Will you give information about Allah’s establishing on the throne (arsh)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Some people who call themselves “Salafi” say that Allah is on the throne (arsh). They even ask you, “Where is Allah?” When you answer, “Allah is free from space; He is not in any place”, they say, “Allah states in the Quran that He is on the throne. You have denied a verse of the Quran and become an unbeliever.” 

That is what they say. According to them, he who believes that Allah is free from space is an unbeliever and denies a verse of the Quran. 

We will destroy the backbone of that wrong thought of them in this book with the permission of Allah.

We will show how those who call themselves “salafi” accept something impossible. Every Salafi brother who is sane will see that his belief is wrong as he reads the lessons in this book and will notice what a sin he commits by attributing Allah to the throne. If he is fortunate, he will repent inshallah.

Those who say, “Allah is on the throne”! Where was Allah when the Throne did not exist?

Firstly, let us talk a bit about Allah’s being free of space:

It is very difficult for man, who is dependent on space to understand the meaning of being free of space. We can make it easy for the mind to understand it a bit as follows:  

If we ask you, “Is Allah pre-eternal?”, you will definitely say, “Yes, Allah is pre-eternal.” That is, He did not come into being afterwards; He was not created by others; He is self-existent.   

If we ask you, “Is matter pre-eternal?”, you will say, “No, matter is not pre-eternal. Matter was created by Allah and came into being afterwards.” 

We have agreed on the following two issues so far:

1. Allah is pre-eternal.
2. Matter is not pre-eternal; it came into being afterwards.

We will ask you the most important question now: Since Allah is pre-eternal and matter is not pre-eternal, where was Allah in pre-eternity?

What will your answer be? You will either say, Allah is free of space; He is not in any place with His being but He is everywhere with His names and attributes. You will say so and accept that Allah is free of space. Or, you will attribute a place to Allah. However, when you do it, you will have to accept that that space is also pre-eternal because a being that is pre-eternal cannot be in a place that came into being afterwards. Either the pre-eternal being has to be free of space or that place and matter have to be pre-eternal. There is no other alternative.

Now we ask the so-called Salafis who accept that Allah is on the Throne:

- Is the Throne pre-eternal or was it created afterwards?

  Or, we can ask it as follows:

- Did Allah create the Throne or did it exist in pre-eternity? 

Your answer will probably be as follows: “Allah created it.” You accept the following with that answer: Allah is pre-eternal and the throne was created afterwards.

Now we ask you the second question:

- Where was Allah before He created the Throne? 

That is, imagine as follows: We are in the eternity; the Throne has not been created yet; matter has not been created and the universe has not been created either. There is nothing except Allah. Where was Allah in pre-eternity, when matter and the Throne did not exist?

Answer that question.

You cannot say, “Allah was on the Throne” because the Throne had not been created yet. You cannot say, “Allah was somewhere” because matter had not been created yet. You have to state the following: Allah was not anywhere. Allah is free of space. You will say so or, you will attribute pre-eternity to the throne and matter. You have no other alternative.

You cannot attribute pre-eternity to the Throne and matter because pre-eternity is peculiar to Allah only. Besides, you accepted at the beginning that the throne was created by Allah. That acceptance led to a belief of Allah who is free from space. Now you say that Allah is on the throne. Why did you attribute space to Allah, who is free from space, after He created the universe? There can be no change in the attributes of Allah. Due to your wrong creed, you become obliged to accept that Allah underwent change. How can you accept it? 

With that wrong creed, you confine Allah, who is pre-eternal, to the Throne, which came into being afterwards. Can a being that is pre-eternal be confined to an object? What a creed is that? Do you not think of those issues at all?

The sins committed by those who say, “Allah is on the Throne.”

Now we will list the sins committed by those who say, “Allah is on the Throne.” Our addressee is the one who utters that statement. We address him as follows:  

The First Sin You Commit:

You say, “Allah is sitting on the Throne.” It is necessary to stand first before sitting. In that case, Allah was standing before He sat on the Throne according to you. In that case, you believe in a deity that stands, sits, goes, comes, lies, gets up, etc. In fact, we declare Allah to be free of all those human attributes. However, you commit a big sing by accepting Allah is like a human being.

The Second Sin You Commit:

Sitting is an attribute of a material being. Sitting is not in question for a being that is not material. For instance, since spirit is not a material being, we do not mention a spirit’s sitting and standing. If you accept that that Allah is sitting in the Throne, you will have to accept that Allah has a body and that He is a material being. In fact, according to our belief, Allah is free from matter. However, you commit a big sing by accepting that Allah is a material being.

The Third Sin You Commit:

If Allah is sitting on the Throne, He is either in the Throne or some of Him is in the Throne and some of Him has overflown out of the Throne. If He is in the Throne, it means the Throne has encompassed Allah. In that case, it means a being that Allah created has encompassed and surrounded Allah. 

If some part of Allah has overflown out of the Throne, where is the part that has overflown and to what place it has moved? We know through hadiths that the Throne has surrounded the whole universe and there is no material being beyond it. If Allah has not fit into the Throne, where is His remaining part? 

According to our belief, none of those questions can be asked because Allah is free from space. When you accept that Allah is sitting on the throne, you have to accept that either the Throne encompasses Allah or some part of Allah overflows out of the Throne; thus, you commit a big sin.

The Fourth Sin You Commit:

Sitting occurs due to a need or a pleasure. One of the reasons for sitting is the need for a rest due to getting tired. Allah is free from getting tired and needing to rest. 

Another reason for sitting is to take pleasure from sitting. Allah is free from taking pleasure in that sense. 

According to our belief, such a need and taking pleasure cannot be attributed to Allah since Allah is free from space. When you accept that Allah is sitting on the throne, you have to accept that Allah needs to rest or He takes pleasure from sitting; thus, you commit a big sin.

The Fifth Sin You Commit:

The being that sits on the Throne either can move and go to another place or cannot do so. If he can move from one place to another place, he becomes the place of moving and stopping. In that case, he becomes a being that was created afterwards because those attributes belong to a being that is created afterwards. If the second alternative is true, that is, if he cannot move and go, he becomes like a tied and imprisoned being.  

According to our belief, neither of those states is in question for Allah since Allah is free from space. When you accept that Allah is sitting on the throne, you have to accept one of those two alternatives; thus, you commit a big sin.

The Sixth Sin You Commit:

Since you attribute space to Allah, Allah is either in all places or in only one place. If he is in all places, you will have to accept that Allah is also in dirty places. No sane person can say so. If Allah is not in all places but only on the Throne, it means He confined Himself to a place. It is impossible for Allah.

According to our belief, neither of those states is in question for Allah since Allah is free from space. When you attribute space to Allah, you have to accept one of those two alternatives; thus, you commit a big sin.

Your statement “Allah is on the Throne” leads to such sins. Have you ever thought of such results when you say Allah is on the throne?

The statement “Allah is sitting on the Throne” sounds an innocent statement to you but it is not so. When you accept a statement, you will have to accept its results too.

Those who say, “Allah is on the Throne”! Where will Allah be when the angels bear the Throne?

We will ask those who say, “Allah is sitting on the Throne” a question: The following is stated in verse 17 of the chapter of al-Haqqa:

وَيَحْمِلُ عَرْشَ رَبِّكَ فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ ثَمَانِيَةٌ And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them.

As the verse above clearly states, eight angels will bear the Throne on the Day of Judgment. Now we ask the person who says, “Allah is sitting on the Throne” the following question: 

- Where will Allah be when the angels bear the Throne?

If you say, “Allah is on the Throne”, it means angels will carry Allah. It is not possible because Allah is the being that protects and takes care of His creatures. The creature cannot protect, take care of or carry its Creator. Thus, that alternative is wrong.

If you say, “Allah will not be on the Throne”, we will ask the following question: Where will Allah be then?  

If you say, “Allah will not be anywhere”, you will accept that Allah is free from space. In that case, it will be wrong for you to claim that Allah is sitting on the Throne. 

If you say, “Allah is not free from space”, you have to say where Allah will go when He gets out of the Throne. 

You can see how your wrong belief make things difficult for you. According to our belief, none of those questions can be asked since Allah is free from space. 

In conclusion, we say that you have to accept one of the following three options:

1. Allah will be on the Throne when the angels carry it.

2. Allah will not be on the Throne but in another place when the angels carry the Throne. If you accept that option, you have to tell us the place where Allah will go.

3. Allah is free from space. If you accept that option, you have to repent of that belief that Allah is sitting on the Throne because a being that is free from space will not be in any place and will not sit anywhere. We, as members of Ahl as-Sunnah, accept the third option alhamdulillah.

What is the wisdom behind the metaphors and similes in the Quran?

To answer that question, we will first deal with the issue of metaphor and simile in the Quran. 

