Saturday, June 6, 2015

Brief Comments on Riyaadh al-Saaliheen #85

Ma`iyyah (معية: "Withness") of Allaah with His creation
[Removing the Doubts: Allaah being with His creation does not mean that He تعالى is everywhere]

بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله ، وبعد

The saying of Allaah تعالى:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ﴾

{Truly! Allaah is with As-Saabireen (the patient ones)} [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 153]

Shaikh Ibn al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله said:

Meaning: this Ma`iyyah (معية: “Withness”) is a specific one because the Ma`iyyah of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى (with His creation) is of two types: a general type and a specific.

As for the general type of Ma`iyyah: it is the encompassment of all the creation (the believers and disbelievers, the righteous and wicked) (with Knowledge, Power, arranging of affairs, Authority and other than that from the meanings of al-Ruboobiyyah (Allaah’s Lordship)) and this is mentioned in the saying of Allaah تعالى:

﴿وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ﴾

{And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be.} [Surah al-Hadeed (57): 4]

And His تعالى saying:

﴿مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَا أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا﴾

{There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth (with His Knowledge, while He Himself is over the Throne, over the seventh heaven), nor of five but He is their sixth (with His Knowledge), not of less than that or more, but He is with them (with His Knowledge) wheresoever they may be} [Surah al-Mujaadalah (58): 7]

This Ma`iyyah is general, encompassing all the creation. There is not a creation except that Allaah تعالى is with him; by His Knowledge of him, encompassing him with His Authority, Power, Hearing and Sight and other than that.

As for the specific Ma`iyyah, it implies Allaah giving victory and assistance, and it is specific only for the Messengers and those who follow them (i.e. the Believers) and it is not for everyone.

Allaah تعالى says:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ مُحْسِنُونَ﴾

{Truly, Allaah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are Muhsinoon (good-doers)} [Surah al-Nahl (16): 128]


﴿إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ﴾

{Truly! Allaah is with As-Saabireen (the patient ones)} [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 153]

And there are other Aayaat which are evidence of this specific type of Ma`iyyah.

But these two types of Ma`iyyah do not indicate that Allaah سبحانه وتعالى is above the Heavens, over His Throne; rather, (they indicate that) He تعالى is with the people. (But the correct understanding is that) He عز وجل is above them and with them, as the Arabs used to say: “wherever we went the moon was with us”, and everyone knows that the moon is in the sky. So then what about the Creator? He who is above all things, who rose (Istawa) over His Throne (the way it befits His Majesty), yet He encompasses everything, and is with everyone; wherever you go, Allaah تعالى is ever encompassing you, by His knowledge, Power, Authority, Hearing, Sight and other than that.

And in the saying of Allaah تعالى:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ﴾

{Truly! Allaah is with As-Saabireen (the patient ones)}, there is evidence that Allaah عز وجل helps the one who is patient and assists him till He تعالى completes for him (the thing he was) patient for, the way He عز وجل loves.

[Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen (1/181-182)]


The following is from the Explanation of `Aqeedah al-Hamawiyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله by Shaikh Ibn al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله:


Combining Between the Texts of the Highness (ʹUluww) of Allaah Above His Creation and the Maʹiyyah of Allaah (Being With, His Creation)

Before we discuss how to combine between these two, I would first like to introduce a very valuable rule that the author, the Shaykh of Islaam, Ibn Taymiyyah, has pointed to in his book, al‐`Aql wal‐Naql (1/43‐44). In summary, it states:

If it is ever said that there is a contradiction between two evidences, then they are either both certain and convincing or both based upon assumption, or one is certain, and the other is based upon assumption. So these are the three categories:

1) Both evidences being certain: They are two evidences that the intellect can positively affirm what they prove. Any type of contradiction is, therefore, impossible because to say this would mean that either one of the proofs must be cancelled and this is impossible because any certain proof must be affirmed; or it means that we should affirm both of them while still believing the contradiction exists, and this is impossible as well because that would be a combination of two seemingly contrasting things.

So the assumption that they are contradictory either means that they are not both certain and authentically established proofs, or that there is really no contradiction at all between them in that one of them is taken upon a certain perspective and the other upon a different perspective. And of course, if one of them has been abrogated, then it is not taken because a proof based upon an abrogated evidence is not upheld, as there is no contradiction between abrogated evidences.

