Will the dwellers of Paradise see Allah (Ru'yah)? What is the view of Islamic scholars about Ru'yah?

Details of the Question

Will the dwellers of Paradise see Allah (Ru'yah)? What is the view of Islamic scholars about Ru'yah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Man, who benefits from this universe created by Him throughout his/her life with the body granted again by Him, and who has become the addressee of many truths and realities through his/her intelligence, heart and feelings each of which is a Divine blessing, by all means, craves to see his/her Lord who has bestowed all those blessings on him/her. The answer to that desire embedded in human heart will be given in Paradise and thus man will attain the supreme blessing which exceeds all other pleasures of Paradise. There have been many discussions about ru'yah (seeing Allah in Paradise). We will not delve into details. Overall, the scholars of Ahl as- Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (the mainstream Islamic sect; followers of the Prophet's Sunnah/Practice) have agreed that ru'yah is right and permissible, but that its essence cannot be understood. Mu'tazila, one of the sects of misguidance, does not accept ru'yah.

Man, who tries to solve every problem with intelligence, has taken a lot of pains trying to understand how that great manifestation will take place. In reality, that platform belongs not to intelligence but to heart, not to thought but to pleasure. However, the intellect still wants to perceive some things however far they may be, and wants to grasp some cues and to get satisfied. How can we understand Paradise, which is, as is stated by Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings upon him, a land “that eyes have not seen, that ears have not heard of and that have not occurred to human heart (imagination)” and how can we fathom in this world the greatest Divine mercy, ru'yah? Yet, the human mind does not behave itself. It demands in this world a reasonable explanation of a truth that will be bestowed in the next world and that will be enjoyed there only.

In the Words, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, the following is stated: “The eye is such a sense that the spirit watches this realm through this window.” It is implied that the spirit can watch other realms without needing this eye. The best example of it is dream. In  Mesnevî-i Nuriye, from the Risale-i Nur Collection, the following is stated: “The works and deeds of the awliya (saints), whose spirits have overcome their material being, take place with the speed of spirit.” As is known, directions are valid only for the body. For the spirit, such words as front, back, right and left are not used. So, when the spirit overcomes the body, directions become irrelevant and the spirit can see all directions together. Similarly, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) could see those behind him as easily as he could see those in front of him. The spirits of the dwellers of Paradise are victorious over their bodies. They can be present in many places at the same time. And the sight of the dwellers of Paradise is much more improved than in this world. There is a great difference between the two sights like the difference between a real object and its shadow. The human eye, which can see only material beings in this world, will start seeing the angels from the grave onwards.

When the light of Divine closeness in ru'yah is added to it, that perfect spirit will be overwhelmed with blessings, and by watching his/her Lord without direction, distance and figure, s/he will lose consciousness with over-excitement and his/her heart will turn into a sea with waves of spiritual pleasures and that elated slave will take such a great pleasure through seeing his/her Lord as beyond comparison to the pleasures s/he took from Paradise and s/he will be entranced.

Badiuzzaman describes the Order of Wahdatul-Wujud (the unity of the being) as “Submersion in unity.” Just as the senses, eating and drinking and shortly everything in this transitory world are only like shadows when compared to those in the abode of eternity; so too will the real form of 'submersion in unity' be experienced in ru'yah, with such a sublimity as beyond any description. A verse giving the good tidings of ru'yah is as follows:

“Some faces that Day will beam (in brightness and beauty); Looking towards their Lord.” (al-Qiyamah, 75:22-23)

One of the great scholars of the last century, Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, states the following while interpreting that verse:

“The scholars of Ahl a-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah have understood that “look” as “seeing” and proved that in the Hereafter Believers will see Allah's jamal (beauty). Acting upon the verse “By no means canst thou see Me (direct).” (al-A'raf, 7:143) Mu'tazila interpreted that look as “waiting”. However, as the result of waiting without reaching its aim will not be joy, but disappointment and sorrow, it will not be appropriate to deduce only the meaning of “waiting” from the verse.”

The expression “You cannot see Me”, which is mentioned in verse 143 of the chapter of al-A'raf, is said by Allah as an answer to Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, who asked for ru'yah. The esteemed man of knowledge, Ahmed Avni Bey, who explained Fusus, says that the request of the Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, for ru'yah is a proof of ru'yah and states the following: “If ru'yah was impossible, the Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, would not make such a request.”

Ahmad Avni Bey points out significant signs about ru'yah by saying that in ru'yah, the person will be entranced, there will not be any existence left to him/her, and that s/he will be submerged in Divine reflection and closeness.

