Splendid Pearls

The Correct Islamic Belief regarding our Creator as passed down through each century

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The Creed of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa sallam) said: “O Allah, You are the first: there is nothing before You; and You are the last: there is nothing after You. You are the Manifest (adh-Dhahir): there is nothing above You. You are the Hidden (al-Batin): there is nothing below You” (Sahih Muslim).

Imam al-Bayhaqi: “What was mentioned towards the end of the hadith is an indication of denying Allah has a place and denying the slave is alike to Allah, wherever he was, in proximity or remoteness. Allah, the Exalted, is adh-Dhahir – hence, it is valid to know about Him by proofs. Allah is al-Batin – hence, it is invalid that He would be in a place….Therefore, if there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, He is not in a place” (Imam al-Bayhaqi, Al-Asma’ was-Sifat, Kawthari edition, p. 400).

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa’aalihi wa sallam) said in another hadith: “Allah existed eternally and there was nothing else” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Imam al-Bayhaqi said in his book ‘Al-I’tiqad’ (The Creed) when elucidating the meaning of this Hadith: “This indicates that eternally nothing existed other than Allah; no water , no ‘Arsh (The Throne) and no other creation, they are all classified as other than Allah”

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 1st Century

Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiallahu anhu): “He who claims that our Lord is limited is ignorant about the Creator who is worshipped” (Hafidh Abu Nu’aym, Hilyatul-Awliya). Imam ‘Ali ibn abi Talib said; “Indeed, Allah the Exalted created the Throne as a manifestation of His Power and not a place for His Essence. He was in the beginning, while there was no place or time and He is now as He ever was” (Imam ‘Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, Al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, p. 41)

He said further: “al-Istiwa is not unknown, and the modality is altogether inconceivable. To affirm it is obligatory and to ask questions about it is an innovation, this is because Allah was, when there was nothing, and He created place before there was a place, and He is in no need for a place” (An-Nasafi, Tafsir Madaarik al-Tanzeel wa-Haqaa’iq al-Ta’wil, explanation of Sura Taha, ayat 5).

Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (died 40 AH), may Allah raise his rank, the eminent and renowned companion and one of the most distinguished in teaching Tawhid (Islamic Creed) said: “Allah is eternally existent and place is not, and He still exists as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”. Narrated by Abu Mansur al-Baghdadiyy in his book ‘al-Farq baynal-Firaq'”.

In his book ‘as-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyyah’ Imam Zaynul-‘Abidin ‘Ali Ibnul-Hussayn (died 94 AH), may Allah raise his rank, a great successor of the companions (Tabi’i) said: “You are Allah, the One who is not confined to place”

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 2nd Century

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (died 148 AH), may Allah raise his rank, said: “He who claims that Allah is in anything or on anything or from anything commits shirk (type of blasphemy). Because, had He been on anything, He would have been carried, had He been in anything, He would have been contained, and had He been from anything, He would have been a creation”. Narrated by Imam al-Qushayriyy in his book ‘ar-Risalah’.

In his book ‘Al-Fiqh al-‘Absat’ the great Imam and Mujtahid Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man Ibn Thabit (died 150 AH), may Allah raise his rank, said: “Allah is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist. Allah eternally exists before creating the creation. Allah eternally exists and eternally there was no place or any other creation and He is the Creator of everything.”

Imam Abu Hanifa also said”Had He been in a place and needing to sit and rest before creating the throne, then the question ‘Where was Allah’ would have applied to Him, which is impossible….We assert that Allah is established on the throne without His need (haja) nor settlement (Istiqrar) upon it, for He it is who preserves the Throne and other than it without needing any of them” (Wasiyyat al-imam al-azam abu hanifa, ed. Fuad Ali Rida, Beirut: Maktabat al-Jamahir, 1970, p. 10).