If a word is used in its own sense, it becomes a “usage in real/literal sense”. If it is used in a different sense from its original meaning and if there is something preventing it from being used in its own meaning, it becomes a “metaphor”. For instance, when we use the word “nightingale” for a bird, it becomes a “literal usage”; When we use it about someone with a beautiful voice, it becomes a “metaphor”.

As for simile, it is the art of comparing two things that have a material or spiritual relationship between them.

There are metaphors and similes in the Quran. Some people who accept Ibn Taymiyya and his views think that the apparent meanings of the verses are true because they deny metaphor and simile. Therefore, they accept the verse “Ar-Rahman (the All-Compassionate) established Himself on the Throne” in its literal meaning and accept the idea that Allah is sitting on the throne.

We will explain here why metaphors and similes exist in the Quran. We will give examples of metaphors and similes in the Quran in the next topic.

Let us start the issue with the following question:

- To whom was the Quran sent down? With whom does Allah speak through the Quran? 

The Quran was sent down to man and Allah’s addressee is man (human beings). Since the Quran was sent down to man, its style should be in a way that man can understand. In other words, its address should be suitable for the way people speak so that the reader of the Quran could easily understand its meaning.

It is known that he who speaks to a child speaks in a childish way. He talks slowly and makes short sentences so that the child can understand. When a doctor tells you about your illness, he will explain it in a way you can understand. If he does not consider your state and speaks based on his own knowledge by using medical terms, you will not understand anything. If you go to a lawyer, the lawyer will not tell you the issue by using legal parlance, but in a way that you can understand. It applies to all professionals.

Man’s aim when he speaks is to make his addressee understand him. If one speaks without taking into account the understanding of his addressee and if he cannot understand him, that speech has no sense and is an unwise speech. Therefore, literary people and orators use metaphors and similes in order to imagine subtle truths and to describe and express dispersed meanings.

Thus, Allah speaks in the Quran in a way that people can understand because of His wisdom and mercy. He uses the metaphors and similes to which we are accustomed. When we speak to one another, we use metaphors and similes; likewise, Allah conveys some high realities to us through metaphors and similes.

The Quran is a general teacher and guide sent down to all people. Its students are human beings. Most of the people are not scholars but common people. In matters of guidance, the minority follows the majority. That is, it does not make his general guidance according to the level of the few people for the sake of those few people. When the common people are addressed, the educated classes can benefit from it and receive their share. If the common people are not regarded as essential and if it speaks according to the scholars, the common people will be deprived of the truth since they cannot understand those high-level speeches.

Thus, Allah takes the common people into account in His address and speaks with the styles and similes to which they are accustomed so that most people will not be deprived of the guidance of the Quran. 

Common people cannot apprehend sheer truths since they cannot free their minds from the statements and words to which they are accustomed. However, those high truths must be told to them with the expressions to which they are accustomed. That form of expression is called “divine condescension”. Divine condescension means Allah’s speaking according to the understanding of human beings. It is a divine caressing so that people’s minds will not be alienated from the truth.

Similes and metaphors in the Quran are a means of accessing to the truth. The real meaning of those similes is not meant. 

In other words, the metaphors of the Quran called mutashabihat (allegories) are binoculars or prescription glasses to enable people to access to the truths and see the deepest subtleties.

Since Ibn Taymiyya did not know what we mentioned above, he thought the similes and metaphors of the Quran were literal; thus, he himself deviated and caused thousands of people to deviate. He thought as follows: “Allah is free from speaking by using metaphors and similes.” He could not know that what is essential in conversation is the state of the addressee, not the state of the speaker. A speech is made according to the level of the addressee and his understanding is taken into consideration. If it is not made like that, it will be a nonsensical and useless conversation since the speech cannot be understood. Allah is free from doing useless things.  Therefore, the divine wisdom necessitates the presence of metaphors and similes in His speech. 

We tried to explain the issue by making use of the work of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi. Doubtlessly, we could not preserve the strength in the style of Nursi. We recommend you to read the issue from the Risale-i Nur Collection.

Examples of metaphors and similes in the Quran.

Now we will give examples of metaphors and similes from the Quran and show what Ibn Taymiyya and his followers, who do not accept metaphors, will have to accept. 

The first examples are the verses related to Allah’s forgetting. The following is stated in verse 51 of the chapter of al-A’raf:

 فَالْيَوْمَ نَنْسَاهُمْ كَمَا نَسُوا لِقَاءَ يَوْمِهِمْ هَـذَ That day shall We forget them as they forgot the meeting of this day of theirs.

 The following is stated in verse 67 of the chapter of at-Tawba:

  نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ They have forgotten Allah. So He hath forgotten them. 

The following is stated in verse 15 of the chapter of as-Sajda:

  إِنَّا نَسِينَاكُمْ And We too will forget you. 

Allah’s forgetting is mentioned in the verses above. We, who accept the existence of metaphors in the Quran, understand the forgetting mentioned in those verses as Allah’s forgetting in terms of His mercy; that is, not treating them with His mercy and not doing favors to them. We declare Allah to be free from forgetting.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand those verses? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” In that case, you have to understand the forgetting in the verse literally. In that case, you have to accept that Allah forgets. 

- Does Allah that you believe in forget?  
- Do you believe in a deity that forgets?
- Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

The second example is the verse related to Allah’s hand. The following is stated in verse 75 of the chapter of Sad:  

قَالَ يَا إِبْلِيسُ Allah said: O Iblis! مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ What prevents thee from prostrating thyself لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ to one whom I have created with my hands (Adam)?

In the verse above, it is stated that Allah created Hz. Adam with His two hands. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, interpret the two hands in the verse as the power of Allah and say what is meant by “hand” is “power”. With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from having hands.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” In that case, you have to understand the two hands in the verse literally. Then, you have to accept that Allah has two hands. Allah states that He created Adam from soil. So, according to you, - God forbid – did Allah crouch and create Adam out of soil?

- Do you believe in a deity that has two hands and makes a man out of soil with his hands?
- Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

The third example is the verse related to Allah’s face. The following is stated in verse 115 of the chapter of al-Baqara:

  وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ To Allah belong the east and the West. فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا Whithersoever ye turn فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ there is the face of Allah.

It is stated in the verse above that Allah has a face. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, interpret the face in the verse as Allah’s consent and say that what is meant in the verses is “divine consent”. With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from having a face. 

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” In that case, you have to accept the word face in the verse literally. In that case, you have to accept that Allah has a face. If that face is there wherever we turn, it means that face surrounds and encompasses the world. However, in that case, we will encounter Allah’s face wherever we turn.

- Do you believe in a deity that has a face like a human being and that surrounds the whole world?
- Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

Brothers! It is very important to prove the existence of metaphors and similes in the Quran because those who claim that Allah is on the Throne deny the metaphors in the Quran and accept the apparent meaning of the verse as true. First of all, we need to refute their statement, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” After refuting it, we need to explain the meaning of the simile about Allah’s sitting on the Throne.

It is meaningless to explain the simile of Allah sitting on the Throne without refuting the statement, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” For, in that case, they will say to us, “There is no metaphor in the Quran” and will not accept our explanation. Therefore, we need to give more examples of metaphors from the Quran; once it becomes clear, we can explain the meaning of Allah’s sitting on the Throne. 

The fourth example is the verse related to Allah’s being in the heavens and on earth. The following is stated in verse 3 of the chapter of al-Anam:

  وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي اْلأَرْضِ And He is Allah in the heavens and on the earth.

It is stated in the verse above that Allah is both in the heavens and on the earth. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, explain it as Allah’s being everywhere with His names and attributes. That is, “Allah has encompassed everything with His knowledge, power and other names.” With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from being in a place.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” Therefore, you accept the verse “Ar-Rahman (the All-Compassionate) established Himself on the Throne” as true and say that Allah is on the Throne. It is stated in the verse above that Allah is in the heavens and on the earth. In that case, you have to accept that verse as true. Then, the following state occurs: 

By accepting that Allah is sitting on the Throne, you have to accept that Allah is a material being and body because sitting in a place is an attribute of a body that is a material being. You have encountered another verse now stating that Allah is in the heavens and on the earth. In that case, according to you, Allah should be divided into three and each part of him should be in a different place because a material being cannot be in three places at the same time. The only way to be in three places at the same time is to be divided into three. In that case, you will have to accept that Allah is divided into three, one part of Him being on the Throne, another part in the heavens and the other part on the earth.

- Do you believe in a deity that is broken into pieces and divided into parts?
- Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

The fifth example is the verse related to Allah’s grasping every creature of its forelock. The following is stated in verse 56 of the chapter of Hud: 

  مَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ إِلاَّ هُوَ آخِذٌ بِنَاصِيَتِهَا There is not a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its fore-lock. 

