهو حافظُ العرشِ وغيرِ العرشِ مِن غيرِ احْتِياجٍ ولو كان محتاجاً لمَاَ قدر على إيجادِالعالم وتدبيرِه كالمخلوقين ولو كان مُحْتاجاً لِلجلوسِ والاستقرار فقَبْلَ خلقِ العرشِ أين كان اللَّه؟ تعالى عَنْ ذلك عُلُوّاً كَبيرّاً.
    Means: Allàh is the maintainer of the ^Arsh and everything else. Allàh is not in need of anything. For had Allàh been in need, He would not have the power to create, control and maintain the world. Furthermore, had He been in a place needing to sit and rest, before creating the ^Arsh, where was Allàh? That is, the question: ‘Where was Allàh’, would have applied to Him, which is impossible.

    Al-Bukhaiyy, Al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibnul-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allàh, Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said:
    كَانَ اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ شَىْ ءٌ غَيْرُهُ. رَوَاهُ البُخارِيُّ في الصَّحِيحِ وَالبَيْهَقِيُّ في الأَسْماءِ وَالصِّفاتِ وَابْنِ الجارُود في المُنْتَقَى.
    Means: Allàh existed eternally and nothing else existed. Imam abu Mansur Al-baghdadiyy, who is a reliable scholar in Islam, in his book Al-Farqu Baynal-Firaq, that Imam ^Aliyy ibn abi Talib, the fourth of the caliphs (i.e. fourth leader of the Islamic nation) said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ أَبو مَنْصُورٍ البَغْدادِيُّ في كِتابِهِ ‘الفَرْقُ بَيْنَ الفِرَقِ’ أَنَّ الإِمامَ عَلِيَّ بْن أَبِى طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ :
    كانَ اللَّهُ وَلا مَكان، وَهُوَ الآنَ عَلَى ما عَلَيهِ كانَ.
    Means: Allàh existed eternally and there weren’t any places created and after He created all the places, He is now as He was without a place.

