The wahabis are claiming that Al-Baaqillaaniyy is an “early ‘Ashˆariyy” and quote him to show, as they claim, that the so called “early ‘Ashˆariyys” believed Aļļaah to be in a location above the Arsh. They quote him, saying:
And if someone says: Where is He? It is said to him: Asking where (al-ayn) is asking about place (al-makaan) and He is not one that a place (makaan) is permitted to enclose (yahwee), and nor [one that] places can encompass. Except that we say: Indeed He is Above His Throne, [but] not with the meaning of a body [being as such] through contact and adjacency, Exalted is He above that with a Lofty Exaltation.
As you can see, Al-Baaqillaaniyy explicitly denies place, and even the validity of asking “where?” Yet the wahabis claim that this is somehow different from saying Aļļaah’s aboveness is not in the sense of direction or location. In other words, they claim that he means that Aļļaah is located above the throne, in a direction to be pointed at, yet not a body. We have shown previously that this is a nonsensical idea.
This is not what Al-Baaqillaaniyy means, and I suspect they know that, but they will go very far in defending their ideas, even forgery and lies. An example being when they claim that there is a difference between “bringing into existence in Himself” and “creating in Himself” to defend their idea that Aļļaah brings about changes in Himself, a plain kufr belief. The father of their kufr and verbose word games, Ibn Taymiyyah, was much more explicit than they are, openly stating that Aļļaah has a size and six limits, i.e. a body, even if he does not usually call it that.
Here is an explicit statement showing that Al-Baaqillaaniyy did not mean that Aļļaah is in a direction:
And Aļļaah, (تعالى) is neither ascribed with directions, nor that He is in a direction. 1
قال الباقلاني في كتابه الإنصاف : والله تعالى لا يوصف بالجهات، ولا أنه في جهة. 2
He also said:
If someone said, “How is He?” then it is said to him, “If you mean by howness composition, form or kind, then (the answer is that) He has no form or kind to tell you about. If you meant by “how is He?” to ask, ”What is His attribute?” then the answer is that He is attributed with Life, Knowledge, Power, Hearing and Seeing. If you meant by “How is He?” to say, “How does He deal with His creation?” then the answer is: “By justice and grace.” 3
قال الباقلاني (ت 403 هـ) في [التمهيد : "فإن قال قائل وكيف هو قيل له إن أردت بالكيفية التركيب والصورة والجنسية فلا صورة له ولا جنس فنخبرك عنه. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي على أي صفة هو فهو حي عالم قادر سميع بصير. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي كيف صنعه إلى خلقه فصنعه إليهم العدل والإحسان" اهـ
So for those who need to be spoon-fed, I hope that would be enough. All Al-Baaqillaaniyy is doing is saying that Aļļaah is ascribed with aboveness, but not in the sense of direction, just as many of the Salaf did, like Aţ-Ţabariyy. They did not explain it further, and simply left it at that. This is what we call tafwiiđ. Then there are those that explain it further, such as Al-Qurţubiyy in this quote.
Note that the wahabis have also claimed explicitly or implied that Abuu Ĥaniifah, Al-Qurţubiyy, An-Nawawiyy and Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy believed Aļļaah to be in a direction. We have shown previously shown this to be false. If you are interested, click on their names to see.
1Abuu Bakr Al-Baaqillaaniyy (338 h. – 403 h.), Al-Inşaaf, 177.
2الباقلاني, الإنصاف, 177.
3Abuu Bakr Al-Baaqillaaniyy (338 h. – 403 h.), Tamiid, 300.