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BELIEVING ALLH IS IN A PLACE IS KUFR AND APOSTASY By Abu Hudhayfah

'In sh'a-llh you will find in this document evidence from most reliable scholars showing that believing Allh is in a place, such as sitting on the Throne, is kufr, disbelief. In the second part we put the texts which will leave you without a doubt that when scholars called such an abhorrent belief kufr, they did mean apostasy (riddah), which is to stop being a Muslim and going to hell for ever if one does not repent. In the third part we shall show what is the origin of the belief that God sits on the Throne. Click on these headings underneath to go straight to the chapters. 1 BELIEVING ALLH IS IN A PLACE IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH ISLAM 2 BELIEVING ALLH IS IN A PLACE IT NULLIFIES 'MN 3 WHERE DOES THE BELIEF GOD SITS ON THE THRONE COME FROM? ***************************

BELIEVING ALLH IS IN A PLACE IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH ISLAM

Imam ^Aliyy (radiya-llhu ^anhu) said: Allh created the Throne to show His power, He did not take it as a place for himself (alFarqu bayna lFiraq of 'Ab Mansr alBaghddiyy)

Allh does not sit on the Throne

^Aliyy said: Allh was when there was no space and He is now as He was (reported in AlFarq bayna lFiraq of 'Ab Mansr alBaghddiyy)

Imam 'Ab Hanfah (radiya-llhu ^anhu) said in alWasiyyah: If He needed to sit or establish Himself, where would He be then before the creation of creation. Allh is much too great to have anything to do with this. Imam 'Ahmad arRif^iyy alKabr (radiya-llhu ^anhu), who lived around the year 600 after Hijrah, said:

which means: "The ultimate knowledge about Allh is to be certain that Allh exists without a how or a place

Allh does not sit on the Throne

In alFiqh al'Absat, Imam 'Ab Hanfah (radiya-llhu ^anhu) excommunicated (kaffara) whomever claimed that Allh is in a place. In this book he wrote: Whoever says, I do not know whether my Lord is in heaven or on earth has committed kufr. The same applies to the one who says, He is on the Throne and I do not know whether the Throne is in Heaven or on earth. (From alFiqh al'Absat, within a collection of Imam 'Ab Hanfahs epistles checked by alKawthariyy)

It is reported that the Imam and mujtahid 'Ab Hanfah anNu^mn ibn Thbit: What do say if you are told Where is Allh?. He answered: We say (to this person): Allh ta^l was when there was not space, before creating creation. Allh ta^l was when there was no where, no creation, nothing and He is the Creator of everything (Extract from alFiqh al'Absat among a collection of epistles of 'Ab Hanfah, checked by alKawthariyy).

al^Izz ibn ^AbdisSalm (d. 660 H.) agreed with the Imam when he said in Hallu rRumz: Because this statement allows imagining that the Truth is in a place. Whoever deludes himself into believing that the Truth is in a place is a mushabbih. A mushabbih is a person who compares Allh with His creatures, this type of kufr is called tashbh (comparison).

Mulla ^Aliyy alQr, the famous Hanafi scholar, agreed with that, for he wrote: and there is no doubt that al^Izz ibn ^AbdisSalm is one of the most august scholars and one of the most reliable, so it is a duty to rely on what he reported.

Allh does not sit on the Throne

The Hanafi Imam, Hfiz1 and faqh2 'Ab Ja^far atTahwiyy (d. 321) wrote in his ^Aqdah: And whoever describes Allh with words whose meaning refer to creatures, this person commits kufr.

Shaykh Shihbuddn 'Ahmad ibn Muhammad alMisriyy, who was a Shfi^i and 'Ash^ari scholar known as Ibn Hajar alHaytamiyy (d. 974 H.), wrote: Know that alQarfiyy and others reported from ashShfi^iyy, Mlik, 'Ahmad and 'Ab Hanfah (radiya-llhu ^anhu) that people who say that God is in a direction or has a body commit kufr, and they competent to declare that.

