Allah Exists Without a Place

This is the creed of ‘Ahlu-s-Sunnah because of the proof from Al-Qur’aan:

{(لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ)}[1]

<Nothing is like Him in any way>.

[Hence, this case goes back to His Salbiyyah (Negating) Attributes; Dissimilarity, Eternality, Independence and Oneness]. In the explanation of At-Tahaawiyy, ‘Abu-l-Fadaa’il Mankuwbars[2] said:

They only said: “The six directions do not contain Him; they contain the created things,” because of the decisive texts and the definitive (mental) evidence. The texts are like the Saying of the Exalted: {(لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ)}[3] <Nothing is whatsoever similar to Him.> He denied any resemblance of the world to Himself. In being contained in a direction there is resemblance to bodies and particles. In the confirmation of place there is resemblance to the particles that have confirmed places. Describing Him with directions is saying that He is confined to them. Saying that He is in a place is confirming needing the place. In all of that there is the necessity of Him being a creation and negation of His Eternity. All of that is impossible for the Eternal … Among those texts is His Saying:

{(سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ)}[4]

<Allaah is glorified beyond what they ascribe to Him>.

… Thus, it is obligatory to exalt Him from the attributes of the creation. It is obligatory to confirm His Exaltation from that of which the creation is in need, such as the ascription of place and direction … Among them is the Saying of the Exalted:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ﴾[5]

<Surely Allaah is certainly free of need of the creation.>

He confirmed Independence from the entire creation for Himself. Directions and places are parts of the creation. Thus it is obligtatory to confirm His Exaltation and Independence from the creation and from every ascription of the creatures …”

However, our Shaykh has an independent chapter for this in AsSiraat Al-Mustaqiym, his explanations of An-Nasafiyyah and At-Tahaawiyyah, and other books].

The People of the Truth declare what the people with blind hearts cannot comprehend: Allaah is certainly not in a place, and certainly, negating a place for Him is not negating His Existence; it is the judgment of the mind, and certainly connection/contact, and disconnection/separation, and being inside or outside are not conditions for existence. Allaah is neither a body nor a particle, because the body is the result of composition, and the particle accepts composition and connection. Everything that is connected or accepts connection has a limit and an edge. ‘Abu-l-Faraj Ibnu-l-Jawziyy Al-Hambaliyy[6] said in Dafˆu Shubuhi-t-Tashbiyh:

If someone says: ‘If you clear Allaah from any direction, then you negate His Existence as if His Existence is impossible!’

We reply: ‘That is if you are talking about something that accepts connection to bodies at one time and disconnection at another. If the thing does not accept both opposite attributes, then this does not lead to any impossibility!’

If they say: ‘You are requesting submission to something incomprehensible!’

 We say: ‘If you mean by “comprehension”, “imagination”, then this does not apply to Allaah[7]! If you mean that this argument is irrational, that is not the case.’ Al-‘Aamidiyy said in Ghaayatu-l-Maraam that the inability to imagine what is not inside of the world or outside of it while its existence confirmed by indisputable evidence and believing in it is obligatory – as one imagines different pictures and images – is not invalid, because not everything that must be believed is imaginable. If that were true, then it would not be valid to confirm the existence of [created] attributes not realized by the senses, such as knowledge, power and will, because they are not imaginable.

The simultaneous negation of these opposites does not negate His Existence, just as the inanimate objects exist without being knowledgeable or ignorant; [that simultaneous negation of those opposites does not negate their existence].  The validator of knowledge and ignorance is life. [The validator of being connected, disconnected, inside or outside is having a body]. Absolutely denying “the simultaneous negation of opposites” is invalid. It can only be denied when the two opposites alternate on the subject. As for not being alternatively applicable to the subject, [like motion and stillness alternate on a body, so it is not valid to negate them both from the body at the same time], or the categorical inaplicability of either of them to a subject, there is no conflict in negating both opposites at once. For example, it would not be said that a wall is blind or sightful; there is no conflict in the inapplicability of the two opposite attributes. The scholars of ‘Islaam made this point very clear.

“He is not in a place” means: Allaah does not touch a place or settle in one. A place is not only a solid body; it could also be a space; emptiness; void. Mankuwbars said:

The six directions are created and are attributes of the created world. Allaah the Exalted is Eternal. He never ceased to be. He was and there was no place, moment, nor time; no above, below, front, right or left. When He made the world happen and brought it from nonexistence to existence, the world became restricted to six directions. Hence, whatever He made be over became above, and whatever He made beneath became below. What He put in front became the anterior, and what He put at the rear became behind. What He put to the right became right, and what He put to the left became left. Thus, the world became restricted to directions. The Creator of the world is Eternal. He always was. He is Everlasting, and shall always be …

Allaah does not occupy any space or void. The author of Al-Murshidah said:

