I want to ask, did Allāh exist without a place? I'm really confused, please explain it, so that I can understand this issue. What is the correct 'Aqeedah regarding it? As far as my knowledge goes, the Ashā'ira hold this 'Aqeedah. They mention this hadith:
"Allah was when there was nothing else than Him, and His Throne was upon the water..." The hadith is in Sahih Bukhari. One of them gave this explanation:
"The hadith is direct. Allah existed and there was NOTHING before him. So that means everything other than Allah is a creation. Allah is the only One without a beginning. If you believe the throne is eternal with Allah like the Wahhabis (believe), then that is explicit blasphemy. Because Allah created the throne."
So was the Throne present with Allāh, before Allāh created everything, or is it part of His creation, or is there entirely, some other explanation?
Praise be to Allah.
Part of the ‘aqeedah (belief) of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah is to believe that Allah, may He be exalted, rose above His Throne (in a manner that befits His Majesty); His Throne is above His heavens; and He, may He be glorified, is not encompassed by any of His creation.
Please see the answer to question no. 124469
The Throne is created; it did not exist then it existed, and it is the greatest of all created things.
Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy on him) said, as was narrated from him in Maraatib al-Ijmaa‘:
(The scholars) are unanimously agreed that Allah is One and has no partner or associate, and He is the creator of all things other than Himself; and that He, may He be exalted, was One, and there was nothing besides Him with Him. Then He created all things as He willed. And (the scholars) are unanimously agreed that the soul is created, the Throne is created, the entire universe is created.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, in his commentary on that:
With regard to the unanimous agreement of the early generations and Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah that Allah alone is the Creator of all things, this is true.
End quote from Naqd Maraatib al-Ijmaa‘ (303).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) also said:
The Throne is created. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne” [at-Tawbah 9:129]. He is the Creator of all things, the Throne and everything else, and the Lord of all things, the Throne and everything else. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (18/214)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The Throne is a great creation; no one knows its size except Allah. End quote.
Majmoo‘ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (7/287)
If anyone claims that any of Ahl as-Sunnah, or those whom they call Wahhabis, says that the Throne existed from eternity and was not created, and that it is eternal like the Creator, may He be glorified, he has fabricated a lie and is claiming something false. This is the way of many of the followers of innovation who seek to undermine Ahl as-Sunnah and falsely accuse them of falsehood. It may be said to these people: “Produce your proof if you are truthful” [al-Baqarah 2:111]. So produce a single letter of the words of Ahl as-Sunnah to suggest that the Throne is eternal like Allah and was always with Him, may He be glorified!
The majority of scholars are of the view that the Throne was the first thing to be created. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The first thing that Allah created of the things that are known to us was the Throne, and He rose over it (in a manner that befits His Majesty) after He had created the heavens, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days and His Throne was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds” [Hood 11:7].
End quote from Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-‘Uthaymeen (1/62)
Please see also the answer to question no. 145809.
Al-Bukhaari (7418) narrated from ‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) that some people from Yemen asked the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) about how the matter was from the very beginning. He said: “There was Allah and nothing existed before Him, and His Throne was on the water. Then He created the heavens and the earth, and He wrote in all things in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz.”
According to another report (3191) he said: “There was Allah and nothing existed except Him.”
The Throne of the Most Gracious, may He be glorified, is part of His creation. He created it before He created the heavens and the earth and all that is therein. The hadith quoted above indicates that in the beginning there was nothing except Allah, may He be exalted: no Throne and no other created thing. Then He, may He be glorified, created the Throne, then He created all other created things.
The deniers among the Jahamis and others who followed their path in denying the divine attributes added something odd to this hadith for which there is no basis. They said: “Allah was and there was nothing with Him, and He is now as He was then.” What they mean by that is to deny what the Lord, may He be exalted, has affirmed for Himself of rising and descending.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
One of the most significant foundations on which these pantheists, heretics and claimants of true gnosis rely is what they claim to narrate from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), according to which he said: “Allah was and there was nothing with Him, and He is now as He was then.”
