Argumentation About Attributes of Allah Almighty’s & Istawa Alal Arsh (Positioned Above the Throne), By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi

Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani

It should be known that as Allah is unique and unparalleled in His essence, so is He unparalleled and unique in His attributes. Therefore, it is very dangerous to talk about His attributes by using imagination and specify their different states and causations. In this regard the Aqaid (beliefs) of majority of common Muslims are safe as they believe in the Sifaat (attributes) of Allah in general and do not bother to go in their finer details. Companions (Sahaba) and Ancestors (Salf-i-Saaiheen) also used to believe in the same way. Later on, when innovators (Ahle-Bid’at) those who incorporated new things in Islam, which were not in Islam increased in number, Scholastic philosophy (ilm ul Kalam) came into being. At this stage people talked more about the attributes of Allah which in turn led to carelessness in the law suits and other rules of Shari ‘ah. For instance, Allah Ta’ala says in Qur’an:

الرحمن علي العرش استوي

“The most Gracious is firmly established on the throne. “

Now to try to make inquiries about the word “Istawa”, what is meant by it? and what are its different interpretations? Is really a job of great courage when one does not know the reality of one’s own attributes, how can he know the attributes of the Creator (of all worlds).

One should, simply believe that whatever has been said by Allah and His messenger, Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wa sallam) is the absolute reality and that His “Istawa” will be like His essence, His existence (As His existence, essence is unique and unparalleled and impossible to appreciate in this world, as is His essence unique, so is His “Istawa” also unique, unparalleled and impossible to appreciate as it is). What is the need to make inquiries about it when it is neither our entrusted duty nor will we be asked about it. Of course, one should certainly believe that His “lstawa” will not be like our “Istawa”, as Allah Ta’ala says:

ليس كمثله شيئ

“There is nothing whatever like Him”

Now Question remains that how is this “Istawa “, one should not argue about it. It should be left to Allah. Similarly, In a Hadith it is narrated:

ينزل ربنا تبارك و تعالي كل ليلة الي السماء الدنيا

“Our cherisher (Allah Ta’ala) descends towards the sky, which is immediately above the world, every night.

Now one will start thinking what is meant by this descent (Nnzool) (as Allah Ta’ala is everywhere)’ how does it take place? The purpose of Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wa sallam) in informing the Ummat about this is first to make the people to get engaged in thikr and Worship of Allah Ta’ala with eagerness, fervor and presence of mind during this time. One should try to do the same during this time (in which Allah Ta’ala makes a descent towards the Asman-e-Duniya), otherwise one will waste his whole life and will never be able to know the reality of these things.

نیست کس را از حقیقت آگہی    جملہ میرند با دست تہی

No one knows this reality. Everyone is dying without knowing it.

Allah Ta’ala says:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ

“But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not entirely clear, seeking discord and searching for its interpretation”. (3: 7)

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