    These Wahabies call themselves Salafi or Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah. However, they have highjacked these names, just to appeal to the Muslim masses. Don’t be fooled, they do not follow the beliefs of the Salaf of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah that all the people of truth follow. Beneficial Information: The two supreme traditional Sunni’s in the science of belief is Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari the universally acclaimed Imam in the field of beliefs (b.260 d.324AH, 859/923) and Imam Abu-Mansur al-Maturidi (d.333AH, 932), which the two lived in the Salaf era. Both these scholars rose to clarify and liberate the creed of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah (the people of truth) at a time when certain groups de-railed from the correct path of Islam. Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari and Abu-Mansur al-Maturidi both share the same creed to which the Companions of the Prophet and their righteous followers held strongly to. The two theologians used the common logic that Allàh created within humans, to draw the information from the verses from the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet to establish the correct irrefutable judgements about the Islamic creed, and refuted the false creed of the Mushabbihah, the Mu^tazilah and other sects, most of which liken Allàh to the creation. The people of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah don’t rely only on sense and logic, like the philosophers do. Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah use sense and logic to serve our religion; we don’t use sense and logic to supersede the Islamic religion. That’s a major difference between philosopher s and the Muslims. The followers of Imam al-Ash’ari and Imam al-Maturidi are both referred to as the ancestors of the people of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah from that time onwards. People of Ahlussunnah wal-Jamma^ah (scholars and layman) are known as either Ash’ariyah or Maturidiyah in Islamic creed.
    The four mainstream Islamic schools of jurisprudence (madhhabs), like Imam abu Hanifah (b.80 d.150AH, 679/749), Imam Malik (b.90 d.179AH, 689/778), Imam ash-Shafi’i (b.150 d.204AH, 749/803)and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (b.163 d.241AH, 762/840), which the four lived in the Salaf era. These scholars are in total agreement, that Allàh does not resemble the creation whatsoever and Allàh’s existence is without a place and direction. However, the four mainstream Islamic schools of jurisprudence had differences on issues pertaining to al-furu (details of the rules of the religion). They did not have different opinions on usul al-din (essentials of beliefs). Muslims are untied by the same belief and the different issues amongst the scholars of jurisprudence pertaining to al-furu are a mercy for the people of Islam. Today the majority of the Muslims are about 1.5 billion on this earth (praise be to Allàh) following either one of the four schools of jurisprudence. As for the Wahabies they don’t even make up 2 million in total all around the world. The Messenger of Allàh (peace and blessing be upon him) encourage and advised us to adhere to the Creed of the majority of this nation which is the same Creed that all the Prophets (peace and blessing be upon them) have cal led for. The Messenger of Allàh (peace and blessing be upon him) said:
    عليكم بالجماعة وإياكم والفرقة، فإن الشيطان مع الواحد وهو من الإثنين أبعد. من أراد بحبوحة الجنة فليزم الجماعة.
    رَواهُ أحمد في مسنده والترمذي والحاكم في المستدرك.
    Means: The one who wants the lavishness of Paradise let him adhere to the Creed of the majority of the nation. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), praised the Salaf by saying:
    خَيْرُ القُرُونِ قَرْنِى ثُمَّ الذين يَلُونَهُمْ ثُمَّ الذين يَلُُُُونَهُم. رَواهُ البخارىّ.
    Means: The best of the people (i.e. the Muslims who live in Prophet Muhammad’s nation) are those who live in my first century, then those who come after them in the second century, then those who come after them in the third century. So what is relayed to us from those Salaf scholars in that era, the Prophet praised them and we as Muslims take there knowledge on board in our lifetime, because there belief is in total agreement with the Messenger of Allàh and all of his Companions. The Kalaf are those who follow the Salaf in methodology and they lived after the first three centuries of the Hijrah era till the Day of Judgement.
    How do the Wahabies claim to follow the Salaf, when they go against the fundamental teachings of the Salaf and all their followers? Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah and Muhammad ibn ^Abdil-Wahhab were not alive during the Salaf era. Hence, take a look at the time era of the master minds that set out the framework that the Wahabies followed in belief:
    Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah (b.664 d.729AH, 1263/1328)?
    Muhammad ibn ^Abdil-Wahhab (b.1117 d.1206AH, 1703/1792)?
    The traditional Islamic scholars, strongly warns the Muslim population and its youth from following the creed of Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah. Islamic history confirms that Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah was sentenced to prison by the order of the Islamic scholars at his time. This is because he went against the scholarly consensus of the four mainstream Islamic schools of jurisprudence in matters pertaining to essentials of beliefs and the details of the rules of the religion. He eventually died in prison.
    The Wahabies (those who liken the Creator to the creation), share the same belief as the Christians and Jews. It is mentioned in what is called the Old Testament (the Bible) in Genesis chapter 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. This is clear blasphemy. Now, back to the Wahabies, it is mentioned in their book Majmoo Al-Fatawah 4th book, p/374 that Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah who the Wahabies call him their Imam (leader) and the master of Islam (according to them), said: Allàh seats Muhammad on the chair with Him. These beliefs and statements are clear blasphemy and not Islam, because we all know that resting (as the Christians and Jews claim) or sitting (as the Wahabies claim) no matter how, would be a body with parts that fold & bend, which in itself is a created thing and the Creator does not resemble any created thing. Humans and animals sit. What sits must need a platform and what’s on a platform is in a direction and place. Furthermore, when they claim that Allàh is in the upper direction and is sitting above the ^Arsh , they are attributing a weakness to Allàh by claiming Allàh rested! Remember, what sits is in need of rest and what rests, is weak. In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 50 verse: 38
    وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ وَمَا مَسَّنَا مِن لُّغُوبٍ. سورة : ق
    Means: Allàh created the Heavens, earth and all what is in between them in six days and He is not in need of any rest. Allàh who knows all things and knows best, created the Heavens, earth and all what is in between them in six days with wisdom so we can learn to be patient in our lifetime. Keep in mind, the Creator has the Power to create the Heavens, earth and all what is in between them in one moment if He willed it to be.

