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 Determining The Beginning Ramadan

Fasting the month of Ramadan is an obligation and a great worship. It is among the best acts of obedience and greatest deeds, and one for which there is great reward.

Imam al-Bukhariyy related the Qudsiyy hadith that the Prophet said Allah said which means "The reward of every good deed is multiplied ten up to seven-hundred times, except that of the Fasting; it is usually done in sincerity and will be multiplied by as many times as Allah wills." One of the doors of Paradise, named ar-Rayyan, is specified for those Muslims who used to fast in this world. On the Day of Judgment, it will be opened, and those who used to fast in obedience to Allah would be called to enter through that door. Then it would be closed and no others will enter through it.

 

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year. It is the best month of the year, as is the night of al-Qadr in Ramadan the best night of the year. Fasting became an obligation on the Muslims in the second year after the emigration. Prophet Muhammed fasted nine years of Ramadan after which he died.

The obligation of fasting Ramadan on the believers is known from the Qur'an and the hadith. It was explicitly stated in Verse #183 of Surat al-Baqarah which means: [O believers, Fasting is an obligation upon you as it was obligated upon the [Muslims] before you so it would help you to reach piety.] Fasting was an obligation on the nations before the nation of Prophet Muhammad, however, fasting the month of Ramadan in particular is a specification only for the nation of Prophet Muhammad.

 

Moreover, Prophet Muhammad named Fasting (the month of Ramadan) as one of the five most important matters of Islam in the famous hadith known as Hadith Jibril related by al-Bukhariyy and Muslim. Angel Jibril came to the Prophet in the shape of a man with white clothes and asked him to inform him about Islam. In response, the Prophet said which means: "Islam is to bear witness that no one is God except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying Zakat, performing Pilgrimage if you are able, and Fasting the month of Ramadan."

Consequently, renouncing the obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan, for the one who has learned of its obligation, is blasphemy because it entails belying Allah and the Prophet. The one who believes it is an obligation, however, does not perform this obligation (without a valid excuse) does not blaspheme--rather he is an enormous sinner.

 

Determining The Beginning Ramadan

The obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan becomes incumbent upon the occurrence of one of two matters: to sight the crescent of Ramadan after the sunset of the 29th day of Sha^ban (the month directly preceding Ramadan) or, if the crescent is not seen, then completing 30 days of Sha^ban. So, the beginning of the month of Ramadan, as well as the end of the month is determined by sighting the crescent, and if not cited, then by completing the month with 30 days--as is the case with determining all the months of the lunar calendar. This is taken from the hadith of the Prophet related by al-Bukhariyy and Muslim which means:

 "Do not fast one or two days before Ramadan. Start the month when you see the crescent and end the month when you see the crescent. If you are blocked from seeing it, complete Sha^ban thirty days."

 So, on the 29th day of Sha^ban, directly after the sun sets, the Muslims look towards the western horizon, and if the crescent (of the new moon) is seen, the following day will be the first day of Ramadan. If it is not seen, because of cloud cover or another reason, then the next day will complete 30 days of Sha^ban, and the day after that is the first day of Ramadan. The judge confirms the beginning of Ramadan if one upright Muslim, whose testimony is acceptable to the judge, bears witness that he saw the crescent. The conditions which must be met in a person for his testimony to be acceptable to the judge in this matter are several. He must be Muslim, male, adolescent, free, clear of enormous sins, clear of having his small sins exceed his acts of obedience, and one who abides by the ethics and manners of the people of his class. So if a person who did not satisfy these conditions testified to the judge that he saw the crescent, like, for example, a woman, or a child, or an enormous sinner, or a slave, the judge would not confirm the beginning of the month of Ramadan and announce to the general public to commence fasting--relying solely upon their testimony. However, if just one upright Muslim, who has the conditions listed above satisfied in him, testifies to the judge that he saw the crescent, the judge would confirm the beginning of Ramadan for the next day. This is for the hadith related by Abu Dawud from the route of ^Abdullah Ibn ^Umar who told the Prophet he had sighted the crescent and so the Prophet fasted the next day and ordered the others to fast as well.

 

Be warned of those who determine the month of Ramadan relying upon astronomical calculations. Prophet Muhammad informed us that such calculation is not relied upon in determining such matters.

 

Imam Ahmad related in his Musnad that the Prophet said: which means:

"We are a nation which does not depend on writings and calculations [to determine the beginning of the month]. The month is either twenty-nine or thirty days."

