بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Belief in Allâh
The meaning of "I testify that no one is god except Allâh" is: "I know, I believe, and I declare that nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allâh, Who is One (Wâhid), Indivisible ('AHad), without a beginning ('Awwal), Eternal (Qadîm), Alive (Hayy), without an end (Qayyûm), Everlasting (Dâ'im), the Creator (KhâliQ), the Sustainer (Râziq), Knowledgeable (^Âlim), Powerful (Qâdir), the One Who does whatever He wills, i.e., whatever Allâh willed to be shall be and whatever Allâh did not will to be shall not be, the One Who without His protection no one can evade sinning, and without His help no one has the strength to obey Him, Who is attributed with all proper perfection and is clear of all imperfection. There is nothing like Him, and He is attributed with Hearing and Sight."
Allâh exists without a beginning and everything else exists with a beginning; He is the Creator and everything else is a creation. Every creation that exists, be it among entities or deeds, from the fine dust to the Ceiling of Paradise (^Arsh), and every movement, rest, intention, and thought of the slaves is created by Allâh. Hence, no one other than Allâh--be it nature or reason--creates any thing. Things become existent by Allâh's eternal Will, Power, and Knowledge as mentioned in the Qur'ân:
Allâh said in the Qur'ân Surat al-FurQân, Âyah 2 :
( و خلق كل شيء )
which means:- [Allâh created everything]
He raised all the creation from the state of non-existence into the state of existence. No one creates with this meaning of creating except Allâh.
The Speech (Kalâm) of Allah is without a beginning like all of His other attributes, because He, the Exalted, is unlike all the creations in the Self (dhat), Attributes, and Actions. SubHânahu wa ta^âlâ, He is greatly clear of all what the blasphemers say.
Summing up what has been mentioned before, it is affirmed that Allâh, ta^âlâ, has thirteen attributes which were mentioned repeatedly in the Qur'ân, either explicitly or implicitly. These are:
Existence: It is obligatory to believe that Allâh exists and that there is no doubt in His Existence. He exists without a place. Time does not lapse on Allâh.
Oneness: Allâh is One without any partners. He is One in His Self, His Attributes, and His Actions.
Eternity: Allâh is Eternal; there is no beginning to His Existence. He has existed before the creation.
Everlastingness: Allâh is Everlasting; His existence does not come to an end. He does not perish.
Non-neediness of others: Allâh does not need any of His creations and they are all in need of Him.
Power: Allâh has Power over everything.
Will: Everything that occurs in this world is by the Will of Allâh.
Knowledge: Allâh knows about all things before they occur.
Hearing: Allâh hears all what is hearable, without an ear or any other organ.
Sight: Allâh sees all what is seeable, without a pupil or any other organ.
Life: Allâh is alive without a soul, skin, or heart. His Life is not similar to ours. He is alive and does not die.
Speech: Allâh’s Speech is without a tongue or lip. His Speech is not in a language, Arabic or anything else. His Speech does not resemble the speech of the humans.
Non-resemblance to the creations: Allâh does not resemble the creations.
Since these attributes were mentioned many times in the Qur'ân and Hadith, the scholars said knowing them is a personal obligation (farD ^ayn).
Since eternity is confirmed to the Self (dhat) of Allâh, His attributes are eternal, because a created attribute entails that the attributed self is created.
Allah does not resemble His creations, He exists without a place
Allâh created the universe, He exists before the space and the time. God exists without place and does not depend on time. we do not say "where" or "when" or "how" about Allâh.
The belief that Allâh, ta^âlâ, exists without a place is the creed of the Messenger of Allâh MuHammad, the Companions, and those who graciously followed them, and it shall so be until the Day of Judgment.