It is stated in the verse above that Allah grasps the forelocks of all creatures. Forelock is the hair that hangs down over the forehead. We, those who accept metaphors in the Qur’an, explain Allah’s grasping the forelocks of beings as Allah’s domination over them, managing them and controlling them. With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from having as many hands as the living beings, from holding the forelocks of the living beings and having a material contact with them.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” It is stated in the verse above that Allah grasps the forelocks of all creatures. In that case, you have to accept that verse as true. Then, the following state occurs: 

Allah has as many hands as the living things – God forbid – and He holds the forelock of a living being with each hand. There is such a material contact between Allah and the beings.

- Do you believe in a deity that has billions of hands and holds the forelocks with those hands?
- Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

The sixth example is the verse related to Allah’s two hands being widely outstretched. The following is stated in verse 64 of the chapter of al-Maida:

   وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ The Jews say: “(Allah)’s hand is tied up.” غُلَّتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَلُعِنُوا بِمَا قَالُوا Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter.  بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched.  يُنْفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ  He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth.

It is stated in the verse above that Allah’s two hands are widely outstretched. We, those who accept metaphors in the Qur’an, explain Allah’s two hands being widely outstretched as Allah’s being generous. With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from having hands like human beings and His hands being widely outstretched. We say, “Those attributes belong to human beings. Allah is free from having the attributes of human beings.” 

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” It is stated in the verse above that Allah’s two hands are widely outstretched. In that case, you have to accept that verse as true.

- Do you believe in a deity whose two hands are widely outstretched?

It is stated at the beginning of the verse that the Jews say, “Allah’s hand is tied up.” Did the Jews, according to you, mean “Allah has material hands and those hands are tied up” when they said so? Or, did they mean Allah is stingy – God forbid. If you deny metaphors, you will have to accept the first option. However, the hand’s being tied up or outstretched is a metaphorical expression. We say, “his hands are tied; he is tight-fisted” for a stingy person. It is true for a stingy person even if he does not have hands. We say, “openhanded” for a generous person. It is true for a generous person even if he does not have hands. 

Besides, the end of the verse makes it is clear that this meaning is meant. يُنْفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ  ‘He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth’ is stated at the end of the verse. It proves that the hand’s being outstretched is a metaphorical expression for generosity.    

The seventh example is the verse related to Allah’s taking structures from their foundations and demolishing buildings. The following is stated in verse 26 of the chapter of an-Nahl:

  قَدْ مَكَرَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ Those before them did also plot (against Allah’s Way):  فَأَتَى اللَّهُ بُنْيَانَهُمْ مِنَ الْقَوَاعِدِ but Allah took their structures from their foundations فَخَرَّ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّقْفُ مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ and the roof fell down on them from above.

It is stated in the verse above that Allah took structures from their foundations and demolished buildings. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, explain it as Allah’s penalty coming. That is, we say, “Allah’s penalty came and demolished their buildings.” With that explanation, we declare that Allah is free from coming to a building and demolishing it with His hands.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” Therefore, you accept the verse “Ar-Rahman (the All-Compassionate) established Himself on the Throne” as true and say that Allah is on the Throne.

It is stated in the verse above that Allah takes structures from their foundations and demolish buildings. In that case, you have to accept that verse as true. Then, you will have to believe in the following: 

When Allah wants to demolish the buildings of a rebellious nation, He gets out of the throne and goes to that city. He demolishes the buildings with His hands. Can you see what you have to accept by denying the metaphors in the Quran?

The eighth example is the verse related to those being blind in the world also being blind in the hereafter. The following is stated in verse 72 of the chapter of al-Isra: 

  وَمَنْ كَانَ فِي هذِهِ أَعْمَى But those who were blind in this world, فَهُوَ فِي اْلآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى  will be blind in the hereafter

It is stated in the verse above that those who are blind in the word will be blind in the hereafter too. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, explain the blindness in the verse as the blindness of the heart and state the following: Those whose hearts are blind toward the truths in this world, that is, those who are unbelievers, will be resurrected as blind in the hereafter. The believers who are blind in the word will not be blind in the hereafter. The decree of the verse is metaphorical; material blindness is not meant.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” It is stated in the verse above that those who are blind in the word will be blind in the hereafter too. In that case, you have to accept the following: Those who are blind in the word will be blind in the hereafter even if they enter Paradise and they will not be able to see any boons of Paradise. In that case, the blind Companion Umm Maktum, the great hearo about whom verses were sent down will be blind in Paradise, according to you, and will not be able to see any boons of Paradise. Do you believe in it? Can you see what you have to accept due to saying, “There is no metaphor in the Quran”?

The ninth example is the verse related to men and women being garments of each other. The following is stated in verse 187 of the chapter of al-Baqara:

   هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ They (women) are your garments وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ and ye are their garments.

It is stated in the verse above that men and women are garments of each other. We, those who accept metaphors in the Quran, state that the phrase “being garments” in the verse is metaphorical. The following are meant by it:

1. A human being cannot be without garments; similarly, women and men cannot be without each other.

2. Just as garments wrap people so too do women and men wrap each other.

3. Garments cover the flaws of people; similarly, women and men cover the flaws of each other.

Women and men being garments of each other expresses the meanings above and similar ones. That is what we say; we regard it as a metaphor.

What about you, the followers of Ibn Taymiyya? How do you understand that verse? You say, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” If there is no metaphor in the Quran, how can women and men be garments of each other? A garment is something that is worn. I have never seen a man wearing a woman or a woman wearing a man. I have never seen a man or a woman being hung like a garment either. If the word garment in the verse was used literally, we would see things like that.

How can you say “There is no metaphor in the Quran” despite so many verses? We do not understand it.  

We will make a different analysis with the tenth example.

Those who do not accept the metaphors in the Quran have to accept verses that attribute organs to Allah as literal. In that case, they accept that Allah is made up of organs and parts. When they do so, they will have two options:

Either they will not add anything to the organs mentioned in the Quran or they will add other organs to those organs. The second option is impossible because it is not possible to attribute the organs that Allah does not mention to Him. Therefore, they will have to accept only the organs mentioned in the Quran. In that case, let us see how those who do not accept metaphors will have to describe Allah:

1. The following is stated in verse 28 of the chapter of al-Qasas: “Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face.” If everything except Allah will perish, Allah consists of a face only.

2. The following is stated in verse 115 of the chapter of al-Baqara: “Whithersoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah.” If that face is there wherever we turn, it means that face surrounds and encompasses the world. It means Allah consists of a face only and that face has surrounded the world.

3. The following is stated in verse 14 of the chapter of al-Qamar: “She floats under our eyes (and care).” According to that verse, there are several eyes in the face that surrounds the world.

4. The following is stated in verse 71 of the chapter Yasin: “Our hands have fashioned.” According to that verse, there are several hands in that face.

5. The following is stated in verse 42 of the chapter of al-Qamar: “The Day that the shin shall be laid bare.” According to that verse, there is only one leg in that face and the shin of that leg will be laid bare on that day.

In that depiction, a face with several eyes, several hands and a single leg appears. It is known that that form is the ugliest shape. Those who do not accept the metaphors in the Quran have to accept Allah like that.

We, those who accept the metaphors in the Quran, accept all those words as metaphors and similes, and we declare Allah to be free from such ugliness. And we say, ‘All the beauty of Paradise is a weak shadow of Allah’s beauty and a manifestation of that beauty.

O followers Ibn Taymiyya who deny metaphors! That description of Allah is enough for you as sin. If you say, “We do not describe Allah like that”, you have to accept metaphors. When you accept it, you have to accept that Allah’s sitting on the throne is also a metaphor.

There are two ways for you: One: You will say “There is no metaphor in the Quran” and accept that description of Allah, which we have depicted because that description is based on the apparent meanings of the verses. Two: If you cannot accept that description, you will have to accept the metaphors in the Quran. When you accept it, you will have to give up that wrong idea by accepting that the verse related to Allah’s being on the throne is a metaphor. You have no other way.

With that example, we have completed 10 examples of metaphors and similes.

As we mentioned before, it is very important to prove the existence of metaphors and similes in the Quran. For, those who claim that Allah is on the Throne deny the metaphors in the Quran and accept the apparent meanings of the verses as real. First of all, we need to refute their statement, “There is no metaphor in the Quran.” Only after refuting it can we explain the meaning of the simile about Allah’s sitting on the Throne. Therefore, we regarded it appropriate to give 10 examples regarding the metaphors in the Quran.

We can give more than 50 examples if we know that you will not get bored. We think it is enough to give 10 examples to prove the issue.

What is the meaning of Allah’s establishing Himself on the Throne?

In this part, we will explain the meaning of the verse “Allah established Himself on the Throne.” 

