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Allah's Rose above theThrone
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Issue: Allah's Faukiyyah (Aboveness)
The matter is that the people of figurative interpretation among the asharis resorted to t'awil regarding the versus pertaining to Him ascending the Throne which they interpret figuratively
Due to this they reject that Allah is above the heavens above the Throne as He Himself said, and thus laid forth the groundwork for the doctrine of "unity of existance" or "wahdatul-wujood" by which Allah is everywhere and in everything, a matyter which gained popularity among the deviated sects among the sufis
so below are the many proofs about the baselessness of such beleifs

Proofs from the Quraan

Allah (swt) says,

“He is the one who created all the earth for you and then made istiwa’...“ [EMQ 2: 28-29]

Allah (swt) says,

“Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!” [EMQ 7: 54]

Allah (swt) says,

“Surely, your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then Istawa (rose over) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty), disposing the affair of all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His Leave. That is Allah, your Lord; So worship Him (Alone). Then, will you not remember?” [EMQ Yunus: 3]

Allah (swt) says,

“Alif-Lam-Mim-Ra. These are the Verses of the Book (the Qur'an), and that which has been revealed unto you (Muhammad SAW) from your Lord is the truth, but most men believe not. Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then, He Istawa (rose above) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He has subjected the sun and the moon (to continue going round)! Each running (its course) for a term appointed. He regulates all affairs, explaining the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.” [EMQ Ra’d: 1-2]

Allah (swt) says,

“A revelation from Him (Allah) Who has created the earth and high heavens. The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” [EMQ Ta Ha: 4-5]

Allah (swt) says,

“Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six Days. Then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). The Most Beneficent (Allah)! Ask Him (O Prophet Muhammad SAW), (concerning His Qualities, His rising over His Throne,  His creations, etc.), as He is Al-Khabir (The All- Knower of everything i.e. Allah).” [EMQ Furqan: 59]

Allah (swt) says,

“Allah it is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six Days. Then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). You (mankind) have none, besides Him, as a Wali (protector or helper etc.) or an intercessor. Will you not then remember (or be admonished)?” [EMQ 32: 4]

Allah (swt) says

“he is the one who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then made istiwa over his throne.” [EMQ Hadid: 4]

This topic is to do with Al Istiwa, Al Istiwa is Ascension, it is the attribute of Allah (swt); that is His (swt) ascension over his throne as Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah believe. Other people argue that if Allah is over his throne then that means he is needy for the throne and they say that rather He (swt) is everywhere. Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah however believe that He (swt) is above his throne, above the heavens, distant from his creation and the throne is his creation.

In fact if someone says, ‘Allah is everywhere’ testify that he is not from Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah; one of the attributes of Ahl Al Sunnah wal Jama’ah is that they confirm Allah’s saying about himself that he is over his throne.

Proofs From the Sunnah

11. Mu'awiyah as-Sahmi reported: “I had some sheep which I kept between Uhud and Juwaniyyah with a slave-girl to look after them. One day, I went out to check on my sheep and discovered that a wolf had devoured one of them. Since I am just a human, (I became angry) and struck the girl. Later on, I came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and reported to him the incident. He terrified me with the gravity of my action. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah!’ Shall I free her (as an expiation of my sin.) He said ‘Call her over.’ When I did, he asked her, ‘Where is Allah?’ She said, ‘Above the heavens.’ Then he asked her, ‘Who am I?’ She said, 'The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ordered me, 'Free her. She is a believer’(Muslim, Abu Dawud, and others).

7. Abu Sa’eed said that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Do you not trust me when I am trusted by Him Who is above the heavens? Revelation comes to me day and night.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

6. Jabir ibn Abdullah said, “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said in his speech on the day of Arafah, ‘Did I convey (the message)?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ While raising his finger to the sky and then pointing at them, he said, ‘O my Lord, be a witness.’” [Muslim]

Proofs from the Sahaabah

 إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلسَمَاوَاتِ وَٱلأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي ٱلْلَّيْلَ ٱلنَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثاً وَٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ وَٱلنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ أَلاَ لَهُ ٱلْخَلْقُ وَٱلأَمْرُ تَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلْعَالَمِينَ }


(Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days) of the beginning of the life of this world, each day the equivalent of a thousand years, (then mounted He the Throne) then He proceeded to create the Throne; it is also said that this means: He seated Himself on the Throne. (He covereth the night with the day) and the day with the night, (which is in haste to follow it) i.e. the day is in haste to follow the night and the night is in haste to follow the day, (and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command) by His leave. (His verily is all creation) the creation of the heavens and the earth (and commandment) i.e. the judgement of people on the Day of Judgement (Blessed be Allah) the Possessor of grace; it is also said that this means: elevated is Allah; as it is said that this means: far exalted is Allah, (the Lord of the Worlds!) the Master and Disposer of the Worlds.(Taken from the Tafseer of Ibn Abbass)

There is clearly an established Ijma’ of the Sahabah and the tabi’een and all muslims and ulemah of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah that Allah is above his throne without how, but we can put forward one or two direct examples from the sahabah here.

The prophet (saw) asked a woman in testing her Imaan, “where is Allah?” she pointed to the heavens, he (saw) asked her who he was, she said, “the messenger of Allah” and he testified her to be Muslim. So the sahabah understood that Allah was above the heavens that is why we find in Tafseer ul Qurtubi of Surah Ta Ha v5, that ibn Abbas said about it,

“Al Rahman sits over his throne the way that matches with his majesty.” [Qurtubi]

And Tafseer Qurtubi on Surah Furqan v59, where Allah says,

“… and then he sat over his throne,”

Abdullah ibn Mas’oud said,

“He sat over his throne, distant from it.” [Qurtubi]

And in ibn Kathir on Surah Yunus v3, ibn kathir reported,

“That ayah has been understood by the companions of the messenger (saw) that he sits over his throne, from ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn Mas’oud, Zaid ibn Thaabit, Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Atta, Qatada” [ibn Kathir]

Proofs from the Tabi'een and the early salaf

It is reported in al-Uloow and its mukhtasir by Imaam Shamsu-deen adh-Dhahabee that Imaam of ahlu-sunnah Sufyan ibn Uyaina said regarding the sifaat of Allah

"its meaning is its recitation"

This refutes two matters

1. That it is to be understood by the very words that it states, ala dhahir, or upon its apparent meaning and

2. refutes the idea of tafweedh or entrusting the meaning to Allah when Allah Himself already revaled its meaning by its very words

They refer to the understanding of the companions of Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wa salam) in all matters and there is consensus among the companions that Allah is above His Throne. Imam Al-Awza'ee (d.157H) was a tabi’, he met the companions of Muhammad (saw) and he was known as the second Imam Shafi’I (who died in 192H) though he was from before him, he was from Ahl Al Hadith. He confirmed the consensus of the confirmation of the tabi’een regarding the Ascension of Allah above His Throne, He said,

“We and all the remaining tabi’een say that Allah is Above His Throne, we believe in whatever the sunnah describes about His (swt) attributes.” [Mukhtasar Al ‘Uluw p137 - Imam Dhahabi, & Al Asmaa Wal Sifaat – Baihaqi, & Fath ul Baari Sharh Al Bukhari – ibn Hajar v13 p417]

“Allah will never be described by the attributes of his creation, his anger and happiness are his attributes without how and that is the saying of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. He becomes angry and happy and we cannot say his anger is his punishment, or that his pleasure is his reward and we describe Him the way he describes himself, he is ahad, samad he has no parents and no children and there is nothing like him, he is hayyu (alive), qadirun, samee’ (hearer), baseer’ (seer), Aalim (knowledgeable), his hands are over their hands and not like the hands of his creation, and his face is not like the face of his creation and we confess that Allah is sitting above his throne without any need for it.” [Fiqh al Absat p10]

Abu Hanifah affirmed all Allah’s attributes that are disputed in this one saying in the same way as the other Imams believed including Imam Maalik. Abdullah ibn Rafi’ narrated that,

“Imam Maalik said, Allah is in the heaven and his knowledge is everywhere.”

Abu Haneefah (rh) said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says, ‘I do not know whether Allah is above the heavens or on the earth.’ - “He has disbelieved, because Allah 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 Allah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ He 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.” (‘Sharh Usul I'tiqaad Ahlus Sunnah’ of al-Laalikaaee (d.414AH), ‘al-Uluww’ of adh- Dhahabee, also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee).

5. A woman asked Abu Haneefah, “Where is your Lord whom you worship” So he said, “Verily Allah the Exalted is above the sky (fis-samaa`), not in the earth.” So a man said to him, `Have you seen the statement of Allah the Exalted, “And He is with you.” (57:4) He said, “He is as you are when you write to a man, `Verily I am with you,' whilst you are absent from him” (al-Asmaa was-Sifaat).

