07-29-2006, 11:39 AM
What a coincidence, i was talking about just this topic a couple of days ago!
Here is a article addressing exactly this. I know it is rather lengthy, but it is worth the read:
What will be discussed in this article on Tawheed (The belief in the Oneness of Allah) is the creed held by the Muslim Ummah who belong to Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa^ah. The belief of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, his beloved companions, those who followed righteously in their footsteps. Those of the righteous Salaf, and the Khalaf. The purpose of this article is to clear up some of the confusion that is prevalent in today’s ummah because of those who have not gained knowledge by reliable trustworthy people, and because of those who do not follow the methodology of Ahlis-Sunnati Wal-Jama^ah. The Prophet ^alayhis-salatu was-salam said: “Innamal-^ilmu bit-ta^allum.” Which means: “Knowledge is gained by acquiring it.” That is, the knowledge is not gained by simply reading books, or going to any website and reading up articles. But the knowledge is gained by taking it face to face, and from the mouth of someone who is a reliable teacher, who took it from someone like him or better, who took it from one like him or better, etc. all the way back to the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. In such a manner, one guarantee’s what he is taking is authentic without it being filtered or misinterpreted. The scholars used to say “the knowledge is taken from the mouths of the scholars, and not the pages of the books.”
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ^ala said, in Surat ash-Shuraa verse 11: “Laysa Kamithlihi Shay’” which means: “Allah does not resemble the creation IN ANY WAY.” Grammatically, the way this verse is structured is to emphasize that Allah does not resemble the creation in any way. The word “mithl” in Arabic means resemblance, or similarity. There are 2 ways something can be similar to the creation. Firstly, it can either be an identical replica. Or it can share similarities in a few ways. Allah does not resemble the creation either in an identical replica, or in one, or two or three, or ten, or fifteen ways, etc. Allah does not resemble the creation in any way. The Self (Reality) of Allah does not resemble the self of the creation. The attributes of Allah, such as His Power, Knowledge, Seeing, Hearing, Life, Existance, Will, Creating, Speech, etc. do not resemble the attributes of the creation. And the Doings of Allah, like His giving life and His giving death, doesn’t resemble the doing of the creation. Be firm in knowing, Allah does not resemble the creation in any way, for had He resembled the creation, He would have been susceptible to the things the creation are susceptible to, from weakness, fatigue, pain, sickness, and death. All of these are impossible to be attributed to Allah. The one who is weak is in need, and the one who is in need does not deserve to be worshipped. Allah said in Surat Aal-^Imran verse 97: “Fa innallaha ghaniyyun ^anil-^alamin.” Which means: “Allah is not in need of al-^alamin.” Al-^Alamin is the universe, which is EVERYTHING other than Allah. It is everything which Allah has brought into existence from the state of non-existence. So once again, be firm in knowing Allah does not resemble the creation in any way.
In a hadith which was reported by al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy among others that The Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam said: “Kanallahu wa lam yakun shay’un ghayruhu” which means: “Allah existed eternally and there was nothing other than Him.”
So from this hadith, we understand that Allah is the only One Who is Eternal (i.e. Allah existed, and nothing else existed. This means, there was no earth, no heavens, no humans, no angels, no jinn, no animals, no Paradise, no Hellfire, no air, no light or darkness, no time, no space, no place (i.e., the six directions; up, down, left, right, infront and behind). There was NOTHING. This is also affirmed by the saying of Allah in Surat al-Furqan verse 2: “wa khalaqa kulla shay’” which means: “Allah created everything.” So for one to say that there is something that Allah did not create, and it is eternal, it is belying Allah. It is also associating partners with Allah in eternity. This is among the fundamental beliefs of Ahlus-Sunnah that Allah IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS NO BEGINNING TO HIS EXISTENCE. Everything else has a beginning to their existence, and Allah is the One Who created them, i.e., The One Who brought them from the state of non-existence into the state of existence. No one creates with this meaning of creating except Allah.
Among the beliefs of the Sunni Muslims is that Allah is Eternal and Everlasting. He has no beginning to His existence and has no ending to His existence. Therefore Allah is clear of change. Allah does not change. Change is an attribute of the creation. It is said by the Muslims east to west, a famous statement known by the scholars and the laymen. The statement is “Subhanalladhiyy Yughayyir Wa La Yataghayyar” Which means: “Exalted is He, Who makes things change by His Will, but He Himself does not change.” Change by definition is “To become different or undergo alteration”. Consequently it either changes for the better or for the worse. Nothing changes and stays the same; otherwise it didn’t change to begin with. If one says Allah changed from the better to the worse, this is an insult to Allah. Or if one says Allah changed from the worse to the better, this is again an insult to Allah, because this entail that Allah at one point was imperfect. Change is the most significant sign of being a creation. THEREFORE IF ALLAH DOES NOT RESEMBLE THE CREATION, AND ALLAH IS THE ONLY ONE WHO IS ETERNAL WITHOUT THE EXISTENCE OF ANYTHING, AND ALLAH DOES NOT CHANGE ---ALLAH EXISTS WITHOUT A PLACE.
For those who say Allah is sitting on the Throne, or to say that Allah is over the Throne physically, they have cursed and insulted Allah Subhanahu wa ta^ala. This is because in the aforementioned hadith, we have clearly stated and proved that Allah existed eternally and nothing else existed. There was no earth, sky, paradise, or Throne. So then it is clear that Allah existed before the creation, before the place, without a place. And since HE does not change, HE still exists without a place. This was what Abu Mansur al-Baghdadiyy related in his book al-Farqu baynal-Firaq that Imam ^Aliyy, the cousin of the Prophet, and son in-law of the Prophet said: “Kanallahu wa la makan wa huwal-ana ^ala ma ^alayhi kan.” Which means: “Allah existed eternally, and there was no place and He is now as He was.” i.e, since He was existing before the place existed, He is still as He was existing without a place.
