What is the authenticity of the Marfu hadith reported by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Ibn Abbas that says that Allaah sits on the Throne, and of the statement of Kharijah bin Mus'ab concerning this that Ibn Al-Qayyim mentions in As-Sawa'iq as well as Ibn Al-Uthaymin in Fatawa Arkan Al-Islam? Is there any 'istawa' without sitting?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
We have not come across a hadeeth in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad that states that Allaah sits on the Throne, but there is a narration that says that Allaah sits on the Kursi [Chair], and this was mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzi in Al-‘Ilal Al-Mutanaahiyah, as he said:
“This hadeeth is not authentic from the Prophet ; its chain of narrators is very confusing as it includes ‘Abdullaah ibn Khaleefah, who was not from the Companions. So the first hadeeth is Mursal (i.e. a Hadeeth narrated by a Tabi'i [successor of the Prophet's Companions]), and Ibn al-Hakam and ‘Uthmaan are unknown. Sometimes this hadeeth is reported by Ibn Khaleefah, from ‘Umar, from the Prophet ; and sometimes he attributes it to ‘Umar, and sometimes it is attributed to Ibn Khaleefah. Sometimes the hadeeth is reported with the following wording, '...it does not exceed the size of four fingers,' and sometimes it comes with the wording, '…it does not exceed the measure of four fingers'; all this is confusion from the narrators, and it cannot be relied upon...”
The scholars from the Salaf (righteous predecessors) interpreted istiwaa’ as highness and elevation, and some of them interpreted it to mean being established. As regards interpreting it to mean ‘sitting’, then it is not famous or known that they interpreted it in this way, even though Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned this interpretation in As-Sawaa’iq from Khaarijah ibn Mus’ab. Hence, it would be better, out of devoutness, to avoid using this phrase and just abide by the interpretation of istiwaa’ as it was famously interpreted by the Salaf .
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said:
“Allaah Almighty described himself that He rose over the Throne in seven places in the Quran, and the scholars interpreted istiwaa' (rising) to mean highness, elevation and stability (being established), and they [scholars] were committed to denying the knowledge about how Allaah rose over the Throne, while attributing it (this knowledge) to Allaah Alone. I do not remember in the books of the Salaf that they interpreted it by ‘sitting’, so attributing this interpretation to Ahlus-Sunnah or to the Imaams of the Da’wah is a lie about them.”
Moreover, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, “As for the interpretation of the istiwaa’ of Allaah on His Throne by Him being established on it, then this is famous from the Salaf; Ibn al-Qayyim reported it in his poem known as An-Nooniyyah, and he reported it elsewhere; as regards sitting, then some of them mentioned it, but I am not content with it.”
Allaah Knows best.
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