The proof of this precious statement is what Allâh said in the Qur’ân, in Surat Ash-Shûrâ, Ayah 11:
لَيْسَ كمثلهِ شىءٌ وهوَ السَّميعُ البصيرُ
which means: « There is absolutely nothing like Allâh whatsoever, and He has the attributes of Hearing and Seeing. »
This ayah absolutely clears Allâh of resembling the creations. It comprises that Allâh, ta^âlâ, is absolutely different from the creations in the Self, Attributes, and Actions. Hence, it shows that Allâh, ta^âlâ, exists without a place, because whatever exists in a place is, by nature, i.e., composed of particles, i.e., it is a body, occupying a space. Allâh, ta^âlâ, is clear of occupying spaces.
Al-Bukhariyy, al-BayhaQiyy and Ibnu l-Jarûd related that the Messenger of Allâh MuHammad said:
« كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَىءٌ غَيْرُهُ »
which means: « Allâh existed eternally and nothing else existed. »
This Hadith proves that only Allâh existed without a beginning, i.e., before creating any of the creation. There was nothing with Allâh: no place, no space, no sky, no Earth, no light, and no darkness. It is determined in the rules of the Religion and the judgments of the sound mind that Allâh, the Exalted, does not change. Hence, it is impossible that after having been existing without a place, Allâh will change and dwell in a place, because this is a development. The development is a sign of needing others, and the one who needs others is not God.
Imam Abu Mansûr al-Baghdâdiyy related in his book, Al-Farqu Baynal-FiraQ, that Imâm Aliyy, the fourth of the caliphs, may Allâh reward his deeds, said:
« كان الله ولا مكان، وهو الآن على ما عليه كان »
which means: « Allâh existed eternally and there was no place, and He now is as He was [without a place]. »
Imam Abu Hanîfah, who is one of the authorities of Salaf, said in his book Al-Fiqh al-AbsaT: « Allâh 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. »
Imâm Hāfidh al-Bayhaqiyy said in his book, Al-Asmâ'u wa s-Sifāt, on page 400: «…What was mentioned towards the end of the Hadith is an evidence for negating that Allâh has a place and negating that the slave is alike to Allâh. Allâh, the Exalted, is adh-Dhâhir (الظاهر). Hence, it is valid to know about Him by proofs. Allâh is al-BâTin (الباطن). Hence, it is invalid that He dwells in a place. » Al-Bayhaqiyy also said: « Some of our companions used, as a proof to refute attributing the place to Allâh, the saying of the Prophet Muḥammad صلى الله عليه وسلّم: « You are adh-Dhâhir (الظاهر) and there is nothing above You, and You are al-BāTin (الباطن) and there is nothing underneath You. » Therefore, if there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, He is not in a place. »
Imam AHmad Ibn Salâmah, Abu Ja`far aT-TaHâwiyy, who was born in the year 237 after Hijrah, wrote a very famous book called al-^Aqîdah at-TaHâwiyyah. He mentioned that the content of his book is an explanation of the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamâ^ah, which is the creed of Imm Abu Hanifah, who died in the year 150 after Hijrah, and his two companions, Imam Abu Yûsuf al-QâDî and Imâm MuHammad Ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybâniyy and others.
He said in his book:
تَعَالى عن الحُدُودِ والغَاياتِ والأَركانِ والأَعضَاء والأَدَوَاتِ لا تَحوِيهِ الجِهَاتُ السّتُّ كَسَائِرِ المُبْتَدَعَاتِ
which means: « Allâh is supremely clear of all boundaries, extremes, sides, organs, and instruments. The six directions do not contain Him, for these are attributed to all created things. »
Such is the saying of Imâm Abu Ja^far who is among the heads of Salaf. Abu Ja^far explicitly stated that Allâh is clear of being contained by the six directions. The six directions are above, below, ahead, behind, right, and left.
