Does Allah rest or does Allah settle or sit on the throne? Judaism and the Athari Creed

“Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer (l-qayumu) of existence. Neither  DROWSINESS (sinatun) overtakes Him nor (nawmun) SLEEP. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is presently before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation TIRES (yauduhu) Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Qur’an 2:255) 

 Notice that in the verse it says that Allah (swt) is l-Qayyum -that is that Allah (swt) is the sustainer of existence. There is nothing that supports or sustains Allah (swt) in any way. 

Next, we get a series of three terms: Sinatun, Nawmun, Yauduhu.

Those three words combined form a powerful one-two-three knock out punch that negates the following for Allah (swt): 

It negates: sleep, the need to re-energized, rest, refresh, settle, sit, repose, recline, or have recess. Human beings need to sleep, re-energize, rest, refresh, settle, sit, repose, recline, or have recess because we have inherent weaknesses. 

Now many Muslims assume that the above text is somehow a negation of tenet or belief of Judaism.  The idea that God “rested” on the 7th day.  Namely, they have in mind the following text:

“It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17)

As well as: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from his work.” (Genesis 2:2)

However, this is what the TNCH (Jewish Scriptures) also says:

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

“Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”(Isaiah 40:29)

Sabbath in the Qur’an.

Also, one will not fail to note that the Allah (swt) mentions that the Sabbath was indeed prescribed for the Jews and that it does not connect it to Allah (swt) resting. 

“Surely the Sabbath (day of rest) was made only for the ones who differed about it; and surely your Lord will indeed judge between them on the Day of the Resurrection concerning (the things) about which they used to differ.” (Qur’an 16:124)


 Notice the statement: “only for the ones who differed about it.” This has many implications. They could have differed on the jurisprudence aspect of it. They could have differed on the theological aspect of it. It is my contention that the Qur’an has come to negate the idea of Allah (swt) sitting, settling, in a state of reclining, repose, refreshing, resting, and so forth. 

“And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath (day of rest), and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.” (Qur’an 2:65)

“O you who were given the Scripture, believe in what We have sent down confirming that which is with you before We obliterate faces and turn them toward their backs or curse them as We cursed the sabbath-breakers (day of rest). And ever is the decree of Allah accomplished.” (Qur’an 4:47)

“And We raised over them the mount for refusal of their covenant; and We said to them, “Enter the gate bowing humbly”, and We said to them, “Do not transgress on the sabbath(day of rest)“, and We took from them a solemn covenant.” (Qur’an 4:154)

“And ask them about the town that was by the sea – when they transgressed in the matter of the sabbath (day of rest) – when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath (day of rest)day, and the day they had no sabbath (day of rest) they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient.”(Qur’an 7:163)


The various terms used for sabbath in the above passages are Yasbituna, Subatan, l-sabti, sabtihim and l-sabtu.

All of these words give the understanding of the need to re-energize, rest, refresh, settle, sit, repose, recline, or have recess. Yet none of these are related in the text about Allah (swt). 

However, the TNCH (Jewish Scriptures) are filled with the idea of Allah (swt) sitting. 

“Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting (יֹשֵׁ֣ב) on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.” (1 Kings 22:19)

יֹשֵׁ֣ב means:

a primitive root; properly, to sit down (specifically as judge. in ambush, in quiet); by implication, to dwell, to remain; causatively, to settle, to marry:–(make to) abide(-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell(-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit(-ant), make to keep (house), lurking, X marry(-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set(- tle), (down-)sit(-down, still, -ting down, -ting (place) -uate), take, tarry 

We can see the word used again here:

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated (יֹשֵׁ֣ב) on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

“Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on (וְעַל֙) the throne was a figure like that of a man.” (Ezekiel 1:26)

וְעַל֙ means:

Orig: properly, the upper part, used only adverbially with prefix upward, above, overhead, from the top, etc.:– above, exceeding(-ly), forward, on (X very) high, over, up(-on, -ward), very.

“Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took did sit (יְתִ֑ב).” (Daniel 7:9)

Orig: (Aramaic) corresponding to; to sit or dwell: -dwell, (be) set, sit

Grk Strong: 1) to sit, dwell 1a) (P’al) to sit, be seated 1b (Aphel) to cause to dwell

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he (וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙)rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:2)

וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ means:

Orig: a primitive root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causative, figurative or specific):–(cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away

“The Lord has established (הֵכִ֣ין) his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”(Psalm 103:19)

הֵכִ֣ין means:

1) to be firm, be stable, be established
1a) (Niphal)
1a1) to be set up, be established, be fixed
1a1a) to be firmly established
1a1b) to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring
1a1c) to be fixed, be securely determined
1a2) to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast (moral sense)
1a3) to prepare, be ready
1a4) to be prepared, be arranged, be settled
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to establish, set up, accomplish, do, make firm
1b2) to fix, make ready, prepare, provide, provide for, furnish
1b3) to direct toward (moral sense)
1b4) to arrange, order
1c) (Hophal)
1c1) to be established, be fastened
1c2) to be prepared, be ready
1d) (Polel)
1d1) to set up, establish
1d2) to constitute, make
1d3) to fix
1d4) to direct
1e) (Pulal) to be established, be prepared
1f) (Hithpolel) to be established, be restored 

As regards to the understanding in Genesis 2:2 that God ‘gets tired,’ I would encourage the readers to check out the following links:

As well as

A need for rest? No — “rested” simply means “desisted from exertion”, i.e., stopped what one was doing. The Hebrew word for “rest” (shabath) is used in the context of something ceasing or lacking, or in the sense of celebration (see Lev. 2:13; 23:32; the Greek in Heb. 4:4 has a similar meaning.) 

I would also encourage the readers to watch this highly interesting exchange between popular Salafi Athari “Ali Dawah” and a Jewish gentleman. 

Unfortunately, the title of the video is dishonest clickbait (in order to get more views) However, the exchange is highly informative.

@4:55 “Use their mind over the text”-Ali Dawah

@6:45 “Do you believe that God rested on the 7th day?”-Ali Dawah

The Jewish man replies: “In an Anthroporomizhed way, in a way that befits his majesty yeah.”

Notice after Ali Dawah brings up Qur’an 2:55 the response of the Jewish man.

He is aware of the clear text he quotes the Pslams passage. “Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)

@8:38 The Jewish man continues: “He doesn’t sleep as it says in the Psalms and yet we know in Genesis he did something on the seventh day which is called “rest”

We don’t know what that means because of course, it is anthropomorphism.

@9:04 “It’s ascribing physical attributes to God even though we know that he’s not physical”

(Notice Ali Dawah shaking his head in agreement!)  The Jewish man continues…”God’s rest is not the same as our rest.

God’s speech is not the same as our speech. God’s hand is not the same as our hand.” 

Ali Dawah realizing he has no scope to engage the man as Jewish Athari vs a Muslim Athari he decides to take the Ashari/Maturidi/Mutazlite approach with the Jewish gentleman.

“When he said he rested, God willed certain things but on the 7th day he didn’t will that what you mean?”-Ali Dawah

The Jewish man replies: “Because God is above our understanding I don’t know what it actually means when it says, “he rested. I know that it says that God ceased from doing on the seventh day.”   

Quite the insightful exchange!

The New Testament and God Sitting.

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on(καθήμενον) it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them” (Revelation 20:11)

καθήμενον means: 

To sit, be seated, enthroned, dwell, reside, From kata and hemai, to sit down, figuratively, to remain, reside.

” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone(αθήμενος) sitting on it.” (Revelation 4:2)

“And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who(καθημένῳ) sits on it.” (Matthew 23:22)



The Qur’an never mentions about Allah (swt) resting, sitting, reclining, settling, in a state of repose, or recess. These are the verses that some with twisted hearts and twisted theologies try and pervert so that the masses of the Muslims will follow the mistaken beliefs of those who have gone before us.

“Your Lord is God, who created the heavens and earth in six Days, then ( is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi ); He makes the night cover the day in swift pursuit; He created the sun, moon, and stars to be subservient to His command; all creation and command belong to Him. Exalted be God, Lord of all the worlds!” (Qur’an 7:54)

“It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you can see; then ( is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi )and made subject the sun and the moon, each running its course for a specified term. He arranges each matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain. (Qur’an 13:2)

“The Most Merciful who is (alā l-ʿarshi is’tawā).” (Qur’an 20:5)

“He who created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days and then (is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi), the Most Merciful, so ask about Him one well informed.” (Qur’an 25:59)

“It is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six days; then (is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi). You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an 32:4)

It is important to know that all five of the above verses are speaking about the exact same thing.

I am really not fond of pretty much all of the translations above. The way the vast majority of them translate the phrase is heresy.    

So let us compare/contrast something:  

“Thus, the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:1-2)

“It is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six days; then (is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi). You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an 32:4)

Notice that both of these texts are in relation to Allah (swt) creating the heavens and the earth. Then it says something happens after it.

For Judaism, it is that God “rested”. 