A verse about ru'yah:

“To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).” (Yunus, 10:26)

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) explained the expression “still more” in the verse as “looking toward the jamal (beauty) of the All-Merciful”

After this short explanation, we advise you to read the following article on Ru’yatullah written by the scholar Mehmet Kırkıncı:

RU'YATULLAH

Ru’yatullah means (for believers) to see Allah Almighty in Paradise free from time and space.

One of the important issues discussed by scholars of kalam is ru’yatullah.

Different views have been put forward about ru’yah. While some people say that ru’yah will never be possible, others attribute a body to Almighty Allah; thus, they go to extreme ends and deviate.  Some members of madhhabs like Mu’tazila deny ru'yatullah. Their views are a definite error and great ignorance. Denying something does not mean that it does not exist.

The Ahl as-Sunnah community follows the true path regarding ru'yatullah as in all issues and say that Allah Almighty can be seen by believers in the hereafter but that its state and nature cannot be known. Ahl as-Sunnah scholars agree unanimously that ru'yatullah is possible. They say, "Since Allah exists, He will be seen. For, everything that exists is seen; therefore, Allah Almighty will also be seen, but the state and nature of seeing Him is unknown." Nothing prevents ru’yatullah; and it is definite by the intellect, verses, hadiths and ijma (consensus)

Yes, we need eyes to see in this world, but we can watch other realms in dreams without needing eyes when we sleep. The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Complete your ranks. I see you from behind too." [1]

Thus, he told us that it was possible to see without eyes. It means ru’yah is not something that takes place only through eyes.

As much praise as the number of the atoms of the both worlds from pre-eternity to post-eternity be to Allah, who promised that he would show his jamal to us. Since He has promised, He will show his jamal to us. For, it is impossible for Him to break His promise. For a believer, it is impossible to think of a greater happiness than to be able to see the jamal of “Allah Almighty, who is the beloved one Himself without any reason and who owns perfection and beauty” [2]. This boon is definitely superior to Paradise. May Allah Almighty enable us to attain this great boon with His grace and generosity! Amin!  

“Man stands in need of most of the varieties of beings in the universe and is connected to them. His needs spread through every part of the world, and his desires extend to eternity. As he wants a flower, so he wants the spring. As he desires a garden, so does he also desire everlasting Paradise. As he longs to see a friend, so does he long to see the All-Beauteous One of Glory.”[3]

It is doubtless that Allah Almighty cannot be seen in this world and through the worldly eyes. The evidence that ru’yah will be possible and will take place in the hereafter is the following verse:  

"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: ‘O my Lord! Show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee.’ Allah said: ‘By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me.’ When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: ‘Glory be to Thee! To Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe.’"[4]

That Hz. Musa (Moses) wanted to see Allah Almighty is evidence that He can be seen. For, he clearly said, "O my Lord! Show (Thyself) to me." If ru’yah were not possible, Hz. Musa, who was one of the greatest prophets, would not ask something that was impossible. When Hz. Nuh (Noah) wanted to save his son, who was dragged by flood, and when Hz. Adam and Hz. Hawwa (Eve) ate from the fruit of the forbidden tree, Almighty Allah warned them; however, when Hz. Musa wanted to see Him, He did not warn him; He did not say to him what He said to Hz. Nuh:"So ask not of Me that of which thou hast no knowledge! I give thee counsel, lest thou act like the ignorant." If Hz. Musa had wanted something contrary to the laws of Sunnatullah imposed by Allah Almighty, he would definitely have been warned by Allah like the other prophet.

Hz. Musa knew it very well that Allah Almighty could not be seen in this world. However, the reason why he demanded something like that was not his own desire but his ummah’s request from him:  "Show us your Lord." By doing so, Hz. Musa proved to his ummah through revelation that ru’yah was not possible in this world; at this point, he combined mental evidence with divine evidence. Otherwise, a prophet like Hz. Musa would definitely have not demanded anything that was impossible. For, it is absurd to demand something impossible and it does not fit a prophet. To demand something that is not possible is done only by ignorant people.

If Hz. Musa had said, "You cannot see Allah in this world", it would have been enough. It was wajib for him to prevent his ummah from demanding something unworthy of divine beauty and majesty. Sons of Israel had previously wanted many groundless and impossible things. For, the persecution and ignorance of Sons of Israel, who killed many prophets, are so grave.

Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, the great scholar, states the following in the interpretation of the verse above related to ru’yah:

“Hz. Musa is a great prophet. If ru’yah were something impossible, he would have known it and would not have requested something like that. If ru'yatullah were impossible, Allah Almighty would have said, 'I cannot be seen', not 'You cannot see me.' In addition, divine ru’yah was related to the existence of an order, that is, the stability of the mountain.  What is meant by the manifestation in this verse is a kind of ru’yah. Thus, the mountain was given a kind of life and the ability of ru’yah but it was broken into pieces due to the influence of its greatness and magnificence. Therefore, ru’yah is possible for human beings, but people do not have the ability to tolerate this ru’yah in this world. Believers will attain this great blessing in the hereafter. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah attained the honor of ru’yah in this world on the Night of Mi’raj (Ascension), which was a kind of otherworldly life.”[5]

The great thinker, Ahmet Avni Konuk, who translated Fusus al-Hikam into Turkish, states the following:

“That Hz. Musa demanded ru’yah is evidence that ru’yah is permissible. As he puts it, “The demand of ru’yah by Hz. Musa is evidence for the permissibility of ru’yah. If ru’yah were impossible, Hz. Musa would not have demanded it.”

Attaining the ru’yah of Allah Almighty will take place in the hereafter. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi said, "He entered the eternal realm through Miraj." [6] Thus, he stated that the Prophet (pbuh) saw Allah Almighty in the hereafter, indicating that it is not possible in this world. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said "I saw my Lord with my eyes." This hadith was also reported by Hz. Anas, Hz. Abu Dharr, Hz. Kab and Zuhri.

We should state that the Prophet (pbuh) attained the honor of ru’yah of Allah Almighty only after, as Badiuzzaman Said Nursi puts it, "passing through various stages". The Messenger of Allah passed the seven layers of the sky through Miraj, met many prophets, and after leaving kursiyy (chair) and arsh (throne) behind, he reached Sidratul-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the furthest boundary) and Qab Qawsayn (two bows' length), that is the most private end of divine meeting; after observing the endless secrets, he attained the honor of seeing the jamal of Allah Almighty.

In order to attain such a high honor, believers will go there after passing through many stages like the grave, barzakh, gathering place, mizan (scales) and sirat (bridge) with the journey of death and after attaining a state worthy of Paradise; all of their faculties, feelings and emotions will develop so much, as it is expressed in a hadith, that they will see Allah Almighty without a veil as they see the full moon easily on a clear night. Hz. Musa wanted to see Allah without going on a journey of development like that; therefore, he could not stand even the manifestation of ru’yah on the mountain and he fainted.

Among the people who were sent to this guesthouse of the world, those who believe in Allah Almighty, those who love him truly, those who live in accordance with His consent, those who behave as He Wishes, and those who improve their souls by obeying His orders and prohibitions will attain endless boons and blessing in an eternal life. The believers who enter into the spiritual presence of Allah Almighty at least five times a day by adorning their hearts with prayer will attain the honor of seeing Him in Paradise with the permission of Allah. Yes, the believers whose dhikr is Allah and whose love is praising and respecting Him will definitely ru’yatullah, which is the greatest boon. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a verse:

“Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty);- Looking towards their Lord”[7]

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars say one of the strongest evidences of ru’yatullah is the verse above.

The scholar Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen states the following in the interpretation of the verse:

“Those happy slaves will look at their Lord. They will attain the honor of seeing their generous Lord free of time and space. Attaining such a manifestation will be superior to all spiritual pleasures.” [8]

The scholar Hamdi Yazır Efendi states the following in the interpretation of the same verse:

“So many faces are bright on that day. They shine with the joy of achievement in happiness. For, they will look at their Lord إِلَى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ. They will look at His jamal (beauty). Ahl as-Sunnah scholars regarded this looking in the sense of seeing and proved that believers would attain ru’yah of Allah’s jamal in the hereafter. Acting upon the verse لَن تَرَانِي(you cannot see Me), Mu’tazila interpreted this looking as waiting. However, the outcome of waiting that will not attain its purpose will be disappointment and pain, not joy; therefore, to interpret looking as waiting here is not appropriate.” [9]

The great scholar Mehmed Vehbi of Konya states the following in the interpretation of the same verse:

“It means the faces of many people will be bright, shiny and joyful because of the boons they see. The greatest boon is to have the blessing of observing the jamal of Allah Almighty."

