Mustaheel Li Thaatihi and the Mustaheel Li Ghayrihi
Fatwa No: 384223

Question

Assalamu’alaikum WarahmatullahI am a muslim and sometimes suddenly a question just popping out of my mind, but I am very afraid that by asking or searching the answer of this question is an act of apostasy. The most recent question, and the most disturbing one, is : Allah is capable of doing all things, so can Allah makes Himself dead? Well, the point of this question is:1. I know that the answer is no, but can you provide an explanation for this question? Since this question really disturbs my life, especially my mental health.2. Is asking this question is an act of apostasy? Since I get a lot of was was and I am really afraid of becoming a kuffar (We seek refugee in Allah) because of this question that suddenly just appear out of nowhere in my mind. Never ever in my mind that I want to become a kuffar(We seek refugee in Allah), and never ever in my mind that I want to humiliate or mock Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla (We seek refugee in Allah), but I just want a clear understanding so that by getting the right answer, I can make my iman stronger than before.3. Is it allowed to ask this kind of question to have a clear understanding or a clear answer so that it can strengthen our iman (NOT to mock or humiliate Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla (We seek refugee in Allah), or Prophet Muhammad PBUH (We seek refugee in Allah), or Islam itself (We seek refugee in Allah)) ?Sorry for my bad English. May Allah reward you greatly with goodness.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Your question is not apostasy, but you have to repel these whispers and endeavor to get rid of them.

You should know –may Allah enable you to do good –that Allah is Omnipotent (i.e. He is over all things competent), but His Ability is related to what is possible and not what is impossible. The Lord cannot die; this is something impossible, so this is not related to Ability.

So you should repel these whispers and not pay any attention to them.

Indeed, there is no need for these thoughts and questions; it is sufficient for you to believe that Allah is Omnipotent (i.e. He is over all things competent), and believe that whatever Allah Willed happened and whatever He did not will did not happen.

The scholars clarified the matters that are related to the Ability of Allah, and that it is related to everything that is possible. His Will is also related to that which is possible.

As-Saffareeni said (in a poem):

"You should know that the Ability of Allah is related to what is possible as well as His Will ."

This indicates that the Ability of Allah and His Will are related to what is possible and not what is impossible.

The scholars clarified that the impossible to which the Ability of Allah and His Will are not related is divided into two categories:

A – Mustaheel li thaatihi (What is impossible in itself): it cannot be imagined that the Ability is related to it at all, and

B – Mustaheel li ghayrihi (what is impossible to happen but the Ability is related to it, and it can happen if Allah so Wills.)

For more details, we quote for you part of the statement of Ibn 'Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in explaining the aforementioned saying of as-Saffareeni: "The Ability of Allah is related to what is possible." Ibn 'Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The Ability of Allah is related to what is possible’; meaning among the Attributes of Allah is Ability; Iqtadara [in Arabic] means might (or ability) in an exaggerated manner, and this term is more comprehensive than Qadara (able), because Iqtadara (being capable of) means a bound self-quality; Allah Says (what means):

• {Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and rivers. In a seat of honor near a Sovereign, Perfect in Ability.} [Quran 54:54-55]

• {Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.} [Quran 2:20]

There are many verses in this regard.

But the author  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him restricted the meaning of Ability [to what is possible] as he said “The Ability of Allah is related to what is possible’." It is also more appropriate that it is related to the obligation, and it is not related to what is impossible. What is impossible is nothing, let alone being able to do it. But the impossible that our minds can imagine that it is impossible: is Mustaheel li thaatihi (What is impossible in itself), and

Mustaheel Li ghayrihi (what is impossible to happen but the Ability is related to it, and it can happen if Allah so Wills.)

The impossible in itself, is impossible and it cannot happen. If someone says, "Is Allah capable of creating another match like Him?” We would say: ‘This is impossible, but Allah is capable of creating a greater creation than the creation that we know of now. We know that the greatest creature that we know of is the Throne. The Throne is greater than all the creatures that we know of; yet, we know that Allah is capable of creating something greater than the Throne.

But what is impossible in itself is not possible. We also know that it is impossible –as per the custom -and not in itself –that the lunar eclipse occurs at the beginning of the month. This is impossible according to the custom.

We also know that it is not possible for the new moon to appear and an eclipse happens to the sun after the disappearance of the moon. We know for certain that this cannot happen; it cannot happen according to the custom, meaning according to the custom that Allah has set; otherwise Allah is able to make the eclipse of the moon happen at the beginning of the month; and that the new-moon appears and then an eclipse of the sun happens after the moon disappears.

Therefore, the saying of the author  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: “The Ability of Allah is related to what is possible’."; we say its opposite is what is impossible; ability is not related to what is impossible, because it is impossible as per its name; but we must know –so that a person would not say that we considered as specific that which the author has considered as general, or that we have restricted what the author has made general, that the impossible is two types:

Mustaheel li thaatihi (What is impossible in itself), and Mustaheel Li ghayrihi [what is impossible to happen but the Ability is related to it, and it can happen if Allah so Wills]

What impossible for itself: Ability cannot be related to it, as we have already explained and said: If someone asks: “Is Allah capable of creating another match like Him?” We say: this is impossible in itself, because similarity is impossible; the least that can be said about this is: the match is created whereas the Lord is the Creator; so similarity is not possible at all.

Mustaheel Li ghayrihi [what is impossible to happen but the Ability is related to it, and it can happen if Allah so Wills]; meaning that Allah has made this thing according to this continuous custom that is impossible to change, but Allah is able to change it. Here, we say that the Ability is related to it. It is possible for something that we think that it is impossible according to the custom to be possible and happen according to the Ability.

This happens a lot.

All the cosmic signs to the prophets are of this type (Mustaheel Li ghayrihi).

The split of the moon to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is Mustaheel Li ghayrihi but not impossible in itself because it had occurred.

Allah is able to split the moon into two halves, and He is even able to split the sun into two halves.

We, for example, see that it is impossible for the sun to descend until it is parallel to the minaret of the mosque, and whoever claims that, we will say to him that he is lying, and we will say: This is impossible.

But we have to know that this is Mustaheel Li ghayrihi and not Mustaheel li thaatihi. Meaning that it is impossible according to the custom that Allah has set, but Allah is able to bring the sun down until it is parallel to the minaret (of the mosque) and even below it. On the Day of Judgment, the sun will be just a mile above the heads of the people, with the Will of Allah.

Therefore, the expression of the author may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: (The Ability of Allah is related to what is possible’."), needs clarification. It is apparent from his statement that the Ability does not relate to the impossible, and we say: there are some details.

The Mustaheel li thaatihi (impossible in itself) is not related to the ability because it does not exist, and it cannot exist, and it cannot be imagined; it is also not possible that something is moving and is motionless at the same time; because if it is moving, it is not motionless, and vice-versa.

As regards the Mustaheel Li ghayrihi [what is impossible to happen but the Ability is related to it, and it can happen if Allah so Wills]; meaning that according to the custom it is not possible –then this one is related to the ability, and there are many examples of this type. All the cosmic Signs of the Prophets are of this type.” [End of quote]

In light of the above, you know the answer to your imaginations, and the things to which the Ability of Allah is related becomes clear to you.

Allah knows best.

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