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Tafsir at-Tabari
  Tafsir of Surah An`aam (6) Verse 102
Author: Ibn Jarir at-Tabari
Source: Tafsir at-Tabari
Article ID : TFS030003  [21850]  
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They maintain that since it is permissible to ascribe to Allaah the characteristic that he appears although he cannot be reached, then this is in accordance with the possibility of ascribing to him the characteristic that one knows of him without apprehending his knowledge. Thus, Allaah says: 'And they apprehend nothing of His knowledge except what He wills' (Sura 2:255/256). Allaah, so they say, therefore excludes (the possibility) that his creatures apprehend anything of his knowledge except what he wills. Thus is meant, according to their view of this passage, the knowledge of the contents of (his) knowledge (ma'lum). Although Allaah, so they continue, excludes (the possibility) that his creatures apprehend anything of his knowledge except what he wills, it is not excluded that they know him. (Further) they maintain that since the exclusion of (the possibility of) apprehending anything with regard to his knowledge does not exclude (the possibility) that one may know him, then the exclusion of (the possibility of) reaching Allaah with the vision just as little excludes (the possibility) that the vision sees him. They say that just as it is possible for (Allaah's) creatures to know things without apprehending their knowledge, it is (also) possible for them to see their Lord with their vision without its reaching him, since the (word) 'seeing' (ru'ya) has another meaning than the (word) 'reaching' (idrak), and the (word) 'reaching' has another meaning than the (word) 'seeing'. Therefore (it is possible) that by 'reaching' what is meant is 'apprehending'. ..

They continue: One may ask us: Do you not deny that Allaah's words 'the vision reaches Him not' have the meaning 'the vision sees Him not'? To this we answer: We deny this, since Allaah proclaims in his Book that there will be faces (wujuh) in the resurrection which look upon him, and his Messenger has proclaimed to his community that on the day of resurrection they shall see their Lord, as one sees the moon on a full-moon night and as one sees the sun when it is not obscured by a cloud. Since, so they say, Allaah proclaims this in his Book and since the statements of his Messenger ... confirm that Allaah's words 'upon that day there will be radiant faces (wujuh), gazing upon their Lord' are to be interpreted so that the vision of the eyes will look upon Allaah, and since in the Book of Allaah one (statement) rests upon another within his truth and it is impossible that one of the two statements (of Allaah) discussed here abrogates the other which is simply impossible with the(se two) proclamations..., then one knows that his words 'the vision (of men) reaches Him not' have another meaning than his words 'upon that day there will be radiant faces, gazing upon their Lord'.

Consequently, on the day of resurrection the inhabitants of paradise will look on Allaah with their vision, but will not reach him with it. (One must accept this) in order to agree with Allaah in these two passages, and in order to be able to consider the revelation in the form in which it was delivered in these two suras.Other exegetes maintain that the verse under discussion has the meaning: 'The vision (of men) sees Him not, although He sees the vision (of men).' To be cited (as authorities) for this view are (the following):... Hannad has related to us on the authority of (a chain of witnesses going back to) Waki', Isma'il ibn Abi Khalid, 'Amir (ash-Sha'bi), and Masruq, the following words of 'A'isha: 'If someone reports to you that the Messenger of Allaah has seen his Lord, then he lies.' (Allaah's words however read:) The vision (of men) reaches Him not, but He reaches the vision (of men) as well as: 'It belongs not to any mortal that Allaah should speak to him, except by inspiration, or from behind a veil' (Sura 42 :51/50) On the other hand, Gabriel appeared to Muhammad twice in his (true) form...

The proponents of this view say that the meaning of (the word) 'reaching' (idrak) in this passage is 'seeing' (ru'ya), and they deny that Allaah can be seen by the vision (of men) in this world or in the hereafter. They interpret Allaah's words: 'Upon that day there will be radiant faces, gazing (naziratun) upon their Lord' in the sense that they hope for (intazara)Allaah's goodness and reward.(At-Tabari concludes that) some exegetes place a false interpretation on the statements which are related here from the Messenger of Allaah, by reinterpreting the statement that the inhabitants of paradise will see their Lord on the day of resurrection. Other exegetes (simply) reject such statements of the Messenger of Allaah, disputing them on (the basis of) their reason ('aql). They maintain that (reason) eliminates the possibility that one could see Allaah with the vision, and they put forward all sorts of falsifications, using various derivations of many words.

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