"As Fakhruddin Razi states, this verse states that there is no rational drawback to some people seeing Allah in the hereafter. For, Allah Almighty exists; it is possible for man to see what exists; and seeing Allah is necessary according to the verses. For, there are many divine verses indicating that ru’yatullah will take place. Therefore, it is wajib for believers to believe that they will see Allah Almighty. This is the view of Ahl as-Sunnah. However, Mu’tazila, which is one of the heretic groups, denies ru’yah in the hereafter taking into consideration the conditions that are necessary for ru’yah in the world. In fact, the conditions that are necessary for ru’yah in the world are not necessary in the hereafter. For, ru’yah takes place in the hereafter with a power whose creator is Allah. He creates competence and power to see in His slaves whom He wishes to give the honor of seeing His jamal. Therefore, the ru’yah in this world cannot be compared to the ru’yah in the hereafter; so, the conditions that are necessary for the ru’yah in this world are not necessary in the hereafter.”[10]

The following is stated in another verse:

“To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).”[11]

The word "more" mentioned in the verse is interpreted as "looking at Allah". When Ubayy b. Ka'b was asked the meaning of "more" in terms of attribution, he said, the Prophet (pbuh) said, it is "looking at the jamal of ar-Rahman." Besides, this hadith was also narrated by famous people like Hz. Abubakr, Hudhayfa Ibn Yaman, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Said Ibn Musayyab, Hz. Ikrima, Amr Ibn Sad and Qatada.

Fakhruddin Razi states that "ziyadah" (more) was something different from the boons of Paradise as follows:

"When something added to another thing is determined with a certain amount, 'ziyadah' needs to be of the same kind. However, if it is not determined with a certain amount, 'ziyadah' needs to be something different. For instance, if somebody says, 'I gave you ten kilos of wheat and ziyadah (more)', it is understood that this ziyadah is wheat. However, if he says, 'I gave you wheat and ziyadah (more)' without determining an amount, this 'ziyadah' here must be and is something different from wheat." [12]

Yes, in the verse, the phrase "Paradise (a goodly reward) and more" is used. Then, the boon in question must be something different from Paradise; and it is ru’yah.

The following is stated in a sound hadith reported from Abu Said and Abu Hurayra, included among famous hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim: Some Companions asked,

“O Messenger of Allah! Are we going to see our Lord on the Day of Judgment?” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“Do you feel disturbed when you see the sun and the moon on a cloudless day? When they said no, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“You will see your Lord like that.”

According to what is reported from Jarir Ibn Abdillah, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) looked at the full moon one night and said,

"Certainly you will see your Lord as you see this moon and you will have no trouble in seeing Him. So if you can avoid missing a prayer before the sunrise and a prayer before sunset, you must do so.” [13]

That the moon is likened to seeing here indicates that ru’yah will take place without veil and direction and that it will take place clearly. Abu Hanifa states the following in his book called “al-Wasiyya”: “The people of Paradise will see Allah free of conditions, aspects and comparison.”

Yes, aspect and direction are in question for the body. Allah Almighty is free from matter and body; and His nature does not resemble any nature. He is free from the imaginations of thought, estimations of the mind, encompassing of ideas and intellect; and He is free from time and space. For, He is necessarily existent, pre-eternal and post-eternal.

“That is, He has no like, equal, peer, or partner in either His essence, or His attributes, or His actions. Indeed, it is not possible for the Most and Holy One who holds the universe with its circumstances and functions in the grasp of His dominicality and regulates, administers, sustains and nurtures it with perfect order as though it were a house or a palace to have any like, equal, partner, or peer; it is impossible.”[14]

Allah Almighty has no beginning and end. He has no equivalent, partner, peer or similarity in deity and divinity.

Yes, the nature of the Creator is different from the nature of the creature. It is a known fact that no work resembles its master. For instance, a clock does not resemble its maker in terms of its being, nature, attributes or deeds. There is such a big difference between them in terms of nature though they are both created beings; then, it is definite that the sacred nature of Allah Almighty, who is the Creator of all beings, will not resemble the nature of any being. As Badiuzzaman Said Nursi puts it,

“The Necessarily Existent One does not resemble creatures in His nature or deeds.” [15]

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in another hadith:

"When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say to them, ‘Do you want anything else from me? I will give it to you too.’ They will say,

'Have You not brightened our faces? Have You not put us in Paradise and saved us from Fire? (What else can we ask from You?) Then, the veil is removed. Nothing dearer was given to them than the sight of their Lord, the Glorious.” [16] 

Suhayb said, “After that, the Messenger of Allah read the following verse: ‘To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).’” [17]

Hadith scholars explained the hadith above as follows: 

“There is nothing more enjoyable, delicious and better than looking at Allah Almighty for the people of Paradise. Ru’yatullah will be possible from anywhere in Paradise. The degrees in Paradise are different; similarly, the degrees of the people of Paradise are different. Therefore, every believer will attain the blessing of ru’yatullah based on their belief, worshipping, piety, good deeds and charity; some of them once a week; some of them twice a day, etc. This ru’yah will take place behind seventy thousand veils. If the veils are removed, His light will burn everything that the eyes see.”