موجودٌ قبل الخلقِ، ليس له قبلٌ ولا بعدٌ، ولا فوقٌ ولا تحتٌ، ولا يَمينٌ ولا شمالٌ، ولا أمامٌ ولا خلفٌ، ولا كلٌّ، ولا بعضٌ، ولا يُقالُ متى كانَ ولا أينَ كانَ ولا كيفَ، كان ولا مكان، كوَّنَ الأكوانَ ودبَّرَ الزمانَ، لا يتقيَّدُ بالزمانِ ولا يتخصَّصُ بالمكان

“(He was) Existent before the creations, not having a before, an after, an above, a below, a right, a left, a front, a behind, a whole, or a part. It is not said: ‘When was He?’, ‘Where was He?’ nor ‘How?’ He was, and no place was. He gave being to the beings and managed time. He is not restricted by time nor designated with place.”

The Mujassimah have confirmed limits and edges for Allaah. Some confirmed limits from all six directions. Some explicitly use the term “nihaayah (end; limit; extent)”, but have differed about the term “mahduwd (edged; limited; bordered)”; some confirm it while others prohibit it despite believing in it. Some have confirmed a limit for Allaah only from underneath, which actually necessitates that He would [still] be limited from all directions. Furthermore, a limit from one direction infringes on His Status of Greatness (Al-ˆAdhamah), because had He not been limited from that direction, He would have been bigger. Thus, by having that limit – as they claim – He is smaller. It is necessary to negate smallness as an Attribute of His, just as it is necessary to confirm Greatness. What clarifies what we have said is that they have themselves said, “We deny that He is inside the world because that ascribes smallness to Him!”

The sound mind necessitates that Allaah be clear of places and directions because what exists in a place is limited[8]. Allaah is not limited in Existence, Self, or Attributes. His Existence not being limited is a negation of having a beginning or end. His Self not having a limit is a negation of any edge or direction. His Attributes are not limited[9], not in themselves – for they are eternal and everlasting; confirmed for a limitless Self without edge, boundary or location. If those Attributes pertain to anything, then they have no limit in their pertenance. Therefore, there is no limit to what is known to Him, to the possibilities subject to His Power, and to that about which He speaks.

[On the contrary], the particle has a limited existence and self; it has a beginning and could possibly end, and its occupies a limited space. The quality has a limited existence, self, and pertenance. It has a beginning – and some qualities do not even exist for two single moments. A quality itself does not spread to two areas, and does not pertain to more than one mahall (vessel; that through which it exists).

Negating limits and edges for Allaah is the negation of connection, disconnection, and being parallel to things, because of the impossibility of size and body ascribed to Him. Rather, His Self is Great in Status. Thus, Allaah is clear of motion, stillness, coming, going, being in a place, connection, disconnection, closeness and farness by distance, meeting, separation, size, mass, body, image, containment, quantity, regions, sides and directions, because they all necessitate limits and edges.

Our creed is not by delusions or imagination[10], rather by what the sound mind confirms, because the sound mind is the Religion’s witness. Arguing that ascribing a place to Allaah is natural to any child and known by intuition is untrue, because what is known by intuition is not opposed by most intellectuals, and most intellectuals oppose the ascription of a place to the Eternal. Had Allaah been in a place eternally, then Allaah would not be its Creator, [and if He is not the Creator of a single thing, He is not the Creator of anything whatsoever. Since He is the Creator of everything,] then His Existence without place is confirmed in Eternity because place is not eternal. The Messenger of Allaah said[11]:

كان الله ولم يكن شيءٌ غيره

“Allaah existed and there was nothing existing other than Him.”

Since the place is something other than Allaah, this is proof that the Prophet ﷺ confirmed Allaah’s existence without a place. [So, if He were in a place, that would have only been after the creation of places]. Had He been in a place after the creation of places, He would have changed and gone out of His eternal Status. Change is a sign of createdness, and createdness is impossible for the Eternal.

And if Allaah were in a place, He would have many similars. Had He been within the world, He would be among the types of things within the world, and then whatever would be applicable to them would be applicable to Him. If He were outside of the world, He would either be connected to it or disconnected from it. If He were disconnected from it then that would either be by a limited distance or an unlimited distance, and in all cases, Allaah would be ascribed with specifications and thus in need of a Creator.

The Mujassimah, among whom are the contemporary Wahhaabiyyah Mushabbihah, say: Allaah is not within the world; He is outside of it, imitating their predecessor Ibn Taymiyah who said in Ar-Risaalah At-Tadmuriyyah[12]:

فيقال لمن نفى الجهة : أتريد بالجهة انها شيء موجود مخلوق ؟ فالله ليس داخلا في المخلوقات أم تريد بالجهة ما وراء العالم ؟ فلا ريب أن الله فوق العالم مباين للمخلوقات

“It is said to whoever denies the directions (for Allaah), “Do you mean by ‘direction’ some existing creation? (If so) then Allaah is not contained in the creations. Or do you mean by ‘direction’ what is beyond the world? There is no doubt that Allaah is above the world, disconnected from the creations.”

