Describing Allaah as 'sitting' on the Throne in a narration by Ibn Al-Qayyim
Fatwa No: 307534

  • Fatwa Date:14-12-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 3, 1437
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Question

Our Shaykh, may Allaah be good to you. An Ash‘ari shaykh (may Allaah guide him) has caused many doubts in the hearts of the Salafi youth. Among many of them is the following: Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned a fabricated hadith to prove his creed in Ijtimaa’ Al-Juyoosh, where he mentioned the hadith: “...For indeed, the first one to pray (janaazah-burial) over me will be the Lord from above His Throne.” And after this paragraph, he mentioned a hadith from Musnad Ahmad in which he - as the Ash‘ari shaykh says - forged the word ‘jaalisan’ (sitting). He also says that the Sharh of Ibn Abi’l ‘Izz of Al-Tahhaawiyyah is baatil and that only the Salafiyyoon rely on it. What is your response to such accusations? May Allaah reward you with good.

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The narration reading, “The first one who will offer the funeral prayer for me is the Lord, may He be Glorified and Exalted, from above His Throne...” is a fabricated narration that was cited by At-Tabaraani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him (in Al-Muʻjam Al-Kabeer). Its chain of narration included ʻAbd Al-Munʻim ibn Idrees, who was known for being a liar. It was also cited by Ibn Al-Jawzi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his book Al-Mawdhooʻaat (The Fabricated Narrations).

Al-Haythami  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, after quoting this hadeeth (8/605), “This was narrated by At-Tabaraani; and its chain of narration includes ʻAbd Al-Munʻim ibn Idrees, who was a liar and a fabricator.” [Majmaʻ Az-Zawaa'id]

As for the hadeeth cited by Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him perhaps you are referring to the marfooʻ hadeeth (i.e. a hadeeth that is directly attributed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) narrated by Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him about the intercession on the Day of Judgment. It reads, “I will come to the gate of Paradise, take hold of its ring and knock on the gate. I will be asked, 'Who are you?' I will answer, 'I am Muhammad.' It will be opened for me; I will enter, and when I see my Lord on His Kursi - or Throne [Hammaad could not remember the exact word] - I will fall down 'saajidan, i.e. in prostration' before Him...” Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him declared its chain of narration saheeh (sound). However, it does not have the word 'jaalisan, i.e. sitting' that was mentioned by Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him. Al-Albaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him highlighted this point in his revision of the book Mukhtasar Al-ʻUluww, saying:

“Remark: In his book Ijtima'a al-juyoosh al-Islamiyyah, (Imaam) Ibn Al-Qayyim cited the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ʻAbbaas and reported by (Imaam) Ahmad with the following wording, '... and when I see my Lord on His Kursi - or Throne - 'jaalisan, i.e. sitting'.... The addition 'jaalisan' is not mentioned in the wording cited by (Imaam) Ahmad or by any other hadeeth compilers that we mentioned earlier. I believe that it is a mistake in the narration. I know of no authentic hadeeth stating that Allaah is sitting (on His Throne).” [End of quote]

It is not strange that a great scholar like Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him might have cited a fabricated hadeeth or made a mistake regarding a word in a hadeeth; verily, only the Prophets of Allaah are infallible, and none of the scholars can be claimed to be infallible. Many hadeeth books compiled by great scholars of Islam cited fabricated ahaadeeth. Please refer to fatwa 85732.

The very hadeeth that you mentioned in the question was cited by the great hadeeth scholar Imaam At-Tabaraani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his book Al-Muʻjam Al-Kabeer. This does not undermine his great knowledge and status as a renowned hadeeth compiler in the slightest; even greater early scholars before Ibn Al-Qayyim have committed mistakes in narration. It is obvious that Ibn Al-Qayyim mistakenly assumed that the word 'jaalisan (sitting)' was included in the hadeeth and did not notice that the correct wording was “I will fall down 'saajidan (in prostration)' before Him.” This is why he  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated in his famous poem An-Nooniyyah that the word 'jaalisan' was used in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him.

However, the followers of religious innovations, who hasten to defame and attack the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaaʻah whenever any of them commits any given mistake out of confusion, should be asked about the other authentic pieces of evidence with clear indication cited by Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him and others proving the istiwaa' of Allaah over His Throne (Rising over the Throne) and that He is above the heavens. What about the other pieces of evidence brought forth by the righteous predecessors proving this belief; are all these pieces of evidence fabricated and did Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them make some additions to them to support his view as well?

Allaah knows best.

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