“Being near to Allah or far from Him is not in terms of physical/spatial distance, rather whoever obeys Allah is near Him and whoever disobeys Allah is far from Him” (Fiqh al-Akbar)

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 3rd Century

The great Imam and Mujtahid Muhammad Ibn Idris Ash-Shafi’i (died 204 AH), may Allah raise his rank, said: “Allah, the Exalted is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist. Allah created the place while He is still attributed with Eternity as He was before creating the place. It is intellectually impossible for change to occur in His Self or for alteration to happen in His Attributes.” Related by Imam az-Zabidiyy in his book ‘Ithaf as-Sadatil-Muttaqin’.

“Know that limit and finiteness do not apply to Allah” (Al-Fiqh al-Akbar fi al-Tawhid, Cairo: Al-Matba’a al-Adabiyya, 1324/1906, p. 8).

“Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (died 241 AH) never attributed directionality to Allah.” Related by Imam Ibn Al-Jawziyy in his book ‘Daf^ Shubhatit-Tashbih’

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about ‘Istawa”[Istiwa’]: It means height/exaltation (`uluw) and elevation (irtifa`). Allah – Most High – is ever exalted (`ali) and elevated (rafi`) without beginning, before He created the Throne. He is above everything (huwa fawqa kulli shay’), and He is exalted over everything (huwa al-`ali `ala kulli shay’). He only specified the Throne because of its particular significance which makes it different from everything else, as the Throne is the best of all things and the most elevated of them. Allah – Most High – therefore praised Himself by saying that He {established Himself over the Throne}, that is, He exalted Himself over it (`alayhi `ala). It is impermissible to say that He established Himself with a contact or a meeting with it. Exalted is Allah above that! Allah is not subject to change, substitution, nor limits, whether before or after the creation of the Throne” (Tabaqat al-Hanabila, 2:296-297).

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 4th Century

In his book ‘al-‘Aqidah at-Tahawiyah’ the great Faqih and Imam Abu Ja’far at-Tahawi (born 237 AH, died 321 AH), said: “Allah is utterly clear of all boundaries, extremes, sides, organs, and instruments. The six directions do not contain Him, as they contain all created things”.

In his well-known book ‘Sahih Ibn Hibban’ Al-Hafidh Muhammad Ibn Hibban (died 354 AH) said: “Allah is eternally existent and eternally no time or place did exist”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 5th Century

In his book ‘Mushkil al-Hadith’ Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn al-Hussayn, also known as Ibn Furak (died 406 AH) said: “It is intellectually impossible for Allah, the Exalted, to occupy places, by reason of the impossibility of limits and ends applying to Him which is in turn due to the impossibility that Allah is created”.

In his book ‘al-‘Isharah ila madhhab ahlil-Haqq’ (The Guide to the methodology of the People of Truth) Imam and Faqih Abu Ishaq ash-Shiraziyy (died 476 AH), a great Shafi’i scholar said: “Allah is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist. Allah created the place, and He is still existent as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 6th Century

In his book ‘Qawa’id al-‘Aqa’id’ Shaykh Abu Hamid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (died 505 AH), a great Shafi^iyy scholar said: “Allah, the Exalted, is clear from containment by place and is clear from restriction by time. Rather, He is eternally existent before creating time and place, and He is still existent as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”.

In his book ‘al-Qabas fi sharh Muwatta’ Malik Ibn Anas’ al-Qadi (The Judge) Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi (died 543 AH), a great Maliki scholar from Andalusia (presently known as Spain) said: “Allah, Who is ‘Al-Bari’ (The Creator) is clear from the limitation of the six directions or the envelopment of places”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 7th Century

In his book authored on interpreting the Qur’an known as ‘at-Tafsir al-Kabir’ (The Great Interpretation) Imam Fakhrud-Din ar-Raziyy (died 606 AH), said: “Regarding the Ayah { وهو العلي العظيم } it is impossible for the meaning of the word ‘Aliyy’, when attributed to Allah, to refer to aboveness in terms of an upward direction or place, as evidence confirms the fallacy therein. Hence, this mandates that the meaning of the word ‘Aliyy’ is that Allah is clear of resembling all intellectual possibilities and of any similarity to the creation”.