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who is the founder of Hanbali madhhab, which is one of the four big madhhabs, says, “Abu Muawiya reported us from Abdullah Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah said, “The one with the lowest degree of the people of Paradise looks at his own land, which is as vast as two thousand years, his wife and his maids. The one with the lowest degree of the people of Paradise looks atAllah twice a day.”

Badiuzzaman states that the biggest blessing is ru’yatullah as follows:  

“The result of faith and love of Allah. It is proved by the consensus of the people of unveiling and verification, by certain Hadith,1 and by the Qur’an that a thousand years of happy life in this world is not worth one hour of life in Paradise, and that a thousand years of heavenly life is not worth one hour’s vision and contemplation of the All-Glorious One, Who possesses incomparable beauty and perfection. Everyone may perceive in his conscience a great longing for the vision of a personage famous for his magnificence and perfection, like the Prophet Solomon (Peace be upon him), and a great yearning to behold a personage distinguished by his beauty, like the Prophet Joseph (Peace be upon him). And so, if you can, compare how longed-for, sought after, and desire-arousing is the vision of One, one manifestation of Whose beauty and perfection are all the virtues and perfections of Paradise, which are thousands of times more elevated than all the virtues and perfections of this world...”[19]

Badiuzzaman also states that one of the fruits the Prophet (pbuh) brought from Miraj is ru’yatullah as follows:

“Fourth Fruit: Just as he himself sampled the fruit of the vision of Divine beauty, so did he bring to jinn and men the gift of this fruit being attainable by all believers. You may understand from the following how delightful, pleasing, and exquisite a fruit this is. Everyone of fine perception loves one who possesses beauty and perfection and is benevolent, and his love increases proportionately to their degrees; it reaches the degree of worship and a pitch whereat he would sacrifice his very life. On seeing that person only once, his love becomes such he would sacrifice the world. However, in relation to the beauty, perfection, and benevolence of Allah Almighty, the beauty, perfection and benevolence of all beings are not the equivalent of even a few tiny sparks in relation to the sun. That is to say, if you are a true human being, you may understand how delightful and fine a fruit it is and what happiness and joy it brings to receive in eternal happiness the vision of the All-Glorious One of Perfection, Who is worthy of boundless love, infinite longing, and being gazed upon eternally.”[20]

The difference between idrak (grasp) and ru’yah (seeing)

Some people, especially the members of Mu’tazila madhhab, show the verse "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision" [21] as evidence for the impossibility of ru’yatullah. The word idrak (grasping) mentioned in the verse does not mean to understand something with all of its aspects but to encompass something that is limited. Therefore, idrak and ru’yah are not the same things. What is meant to be emphasized in the verse is “Not every owner of eyes can grasp Him.” Ibn Kathir states the following "These eyes cannot grasp" does not mean that they cannot see Allah on the Day of Judgment. For, Allah will be visible to His believing slaves as He wishes. However, eyes cannot grasp the greatness and magnificence of Allah with their nature.”

Allah Almighty’s grasping is knowing each creature that He created truly. He knows every subtle thing and grasps eyes. For, he is the one that gives the eyes.  “For example, the one who bestows the eyes, both sees the eye, and, a subtle meaning, sees what the eye sees, then he bestows them.” [22]

“And whether ye hide your word or publish it, He certainly has (full) knowledge, of the secrets of (all) hearts. Should He not know,- He that created? and He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them).”[23]

As it is known, subtlety (fineness) is the opposite of denseness. Allah Almighty, one of whose names is “Latif” (the Subtle One) knows every aspect of the creatures He created with all of their subtleties; He grants and bestows things on them and treats them very compassionately and mercifully.

Yes, man cannot grasp everything that he sees. When a person who is not an expert on water looks at a river, he only sees water in it; however, an electrical engineer sees waterfalls and electric current behind that water. A person who looks at an ocean cannot grasp what is in the depths of that ocean; he cannot see the expensive gems like oysters, corals and rubies. Similarly, when an ordinary person looks at the sun, he thinks it is as big as an apple but an astronomer knows and sees that the sun is bigger than the world one million and three hundred thousand times and that so many explosions occur in it.

An ordinary person sees blood as a red liquid but a doctor can see billions of white blood cells and red blood cells.

A person who is unaware of botany looks at a plant ordinarily but a person who has studied and is specialized in botany finds many hidden wisdoms behind it and a pharmacist makes drugs using them.

Fakhruddin Razi explains the difference between idrak and ru’yah as follows:

“Ru’yah is divided into two: Firstly: when something that has limits and an end is seen with those limits and that end, it can be expressed by the word idrak. In that case, there might not be any difference between them.