Mulla ^Aliyy alQr (d. 1014 H.) said: Who is more unjust than the person who lies about Allh, who makes a specific and comprehensive statement declaring that He is in a place, that He has an appearance/shape, is in a direction such as opposite, declaring that He is affected by distances and similar things. Such a person necessarily becomes a disbeliever

Hfiz is an abbreviation for Hfiz alHadth, i.e. a scholar of Hadth who has reached the top level of Hadth science through talaqq (learning from an authorised person) and memorising. At that level only such a scholar may give opinion on the reliability of Hfiz Hadths. 2 A faqh (jurist) is an expert in fiqh, Islamic laws, rules, rituals and rites. Allh does not sit on the Throne

The august scholar, muhaddith3 and faqh 'Abu lMahsin Muhammad alQwqajiyy, of the Hanafi school, from Tripoli in Lebanon (d.1305 H.) wrote in al'I^timd bil'I^tiqd: Whoever says I do not know I do not know whether Allh is in heaven or on earth, commits kufr, because he has stated that one of them is a place for Him.

In alFatwa lHindiyyah, a book written by a group of Indian scholars, it is written : (a person) commits kufr by testifying that Allh ta^l is in a place. If he says: Allh is in heaven (in Arabic) , if he just means to convey what is apparent in the hadths, he does not commit kufr, but if he means in a place, he has committed kufr (alFatwa lHindiyyah is also known as alFatwa l^lamgriyyah).

Imam 'Abu lHasan al'Ash^ariyy (radiya-llhu ^anhu) said in Kitbu nNawdir: Whoever believes that Allh is a body does not know his Lord and disbelieves (is a kfir) in Him. To say that Allh sits on the Throne is stating that He has a body He sits with.

The Mliki scholar, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad ^Ullaysh (d. 1299 H.), when he mentioned what makes a person fall into kufr (may Allh protect us from it) wrote: such as believing that Allh has a body and is confined in a space, for this entails that
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Expert in Hadth science through talaqq (learning from an authorised person) and memorising. Not every muhaddith reaches the level of Hfiz alHadth. Allh does not sit on the Throne

He is a creation and that He needs a creator (from Manhu lJall, Sharhu Mukhtasari Khall).

BELIEVING ALLH IS IN A PLACE NULLIFIES 'MN


The next quotes show that the kufr of those who believe Allh to sit on the Throne is indeed apostasy. This quote of Imam asSubkiyy describes the legal consequences of believing Allh to be in a place, these measures are part of the usual judgement for apostasy (riddah)

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Shaykh Mahmd ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ahmad Khattb asSubkiyy alMisriyy (d. 1362 H.) said : Some people asked me, who sought to know religion and the position of the scholars of the first centuries (salaf) of afterwards (khalaf) on the issue of nonexplicit (mutashbih) verses and hadths. They said: What do the scholarly masters say (may Allh ta^l protect them) about a person who believes that Allh ^azza wajall is in a direction, that He sits on the Throne in a particular place and says that this is the belief of the salaf and encourages people to adopt this belief and says to
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them, Whoever does not believe that is a disbeliever (kfir), as God said: The Merciful One did 'istiw' on the Throne and Do you feel safe from the one who is in heaven (in sura alMulk)? Is this belief correct or wrong? If it is wrong, does the one who professes the aforementioned belief commit kufr? Are all previous religious deeds such as prayer and fasting deprived of rewards and his marriage to his wife invalidated? If he dies before repenting, is he to be washed and buried in Muslims graveyards? Are those who followed him in this belief disbelievers like him? With Allhs help I answered: In the name of Allh the Merciful God, praise Allh who guides to what is correct, may Allh raise the rank of the one4 who was given wisdom et eloquence and protect his community from what he fears for them, and may He bless his family and Companions whom Allh guided, and in whom He created the ability to obey and the correct religion. As for what you mentioned, the ruling is that this belief is wrong and is the credo of a disbeliever, by unanimity ('ijm^) of Muslims scholars who considered it. The rational proof for this is the fact that Allh has no beginning and is different from creatures. The revealed evidence is where Allh said (what means), Nothing is like unto Him and He is the One who hears and sees. Anybody who believes that God is found in a place, some creation came in contact with Him, such as the Throne, the Pedestal (alKursiyy), heaven, earth or anything else, any such person is undoubtedly a kfir. All his previous goods deeds, whether they are prayer, fasting, pilgrimage or anything else are deprived of rewards and his marriage to his wife is invalidated. It is a duty for him to repent immediately. If he dies with this belief, God forbid, he is not to be washed nor prayed for and he is not to be buried in Muslims graveyards. The same applies to anyone who adopted his belief, may Allh protect us from our own evil and our bad deeds. As for his encouraging people to take up the same blasphemous belief and the fact that he says to them, Anybody who does not believe that is a disbeliever (kfir), this from his part is kufr and an enormous slander5 (excerpt fro Ithfu lKint).