They said: Since Allaah exists, He would either be inside the world or outside of it, and He is not inside of it, so He must be outside of it, and by necessity, He must be in a direction in comparison to it.

The Answer: Being inside the world or outside of it is not a condition for existence; it is a condition for whatever has direction and location, as said by Al-‘Aamidiyy. Whatever is described as being inside or outside is a body with sections and parts. Whatever does not have parts or pieces would not be ascribed with being inside of something or outside of it. Al-‘Aamidiyy said that saying that negation of connection and disconnection is irrational is only true of what has a direction and a location. Or else, to say that Allaah is either inside or outside of the world is what is irrational.

They also said: Since Allaah exists, then He is either connected to the world or disconnected from it, and whichever is the case, a direction is confirmed for Him.

The answer: [Connection and disconnection[13] are not conditions for existence]; do you not see that the quality is not described as touching the particle or being apart from it? [Rather, connection and disconnection are conditions for] composition and limitation, which are all impossible for the Eternal. [Connection, disconnection and direction] are the descriptions of a body, and the evidence that He is not a body has been already established: Allaah generalized the negation of resemblance to anything, and did not specify anything over anything else. If Allaah were connected to anything, He would have uncountable similars. Likewise, if He were disconnected, if He were attributed with permanent or temporary movement, or permanent or temporary stillness, or if He had a limit. He would have uncountable similars. Had Allaah been outside of the world, He would be parallel to it, having either its size, or being smaller than it, or bigger than it. This gives Allaah a measure, and parts. That is a negation of having no beginning.

In ‘Ishaaraat Al-Maraam, Al-Bayaadiyy the Hanafiyy explained the [statements] of ‘Abuw Haniyfah. [He said]:

(‘Abuw Haniyfah) said in Al-Fiqh Al-‘Absat:

كان الله تعالى ولا مكان. كان قبل أن يخلق الخلق. كان ولم يكن أين أي مكان ولا خلق ولا شيء، وهو خالق كل شيء.

“Allaah was and there was no place. He was before creating the creation. He was and there was no “where”, no creation, and no other thing, and He is the Creator of everything.”[14]

(Allaah was) existing eternally (and there was no place); the space occupied by a body. “Direction” is the name of the target of pointing, and it is the trajectory of the moving object. So, both (place and direction) are only appropriate for bodies and bodily things. Had He been in a place or a direction, that would necessitate them being uncreated and beginningless. So what is meant by “The One Who exists by Himself” in this context is not the one who occupies a space by himself, but the one who is not in need of room or a position to occupy. (He was before creating the creation. He was and there was no “where”); no place, or else He would be a body; there was (no creation, and no other thing). Therefore, He would not be inside the world because the Creator would not be inside created things. Nor would He be outside of them because He existed before the creations and before the existence of places and directions; (and He is the Creator of everything). Thus, Ibn Taymiyah’s idea that the ˆArsh is eternal is invalid, as mentioned in the explanation of Al-ˆAdudiyyah. What is mentioned here is a negation of the imagination, not a negation of reason.

In Al-‘Asmaa’u wa-s-Sifaat, Al-Bayhaqiyy said about the Prophet ﷺ saying:

وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

(O Allaah), You are AdhDhaahir and there is nothing above You, and You are Al-Baatin and there in nothing below You.”

“If there is nothing above Him and there is nothing below Him, then He would not be existing in a place.”

This hadiyth contains rejection of the Jihawiyyah (who say Allaah is in a direction). [They have several fallacies that have been refuted by ‘Abuw Muˆiyn An-Nasafiyy:

They claimed: If two things exist independently, it is a must that they be in a direction from each other, because this is what is witnessed in existence. We respond: Concerning what is witnessed in (created) existence, each of the two independently existing things could be possibly above or below the other. Do you claim that possible for the Creator? If they say yes, then they have left their own method, because they do not deem it possible for the Creator to be below the world. If they say no, then they have debunked their own argument! They justify their contradiction[15] by saying: The only reason it is not valid for the Creator to be below the world is because “below” is the direction of deficiency and disparagement, and the Creator is Exalted from deficiency and disparagement. They are refuted by two points:

  1. We say: “You have just argued for differentiating between what is witnessed in existence and the Creator, after using what is witnessed in existence as your argument for the Attributes of the Creator; you do not deem it possible for the Creator to be below, though that is possible for what is witnessed in existence. You made that difference because of some evidence you found that necessitates differentiation: the impossibility of ascribing to the Creator deficiency and disparagement, even though they are possible for what is witnessed in existence. Why do you then not grant us differentiating between the Creator and what is witnessed in existence although we have evidence for making a difference: being in directions necessitates being created, which is impossible for the [Eternal]. It is not only valid for what is witnessed in existence, but in fact necessary!”
  2. We say: We do not grant the direction of below being a direction of deficiency and disparagement. There is no deficiency in it, nor is there majesty in highness of place. How many guards are on a rooftop while the king is inside the house?