2) Both evidences are based upon assumptions: Either the evidences are only assumed based upon the proofs themselves or based upon their authenticity. In that case, the more correct evidence is sought out and given precedence.

3) One evidence is certain and the other is only assumed: In this case, the certain and positively established evidence is given precedence because certainty is never cancelled out by mere assumption.

If this is clear, then we say that, no doubt, the texts have already established and affirmed the `Uluww of Allaah, being personally high above His creation and the fact that He is also with them. All of these evidences are certain and positively established in their proofs and authenticity. Allaah even combined between them in His statement:

﴿هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ﴾

{He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be. And Allaah is the All-Seer of what you do.} [Surah al-Hadeed (57): 4]

In this Aayah, Allaah affirms His Istiwaa (rising over) the Throne which is the highest of all creations. He also affirms that He is with us. There is no contradiction as it is possible to combine between them.

Reasons for the Possibility of Combining between the Two

Firstly: The texts themselves combine between them so combining between them is definitely not impossible because the texts would not prove something that is impossible. Whoever thinks this, then he is mistaken and must think again, seeking Allaahʹs help and asking Him for guidance and success, while striving his utmost to know the truth. If the truth then becomes clear to him, then praise and thanks are due to Allaah for that, otherwise he should entrust the matter to the One who knows it better and say, ʺWe believe. All of it is from our Lord. Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.ʺ

Secondly: There is no contradiction between the meaning of the al-`Uluww (Allaah being high above His creation) and the Ma`iyyah (Allaah being with His creation). For the Ma`iyyah does not mean that He is mixed among them or within a place, as has previously been explained. It is possible for something to be itself high above, yet be described as being with something else like in the saying: ʺWe continued to travel while the moon was with usʺ, although the moon is in the sky. This is not considered a contradiction, not in wording nor meaning, because the one being spoken to understands the meaning of Ma`iyyah in this sense; he knows it doesn’t mean that the moon is actually on the earth. So if it is permissible to combine between `Uluww and Ma`iyyah as it pertains to the creation, then it is even more so as it pertains to the Creator (as He is completely different).

Thirdly: Even if there was a contradiction between `Uluww and Ma`iyyah as it pertains to the creation, then that does not necessarily mean that it is the same regarding the Creator. This is because there is nothing similar to Allaah in all of His Attributes. Therefore, His Maʹiyayh is not to be judged according to the Maʹiyyah of the creation. Moreover, His being with them does not give the impression that He is among them or within their same places because He is Personally high above. Nothing of His creation will ever encompass or surround Him while He encompasses everything.

With these points in mind, it is possible to combine even between the examples that are confirmed of Allaah being high above yet being in front of the one praying*. It is said that combining between them is from various aspects:

*[Note: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whenever any of you is in prayer he should know that Allaah is in front of him; so none should spit in front of him in the prayer.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (406, 753) and Saheeh Muslim (1116)]]

Firstly: The texts have combined between them and they would never include anything that is impossible.

Secondly: There is no contradiction between the meaning of `Uluww (being high above) and being in front of or facing. It is possible for something to be high above another thing while still being in front of it because this does not necessarily require being physically close or in the same vicinity. Is it not possible for a man to look at the sun while it is rising and say: “It’s right in front of my faceʺ, while it is actually in the sky? Again, this is not considered a contradiction, not in wording nor meaning. Therefore, if this is permissible to as it pertains to the creation, then it is even more so as it pertains to the Creator.

Thirdly: As previously mentioned, even if there was a contradiction between `Uluww and something being in front of another with respect to the creation, then that does not mean that it is the same regarding the Creator because nothing is similar to Allaah or any of His Attributes. Hence, His being in front of the one praying does not mean He is physically in the same place or next to the wall that the person is praying towards. This is not so because of His being high above and nothing of His creation will ever encompass or surround Him while He encompasses everything.

--end of quote from the Explanation of `Aqeedah al-Hamawiyyah.


