“However, if they turn away, say, “Sufficient for me is Allah ; there is no deity except Him. On Him I have relied, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne.” (Qur’an 9:129)
“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.” (Qur’an 39:62)
“Moreover, it is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and His Throne was upon the waters—in order to test you as to which of you is better in conduct. And if you were to say, “You will be resurrected after death,” those who denied would most surely say, “This is nothing but evident sorcery.” (Qur’an 11:17)
Narrated `Imran bin Hussain:
While I was with the Prophet (saw) , some people from Bani Tamim came to him. The Prophet (saw) said, “O Bani Tamim! Accept the good news!” They said, “You have given us the good news; now give us (something).” (After a while) some Yemenites entered, and he said to them, “O the people of Yemen! Accept the good news, as Bani Tamim have refused it. ” They said, “We accept it, for we have come to you to learn the Religion. So we ask you what the beginning of this universe was.” The Prophet (saw) said “There was Allah and nothing else before Him and His Throne was over the water, and He then created the Heavens and the Earth and wrote everything in the Book.” Then a man came to me and said, ‘O `Imran! Follow your she-camel for it has run away!” So I set out seeking it, and behold, it was beyond the mirage! By Allah, I wished that it (my she-camel) had gone but that I had not left (the gathering). “
Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 7418 Book 97, Hadith 46)
Narrated Waki’ bin Hudus:
from his uncle Abu Razin who said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Where was our Lord before He created His creation?’ He said: ‘He was (above) the clouds – no air was under him, no air was above him, and He created His Throne upon the water.‘”
Ahmad [bin Mani’] said: “Yazid bin Harun said (regarding) the air – ‘It means there was nothing with him.”
Source: (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3109 Book 47, Hadith 161)
Classical Islamic theology, indeed the orthodox position is that Allah (swt) exist as he was without a place. In other words there was no spatial existence. In fact the classical Islamic theological position and indeed the orthodox position is that “and He is now as He was then.” There has been no text in the Qur’an or the Sunnah to suggest to us that this has ever changed. That is to say that Allah (swt) is no longer in existence without a place but has no incarnated into his creation.
The heretical view of incarnation adopted by those who call themselves Salafi or Athari.
That the ‘where’ of Allah (swt) has changed from existence without a place to a doctrine that Allah (swt) has incarnated into his creation, namely the seventh heaven and has settled over the Throne.
This is to believe that Allah (swt) is above the Throne.
They take the following text as evidence:
“It is Allah who created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six days; then He established Himself above the Throne. You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an 32:4)
“Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne, arranging the matter. There is no intercessor except after His permission. That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Then will you not remember?” (Qur’an 10:3)
“The All-Merciful, established firmly upon the Throne.” (Qur’an 20:5)
The heretics among the Muslims take the apparent meaning of these verses and want to establish this as a point of creed and contention with the majority of the Muslims. They want us to believe as the Christians that the Almighty can go from being without a place to being ‘in’ the creation.
Abdullah ibn Nafi’ reported: Malik, may Allah have mercy on him, was asked about the saying of Allah Almighty, “The Most Merciful rose above the Throne,” (20:5). The man said, “How is his rising?” Malik said, “The rising is acknowledged, its modality is unknown, and asking about it is an innovation. I see you are a man who intended evil with this question.”
Source: (al-Istidhkār 2/529)
It is bizarre that an individual who seeks knowledge is being shutdown as an ‘innovator’. That was what they were able to get up to in those days. These days simply answering, ‘I do not know’ or ‘allow me to consult with the more learned on this matter’ is the acceptable approach.
Now saying that the modality is unknown or the ‘howness’ of something is both modest and honest. Does anyone really claim to know the ‘howness’ of Allah (swt) bringing something into being from nothing other than He says, ‘Be’ and it ‘becomes’.
Since the modality is not known for this ‘istiwa’, then, it is not appropriate for Muslims to believe that Allah (swt) went from existing without a place to existing in His creation. If the howness is not not known than there exist ambiguity and if a text contains ambiguity we have a guiding principle in the Qur’an.