The Jihawiyy says: Two independently existing things [only] exist because each of them is in a direction from the other, or each of them is in a direction from the other because they both exist.

We respond: Had each been existing because each is in a direction from the other, this would mean that the existent one is in a direction, even if there were no one with him. [If that were the case] then Allaah would eternally be in a direction because eternally He was independently existing. [However], that is impossible because a direction is only confirmed by two. Is it not seen that there are only six directions: above, below, front, behind, right and left, and each individual direction would not be conceived but by comparison of two things[16]? If this is the case, then making direction – which is dependent on two individuals – the condition for every independent existence, dispite that “mere existence” and “independence” are confirmed by a single individual, is ignorance of reality because direction is [only] confirmed by more than one individual.

We furthermore refute them by saying: “Those two independently existing matters: are they in a direction from each other with limit and edge or without limit?”

  • If they say without limit, we do not grant that, and their claim of referring to what is witnessed in existence is invalid, because what is witnessed in existence has edges and limits.
  • If they say with limit, we concede to that, but we tell them, “Why would you claim that the Creator has a limit?” We have already established the evidence that limits and boundaries are impossible for the Creator.

From this, we know that when Al-Maˆiyyah[17] is attributed to Allaah, it is not in reference to connection, touching or dwelling in a place. This Saying of Allaah refers to support and protection:

{(إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا)}[18]

<Certainly, Allaah is with those who have piety.>

The true meaning of this Saying of Allaah is that He knows about you wherever you are; His knowledge encompasses everything:

{(وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ)}[19]

It apparently means <<He is with you wherever you are.>> [What supports that is what precedes it and what comes after it]:

﴿يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ﴾

<He knows what enters the Earth and what comes out of it, what descends from the sky and what ascends up into it, and He is “with you” (by Knowledge) whereever you are, and Allaah sees all that you do.>

Some believe that Allaah is in one place or direction – like up – or [that He relocates from place to place. Those who said He is up[20] said] that He is on the ceiling of Paradise, or above it, or in the sky. [Those who believed that He relocates said that He descends to the lowest sky at night, and that He comes forth with the Angels on Resurrection Day]. Some believe He is in all directions. The first to say that Allaah is everywhere was Jahm Ibn Safwaan[21]. Some believe that Allaah surrounds the world from all directions[22]. Whoever believes that Allaah is in any place is not a Muslim, and likewise whoever believes that He is like air or light, even if he claims to be a Muslim. Some say that Allaah is everywhere without knowing or understanding its meaning. If someone thinks this means that Allaah knows everything and controls everything, then this is not blasphemy, but it is not correct. It is an obligation to correct him because this statement has an invalid meaning. Saying “Allaahu fi-s-samaa’” meaning that He has the highest Status is not unlawful, but meaning that Allaah is located in the sky is blasphemy. Such a conviction likens Allaah to the Angels. Saying “Allaah resides in the hearts of the pious,” is blasphemy unless one were ignorant of the language and thought the statement means that those people have love for Allaah in their hearts.

We lift our hands to the sky in supplication because the sky is [the qiblah of supplication] from where the blessings descend, just as when we pray we face the Kaˆbah [because it is the qiblah of prayer. Then, like the Wahhaabiyyah merge the raising of the hands with the verse of Istiwaa’ to say that God is over the Throne, someone else would be able to merge facing the Kaˆbah with what Allaah said about the Kaˆbah: <(بيتي)> <My House> to say that Allaah is in the Masjid. However], we call the Masjid[23] “the House of Allaah” because He is worshiped there, not because He lives there, [like we say Allaah is High in Majesty, not place].

The direction of the sky and the direction of the Kaˆbah are both honorable directions[, but not for Allaah being in them]. This raising of the hands is not evidence that Allaah is above us because ‘Imaam Muslim narrated that in some of his supplications, the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ made supplication with his hands down. [Had raising the hands been evidence for Him being above, then facing the palms down would be evidence that He is below, not to mention that prostration is by falling to the ground. And turning the chest toward the Kaˆbah would then be evidence that He is in the Kaˆbah. None of those on its own prove any direction for Allaah, because the other would give a contradictory direction. We knew the same by merging, like ‘Abu-l-Mudhaffar, verses of the Qur’aan, like]:

{(مَا يَكُونُ مِنْ نَجْوَى ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُم)}[24]

<(lit:) There is no secrecy between three except that He is the fourth of them,>

with His Saying:

{(فَأَتَى اللَّهُ بُنْيَانَهُمْ مِنَ الْقَوَاعِدِ فَخَرَّ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّقْفُ مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ)}[25]

<(lit:) Allaah came to their buildings from the foundations and the ceiling fell upon them,>

with the verse:

{(الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى)}[26],

<Ar-Rahmaan “istawaa” over the ˆArsh.>

Had He had a limit, edge, totality, [part, connection, disconnection, inside or outside], it would not be possible for Him to have differing, opposing places; it would be impossible for Him to be with every individual while coming to the buildings of a people from their foundations and meanwhile being high above, upon a grand throne. Thus, by merging these verses, the veracity of negating limits and edges for Allaah is established, as well as the impossibility of Him being specified to a direction.