Secondly: when something that has no limits and end, it does not mean that it has been grasped (idrak). Accordingly, it is possible to say ru’yah sometimes takes place with idrak and sometimes separately from idrak. If it is possible to use the word ru’yah in both cases and even if a person means both ru’yah in isolation and ru’yah together with idrak by saying, “I saw something”, it does not show that ru’yah is meant in isolation without idrak.

We understand from it that ru’yah is general and idrak is specific. Every idrak is ru’yah bot not every ru’yah is idrak.”[24]

We should say that the eye cannot see everything and the mind cannot understand and grasp everything. Man hears a voice and feels a smell but cannot see them. Allah Almighty could have created man with an ability to see but it is also a great blessing that some things cannot be seen. For example, if a person saw microbes in his hand, he could never eat or drink. If he heard the sound of the ants, this world would become a noisy house that always disturbed him.

Yes, the eye cannot see everything and the mind cannot grasp everything. For, the mind is also something created; it is finite and limited. A mind with a limited ability to grasp cannot comprehend or know exactly the infinite power, knowledge, greatness and will of Allah Almighty. As Badiuzzaman Said Nursi puts it, this vast universe, "the magnitude of which cannot be measured in figures should they stretch from pole to pole" [25]; it is not possible to express the magnitude of this vast universe in figures. However, no matter how great the universe is, it is finite and limited but all attributes of Allah Almighty is infinite like His knowledge, will and power.

Minds are too weak to grasp the greatness of Allah Almighty, who is perfect with his greatness of perfection and perfect greatness. As a matter of fact, Hz. Abubakr said, “To know one’s weakness about knowing Allah means to know Allah.”

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses this fact as follows:

“O Kabir! (Allah, whose greatness has no end!) You are such a majestic being that minds are too weak to describe your majesty and ideas are too hopeless to grasp your greatness.” [26]

“Tongues become speechless when they try to describe His attributes. Minds become too weak to know Him as it is necessary.” [27]

The power of Allah Almighty is infinite; His knowledge is infinite; His will is infinite; His grants and generosity are infinite. His knowledge has surrounded everything from pre-eternity to post-eternity. He knows the nature of things truly.   Every being that has been created and not created, the skies and the earth, the past and the future are like a small dot in His presence and knowledge. All of the attributes of Allah Almighty are pre-eternal, post-eternal and absolute. For, He is necessarily existent; that is, His existence originates from His self; He is pre-eternal and post-eternal. It is necessary for Him to exist; His non-existence is impossible.

Man is “possible to exist” like all creatures. That is, his existence and non-existence is equal. Once, we were non-existent; today, we are existent; tomorrow, we will move to the realm of the hereafter.

Therefore, a being that is possible to exist cannot grasp the greatness of Allah Almighty. For,

“Absolute reality cannot be comprehended by restricted views.” [28]

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi indicated that man’s duty was not to understand the secrets of Lordship and that he did not have the ability to do it by saying, "The mind’s duty is to fulfill the duty of worshipping; its duty is not to grasp (understand) the secrets of Lordship.”

Man cannot know the nature of his spirit, mind and even very simple plant life fully. Only Allah knows the nature of things. For, He is the Master and Creator of the beings.

According to what Ibn Abbas narrated, some people wanted to meditate on Allah Himself. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,   

“Mediate on Allah’s creatures. Do meditate on Allah Himself. You do not have power to meditate on Allah Himself.” [29]

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh), who is the one with the most advanced intellect and knowledge, who is a sea of perfection in knowing Allah Almighty, who is the perfect mirror of divine names, the greatest crier of the divine sultanate, the source of divine secrets and the sun of the two realms, ascended to the sky from the earth after reading all creatures and finishing the school on the earth. He passed the seven layers of the sky and reached Sidratul-Muntaha and Qab Qawsayn, that is, the most private end of divine meeting between possibility and necessity. He saw Paradise and Hell, learned infinite secrets, read the wonderful works and so many realms there. He saw Allah Almighty, who is free from space and time, with his eyes. This issue is expressed as follows in the Quran: 

“(His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest.”[30] 

What a lofty and great rank. Man is too weak understand it. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses it as follows:

“Muhammad the Arabian (pbuh) has achieved such a rank and degree that if all minds were to gather together and become one mind, it could not completely comprehend it.”[31]

However, the Prophet (pbuh) recited the following magnificent call in that lofty rank, expressing his weakness in the face of the greatness of Allah, resonating the earth and the seven layers of the sky and making the angels and spiritual beings say labbayk:

“Subhanaka maabadnaka haqqa ibadatika ya mabud (Glory to You we can never worship You as You deserve O Worshipped One).

