“Everyone upon the earth will perish but The face of your Lord will remain, possessor of majesty and honor.”(Qur’an 55:27)
“Everything will perish except His face.” (Qur’an 28:88)
Ibn Taymiyya (r) related that Ja’far al-Sadiq’s interpretation of Allah’s “face” as meaning the Religion of Islam, and al-Dahhak’s interpretation of the face in the same verse as meaning: “Allah’s essence, Paradise, the Fire, and the Throne.”
You can imagine the kind of struggle those who say we do not apply ta’wil had when coming to the verses above. If taken at their apparent meaning it indicates that the face is the only attribute of Allah (swt) that would remain while the other attributes would perish.
You cannot have a divine being that is both annihilated and existing forever at the same time. So what does Ibn Taymiyya do in this situation? What any other rational human being would do. Using the rules of grammar he applied ta’wil!
As for Ibn Taymiyya himself, he interprets his face as meaning direction (jiha), so that the meaning would be for him: “Everything will perish save that by which Allah’s direction is sought.” He then adds, “This is what the vast majority of the Salaf have said.”
Source: (Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’at al-fatawa 2:428)
Now proponents of inconsistency will exclaim “This is no ta’wil at all!” “The face is not necessarily an attribute.” Yet Ibn Taymiyya in Al-Aqidah al-Wasitiyyah has clearly stated that the face is an attribute of Allah (swt).
However, the response is that whatever made the “wajh” not necessarily refer to one of the attributes is precisely the type of ta’wil that Ibn Taymiyya has allowed for others to open the door!
In fact, if it was not for the Ta’wil which Ibn Taymiyya employed here it would not occur to anyone’s mind that the face is anything but one attribute among the other attributes of Allah’s names (asma’ al-sifat).