[Therefore], it was not intended by Al-Miˆraaj (the Ascension to the skies) that the Prophet ﷺ would be taken to a place where Allaah was, and whoever believes so is not a Muslim. It was to raise the Prophet’s rank, to let him see Allaah, and to honor him by letting him witness certain wonders, as mentioned in Al-Qur’aan:

{(لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا)}[27]

<… To show him of Our wondrous signs.>

And when Zaynab Bintu Jahsh, the wife of The Prophet ﷺ, used to say to the other wives:

‌زَوَّجَكُنَّ أَهَالِيكُنَّ، وَزَوَّجَنِي اللَّهُ تَعَالَى مِنْ فَوْقِ سَبْعِ سَمَوَاتٍ

“Your families gave you in marriage, but Allaah gave me in marriage from above seven skies!”

she meant that she was made a wife of the Prophet by Revelation – without a guardian or witnesses – because that was written in the Guarded Tablet, which is above the seven skies[28]. Angel Jabraa’iyl ﷺ conveyed to the Prophet ﷺ that [his marriage to her] is written in that Tablet, therefore that fact alone made her the Prophet’s wife ﷺ without a normal contract. This is something specific to the Prophet ﷺ.

Understanding the hadiyth of the slave girl as narrated by Muslim is important. It is one that the Likeners refer to with consistent frequency to mislead people. In Sahiyh Muslim is the story of a man who had a slave woman grazing his ghanam (sheep/goats) when a wolf got one. He smacked her, then regretted that, so he went to the Messenger ﷺ who scolded him for that. He said: “O Messenger of Allaah, should I set her free?” The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “Bring her to me“, so he brought her to him:

فَقَالَ لَهَا « أَيْنَ اللَّهُ؟ » قَالَتْ فِى السَّمَاءِ. قَالَ « مَنْ أَنَا؟ » قَالَتْ أَنْتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ. قَالَ « أَعْتِقْهَا فَإِنَّهَا مُؤْمِنَةٌ.»

He said to her, “Ayna[29]-llaah?, she said “Fi-s-Samaa’ “, he said, “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Free her, for she is a Believer.”

They thought that the Prophet ﷺ asked her about the location of Allaah, and that she said, “In the sky,” [or “Above the Heaven”]. They did not learn the fundamentals of the belief, because the Prophet ﷺ does not contradict the Qur’aan or the Religion. [Merging the narrations of this hadiyth shows that he tested] her[30] about her conviction in Allaah [to determine if she was a Believer or a pagan, not that he was asking her about a place]. ‘Imaam Maalik – who is by consensus more knowledgable than Muslim, even in the science of hadiyth – narrated[31] a stronger narration of this hadiyth with other terms:

فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أتشهدين أن لا إله إلا الله قالت نعم قال أتشهدين أنّي رسول الله قالت نعم. قال أعتقها.

He said to her”Do you bear witness that no one is God except Allaah? She said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you bear witness that I am the Messenger of Allaah?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Free her.”

This is how Muslim’s version should be understood because this is the way to test one’s belief according to the known rules. One is not judged as a Muslim for declaring that God is in heaven. [The Shaykh said:

وَوَجْهُ الْمُعَارَضَةِ أَنَّ حَدِيثَ الْجَارِيَةِ فِيهِ الِاكْتِفَاءُ بِقَوْلِ »اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاءِ« لِلْحُكْمِ عَلَى قَائِلِهِ بِالإِسْلامِ

“The point of conflict is that the hadiyth of the slave girl suffices with saying ‘God is in heaven’ for judging whoever says it with ‘Islaam.

He means, and Allaah know best: Despite some scholars giving this hadiyth a ta’wiyl and authenticating it, it is still truly inauthentic, for even according to reinterpreting the hadiyth to mean that] when the Prophet ﷺ asked her, “Aynallaah?” he asked her about the makanah (status; rank)[32], not the makan (place), and when she answered “fi-s-samaa’[33]“, she meant high in Status, not occupying the sky, [there is still the problem of judging her as a Muslim for what does not validate Faith according to the known rules! Hence, these meanings work in Arabic, and comply with the Religion, but judging her as a Believer for those words has no way to be correct]; the Prophet ordered us to judge someone as a Believer upon hearing the two Shahaadahs from him:

أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله

“I was commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no god But Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.”