Subhanaka maarafnaka haqqa marifatika ya maruf (Glory to You we can never know You as You deserve Recognized One).

Subhanaka maabadnaka haqqa ibadatika ya mabud (Glory to You we can never worship You as You deserve O Worshipped One).

Subhanaka madhakarnaka haqqa dhikrika ya madhkur (Glory to You we can never mention You as You deserve O Mentioned One).

Subhanaka mashakarnaka haqqa shukrika ya mashkur (Glory to You we can never praise You as You deserve O Praised Thanked One).”

It is definitely not possible for us to understand this issue with our mind since the Prophet expressed his weakness like that. As a knowledgeable person expresses it, “Those magnificent realities cannot be weighed by the scales of our small mind.

"This small mind cannot grasp those high realities.
For, this scale does not weigh such a big weight.”[32]

Yes, this world is a realm of shadows; the original ones will be in the hereafter. A person who lives with the shadows cannot understand the original ones from the world. As the Prophet puts it, “Neither eyes have seen something like it nor ears have heard something like it; the heart of man cannot think of it either”, the real nature of Paradise cannot be understood; the real nature of ru’yah, which is a blessing beyond Paradise, cannot be understood in this world, which is like a shadow compared to the hereafter.

I would like to quote some statements from the translation of the book called “Tefekkürname” written in Arabic by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi:

“O Sacred Being, who is free and away from all mistakes and incomplete attributes!

We cannot praise You truly and cannot mention all of Your attributes of perfection. You are such a majestic being that You praise Yourself in the Quran, Your beloved Prophet praises You with Your permission and all of Your creatures praise You with the permission of speech given to them by You.

O Recognized One, who is free and away from all mistakes and incomplete attributes!

We have not been able to recognize You as it is necessary. You are such a Wise Owner of Majesty that You can describe Yourself with the miracles of Your works, description of all of Your creatures and the definition of all of Your beings.

O Mentioned One, who is free and away from all mistakes and incomplete attributes!

We have not been able to mention You as it is necessary. You are such a Lord of Majesty that You are worthy of dhikr (being mentioned) by prayers presented to You by the special tongues of all of Your creatures, the souls of all of Your beings, which are the words of the book of the universe, the lives of the living beings, which are your creatures, and by the regular leaves of the trees and plants that mention you by fluttering.

O Thanked One, who is free and away from all mistakes and incomplete attributes!

We have not been able to thank You as it is necessary. You are such a Merciful Owner of Majesty that You are worthy of thanking with the praise of all of Your grants on the cities that are seen, with poems of all of the fruits of Your boons and mercy in the market of the universe and with the praise of regular and tidy flowers and clusters on the thin and delicate branches of trees and plants.

O majestic being, whose works are extremely great, and who owns a beauty that is extremely obvious! You are free and away from all kinds of mistakes and deficiencies.

O Worshipped One, who is free and away from all mistakes and incomplete attributes!

We have not been able to worship You as it is necessary. You are such a Beautiful Deity of Majesty that You are worthy of all kinds of worshipping of all angels, living beings, elements and creatures that they perform with full obedience, devotion, agreement and enthusiasm.

We have not been able to glorify You as it is necessary. In fact, as the verse شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ وَإِن مِّ   indicates, all of the skies and the earth and everything in them glorify You. There is nothing that does not glorify You with praise. I also bless You with all of their glorification.

I also glorify You with the glorification of all of the works in the sky and earth and the praise of all creature. I also bless you with all of their glorification and praise.

Both the earth and the sky praise and glorify You with the glorification of all of your prophets and saints (peace be upon them). I also bless you with all of their glorification and praise.

The universe glorifies You with all of the glorification of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his praise (peace be upon him and his family). I also bless you with all of his glorification and praise.

O Majestic Being!

This universe praises and glorifies You with the sounds of the glorification Muhammad (peace be upon him). You are free and away from mistakes and incomplete attributes.

Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is such a person that the sounds of his glorification have been resonating on nations for centuries with majesty.

O Allah! Make the sounds of the glorification Muhammad (peace be upon him) permanent on the pages of the universe and leaves of time until Doomsday.

O Majestic Being!

The world praises and glorifies you with the works of the shari’ah of Muhammad (peace be upon him). You are free and away from mistakes and incomplete attributes.”

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the people of Paradise will attain the ru’yah of Allah Almighty. What matters is to illuminate all of our faculties like the mind and heart with truths of belief, to polish them with worshipping, to make them deserve Paradise and attain ru’yatullah.