The linguist and scholar of Hadīth, Imâm MuHammad MurtaDâ az-Zabîdiyy, narrated by a continuous chain from himself back to Imâm Zayn al-^Âbidîn ^Aliyy Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Tālib, (who was among the best of Salaf, who earned the title of as-Sajjād, i.e., the one who prays a lot), that Zayn al-^Abidîn, in his treatise as-SaHîfah as-Sajjâdiyyah, said about Allâh:
سبحانك أنتَ الله الذى لا يحويك مكان
which means: « O Allâh, You are clear of all imperfection. You are Allâh, the One Who no place contains You. »
He also said:
قال الإمام زينُ العابدين علىُّ بنُ الحسين سبحانك أنتَ الله الذى لستَ بمحدود
which means: « O Allâh, You are clear of all imperfection. You are Allâh, the One Who is not within boundaries. »
The Hanafiyy scholar Zaynu d-din Ibn Nujaym, in his book Al-BaHru r-Râ'iq, on page 129 said: « Whoever says it is possible for Allâh to do a doing which has no wisdom commits blasphemy. Moreover, he commits blasphemy by affirming a place to Allâh, the Exalted. »
Imam Ahmad ar-Rifâ^iyy al-Kabîr, who lived around the year 600 after Hijrah, said:
غايةُ المعرفةِ بالله الإيقانُ بوجوده تعالى بِلا كيفٍ ولا مكانٍ
which means: « The ultimate knowledge about Allâh is to be certain that Allâh exists without a how or a place. »
Imam MuHammad Ibn Hibah al-Makkiyy, wrote a book called Hadâ’iqu l-FuSûl wa Jawâhiru l-`Uqûl. It came to be known as Al-`Aqidatu s-SalâHiyyah, after he gave it as a gift to Sultan SalaHu d-dîn al-Ayyûbiyy, who ordered that this book be taught to the children in schools and broadcast from the top of minarets. In his book he said:
قد كان موجودا ولا مكانا وحكمُه الآن على ما كان
Which means: « Allâh existed eternally and there was no place, and the judgment about His existence now is that He is as He was [without a place]. »
Imam Ja`far as-Sâdiq said which means: « He who claims that Allâh is in something or on something or from something commits shirk (blasphemy). Because, if He was in something, He would be contained, and if He was on something, He would be carried, and if He was from something, He would be a creature. »
Shaykh ^Abdu l-Ghaniyy an-Nabulusiyy said: « He who believes that Allâh fills the heavens and Earth or that He is a body sitting above the Throne is a kafir. »
Imam Fakhru d-dîn Ibn ^Asâkir (620 H) said in his ^Aqidah: « Allâh existed before the creation. He does not have a before or an after, an above or a below, a right or a left, an ahead or a behind, a whole or a part. It must not be said: When was He, Where was He, or how was He? Allâh exists without a place. He created the universe and willed for the existence of time. He is not bound by time or designated with place. »
Imâm Abu Sulayman al-KhaTTābiyy said which means: « What is obligatory upon us and upon every Muslim to know is that our Lord has no shape or form, because the shape has a "how", and "how" does not apply to Allâh or His Attributes. »
Know beyond doubt that the question "how" (kayf: كيف) does not apply to Allâh. "How?" is a question related to shapes, bodies, places, depths, and dimensions. Allâh is clear of all such attributes. Also be firm that it is invalid to say about Allâh «… but we do not know how », because in essence, it falsely indicates that Allâh has a color, shape, dimensions, body and place, but one is simply ignorant of its "how".
Imam al-Ghazâliyy said which means: « Allâh, the Exalted, existed eternally and there was no place. He is not a body, jawhar (minute indivisible particle), or bodily property, and He is not on a place or in a place. »
All of these sayings show that attributing the direction and the place to Allâh is contrary to the Qur’ân, Hadith, Ijmâ` unanimity of scholars, and intellectual proof.
The intellectual proof that Allâh exists without a place lies in the fact that God has the attributes of perfection. Needing others is not an attribute of perfection. The one who occupies place needs that place. The one who needs others (whether it is a place or any other creation) is not God. Moreover, as the mind determines that Allâh existed without a place before creating places. The mind also determines that after Allâh created the places, He still exists without a place.