 

Praise be to Allah, how easy the matter is. Any Muslim with a sound sight can observe the crescent. He does not need to rely on complex calculations only a few people understand.

 

Who Must Fast

The first condition for one to be obligated to fast is to be Muslim. In this world, the non-Muslim is not requested to fast, however, in the Hereafter, he will be punished for neglecting to fast, as he will be punished for his blasphemy. Rather, the obligation on the non-Muslim is to embrace Islam, then afterwards, to fast Ramadan.

 

Secondly, it is the pubescent Muslim who is obligated to fast. The child is not obligated to fast. Rather, it is an obligation on the parents or the guardian of the boy or girl to order him to fast once he is 7 (lunar) years old, with the condition that the child's body can withstand that fasting, and he would not be harmed by it.

As well, for one to be obligated to fast, he must be of sound mind. Fasting is not obligatory on the insane person.

Fasting is not obligatory on a person whose body cannot tolerate fasting, either due to old age or because of a severe illness. Moreover, if a person would be harmed by fasting, that is, because of his fasting his sickness would get worse, or he would die, then fasting is prohibited for him. The one who does not fast because of old age or an illness he is not hopeful to be cured of does not have to make up the missed days of fasting. Instead he pays an expiation to a poor Muslim for every day he missed of fasting. The expiation is two average-sized, cupped hands of the most common staple food of the country, which in this country, is wheat.

 

Who Is Excused From Fasting

 Fasting is not obligatory on the menstruating woman or the woman who is in her postpartum bleeding period. It is unlawful for them to fast. The woman who missed days of fasting during Ramadan for these reasons has to make up each missed day.

 

As well, the pregnant woman is allowed not to fast if she fears that harm would come to her or her baby from her fasting. As well, the breast-feeding woman is allowed not to fast if she fears harm would come to her or her baby from her fasting. Both must make up every one of the missed days of fasting. As well, if the reason they did not fast was solely the fear of harming their baby, then in addition to making up the missed days of fasting, they must pay an expiation, or two cupped, average-sized handfuls of the most common staple food of the country, for each day they missed.

 

The one who is traveling a distance of two or more walking days is allowed to not fast provided his traveling is not sinful. Two or more walking days distance is about 80 miles. This traveler is permitted to break his fast even though he would not encounter hardship in his trip, such as if he crossed this distance quickly, by plane, or comfortable, in a car or a train. The matter of traveling is not based on the hardship, rather it has to do with the distance. This facility for the traveler was mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah said in Surat al-Baqarah, Verse 184: which means "If you are sick or traveling, then you are allowed to break your fast and make up these days later."

Allah knows Best.

Islamic Integrals of Fasting

The integrals of fasting are two:

1. Each night to make the intention to fast the following day

2. To abstain from sexual intercourse, masturbation, and inserting anything with a volume into the head or the body cavity through an open inlet, excluding one's pure, tahir saliva while still inside the mouth during the time from the dawn until the sunset.

 

Making the intention at night to fast the following day means to have the intention to fast in one's heart during the night preceding the fasting day, i.e., after the sunset and before the dawn of the following day. Sometime during that time the person must make the intention to fast the following day, and this must be done each night for the following day.

 

At-Tirmidhiyy, an-Nasa'iyy, and others, related that the Prophet said which means:

"There is no fasting for the one who does not establish the intention for fasting the night before."

 

The intention is in the heart, and does not have to be uttered with the tongue. The one who slept at night without having had the intention to fast and woke up after the dawn is obligated to abstain from whatever a fasting person would abstain and then fast a make up for that day. If the menstrual or postpartum bleeding of a woman stopped at night, then she must intend to fast the following day. The purificatory bath is not required to start fasting, but rather to start praying.

 

The intention for any obligatory fasting during Ramadan, must take place the night before the fast. However, for the one who is fasting an optional fast, it is not a condition that he must intend to do so the preceding night. It is valid for him to have the intention to fast that same day during the morning, before the sun moves from the center of the sky towards the west, as long as he had not committed any of the invalidators of fasting since the dawn appeared.