In the previous parts, we explained the wisdom behind the metaphors and similes in the Quran and gave 10 examples related to it., We proved the existence of metaphors in the Quran with those examples. The statement “Allah sat on the Throne” is also a metaphorical statement and it consists of a simile. Real sitting is not in question. Allah is free from sitting, standing, and other human attributes.

We use such similes of a lot while speaking. For example, if we say, “So and so sat on the board” about a large company; we do not mean a real sitting; We mean that so and so became an administrator and will manage the business. That statement is true even if that person does not really sit in a chair because we not mean real sitting by it, but handling things.

We use “sitting on the board” for the company but we use the phrase “sitting on the throne” for a country. If someone becomes the king of a country, we say, “So and so sat on the throne.” When we say so, we mean neither the real throne nor real sitting. What we mean is that so and so became the ruler, that he rules the state and that he is responsible for everything.

Thus, Allah declares His sovereignty in this world, His authority, His being the sole owner of the affairs and the sultan of the whole world, with the phrase “sitting on the throne”. The Throne represents the throne of this realm; the sovereignty of Allah, who is the sultan of pre-eternity and post-eternity, is expressed by sitting on it. There is no real sitting here; the Throne is not a real throne either. It is a simile, a metaphor. The phrase sitting on the throne is used in the sense of sovereignty; being powerful, managing and controlling everything.  

The phrase “sat on the throne” is stronger and more eloquent than phrases like “became the king, possessed and dominated”. Therefore, our Lord preferred that strong and eloquent expression; He expressed his sovereignty and reign with a simile.

Although the issue is so simple, a group of people who call themselves Salafis think that the metaphorical statement is literal and accept the wrong idea that Allah sits on the Throne. May Allah guide them!

What is the meaning of the hadith of nuzul?

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in hadith of nuzul: 

“When it is the last third of the night, our Lord descends to the sky of the world and says, ‘Is there anyone who invokes Me so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone who asks Me for something so that I may give it to him? Is there anyone who asks My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?”

Those who claim that Allah is on the Throne show that hadith and state the following: It is mentioned in the hadith that Allah descends to the sky of the world. It is necessary to be on top in order to descend to the sky of the world. That top is the place called the Throne. So, according to them, Allah sits on the Throne. When two-thirds of the night passes, He descends to the sky of the world.

Those people, who call themselves Salafis, do not have the ability to reason at all. They think the metaphor in the hadith is literal. The meaning of the hadith is that the thawabs of the deeds of worship performed at that time are many times more than those performed at other times and that prayers (duas) said at that time are answered quickly. That is, what descends to the sky of the world is not Allah Himself but His mercy, grace, and grants. Allah expresses the abundance of His grants at those hours with a metaphorical statement. However, those Salafis understand neither metaphors nor similes.

Now, we will ask Salafis, who think metaphors are real, 6 questions. When they hear those questions, they will be ashamed of their creed.

1. Why does Allah descend to the sky of the world? Can He not hear the voices of those who pray to Him in the world and see them – God forbid – since He comes down to the sky to hear their voices and see who is praying? O Salafis! What is the wisdom behind His descending to the sky of the world?

2. Suppose that Allah descended. We do not hear that call of Allah. Why should Allah say a word that we do not hear every night? Do you always call out to someone who does not hear you? O Salafis! What is the use of Allah’s calling out like that every night?

3. It is stated in hadiths that if we took the whole universe and threw it to the place called the kursiyy (chair), the ratio of the universe to the kursiyy would be like a ring thrown into the desert. So, if the universe were a ring, the kursiyy would be a desert. The kursiyy is so big. If we took the kursiyy and threw it on the Throne, the kursiyy would be like a ring in a desert on the Throne. 

Now imagine this: If Allah is on the Throne, in order to descend to the sky of the world, He will descend first to the kursiyy and then to the sky of the world. Salafis say that Allah encompasses the Throne. How will Allah fit into the chair then? The kursiyy is like a ring in the desert compared to the Throne. Suppose that He fit into the kursiyy; how will He fit into the sky of the world? Allah needs to get smaller as He descends from the Throne in order to fit into the sky of the world.

- O Salafis! Do you believe in deity that gets smaller and changes?

4. The nights of the countries are at different times. While it is night in a place, it is noon in another place, afternoon in another place and evening in yet another place. That time of the night mentioned in the hadith coincides with another side of the earth at any moment. In that case, Allah needs to shuttle between the Throne and the world all the time. When it is the last third of the night in a country, Allah needs to descend to the sky close to that country; when there is a gap, He needs to go up to the Throne again; then, He needs to descend to the sky of another country immediately.

- O Salafis! Do you believe in such a deity that shuttles between the throne and the world?

5. Is Allah the ruler and controller of the sky of the world when He is on the Throne? If they say, “Yes, He is the ruler and controller “, we will say, since He is the ruler and controller, why does He come down to the sky of the world? He can also rule from the Throne. If they say, “Yes, He is not the ruler and controller “, we will say,

- Who rules the sky of the world when Allah is on the Throne?
- And who will rule the Throne when descends to the sky of the world?
- O Salafis! Can you see what questions you are asked due to your wrong belief?

6. If the statement that Allah descends to the sky of the world is accepted as true literally, we have to accept the existence of movement about Allah. In other words, Allah moves from the Throne and descends to the sky of the world. However, moving means passing to a different state from the previous state, that is, transforming from one state into another. Moving from one state to another means that a later state enters into the owner of the movement. For, the being that moves is in a different state before it moves. That state changes with the movement and the new state enters into him. It is inferred from that state that Allah came into being afterwards since something that occurs afterwards enters into Him.

- O Salafis! Do you believe in a deity that is not pre-eternal and came into being afterwards?
- If you say, “No, our Lord is pre-eternal”, we will say, “How do attributes that come into beings afterwards enter into a pre-eternal being?”

The analysis of the hadith “Where is Allah?”

We will analyze the hadith اَيْنَ اللَّهُ “Where is Allah?”, which Salafis use as evidence. The hadith اَيْنَ اللَّهُ is as follows:  

Once, the Prophet (pbuh) asked a female slave the question “Where is Allah?” to understand whether she was a Muslim or not. She answered that question as follows: “Allah is in the sky.” Then, the Prophet (pbuh) asked her, “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allah.” Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) decided that she was a Muslim.

Salafis show that hadith as evidence and say, The Prophet (pbuh) accepted the female slave’s statement “Allah is in the sky” and decided that she was a Muslim. So, Allah is in the sky. A person is asked that question in order to understand whether he is a Muslim or not. If he says that Allah is in the sky, it is decided that he is a Muslim.

That is what Salafis say. In this part, we will refute what they say. First of all, the hadith mentioned above is weak because there is idtirab (confusion) in the hadith. The meaning of idtirab in hadith terminology is as follows:

Even if a hadith’s chain of narrators is sound, if it is reported by different narrators and if there is a discrepancy in the text of the hadith, it is called idtirab. Idtirab reduces the degree of the soundness of the hadith to weakness. Let us see through how many different ways that hadith is narrated:

The first narration was reported by Ata b. Yasar in the form we mentioned above. In that hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Where is Allah?” The female slave answered that question by saying, “Allah is in the sky.”

The second narration was also reported by Ata b. Yasar. In that narration, the Prophet (pbuh) did not ask, “Where is Allah?” He raised his hand and pointed as if asking, “Who is in the sky?” (adh-Dhahabi, al-Uluww lil Aliyyil Azim, 1/254)

The third narration was also reported by Ata b. Yasar. It is as follows: The Prophet (pbuh) said to the female slave, “Do you bear witness that there is no god but Allah?” She said “Yes”.  He asked, “Do you bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and Messenger of Allah?” She said “Yes” again. (Abdurrazzaq, al-Musannaf, 9/195)

The hadith was also reported Ubaydullah b. Utba in the same form (Abu Dawud, Ayman, 16; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, 3/452)

In the fourth narration, the female slave answered the questions of the Prophet (pbuh) only with gestures. (Abu Dawud, Ayman, 16; Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, 2/291) That is, the Prophet (pbuh) asked the female slave, “Where is Allah?” She pointed upwards with her hand.

In the fifth narration, the Prophet (pbuh) did not ask the female slave, “Where is Allah?” He asked, “Who is your lord?” She pointed upwards with her hand. (Ibn Khuzayma, Kitabut Tawhid, 123)

In the sixth narration, the female slave did not make a gesture with her hand; she pointed upwards with her head.

As you can see, the narrations of the hadith are different. In a narration, the Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Where is Allah?” In another narration, he asked, “Who is your Lord?” In another narration, he did not ask. He just raised his hand and pointed upwards. In another narration, he asked, “Do you bear witness that there is no god but Allah?” In a narration, the female slave said, “Allah is in the sky.” However, in another narration, she did not say so; she only pointed upwards with her hand. In another narration, she pointed upwards with her head.