We want to finish this issue with the following wonderful supplication of Abdulqadir Ghaylani:

“O Allah! Make us among those who see your existence with the eye of the heart in the world! Make us among those who look at your jamal with the eyes on our faces!” [33]

Click for additional information: 

RU'YATULLAH

References:

Taftazani, Sharhil-Maqasid,  Alamul-Kutub Beirut
Umar Nasafi, Aqaidi an-Nasafi,
Abu Hanifa,  Fiqhul Akbar,
Jawaharatut-Tawhid, Sheikh Ibrahim Bajuri
Mehmed Vehbi Efendi, Akaid-i Hayri Tercümesi,  İstanbul, 1340 Ahmet Kâmil Matbaası
Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Kur’an-ı Kerim’in Türkçe Meali Âlisi ve Tefsiri,  İstanbul,  Bilmen Yayınevi
Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini Kur’an Dili,
Mehmed Vehbi Efendi, Hulasatul Beyan
Şamil İslam Ansiklopedisi, Şamil Yayınevi, İstanbul
Ibn Muhammad Maruf Bin Hazin, Tafsirul-Hazin
Prof. Dr. Alaaddin Başar, Risale-i Nur’dan Kelimeler ve Cümleler, Zafer Yay. Vol. 2. p. 73
Ahmet Avni Konuk,  Fusûsül Hikem Tercemesi ve Şerhi, İFAV Yay. İstanbul
Ebusuud Tefsiri, 1311 Beirut Impression
Konyalı Mehmed Vehbi Efendi, Hulâsat’ül Bey’an, Fi Tefsir’il Kur’an, Üçdal Neşriyat, 1969 İstanbul

Footnotes:

[1] Bukhari, Vol. 1, p,177, Kitabul-Adhan, Bab:75
[2] Şualar
[3] Nursi, B.S Sözler (23. Söz)
[4] al-A’raf  7/143
[5] Bilmen, Ömer Nasuhi, Kur’an-ı Kerim’in Türkçe Meali Âlisi ve Tefsiri, Vol. 2, page 1087, İstanbul,  Bilmen Yayınevi
[6] Nursî, B.S Mesnevî-i Nuriye (Şemme)
[7] al-Qiyama, 75/22-23
[8] Bilmen, Ömer Nasuhi, Kur’an-ı Kerim’in Türkçe Meali Âlisi ve Tefsiri, Vol. 8, page 3909, İstanbul,  Bilmen Yayınevi
[9] Yazır, Hamdi, Hak Dini Kur’an Dili, Vol. 8, page 5483
[10] Vehbi, Mehmed, Hulâsat’ül Bey’an, Fi Tefsir’il Kur’an, p. 6262 Üçdal Neşriyat, 1969 İstanbul
[11] Yunus, 20/26
[12] (ar-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir, IV, 333).
[13] (Buhari, Mawaqitus-Salat 6, 26, Tafsir, Qaf 1, Tawhid 24; Muslim, Masajid 211, (633); Abu Dawud)
[14] Nursi B.S. Lem’alar
[15] Nursi, B.S Mesnevî-i Nuriye (Zerre)
[16] Muslim, Iman 297, (181); Tirmidhzi, Jannah 16, (2555)
[17] Yunus, 10/26
[18] As it is stated in the hadith, "That seeing (ru’yah) is so superior to all of the pleasures of Paradise that it makes them forgotten. The beauty of the faces of the people who see Him increases so much that when they return, their families in their palaces will hardly recognize them."
[19] Nursî, B.S Sözler (32. Söz, 3. Mevkıf, 9. İşaret)
[20] Nursî B.S Sözler ( 31. Söz)
[21] al-Anam 6/103
[22] Şualar 2. Şua, (Birinci Makamın Birinci Meyvesi)
[23] al-Mulk 67/13-14
[24] ar-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir, Akçağ Yayınları, Ankara
[25] Nursî, B.S Şualar (7. Şua)
[26] Nursî, B.S 29. Lem’a (Tefekkürname)
[27] Imamı Zaynul-Abidin, Sahifa as-Sajjadiya, Translated by Prof. Dr. Abdülaziz Hatip, Nesil Yay. İst.
[28] Nursî, B. S Sözler
[29] Majmauz-Zawaid, 1/81, Kanzul-Ummal, h. No: 5705-5707
[30] an-Najm 53/17-18
[31] Nursi, B.S Mektubat ( 24. Mektup)
[32] Nursi, B.S Sözler (28. Söz)
[33] Fathur-Rabbani, 52nd Discourse.

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