34810: How can we understand the divine descent during the night in different countries?


It is narrated in the hadeeth that “Allaah descends every night to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night…” When does the last third of the night begin, and when does it end? And how does Allaah descend in different countries?.

Praise be to Allaah.  

There are mutawaatir ahaadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) which prove that Allaah descends. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’” 

Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah are unanimously agreed that Allaah descends in a manner that befits Him, and that He is not like His creation at all in any of His attributes, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Say (O Muhammad): He is Allaah, (the) One.

Allaah‑us‑Samad [Allaah — the Self‑Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].

He begets not, nor was He begotten.

And there is none co‑equal or comparable unto Him”

[al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4] 

“There is nothing like Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer”

[al-Shoora 42:11] 

According to Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah, we must accept the verses and ahaadeeth that speak of the attributes of Allaah as they are, without distorting them, denying any of His attributes, trying to imagine how they are or trying to liken Him to any of His creation; at the same time we must believe in them and believe that what is said in these texts is true, without likening Allaah to His creation or discussing the nature of His attributes. Rather their view concerning His attributes is like their view concerning His essence: Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah affirm the Essence of Allaah without discussing how it is, or likening Him to any of His creation, and thus we must also affirm His attributes without discussing how they are, or likening these attributes to the attributes of any of His creation. The descent of Allaah happens in every country in a manner that befits Allaah, because the descent of Allaah cannot be likened to the descent of any of His creation. He is described as descending in the last part of the night in all parts of the world in a manner that befits His Majesty, may He be exalted. No one can know how He descends just as no one can know how His Essence is, except Him. 

“There is nothing like Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer”

[al-Shoora 42:11 – interpretation of the meaning] 

“So put not forward similitudes for Allaah (as there is nothing similar to Him, nor He resembles anything). Truly, Allaah knows and you know not”

[al-Nahl 16:74 – interpretation of the meaning] 

The first and last third of the night differ according to the season. If the night is nine hours long then the time of descent begins at the onset of the seventh hour, until dawn comes. If the night is twelve hours long then the last third begins at the beginning of the ninth hour until dawn comes, and so on, depending on how long or short the night is in each place. And Allaah is the Source of strength. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), vol. 4, p. 420
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