In his book ‘Mulhat al-I’tiqad’ in reference to Allah Shaykh ‘Izzud-Din Ibn ‘Abdis-Salam (died 660 AH), said: “Allah is not a body and thus Has no form, He is not an entity and thus Has no measured limits. He does not resemble anything and nothing resembles Him. The six directions do not surround Him, nor do the earths and skies enclose Him. He is eternally existent before creating the creations. He created time, and He still exists as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 8th Century

In his book ‘Idah ad-Dalil’ Al-Qadi Badrud-Din Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim known as Ibn Jama’ah ash-Shafi’i (died 733 AH) said: “Allah is eternally existent and eternally no time or place did exist. He still exists as He eternally was (i.e. without the need for place or time)”.

In his book ‘al-Bahr al-Muhit’ explaining verse 19 of Surat al-Anbiya’ the great linguist and interpreter and reciter of the Holy Qur’an, Muhammad Ibn Yusuf known as Abu Hayan al-Andalusiyy (died 745 AH) said: “The word ‘inda’ in this Ayah does not have the function of an adverb of place because Allah is clear of occupying places. Rather, it is used in the context of honourable status and high standing.”

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 9th Century

In his book ‘Tarh at-Tathrib fi Sharh at-Taqrib’ when explaining the saying of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:> in reference to the Book positioned above the Throne which has the following words: ‘Inna Rahmati sabaqat Ghadabi’, which means that the matters Allah approves of, far exceed in number those He does not, the Hafidh and Muhaddith Waliyyud-Din Abu Zur’ah Ahmad Ibn ‘Abdir-Rahim al-‘Iraqiyy (died 826 AH) said: “Allah is clear from the acts of sitting, occupying space and directionality. Therefore, the word “inda” in the aforementioned context does not infer place, rather, it infers honourable status. Consequently, the true meaning of the Prophet’s saying is that this book is positioned in a place Allah awarded high status and honour”.

In his book ‘Fath al-Bari’ the great Hafidh Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, the well-known Shafi’i scholar (died 852 AH) said: “Not because it is impossible for the upward and downward directions to apply to Allah does it entail that He cannot be attributed with “Al-‘Uluww” (Aboveness in a metaphorical sense). This is so because attributing Him with “Al-‘Uluww” (Aboveness) is from the point of status, which is impossibly applicable in a physical sense when in reference to Allah. Hence, it has been related that among the names of Allah are Al-‘Ali, Al-‘Aliyy, and Al-Muta’ali”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 10th Century

In his book ‘Al-‘Iklil fis-tinbat at-Tanzil’ Al-Hafidh Jalalud-Din ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr As-Suyuti Ashafi’i (died 911 AH) said: “The Ayah: {ليس كمثله شيء} holds within it a refutation to the creed of the Mushabbihah (those who liken Allah to the creation) and a confirmation that He (Allah) is not a mass, a body, a colour, a taste, and that He does not occupy a space or conform to time”.

In his book ‘Irshad as-Sari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhariyy’ Shaykh Abul-‘Abbas Shihabud-Din Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Qastalaniyy al-Misri (died 923 AH) said: “The Self of Allah is clear from the notions of place and direction”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 11th Century

In his book ‘Ar-Rawdul-‘Azhar fi Sharh al-Fiqh al-‘Akbar’ Shaykh Mulla ‘Ali (died 1014 AH), the well-known Hanafi scholar said: “The “Uluww” of Allah over His creation embedded in the meaning of verse 61 of Surat al-‘An’am is indeed an aboveness in status and domination, as mandated by Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah and not a physical aboveness”.

In his book ‘Al-Futuhat Ar-Rabbaniyyah’ Al-Muhaddith ash-Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali known as Ibn ‘Allan as-Siddiqiyy ash-Shafi’i (died 1057 AH) said: “Indeed Allah is above His creation in status and domination, and not in place and direction”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 12th Century

In his elucidation to the book ‘Muwatta’ of Imam Malik’ Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdil-Baqi az-Zarqani (died 1122 AH), a well-known Maliki scholar said: “Imam al-Baydawi said: “Since it is confirmed through irrefutable proofs that Allah is clear from notions of body and dwelling, it follows that it is impossible that Allah would be moving from one place to another lower place”.