In the narration of Ibn Hibbaan:

فَقَالَ: “‌مَنْ ‌رَبُّكِ؟ ” قَالَتِ: اللَّهُ قَالَ: “مَنْ أَنَا؟ ” قَالَتْ: رَسُولُ اللَّهِ

The Prophet ﷺ asked her, “Who is your Lord?” She said, “Allaah.” He said, “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allaah.”

[In Al-Bayhaqiyy’s rendition is the same question, but the one who came to the Prophet was a woman]. In a [fifth] narration, the slave woman could not speak at all, she was a mute. All of these narrations are sahiyh except [the first; the narration of Muslim], and the last, in which she was mute; it is also weak. Some scholars like Al-Ghumaariyy judged this hadiyth as weak[34]. The specific weakness of this hadiyth is “idtiraab[35]; it is inconsistent in its text and its chain. [Therefore], this hadiyth is not proof in the matters of the Creed. Most scholars said that if a hadiyth does not reach the level of mashhuwr it cannot be relied upon in the matters of the Creed. This one does not reach the level of “shuhrah[36], let alone tawaatur, which is the highest level of authenticity [and it is not a single narration that is authentic without dispute. Therefore, it cannot be evidence in the Creed.  

‘Imaam ‘Abuw Haniyfah explained the Hadiyth of the Slavegirl] in Al-Fiqhu-l-‘Absat:

وأنه تعالى يدعى من أعلى لا من أسفل لأن الأسفل ليس من وصف الربوبية والألوهية في شيء.

“Allaah the Exalted is invoked by using terms of highness, not lowness, because lowness is in no way an ascription of Lordship and Godhood.”[37]

وعليه ما روى في الحديث أن رجلا أتى إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بأمة سوداء فقال وجب علي عتق رقبة أفتجزئ هذه

According to that[38] is what was narrated in the hadiyth that a man[39] came to the Prophet with a black slave woman and said, ‘It is obligatory upon me to free a Believer. Is this slave woman sufficient?’

فقال لها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمؤمنة أنت فقالت نعم فقال أين الله فأشارت إلى السماء فقال أعتقها فإنها مؤمنة

So the Prophet said to her <Are you a Believer?> She said, ‘Yes’[40]. So he said <‘Ayna-llaah?>, and she pointed to the sky[41]. He said <Free her, for she is a Believer[42]>.”

Al-Bayaadiyy explained these words of ‘Abuw Haniyfah in ‘Ishaaraat Al-Maraam.

If one of them says, “You are inferring a meaning different from the common meaning, and this is prohibited,” then [we] ask him about the hadiyth of Al-Bukhaariyy:

رَبُّهُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ ‌قِبْلَتِهِ

The most common meaning of the words is “One’s Lord is between him and his qiblah”, the literal implication being that Allaah is on earth. And this is narrated by Al-Bukhaariyy, so it is stronger. He would not interpret this text by its literal meaning, and if he does he would be contradicting himself, and Allaah knows best!

[1] Ash-Shuwraa, 11

[2] Most books mention his name as “Bakbars”. He was a slave who became a Hanafiyy scholar.

[3] AshShuwraa, 11

[4] As-Saaffaat, 159

[5] Al-^Ankabuwt, 6

[6] A scholar in tafsiyr, hadiyth, fiqh and Arabic language,

[7] If one says that denying a place and quantity for Allaah is incomprehensible, then tell the person to describe his mind. This confirms the existence of something without imagining it. The ability to encompass or fathom something is not a condition to believe in it. Our knowledge does not encompass all of the creations, so how about Allaah? Az-Zarkashiyy narrated that ‘Abuw Bakr said, “The inability of knowing the reality of Allaah is knowledge in itself. Searching for the reality of Allaah is blasphemy and shirk.”

[8] Allaah is the Creator of this world with all of the variations and kinds and forms in it, so Allaah does not resemble any of these things in anyway. This is why ‘Imaam ˆAliyy said, “The one who claims that our Lord is limited is ignorant about the worshiped Creator.” This means that the one who believes or claims that Allaah has a volume is ignorant about Allaah. In the words of ˆAliyy is clear indication that Allaah is absolutely, categorically clear of limits. The one who attributes sitting or being next to something, or what is similar is ignorant about Allaah and is a blasphemer. We do not say that Allaah has a limit that does not end. All things in a place have limits, and thus need someone who specified them with those limits. This is how we know that the earth, the people, the sun, and the sky, etc., are all created and thus do not deserve worship. They need a creator to specify them with those limits, places and shapes. The average human is four and one-half cubits, and is in need of someone to give him that limitation.

[9] Some of the Muˆtazilah have deviated in this issue, namely Al-‘Aswaariyyah, the followers of ˆAliyy Al-‘Aswaariyy. He was a follower of An-Nadhdhaam. He agreed with him in all that he said, and added to his misguidance. He said that whatever Allaah knew would not come into existence is not something subject to His Power. This necessitates that the Power of Allaah would be limited, and whoever has limited power has a limitted self. This saying is blasphemy.


