The Throne is the greatest thing in all of creation, and Allah refers in seven places in His Book to His
rising over the Throne, by saying,
“The Most Gracious [Allah] rose over [Istawaa] the [Mighty] Throne [in a manner that suits His Majesty]
.” (Qur’an 20: 5)
The evidence that the Throne is one of the things created by Allah the Almighty:
“..And eight angels will, that Day, bear the Throne of your Lord above them.” (Qur’an69:17)
- i.e., on the Day of Resurrection.
“Those [angels] who bear the Throne [of Allah] and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and
believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe..." (Qur’an 40: 7)
Allah, tells us that the Throne has bearers, and that they seek forgiveness for the believers. This
negates the view of those who say that the Throne refers to Allah’s Sovereign or Dominion (Al-Mulk).
According to a hadith narrated by Bukhari, “When you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaws, for it is the
middle of Paradise and is the highest part of Paradise. Above it is the Throne of the Most Merciful, and
from it spring forth the rivers of Paradise.”
Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said:
“Do not prefer me over Moosa (Moses), for the people will fall unconscious on the Day of Resurrection;
I will be the first to regain consciousness, and Moosa will be there, holding on to the side of the
Throne. I do not know whether Moosa will be one of those who fell unconscious and then woke up
before me, or whether he was one of those whom Allah exempted(from falling unconscious).”
According to a report narrated by Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri:“Moosa (Moses) will be there, holding on to
one of the pillars of the throne.”
How can the Throne not be one of the things created by Allah, when it is the roof of Al-Firdaws.
How can Moosa (Moses) hold onto one of the pillars of the Throne if it is not something that has been
The Messenger peace be upon him said:
“When Allah completed His creation. He wrote down with Himself above His Throne: My mercy
precedes My wrath.”
The great size of the Throne:
Allah has described His Throne as“…And Lord of the Great Throne.” (Qur’an 23: 86)
The Messenger peace be upon him described the Throne as being great in two ways:
a)By telling us of the great size of the angels who carry the Throne. In Sunan Abi Dawood it is narrated
with a saheeh (sound) isnad that the Messenger peace be upon him said:
“I have been granted permission to speak about one of the angels of Allah, one of the bearers of the
Throne. The space between his earlobes and his shoulders is the distance of seven hundred years’
b) The Messenger described the size of the Throne by contrasting its size with the size of the heavens
and the kursiy. He peace be upon said:
“The seven heavens in comparison to the kursiy are like no more than a ring thrown out into an empty
field, and the superiority of the Throne in relation to the kursiy is like the superiority of that field in
relation to that ring.”
Allah praises Himself by mentioning His rising over the Throne and by declaring that He is the
Lord of the Throne:
The Lord praises Himself by stating that He has risen over His Throne:
“Ta-Ha [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows
their meanings.] We have not sent down the Qur’an unto you [O’ Muhammad] to cause you distress.
But only as a Reminder to those who fear [Allah]. A Revelation from Him [Allah] Who has created the
earth and high heavens. The Most Gracious [Allah] rose over [Istawaa][Mighty] Throne [in a manner
that suits His Majesty].”(Qur’an 20:1-5)
“He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then rose over [Istawa] the Throne [in
a manner that suits His Majesty]. He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, and
what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you [by His Knowledge]
wheresoever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.” (Qur’an 57:4)
And Allah (s.w.t), praises Himself on more than one occasion as being the Master of the Throne:
“Owner of the Throne, the Glorious, [He is the] Doer of whatsoever He intends [or wills].” (Qur’an 18:15
“...Then they would certainly have sought out a way to the Lord of the Throne. (Qur’an 17:42)
And Allah (s.w.t), praises Himself as being the Lord of the Throne:
“…In Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.” (Qur’an 9:129)
“Glorified is Allah, the Lord of the Throne, [High is He] above all that [evil] they associate with Him!”