For Muslims, it is that God then “is’tawa ala l-arsh”. 

If we understand this as rested, reposed, refreshed, recess, settled, sat, reclined, re-energized than indeed we are in error. 


Recall the name of Allah (swt) here:

“Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer (l-qayumu) of existence.” (Qur’an 2:255).

This is why it is impossible for us to believe that Allah (swt) settled, sat, rested, reclined over the throne.

It contradicts the very concept of Al-Qayum. It contradicts two pieces of evidence from the Qur’an. “And there will bear the Throne of your Lord above them, that Day, eight of them” (Qur’an 69:17).

“The angels that bear the Throne and those that are around to extol your Lord’s glory with His praise, they believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for the believers, saying: “Our Lord! You encompass everything with Your Mercy and Knowledge. So forgive those that repent and follow Your Path, and guard them against the chastisement of Hell.” (Qur’an 40:7)

Some Muslims who follow the Athari creed have taken their apparent reading of the text too far. Even quoting such hadith to state that the throne groans on account of the immense weight of Allah (swt). Pure anthropomorphism. 

As for al-Qadi Abu Ya’la Al Athari’s words: “The groaning is because of the pressure of the Essence of Allah on it.” This again shows these people were foremost in likening Allah (swt) to his creation, a form that occupies space.  Source: (Ibn al-Jawzi Daf Shubuh al-tashbih p. 268)

The same is repeated by another famous Athari and compiler of hadith, Al Darimi Al Athari. He stated: “If the Lord sits on a chair or foot-stool (kursi), a kind of groaning is heard similar to that of the new camel saddle. This is because of the pressure of Allah’s Essence on top of it.”  Source: (al-Naqd ‘ala al-jahmiyyah pg 92 and 182)

This same scholar beholden to Athari creed asks: “Is istiwa other than by sitting (julus)?”  Source: (al-Naqd ‘ala al-jahmiyyah pg 5)

“Muhammed the Messenger of Allah will be seated by His Lord on the Throne next to Him.”-Ibn Taymiyya “I have read in a book by our contemporary Ibn Taymiyya (Al Athari) written in  his own hand and which he entitled Kitab al-Arsh (The Book of the Throne): “Allah the exalted sits (yajilsu) on the kursi, and He has left a space vacant for the Prophet to sit with him.”

Source: (Abu Hayyan, Tafsir al nahr-al-madd 1:254 (Ayat al-kursi)

This is also the view of the famous Sufi, Abdul Qadir Gilani Al Hanbali Al Athari when he stated:

وأهـل السنة يعتقدون أنّ الله يجلس رسوله ونبيه المختار على سائر أنبيائه ورسله معه على العرش يوم القيامة

“Ahlus Sunnah believe that  Allah chose his messenger and Prophet over all the other Prophets and messengers to sit with Him over his throne on the day of judgment.” Source: (al Ghuniya 1/150)

Comments: Both of the above quotations and attributions are in dispute.  Al Ausi says that it is not in any of the extant manuscripts that he has seen. The other side claims that Al Ghuniya contains forgeries.  Allah (swt) knows best.

This is very similar to what you find in the New Testament.

“Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (Matthew 20:23)

Imagine if that request was granted the disciples would be sitting in between Jesus and God!  Those who claim that istiwa means al-julus (sitting) or al-istiqrar (settlement) Is making Allah (swt) like a body. They are claiming the Creator is sitting or settling on the throne.   

Shaykh al-Uthaimeen Al Athari and his belief in Allah (swt) sitting. 

The following is taken from

Says Pseudo Salafi Shaykh’ al-Uthaimeen in Majmu Fatawa (vol. 1, no. 57) quoting Ibn al-Qayyim [provided by sh. Abul Hasan]:


وأما تفسيره بالجلوس فقد نقل ابن القيم في الصواعق 4/1303 عن خارجة بن مصعب في قوله تعالى :  )الرحمن على العرش استوى((1) قوله: “وهل يكون الاستواء إلا الجلوس”. ا.هـ. وقد ورد ذكر الجلوس في حديث أخرجه الإمام أحمد عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما مرفوعاً. والله أعلم

rough translation:

With respect to the sitting, Ibn al-Qayyim has reported in As-Sawaaiq 1303/4 from Kharijah bin Mus’ab with respect to the saying of Allah the Exalted: The ayah: Ar-Rahmanu Alal Arshi Istawa, “How can the ascension be anything other than sitting?” and the mention of sitting has been reported in the Hadeeth from Imam Ahmad from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, in a Marfu’ fashion. And Allah Knows best

And, to quote Sh. Abul Hasan:

Ibn al-Qayyim is talking about a non-existent narration in the Musnad of Ahmad [i.e. he has fabricated] through Kharija who is actually matruk in hadith anyway!