[11] Al-Bukhaariyy, Ibnu-l-Jaaruwd and Al-Bayhaqiyy with a sahiyh chain.

[12] Ar-Risaalah At-Tadmuriyyah, pg. 30.

[13] Al-‘Aamidiyy said in Ghaayatu-l-Maraam and in ‘Abkaar Al-‘Afkaar that if what is meant by “connection” is for one thing to exist within the other, and by “disconnection”, the negation of that, then by this consideration Allaah is disconnected from the world. [This does not mean that the expression is permissible]. This does not necessitate one of them being in a direction from the other. If, however, what is meant by “connection” is that which necessitates unification in a direction and in an area, and by “disconnection” what necessitates their difference and establishes distance and expanse between them, it would only be true if directions and containment related to Allaah. Or else, there is no prevention from Allaah being clear of both states.

[14] From this statement, we know that what is mentioned in the Tafsiyr (interpretation) of Al-Qurtubiyy, that the Salaf did not clear Allaah from being in a direction; that they did not mention this issue, is not correct. This is mentioned in his book of interpretation after he established that the correct creed is to clear Allaah from being in a direction. Some people who liken Allaah to the creation might try to use this to justify their statement that Allaah exists in the “above” direction. We tell them that in his book At-Tathkaar, Al-Qurtubiyy himself elaborated on this issue and explicitly mentioned that the correct creed of ‘Ahlu-s-Sunnah, whether As-Salaf or Al-Khalaf, is that Allaah exists without a direction. In this same book, he also mentioned that those who say that Allaah has a body are blasphemers. This book was written after his book of interpretation, as he mentioned himself in At-Tathkaar, so the last saying of these two is what is taken into account. So one cannot rely on the saying which he rejected later, assuming that it was not planted in his book.

[15] The deviant people feel justified and entitled to contradict themselves. Sometimes you must repeat yourself several times to make them understand that contradiction can never be acceptable.

[16] If each direction is inconceivable except by the comparison of two individuals, then this is the case of all six directions.

[17] Ma^iyyah comes from the word ma^ (with). It may be translated into English as “being with” or “withness”. “With”: 2. On the side of, noting friendship or favor.

[18]An-Nahl, 128

[19]Al-Hadiyd 4

[20] According to the ill minds of the Wahhaabiyyah, Allaah is higher in status because He is higher in place. According to them, when we say “Al-ˆAliyy” or “Al-Aˆlaa” or the like, they think that it means higher in place, and that this is an Attribute of Perfection. However, being higher in place does not necessitate being higher in status. Prophet Yuwnus ﷺ was in the depths of the ocean, but still has a higher status than the Angels that stay near the ˆArsh.

[21] He was asked about his Lord, he disappeared for a few days, and when he returned, he said that Allaah is with everything and in every place.

[22] Shaykh ˆAbdu-r-Razzaaq read to us that our Shaykh said about Al-‘Albaaniyy:

الألباني فسر الإحاطة بالإحاطة الحسية. قال: الله وراء هذا العالم. جعل الله كالقبة وجعل العالم ما هو ضمن القبة. ومرة قال الله جالس على العرش. مذبذب.  هذا كفر وهذا كفر. فسر الإحاطة بغير معناها، وفسر ﴿الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى﴾بغير معناها. ظن أن كلمة ﴿مِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ﴾ تفسر على الحس.

Al-Albaaneey interpreted the “encompassment” as a physical encompassment. He said that Allaah is beyond this world. He made Allaah to be like a dome, and made the world to be like what is within the dome. Once, he said that Allaah is sitting upon the ˆArsh. He is a shilly-shallier. That (first matter) is blasphemy and that (second matter) is blasphemy. He interpreted the “encompassment” according to what it does not mean, and He interpreted:

﴿الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى﴾ according to what it does not mean. He thought that the expression:

﴿مِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ﴾ should be interpreted according to the physical meaning.”

[23] In general; the Ka^bah and any other. However, the Ka^bah has an extra-special status.

[24] Al-Mujaadalah, 7

[25] An-Nahl, 26

[26] Ta-Ha, 5

[27] Al-Israa’ 1

[28] Ibn Hajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy in Fathu-l-Baariy.

[29] In Arabic the term “ayna” is an “ism (nominal; noun)” that sometimes is posed to state a condition, and other times is posed for interrogation. The first is like to say:
“أينما تجلس أجلس” (where[ever] you sit, I sit). The second is sometimes an inquiry about the place (makaan) and sometimes an inquiry about the status (makaanah).