    A group of Jews asked the Prophet: ‘O Muhammad describe to us your Lord, the One who you worship?’
    أخرَجَ البيهقيُ عن ابن عباس أنَّ اليهود اتوا الى النبي فقالوا : يا محمَّد صفْ لنا ربَّك الذي تعبدُهُ. فنَزلتْ الايةُ : قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ * اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ * لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ * وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ, كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ. سورة : الإخلاص
    The Prophet answered them the 4 fundamental verses from the Qur’an which was revealed to Him:
    Verse 1 means: Say (O Muhammad), Allàh is One without partners.
    Verse 2 means: Allàh does not need any of the creations and all of His creations need Him.
    Verse 3 means: Allàh did not give birth to anyone and He was not given birth to. He is not the origin of anything and He did not originate from anything.
    Verse 4 means: Nothing is equal or similar to Allàh.
    Then the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) continued to say to the Jews:
    هذه صفةُ ربي عزّ وَجَلَ.
    Means: These are the attributes of my Lord who we declare that He is clear of all non-befitting attributes. Prophet Muhammad did not say to the Jews that Allàh is a body with organs or He is in a direction of above or in a place or that He is mounted and sitting on the ^Arsh. The Prophet informed the Jews who are known that they believe Allàh is a body that exists above the ^Arsh, a clear answer from the Qur’an which is clear Tawhid, the belief that Allàh is the only God who does not resemble any of the creations. The fact that two directions above and below are impossible to be attributes of Allàh, does not necessitate that Allàh would not be attributed with aboveness, because attributing aboveness to Allàh is matter of status and the impossibility lies in it being physical. Allàh is above the ^Arsh and above the skies and above everything in status with an aboveness that does not give Him closeness to the ^Arsh or the skies, as it does not give Him farness from earth. He is higher in status than the ^Arsh and the skies, as He is higher in status than earth and the rest of the creation. Allàhu Akbar means: Allàh is the highest in status.

    Imam ash-Shafi’i who was among the Salaf (b.150 d.204AH, 749/803) said:
    رَوَى البَيْهَقِيُّ عَنِ الإِمامِ الشَّافِعِيِّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّهُ قالَ : مَنْ انْتَهَضَ لِمَعْرِفَةِ مُدَبِّرِهِِ فَاطْمَأَنَّ إِلى مَوْجُودٍ يَنْتَهِي إِلَيْهِ فِكْرُهُ فَهْوَ مُشَبِّهٌ، وَإِنْ اطْمَأَنَّ إِلى الْعَدَمِ الصِّرْفِ فَهُوَ مُعَطِّلٌ، وَإِنْ اطْمَأَنَّ إِلى مَوْجُودٍ وَاعْتَرَفَ بِالعَجْزِ عَنْ إِدْراكِهِ فَهُوَ مُوَحِّدٌ.
    Means: Whoever seeks to know his Creator and concludes that the Creator is something that exists which one’s mind can imagine, then he is a person who likens Allàh to the creations. If one concludes pure non-existence, then he is an Atheist. Where as if one concludes that Allàh exists and admits that whatever his mind imagines, Allàh does not resemble that at all. This person is a Muslim practicing Tawhid. Imam al-Junayd Al-baghdadiyy said:
    الإم الجنيدُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ : هو إفراد القديم من المحدَث.
    Means: Tawhid is differentiating the eternal (Allàh) from the created.

    Imam abu Ja^far At-Tahawi, in his book: Al-^Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah statement #32 said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ أَبُو جَعْفََََََرٍ الطَحاوِيُّ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ في بَيانِ عَقِيدَةِ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَماعَةِ : وَمَنْ وَصَفَ اللَّهَ بِمعنًى مِنْ مَعانِى البَشَرِ فَقَدْ كَفَرَ. فَمَنْ أَبْصَر هَذَا اعتَبَرَ، وَعَنْ مِثْلِ قَوْلِ الكُفَّار انْزَجرَ، وَعَلِمَ أنَّهُ بِصِفَاتِهِ لَيْسَ كَالبَشَرِ.
    Means: Whoever attributes to Allàh a meaning that is among the meanings that apply to human characteristic has committed blasphemy. Hence, he who comprehends this will take the warning and refrain from the sayings of the blasphemers, and will also know that Allàh and His Attributes, is not like the human beings.