Because of those differences in the narrations, idtirab occurred. Idtirab also reduced the degree of soundness of the hadith to weakness.

So, what should Salafis do now? They should do this: They should show a sound hadith in the same sense and base that weak hadith on it. Let them show us a sound hadith in the same sense. They cannot show. If they cannot find sound hadiths, let them show at least weak hadiths. Let the weak come together and become strong. Can they show a weak hadith in the same sense? No, they cannot do it either because there is no other hadith in the same sense.

Now you probably wonder and say: Did the Prophet (pbuh) never investigate or question whether a person was a Muslim or not, apart from that incident? Is that the only incident? No, there are tens of incidents that the Prophet (pbuh) questioned. However, the Prophet (pbuh) did not ask, “Where is Allah?” in any of those incidents. The only questions he asked were: “Who is your Lord?” and “Who am I?”

Let us report 6 out of tens of those examples:

The first incident was reported from ash-Sharid b. Suwayd. Ash-Sharid b. Suwayd came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said to him that his mother wanted him, before her death, to liberate a believing female slave and that he owned a black female slave. He asked the Prophet whether he would be regarded to have fulfilled his mother’ will by freeing her. The Prophet (pbuh) told him to bring the female slave to him. When she came, the Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Who is your Lord?”. The female slave said “Allah”. Then, he asked “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allah.” Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said to ash-Sharid b. Suwayd: “You can free her because she is a believer.” (Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, 4/222, 388-9; Ibn Hibban, 1, 419)

The second incident is a similar one and was reported by Ibn Abi Shayba.

A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said that his mother vowed to free a believing slave and that he had a female slave. The Prophet (pbuh) told him to bring the female slave to him. When she came, the Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Do you bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah?”. The female slave said “Yes”. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said to the Companion, “Free her.” (Ibn Abi Shayba, 7/215)

The third incident was reported by al-Hakim. This time, a woman came to the Prophet (pbuh) and she had a black female slave with her. The Prophet (pbuh) asked the following questions to find out whether she was a believer or not:

“Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who am I? Do you perform prayers? Do you accept that what I brought from Allah is true?” When the female slave answered all those questions by saying, “Yes”, the Prophet (pbuh) said to the woman, “Free her.” (al-Hakim, 3/258)

The fourth incident is as follows: In order to find out whether a man who said he saw the crescent of Ramadan was a believer or not, the Prophet (pbuh) asked him: “Do you witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger?” When the man said “Yes”, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Companions to start fasting. (Abu Dawud, Siyam, 14; Nasai, Siyam, 8; Tirmidhi, Sawm, 7; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 6)

The fifth incident is as follows: When the boy of a Jewish family was in the deathbed, the Prophet (pbuh) went to him and asked him, “Will you witness that there is no god but Allah?” The boy said “Yes”. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) asked: “Will you bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?” The boy replied “Yes” again. When the child died after a while, the Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions washed and buried him. (Tabarani, al-Mu’jamul Kabir, 8/67; Haythami, Majmauz Zawaid, 2/323)

The sixth incident is the story of Ibn Sayyad, which is mentioned in many sources, including Bukhari and Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) asked Ibn Sayyad: “Do you bear witness that I am the Messenger of Allah?”

There are many more incidents like the ones above. Those examples show that the Prophet (pbuh) did not ask the question “Where is Allah?” in order to understand whether a person was a believer or not but asked the questions, “Who is your Lord?” and “Who am I?” and that he wanted his addressee to utter kalima ash-shahadah. It is not possible to mention a weak hadith as evidence when there are so many sound hadiths. 

Hafiz Abdullah b. Muhammad al-Harari states the following in his book titled “Sharhus Siratul Mustaqim”: The hadith about the female slave is not sound due to two reasons.

1. This hadith is a mudtarib (confused) hadith because there are narrations of it that are different from one another.

2. That hadith is contrary to the rules of methodology because, according to the rules of our religion, a person who utters kalima ash-shahadah becomes a believer and a Muslim. As a matter of fact, in the hadith narrated by 15 Companions, the Prophet (pbuh) says, “I have been ordered to fight until people witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah.”

If the hadith “Where is Allah?” is accepted according to its apparent meaning, it is contrary to mutawatir hadiths. In that case, it is either interpreted or rejected because hadith scholars reject hadiths that are contrary to mutawatir hadiths and that cannot be interpreted.

The following question can come to mind at that point:  

- Imam Bukhari narrated the hadith of the female slave mentioned above. How can we not accept a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari as sound?

We answer it as follows: Imam Bukhari did not include that hadith in his Sahih. He included it in his book named “Khalqu Af’alil-Ibad”. He did not say, “All the hadiths in this book are valid.” Besides, Imam Bukhari accepts that some hadiths in his Sahih as weak. He wrote those hadiths without a chain of narrators to indicate that they were weak. We explained that issue in our works about hadith defense. Those who wish can refer to it.

We have proved the following points so far in this part:

1. The hadith about the female slave is weak because there is idtirab in the hadith.

2. The Prophet (pbuh) did not ask anyone except that female slave the question “Where is Allah?” That is the only hadith with that question.

3. The questions the Prophet (pbuh) asked were “Who is your Lord?” and “Who am I?” In addition, he wanted his addressees to utter kalima ash-shahadah.

4. The hadith about the female slave is contrary to the rules of methodology because, according to the rules of our religion, a person who utters kalima ash-shahadah becomes a believer and a Muslim. 

After all those explanations, if Salafis still insist and say, “No, we act based on the hadith about the female slave”, we will give them a different explanation: 

We say to them: Even if you accept the hadith about the female slave as sound, it does not prove that Allah is in the sky. For, the Prophet (pbuh) asked اَيْنَ اللَّهُ. The word اَيْنَ in Arabic is not used only for space (place). It is used for both space and glory, that is, fame. So, the question can be in the form of “Where is Allah’s glory?” instead of “Where is Allah?” When the female slave said, “in the sky”, she meant, “His position is very high.” As a matter of fact, when Arabs say, “The place of so and so is in the sky”, they neither mean the sky nor to occupy a place there. They mean the loftiness of that person’s glory with that statement.

Many scholars like Imam Razi (Asasut Taqdis), Hafiz Subki (as-Sayfus Saqil), Imam Qurtubi (at-Tadhkar), Imam Nawawi (Sharhu Sahihi Muslim) Imam Suyuti (Sharhu Sunani Tirmidhi) Imam Abu Hayyan Andulusi (Tafsir al-Bahrul Muhit), Hafiz Asqalani (Risalah al- Qazwini) interpreted the word اَيْنَ in the hadith as glory, that is, fame. 

O Salafis! You have no place to go. If you ignore the idtirab in the hadith, if you do not heed the hadith scholars’ statement, “That hadith is weak” and even if you accept that hadith as sound, you cannot prove that Allah is in the sky because we can interpret the word اَيْنَ in the hadith as glory since it is a style used by Arabs.

Who is in the sky?

We will answer an evidence of Salafis in this part.

 Salafis say, God Almighty states the following: 

أَأَمِنْتُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ أَنْ يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الأَرْضَ Do ye feel secure that He Who is in the heavens will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)? (al-Mulk, 67/16)

 أَمْ أَمِنْتُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاء أَنْ يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا Or do ye feel secure that He Who is in the heavens will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones)? (al-Mulk, 67/17) 

Allah is meant by the phrase “who is in the sky (heavens)” in the verses above which proves that Allah is in the sky.

That is what Salafis say. First of all, we say to them: The word “Allah” is not mentioned in the verse. The phrase “he who is in the heavens” is used. How do you know what is meant by the word “he who is in the heavens”? The phrase “he who is in the heavens” can be explained in four different ways:

Firstly: What is meant by the phrase he who is in the heavens is Hz. Jibril (Gabriel) because he destroyed many nations based on divine command. Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is as follows:

“Do ye feel secure that Jibril, who is in the heavens, will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)?”

Salafis will answer that explanation as follows: He who is in the heavens cannot be Jibril because it is Allah who will cause people to be swallowed up by the earth.

We will say to them: By Allah! You do not understand the Quran at all. Now we will prove it:

Who sent down the Quran? You will probably say, “Allah sent it down.” Let us have a look at 97 of the chapter of al-Baqara: 

 مَنْ كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِجِبْرِيلَ Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel... فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ -for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart. (al-Baqara, 2/97) 

What does the verse say? ... “Gabriel sent down the Quran.” said. In fact, it is Allah who sent down the Quran. So, why is it attributed to Gabriel in the verse? Because Gabriel is a means (an agent). A verb can be attributed to the agent.

