Ar Rahman ala al-arsh Istawa

A small excerpt taken from Al-Fiqh Al-akbar (The new edition compiled and translated by Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf May Allaah grant him more knowledge and cause him to benefit us more with classic works.) A white Thread Press publication.

Ar Rahman ala al arsh istawa

Page 102

(Qari) Abu Hanifa rahimahullah says in his book Al-Wasiyya, “We agree that Allah is established (istawa) on the Throne without His needing it or resting (istiqrar) on it, and He is the Guardian of the Throne and all besides the Throne. If He were in need, He would not have been able to bring into existence the universe or administrate over its affairs, just as created beings cannot. If He was in need of sitting or settling [on it], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High? In effect, He is transcendent of all this.” [126]

When asked about the establishment (istiwa) on the throne, Imam malik rahimahullah responded by saying, “The establishment is known, the ‘how’ (kayf) is unknown; asking about it is an innovation, and belief in it is obligatory.”

This is the way of the pious predecessors (Salaf) and it is the safest path, and Allah knows best.

In a footnote on pg 103 it is stated

Ta’wil means to “interpret, make sense of, assign a meaning to, give an interpretation or explanation to” as in interpreting the saying “The King defeated the enemy” as the defeat occuring at the hands of the king’s army. Tafwid (relegation) [lit. “to refer to another for decision or judgement”] means to leave any statement revealed about Allah Most High as it was revealed, without elucidating or interpreting it, and consigning its intended explanation to Allah. For instance, Allah says, “(Allah) Most Gracious is firmly established (istawa) on the throne” (20:5). Hence, this information is mentioned in the Qur’an, but the “how” is not known, and asking about it is an innovation, as Imam malik (may Allah have mercy on him) said.

In detail, it can be said that the word ‘arsh, “throne,” is used and the “elevated seat that is encircled by angels” is intended; this is the apparent understanding in the shari’a. The word can also be used to mean “dominion” (mulk) as the poet said, “When the thrones (‘urush) of the sons of Marwan were diminished,” meaning their power and dominion diminished. The word istawa’ can be used to mean “resting” or “becomming settled” (istiqrar) as in the words of Allah Most High: “The ark rested on Mount Judi” (11:44). It is also used to mean “to straighten” or “stand up” as opposed to “Become crooked” as in the words of Allah Most High: “Then it (the plant) stands on its own stem” (48:29). It is also used to mean “completeness” as Allah Most High says, “When he reached full age and was firmly established” (28:14), that is, he had achieved his full body strength. It is also used to mean physical elevation or highness above something, but this meaning is inconceivable for Allah Most High, along with the fact that physical elevation does not necessarily imply exaltedness, since it is possible that a leader be physically situated below his guard despite being superior. Rather, what is meant by istiwa’ [with respect to Allah] is elevation in status and rank.

Interpretation of the Physical Attributes of Allah. As for those who say that “Hand” in the verse “the Hand of Allah is over their hands” (48:10) means an actual physical limb, but the “how” of it is unknown, this is not the opinion of the predecessors (salaf) because the literal meaning of “hand” is the limb, and it is impossible to attribute a limb to Allah. This is corporealism (Tashbih) and anthropomorphism (tajsim). Thus, the difference of opinion regarding ta’wil (interpretation) lies in the understanding of the companions and those after them of the verse: “And no one knows its [the ambiguous verses’] meaning except Allah” (3:7). Hence, whoever consigns the matter to Allah affirms that one must pause at this point in the verse necessarily, [leaving interpretation of the ambiguous verses completely to Allah], and begin again at “And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it, the whole of it is from our Lord,’ and none will grasp the Message except the men of understanding.” But some hold that “and” in this verse is conjunctive (‘atf) with the previous phrase ending with “Except Allah,” such that it reads: “And no one knows its interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge” By this reading, they propose that the knowledgeable ones also know its interpretation. Regardless of this difference, they were all in agreement regarding the transcendence (Tanzih) of Allah and His dissimilarity from any of His creation [confirming the absurdity of attributing a limb to him], and they were in agreement regarding establishing those attributes of Allah that are established int he Quran and the rigorously authenticated narrations. (At-Ta’liq al-Muyassar 301-302)

End of Quote

I suggest everybody to get a keep of Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar from White Thread Press. Brother Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf has truely translated a masterpiece and classic text along with beautiful explanations on the true Creed of the people of the Sunnah.


The only difference in the excerpt above is I mentioned ‘rahimahullah’ (Allah have mercy on him) when mentioning some ulama other than that the text is as I viewed it in the book itself.


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