In his well-known poem called ‘Kifayat al-Ghulam’ Shaykh Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulusi (died 1143 AH), a great Sufi Hanafi scholar from Damascus, Syria said: “Contained not He (Allah) is by place, certainly not, nor His reality can be grasped by the minds, He is in status above all the creations and is clear of all their characteristics”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 13th Century

In his well-known poem called ‘al-Kharidah al-Bahiyyah’ relating to the attributes of Allah the great Malikiyy Scholar, Shaykh Abul-Barakat Ahmad Ibn Muhammad ad-Dardir (died 1201 AH) from Egypt said: “Allah is clear from occupancy, directionality, attachment, detachment and recklessness”.

In his book ‘Sharh al-‘Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah’ (The explanation of at-Tahawiyah creed) Shaykh ‘Abdul-Ghani al-Ghunaymi al-Maydani (died 1298 AH), a great Hanafi scholar from Damascus, Syria said: “Allah, the Exalted, is not a body, therefore to see Allah is different than to see the created bodies. Any seeing must be in accordance with the attributes of what is seen. Therefore, the creation which is in a certain place and direction cannot be seen except in that place and direction as part of its attributes. Furthermore, seeing a creation involves reciprocal proximity, connective optical beams and a set distance. However, seeing Allah, the One Who does not exist in a place or a direction and is not a bodily entity is just as well, without Him existing in a place or in a set direction”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 14th Century

In his book ‘Ta’iyyat as-Suluk’ Shaykh ‘Abdul-Majid ash-Sharnubiyy al-‘Azhariyy (died 1348 AH) said: “Allah, the Exalted is not subject to time limitations nor is carried over a certain place. In reality, He is eternally existent and eternally no place or time did exist, and now He exists as He eternally was (i.e. without being subject to place and time)”.

In his book ‘Furqan al-Qur’an’ Shaykh Salamah al-Quda’iyy al-‘Azzamiyy (died 1376 AH), a great Shafi’iyy scholar said: “The truthful righteous Salaf (Scholars who lived in the first three centuries after the Prophetic Migration) and Khalaf (Scholars who lived after Salaf) unanimously agree to clear al-Haqq (a name of Allah which means: The One Whose Existence is beyond doubt) the Exalted, from existing in any direction or place”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the 15th Century

In his book ‘al-‘Ayat al-Muhkamat’ Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ahmad known as ad-Dah ash-Shanqitiyy (died 1404 AH), former Imam of al-Khatmiyyah Mosque in Sudan said: “The scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama^ah have all unanimously agreed that Allah does not need anything and that everything is in need of Him. He exists deservedly without the need to an allocator or place. He created time and place, and He still exists as He eternally was”.

In his book ‘Idhhar al-‘Aqidah as-Sunniyyah’ (The Elucidation of the Sunni Creed) Shaykh and Muhaddith ‘Abdullah al-Harari, known as al-Habashi said: “The righteous people of knowledge have stated that Allah is not firmly affixed over a place meaning that it is intellectually impossible for Allah to become in contact with a particular place and rest over it”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Qur’anic Explanation and its related sciences

In his book ‘Al-Jami’ li‘Ahkam al-Qur’an’ Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-‘Ansariyy al-Qurtubi (died 671 AH), a well-known Malikiyy scholar and explainer of the Holy Qur’an said: “The name of Allah ‘Al-^Aliyy’ refers to His greatness in status, and does not refer to an elevated place because Allah is clear of occupying space”.

In his explanation, Shaykh ‘Abdullah Ibn Ahmad an-Nasafi (died 701 AH), also a renowned interpreter of the Holy Qur’an said: “He (Allah) is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist, and He still exists as He was before creating place, He did not change”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Hadith and its related sciences

In his book ‘Daf Shubah at-Tashbih’ Hafidh ^Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Ali known as Ibn al-Jawziyy (died 597 AH), a great Hanbali scholar said: “It is obligatory upon us to firmly believe that the Self of Allah is not confined to place nor attributed with change or moving”.