Imam Qutaibah bin Sa’eed was a great tabi’ tabi’ (b.150H - d. 240H), he said,

“Allah is above his throne, that is the saying of the Imams in Islam and Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, we believe Allah is above the seven heavens above his throne, the way Allah said, “Al Rahman is above his throne.””

So in the past, they had no problem to believe in Allah’s ascension over his throne without asking ‘how?’ and without to interpret his attribute nor to negate it. We do not need to ask how or rationally attribute meaning that he is needy for the throne,

Allah is above His throne and His ascension is in accordance to His Almighty majesty, it is not like the ascension of man, the way that Allah sees and hears in accordance to his quality and majesty and the seeing and hearing of men is in accordance to his weakness and there is a world of difference between the seeing and hearing of men and that of Allah. Imam Dhahabi said,

“Who is better than Imam Qutaibah in his imamah? … he transmitted the consensus in all topics of Allah’s istiwa, he met Imam Maalik and Laith ibn Sa’d and … and the highest ulema’ and he lived for a long time.” [Bayan al talbees al jahmiyyah v2 p37]

He lived a long time and met a lot of ulemah, he was born in the year of the birth of Imam Shafi’i and died in the year of the death of Imam Ahmed, he was qualified to report this consensus.

Proofs from the followers of the Salaf among the laterday Scholars

Muhammad bin Yusuf said (one of the teachers of Bukhaaree), ‘the one who says that Allah is not over His Throne is a kaafir. And the one who thinks that Allah did not speak to Moses is a kaafir’ (Bukhaaree's, ‘Khalq Af’aal Ebaad’)

Imam Shafi’i said,

“The saying on the Sunnah that I follow and I see our companions follow, and those I met from Ahl Al Hadith follow whom I learned from, Sufyan, Maalik is to testify that there is none worthy to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that Allah is over His Thrown above the seven heavens, He comes near to his creation the way he likes and he descends to the first heaven the way he likes.” [Kitab Ijtimaa’ Al Juyush – ibn Qayyim p165] and [Sifa Sifaat ul Uluw p124]

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal said,

“We believe Allah is above His Throne the way He likes and in the form He likes without any limit and without any description, no-one can describe it nor define it, His description is from Him and will return to Him, He is the way He describes himself and no one can reach his description.” [Preventing the contradiction between the text  and the mind v2 p30 for ibn Taymiyyah]

It is strange however given the established and widespread ijma’ (consensus) of All sahabah, tabi’een and tabi’ tabi’een, Muslims & ulemah of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah throughout the ages, we still find some people who refuse to refer to the best people of this ummah. They find difficulty in testifying to the words of Allah (swt) about himself, instead they insist to bring new meanings for Allah’s sayings or to negate them completely. They ignore the four Imams and the sayings of so many other ulemah, even ignoring the testimony of best people to walk the earth after the anbiyaa; they have truly begun to believe that their own understanding and interpretation of the Qur'an and the Sunnah is better than Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, than Umar ibn Khattab, than Uthman or Ali, or better than Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn Mas’oud. They reject to follow the understanding of the people guaranteed paradise, they reject to follow those given the best reference from the seventh heaven over Which Allah (swt) Himself is risen. Despite Allah (swt) being pleased with them and their aqeedah, some people are not pleased with following their aqeedah; rather they insist to put their own ration and mind before them, they wish to believe as they like when Allah informed us,

“If they believe as you (the prophet (saw) and his companions) believe, then they will be guided.”

Verily the only correct path to follow and to gain any understanding of Islam is to follow the path of the sahabah of the prophet (saw), they are Al Salaf Al Saaleh and Muhammad (saw) was their Imam and our Imam, Al Imam Al Salaf. Their understanding is the best understanding and it is binding upon us, we cannot understand Tawheed or Imaan without them as they are the people of Tawheed, whom the kalima and the deen is fused to them and to follow any path other than theirs is a deviance and great misguidance. O Allah keep us firm on their path and protect us from any deviance from it.

