Beyond Time and Space: “Where is Allah?”
By Mufti Shafique A Jakhura and Mufti M.D. Mangera
Posted: 22 Muharram 1433, 18 December 2011
Q.Is Allah everywhere, or is He beyond the heavens and the earth?
The issue of “Where is Allah?” is something that was never debated or made a matter of dispute among the Muslims throughout the ages and eras. In fact the Qur’an warns against delving into these issues in Surah Aali Imraan (verse #7). The Sahabah and Tabi’een also dealt very severely with those who began discussing these issues. Unfortunately, due to immense ignorance about our deen, certain Muslims forget about their real duties and responsibilities and waste their precious time arguing about these issues regarding which we have been ordered not to delve into.
Kindly see (abridged) answer of Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari below:
‘The belief (aqidah) one must have regarding his Lord and Creator is that Allah Almighty is One, there is nothing like Him, there is nothing that can overwhelm Him, there is no god besides Him and He is Eternal without a beginning and Enduring without end. He will neither perish nor come to an end and nothing happens except what He wills. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him. He is different from any created being.
Allah Most High says about Himself:
“There is nothing whatever unto like Him.” (al-Shura, 42:11).
And He says in Surah al-Ikhlas:
“And there is none like unto Him.” (Al-Ikhlas, 112: 4).
Due to the above and other texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, one of the major beliefs a Muslim must have regarding Allah Most High is that there is no creation that is similar to Him. If Allah is regarded to be similar or resemble or have any qualities of His creation, then that would constitute disbelief (Kufr).
Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (May Allah have mercy on him) states:
“Whoever thinks that Allah has a body made of organs, then he is an idol-worshipper…Whosoever worships a body is regarded a disbeliever by the consensus of all the scholars, the early scholars (salaf) and the late (muta’akhirun)” (Iljam al-Anam an Ilm al-Kalam, 6-8).
If one believes that there is nothing similar to Allah in any way, then his Aqidah is correct and there is no need for disputes and arguments. I believe that there isn’t a Muslim that really believes that Allah is similar to his creation in any way, thus disputes and arguments must be avoided. Yes, if one does believe that Allah has hands, feet, face, etc…that is similar to his creation, then without doubt this person would come out of the fold of Islam.
Regarding the question, “where is Allah?” firstly, it should be remembered that this is not something that one will be asked about on the day of Qiyamah. We are in need of people really learning about the basics of Islam, rather than engaging themselves in these matters. Those that argue and cause destruction with such issues are normally ignorant about even the basics of Salah, Zakah, Hajj, etc…
Secondly, this question in itself is wrong. We ask regarding the whereabouts of a person that lives in time and space. For example, I encompass time, meaning I live in time, and I have a body that needs to fill some space.
However, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is the creator of time and space. If we limit Him to any time or space, then this would imply that we resemble Him to his creation by giving Him a body, as space is limited. If one was to say that Allah is everywhere, then this is wrong, as ‘everywhere’ is limited and ends somewhere, whereas Allah is not limited.
Similarly, to say that Allah is on earth, sky, moon, sun, throne, etc… is also wrong, as all these things are limited and to limit Allah to any created thing is Kufr.
Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his famous al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya:
“He (Allah) is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by six directions as all created things are.” (P. 9).
Imam al-Nasafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“He (Allah) is not a body (jism), nor an atom (jawhar), nor is He something formed (musawwar), nor a thing limited (mahdud), nor a thing numbered (ma’dud), nor a thing portioned or divided, nor a thing compounded (mutarakkab), nor does He come to end in Himself. He is not described by quiddity (al-ma’hiya), or by quality (al-kayfiyya), nor is He placed in space (al-makan), and time (al-zaman) does not affect Him. Nothing resembles Him, that is to say, nothing is like Him.” (See: Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani & Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al- Nasafiyya, 92-97).
In conclusion, one must have the Aqidah that Allah Most High is pure from space and time. It is wrong to say that He is everywhere and it is also wrong to believe that He is on something, as all these are limited whereas Allah Almighty is limitless. However, we must believe that His knowledge encompasses everything, and he knows, sees and listens to everything.
And Allah Knows Best