In his book ‘Al-Maqasid al-Hasanah’ Hafidh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdir-Rahman as-Sakhawi (died 902 AH) said: “Our Shaykh (meaning Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaniyy) said: “The Knowledge of Allah encompasses all things, and Allah The Exalted is clear of occupying places, for He is eternally existent before places were brought into existence”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Hanafi School

In his book ‘Ithaf as-Sadah al-Muttaqin’ the great Hafidh, Faqih and well-known linguist, Muhammad Murtada az-Zabidiyy (died 1205 AH) of the Hanafi School said: “Allah, the Exalted, is clear of changing from one state to another, moving from place to place and physical attachment and detachment, for they all are attributes of the creations”.

Mulla Ali al-Qari states: “It is obligatory that you believe that your God…is not contained in any place or direction”. (Sharh ayn al-ilm)

He states elsewhere: “Allah is not located in a place, whether above or below, or any other than these, and time is inapplicable to Him, unlike what the mushabbiha and mujassima and hululiyya or incarnationists believe”. (sharh al-fiqh al-akbar)

He also cites al-hafiz Zayn al-din al-iraqi’s statements that all four imams agree that anyone who believes Allah lies in a specific direction has commited disbelief. (al-qari, sharh ayn al-ilm wa zayn al-hilm 1:34; sharh al-fiqh al-akbar Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-ilmiyya 1404/1984 p57; al-mirqat, cited by kawthari, maqalat p. 321,362)

The Hanafi Scholar Mulla ‘Ali Qari states; “فمن أظلم ممن كذب على الله أو ادعى ادعاء معينا مشتملا على اثبات المكان والهيئة والجهة من مقابلة وثبوت مسافة وأمثال تلك الحالة، فيصير كافرا لا محالة) اهـ.“Who is more unjust than the one that lied about Allah, or claimed something that included affirming (to Him) a place, shape or direction such as facing, distance and the like… Such a person becomes a kaafir (non-Muslim) without doubt (P. 355).”– Sharh Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, Ali Al-Qari, Dar Al-Basħa’ir Al-Islamiyah, Beirut, 1998.

In praising the Prophet peace be upon him Shaykh and Faqih Muhammad ‘Amin Ibn ‘Umar known as Ibn ‘Abidin (died 1252 AH), the famous Hanafi scholar from Damascus – the author of the well-known commentary – said: “And Muhammad (peace be upon him) was awarded ‘al-qurb’ (greater status) by ar-Rahman (Allah), not ‘al-qurb’ that refers to closeness in distance or place”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Maliki School

In his book ‘Al-‘insaf fima yajibu ‘i’tiqaduhu wa la yajuzu al-jahlu bihi’ (the just ruling regarding what one is obligated to believe in and cannot be ignorant of) Al-Qadi (Judge) Abu Bakr al-Baqillaniyy, a renowned Malikiyy scholar (died 403 AH) said: “We do not state that the Grand ‘Arsh (Throne) is a residence or a location for Allah, due to the fact that Allah, the Exalted, is eternally existent and place is not, hence when place was brought into existence by His Creating He did not change”.

In his book ‘Al-Ajwibah al-Fakhirah’ Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Qarafiyy (died 684 AH), an Egyptian Malikiyy scholar said: “And He (Allah) is not in any direction, and when we are admitted to Paradise Allah will grant us the honour of seeing Him without Him being in any direction”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Shafi’i School

In his book ‘Ash-Shamil fi ‘Usul ad-Din’ Shaykh Abul-Ma^ali ^Abdul-Malik al-Juwayni (died 478 AH), a great Shafi^iyy scholar known as Imam al-Haramayn said: “Know that the creed of the righteous people is that the Almighty Lord is clear of engaging a space as He is clear of pertaining to any direction”.