(Qur’an 21: 22)
“Say: ‘Who is [the] Lord of the seven heavens, and [the] Lord of the Great Throne?” (Qur’an23: 86)
‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah praised his Lord in conplets as follows:
“I bear witness that the promise of Allah is true,And that the Fire is the abode of the kaafireen
(disbelievers).And that the Throne is floating above the water,And above the Throne is the Lord of the
Worlds.And it is borne by noble angels,Angels of the Lord.”
This couplet was transmitted by Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr in Al-Isti‘aab, where he says: We have narrated it
through saheeh isnads.
The meaning of His rising over the Throne (istiwaa):
We do not know how Allah, rose over the Throne, because we do not know how He is, but we
know the meaning of istawaa in the Arabic language. When the Arabs follow the word istawaa with the
preposition ‘ala, they mean four things: sealing, going over, rising above and ascending, as was
affirmed by Ibn al-Qayyim.
Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari narrated that the Mu'tazilah interpreted the phrase ‘rose over [Istawaa]
the Throne’ (Qur’an 57: 4) as meaning that He possessed or took control of it.Whoever interprets this
phrase in this manner should note that his predecessors in this regard are the Mu'tazilah, and what
bad predecessors they are.
The Ahl as-Sunnah and scholars of hadith affirm that Allah rose over the Throne. They do not deny it,
but they do not discuss how it happened, as Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari (may Allah have mercy on
him) narrated from them.
Scholars of the Arabic language have narrated to us that the scholars whose fitrah has not been
contaminated with alien philosophy refuse to interpret istawaa as meaning istawla (possess, take
Dawood ibn ‘Ali al-Isbahaani said: I was with Ibn al-A‘rabi, and a man came to him and asked,
What is the meaning of the aayah,“The Most Gracious [Allah] rose over [Istawaa] the [Mighyy] Throne
[in a manner that suits His Majesty].”(Qur’an 20: 5)Ibn al-A‘rabi said: He is on His Throne as He has
told us. He said. O’ Abu ‘Abdullah, does it not mean istawla (possess, take control)? Ibn al-A‘rabi said:
How can you know that? The Arabs do not say istawla unless there are two people competing for a
throne, then whichever of them prevails, they describe as istawla.
This method, which is acknowledging the meaning of istiwaa whilst not seeking to know how, is the
method of the righteous salaf. When Imam Maalik was asked about the aayah, “The Most Gracious
[Allah] rose over [Istawaa] the [Mighty] Throne [in a manner that suits His Majesty]” (Qur ’an 20: 5) and
was asked how He rose over it, he paused and broke out in a sweat. Then he raised his head and said
: The Most Gracious rose over the Throne, as He described Himself. We do not ask how, because one
cannot ask how with regard to Allah. You are guilty of bid'ah (innovation), throw him out.
According to a report, Maalik said: How is incomprehensible, istiwaa is not unknown, belief in it is
obligatory, and asking about it is bid’ah.
The phrase ‘not unknown’ means it is known; what is known is its meaning, because the word has a
meaning in Arabic which the Arabs understand, and which scholars can explain and interpret. Hence
many of those who narrated the above view from Imam Maalik narrated the meaning from him, and
they mentioned that he replied to the man as follows: “Istiwaa is known, how is unknown, believing in it
is obligatory and asking about it is bid'ah.” In fact there is no difference between saying that istiwaa is
known and saying that it is not unknown - the meaning is the same.
Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The first generation — may Allah be pleased with them
— did not deny direction (with regard to Allah), and they did not say anything to that effect. They
affirmed direction in accordance with what Allah had said in His Book and what His Messenger had
No one denies that He rose over His throne in a real sense. This applies only to the Throne because it
is the greatest thing in His creation. But we do not know how He rose over it, because we cannot know
the true nature of this.
Maalik said: the istiwaa is known — i.e., in the linguistic sense — but how it happened is unknown, and
asking about it is bid'ah, as Umm Salmah (may Allah he pleased with her) said. And this is sufficient.
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