Where is Allah?

Abdullah ibn Mushabbib al-Qahtāni

The great Companion Mu‘āwiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Sulami (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I had a bondmaid who tended my sheep by the side of Mount Uhud. One day, I happened to pass that way and found that a wolf had taken a goat from her flock. I am, after all, a man from the children of Adam and I felt sorry -angry -as they feel sorry. So, I slapped her.

I came to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and he informed me that what I did was something g rievous. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I set her free?’ He said: ‘Bring her to me.’ So, I brought her to him. He said to her: ‘Where is Allah?’ She said: ‘In the heaven.’ He said: ‘Who am I?’ She said: ‘You are the Messenger of Allah.’ Thereupon, He said:‘Set her free, f or she is a believer.’”

[Narrated by Muslim]

Saying that Allah is in the heaven means that He is Exalted above the heaven. The preposition “in” here actually means “on”, like the verse that says:

{...And I will crucify you in the trunks of palm trees...}

[Surat Taha: 71]

. “In” in this verse also means “on” - on the trunks of palm trees.We should not have the mistaken idea that the heaven encompasses Allah Almighty. Indeed, He is far exalted and greater than being encompassed by anything of His creation.

Let us pause here for a while, dear readers. Is it permissible for us to describe Allah Almighty by the opposite of what He described Himself with, like Him being present everywhere?

In Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:“Allah Almighty described Himself as the High and the Most High, which is an attribute of praise and exaltation because it is an attribute of perfection; just as He praised Himself as the Magnificent, the All-Knowing, the Omnipotent, the All-Mighty, the Forbearing, the Ever-Living, the All-Sustainer, etc.

So, it is not permissible to describe Him by the opposite of these attributes. For example, we may not ascribe to Him the opposite of highness, which is lowliness, or the opposite of strength, which is weakness.

Indeed, He is far exalted above such imperfections and deficiencies that contradict the attributes of perfection established for Him.”

Part of monotheism is to believe that Allah is High and Exalted above the heavens and truly established above the Throne.

He is indeed above everything, and it could not be otherwise, as He is managing all the worlds.

Allah Almighty says:

{Indeed, your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and earth in six days and then rose over the Throne...}

[Surat al-A‘rāf:54]

Allah Almighty mentions that Jibrīl (Gabriel) and the angels descend to earth. He says:

{The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.}

[Surat al-Qadr: 4]

Descent can only happen from a high place.He also mentions that the angels ascend to Him:

{The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.}

[Surat al-Ma‘ārij: 4]

Allah Almighty also mentions that pious acts and good speech ascend to Him.

He says:

{...To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it...}

[Surat Fātir: 10]

So, to whom the deeds are raised?

If Allah Almighty Himself were everywhere, why would there be sending down, descent and the like?!

Our Lord is far exalted above having anyone similar or equal to Him.

And He is far exalted above having a wife or children.

{And that exalted is the nobleness of our Lord; He has not taken a wife or a son.}

[Surat al-Jinn: 3]

Moreover, Allah Almighty is far exalted above having a partner in His divinity.

{But when He gives them a good [child], they ascribe partners to Him concerning that which He has given them. Exalted is Allah above what they associate with Him.}

[Surat al-A‘rāf: 190]

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