Question: Christians, like Wahhabis, say that God is in heaven. Do the Bibles contain this belief?
The belief that Hadrat ‘Îsâ (Jesus) has ascended to heaven and has sat on Allah’s right and that Allah is in heaven was interpolated into the Bible afterwards. According to the Wahhabite belief, which was developed by the Christian English, God is in heaven and Hadrat Muhammad sits on His right, too. As a matter of fact, the Wahhabite book Kitab-ul-Arsh says: “Allah sits on the ‘Arsh, and near Himself He leaves a place for Rasûlullah.” This close similarity between Christianity and the Wahhabite belief is not a coincidence. However, all Ahl as-Sunnat scholars state that Allah is free, far from occupying spaces (Allah exists without a place for His existence).
Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî says:
Allahu ta’âlâ is not with time, with place, or with direction. He is not at a place or at any side. He created time, places, and directions. An ignorant person thinks that He is up on the ‘Arsh or in heaven. The ‘Arsh, being above it, and below it are all His creatures. He created all these afterwards. Can something that has been created afterwards ever be a place for One who is eternal and always exists? Allah is not a substance, an object, or a state. He does not have a likeness, a partner, or an apposite. He is unlike the things that we know or that we think of. It cannot be understood or imagined how He is. Everything that comes to the mind about Him is wrong. He is not within the universe or outside the universe. Being within something or outside something is thought between the two existing beings, but this universe has been created in the grade of imagination. The permanent appearance of creation, which has been created in the grade of imagination, is by the power of Allah. (Second Volume, 67th Letter)
Lifeless pictures in a movie move exactly like the living. If you imagine yourself doing some actions, it cannot be said that you are within or outside your imagination because your imagination is not real. So is the case with a dream. When you have a dream in your sleep, you are neither on the right of your sleep nor on the left of it. In your dream, you see without the eyes, hear without the ears, and speak without the tongue. You eat and drink; moreover, you can have another dream in your dream. If your dream continued ceaselessly with the power of Allah, then you would consider your dream real and would think that there is no other life than your dream. Similarly, this worldly life is a mere dream. That is, because this universe has been created in the grade of imagination, it seems to us as if it exists. The One who is eternal in the past and eternal in the future is Allahu ta’âlâ alone. Then it cannot be said that Allah is within or outside this imaginary universe. (Maktûbât-i Rabbânî, The Pamphlet Safar-i Âkhirat)
Ahl as-Sunnat scholars state:
Allah is not above, below, or at one side. Every being is below the ‘Arsh. And the ‘Arsh is under His Power, under His Omnipotence. He is above the ‘Arsh, but this does not mean that the ‘Arsh carries Him. The ‘Arsh exists with His Favor and in His Omnipotence. He is the same now as He was in eternity, in eternal past. He will always be the same in the everlasting future as He had been before creating the ‘Arsh. No change occurs in Him.
Hadrat Imâm-i Ghazâlî says:
Allahu ta’âlâ is free, far from occupying spaces. Since the followers of the false paths did not interpret such words as “istiwa,” “yad (hand)”, and “wajh (face),” they deviated into aberrant ways. Allah’s istiwâ over the ‘Arsh means His bringing it under His control. For example, the meaning of the sentence “The ruler had istiwâ over Iraq without shedding any blood” is that “The ruler conquered it without shedding any blood.” Calling this heresy of theirs “the path of the pious predecessors,” they slander them as well. You must not consider the word yad in the phrase yadullah as the hands. For instance, when it is said, “Such and such a city is in the hands of such and such a governor,” it is understood that city is not in the palm of his hands, but rather he is in control of it. Such words as istiwâ and wajh should be interpreted in this manner. (Iljâm-ul-awâm)
Also, Hadrat Sayyid ‘Abdulhakîm Arwâsî states:
The statement “Allahu ta’âlâ is present and overlooking” is not as it seems to be, but it is a metaphor. That is, it means that He is present [exists] and overlooking [sees] without time and without place, that is, without Him being at any place. As His Attributes are without time and without place, so His being present and overlooking is without time and without place. (Endless Bliss)
It cannot be said that Allah is everywhere
Question: Since Allah is free, far from occupying spaces, is it permissible to say, “He is everywhere”?
To say that “He is everywhere” is to attribute a place to Him. All places, that is, everywhere, have been created by Allahu ta’âlâ. The thing that was created cannot be a place for its Creator. Therefore, we must not say, “He is everywhere,” but we must say, “He is free, far from occupying spaces.” As a matter of fact, Hadrat Sayyid ‘Abdulhakîm Arwâsî states:
If it is said, “Allah is present and overlooking everywhere,” it is not as it seems to be, but it is a metaphor. That is, it means that He is present [exists] and overlooking [sees] without time and without place, that is, without Him being at any place. Otherwise, Allahu ta’âlâ would be considered to be with time and with place, whereas He is not.
For this reason, you must not say “Allah is everywhere.”
‘Arshullah = The ‘Arsh of Allah
Question: I have read in a book that (in the Hereafter) some people will be in the shade of the ‘Arsh of Allahu ta’âlâ. Therefore, does it imply that there will also be ‘Arshs other than Allah’s Arsh?
No, it does not. For example, if we say, “Allahu ta’âlâ puts pious Muslims in His Paradise; disbelievers, in His Hell,” it does not mean that there are other Paradises and Hells. The earth, the heavens, and the stars all belong to Allah. That the ‘Arsh is called ‘Arshullah (the ‘Arsh of Allah) shows the highness of the value of the ‘Arsh. In the Qur’ân al-karîm we see the phrase “the Rabb of Mecca.” Besides, though it is made known that Allahu ta’âlâ is the Rabb of the worlds, of everybody, there is the word Rabbika [which means “Your Rabb”] in it. To say “Your Rabb” is not different from “the Rabb of the worlds.” That is, the Rabb in the phrases “Your Rabb” and “the Rabb of Mecca” is not different. Then why have different expressions been used, though they are not different? Allahu ta’âlâ is far from occupying spaces. As the Kâ’ba is a valuable and precious place, it has been named as Baitullah, that is, the House of Allah. Likewise, as the ‘Arsh is very precious and valuable, the phrase “the Rabb of the ‘Arsh” has been used. Allahu ta’âlâ has made Mecca a secure place. One cannot shed blood, hunt game animals, or pluck live plants there. Therefore, the phrase “the Rabb of Mecca” has been used when this honorable city is mentioned.
Insulting the Kâ’ba
Question: When explaining the importance of a prayer, a hodja, who is crying out of excitement or falsely like artists, says, “When you say this prayer, the waist of the ‘Arsh cracks.” But Allahu ta’âlâ praises the ‘Arsh. So is it permissible for this hodja to say so?
It is not permissible.