In his explanation of ‘Sahih Muslim’ Hafidh Abu Zakariyya Muhyid-Din Yahya Ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi ash-Shafi’i (died 676 AH) said: “Verily Allah, the Exalted, does not resemble any of the creations and is clear of bodily concepts, moving, occupying any direction and of all the creation’s characteristics”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Hanbali School

Shaykh Abul-Wafa’ ‘Ali Ibn ‘Aqil al-Baghdadiyy (died 513 AH), the head of the Hanbali School at the time, was quoted in a book called ‘Al-Baz al-Ashhab’: “Allah is clear of having the attribute of occupying places, for this is exactly the blasphemous belief of tajsim (attributing Allah with bodily concepts)”.

In his book ‘Mukhtasar al-Ifadat’ Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Badrid-Din Ibn Balban (died 1083 AH), a Damascan Hambaliyy scholar said: “Whosoever believes or says that Allah exists in all places or in one particular place is certainly a non-believer (kafir). It is obligatory to believe that Allah, the Exalted, does not resemble His creation, for Allah’s Existence is eternal and the existence of place is not. Allah created the place, and He still exists as He eternally did before place was created”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of the Arabic Language

In his book ‘Lisan al-‘Arab’ the African Egyptian scholar and linguist, Muhammad Ibn Mukarram known as Ibn Mandhur (died 711 AH) said: “The meaning of ‘the Qurb of the slave to Allah’ refers to the acquisition of a higher rank due to the slave’s engagement in performing good deeds and frequently mentioning designated statements of praise to Allah. Undoubtedly, ‘the Qurb of the slave to Allah’ does not refer to physical closeness to Allah neither in distance nor in location, since physical closeness is among the characteristics of objects and Allah is verily clear of that”.

In his book ‘Basa’ir dhawit-Tamyiz’ the linguistic scholar Majdud-Din Muhammad Ibn Ya’qub al-Fayruz Abadi (died 817 AH) said: “The Qurb of Allah to His slave’ refers to the endowments of Allah bestowed upon the pious slave and does not refer to closeness in distance”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars of Islamic History and Biographies of Muslim Scholars

In his book ‘Tabyin kadhib al-Muftari’, Hafidh Abul-Qasim ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn Hibatillah known as Ibn ‘Asakir ad-Dimashqiyy (died 571 AH) on the subject of the Attributes of Allah, the Exalted, said: “He (Allah) is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist, He created the ^Arsh and Kursiyy without the need for place. He still exists, after place was brought into existence, as He was before creating the place (i.e. without a place)”.

In his book ‘Tarikh al-‘Umam wal-Muluk’ the History of Nations and their Kings), Imam, Hafidh and Mujtahid Abu Ja^far Muhammad Ibn Jarir at-Tabariyy (died 310 AH) said on the subject of the Attributes of Allah said: “Delusions cannot grasp the Reality of Allah, places do not contain Him, sights do not attain Him, rather He knows about them all. Verily He is The One Whose Reality cannot be grasped by delusions and Whose Knowledge encompasses all”.

The Sunni Creed among the Scholars who authored books on the subject of various sects

In chapter 15 of his book ‘At-Tabsir fid-Din’ (The Guide to the Religion) for the purpose of elucidating the creed of Ahlussunnah wal-Jama’ah, the Faqih and well-known scholar of Tawhid Abul-Mudhaffar al-‘Asfarayini (died 471 AH) said: “The slave must know that anything which dictates creationism such as limits, extremes, place, direction, stillness and movement is impossible to apply to Allah, the One clear of all the creations’ attributes”.

In his book ‘Nihayat al-‘Iqdam’, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdil-Karim ash-Shahrastaniyy, a great Shafi’i scholar (died 548 AH) said: “The creed of the People of Truth is that Allah, the Exalted, does not resemble any of the creations, and none of them resembles Him in any sort of similarity or equivalence. Verse 11 of Surat ash-Shura means: [There is absolutely nothing that resembles Allah, and He is attributed with Hearing and Sight]. Hence Allah is not a constituent part of an object, a mass, a bodily characteristic, nor is He located in any place or subject to time”.