2. The fasting person must abstain from taking into his body cavity any material that has a tangible volume from an open inlet, whether this material was food or drink or other than that. If a person intentionally takes into his body cavity any material that has a tangible volume during the fasting day, while remembering he is fasting, and knowing that it is unlawful to do so, and not because another threatened to kill him (or the like) if he did not break his fast, then this invalidates his fast, and he has to make it up. The open outlets of the body are like the mouth, nose, anus, vagina, and other. Materials which are absorbed by the pores of the skin do not invalidate the fast because the pores of the skin are not considered to be an open inlet to the body cavity. For example, rubbing oil into the skin does not invalidate the fast.

 

One's own pure saliva, while still inside the mouth, if swallowed, does not invalidate the fast. If some saliva was spit outside the mouth, and separated from the tongue, even to the lips, then was taken back in and swallowed, it would invalidate the fast. However, if the saliva is mixed with something else, even something pure, then swallowed, it invalidates the fast.

 

In what is too hard to protect oneself from swallowing, like the dust of the street or the dust of the flour and the like, one's fast is not broken. Although smoking a cigarette breaks the fast of the smoker himself, it does not break the fast of the person next to him who breathes in some of that smoke. Neither does it break the fast for one to breathe in what is other than a physical entity, like the odor of incense or other fragrances.

 

Also among the conditions for the validity of fasting is for one to abstain from sexual intercourse during the day of fasting. If the person did not know that one must abstain from sexual intercourse during the fasting day, or he forgot that he was fasting and he performed this act, then it does not invalidate his fast. However the man or woman who performs sexual intercourse during the day of fasting while knowing this is unlawful and remembering he is fasting, would invalidate his/her fast by that. The expiation due for invalidating one's fasting by sexual intercourse is in the following order:

1. To set a Muslim slave free;

2. If he was unable, then to fast two consecutive months, other than making up the day which was invalidated by his sexual intercourse;

3. If unable, then to feed each one of 60 poor people two cupped, average-sized handfuls of the most common staple food of the country.

 

Masturbation or making the semen come out of one by using the hand or the like invalidates one's fasting, whether one used his own hand, or the hand of his wife, or because of a kiss, or because of other physical contact. If, however, one experienced a wet dream or semen exited from him because of certain thoughts, one's fast is not invalidated.

 

For one to force himself to vomit, either by inserting his finger or other than that into his mouth invalidates the fasting. In the case when the person forces himself to vomit, whether or not he swallows some of his vomit, his fast is invalidated and he has to make it up. However, the one who vomited not because he purposely forced himself to do so does not break his fast as long as he does not swallow any of the vomit or saliva mixed with the najas-filth.

 

There are different sayings regarding the phlegm or congestion that drips from the head into the throat. According to Imam ash-Shafi^iyy if the phlegm reached to the part of the throat above where the exit of the letter ha' is, and the person swallowed it, this would invalidate his fasting. However, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, even if the phlegm reached to the tongue and the person swallowed it, his fasting is not invalidated, as long as he does not swallow it after separating from his mouth.

 

Beneficial Ramadan Information


Conditions For The Validity Of The Fast

 

Among the conditions for the validity of one's fasting is that the person does not become insane, not even for a moment during the fasting day. If a person loses his sanity during the day or during part of the day, even for a moment, then his fasting would be invalidated. As well, it is conditional for the validity of one's fasting that he does not lose consciousness during the entire fasting day, that is, from the dawn until sunset. If he lost consciousness for part of the day only, this does not invalidate the fast. On the other hand, sleeping does not invalidate the fast, even if one slept all day long.

 

Days On Which Fasting Is Unlawful

 

It is invalid to fast the day of the Feast of Fitr (^Id-ul-Fitr), the day of the Feast of Adha (^Id-ul-'Adha) and the three days after the day of Adha (Tashriq). It is also invalid to fast the last half of Sha^ban , and the day of doubt except if one joins the fasting of these with those before them or if one is fasting for an expiation (kaffarah), make up (qada'), vow (nadhr), or habitual consistent practice (wird), like the one who usually fasts Mondays and Thursdays.

 

 

Paying Zakah Of Fitr

 The Zakah of Fitr is due on every Muslim who is alive part of Ramadan and part of Shawwal. The due Zakah for each is a sa^ or four times the fill of two cupped, average-sized hands of the most common staple food of that country.

 

It is an obligation upon the Muslim to pay the due Zakah for himself and his Muslim dependents if on the day of the Feast of Fitr (^Id-ul-Fitr) and the night after it he has enough to meet his debts, clothing, lodging, and sustenance, and the sustenance of those whom he must support.

