What is the meaning of Ayah 4 of Suratu Taha [Ar-Rahmanu ^Alal ^Arshistawa] الرحمن على العرش استوى?
Imam Malik said, “Allah attributed Himself with the Istawa' that befits Him. It is invalid to say how; and how does not apply to Him.” The how-characteristics are descriptions of the created. Only the created can be described with sitting, settling and occupying a place. The word istawa has 15 meanings, among them are to subjugate, to preserve, and to maintain. It also implies physically-oriented meanings such as to sit, to settle and to stabilize. It is blasphemy to apply to Allah to physical meanings of the creations such as to sit. The words preserve and subjugate are meanings that comply with the religion and the Arabic language. Al-Qushayriyy explained the meaning of istawa' in this Ayah as, to preserve, subdue and maintain. It cannot be believed that Allah sits on the Throne as this belies Ayah 74 of Suratul-Nahl which means, “Do not liken Allah to any of His creation.” Surat Ibrahim, Ayah 48 means, “And the slaves will be resurrected to face the judgment of Allah, the One, the Subduer.” Imam Aliyy said, “Allah created the Throne as an indication of His Power and not to take it as a place for himself.” (Related by Abu Mansur Al-Baghdadiyy.)