Our Second Example: We ask Salafis again: Who is the one that kills man? You will probably say, “Allah kills man. Death and life are in His hands.” Let us have a look at verse 11 of the chapter of as-Sajda:

 قُلْ يَتَوَفَّيكُمْ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ Say: “The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls. (as-Sajda, 32/11)

What does the verse say? “The angel of death will kill you.” However, it is Allah who kills us. So why is the killing attributed to the angel of death? Because the angel of death is a means (an agent). A verb can be attributed to the agent.

Let us give another example: We ask Salafis again: Who will resurrect people after Doomsday? Who will take people out of the ground? You will probably say, “Allah will do it.” Let us have a look at verse 2 of the chapter of az-Zilzal:

  وَأَخْرَجَتِ الْأَرْضُ أَثْقَالَهَا And when the earth throws up her burdens (from within) (az-Zilzal, 99/2)

The “burdens” mentioned in the verse are dead people. Throwing up the burdens means throwing up the dead from their graves.

What does the verse say? “The earth will throw the dead out of their graves.” In fact, Allah will take us out of the graves. So, why is the deed of removing the dead from the graves attributed to the earth? Because the earth is the place of that verb. A verb can be attributed to the agent as well as to the place.

We can give tens of examples from the Quran like the three examples above. We regard three examples enough so as not to prolong the issue. Just like in the examples above, it is Allah’s deed to cause people to be swallowed up by the earth and to send the wind with showers of stones on them. However, Hz. Jibril is a means in those deeds. Since he is a means, it is permissible to attribute that deed to him and is a style of the Quran. One cannot object to it.

According to the second possibility, what is meant by he who is in the heavens is the angels because angels destroyed many nations with divine permission like Hz. Jibril. The story of the People of Elephant is well known by all of you. Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is as follows:

“Do ye feel secure that the angels in the heavens will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake) and will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones)?” 

We have just proved that it is permissible to attribute the deed to the means and that it is a style of the Quran. The explanation we have made above is also valid for this possibility.

According to the third possibility, what is meant by he who is in the heavens is the punishment itself because punishment usually comes from the sky. Almost all the nations whose destruction is described in the Quran were destroyed by a penalty from the sky. Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is as follows:

 “Do ye feel secure that the penalty – that is, the penalty to come from the heavens – will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)?”

According to the fourth possibility, what is meant by he who is in the heavens is the reign of Allah. Although the reign of Allah appears to be on the earth, the earth is not capable of showing the grandeur of that reign properly. Therefore, the heavens are shown as the place of the divine reign. Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is as follows:

“Do ye feel secure that Allah, whose majesty and reign are in the heavens, will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes and will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones)?”

In conclusion, we state the following: It is possible to understand the expression “he who is in the heavens” in 4 different ways. It is a slander on both the verse and the Quran as well as Allah to try to attribute an impossible meaning to the verse by leaving those possible meanings aside.

Why are hands raised toward the sky while praying?

In this part, we will answer a statement of Salafis.

Salafis say: We raise our hands toward the sky while praying. It proves that Allah is in the sky.

We say the following to the person who says so: What kind of evidence is it to say, ‘We raise our hands toward the sky, it means Allah is in the sky’? Do you not ever think that If Allah were in the sky, we would turn our faces, not our hands, to the sky.

Acting upon that logic of yours, someone can say, ‘We put our heads down in prostration; so, Allah is below.

Another one can state the following: We return to the Kaaba in prayer; so, Allah is in the Kaaba.

If you say, “Allah is in the sky” because we raise our hands toward the sky while praying, people can say so and you will have no words to say to them.

Now, let us explain why we raise our hands toward the sky while praying:

1. We turn our hands toward the sky because the qiblah of prayer (dua) is the sky. Just as the qiblah of salah is the Kaaba, the qibla of dua is the sky.

2. Mercy and sustenance descend from the sky. The following is stated in a verse:

  وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ “And in heaven is your Sustenance.” Since our sustenance is in the skies, we turn our hands toward the sky when we want something.  

3. The sky is the place of Allah’s lordship and divinity. Although lordship and divinity become manifest in the world, the world cannot be a place for the majesty of that lordship and divinity like the sky. Thus, raising the hands up while praying means asking with the tongue of disposition to receive the manifestation of that lordship.

4. Man naturally tends to turn to the direction from which he will get what he wants. There is this tendency in his nature. For example, when a king promises sustenance to his people, people still turn toward his treasure even if they know absolutely that the king is not there. Since the sky is the place of Allah’s treasures, people open their hands toward that treasure and reach their hands there.

We open our hands to the sky while praying for such reasons. It has nothing to do with Allah’s being in the sky. However, Salafis are incapable of understanding even that.

The Defect in Salafis faith in Allah!

We will answer a statement of Salafis in this part:

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars describe Allah as follows: Allah is not a body. He is not a material being. He is free from having organs and limbs. He is free from space. He is free from time, and so on.

Salafis state the following in response to that description of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars: It is a description of non-existence. Something that is not an object, not material and that is not in a place is non-existent. There is no difference between the Lord that has those attributes and that is accepted to exist and the Lord that does not exist.

That is what they say. According to them, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars describe a Lord that does not exist. In response to them, we state the following: If we described an ordinary being, what Salafis say could be true. With our description of something that is not an object, not material and that is not in a place, we would describe non-existence. However, we do not describe a creature created by Allah; we describe Allah.

If not being in a place is non-existence, we ask Salafis: Allah existed before there was no place. Allah existed when none of the creatures existed and when the concept of “where” was non-existent, So, one cannot talk about Allah’s being in a place.

Like space, time and direction are also created beings. Allah was not above and below before He created directions; similarly, He will definitely not be above and below after creating directions.

Allah was not inside nor outside the realm before He created the realm; similarly, He will definitely not be inside or outside after creating the realm.

Allah was not adjacent to or separate from the realm before He created the realm. Similarly, He will definitely not be adjacent to or separate from the realm after creating the realm.

Allah was not dependent upon time before He created time. Similarly, He will not be dependent upon time after creating time.

Although Allah was free from those concepts in pre-eternity, that is, from being in a place, being below and above, outside and inside, adjacent and separate, being dependent upon time, and from other concepts, how can it mean accepting non-existence to accept a Lord that is free from all those concepts?

Since Allah existed before space was created, it means Allah existed without a place. Why should Allah, who did not need space in pre-eternity, need space now and sit on the Throne?

O Salafis! Not Ahl al-Sunnah scholars but actually you liken Allah to something that is non-existent because attributing a place to Allah makes Him a being that perishes since it makes Him need a place. For, there was no place in pre-eternity. The one who needed a place in pre-eternity when there was no space would definitely perish.

If Allah needed space, He would perish if something He needed was not available. You believe in a deity doomed to non-existence. According to you, if Allah destroyed this realm and the places, He would also perish because the one that needs space will disappear when space disappears. Can you see how you make Allah doomed to non-existence?

If you say: Allah cannot be understood in such a description of Allah. In response, we will say: If you mean a Lord that you cannot imagine or envisage by not being understood, you are right because Allah does not fit into imagination. The following is stated in a verse: 

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ   There is nothing whatever like unto Him. 

How can your imagination encompass Allah, who does not resemble anything? 

Is it necessary to encompass Him in order to accept Him? What about belief in ghayb (unseen/unknown) then?

We describe Allah with attributes worthy of Him. We also accept that we cannot reach the essence and reality of those attributes. How can the mind, which is a created being, understand its creator properly? How can man, who is finite know infinity? How can man, who is conditioned, will understand being unconditioned? How will man, who is a small being, understand Allah’s greatness and majesty, His infinity and limitlessness, His being free from everything and his attributes and deeds truly? He cannot understand; he only believes; he exalts Allah, sanctifies and glorifies Him.

The issue has probably been understood.

Does Miraj (Ascension) mean Allah is in the sky?

We will answer the following question in this part:

- The Prophet (pbuh) ascended to the heavens in Miraj and saw Allah. Does it not prove that Allah is in the sky?

We answer it as follows: The person asking the question assumes Miraj as follows: Allah is in the sky and the Prophet (pbuh) went to the sky to see Allah. That thought is wrong. Yes, the Prophet (pbuh) saw Allah but Miraj is not just a journey that was made only to see Allah.

The reason for Miraj is as follows:

Allah made the Prophet (pbuh) go on this journey to show His power, grandeur, majesty, greatness, might, glory, mercy and beauty; He made him watch the works of His power so that he would return to us and describe that power, grandeur, majesty, greatness, might, glory, mercy and beauty in order to lead us to worship and obedience to Him.  

Miraj has many wise reasons like the ones above. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explain them in his work “Ascension Booklet”, also known as the Thirty-first Word. It is not possible to tell all the wise reasons expressed there in one lecture. Maybe 20-30 lectures are needed to explain them a bit. We refer those who wonder the meaning and wisdom of Miraj to that work.