    In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 16 verse: 74
    فَلاَ تَضْرِبُواْ لِلَّهِ الأَمْثَالَ. سورة : النّحل
    Means: Do not attribute to Allàh the attributes of His creations.

    In the Holy Qur’an, chapter: 19 verse: 65
    هَلْ تَعْلَمُ لَهُ, سَمِيًّا. سورة : مريم
    Means: Do you know of anything which is similar to Allàh? There is none.

    Imam abu Ja^far At-Tahawi, in his book: Al-^Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah statement #34 said:
    قالَ الإِمامُ أَبُو جَعْفََََََرٍ الطَحاوِيُّ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ في بَيانِ عَقِيدَةِ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَماعَةِ : وَلاَ تَثْبُتُ قَدَمٌ فى الإِسْلاَمِ إلاَّ على ظَهْرِ التَّسْليمِ والاستِسْلاَم. فَمَنْ رَامَ عِلْْمَ مَا حُظِرَ عَنْهُ عِلْْمُهُ، وَلَمْ يَقْنَعْبِالتَّسْلِيمِ فَهْمُهُ، حَجَبَهُ مَرَامُهُ عَنْ خَالِصِ التَّوْحِيدِ وَصَافِى المَعْرِفَةِ وَصَحِيحِ الإِيمانِ. فَيَتَذَبْذَبُ بَيْنَ الكُفْرِ وَالإِيمَانِ، وَالتَّصْدِيقِ وَالتَّكْذِيبِ، وَالإِقْرارَ وَالإِنْكارِ، مُوَسْوِسًا تائِهًا شاكًّا، لا مُؤمِنًا مُصَدّقًا وِلا جاحِدًا مُكَذّبًا.
    Means: One’s Islam is not secure unless it’s based on submission and surrendering to Allàh. Whoever fails this and desires to know the things that have been prevented from knowing, and is not satisfied to leave it to Allàh who knows it, prevented himself from clearing Allàh from resemblance to the creation (Tawhid), clear knowledge and correct belief. So he sways between blasphemy and belief, acknowledgment and denial, acceptance and rejection. He will be subject to whispers, and will be lost and doubtful, being neither an accepting believer nor a denying disbeliever.

    Imam Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy al-Kabir said this wonderful statement:
    قالَ الشَّيْخُ أَحْمَدُ الرِّفاعِيُّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : غَايَةُ المَعْرِفَةِ بِاللَّهِ الإِيقَانُ بِوُجُودِهِ تَعَالَى بِلا كَيْفٍ وَلا مَكَانٍ.
    Means: The ultimate knowledge about Allàh is to be certain that Allàh exists without a how and without a place.

    In his book al-Asma’a was-Sifat, Imam al-Bayhaqiyy, narrated with a strong chain of narrators that the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), whose name is Abdullàh ibn Abbas (who was the Interpreter of the Qur’an) said:
    قال ابن عباس رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : تَفَكَّرُوا في خَلْقِ اللَّه وَلا تَفَكَّرُوا في ذَاتِ اللَّه. رَوَاهُ البيهقيُ.
    Means: Think about the creations of Allàh, but do not attempt to imagine the Self of Allàh.

    Allah Knows Best!

  2. Jazak Allahu khayraa for this informative long comment:

    About ending with “Allah Knows Best”,

    Sometimes it is only a token of humbleness, because Allaah’s knowledge is perfect, and it is not necessarily meant to express a possibility of the writer being wrong when it is found in the books of scholars. Certainly not when used in context of basic beliefs. These days one should avoid using this phrase when speaking of belief issues, as some people might misunderstand, i.e. think that doubt is implied, not merely that Allaah’s knowledge is perfect, unlike our own. I have received questions on whether a scholar means to imply that he is not completely sure when he uses this expression.

    To still keep the habit, the writer may mention it by his tongue as he writes. Or, alternatively, use it with an explanation.

  3. Sam Kanj says:

    Mashaallah. Brother that makes complete sense. I did not think of it that way, and now forward I will leave out that part to close the door on false assumptions. Keep up the hard work brother.

