Praise be to Allaah.
We put this question to Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak (may Allaah preserve him), who answered as follows:
Praise be to Allaah, the Most High (al-‘Aliy), the Almighty (al-‘Azeem), the Most Great (al-Kabeer), the Most High (al-Muta’aal). Glory be to Allaah, the Almighty (al-‘Azeem). There is no god but Allaah, and Allaah is Most Great. And peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions…
One of the things which it is obligatory to believe in is that Allaah is the Most High (al-‘Aliy, al-A’laa) and that He rose over the Throne, as He has told us about Himself in His Book. He, may He be glorified and exalted, is above all things. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his du’aa’: “You are the Most High (al-Zaahir) and there is nothing above You.”
We are also obliged to believe that He is the Most Great (al-Kabeer), and that He is greater than all things, and that He is the Almighty (al-Azeem), and there is nothing mightier than Him. Part of the perfection of His might and power is that He will grasp the heavens and the earth in His two Hands on the Day of Resurrection, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“They made not a just estimate of Allâh such as is due to Him. 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. Glorified be He, and High be He above all that they associate as partners with Him!” [al-Zumar 39:62]
It must be noted that because Allaah is perfect in His Highness and Power, He cannot reside in anything that He has created. So it cannot be said that He is in Paradise. On the contrary, He is above the Throne which is the roof of al-Firdaws, and al-Firdaws is the highest part of Paradise. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you ask Allaah for Paradise, ask Him for al-Firdaws, for it is the highest part of Paradise and it is in the middle of Paradise, and its roof is the Throne of the Most Merciful.”
It is not permissible for the Muslim to think about the essence of Allaah, or to try to imagine His might, for the human mind is incapable ot comprehending the real essence and attributes of the Lord, and how they are. As Imaam Maalik said, when he was asked about how Allaah rose over the Throne: “We know that He rose over it, but we do not know how. Believing in it is obligatory and asking about it is bid’ah.”