Allah is above and distinct from the Creation – Proven from Reliable Shia Reports


Allah is above and distinct from the Creation – Proven from Reliable Shia Reports.

In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful.

Ahlus-sunnah believe that Allah(SWT) is above the seven heavens, above His ‘Arsh(Throne), and distinct/separated from His creatures, and His creatures are separated from Him. There is a consensus(Ijma) among Ahlus-Sunnah over this belief as stated by the following classical Scholars from Ahlus-Sunnah –  (1). Imaam al-Awzaa’ee (d.157 H) ; (2). Sa`eed bin `Aamir Ad-Dab`i (d. 208 H.) ; (3). Hammad al-Boshanji (d. 230 H) ; (4). Ali ibn al-Madini (d. 234 H) ; (5). Ishaaq bin Rahwayh (d. 238 H) ; (6). Qutayba bin Sa’eed (d. 240 H) ; (7). Yahya bin Ma’az Ar-Razi (d. 258 H) ; (8). Abu Zur`ah Ar-Razi (d. 264 H.) ; (9). Ibn Qutayba (d. 276 H) ; (10). Abu Hatim Ar-Razi (d. 277 H.) ; (11). Uthman Ad-Darimi (d. 280 H.) ; (12). Harb bin Isma`il Al-Karmani (d. 280 H.) ; (13). Zakareya bin Yahya al-saaji (d. 307 H) ; (14). Abu Al-Hasan Al-Ash`ari (d. 324 H.) ; (15). Imam Abu Bakr Al-Aajiree (d. 360 H) ; (16). Abu Bakr Al-Ismaeeli (d. 371 H) ; (17). Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qairawani Al-Maliki (d.386 H.) ; (18). Ibn Battah Al-`Ukbari Al-Hanbali (d. 387 H.) ; (19). Ibn Abi Zamanin Al-Maliki (d. 399 H.) ; (20). Imam Abu Umar At-Talamanki Al-Maliki (d. 429 H) ; (21). Imam Abu Nu’aim Al-Asbahani al-Sufi (d. 430 H) ; (22). Abu Nasr As-Sijzee Al-Hanafi (d. 444 H.) ; (23). Abu Uthman As-Sabuni Ash-Shafi`i (d. 449 H.) ; (24). Ibn Abdul-Barr Al-Maliki (d. 463 H.) ; (25). Al-Bagawi (d. 516 H) ; (26). Abul Hasan al-Karji Ash-Shafi`i (d. 532 H.) ; (27). Yahya Al-`Amrani Ash-Shafi`i (d. 558 H.) ; (28). Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi Al-Hanbali (d. 620 H.) ; (29). Ibn As-Salah Ash-Shafi`i (d. 643 H.) ; (30). al-Qurtubi (d. 671 H) ; (31). Ahmad ibn Taymiyah (d. 728 H.) ; (32). Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H.) ; Although the Aqeedah of Loftiness of Allah(SWT) is part of man’s innate knowledge and cannot be subjected to hypothetical or philosophical argumentation, there are some deviant Sects who follow their whims and deny this intuitive and self-evident fact.

Some of these deviant Sects even include Shias, who either believe that Allah is omnipresent and present everywhere with His Essence and dwells in the creation, which implies that He dwells in filthy places, which no sane person could dare to impute to Allah such an attribute. It would also imply that Allah is mingling with His creatures in the heavens and on the earth. Such belief has paved the way for pantheism, and promoted the myth of god incarnate. Far removed is Allah(SWT) of what they ascribe to Him. On the other hand the deviant Shias who didn’t hold the belief that Allah is omnipresent or present everywhere with His Essence, went to another extreme, they claim that “Allah is neither in Loftiness nor in Lowness ; He is neither inside the world nor outside it; neither joined nor separate from His creation. This position is absolute ta’teel (negation) because it is a description of al-’adam (non-existence). If it is asked to describe al-’adam(non-existence) we would not find a more comprehensive definition than this description of these deviants”.

Ahlus-Sunnah based on evidence from the Quran, Prophetic Traditions and the understanding of Sahaba, describe Allah as having ‘Uluw al-Mutlaq, Meaning that He is above everything. However this doesn’t mean that He is in a place. Because of the fact that Makaan(place) is something created and limited and Allah is above His creation and above any limitations. However some people holding deviant ideology claim that the Ahlus-sunnah Wal Jama’ah say that Allah is in a place, which is an utterly false misconception.

It is for this reason we decided to dedicate this article to deal with the creed of Loftiness of Allah, that Allah is above and distinct/separated from His creation, proving this belief from Qur’an and the authentic Shia traditions.

 

The Qur’anic proof relevant to the Loftiness of Allah.

Allah the Exalted said:  {Do you feel secure about the torments inflicted by Him, Who is over the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink with you and then it should quake?. Or do you feel secure about the torments inflicted by Him, Who is over the heaven, will not send against you a violent whirlwind abounding with gravel? Then you shall know how has My Warning been.} [Quran 67:16-17]

Shia Tafseer states:

The phrase man fi ’l-sama’ (“One [Who is] in the heaven”) alludes to the Divine Pure Essence Whose Sovereignty predominates the heavens and the earth in their entirety. [An Enlightening commentary into the light of the Holy Quran, vol 18, Chapter 67].