Shaykh alKawthariyy, representative of Islamic scholars under the Ottomans (d. 1371 H.), said: Declaring that Allh ta^l is in a direction is considered to be kufr by the four Imams who are the guides of this Community ('Ummah) as al^Irqiyy reported it from them about what is in Sharhu lMishkh of ^Aliyy alQr (From alMaqlt of alKawthariyy)

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I.e. Prophet Muhammad, ^alayhi ssaltu wassalm. Against religion.

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Shaykh ^AbdulGhaniyy anNbulusiyy, the Hanafi scholar, said: He who believes that Allh fills the heavens and earth or that He is a body sitting above the Throne (ceiling of Paradise; throne) is a kfir, even though he claims to be a Muslim

There is no margin for the interpretation of the kufr mentioned in these texts, they do not refer to a mere enormous sin, they, refer to a belief which actually takes out of Islam, as the following texts make it abundantly clear:

'Abu lQsim alQushayriyy (d. 465 H.) said in his Rislah : I heard Imam 'Ab Bakr ibn Frak (may Allh ta^l have mercy on him) say, I heard 'Ab ^Uthmn alMaghribiyy say, I used to believe something about God being in a direction. When I arrived in Baghdad, this disappeared from my heart so I wrote to our companions in Mecca, I have now come back into Islam.

Imam Ja^far asSdiq said: He who claims that Allh is in something or on something or from something, commits shirk. Because if He was in something, He would be contained, and if He was on something, He would be carried, and if He was from something, He would be a creature.
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The spokesman of Mutakallims, 'Abu lMu^n Maymn ibn Muhammad anNasafiyy, of the Hanafi school (d. 508 H.) said: Allh ta^l rejected any likeness between His reality and everything else; so whoever testifies that He is in a place opposes the explicit text (verse 11 of sura ashShr whose meaning is) nothing is like unto Him which does not bear any other understanding than what is obviously said and whoever rejects a revealed text is a kfir, may Allh protect us from this (from Tabsiratu l'Adillah).

Imam Zayn ad-Din Ibn Nujaym (d. 970 H.) said: He commits kufr by declaring that Allh ta^l is in a place. If he says: Allh is in Heaven, meaning to convey the meaning the apparent meaning of the texts, he does not fall into disbelief but if he meant a place, he has done kufr (extract from alBahru rRiq: chapter on rulings concerning apostates).

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The Hanafi scholar Mul ^Aliyy alQr (d. 1014 H.) said: Who is more unjust than the person who lies against Allh and makes a specific or inclusive statement testifying Allh to be in a space, to have an appearance and a direction, that you could meet Him (in a place), declaring to him be within a distance a similar things, and thus becomes undoubtedly a disbeliever (kfir) (from the explanation of alFiqh al'Akbar: after the end of the explanation of arRislah). The shaykh also said: Whoever believes that Allh does not know things before they happen is a kfir and indeed the one who says so is considered as an innovator (min 'ahli lbid^ah). The same applies to the person who says that He subhnahu is a body in a place subjected to time and other similar things, this is a disbeliever, for he has not actually reached the reality of faith ('mn) (same source as the previous quote) He also wrote: Actually, a group of them (from the Salaf) and from the khalaf (later scholars) said, the one who believes God to be in a direction is a kfir, as declared by al^Irqiyy, and he said, This is what 'Ab Hanfah, Mlik, ashShfi^iyy, al'Ash^ariyy and alBqillniyy said. (from Mirqtu lMafth).

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The text in bold are 'Ab Hanfahs own words, the rest is alBaydiyys commentary. The august Hanafi scholar Kamluddn alBaydiyy (d. 1098 H.) said while explaining Imam 'Ab Hanfahs sayings: He (I.e. 'Ab Hanfah) said: So whoever says: I do not know whether Allh is in heaven or on earth is a kfir because he said that someone has somehow specified a direction for the Creator, an area and a clear defect; when anything that is in a specific direction or area needs (someone to have specified this for Him) and is necessarily created. These are words which explicitly attribute Allh with defects. The same applies to a person who says, He is on the Throne and I do not know whether the Throne is in Heaven or on earth because this necessarily entails that he says God is in a direction, an area and that he has an clear defect, especially when he says that He is on earth and denies Gods transcendence6 (^uluww). Indeed this is denying the reality of God who is clear from being confined in a space or similar to creations. This is what shows it:
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Transcendence (^uluww) means that Allh has no limits, is not in space nothing is like Him.

