Does Allah sit on a throne in the skies? Is there a name that throne is called?
Submitted by on Sat, 06/03/2010 - 09:28
Dear Brother / Sister,
Literally throne means an object on which the sovereign sits while dealing with government matters. However, its main importance is not in its concrete meaning, but in its abstract meaning, which is sovereignty, glory and sultanate. When we say “the ruler acceded to the throne” what we mean is that the ruler took over the governmental issues, that is, the sovereignty. However, the throne mentioned in question is “Arsh (the Ninth Heaven)”. According to Islam, Arsh is a supreme level which surrounds the whole universe, which cannot be limited and comprehended with human minds and the essence of which only Allah knows. It is doubtless that Arsh, which is above seven skies and surrounds the whole universe, cannot be limited to the literal meaning of throne. Arsh also means roof, ceiling, housetop, arbor, and the ceiling of a house, the roof over the ceiling, the dome and arbor on it. Something which ascends like a tent or an arbor and which provides a shade is called “arsh”. As it can be understood from the meanings of arsh, it contains highness and supremacy. In this sense, it has also been used to express the thrones on which rulers sit. As a ruler’s throne is the symbol of wealth and sovereignty, the word arsh has also been used to mean wealth and sovereignty in metaphor.
And what is meant by a ruler’s ascending to and sit on his throne is not a physical sitting, but his taking over the sovereignty. It is such a meaning that it implies that the ruler exists not because of the throne but the throne exists because of the ruler. And the permanence of a ruler is not the period in which he sits on the throne but the period in which he continues to rule. However, that meaning is not permanent and real for other rulers and thrones actually, but it is temporary, relatively and contingent. Only Allah knows if the issue is metaphorical or exact. And all we can do is to try to understand with the help of examples we mentioned above.
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