10.1 THE MEANING OF AL ISTIWAA
10.1.1 IN THE LANGUAGE
Its meanings revolve around perfection and completion, and it is used in 3 ways in the Qur'aan:
10.1.1.1 In an Unrestricted Manner - e.g. in (28):14 -
i.e. that Moosaa became complete [in manhood and strength].
10.1.1.2 Bounded with "Ilaa" "to"
- e.g. in (2):29 - i.e. that He turned to it with full attention OR
"Ilaa" means "'Alaa".
10.1.1.3 Bounded with "'Alaa"
"upon" - e.g. in (43):13 i.e. meaning "above".
10.1.2 HENCE ALLAAH'S ISTIWAA UPON HIS THRONE
- That He is above and established upon it in a manner
that befits Him.
- It is one of His Attributes that pertain to His
- And this is proved by the Book, the Sunnah, and the Consensus of the Salaf.
10.1.2.1 The Book - e.g. (20):5
10.1.2.2 The Sunnah - e.g.. the hadeeth of Qataadah
ibn an-Nu'maan reported by al-Khallaal (Saheeh).
10.1.2.3 The Salaf - e.g.. The statement of 'Abdul
Qaadir al-Jeelaanee; and that not one of them said He is not upon His throne;
and Ahl-us-Sunnah agreed that He is upon His throne.
10.2 MAALIK'S STATEMENT
"al Istiwaa is not unknown, and how it is cannot be comprehended, and Faith in it is obligatory and asking about is innovation."
- (The likes of it has also been reported from his teacher Rabee'ah ibn Abee 'Abdir-Rahmaan)
10.2.1 "AL-ISTIWAA IS NOT UNKNOWN"
i.e. not unknown in the language - for it means to be above.
10.2.2 "HOW IT IS CAN NOT BE COMPREHENDED"
i.e. by the minds, nor does the Revelation describe it - so how it is, is unknown.
10.2.3 "TO ASK ABOUT IT IS INNOVATION"
i.e. it was not known in the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) or his Companions.
10.2.4 THIS STATEMENT IS A GENERAL RULE FOR THE
Allaah has affirmed Himself or via His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) - Allaah informed us of the Attributes - but not how they are.
10.2.5 TALKING ABOUT ALLAAH'S ATTRIBUTES FOLLOWS ON
FROM TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF
- If we affirm Allaah Himself without asking how, then we should do the same for His Attributes.
10.3 WHAT THE INNOVATORS SAY:
10.3.1 IF A JAHMEE ASKS:
"How does Allah descend to the lowest heaven?" Then reply: "He informed us that He does descend - but He did not inform us how!"
10.3.2 IF ANOTHER ASKS:
"How is one of Allaah's Attributes?"
- Then reply: "How is His Self?!" - And the Jahmee will not be able to answer. So say: "In the same way you can't describe how His Self is, neither can you do the same with His Attributes, because attributes follow on from the One who possesses them!"
10.3.3 IF ANOTHER SAYS:
"If His Istiwaa upon the throne means He is upon it, then that means he is bigger or smaller or the same size as the throne. And this must mean He has a body and this is prohibited for Allaah." Then reply: "None of your baseless deductions are correct. No doubt Allaah is greater than any of the creation, but He is far removed from your false deductions."
10.3.3.1 Concerning if Allaah has a "Body"
Then the word is not mentioned in the Revelation or by the Salaf - so we neither affirm or deny the word. But we look at its meaning.
1. If it means a newly assembled group of parts which are in need of each other, then this is prohibited for Allaah.
2. If it means something that exists by itself, having attributes befitting it, then this is not prohibited for Allaah because He exists by Himself and has Attributes of perfection that befit Him.
10.3.4 IF ANOTHER SAYS:
"If you have explained His Istiwaa upon His Throne as He is above and upon it, then that means He needs the throne to support Him."
- The reply: "All who recognise His Greatness and Power would never even think this for one moment - especially when He is free of all need while all the creation is in absolute need of Him. Hence your deduction is false."
10.3.5 IF A PERSON OF TA'TEEL SAYS:
"Because of all these deductions, al-Istiwaa must mean al-Isteelaa - i.e. that Allaah conquered or over powered His throne." Then reply:" No this is not correct for several reasons:
10.3.5.1 If the False Deductions were Correct, then
that would still not prevent al-Istiwaa having its intrinsic meaning.
10.3.5.2 Using this meaning for Istiwaa Leads to False
1. Differing with the consensus of the Salaf.
would lead to saying He did Istiwaa upon the earth, while Allaah is far above
3. It would lead to saying He had not conquered, or had no power over,
the throne until after He completed creating the heavens and earth.
10.3.5.3 This Meaning is Not Possible in the Arabic
10.3.5.4 Since this is a Figurative Meaning, then its
Only Acceptable after Fulfilling 4 Conditions:
1. An authentic proof is needed to take the meaning away
from the natural one to the figurative one.
2. This figurative meaning must
be possible in the language!
3. This figurative meaning must be valid in this
4. A proof is needed to say that this figurative meaning is the correct one out of all the possible figurative meanings.
10.4 THE 'ARSH
Means the throne of a king, e.g. (12):100; (27):23.
10.4.2 AS FOR THE 'ARSH UPON WHICH ALLAAH DID ISTIWAA
- it is a mighty throne which encompasses all the created
things, being higher than them and greater than them.
- refer to the hadeeth of Aboo Dharr related by Aboo Haatim, Ibn Hibbaan, Ahmad and others - Saheeh.
10.5 THE KURSEE
Means the throne upon which one remains.
10.5.2 AS FOR THE KURSEE WHICH ALLAAH HAS APPELLED TO
- it is the place of His Feet.
- refer to the
statement of Ibn 'Abbaas (mawqoof) related by al-Haakim.
- As for narrations from the Salaf, that it means the 'Arsh or it means knowledge, then these are not authentic, as mentioned by Ibn Katheer.