When the Prophet (pbuh) was raised to the sky for such wisdom, God Almighty became manifest to him there. The manifestation of Allah in the sky to our Prophet (pbuh) is different from His being in the sky. It will be better understood when we explain the issue through a verse:

As it is stated in the Quran, Hz. Musa (Moses) wanted to see Allah. In response to his request God Almighty said,

“Look upon the mount; if it abides in its place, then shalt thou see Me.” (al-A’raf, 7/143)  

He made His being seen dependent on the mountain’s staying in its place. Then, Allah became manifest on the mountain and the mountain was smashed to smithereens. The Quran expresses it as follows:

  فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّى رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. 

The manifestation of Allah on the mountain, which is stated in the verse, is a kind of seeing. The mountain attained a kind of life and the ability to see; it attained the honor of seeing Allah, but it was smashed to smithereens due its great effect.

The manifestation of Allah on the mountain is different from His being on the mountain. Yes, Allah became manifest on the mountain but he was never on the mountain. Allah is free of space.

Similarly, Allah became manifest to the Prophet (pbuh) in the sky and allowed him to see Him. However, Allah is not in the sky.

Therefore, the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) saw Allah in Miraj does not show that Allah is in the sky. It only shows that Allah became manifest to the Prophet (pbuh) in the sky. In Paradise, Allah will become manifest to the people of Paradise. Will Allah be in Paradise then? No, God forbid

Since we have proved in previous lessons with tens of evidences that Allah is free from space, we will not mention that issue here. The aim of this part is the following sentence:

Being in the sky is different from being manifest to a slave in the sky.

Allah is not in the sky. He only became manifest to a devoted slave in the sky and allowed him to see Him. Similarly, he became manifest on the mountain and will be manifest in Paradise.

The issue has probably been understood.

Did Imam Abu Hanifa say “Allah is in the sky”?

In this part, we will refute a slander of Salafis on Imam Abu Hanifa. 

Salafis say: Abu Hanifa believes that Allah is in the sky. Their evidence is as follows: Abu Hanifa said:

“Anyone who says, ‘I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or on the earth’ becomes an unbeliever. Likewise, the same thing is valid for a person who says, ‘Allah is on the Throne, I do not know whether the Throne is in the sky or on the earth.’” (al-Fiqhul-Absat)

Salafis say: That statement of Abu Hanifa proves that he believes that Allah is in the sky. Before analyzing that statement, let us quote some other statements of Abu Hanifa:

In his book titled “al-Fiqhul-Absat”, Abu Hanifa, He wants the question “Where is Allah?” to be answered as follows:

Before creation, space did not exist but Allah existed. When there was none of the creatures, when the concept “where” did not exist, Allah existed. He is the creator of everything.

With that statement, Abu Hanifa clearly states that Allah is free from space.

He also states the following in his book named “al-Wasiyya”:

“Allah established Himself on the Throne without a need and settlement for himself. He protects the Throne as well as other creatures. If He needed to sit and settle on the Throne or somewhere, He would not be able to create the world out nothing and manage it, just like creatures. If Allah needed to sit in a place, where was He before creating the Throne? Almighty Allah is free from it.”

With that statement, Abu Hanifa states Allah is not on the Throne; he also states that if He needed to sit and settle on somewhere, He would not be able to create the realm. And he adds: Allah is free from being in a place.

He also states the following in his book titled “al-Wasiyya”:

“It is true that the people of Paradise will meet Allah free of quality, comparison and direction.”

Abu Hanifa clearly denies direction with that statement. How can Abu Hanifa, who regards Allah as free from quality, comparison and direction in the Hereafter, attribute direction to Allah in this world? Is it possible? How can it be said that Abu Hanifa, who utters the statement above, “believes that Allah is in the sky”? Is there a bigger slander than it?

O Salafis! What will happen to you when Abu Hanifa complains about you in the hereafter? Do you not fear Allah when you slander him despite his clear statements?

Now, let us explain the statement Abu Hanifa that we mentioned at the beginning. Abu Hanifa states the following:

“Anyone who says, ‘I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or on the earth’ becomes an unbeliever. Likewise, the same thing is valid for a person who says, ‘Allah is on the Throne, I do not know whether the Throne is in the sky or on the earth.’” (al-Fiqhul-Absat)

In order to understand the statement of a mujtahid, it is necessary to refer to the explanation of the great scholars of his madhhab. They understand the statement of the mujtahid best and they know best what he means by it. Now we will quote some statements. See what Abu Hanifa means by that statement:

Yusuf Nabhani states the following: “Anyone who says, ‘I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or on the earth’ becomes an unbeliever.” For, that statement gives the impression that there is a place for Allah and that person is in doubt about it. (Shawahidul-Haqq, p.218)

Al-Bayadi states the following in his book “Isharatul-Maram”: The reason why the person who utters that statement becomes an unbeliever is that the one who says it determines a direction and limit for Allah with it. For, anything that has a direction and limit is a created being. Therefore, that statement means to attribute a fault to Allah. It leads the person who utters that statement to absolute disbelief. (al-Kawthari, Maqalat, p. 368)

Abul Lays Samarqandi states the following: That person wants to say with that statement that Allah will be in a place and therefore he becomes an unbeliever because when Allah existed, there was no space. When Allah existed, there was no space, no creature nor anything else. He is the creator of everything. (Zahid el-Kevseri’nin neşrinden İmam-ı Azam’ın 5 eseri, Şamil yayınları, p. 94)

Mulla Aliyyul Qari makes the following explanation: Imam Izz b. Abdusselam, includes the following statement of Abu Hanifa in his book titled “Hillur Rumuz”: “Anyone who says, ‘I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or on the earth’ becomes an unbeliever.” For, that statement gives the impression that there is a place for Allah. A person who thinks that there is a place of Allah is the person who likens Allah to a creature. (Fıkhu’l-Ekber şerhi, Miraç ve Allah’a mekân isnadı)

The hadith scholar Abul Mahasin al-Qawuqji states the following in his book titled “al-Itimad fil Itiqad”: Allah is free from directions and being an object. It is not permissible to say the following about him: “He has right, left, back or front side.” “He is on, under, on the right, on the left of the Throne.” It is not permissible to say, “He is inside or outside the realm” either. It is not permissible to say, “No one except Him knows His place.” Anyone who says, ‘I do not know if Allah is in the sky or on the earth’ becomes an unbeliever because, he attributes one of those two places to Allah as space.

Hakim as-Samarqandi states the following in his work in which he explains Abu Hanifa’s creed: A believer should not ascribe space, coming, going and any attributes of creatures to Allah. A slave should know that Allah is not in a place, does not need space, and that the Throne stands thanks to His power; he should not ascribe attributes such as going and coming to Allah. (ar-Raddu ala Ashabil Hawa al-Musamma Kitabus Sawadil Azam ala Madhabil Imamil Azam)

We can cite tens of other scholars’ explanations about the statement of Abu Hanifa mentioned above. The common point of all those explanations is as follows:

Abu Hanifa does not attribute space to Allah. He ascribes unbelief to a person who attributes space to Allah.

On the one hand, Abu Hanifa does not explain the meaning of mutashabih verses, like Salaf scholars, and refers them to the knowledge of Allah; on the other hand, he declares Allah to be free of the attributes that are not suitable for Him. However, Salafis close their eyes to all those explanations and attribute a meaning that Abu Hanifa’s statement does not include.

Another slander of Salafis is as follows:

They say: A woman came to Abu Hanifa and said, “Are you trying to teach people about various issues though you have abandoned your religion? Where is your deity that is worshipped?” Abu Hanifa kept silent and after 7 days, he said, “Allah is definitely not on the earth, but in the sky.”  

They will not believe if we report that Ahl as-Sunnah scholars said, “That narration is a lie” about that incident. Therefore, let us quote the statement of Albani, whom they trust very much and praise a lot. Albani states the following about that narration:  

How can it be sound? He who narrates it is Nuh al-Jami, who was accused of fabricating. They even say the following about him: “He collected everything but truths.”

As you can see, their own hadith scholars deny that narration. There is no need to say anything else.

The moral of the story:

Do not immediately believe the words that Salafis attribute to scholars. Most of their attributions are false. Most of what they show as hadiths are not hadiths. Since they are afraid of the objection of Ahl as-Sunnah, they attribute their wrong faith to Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, slander them, and even fabricate hadiths. You have seen the slander they made on Abu Hanifa; you can compare the others.

Did Imam Malik say, “Allah is in the sky”?

In this part, we will refute a slander of Salafis on Imam Malik.

Salafis say: Allah rose and sat on the Throne. However, that sitting occurred in a way that suited His majesty and perfection. We do not think about how He sat; we do not interpret or compare it. That is the meaning Imam Malik’s statement “The meaning of istiwa is known and fixed.”