“It is He who has sent down to you the book. In it are verses absolutely clear, they are the basis of the book; and others are not entirely clear. As for those in whose hearts there is deviation (from the truth), they follow what is unclear thereof, seeking mischief, and seeking for its hidden meanings. And none knows its interpretation save Allah and those firmly rooted in knowledge. They say, “We believe in it; all is from our Lord.” And none remember, save those who possess intellect.” (Qur’an 3:7)
“Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge.” (Qur’an 17:36)
Since we have a statement attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) ” The Prophet (saw) said “There was Allah and nothing else before Him.” and we do not have any explicit text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah that has told us that this has changed there is no reason not to believe that this is still the case.
All those verses that the heretics bring to suggest that Allah (swt) has gone from existing without a place to incarnated into place cannot bring a single text from the Qur’an or Sunnah to suggest that Allah (swt) is there now.
Meaning for the sake of argument if Allah (swt) was ‘there’ there is no indication that he is still ‘there’. After all they are the ones who argue that Allah (swt) went from being without a place to incarnating into his creation.
When asked: “Where is Allah?” There is no textual proof from the Qur’an or the Sunnah to say, ‘Above the heavens’ or ‘above the throne’. You could argue from their heretical perspective that Allah (swt) did that before, but it cannot be argued that it is still the case.
We have evidence contrary to the idea that ‘above the throne’ is some default position for Allah (swt).
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) as saying: Our Lord who is blessed and exalted descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last one-third of the night remains, and says: Who supplicated Me so that I may answer him? Who asks of Me so that I may give to him? Who asks My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?
Source: (Sunan Abi Dawud 1315 Book 5, Hadith 66)
The belief that when this happens that Allah (swt) is still above the Throne, simultaneously while he descends is dhaan (speculation) and kalaam (theology) that is not supported by any evidence in the Qur’an or the Sunnah.
We have textual evidence for our belief.
“Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah (yadu l-lahi) is over (fawqa) their hands. So he who breaks his word only breaks it to the detriment of himself. And he who fulfills that which he has promised Allah – He will give him a great reward.” (Qur’an 48:10)
So we can see in the above text that ‘yad’ (hand) is used as a metaphor. And the word ‘fawqa’ (above) which is frequently used to determine spatial location; here means more authoritative and superior in power.
In fact if you go and look at the doctrine of the incarnation (which is what Athari/Salafi) creed is you will see they rely upon dhaan (speculation) and kalaam (theology) that is not supported by any evidence in the Qur’an or the Sunnah. It is fulan fulan, qala shaykh so and so.
The above site says:
“Or He created it outside Himself, then He entered it, which is impossible because Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is far above residing in any created things. These two scenarios are wrong, and this is one of the matters concerning which there is no dispute at all among the Muslims;
“Or He created it outside Himself, and He is not residing in it. This is the truth, and nothing else is possible. Allah will not accept anything else from us; rather He has forbidden to us that which contradicts it.”
Once you understand why the heretics claim that it is impossible that Allah (swt) can enter into His creation then you will understand why we do not believe that Allah (swt) is IN the seventh heaven over the throne, in an apparent sense.
Saying that , “Allah (swt) is in the seventh heaven but is not residing in it” is a kalaam (theological) statement without proof. Because the apparent meaning of the text is that He (swt) is indeed IN the seventh heaven and is indeed residing IN it. If that were not the case we wouldn’t need to spend so much time refuting the heretics who believe it.
That is why they always add that clause (in a way that befits his majesty). What they really mean is they have a preconceived idea of what the Creator is and know how the apparent meaning of the text sounds and they are embarrassed about it and thus they need to always keep adding that clause.
I call the Salafi/Athari concept of God, The God of Embarrassment. Because they keep having to add embarrassment clauses after stating what they feel are facts about God. If they are facts about God than man up and own it and stop being embarrassed about it!
You will never see a Christian say, “God became a man, in a way that befits his majesty.” “Jesus wept in a way that befits his majesty.” “Jesus ate broiled fish and honeycomb in a way that befits his majesty.”
“However, the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.” (Genesis 11:5)
I never have in my entire time as a Christian, or even until this day have I ever heard any Christian say, “God came down in a way that befits his majesty.” In fact I can’t recall such an embarrassment clause when discussing the Creator from any religion except the Salafi/Athari.
As for the bulk of us Muslims we do not believe that Allah (swt) is in a spatial location. We do not believe in the Christian doctrine that Allah entered into a human being. We also do not believe in the Salafi/Athari believe that Allah entered into the the seventh heaven where he is above the throne.