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First: the one who claims God has a body and is in a direction denies the existence of anything else which cannot be located by senses. Among the people who do this are those who do not accept that God is beyond that. Such a person is necessarily and undoubtedly in kufr and he7 showed that when he ruled that the individual becomes a disbeliever. Secondly: charging with infidelity the person who compares God with creatures or believes Him to be confined in a space. This is shown by the aforementioned ruling against the one who utters such words. This is what Imam al'Ash^ariyy chose when he said in anNawdir: Whoever believes that Allh is a body does not know his Lord because he (really) denies His existence, as it is mentioned by 'Abu lQsim al'Ansriyy (from 'Ishrtu lMarm)

Shaykh ^AbdulGhaniyy anNbulusiyy, the Hanafi master (d. 1143 H.) said: As for the types of disbelief (kufr), there are three kinds of them from a religious point of view and all kinds of kufr are included in them. These are tashbh (comparison), ta^tl (denying Allhs attributes) and takdhb (contradicting the revealed texts) as for tashbh, it is to believe that Allh is like anything in His creation such as those who believe Allh ta^l to be a body above the Throne, or they believe Him to have two hands in the meaning of limbs, or they believe Him to be in somebodys image or somebodys condition (kayfiyyah), to imagine Allh to be a light reason can picture, or that He is in Heaven or one of the six directions, in some place or in all places, that He fills the Heavens and the earth, that He is incarnated 8 in something or in all things,
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Imam 'Ab Hanfah. Incarnation (hull) means to be inside something.

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that He is united with something or with all things, that things or something emanated from Him9. All of these are explicit cases of kufr and we seek protection from Allh ta^l. The cause of it is that the person is ignorant of what he follows and goes into extremes. (From alFathu rRabbniyy walFaydu rRahmniyy)

The muhaddith10 and faqh11 ^Abdullh alHarariyy said in asSirtu lMustaqm : It is also kufr for a person to believe that Allh ta^l is confined in space, that Allh is something like air or a light filling a space, a room or a mosque. We do not call mosques houses of Allh because Allh inhabits them but because they are places where Allh is worshipped. It is also kufr to say, Allh lives in th heart of His saints if the person believes that He actually is inside (hull12). The meaning of alMi^rj (the Ascension) is not that the Prophet arrived to a place where the limit of Allh ta^ls existence was13 anyone who believes that commits kufr , what is meant by the Mi^rj is (that the purpose of this journey is) to honour the Messenger (salla-llhu ^alayhi wasallam) by giving him access to marvels in the superior world, to show the greatness of his rank and to let him see the Divine Reality with his heart without this Reality being in space

WHERE DOES THE BELIEF GOD SITS ON THE THRONE COME FROM?
In the Bible they wrote : Revelation 4:2-11 (9) And when the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him Who sits on the throne, to Him Who lives forever and ever, (10) the twenty-four elders will fall
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Emanating means they believe something to have come out of Allh or for creation to be some kind of expansion of Allh. 10 Actually the shaykh is Hfiz alHadth, i.e. a scholar of Hadth who has reached the top level of Hadth and is abilitated to give opinion on the reliability of Hfiz Hadths. 11 Expert in fiqh, Islamic Law and rituals. He is also mufti in the four Sunni schools, qri in all the readings of the Qurn, etc. 12 Hull means incarnation. 13 I.e. The Messenger (salla-llhu ^alayhi wasallam) did not reach a place where God was. Allh does not sit on the Throne

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down before Him Who sits on the throne, and will worship Him Who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, For Thou hast maintained my just cause; Thou dost sit on the throne judging righteously.Psalms 9:4. They wrote: God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne. Psalms 47:8 ...I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah Chapter 6, it is written : 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. In the book called Revelation 19:1-10 they wrote: "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. -------------------The Vision of Rabbi Ishmael Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 7a: It was taught: Said Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha: Once I entered into the inner sanctum to offer incense. And I beheld Akatriel Yah LORD of Hosts sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. ********************* The quotes from Islamic scholars from the first centuries (Salaf) and later generation (khalaf) in this document are only a few from a collection of at least 269 texts which establish beyond doubt the unanimity of the Muslim scholars all along Islamic history, that attributing a place to Allh, such as claiming He sits on the Throne, is apostasy, leaving those who profess it outside the fold of Islam.

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