That is what Salafis say. We say to them: As you misunderstand many things, you have also misunderstood Imam Malik’s statement “The meaning of istiwa is known and fixed.” “The meaning of istiwa is known” means the following: “The meaning of it in the language is known; its lexical meaning is clear.” Istiwa’s being is fixed means istiwa on the Throne is mentioned in the Quran.

That is the meaning of the statement “The meaning of istiwa is known and fixed.” How can you interpret that statement as Imam Malik’s believing that Allah is in the sky? Why do you not report the whole statement of Imam Malik? Let us complete what you skip:

A man asked Imam Malik, “How did Allah establish Himself on the Throne?” Imam Malik said to the man, “The establishment of Allah is known and fixed. It is impossible to know its quality (nature); it is fard to believe in it. It is bid’ah to ask about how it happened?” Look what Imam Malik says: It is impossible to know how istiwa happened. So, sitting and settling are unthinkable about Allah. It is impossible for Allah. Asking about the establishment on the Throne is bid’ah.

Imam Malik did not explain the meaning of istiwa. He referred it to the knowledge of Allah, like Salaf scholars. He also regarded talking on those issues as bid’ah. The members of the Maliki sect did not fall into the mess of bid’ah thanks to that meticulousness. They were protected from the sins of likening Allah ​​ to people and accepting Allah as an object (a body).

1. Imam Malik regards talking about it as bid’ah.

2. He says that the apparent meaning of the verse is impossible for Allah. 

3. He does not explain the meaning of the verse like Salaf scholars and says, “We believed in whatever Allah means by it.

Although that is the truth, Salafis say that Imam Malik believes that Allah is in the sky. Is there a bigger slander on Imam Malik than that one?

Apart from slandering Imam Malik, Salafis slandered Ahmad Ibn Hanbal too. Ibnul-Jawzi refuted those slanders one by one in his book titled “Daf’u Shubhatit Tashbih”. Taqiyyuddin al-Hisni also wrote a special book to refute those slanders. (Daf’u shubahi man shabbaha wa tamarrada wa nasaba dhalika ilas-Sayyid al-Imam Ahmad)

Do not immediately believe the words that Salafis attribute to scholars. Most of their attributions are false. Most of what they show as hadiths are not hadiths. Since they are afraid of the objection of Ahl as-Sunnah, they attribute their wrong faith to Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, slander them, and even fabricate hadiths. We refuted their slander on Imam Abu Hanifa in the previous part. In the next part, we will refute their slanders on Imam Abu Yusuf.

The only thing they do is to slander scholars. May Allah protect the Ummah of Muhammad (pbuh) from their evil!

Did Imam Abu Yusuf say, “Allah is in the sky”?

In this part, we will refute a slander of Salafis on Imam Abu Yusuf.

Salafis say: Imam Abu Yusuf wanted Bishr-al-Marisi to repent because he denied Allah’s sitting on the Throne.

Let us report the true incident so that it will be understood how those Salafis slander:

Bihr b. Walid-al Kindi came to Imam Abu Yusuf and said, “You forbid me from dealing with kalam. However, Bishr-al-Marisi and Ali al-Ahwal deal with kalam.” Abu Yusuf asked, “What do they say?” Bishr b. Walid-al Kindi said, “They say, ‘Allah is everywhere.’” Thereupon, Imam Abu Yusuf said, “Bring them to me.” When those who went to fetch them arrived where they were, Bishr-al-Marisi had left. So, they just brought Ali al-Ahwal and another old man. Abu Yusuf, looked at the old man and said, “If I did not see some good manners in you, I would hurt you.” Abu Yusuf only imprisoned him due to his good manner. Ali al-Ahwal was caned and was displayed around the town. (Hafiz Dahabi, al-Uluww lil Aliyyil-Azim, Ummul Qura, p. 181)

That was what happened. Bishr-al-Marisi and Ali al-Ahwal said, “Allah is everywhere.” Imam Abu Yusuf objected to their statement. In other words, Imam Abu Yusuf punished Ali al-Ahwal not because he denied Allah’s sitting on the Throne, but because he ascribed space to Allah. If he had said, “Allah is on the Throne”, Abu Yusuf would have punished him again.

What a stupidity to say that Imam Abu Yusuf punishes Ali al-Ahwal because of saying, “Allah is everywhere.” Upon that incident, Salafis say, ‘Ali al-Ahwal would not have been punished if he had said that Allah was sitting on the Throne.’ What kind of reading intention it is! Imam Abu Yusuf punished that person because he attributed a place to Allah. Would he have not punished the man if he had said “Allah is on the Throne”? Does it matter if one says “Allah is on the Throne” or “Allah is everywhere” since he attributes space to Allah in either case? The fault in question here is to attribute space to Allah. It does not matter how it is attributed.

Bishr-al-Marisi says, “I glorify Allah, who is high and low.” It is understood from that statement that he believed that Allah was both on the throne and everywhere else. Abu Yusuf, on the other hand, does not believe that Allah is everywhere with His personality as he says; nor does he believe that Allah is on the Throne as Salafis say. His belief is the belief of Ahl as-Sunnah, which is as follows:

Allah is free from space. He is free from matter. He is free from being an object. He is free from sitting, standing up, coming, going and all human attributes like them.

In the previous parts, we mentioned the slanders of Salafis on Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. We showed their slander on Imam Abu Yusuf in this part. 

The only thing they do is to slander scholars. They attribute the statements that the scholars have never said to them by deducing them from irrelevant incidents. We address Salafis as follows:

Stop reading intentions like that. Bring us a clear statement from Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Ibn Hanbal, Imam Abu Yusuf, and other Ahl al-Sunnah scholars. Those scholars wrote tens of books. Show us only one sentence among the thousands of pages of those scholars that clearly says, “Allah is in the sky.”

Why can you not do that? Why can you not show us a single sentence? Is it possible that those scholars believe that Allah is in the sky and they do not write a single sentence about it? Since it is not possible, show us a single sentence. If you cannot show it - you can never show - you are the worst liars and slanderers in the world.

Do Salafis follow the path of Salaf scholars?

In this part, we will answer the following question: “Do Salafis follow the path of Salaf scholars?” We will give the answer to the question.

As you know, the scholars who lived in the first three centuries of the Migration are called Salaf scholars. Salaf lexically means predecessor, living or coming before. The scholars living after the third century are called khalaf scholars. Khalaf lexically means successor, coming after.

Salaf and Khalaf scholars followed a different way in understanding the mutashabih verses. Salaf scholars did not explain the mutashabih verses; they declared Allah to be free from its apparent meaning; they attributed its real meaning to the knowledge of Allah. For example, they stated the following about the verse “Allah established Himself on the Throne.”

“Allah is free from sitting. When Allah existed in pre-eternity, there was neither the Throne nor space. It is unthinkable for Allah, who is free from space, to need a place later. We declare Allah to be free from sitting and refer the meaning of that verse to the knowledge of Allah. We believe in whatever He means with it.”

That is what Salaf scholars said about the verse “Allah established Himself on the Throne.” They stated the same thing about the other mutashabih verses. The reason why they did not explain mutashabih verses was the fear of making mistakes and interpreting the verses in a wrong way.

Khalaf scholars that came later had to explain those verses because wrong madhhabs like Mutazila, Mushabbiha and Mujassima emerged. They started to show those verses as evidence and to embody Allah, to attribute organs and limbs to Allah and to liken Him to human beings. Thus, khalaf scholars explained the mutashabih verses according to the Arabic language and methods in order to protect the Ummah of Muhammad (pbuh) from their wrong ideas.

After that brief information, we will mention the difference between the way of current Salafis (Salafism) and Salaf scholars, which is the topic of this part.

The way of Salafism and Salaf scholars is so distant from each other that one of them is on the earth and another is in the sky. One is in the east and the other is in the west. Salaf scholars did not explain the mutashabih verses but they declared Allah to be free from their apparent meaning. No Salaf scholar said, ‘Allah is sitting on the Throne.’ Let alone saying it, all of them declared Allah to be free from sitting. They said attributing sitting to Allah would be unbelief.  As for today’s Salafis, they call those who do not believe that Allah sits on the Throne unbelievers. Have you seen the difference between the way of Salaf scholars and Salafis?

Those who do not know those issues think that Salafism means following the path of Salaf scholars ...

- What path of Salaf scholars did Salafis follow?
- Regarding what issue did they follow Salaf scholars?
- Regarding tawassul?
- Regarding tabarruk?
- Regarding understanding the mutashabih verses? 

They did not follow them regarding any issues. There is no similarity between them other than similarity of their names. That is all.  

Praise be to our Lord that He employs us in this valuable service even though we are not adequate. May our Lord accept these works and regard them as atonement for our sins! Amin.

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
Author:
Questions on Islam
Subject Categories:
Read 28 times
In order to make a comment, please login or register