Imaam Abu Sa’eed Uthmaan ad-Daarimee – rahimahullaah – says, “Then the Scholars before us and after us all have Ijmaa (consensus), that when we seek help from Allah or when we call him, we raise and spread our hands towards the sky and our sight is also upwards. We do not call upon him by looking below us in the earth, behind or in front, to the right or the left. We concentrate towards the sky, because everyone knows that Allah is above them, and everyone who prays says in prostration, “Praise be to Allah the Most High” (‘Radd Alal Jahmiyyah’)

Imam ibn Khuzaimah said, “Whoever does not acknowledge that Allah is above His 'Arsh, above His seven heavens, and that He is separated from His creatures, is a Kafir, (unbeliever). Such person must be ordered to repent and disavow his belief, or else he must be beheaded and thrown on a garbage dump so that neither Ahlul-Qiblah (the Muslims) nor Ahludth-dthimmah (non-Muslims living in Muslim lands) be annoyed by the foul odor of his carcass.”

Muhaddith Zakaria Al Saaji (d.307H) said,

“The saying of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, those who I saw our friends from Ahl Al Hadith whom we met, is that Allah (swt) is over his throne over his heaven, he could come near to his creation how he wishes.” [Mukhtasar Al ‘Uluw – Imam Dhahabi p223 and the gathering of all the Islamic armies – ibn Qayyim p245]

Sheikh Al Saaji is the sheikh known as the Sheikh of one Imam of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, he was the sheikh of Imam Abu Hasan Al Ash’ari who took Ilm ul Hadith from Sheikh Al Saaji.

Moreover, Ibn Qayyim In his nuniyyah explained how Allah is over his throne in poetry he said,

“It has been transmitted to us 10 transmissions explaining how Allah is over his throne, and I will give another quotation … among them is that Allah is over his throne that is in the 7 surahs of ahkaam in the heart of the Qur’an. … ”

Allah (swt) says,

“… Allah is Al ‘Aliy Al ‘Aleem” [EMQ 2: 255]

and Allah (swt) says,

“Glory to your lord Al A’la.” [EMQ A’la: 1]

A’la is the highest, and Al ‘Uluw is to be above, these ayat are enough to understand that Allah’s ‘uluw is absolute, he is the highest, Sheikh ul Hanabilah, ibn Batta Al Akburi (b.304H - d.387) said,

 “It is the consensus of the Muslims from the sahabah and the tabi’een and all people of Ilm that Allah (swt) is over his throne above the heavens, distant from his creation but his knowledge surrounds all his creation. No one denied that nor rejected it, except those who followed the school of hululiyyah (those who embodied Allah), and they are people whose heart is blind and the shaytan follows them and they come out of the deen and they say, ‘there is no place in the earth that does not contain the zaat of Allah.’” [Al Ibana ‘an Shari’atu Firqatun Najiyah – chapter of “Allah above his throne, distance from his creation” v3 p136]

It was this belief that Allah is everywhere by his Dhaat that led to the apostasy of bin Arabi, who insisted on this belief even when asked about if Allah is under his own clothes whereas there was nothing but himself under his cloak, and so he proclaimed "I am Allah, Allah is in me." and he became kafir. Rather we believe as Imam ibn Batta Al Akburi said that Allah is distant from all his creation, and the nearest creation to him is his throne and that is unique for Allah. Imam Dhahabi said about Imam Al Akburi that,

“Imam ibn Batta Al Akburi, is one of the greatest imams of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, a man of zuhd, fiqh, Sunnah and Ittiba’” [Mukhtasar Al Uluw p252]

Imam Abu Omar Al Talamanki Al Andalusi,(b.339H - d429H) said,

“There is consensus of the Muslims from Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama’ah that the ayah that says, “Allah is with you wherever you are,” means that His (swt) knowledge is with you wherever you are and He (swt) is above his heavens by his zaat, and he is over his throne the way he likes, Allah (swt) says, “Al Rahman is over his throne,” the sitting (istiwa) of Allah over his throne is real (haqiqi) and not metaphoric.”

Imam Dhahabi said,

Imam Talamanki was the biggest haafidh and Imam of the qurra’ in Al Andalus.” [Mukhtasar Al ‘Uluw] and in the [Fattawa of ibn Taymiyyah, and Talbees Al Jahmiyyah v2 p38]

Sheikh-ul-Islam Abu Uthman Isma'eel As-Saabooni was known as the faqih and muhaddith of Naysaburi (b.372H d.449H), he wrote in his "Aqeedatu-Salaf Ashaabul-Hadeeth" 

“The people of hadith believe and testify that Allah is over the seven heavens and over His Throne the way His book mentioned, and the ulemah of the ummah and the selected of the a’immah (i.e. the four Imams) from the salaf never disagreed that Allah is over His Throne and His Throne is above the seven heavens.”