The word “fi” in the Quranic verse was rightly translated by Shia Translators as “over” instead of “in”, because the Arabs would sometimes use the word “fi” to mean ‘alaa'(on/above) as we find in other Quranic verses such as [20:71]. This is how the verse was even explained by Sunni Scholars, let us present the example of two classical Scholars for the benefit of readers.

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 H.) said:

“He said {Do ye feel secure that He Who is (fi as-samaa)…} [67:16] and He meant “Who is above the Heaven“, just as He said {I will crucify you “fi” the trunks of palm trees} meaning: on the trunks of the palm trees. He also said {So travel “fi” the earth} meaning on the earth. Everything which is above is “samaa”, and the Throne is high above the heavens. So the meaning of the ayah, and Allah knows best, is: ‘Do you feel safe from the One who is above the Throne‘, just as He clearly stated in all the other verses.” [al- I’tiqad wal Hidaya ila Sabil al Rashad, page 113].

Imam Abu Bakr Ahmad As-Sibghi (d. 342 H.) said:

The Arabs would sometimes use the word ‘fi’ to mean ‘alaa’ (on/above). Allah the Exalted said: {So travel ‘fi’ the earth} [9:2] and {I will crucify you ‘fi’ the trunks of palm trees} [20:71]. The meaning is ‘on the earth’ and ‘on the trees’. The phrase ‘fi as-samaa’ is used in the same way, meaning on the throne and above the heavens, as it has authentically been reported from the Prophet(in Sahih Muslim #537). [Al-Asmaa was Sifaat by al-Baihaqi , page 1058].

 

Proving that Allah(swt) is above and distinct/separated from the creation using authentic Shia Traditions.

Muslims are unanimously agreed upon the belief that, Allah(swt) was there when there was nothing other than Him. This same belief is mentioned in the below Shia tradition.

Imam Abu Ja’far(AS) said: Allah was and there was nothing other than Him. And He has always been All-knowing of whatever is (or, will be). So His knowledge of it before its being is as His knowledge of it after its being. [al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 287 : Graded as “Sahih” by Majlisi in Miraat al-Uqool, vol 2, page 10].

Next, in another Shia report we find that, the Kursi of Allah(swt) encompasses the heavens & earth and Everything is in the Kursi.

Fudayl ibn Yasar said: “Once I asked (Imam) Abu ‘Abd Allah(AS), about the words of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, ‘His al-Kursi (the Throne) encompasses the heavens and earth.’ He said, ‘O Fudayl everything is in al-Kursi (the Throne), the heavens and earth everything is in al-Kursi.’  [al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 333 ; Graded as “ka’s Sahih” by Majlisi in Miraat al-Uqool, vol 2, page 78].

Now, the question is whether Allah(swt), everywhere and omnipresent with His Essence or Separate and above the creation?.

Since we have proven from authentic Shia report that Allah was there when there was nothing besides Him, So when Allah(swt) created a thing, either He created it and entered it or didn’t enter into it and remained distinct from it.

There can be two possibilities:

1: Allah created all things, then entered into them, including jinn, men, devils, and all the wild, squalid, vile places”, Which implies Allah even dwells in His creation.

2: Allah created all things but didn’t enter the creation and doesn’t dwell in His creation and is separate/distinct from His creation.

Interestingly, this query was answered by the Sixth Infallible Imam of Shias in authentic Shia traditions.

Imam Abu Abdillah(AS) said regarding the verse, “There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth” (58:7). He(SWT) is one and of one Essence, distinct from His creation. Regarding His essence, He described, “He has control over all things through His presence, control, and power. Nothing as small as an atom in the heavens or the Earth is absent from Him – not even things smaller or larger”. [It is] by His control and knowledge rather than His Essence, because places are limited by the four boundaries. If it (i.e. control) were by His essence, it would limit Him. [al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 325 ; Graded as “Sahih” by Majlisi in Miraat al-Uqool, vol 2, page 67-68].

Similarly we read in another tradition:

Abu Abdillah(AS) said: Verily Allah is devoid of His creation and His creation is devoid of Him. And all upon which the name of “thing” befalls – apart from Allah – it is created. And Allah is the Creator of everything. Blessed be the one who nothing is like unto Him. And He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. [al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 220 ; Graded as “Sahih” by Majlisi in Miraat al-Uqool, vol 1, page 284].

From these Shia reports we come to know that Allah(swt) is not present or dwelling in His creation with His Essence(Dhaat), rather He(swt) is distinct/devoid from His creation. Therefore, all the Quranic verses which mention the presence of Allah(swt) everywhere or in the creation which are misused & misinterpreted by deviant people, are to be interpreted to mean, the presence of Allah’s control and knowledge not the Essence(Dhaat) of Allah.

