Allah, Ta^ala, Exists without a Place
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. To Allah belong the endowments, befitting perfection, and commendations. We ask Allah to raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and to protect his nation from what he fears for it. Thereafter:
Ayah 115 of Suratun-Nisa‘, means:
<<And he who opposes the Messenger after guidance had been manifested unto him, and follows other than the believers’ way, Allah will leave him to what he chose and torture him in Hellfire – a miserable journey’s end.
Brothers in Islam, the belief that Allah, ta^ala, exists without a place is the creed of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, the Companions, and those who properly followed them. The proof of this precious statement is what Allah said in the Qur’an, in Surat ash-Shura, ayah 11:
قال الله تعالى:” لَيْسَ كمثلهِ شىءٌ وهوَ السَّميعُ البصيرُ“ [سورة الشورى]
which means: <<There is absolutely nothing like Allah in any way whatsoever, and He has the attributes of Hearing and Seeing.>> This ayah absolutely clears Allah of any resemblance to the creations. It comprises that Allah, ta^ala, is absolutely different from the creations and hence, it indicates that Allah, ta^ala, exists without a place, because whatever exists in a place is by nature composed of particles, i.e., it is a body, occupying a space. Allah, ta^ala, is clear of occupying spaces.
Al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibnul-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
“كانَ اللهُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ شَىءٌ غَيْرُهُ”.
which means: << Allah’s Existence is without a beginning and nothing else is.>> This hadith proves that only Allah exists without a beginning, i.e., before creating any of the creation. There was nothing with Allah: no place, no space, no sky, no Earth, no light, and no darkness. It is determined in the rules of the Religion and the judgments of the sound mind that Allah, the Exalted, does not change. Hence, it is impossible that after creating the place, Allah changed and dwelled in a place, because this is a development. The development is a sign of needing others, and the one who needs others is not God.
Imam Abu Mansur al-Baghdadiyy related in his book, Al-Farqu Baynal-Firaq, that Imam ^Aliyy, the fourth of the caliphs, may Allah reward him greatly, said:
“كانَ اللهُ ولا مَكان، وهو الآن على ما عليه كان”
which means: << Allah exists eternally and eternally there was no place. Therefore, Allah exists without a place before and after creating the place>>.
Imam Hafidh al-Bayhaqiyy said in his book, Al-Asma‘u was–Sifat,: <<Some of our companions used as proof to refute attributing the place to Allah, the saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him: <<You are adh–Dhahir (الظاهر) and there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin (الباطن) and there is nothing underneath You.” Therefore, if there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, He is not in a place.”
Imam Ahmad Ibn Salamah, Abu Ja^far at–Tahawiyy, who was born in the year 237 after Hijrah, wrote a very famous book called al-^Aqidah at–Tahawiyyah. He mentioned that the content of his book is an explanation of the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama^ah, which is the creed of Imam Abu Hanifah, who died in the year 150 after Hijrah, and his two companions, Imam Abu Yusuf al-Qadi and Imam Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybaniyy and others. He said in his book:
“تَعَالى عن الحُدُودِ والغَاياتِ والأَركانِ والأَعضَاء والأَدَوَاتِ. لا تَحوِيهِ الجِهَاتُ السّتُّ كَسَائِرِ المُبْتَدَعَاتِ”
which means: << “Allah is clear of having volumes, limits, sides, large or small organs. The six directions do not encompass Him, as they do encompass the created things.”
Such is the saying of Imam Abu Ja^far who is among the heads of Salaf. Abu Ja^far explicitly stated that Allah is clear of being contained by the six directions. The six directions are above, below, ahead, behind, right, and left.
We ask Allah to end our life with Islam, to assemble us with the Prophets in the Hereafter and to gather us with the prophets in the highest levels of Paradise. Ameen.