For those who deny the Istawa of Allaah:

1) From the Qur’aan:

Allaah تعالى says:

﴿الرَّحْمَـٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ﴾

{The Most Beneficent (Allaah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).} [Surah TaHa (20):5]

In fact, Istawa is mentioned seven times in the Qur’aan:

1. Surah al-A`raaf (7): 54
2. Surah Yunus (10): 3
3. Surah al-Ra`d (13): 2
4. Surah TaHa (20): 5
5. Surah al-Furqaan (25): 59
6. Surah al-Sajdah (32): 4
7. Surah al-Hadeed (57): 4

2) From the Sunnah:

Mu`aawiyah ibn al-Hakam رضي الله عنه slapped his slave girl who used to tend his sheep, and as a result went to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and asked what should be done as an atonement for having slapped her. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: “Bring her to me.” So Mu`aawiyah brought her to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then asked her: “Where is Allaah?” And she replied: “Above the Sky”. Then the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked her: “Who am I?” And she replied: “You are Allaah’s Messenger.” So the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Free her, for verily she is a true believer.” [Saheeh Muslim (1/381) No. 537]

The fact of the matter is that Istawa was such a common knowledge during the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that even the slave girl knew the answer to it, as mentioned in the above Hadeeth.

To test the Imaan (Faith) of that girl, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked her two questions: 1) “Where is Allaah?” And 2) “Who am I?” So knowing where is Allaah is from the Fundamentals of this religion. The one who denies the importance of the first question is also denying the importance of the second question.

3) From the statements of the Companions:

Narrated Anas رضي الله عنه: When this Aayah was revealed about Zainab bint Jahsh رضي الله عنها{So when Zaid had completed his aim with her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage} (33:37) - he said: "She used to boast to the other wives of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم‘Your families married you (to him) while Allaah married me (to him) from above the Seven Heavens.’” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (7420), Sunan al-Tirmidhee (3213) and the wordings are his, and Sunan al-Nasaa’ee (3252)]

4) From the statements of the Salaf:

i) `Abdul Wahhaab bin `Abdul Hakeem al-Warraaq mentioned the statement of Ibn `Abbaas رضي الله عنهما“The distance between the Seventh Heaven and the Kursee (Footstool and it is other than al-`Arsh (Throne)) is Seven Thousand (veils of) Noor (light) and He تعالى is above that (`Arsh – the way it befits His Majesty).”

Then `Abdul Wahhaab said: “Whoever claims that Allaah is here (on this earth), then he is a filthy Jahmee. Allaah تعالى is above the `Arsh and His knowledge encompasses the world and the Hereafter.”

`Abdul Wahhaab was Thiqah (a reliable scholar), a Haafidh (the one who memorized a lot of Ahaadeeth) and a man of great esteem. Among those who narrated from him where Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa’ee and al-Tirmidhee (in their respective books). It was said to Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله: After your (demise), whom should we approach to ask questions? He said: “Ask `Abdul Wahhaab” and he mentioned him with praises.

[al-`Uloo’ lil-`Alee al-Ghaffaar of Imaam al-Dhahabee (1/193/511)]

ii) Ja`far Ibn Abdullaah narrated: We were with Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas رحمه الله when a man came to him and said: “O Abu Abdullaah (Allaah تعالى said): الرَّحْمَـٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ {The Most Beneficent (Allaah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)} (20:5). How was His Istawa? Imaam Maalik inclined his head and was silent until the sweat of fever covered his brow, then he looked up and said: “Istawa is not unknown, the Kayf (how of it) is uncomprehendible, believing in it is Waajib (obligatory), and asking about it is Bid`ah (religious innovation), and I do not think that you are anything but an innovator.” Then he ordered that the man be expelled. [Abu-Naeem Al-Asbahani in 'Hilyatul-Awliya wa Tabaqat Al-Asfiya' (Vol. 6, pg. 325-326) and al-`Uloo of Imaam al-Dhahabee (378 and 455)]

iii) Imaam Abu Haneefah رحمه الله said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says: ‘I do not know whether Allaah is above the heavens or on the earth.’ - “He has disbelieved, because Allaah says: {The Most Merciful rose above the Throne} and His Throne is above His seven heavens.” He was then asked: ‘What if he said that Allaah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ Imaam Abu Haneefah said: “He has disbelieved, because He has denied that He is above the heavens, And whosoever denied that He is above the heavens has disbelieved.” [al-`Uluww of Imaam al-Dhahabee, and also Sharh Aqeedah al-Tahaawiyyah of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee]


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