The Sunni Creed among the True Sufi scholars

In his book ‘At-Ta’rif li-Madhhab Ahlit-Tasawwuf’ (The Guidance to the methodology of the true sufis), Shaykh Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ishaq al-Kalabadhi, a Hanafi scholar (died 380 AH), said: “The Sufi scholars unanimously agree that Allah is not contained by place nor is He subject to time”.

In his book ‘Al-Burhan al-Mu’ayyad’ (The Substantiated Proof), the prominent Shaykh and Imam of true sufis, Shaykh Ahmad Ar-Rifa’i ash-Shafi’i (died 578 AH) said: “Clear your beliefs from interpreting the Arabic term ‘Istiwa’’, when in reference to Allah, as physical establishment in a way similar to the ‘istiwa’’ of bodies upon other bodies which dictates the act of occupation because Allah is clear of that. And do not sanction attributing to Allah a directional above or below, a location, a physical hand or an eye or interpreting the word ‘Nuzul’ as physically descending or moving”.

Statements from other Giant Scolars of Ahl al Sunna wal Jama’ah (Traditional Islam)

Imam Bukhari (d.256) believed that Allah exists without a place. Ibn hajar repeats the belief that Allah is without a place many times. (ibn hajar, fath al-bari 13:357; Cf. 3:23, 6:102, 13:309,328,351,354,355,357,366,369-370, 414.)

Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.311) said in his commentary on the verse “Then turned He (Thumma istawa) to the heaven” (2:29):The meaning of istiwa in this verse is height and elevatio, but if anyone claims that this means displacement for Allah, tell him, He is high and elevated over the heaven with the height of sovereignity and power, not the height of displacement and movement to and fro. (ibn jarir al-tabari, tafsir 1:192)

The Imam of the Correct Belief, Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari (Allah have mercy on him) stated;

“Allah is established on the Throne in the sense that He said and the meaning that He wills, with an establishment that transcends touch, settlement, location, immanence, and displacement. The throne does nto carry him, rather the throne and its carriers are carried by the subtleness of His power, subdued under His grip, and He is above the throne and above everything down to the extremities of the lower earth, with an aboveness that does not make him any closer to the throne or to the heavens. Rather, He is as exalted high over the throne as He is exalted high over the lower earth, and together with this He is near every creature, and He is nearer to His servant than his jugular vein, and He is witness over everything.” (al-ibana an usul al-diyana, ed. Fawqiyya Husayn Mahmud (Cairo: dar al-ansar, 1977 p.21)

Shaykh al-Islam, Imam al-Huda, the Imam of Guidance Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Allah have mercy on him) said;

“The foundation of this issue is that Allah Almighty was when there was no place, then locations were raised while He remains exactly as He ever was. Therefore, He is as He ever was and He ever was as He is now. Exalted is He beyond any change or transition or movement or cessation! For all these are portents of contingency (hudth) by which the contingent nature of the world can be known, and the proofs of its eventual passing away…” – ( Kitab at-Tawhid Imam Maturidi p. 72)

Imam al-Nasafi (Allah have mercy on him) states;”He (Allah) is not a body (jism), nor an atom (jawhar), nor is He something formed (musawwar), nor a thing limited (mahdud), nor a thing numbered (ma’dud), nor a thing portioned or divided, nor a thing compounded (mutarakkab), nor does He come to end in Himself. He is not described by quiddity (al-ma’hiya), or by quality (al-kayfiyya), nor is He placed in space (al-makan), and time (al-zaman) does not affect Him. Nothing resembles Him, that is to say, nothing is like Him.” (See: Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani & Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al- Nasafiyya, 92-97).

And finally, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says; Say;

“He is Allah, the One and Unique, Allah the Eternal whom all need, He begets not nor was He begotten, and there is nothing like unto Him” – Qur’an 112

“There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that Hears and Sees (all things)” – Qur’an 42:11

“If there were, in the Heavens and the Earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But Glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!” – Qur’an 21:22

Prophet Muhammad sal’Allahu ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa salam said;

“My nation shall never unite upon an error” – narrated by Abu Dawud


Compiled by Ahmad AbdlHaqq Al-Husayni Ash-Shafi’i

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