    SK

  4. Um Fulan says:

    You said:
    (Comment: Note that they mean by this “whatever has no [physical] limit is not [physically] separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be [physically] above the world.” This statement is based on drawing analogy between creation and the Creator. It assumes that Aļļaah is a body (something with a size), and must therefore, as they say, have a physical boundary. This assumption is made, because they think of Aļļaah in terms of what is true for creation.)

    My question:

    Do you believe that Allah existance is not physical?

    Defintion of physical that I am speaking about is something like this: having substance or material existence, being tangible.
    I believe the correct word for it in Arabic is
    حسّي hessi
    the opposite of
    معنوي ma’nawi

    I do not mean physical meaning “a body”

  5. Umm Fulan,

    Allaah’s existence is not physical (hissii), because it is not a body. A substance or material existence is necessarily a body, because a body is something with size.

    Why do you look at existence as either physical (hissii) or maˆnawii (as a mental construct only, hereby referred to as “mental”)? What proof do you you have that existence belongs necessarily to one of them? While physical is opposite to mental, in one sense, in the sense that one is real, and the other only conceptual, they are not complete opposites. Actually, the complete opposite of physical is “not physical.” The complete opposite of mental is “not mental.”

    You cannot say something that exists is either physical or mental. This is the same false dichotomy as mentioned above in the article. There is no proof for this dichotomy, quite the contrary, and I have explained this. You can say instead that something that exists is either physical or not, and either mental or not, but you can’t say that it is either physical or mental, because it may be neither physical nor mental. For example, black is the opposite of white, but you cannot say that something is either black or white based on that, because there are other colors. If we had never seen any other color, we might have thought this to be so, and that is why some people think that Allaah is physical. After all, all they have seen in their life is physical. This is, however,a generalization for all that exists based on a very, very small sample and runs contrary to the irrefutable proof of Allaah’s existence pointed out in the Qur’aan. I mentioned this in the above article.

    Allaah’s existence is not physical, because He is not a body, and not mental, because His existence is real. If you read the article carefully you will see why it must be that Allaah’s existence is neither physical nor mental.

    Instead of saying existence is either physical or mental, which is wrong, you could start with saying that existence is either real or mental, and then that real existence is either physical or not.

    A clearer way to look at existence is to say that something is either intrinsically necessary in existence or intrinsically possible in existence. The necessarily existent is Allaah, and therefore He does not need a creator. Creation, on the other hand, is only intrinsically possible in existence, so it needs a creator to give it existence.

    Materials and substances are intrinsically possible in existence, because they need specification in terms of movement vs. stillness, separation vs. gathering, color, mass, size, and so on.

    Since Allaah is necessarily existent, He does not have attributes that need specification, so He is not a substance, not a material, and not a body, because these are things that need specification.

    So we can look at it yet another way and say that what exists either needs specification or not. It must be true that Allaah does not need specification, since He is not created/brought into existence. On the other hand, all things material/physical need specification so it cannot be true that Allaah is physical.

    Hope that helps,
    Abu Adam

  6. Ali says:

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    Jazakum Allahu khayran for your post.

    Dear Shaykh,

    Could you please comment on the fellowing report:

    In the Tabaqaat ul-Hanaabilah of Ibn Abee Ya’laa (1/267):

    Muhammad bin Ibraaheem al-Qaysee said: I said to Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal: It is quoted from Ibn al-Mubaarak that it was said to him: How do we know our Lord – the Mighty and Majestic? He said, “Above (fee) the heaven, upon (‘alaa) His Throne with a hadd (limit, demarcation).” So Ahmad said, “This is how it is with us”.

    • waˆalaykumussalaam,

      First, the speech of other than a Prophet about Allaah is not a proof in itself.
      Second, the narration is without a narration chain.
      Third, it says “in the seventh sky,” which is below the ˆArsh and inside creation, and without proof from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah.
      Fourth, the word “ĥadd” in Arabic does not only mean limit, but can also mean “definition,” in which case we can understand the meaning to be “by definition”, i.e. by narration, which would leave room for how to understand the narration’s meaning in a sound manner, i.e. without attributing place or direction to Aļļaah. There is no need, however, since this story is unconfirmed, and if confirmed, would not prove anything, as mentioned above.

