Wahabi said: Abu Hasan al-Ash’ari himself not only made ithbaat of ALlah having uloow, but made takfir of the who denied it.
Comment: All Muslims would, but this is based on the belief that ˆuluww, or aboveness, does not mean highness in place, but absolute aboveness in status and power. No Muslim denies that Aļļaah is attributed with absolute aboveness in this sense. This is an absolute meaning, unlike highness in place, because all status and power belong to Aļļaah in reality:
إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا
Meaning: “Verily all power and subjugation belongs to Aļļaah.” Accordingly, the Prophet’s greatness, for example, is a gift from Aļļaah only. (Yunus, 65)
This is unlike saying that Aļļaah’s aboveness is in location, which is a relative meaning pertaining to relative placement of things, and not an absolute. It also does not necessitate a greatness, because Tibet is at a higher location than Makkah, yet Makkah is better.
Wahabi said: We do not call the literal reality of Allah being above us to be in a “location” as defined by the heretics of ahlul-kalaam. Location to them is confinement, within space, and in a direction. These are some of the general aspects of what “locality” is with the ahlul-kalaam.
Answer: Sunnis deny that Aļļaah is in a location because it means being confined in space. This is something no one can deny, because if something is a location, then it is not in other locations, which means it is confined to the location it is in. Moreover, being in a location implies being a body, because a body is something with size, as has been stated by the guru of anthropomorphism Ibn Taymiyyah:
فقد ثبت بموجب هاتين المقدمتين صحة قول القائلين بالجهة وقول القائلين بأنه جسم وكونه جسما يستلزم القول بالجهة
“…. It is established from what necessarily follows from these two premises, the correctness of the saying of those who say that Aļļaah is in a direction, and the saying of those who say that He is a body, and that Him being a body necessarily implies Him being in a direction (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 2 / 125).” This is what their imaam adheres to, so who are they following when they deny this obvious necessity of direction and location? Who are these “salaf” they claim to follow?
Being in a direction, necessitates being confined in a location, and being a limited substance or body. Therefore Aļļaah’s aboveness, the one mentioned in the scriptures, is not an aboveness in the sense of direction, because in another aayah Aļļaah said:
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Meaning: “Aļļaah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will be pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘Aˆraaf, 180)
We know from this aayah that whenever the scriptures contain a word ascribing something to Aļļaah, it should be understood as having the most beautiful meaning of these words, and as we all know, “aboveness” can mean aboveness in status. This is a beautiful meaning, unlike “aboveness in direction.” Therefore, we understand from Aļļaah’s aboveness that it is an aboveness of status, not of direction or location.
Wahabi contention: The [Philosophers/Muˆtazilites/Jahmiyys] are deviant. The [Philosophers/Muˆtazilites/Jahmiyys] said that Allah is not in a direction. The Asħˆariyys also said that Aļļaah is not in a direction. Therefore the Asħˆariyys are also deviant.
Comment: This is a typical wahabi strategy of trying to scandalize their opponents. It is fallacious, because the philosophers’ agreement with the Asħˆariyys on some issues does not mean that the Asħˆariyys are like the philosophers in everything, least of all deviant beliefs. The main deviant belief of the philosophers that the Muslims said they were blasphemers for, was their claim that creation is eternal. This belief of theirs was shared by Ibn Taymiyyah.