Qurtubi on the "jihah" or direction of Allah

"Al-Qurtubee said concerning the saying of Allaah, the Most High, "Then he ascended (istawaa) the Throne",
"We have explained the sayings of the Scholars regarding this issue in the book ‘al-Asnaa fee Sharh al-Asmaa al-Husnaa’ and we mentioned fourteen different sayings therein"
up until he said,
"And the Salaf of the very first times - may Allaah be pleased with them all - never used to negate direction (al-jihah) for Allaah and nor did they used to express this (negation). Rather, they, and all of the others, used to speak with its affirmation for Allaah, the Most High just as His Book has spoken about it and just as His Messengers informed of it. And not a single one of the Salaf denied that his ascending (istawaa) the Throne was real and true (haqeeqah) (as opposed to metaphorical, majaaz). And Allaah specified the Throne with istawaa because that is the greatest of all His creation. However they assumed ignorance only of the exact nature (kaifiyyah) of istiwaa, for the true nature of that is not known. Imaam Maalik said, ‘Istiwaa is known…’, meaning in the language, ‘…its true nature is unknown and asking about it is an innovation." 

Issue:The statement regarding the Philosphers (which the ashaairah gain their understanstading of the sifaat from, about the arguement that direction is negated for Allah because it means (according to heir faulty logic) or entails spatial postion for Allah or confinement

 And al-Qurtubee also said in ‘al-Asnaa’,
"Many of the past and contemporary philosophers said, ‘When it is necessary to purify the Creator (al-Baaree) - whose Magnificence is great - from having direction (jihah) and demarcation (tamayyuz), then from the requirements and necessary consequences of this, in the view of most of the past scholars and their leading contemporaries, is the purify the Creator (al-Baaree) from having direction (jihah). In their view, direction does not have the aspect of ‘above’ to it. This is because to them, when Allaah is designated with direction, this would necessitate that He is restricted to a place (makaan) and a confine (hayyiz). (Subsequently), a place and a confine necessitate (for Him) (such) movement and stillness that is related to distinction (tamayyuz), transformation (taghayyur) and new occurrences (hudooth) . This is the saying of the philosophers.
I (adh-Dhahabee) say,
"Yes, this is what the deniers of the ‘uluww (highness) of the Lord, Mighty and Majestic, have depended upon. And they turned away from the requirement of the Book, the Sunnah, the sayings of the Salaf and the innate dispositions of the whole of creation. What they claim to be necessitated (from affirming Allaah’s highness) is only applicable to created bodies. Yet there is nothing like Allaah and the necessities arising from the clear and evident texts (of the Book and the Sunnah) are also true. However, we do not make use of any explanation except one that comes through a narration. In addition to this we say, ‘We do not accept that the Creator’s being upon His Throne and above the heavens, necessitates that He is confined and in spatial direction, since whatever is below the Throne is said to be confined and in spatial direction. However, what is above the Throne is not like that. And Allaah is above the Throne as the very first generation are unanimously agreed upon and as the imaams after them have quoted from them. They said this in refutation of the Jahmiyyah, those who said that He is in every place seeking as a proof His saying, ‘And He is with you…’. So these two sayings were the very two sayings which were present in the time of the Taabi’een and their successors who came after them. And they are the two sayings that can be understood in this statement (i.e. of the philosophers). As for the third saying which came around after this which is that’ Allaah the Most High is not in any place, nor is His Holy Essence (Dhaat) confined, nor is He separate and distinct from His creation, nor is he in any spatial direction, nor is outside of any spatial directions, and nor this and nor that…’ then this is something that cannot be comprehended nor understood , along with the fact that within it is opposition to the verses (of the Book) and the narrations (from the Salaf). Therefore flee with your religion and beware of the opinions of the philosophers. Believe in Allaah and what has come from Him upon the desired intent of Allaah, then submit your affair to Him and there is no power nor movement except by Allaah."
The book is completed and all praise is to Allaah alone…" Mukhtasir al-Uloow

Likwise al-Imaam Abdul-Hayy al-Lucknowee says in his Majmua al-Fatwa that those who say that "Allah is everywhere" or that "Allah is not over His Arsh" actually resemble the jahmiyyah. He says that There concept about Allah is not Islamic and do not resemble ahlu-sunnah wal jama'ah

 

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