  7. Ali says:

    Jazakum Alllahu Taala khayran for your comment.

  8. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum sayyidi,

    a certain person has asked the following to which I would appreciate your response:

    Do you believe that the universe has no outside?

    which according to my understanding would mean that the universe has no end = limitless

    JazakumAllahu khayran

    • Let’s define our terminology up front. The term “universe” or “world” refers to all that’s in existence other than Allah. Now we can go on and answer the question.

      The world can’t be without boundaries i.e. can’t be limitless, because at any single point in time there should be a limited number of creations in existence. Claiming that at any point in time there is an infinite number of exiting beings, leads to the same logical contradiction that we use to prove that the world has a beginning; the world must be finite in both time and place.

      There is no outside to the world, because by definition the world refers to everything existing other than Allah, so if someone claims that there is an outside to the world, we tell him: since what you’re claiming to be the outside of the world is not Allah, it’s definitely part of the world by definition, so how can it be outside the world?!

      Of course, it’s impossible for the Creator to be inside or outside the world, because the world has no outside, and the Creator doesn’t exist in a place, as He is not a body. That’s why the people of truth say that Allah is neither inside nor outside the world.

      Abu Adam

  9. bayezid says:

    as salaamu alaykum shaikh,

    shaikh i have been plagued by one question for a long time now :

    did ALLAH creating the creation bring about any overall change in HIM?
    is us existing the same as us non existing to ALLAH subahaana wa taala?

    • waˆalaykumussalaam,

      Allaah is not affected by His creation. The most comprehensive way of removing misgivings about this issue is to remember that Allaah is not in time, because His existence is beginningless, and so are His attributes. Time is only relevant to things that are possible in existence, because once they exist, it is always possible that they could cease to exist in the next moment, or change, or be in a different state of relation with other things. This is the meaning of being in time; renewal and change.

      Since Allaah is necessary in existence, and it is impossible that He should cease to exist, or change, He does not have different states. Change in Him is impossible, because a change means a renewed state of being, and something that can be renewed must itself only be possible in existence. Why? Because it could be like this or like that, and this means it is possible in itself.

      You can understand from this that not being in time necessitates not being in place/space also, because things in locations are in relative position to each other, and this necessitates going through different states as positions change, or remain. Even if they remain, yes, because this was a renewed stillness that could have been different. So one moment is still different from another.

      Remember that we cannot comprehend the reality of Aļļaah’s existence, and we must avoid trying, but we can understand that if something is not in time, then nothing that is in time will affect it. So we can understand that He is not like creation, and that nothing happens but by His will and Knowledge, and that we will receive judgment for our performance, and that we should get to work!

  10. James says:

    Assalamulaikum,

    Mashallah, excellent work my brother. As a former Agnostic Atheist, I must say, without a doubt, Islam is the only religion whose concept of God made sense, and avoided the many logical errors I found with others. Read through this article and the answers Shaykh Abu Adam has provided only reaffirms this.

    The one problem virtually all other religions succumb to is anthropomorphism – extending our limited human thinking rooted in our perceptions and experiences to matters which lie beyond our perceptions and experiences. Shaykh, I was wondering if it would be wrong or unIslamic to say the following:

    That Allah is that which exists on the most fundamental level, as in, He is the grounds for all existence (or the basis/the Sustainer)? This would mean that Allah is neither in the creation nor outside. I guess, “the most fundamental level” is just another way of saying “above the throne” – a level beyond our comprehension.

    Thank you!
    Salaam

    • Waˆalaykumussalaam,

      Nice to hear that you feel that way, I have the same background as you and I have found the same. As for your question: when we speak of Allaah and use words to ascribe meanings to Him, word choice is important, not only your intended meaning, because Allaah has not permitted us to use any word we wish. For this reason I would not use the phrase “exists on the most fundamental level”, rather, I would say that His existence is intrinsically necessary, while everything else is only intrinsically possible, and dependent upon Him to exist, so He sustains them. Similarly, I would not use “the grounds for all existence.” Both grounds and fundamental lack a sense of glorification, because they have the connotations of being under, and being part of or in contact with, etc., which is improper, and dangerous. They are also reminiscent of Aristotelean ideas of the creator as being without choice.

