Doubts & Their Replies: Part 2
July 8, 2007 3 Comments
By: Shaikh Muhammad Nâsir ad-Dîn al-Albânî
The Second Doubt: Area
The reply to it is what Ibn Taimiyyah said on pg. 45 of at-Tadmuriyyah:
An existent thing [that is] not Allah could be meant by [the word] ‘area’. Thus it is created like if I meant the Throne itself, or the heavens itself by [the word] ‘area’. What is non-existent [that is] not Allah, exalted is He, could [also] be meant by it, like if I meant what is above the universe by [the word] ‘area’. It is known that the [legislative] text does not contain affirmation of the word ‘area’, like it contains affirmation of exaltedness, levelness, transcendence and ascension to Him, and similar to that. Nor [does it contain] its negation. And surely, it is known that nothing exists except the Creator and the created. The Creator is unlike the created. Nothing from His essence is in His creation and nothing from His creation is in His essence.
So it is said to whoever negated [the word ‘area’], “By ‘area’, do you mean that it is an existing created thing? For Allah is not inside the created things. Or by ‘area’, do you mean what is beyond the universe? For there is no doubt that Allah is above the universe. Similarly it is said to the one who said Allah is in an area, do you mean by that that Allah is above the universe or do you mean by it that Allah is inside something from the created things? For if you meant the first, then it is true. And if you meant the second, then it is false.
From it, he clarifies that the word ‘area’ is not found in the Book or the Sunnah. Accordingly, its affirmation and its negation are not appropriate, because in both affirmation and negation is what preceded of danger; and if opening room for the opposer to attribute what the embracers of the exaltedness do not speak of to them were all that were in the affirming of [the word] ‘area’, it would be sufficient.
Negating [the word] ‘area’ [mistakenly] thinking that affirming exaltedness for Allah necessitates the affirmation of [the word] ‘area’ is similarly inappropriate, because there are numerous dangers in that. From them is negating the conclusive evidences for affirming exaltedness for Him, exalted is He; and from them is negating the believers’ seeing of their Lord, mighty and sublime is He, on the Day of Standing; the Mu’tazilah and the Shî’ah were explicit in negating it. In his Minhâj, Ibn al-Mutahhir ash-Shî’î justified the mentioned negation with his statement, “because He is not in an area”! As for the Ashâ’irah (or according to [what is] most correct, their later ones) who affirmed the Sighting then contradicted it when they said, “Surely He will be seen, [but] not in an area,” (they mean the exaltedness!), in Minhâj as-Sunnah (2/252), Shaikh of Islam said,
The general masses from people, from the affirmers and the negators of the Sighting say, “Surely the statement of these [ones (i.e., the Asha’irah)] is known to be corrupt by necessity of the intellect, like their statement regarding the Speech. Due to this, Abū ‘Abdillah ar-Râzî mentioned that none of the groups of the Muslims say their statement in the issue of the Speech and the Sighting.
Then he took to refuting the negators from the Mu’tazilah and the Shî’ah with solid calm words, so refer to it for surely it is priceless.
The sum of the statement regarding the [word] ‘area’ is that if what is intended by it is an existent matter that is not Allah, it is created. And Allah, exalted is He, is above His creation; nothing from the created things surrounds Him, nor encompasses Him, for surely, He is distinct from the created things as will come in the book from a group of the imams. And if what is intended by the [word] ‘area’ is non-existent matter i.e., what is above the universe, then there is nothing there except Allah alone.
This last meaning is the intent regarding the speech of the affirmers of exaltedness and the transmitters from the predecessors of the affirmation of the [word] ‘area’ for Allah, exalted is He, just as in al-Qurtubî’s transmission from them at the end of the book.
In al-Kashf ‘an Manâhij al-Adillah (pg. 66), Ibn Rushd said,
The Statement regarding Area: As for this characteristic, then the People of the Sharî’ah from the beginning of the affair have not ceased affirming it for Allah, glorified is He, until the Mu’tazilah negated it. Then the later ones from the Ash’arîs followed them; like Abil-Ma’âlî and whoever was guided by his statement. All of the literal [meanings] of the Legislation necessitate affirmation of the [word] ‘area’; the likes of His statement, exalted is He … (then he mentioned some of the recognized verses, then said,) … until other than that from the verses that if the [incorrect] interpretation was imposed on them, all of the Legislation would become [incorrectly] interpreted, and if it was said about them that they were from the obscure [verses], all of the Legislation would become obscure because all of the laws agree that Allah is in the heaven, and that the angels descend with the Revelation to the Prophets. … .
 [t] I.e., the word ‘area’ (jihah).
 [t] Ar. ‘ulū – transcendence, greatness, grandeur, highness, exaltedness.
 [t] Ar. istiwâ’ – straightness; upright posture; evenness, levelness; equality. It refers to Allah’s establishing Himself over His throne.
 [t] Ar. ru’yah – visual faculty; sight; view; seeing, viewing; vision. It refers to the believers’ seeing of their Lord in the Afterlife.
 [t] I.e., Imam adh-Dhahabî’s Mukhtasar al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-Ghaffâr.
 [t] I.e., the beginning of Islam.
Source: adh-Dhahabî, Shams ad-Dîn (Verification and introduction by Muhammad Nâsir ad-Dîn al-Albânî). Mukhtasar al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-Ghaffâr. Beruit, Lebanon: al-Maktab al-Islâmî, 1991. pgs. 67-76.