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)".
This is because those things that are annexed to Allaah are of two types.
Those things separate from Him, from His creation, such as al-Bait (the House of
Allaah), an-Naaqah (the She Camel of Allaah), al-Abd (the Servant of Allaah)
etc. Or those things that are not independent of Him, but rather from His
Essence such as knowledge, life, seeing, hearing, power, speech etc. So when
these are annexed to Him then it is an annexation which signifies real
attributes, it is not one that signifies created things for this is falsehood.
So when this is the case, how is it possible for a Muslim to seek refuge in
something created? So from this the falsehood is made clear!
THREE: Ibn al-Qayyim explains regarding the verse "Wherever you
may turn, you will find the Face/Countenance of Allaah", then some of
the Salaf have interpreted it to Face to mean the qiblah of
Allaah. Then this is something that is acceptable for this particular verse. But
then is it correct for this meaning to be applied to other verses in which Face
is mentioned? So of what benefit would this explanation be regarding the saying
of Allaah, "[but] shall remain the Face of your Lord, Full of Majesty and
Honour" [55:27] and "Except only the desire to seek the Face of His
Lord, the Most High" [92:20] and "We feed you only for the Face of
And what is correct regarding the saying of Allaah "Wherever you may
turn, you will find the Face/Countenance of Allaah" is that it is just like
the statements of Allaah in all the other verses in which Face is mentioned. In
all the places in the Book and the Sunnah that Face has been mentioned, it has
been attributed to Allaah in the same way, with the same meaning. It does not
have two meanings that are opposed to each other. However there is an exception
with respect to that which comes in Surah al-Baqarah. In this verse, the
explanation that it refers to qiblah (direction) is not singled out [as the only
understanding]. Rather it can also be applied to the Face of Allaah literally
(haqeeqatan). And this is because this verse was revealed with respect to
travelling. So when a person prays and he errs in finding the right direction,
then wherever He turns he will be facing Allaah. And the Messenger (sallallaahu
alaihi wasallaam) said that "When a person stands for prayer, then Allaah
is in front of him" [Bukharee and Muslim]. This is because He is high above
His creation, ascended upon His Throne and He encompasses the whole of creation.
So wherever a servant turns Allaah is in front of him. The Messenger
(sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam) said, "Indeed Allaah has commanded you with
prayer, so when you pray do not turn [to the left or to the right] for Allaah
directs His Face to the face of His servant in his prayer so long as he does not
turn away" [Ahmad and Tirmidhee, Hasan-Saheeh]. And also his (sallallaahu
alaihi wasallaam) saying, "When the servant performs ablution well and
stands to perform the prayer, Allaah turns to Him with His Face
[Ibn Maajah, all of its narrators are thiqah]".
So from the above, it is clear that the verse of Surah Baqarah is just like
the other verses, even if from one aspect, the meaning can be understood to be
However, it is not possible to apply the same explanation to all the other
texts that have attributed Face to Allaah the Most High. And in this is a
challenge to the Jahmiyyah : Apply your interpretations to the other places in
the Book and the Sunnah where Face is mentioned and see where that leads
FOUR: Regarding the statement of Allaah the Most High, "For those
who do good is the best (i.e. Paradise) and something more [that is
" 10:26], then the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam)
said in explanation of this, "Looking at His Face, the Most High"
[Muslim 1/163]. Therefore, the one who denies the attribute of Face for Allaah
then he is claiming that the Believers in Paradise will be looking at something
imaginary, and in this he has made a great error and invented a great lie. And
the Companions, the Taabieen, the Four Imaams, and all of the great
Imaams of the Salaf are agreed that the Believers shall see the Face of their
Lord in Paradise. Imaam ad-Daraqutnee (d. 385H) said: "Muhammad bin Mukhlad
narrated to us: Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Umar bin al-Hakam, Abu Hasan ibn
al-Attaar said: I heard Muhammad bin Mis'ab, the Worshipper saying:
"Whoever claims that You do not speak and that You will not be seen in the
Hereafter is a disbeliever in Your Face and he does not know You. I testify that
You are above the Throne, above the seven heavens - not as Your enemies, the
heretical apostates (Zanaadiqah) say." Kitaab us-Sifaat of ad-Daraqutnee
FIVE: Concerning the interpretation that Face refers to His Essence
(Dhaat). Then if it is meant by this that it refers to His Essence while at the
same time affirming a Face for him, then this is acceptable. For Face is an
attribute of His Essence and it is not something created or separate from Him.
Hence, if everything will perish save His Face, then it is understood from this
that His Dhaat will not perish either, it will remain and this is because Face
is an Attribute of the Essence, not created and separate from it. However if it
is meant that it refers to His Essence while at the same time denying the
attribute of Face for Him, then this is falsehood as has been made clear from
the above. And based upon this we can understand the statements of those
scholars who explain that Face refers to His Essence in certain verses of the
Quraan. So there is no contradiction between what they say and between
the fact that Allaah has an Attribute of Face.
Ibn Hajar in Fath ul-Bari, in explanation of the verse "Everything shall
perish except His Face" [28:88], explains the statement of Imaam Bukhaaree
in his Kitaabut Tafseer of his Saheeh, "
except His Face, except
His dominion, (illaa mulkahu)" saying,
"In the narration of an-Nasafi there occurs Mamar
said and then he mentioned the above. This Mamar is Abu
Ubaidah ibn al-Muthnaa, and these are his words taken from his book
Majaaz ul-Quraan, however with the wording except
He. At-Tabari has quoted the same from some of the linguists and al-Faraa
mentioned the same. Ibn at-Teen and Abu Ubaidah said, except His
Face, meaning His Majesty. And it has been said except He
alone, as you say May Allaah ennoble your face meaning
may Allaah ennoble you."
So here, some of the scholars are of the opinion that Face here refers to the
Essence, and there is no problem with this as has proceeded and nor does it
negate the Attribute of Face for Allaah.
Now in case anyone tries to argue (in the favour of tawil) using this
statement of Imaam Bukhaaree, which at best is indecisive, then what would be
his reply to the fact that Imaam Bukhaaree affirms the Attribute of Face in his
Kitaab ut-Taweed at the end of his Saheeh, also called ar-Raddu
alal-Jahmiyyah (Refutation of the Jahmiyyah), using as evidence the very
same verse as above [28:88]!!!
Chapter: The Statement of Allaah, "Everything shall perish save His
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullaah, "When this verse, Say (O Muhammad)
He has power to send punishment on you from above [6:65], was revealed,
the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, I seek refuge with Your
Face. Allaah revealed, Or from underneath your feet [6:65],
the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, I seek refuge with Your
Face. Then Allaah revealed Or to cover you with confusion or party
strife! [6:65], then the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam) said,
This is easier."
And here Imaam Bukhaaree affirms, without doubt, the Attribute of Face, just
as he brought narrations in affirmation of Hand, Eyes, Self (Nafs), His Speech,
His being above the Throne and many of the other attributes that the Jahmiyyah
denied. So this puts an end to the argument adduced from his Kitaab
In addition, the arguments presented above would also apply. Try imposing
these such isolated explanations that you use for denying the Attribute of Face
to all those occurrences of the mention of the Face in the Book and the Sunnah
and see where that leads you?! Inconsistency and mere