The Face of Allaah is one of Allaah’s Attributes which is true and
real, just like all the other attributes that have been reported in the Book and
the Sunnah, and it, like the others, has been repeatedly affirmed by the Salaf.
The exact nature of His Face, like all the other attributes is unknown, and in
this regard the statement of Imaam Maalik constitutes the scales by which all of
attributes are understood, "Istiwaa is known, but its modality (kaif) is
unknown, having faith in it is obligatory and asking about it (i.e. about its
true nature is an innovation". So this is the methodology of the Salaf with
respect to this Attribute.
However, the Jahmiyyah in the present times (such as al-Kawtharee, al-Bootee,
as-Saqqaaf, al-Kabbaani, al-Habashi) and those who have the affectations of Jahm
Ibn Safwaan deny the Attribute of Face and resort to heretical interpretations.
With respect to this particular attribute, the practice of the innovators is
only too well known. To strike the texts of the Book and the Sunnah against each
other and to selectively quote that which agrees to their desires.
ONE: The explanation of al-Khattaabee, al-Bayhaqee, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn
Uthaimeen and others:
Allaah has ascribed certain characteristics to His Face, so He said,
"Everyone upon the Earth will perish, [but] shall remain the Face of your
Lord, Full of Majesty and Honour" [55:26-27]. So the description
"Dhul-Jalaali wal-Ikraam (Full of Majesty and Honour)"
is related to "the Face…" since it is in the nominative case
(raf’). This is different to His saying, "Blessed be the Name of Your
Lord, the Owner of Majesty and Honour", so in this verse the description
"Dhil-Jalaali wal-Ikraam (Owner of Majesty and Honour)" is
related to "Your Lord…" since it is in the genitive as is
So it is clear from this that Allaah has the attribute of Face, and this Face
too has Attributes, such as in this verse. And this is undeniable.
Then from the Sunnah, is the saying of the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi
wasallam), "His Veil is made of light and if He was to uncover it, the
splendors/radiances (subuhaat) of His Face, would destroy everything of His
creation that His Sight would reach." [Muslim, from Abu Moosa
So it is clear from this that the Face, which is an Attribute of Allaah, also
has attributes. In addition this hadeeth also affirms the Attribute of Sight for
From this fact, the falsehood of the one who claims that Face refers to
‘reward’ or other such false interpolations can be witnessed. For
how is it possible for ‘reward’ to be described by ‘Majesty
and Honour’ and how is it possible for it to have
‘splendors/radiances’ that destroy everything in sight? And which of
the Salaf have spoken of this? So the challenge to the Jahmiyyah is, apply your
interpolations of Face to every mention of Face in the Book and the Sunnah and
see where that leads you?
TWO: Then to establish this further, is the variety of supplications in
which the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam) seeks refuge in the Face of
Allaah and how he (sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam) separates between the essence
of Allaah and the Face of Allaah in the same supplication.
So amongst such supplications are:
"I seek refuge in Your Noble Face, that You lead me astray, there is
none worthy of worship save you…" [Abu Dawood and others].
In relation to the verse, "Say (O Muhammad) He has power to send
punishment over you from above" [6:65], the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi
wasallaam) said, "I seek refuge in Your face" [Bukhaaree, in
"I seek refuge in Allaah the Mighty (al-‘Adheem) and in His Noble
Face and His Eternal Power for Shaytaan the Accursed" [Abu Dawood].
So is it then plausible for a Muslim to seek refuge in a Face which in
reality is ‘reward’ or ‘dominion’? For these are but
created things and no Muslim seeks refuge in something created. Ibn al-Qayyim
mentions concerning the third supplication above, "… so consider
how he made a distinction between seeking refuge in the Essence (Dhaat) of
Allaah and between His Noble Face. This is a clear refutation of the one who
claims that Face is the Essence itself and of the one who claims that it is
something created (i.e. other than Allaah)".