As for Allah(swt) being above the creation over His Throne, then we read:

Narrated Abi Baseer from one of the 2 Imams(as) who said: Don’t reject hadith which has come to you people through Murj’i, Qadari and Kharji attributed to us, for verily you people don’t know for it is something from the truth and (by rejecting it) you would lie upon Allah (who is) above His Arsh(Throne). [Ilal al-Sharai, vol 2, page 111 ; Majlisi Graded it’s “Chain as Sahih” in Miraat al-Uqool, vol 4, page 314] , [Eng. Trans. Ilal Sharai, Vol 2, Ch 131, #13].

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim(rah) beautifully explained that since Allah(swt) is separate from His creation, it implies that Allah(swt) is above His creation.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim stated:

If Allaah is separate from His creation, then either He is encompassing them or He is not. If He is encompassing them, then He must be above them, because that which encompasses must necessarily be above that which is encompassed. Hence because the heavens encompass the earth, they must be above it, and because the Kursiy encompasses the heavens, it must be above them, and because the Throne encompasses the Kursiy, it must be above it. Whatever encompasses all of that must necessarily be above it. This does not imply that there is physical contact with anything that He encompasses; neither is there any similarity or resemblance between Him and that which He encompasses. [al-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah, 4/1308] ; [IslamQA #9566].

Hence it is proven from authentic Shia reports that Allah(swt) is not present in His creation with this Essence and He is separate/distinct and above His creation, and this fact clearly refutes both views of the deviants, the one that Allah(swt) is omnipresent with His Essence or dwelling inside His creation and the other that Allah is neither in the creation nor separate from it.

 

They(angels) fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. (Quran 16:50)

Article by Ibn Ahmed al-hindi

5 thoughts on “Allah is above and distinct from the Creation – Proven from Reliable Shia Reports

  1. You quoted Mukhtasar al-Uluw’ (pg. 286).to prove imam qurtubi believe in allah being on his throne “literally”

    • Seems you misread or misunderstood the statement brother. Let me quote that here:

      ” There is a consensus(Ijma) among Ahlus-Sunnah over this belief as stated by the following classical Scholars from Ahlus-Sunnah – ”

      I quoted these Scholars to show that there is an Ijma of Ahlus-sunnah. If I intended to quote individual views, then I would have quoted the views of Imam Abu Hanifah or Imam Malik, etc as well.

      Here is what Imam Qurtubi stated:

      And the first Salaf –May Allah be pleased with them- did not negate the direction (above), nor did they utter that (its negation), Rather, they, and the rest, uttered in affirmation of that (i.e. direction above) for Allah –Ta`ala-, just as His Book spoke of it, and His Messengers informed of it. And none of the Pious Salaf denied that Allah Istawa (Rose above) His Throne in reality (haqiqatan). And the Throne was specified with that (Istiwa) because it is the greatest of His creation, and the Salaf didn’t know the kayffiyah of the Istiwa (i.e. How it is), for its reality is not known.”

      So I hope it’s clear now.

      • This is whst imam qurtubi actully said about ‘Allah’s rising above the throne’: ‘Most of the former and latter scholars hold the view that Allah is free from direction, domain and confines. This being the case, it necessarily follows that according to most of the former scholars and leaders of the latter ones, that Allah is free from all directions. As such, according to them, the direction of ‘above’ is not there (that is, it is not to be used for Allah). The reason for this is that whenever He (Allah) is specified with a direction, then a place, domain and confine will be established for Him, and when this takes place, it means that movements, stillness, changes and new occurrences will come about in the essence and being of Allah, when in reality, He is free and pure of all these matters, and is not subjected to such movements and alterations. This is the statement of the theologians’.

        He than writes: ‘The pious predecessors did not negate a direction, nor did they say that a direction was established. But, they said that it was established for Allah in the same manner the Book of Allah and the Messenger of Allah spoke about it. No one from among the pious predecessors denied that Allah ‘rose above the throne’, in truth, and the ‘throne’ was mentioned because it is the greatest of Allah’s creation. None has the knowledge of the mode of ‘rising above the throne’, and its reality is unknown. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.7 pg. 196)

      • The first paragraph you quoted is regarding the view of Mutakallimeen(theologians), while the view Salaf us-Saliheen and their agreement is what I quoted, that’s in second paragraph. So you are confusing two different things. We don’t take the view of Mutakallimeen(people of Kalam/theologians) into consideration in these matters, we prefer the view of Salaf us-Saliheen. I hope it is clear now.

        For the benefit of readers this is the second paragraph with proper translation:

        And the very first Salaf (may Allaah be pleased with them) never used to speak with the negation of direction (al-jihah) and nor did they express that (negation). Rather, they, and all of them, spoke with affirmation of it (al-jihah) for Allaah, the Exalted, just as His Book spoke with it and His Messengers informed of it. And not a single one of the Righteous Predecessors (as-Salaf us-Salih) denied that He ascended over His Throne, in reality (haqeeqatan). And the Throne has been specified (with al-Istiwaa) because it is the greatest of His creations. And they (the Salaf) [stated their] ignorance of the how (kayfiyyah) of al-Istiwaa, for there is no one who knows its reality.

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