This is among the fundamental beliefs of Ahlus-Sunnah. We went through the sequence of first bringing up textual proofs from the Qur’an, Hadith, and along with the intellectual proofs that the mind agrees and accepts. Now I began to give the proofs of scholars from the Salaf by starting off with the most knowledgeable man of this nation which was Imam ^Aliyy. Now let us mention what some other prominent scholars among the righteous Salaf have mentioned. Al-Imam Abu Hanifah, may Allah be pleased with him and who was among the heads of as-Salaf, said in his Fiqhul-Absat: “Allah existed eternally and there was no place. He existed before creating the creation. He existed, and there was no place, creation, or thing, and He is the Creator of everything.” He also said in his Fiqhul-Akbar: “He existed Eternally and exists everlastingly having His Names and Attributed with his Attributes. He did not acquire a new Name or an Attribute that He did not have.” That is, if Allah existed eternally and there was no place, then He did not gain a new attribute of being in a place whether it is above the throne, or on earth, in the direction of above, etc. He is as He eternally was. Abu Hanifah also said in his Fiqhul-Absat and Fiqhul-Akbar: “Allah’s attributes are not created. Whoever claims that the attributes of Allah are created, or doubts it, or hesitates about whether or not they are created is a blasphemer.”
Before I continue with naming some other prominent scholars of as-Salaf, let me mention a hadith reported by al-Bayhaqiyy. In page 400 of his book al-Asma’ was-Sifat, al-Bayhaqiyy states: “Some of our companions (meaning the Ash^ariyy’s) used as a proof in negating attributing a place to Allah, the saying of the Prophet which means ‘O Allah, you are adh-Dhahir and there is nothing above you, and O Allah you are al-Batin and there is nothing underneath you.’ Therefore, if there is nothing above and nothing underneath Him, He exists Without a place.”
One of the heads of as-Salaf, prominent in his time, and he who left his mark as one of the authorities of as-Salaf was al-Imam Abu Ja^far at-Tahawiyy. He wrote a famous creed which Muslims fell in love with and taught their children since 1,100 years ago. He named it al-^Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah. In the beginning of this masterpiece in authoring the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama^ah, he states the ijma^, the unanimous agreement of the Muslims, that this is the creed of Ahlis-Sunnati Wal-Jama^ah. He states in the first line of this creed: “This is an elucidation of the creed of Ahlis-Sunnati Wal-Jama^ah, in accordance with the doctrine of the scholars of the faith…” then he goes on to mention Abu Hanifah, and his two top students Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibnul-Hassan. So he has established that this is the creed of Sunni Muslims. He states in his creed: “Allah is Exalted and clear of having limits, boundaries, sides, organs, or limbs. He is not contained in the 6 directions as all the created things are.”
Imam Ja^far as-Sadiq who is among the descedants of the Prophet said: “He who believes Allah is in something, or on something, or from something commits shirk (blasphemy), because if Allah was in something, He would be surrounded or contained, and if Allah was on something He would be carried, and if Allah was from something, He would be a creature (i.e, a creation).
Al-Hafidh ibn Hajar al-^Asqalaniyy, said in his Fathul-Bari in the chapter of Jihad: “The fact that the two directions above and below are impossible to be attributed to Allah does not negate the fact that Allah is attributed with aboveness, because attributed aboveness to Allah is a matter of status and the impossibility lies in it being physical.”
Back to another quote of Imam ^Aliyy, reported by Imam Abu Mansur al-Baghdadiyy, the great Imam ^Aliyy said: Allah created the throne as an indication of His power and did not take it as a place for Himself.” The reason why Imam ^Aliyy said that, is because the Grand Throne is the largest creation of Allah in size. It is the ceiling of Paradise, and part of the Throne is a ceiling of Paradise since the Throne itself is much larger. An example of how large this Throne is that it was reported that there are 4 angels carrying the Throne. The Throne is a flat platform with 4 pillars. The Prophet described the size of one of these angels. It was said that it would take the fastest flying bird, on a continuous journey without any stop or rest to fly from the ear lobe to the tip of the shoulder of one of these Angels, the distance of 700 years. Maa-shaa’ Allahu Kan.
To mention another quote of Abu Hanifah, this time in his book al-Wasiyyah,: “… and He is the Preserver of the ^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 ^Arsh, where was Allah?” That is, the question “where was Allah” would have applied to Him, and this is an impossibility.
Imam Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy stated: “The ultimate knowledge about Allah is to be certain that Allah exists without a how, or a place.”
These are just some of the prominent names among the scholars of the Salaf and the Khalaf who have declared this to be the belief of the Sunni Muslims, that Allah does not resemble the creation in anyway, and that Allah EXISTS WITHOUT A PLACE.
-- So, in essence Allah is everywhere. Whereever a Muslim remembers Allah, He is there as He is being remembered. He is not restricted to the sky alone or any of th 6 directions (up, down, left, right,behind or infront), as being restricted (which as God He isn't), He isn't on the Arsh literally as that would mean something is carrying him, again showing dependancy, and He isn't from something because that would mean He was created, which He wasn't.
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