Allaah's location
Fatwa No: 88421

Question

The Salafi scholars say that Allaah is above seven heavens and never comes inside the creation. But, we read in the Qur'aan that Allaah spoke with Moosaa, may Allaah exalt his mention, in Mountain Toor and Allaah spoke with him behind a tree. Does this not mean that Allaah comes inside the creation as well? Does a person become Kaafir if he says that Allaah is present everywhere? Please clarify.

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

It is an obligation upon a Muslim to believe that Allaah rises above the Throne in a manner that befits His Majesty, and His Throne is above the heavens. He is separate from His creatures, does not manifest in any form. He is Most-High and beyond any comparison. This is proved in Qur'aan, Sunnah and the consensus of companions, Taabi'een (the generation following the companions)  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them and those in the three best generations.

Allaah says (interpretation of meaning): {Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.}[87:1]. Allaah also says (interpretation of meaning): {They fear their Lord above them.}[16:50]. Allaah said (interpretation of meaning) in seven places in the Qur'aan: {Then, He Istawaa (rose above) the Throne (really in a manner that befits His Majesty)}[13:2]. He also says (interpretation of meaning): {But Allaah raised him ['Eesaa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens).}[4:158]. Allaah also says (interpretation of meaning): {To Him ascend (all) the goodly words,}[35:10]. He also says (interpretation of meaning): {Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allaah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind?}[67:17].

The narration of Mu'aawiyah Ibn Al-Hakam Al-Sulami  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him in which he said to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): "I struck my slave girl on the face and I want to free her." The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) questioned her: "Where is Allaah?" She said: "In heaven." [Muslim]

It is also reported in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "By Him in whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, The One Who is above the Samaa' becomes displeased with her until he (her husband) becomes pleased with her."

'Samaa' in Arabic language means 'highness'; "in" indicates the meaning of (being above) which is common in the Arabic style. It means Allaah is above in the direction of up. Allaah is neither bounded nor surrounded by anything. Allaah says in Qur'aan (interpretation of meaning): {Say (O Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )): "Travel in the land"}[6:11], meaning on the earth. There are many more verses that are used in the same manner.

It is reported in the book of Imaam Al-Bukhari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him from 'Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that Zaynab bint Jahsh  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her used to boast before the wives of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and used to say: "You were given in the marriage by your families, while I was married (to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) by Allaah from over seven heavens."

There is the consensus of Muslim scholars on the mentioned opinion. Imaam Al-Awzaa'ee  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'We used to say while there is an abundance of Taabi'een (the generation after the companions)  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them that Allaah is above His Throne. We also believe in all the Attributes of Allaah that are mentioned in the Sunnah.'

Imaam Abu Nu'aym may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote 'All scholars agreed upon the fact that Allaah is above the heavens, rose above His Throne in a manner that befits His Highness.' Unlike the belief of the Al-Jahamiyyah and those who follow them saying that "He is everywhere... ".

So, the saying that Allaah is everywhere is not the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa'h. It is the opinion of Al-Jahamiyyah and Al-Mu'tazilah. Therefore, whoever believes that Allaah is everywhere and denies that He is above the heavens, commits a great sin; rather it is disbelief, because it entails that Allaah physically mixes with His creation.

Imaam Ibn Khuzaymah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'Whoever does not believe that Allaah is above the heavens, separate from His creatures has to be asked to repent from that. If he repents he would be forgiven; otherwise, he should be killed and should be thrown in garbage so as not to cause pain to Muslims or non-Muslims.' However, as a principle some sayings though they are disbelief, but those who uttered them are not considered as a real disbelievers unless the matter has been explained to them clearly and they deny the truth.

If it is meant that Allaah's Knowledge is everywhere and He knows all minor and major things, then it is true. This is the meaning of the verse (interpretation of meaning):  {He is with them (with His Knowledge) wheresoever they may be;}[58:7] and the similar verses in the Qur'aan.

As for the verse (interpretation of meaning): {When his Lord called him (Moosaa) in the sacred valley of Tûwa,}[79:16], and the verse (interpretation of meaning): {So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place from the tree: "O Moosaa (Moses)! Verily! I am Allaah, the Lord of the 'Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!}[28:30], they do not prove that Allaah was manifested in any of His creatures or that in this creation.  He is the Most-High and the Most-Great.

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said that  Allaah descends to the heaven of the world every night, that he comes nearer to the pilgrims on the day of 'Arafah, that He spoke to Moosaa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention in a blessed valley from a tree, and He Istawaa (rose over) the heaven while it was smoke, and said to it (the heaven) and the earth: "Come! Both of you, willingly or unwillingly." They both said: "We come, willingly." All the above actions are not similar in any way to the actions of creatures that we observe or we know. This does not imply that there is a transfer that means the emptying of a space and the filling of another.'

To make it clear Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy with him, put forward the example of the soul of the human being that ascends or descends when the person sleeps - as this does not imply any emptying of a place or filling of another. So, how could that be imagined about the Lord of the Worlds. 

Allaah knows best.

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