      The rules for using words to ascribe a meaning to Allaah Arabic are:

      1. It must be equivalent to an Arabic expression that is permitted to use.
      -For example we do not say that Aļļaah has a “mind” or use the words “intelligent” or “rational” as attributes for Him, because there are no revealed text to indicate the permission.

      2. It must have the same meaning as the Arabic expression in the context that it is being used.
      -For example, we should not use the word “anger” as a translation of the word “għađab” in Arabic, because “anger” is an emotional reaction in English, and is not used otherwise. Emotions are changing states of being, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should change, just as it is impossible that He should react, because reacting is a sign of need. Rather, the meaning of a person having Aļļaah’s “għađab” against him is that Aļļaah has willed punishment for that person.
      -Likewise one must not use the intransitive verb “pleased” for Aļļaah as a translation for “rađiya” in Arabic, because the expression “to be pleased” is an emotional reaction. Instead one should use the word reward, which is what the verb rađiya means when referring to Aļļaah in Arabic.

      3. It must not be confusing or misleading so that a listener or reader may think it means something that is not befitting of the Creator.
      -For example, a word like “wrath” is closer to “għađab” in Arabic when referring to Aļļaah, than “anger”. This is because wrath can mean “punishment.” Accordingly, the expression “God’s Wrath”, could mean: “God’s Punishment.” There is still, however, the fear of it being misunderstood to mean an emotional state. For that reason, it is safer to use the word “punishment” for the Arabic “għađab”, than wrath.
      -Note that while there are expressions in Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ that can be easily misunderstood, we are not allowed to come up with expressions of our own that could mislead.

      4. It must not give a sense of being improper or impolite.
      -For example, we do not use an expression like “the Creator of ugliness” in an absolute way. This is despite the fact that its permission is included in the permission to say “the Creator of All Things”. The reason is that it shows poor etiquette when uttered in an absolute way.

      5. It must carry a sense of awe and glorification.
      -For example, we do not use the word “planter” to refer to Aļļaah, even though the verb “to plant” is used in Arabic. This is because the former lacks the sense of awe and glorification.

      These are rules mentioned repeatedly and explicitly by the scholars. However, when one wants to say something in other than Arabic, I would add another rule, which is strongly hinted at by the scholars: there should be a need for it for teaching purposes, so that one is not able to teach properly without translating from Arabic. This is to be extra careful, because in general, one has permission to say about Allaah only what is mentioned in soundly narrated scriptures, which means that nothing in English can automatically be assumed to be permissible. Better safe than sorry….

      This is with regards to ascribing meanings to Allaah. When it comes to actual names, in the sense of proper names, I would not translate them at all, because it is improper to translate them.

      AAA

      • One more thing, I would also avoid the word “level of existence”, as it implies comparison. I would also strongly avoid “above the throne” as someone might think of location or direction.

  11. James says:

    Assalamulaikum,

    Thank you very much for your clear answer. Yes, I suspected that subjective human terminology wold run into problems, and were often to blame for the corruption of many ideas. I wasn’t aware of the specific rules associated with describing Allah though. So, I thank you once again.

  12. Mohd Ibn says:

    Assalamualaikum Sheikh,

    Someone said that we will never be able to see Allah in this world, in Day of Judgment, in the Hereafter and beyond. He said we only can see His manifestation of His attribute. Is it the same as “we will see Allah without a how in the Hereafter” or is it contradicted it?

    • wa3alaykumussalaam,

      The creed of al-Tahaawiyy is very detailed on how to approach this issue. One must believe in the Seeing of Allaah being without the meaning of distance, direction, shape, color, reflection of light, and other bodily meanings. However, one should also not delve into interpreting it. The paragraphs 40-47 are important to read in this regard. The link is http://marifah.net/articles/Al-Tahawi.pdf

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