[30] Al-Bayaadiyy: “The fourth point is that he wanted to test her. Does she confess that the Creator, the Doer of all that He willed, the majestically High, He is indeed Allaah, Whom if the supplicating one supplicates to Him he faces the sky? This is what the [Prophet’s] question and acceptance [of her answer] refer to, like in An-Nawawiyy’s explanation of Muslim. This is what ‘Abuw Haniyfah signaled to when saying: (Allaah the Exalted is referred to by using terms of highness, not lowness).”

[31] Al-Muwatta’

[32] Al-Bayaadiyy: (So the Prophet said to her <Are you a Believer?> She said, ‘Yes’. So he said “‘Ayna-llaah?”), asking about the status and the highness over the slaves, which is the highness of dominance and subjugation, and signaling to the fact that if the slaves supplicated to Him, they direct themselves toward the sky. The apparent meaning is not what is intended.

[33] Then he said: (And she pointed to the sky), as a sign referring to the highest status, just as it is said: “So-and-so is fi-s-samaa’ (in the sky)”, meaning that he has a high status, as mentioned in the book At-Taqdiys by Ar-Raaziyy. (He said <Free her, for she is a Believer>).

[34] A small portion of hadiyths narrated by Muslim, about 50, are weak according to some scholars like ‘Ahmad Ibn Hambal, Ash-Shaafˆiyy and As-Siyuwtiyy. Because of the status of this hadiyth, Al-Bukhaariyy did not put it in his As-Sahiyh. According to him, it did not reach that level to be included in his book.

[35] The hadiyth narrated by the same narrator different times with different chains in a way that they do not comply with each other, or narrated at different times with different texts in a way that they do not comply with each other is called the “disordered hadiyth (mudtarib).  This is of course when the narrations have equal levels and there is no way to join them and put them all in compliance. This type of hadiyth is weak and is a subdivision of the defective hadiyth.

[36]The famous hadiyth (mash-huwr) is the hadiyth narrated by at least three in each stage of narrators.

[37] What (‘Abuw Haniyfah) alluded to by saying: (Allaah the Exalted is invoked by using terms of highness) is what would be the description of He Who is called upon – Exalted is He – of the Attributions of Majesty, Greatness, Godhood and Indepependence; (not lowness, because lowness), i.e., the signification of lowness (is in no way an ascription of lordship and godhood) and greatness and highness of dominance.

[38] Al-Bayaadiyy:(According to that) – i.e., according to His being referred to by using terms of highness and being ascribed with the Attributes of Majesty and Greatness –  (came to the Prophet with a black slave woman and said, ‘It is obligatory upon me to free a believer). My mother died and she ordered me to free a believing slave on her behalf, and I only own this slave woman.  She was a black, foreign slave woman who did not even know about the prayer. (Is this slave woman sufficient) for fulfilling the will? This is as was mentioned in Al-Musannaf by the hafidh ˆAbdu-r-Razzaaq. There is no authentic narration that she was mute, as was said.

[39] Al-Bayaadiyy: (That a man), named ˆAmr Ibn Shariyd as narrated by ‘Abuw Hurayrah, and his name is ˆAbdullaah Ibn Rawaahah as clarified by the ‘Imaam (‘Abuw Haniyfah) in his Musnad according to the takhriyj of Al-Haarithiyy, Talhah Al-Bulkhiyy and Al-Khawaarizmiyy;

[40] Al-Bayaadiyy: ‘Abuw Haniyfah signaled to the answer to clarify that lifting the hands to the sky when supplicating is not because the Exalted is above the heavens, but because the sky is the qiblah of the supplication. For from the sky, the goodness is expected, and the descent of the blessings is sought, because of the Saying of the Exalted:<(وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ)> <Your provision comes from the sky…>. That is accompanied with the hint towards His Attributes of Majesty and Greatness, and the fact that He, the Exalted, is Above His slaves by Dominance and Subjugation. He also signaled to the answer to clarify the prohibition of interpreting what came in the verses and hadiyths to refer to dwelling in a place and occupying space, and the prohibition of raising the hands during supplication with that belief. Rather, all of that is according to the meaning that we have mentioned here. That meaning does not negate the Attribute of Greatness. According to that meaning, the indications of creation and annihilation would not apply to Him.

[41] Al-Bayaadiyy: The fifth point is that she was not Arabian. She was unable to clearly express what was in her heart in reference to the creed of Tawhiyd with a proper expression. So by pointing, she made it known that the one whom she worships is the God of the Sky, because they used to refer to Allaah as “Ilaah As-Samaa’ (the God of the Sky).” This is what the (Prophet’s) question refers to, as well as his being content with the pointing, as in Al-Kifaayah by Nuwru-d-Diyn Al-Bukhaariyy.”

[42] Then Al-Bayaadiyy said, “Abuw Haniyfah hinted at the answer to show that the question and the acceptance do not refer to the place by a direction, because of the definite evidence that discredits the confirmation of [Allaah being in an] actual place.”

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