This additional material, namely the words “and He is now as He was then” are a lie and falsely attributed to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The scholars are unanimously agreed that this hadith is fabricated and made up, and it is not to be found in any of the compilations of hadith, whether major or minor. It was not narrated by any of the scholars with any isnaad, be it saheeh (sound) or da‘eef (weak), or with an unknown isnaad. Rather these words were spoken by some of the later Jahami philosophers, and were taken from them by these people who reached the most extreme form of Jahami thought, namely denial of the divine attributes and heresy.
What the Jahami philosophers meant by this heretical additional material, which is the words “and He is now as He was then” was to deny the attributes with which Allah described Himself, namely His rising over the Throne and His descending to the lowest heaven, and so on. They said: He existed from eternity, and had not risen over the Throne, and He is now as He was then; so He is not over the Throne, because that is suggestive of change and alteration.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (2/272-273)
He also (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
An important principle: based on sound narration, confirming that Allah, may He be exalted, is the Most High. This is something which all people must believe in. And He is above His Throne, as is confirmed in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and by scholarly consensus, sound rational thinking, and sound, unchanged, human nature.
What must be said is: Allah was and there was nothing with Him, then He created the universe. One of the following must be the case:
either He created it within Himself and is attached to it, which is impossible, because Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is far above contact with or attachment to filth, impurities, and devils;
or He created it outside Himself, then He entered it, which is impossible because Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is far above residing in any created things. These two scenarios are wrong, and this is one of the matters concerning which there is no dispute at all among the Muslims;
or He created it outside Himself, and He is not residing in it. This is the truth, and nothing else is possible. Allah will not accept anything else from us; rather He has forbidden to us that which contradicts it.
This argument is one of the arguments that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him) used against the Jahamis during the turmoil they put him through.
Hence according to a sound report narrated from him, when it was said to ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak: How do we know our Lord? He said: By the fact that He is above the heavens, above His Throne, distinct from His creation.
It is on this basis that the consensus of the Sahaabah, the Taabi‘een, their followers and all the imams who are known among the ummah for their sincerity, is based, and no one of any merit differed with them.
If anyone claims that rational thinking contradicts and differs from the religious texts, his claim is false, because it cannot be imagined that sound rational thinking would contradict the soundly narrated text.
Those who differ from the Qur’an and Sunnah, and scholarly consensus, and claim that they have sound rational arguments, only have arguments that appear to be rational but are not. Whoever wants to reach the right conclusion concerning this matter should base his argument on definitive and overwhelming proof that is mentioned elsewhere.
End quote from Jaami‘ al-Masaa’il (1/63-64)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) spoke of the statement made by one who says that the idea that Allah should be regarded as being far above place and direction is not correct, because this idea is not befitting to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. He said:
This is not correct in general terms. But if he means that Allah is not encompassed by any place, may He be glorified and exalted, then this is correct. For Allah, may He be exalted, cannot be encompassed by anything of His creation, for He is too great and mighty to be encompassed by anything. How could that be so when He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand” [az-Zumar 39:67]? If what he means by his denial of place (in relation to Allah) is to deny that Allah is high or above His creation, then this denial is not correct; rather it is invalid according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, the consensus of the earlier generations, rational thinking and common sense.
It is proven from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he said to the slave woman: “Where is Allah?’ and she said: “Above the heavens. He said to her owner: “Set her free, for she is a believer.”
Everyone who calls upon Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, will only direct his focus upward. This is the natural instinct that Allah has instilled in His creation, so no one deviates from it except one who has been confused by the devils. You will not find anyone who calls upon Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, and still possesses sound human nature, turning his focus (when praying to Allah) towards the right or the left, or downwards, or in any other direction. Rather the focus of his heart will always be upwards.
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-‘Uthaymeen (1/196-197)
The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked about the phrase: “Be certain that Allah exists beyond place or direction.”
This phrase is false, because it is contrary to what is proven in the Qur’an and Sunnah, that Allah, may He be exalted, is above His heavens, risen over His Throne, distinct from His creation. This is contrary to what the deniers among the extreme Jahamis, and those who followed their false path, said. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (2/386)
See also the answer to question no. 162155
And Allah knows best.