The scholars, like Imam AHmad ar-Rifâ^iyy, determined that lifting the hands and the faces towards the sky when performing du`â’ (supplication) is because the heavens are the Qiblah of du^â’ just as the Ka^bah is the Qiblah of Salah. From the heavens, the mercies and blessings of Allâh descend.
Hence, it is clear for the one who seeks the truth that the saying that Allâh exists without a place is what complies with the Qur’ân, Hadīth, Ijmâ^ unanimity of scholars, and criteria of the sound intellect. Be firm and certain that before creating places, Allâh, Who created everything (places and everything else), existed without a place, and after creating places, Allâh still exists without a place.
Since we have determined that the creed of the Muslims is that Allâh exists without a place and that the question "how" does not apply to Allâh, it is clear to us that the Throne (`Arsh), which is the largest of all the creations and the ceiling of Paradise, is not a place for Allâh, the Exalted.
Imâm Abu ManSûr al-Baghdâdiyy related that Imâm ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Tâlib, the fourth caliph, said:
إنَّ الله تَعَالى خَلَقَ العَرْشَ إظْهَارًا لِقُدْرَتِهِ وَلم يَتَّخِذُهُ مَكانًا لِذَاتِهِ
which means: « Allâh created the Throne (^Arsh) as an indication of His Power and did not take it as a place for Himself. »
Imâm Abu Hanîfah said in his book, al-WaSiyyah: «…and He is the Preserver of the Throne (`Arsh) and everything else, without needing them, for had He been in need, He would not have the power to create, manage, and preserve the world. Moreover, had He been in a place needing to sit and rest, before creating the Throne (^Arsh), where was Allâh? »
Also, in his book, Al-Fiqh al-AbsaT, Imâm Abu Hanîfah said: « Allâh existed eternally and there was no place ; He existed before creating the creation. He existed and there was not a place, creation, or thing ; and He is the Creator of everything. He who says I do not know if my Lord is in the heavens or on Earth, is a kafir. Also is a kâfir whoeve says that He is on the Throne (^Arsh), and I do not know whether the Throne (^Arsh) is in the heaven or on Earth. »
Consequently, Imâm AHmad declared whoever says these last two phrases that is a kafir, because they contain attributing a direction, boundary, and place to Allâh. Everything that has a direction and boundary is by necessity in need of a Creator.
In his book, IHyâ’u ^Ulûmid-dîn, Imâm al-Ghazâliyy said: «…places do not contain Him [Allâh], nor do the directions, Earth, or heavens. He is attributed with an istiwâ’ over the Throne (^Arsh) as He said in the Qur’ân, with the meaning that He willed and not as what people may delude. It is an istiwâ’ which is clear of touching, resting, holding, moving, and containment. The Throne (^Arsh) does not carry Him, but rather the Throne (^Arsh) and those who carry it are all carried by Allâh’s Power, and they are subjugated to Him. He is above the Throne (^Arsh), the heavens, and everything in status, with an aboveness that does not give Him proximity to the Throne (^Arsh) or the heavens as it does not give Him farness from Earth. He is higher in status than everything: higher in status than the Throne (^Arsh) and the heavens, as He is higher in status than Earth and the rest of the creation. »
Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulusiyy said: « He who believes that Allâh filled the heavens and Earth or that He is a body sitting above the Throne (`Arsh), is a kâfir. »
Âyah 93 of Surat Maryam:
إن كلُّ مَن فى السمواتِ والأرضِ إلا ءاتِى الرحمنِ عبدًا
means: « All those in the heavens and Earth must come to Allâh as slaves. » In this Tafsir (book of explaining the Qur’ân),
Imam ar-Râziyy said which means: « and since it is affirmed by this âyah that everything that existed in the heavens and Earth is a slave of Allâh (i.e., owned by and subjugating to Allâh) and since it is obligatory that Allâh is clear of being owned, thus He is clear of being in a place or direction, or on the ^Arsh or Kursiyy. »
Hence, Ayah 5 of Surat Tâha, in the Qur’ân:
الرَّحمنُ على العرشِ استوى
clearly does not mean that Allâh sits on the ^Arsh or that Allâh is firmly established on the ^Arsh. In the Arabic language, the word istawâ (استوى) has fifteen (15) different meanings, among which are to sit, subjugate, protect, conquer, and preserve. Based on what we have covered so far, it is obvious that it is blasphemous to apply the meaning "to sit" to Allâh. However, the terms to preserve and to subjugate are in compliance with the Religion and the Arabic language.
