I say accordingly that Aļļaah’s aboveness and His highness refers to His highness of glory and attributes and greatness. That is, nothing is above Him when it comes to the meanings of greatness that are necessarily ascribed to Him, and there is nothing that shares His aboveness with Him. Rather He is the most High in the absolute sense, subĥaanah.1 (Tafsiir Al-Qurţubiyy, 7 / 220)
Note that because aboveness in location is relative, unlike the absolute aboveneness that Al-Qurţubiyy affirms, those who believe in it are bound to attribute flaw to Aļļaah. In Al-Asnaa Al-Qurţubiyy says this explicitly:
It is said to them [the anthropomorphists who believe Aļļaah is in a place or direction, etc.]: “If Allaah was specified by a specification, formed by a form, limited by a limit and end, existing in a specific direction, [or] changing by emergent [previously non existing] attributes in Himself, then He would have been emergent and specified by whatever He was specified with in terms of quantity and form, and [thus] requiring a specifier [for the quantity and form], and if He required a specifier, then He would have been in need and emergent. And if this is invalid, then it is true that He is without a limit or an end, and that He is Self-existent in the sense that He does not need a place to confine Him or a body to be in, or something to hold Him, or another that He gets help from. His attributes of His self do not change by His actions or leaving them. (Al-Asnaa, 2/21)
In short, Al-Qurţubiyy says that believing Allaah’s aboveness is one of direction/ location necessitates believing He has a flaw. This is because it necessitates likening Him to things that need a creator to specify it.
It also necessitates another flaw. This additional flaw is that they will either have to say that Aļļaah can create a body above Himself, and thereby become below, or that He cannot, and have thereby attributed to Him lack of power to create bodies anywhere He chooses.
They have also made Him, according to their belief, dependent on creating something below Himself, in order to achieve aboveness. No wonder then, that Ibn Taymiyyah said Aļļaah must create something or another. According to him, the Creator would lose His aboveness if He did not! Such is the dilemma of the relative aboveness doctrine of wahabism.
1تفسير القرطبي – (7 / 220): قلت: فعلوا الله تعالى وارتفاعه عبارة عن علو مجده وصفاته وملكوته. أي ليس فوقه فيما يجب له من معاني الجلال أحد، ولا معه من يكون العلو مشتركا بينه وبينه، لكنه العلي بالإطلاق سبحانه.
Al-Asnaa Fii Sħarĥi Asmaa’-illaahi-l-Ĥusnaa. Al-Qurţubiyy. 1995: Daar Aş-Şaĥaabah Li-t-Turaatħ.
Jaamiˆu Aĥkaami-l-Qur’aan. Al-Qurţubiyy (671 AH), Sħasuddiin. Ed. Aĥmad Al-Farduuniyy & Ibraahiim Aţfiisħ. Kairo, Egypt: Daar ˆaalam Al-Kutub Al-Mişriyyah, 1384.