Similar statements are found in the book Kitab al-sunna attributed to `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 290) by the pseudo-salafis, but whose stand in relation to the Sunna and anthropomorphism can be judged by the following excerpt:

10 حدثني أحمد بن سعيد أبو جعفر الدارمي قال سمعتُ أبي يقول سمعت خارجة يقول الجهمية كفار بلغوا نساءهم أنهن طوالق وأنهن لا يحللن لازواجهن لا تعودوا مرضاهم ولا تشهدوا جنائزهم ثم تلا : ﴿طه * مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَى * إِلاَّ تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَى * تَنزِيلاً مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ الأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى * الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى﴾ ، وهل يكون الاستواء الا بجلوس.


Is istiwa other than by sitting (julus)?” – page 5, Kitab al-sunna (Cairo: al-Matba`a al-Salafiya, 1349/1930).

In the book Qudum Kataib al-Jihad li Ghazwi Ahl al-Zindiqah wa al-Ilhad, the pseudo-salafi shaykh’ Abdul ‘Aziz al-Rajihi says after quoting Kitab al-Sunna:

[rough translation of an excerpt from above]


These words are correct undoubtedly. Yes; is istiwa anything other than sitting? This is one of the meanings of the word istiwa . . . . So the verse, “The All-Merciful rose over the Throne” means ascended and sat; however, it is in a way that befits His majesty. 

“We believe that He “created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, then He settled Himself on the throne; He manages everything” (10:3).

His “settling on the throne” means that He is SITTING IN PERSON on His throne in a way that is becoming to His majesty.”

We have even recently heard an innovated statement in theology from the words of popular

Youtuber Mohamed Hijab al-Athari when he stated in a discussion with another Muslim that Allah (swt) was over the throne not physically but in essence!

@12:15 Mohamed Hijab al-Athari says, “No one says physically we say bi dhatihi, we say bi dhatihi.” Where did the blessed Prophet (saw) say, “bi dhatihi?” This is clear misguidance.   

So what is a possible understanding of (is’tawa ‘ala l-arsh) that is consistent with the text and theology of the Qur’an?

“It is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six days; then (is’tawā ʿalā l-ʿarshi). You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an 32:4)

First, it should be apparent that all of the text that states: (is’tawa ‘ala l-arsh) are in reference to the same event. I don’t know of anyone who disputes this.

Second, when all those texts are juxtaposed together we should understand that they cannot be taken by their apparent meaning. Why? Because the apparent meaning of the text is that Allah (swt) created everything in six days. Allah (swt) has told us clearly that a day is not as we understand it.

“And they urge you to hasten the punishment. But Allah will never fail in His promise. And indeed, a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of those which you count.” (Qur’an 22:47)

“The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.” (Qur’an 70:4)

As Muslims, it is not our theology that Allah (swt) took either 6000 years or 350,000 years to create the heavens and the earth.

“The originator of the heavens and the earth, When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, “Be’, and it is.” (Qur’an 2:117) 

Unless the Athari is going to say that Allah (swt) needed the aid of time, they cannot take the verse on its apparent meaning. The unfolding of events in sequence or cause and effect is what we perceive as beings contained in space/time. 

The word “is’tiwa” has 15 meanings among them are: sit, settle, stabilize protect, subjugate, conquer, preserve, maintain. We have already shown that it cannot mean sit, settle, or anything that remotely resembles rest, repose, refresh recess. 

Also, maybe not enough attention has been paid to the word ‘arsh’ or ‘throne’.  There are other places where the word is used in the Qur’an and they are used to represent power and dominion. It is very clear that 

He said, “Disguise for her throne (arshaha); we will see whether she will be guided [to truth] or will be of those who is not guided.” (Qur’an 27:41)

It is very clear that this ‘Arsh’ must be something significant for Allah (swt) even to take notice of it, mention it and specify his being ‘ala’ over it to begin with. So that Arsh itself is symbolic of the dominion and power of Allah (swt).  The number 6 is symbolic, the throne is symbolic but what is real is that Allah (swt) is ALL POWERFUL, SOVERIGN, and MOST HIGH OVER ALL CREATION!

As for those who believe that our Creator rest, sits, settles, or is in Creation be it one place or every place, I leave them with the words of Allah (swt).

“Exalted is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.” (Qur’an 43:82)


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