Imam Hafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hambaliyy explained the meaning of istiwâ’ (استواء) as istilâ’ (استيلاء), which means subjugating. That is, Allâh attributed Himself with subjugating the Throne (^Arsh) in eternity (the status of existing without a beginning, that is, before creating the creation). Since the Throne (^Arsh), the largest creation of Allâh, is subjugated to Allâh, then everything else which is smaller than the Throne (^Arsh) is under the control of Allâh.
It was affirmed about Imâm Mâlik Ibn Anas, may Allâh reward his deeds, in what al-Bayhaqiyy related with a sound chain from the route of ^Abdu l-Lâh Ibn Wahb, that:- "We were at Mâlik’s when a man entered and said « O Abu ^Abdi l-Lāh, (meaning Imâm Mâlik), ar-RaHmânu ^ala l-^Arsh istawâ, how did He istawâ ? » Mâlik looked down dismayed and he lifted his head and said « ^ala l-^Arsh istawâ as He attributed to Himself. It is invalid to say how, and "how" does not apply to Him. I see that you are an innovator. Order him out." Hence, the saying of Imâm Mâlik, « "How" does not apply to Him » means that His istiwâ’ over the throne (^Arsh) is without a how, i.e., it is not with a body, place, shape, or form like sitting, touching, suspending above, and the like.
Hence, there is no basis for the saying of those who liken Allâh to the creation, which they falsely attribute to Imâm Mâlik, that istiwâ’ is known and the how of it is unknown. This saying of theirs is invalid, because sitting, no matter how it is, will be by organs and body parts that fold. Moreover, the statement claiming that Imâm Mâlik attributed a "how" to Allâh is a fabrication.
Imâm al-Lâlikâ’iyy narrated about Umm salamah and Rabî^ah Ibn Abi ^Abdi r-RaHmân:
رَوَى اللالِكائىُّ عن أم سَلَمَة ورَبيعةَ بن أبِى عبد الرحمن الاستواءُ غيرُ مجهول والكيف غيرُ معقولٍ
which means: « The attribute of istiwâ’ (استواء) is not unknown, because it is mentioned in the Qur’ân. The kayf (كيف), that is, its how is inconceivable, because its applicability to Allâh is impossible. » Hence, the Hadiths and the ayahs that attribute aboveness to Allâh, refer to the aboveness of status and not the aboveness of place, distance, direction, touching, or suspending.
In Surat Al-An^âm Âyah 61, Allâh said:
وهو القاهرُ فوقَ عبادهُ
which means: « He [i.e., Allâh] is the One Who subjugates His slaves. » Hence the term fawQ used in this âyah refers to subjugation and not to a place or a direction.
The mushabbihah are those who liken Allâh to the creation ; they believe Allâh resembles the creation. They attribute to Allâh places, directions, shapes, and bodies, and they try to camouflage it by saying: « However, we do not know how His place is, or how His sitting is, or how His face is, or how His shin is, or how His light is. » All of that does not clear them of blasphemy, because Allâh is not composed of body parts and does not resemble the creation in any way whatsoever.
Praise be to Allâh the Lord of the worlds, the One Who is clear of resembling the creation, all non befitting attributes, and all that which the blasphemers unrightfully say about Him.
الحمد لله رب العالمين
Praise be to Allâh, the Creator of the world.