 

The man must pay for his wife, his non-pubescent children, his slaves, and his poor Muslim parents. He may not pay for his pubescent children or solvent parents without their permission.

 

It is permissible to pay the Zakat of Fitr any time during Ramadan, even the first night, however, it is recommended to pay the Zakat during the day of the Feast, and before the prayer of the ^Id, because this mends the hearts of the poor people before the prayer.

 

It is prohibited to prolong spending the Zakah of Fitr until after the sunset of the day of the Feast without an excuse.

 

Recipients Of Zakah

 For all types of Zakah, the intention is obligatory upon setting one's Zakah aside. Zakah must be paid to the Muslims among the eight categories of people deserving of Zakah mentioned explicitly in the Qur'an:

 

   1.

      Those who are poor who earn less than half their basic needs (al-fuqara');
   2.

      Those who are poor who earn half but less than all their basic needs (al-masakin);
   3.

      The Zakah workers who are assigned by the caliph (al-^amilun ^alayha);
   4.

      The new converts to Islam whose hearts are to be reconciled (al-mu'allafatu qulubuhum);
   5.

      The slaves who are short in satisfying their contract for purchasing their freedom from their owners (ar-riqab);
   6.

      Those who are unable to pay their debts (al-gharimun);
   7.

      The volunteer fighters (fi sabilillah);
   8.

      The travelers who do not have enough to enable them to reach their destination (ibn-us-sabil).

 

It is neither permissible nor valid to pay Zakah to other than those eight types of people specifically mentioned; that is why it is not valid to pay Zakah for every charitable project.

 

Good Deeds Recommended While Fasting

 It is recommended (sunnah) to break ones fast quickly, after one is sure that the maghrib has begun. It is good to break one's fast on dates, and if not available then by drinking water, and to say after breaking one's fast which means: "O Allah, for Your sake I fasted, and with Your sustenance, I broke my fast." It was narrated from Abu Dawud that the Prophet used to say this supplication after breaking his fast. As well, it is good to delay suhur meal until a time close to the dawn, but to stop eating before the dawn.

 

Refraining from backbiting or cursing a Muslim and other sins, and the like is more emphasized while fasting. In committing some of sins, the reward of one's fasting might be lessened or lost. If someone curses another, let him abstain from responding by a similar curse. Let him say, "I am fasting. I am fasting."

 

Paying the optional charity to the poor, reciting the Qur'an, staying in the mosque with the intention of i^tikaf, especially during the last ten days of Ramadan, praying the tarawih prayer, and inviting others to break their fast on food which you provided are all rewardable acts.

The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for the person to gain a lot of reward; reward earned because of performing this obligation in worship and obedience to Allah, and by performing a lot of the sunnah deeds. Let the person not waste his time during this month.

 

 

Allah is Attributed with Perfection

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, to Him belong the endowments and the befitting perfections and commendations. I ask Allah to raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, and to protect his nation from that which he fears for it, Thereafter:  

The saying that Allah, ta^ala, exists without a place is the belief and the creed of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, the Companions and those who graciously followed them, and it shall be until the Day of Judgment. The proof of this precious statement is what Allah said in the Qur'an, in Surat ash-Shura, ayah 11 which means: "There is nothing like Him and He has the attribute of Hearing and Seeing." This ayah absolutely and totally clears Allah of resembling the creation. It comprises that Allah, ta^ala, is different from the creations in the Self, Attributes, and Doings. Hence, it shows that Allah, ta^ala, exists without a place, because the one who exists in a place would, by nature, be composed of atoms, i.e., he would be a body, occupying a space, and Allah, ta^ala, is clear of occupying spaces.

Al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn al­Jarud related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said which means: "Allah existed eternally and there was nothing else." This hadith proves that Allah was alone in al-'azal, (the status of existence without a beginning,) i.e., before creating any of the creation. There was nothing with Him: no place, no space, no sky, 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 having been existing without a place, He would become in a place, because this is a development, and 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 Bayn al­Firaq, that Imam ^Aliyy, the fourth of the caliphs, may Allah reward his deeds, said which means: Allah existed eternally and there was no place, and He now is as He was, i.e., without a place.

 Imam Abu Hanifah, who is one of the authorities of as-Salaf, said in his book Al-Fiqh al­Absat: "Allah existed eternally and there was no place. He existed before creating the creation. He existed, and there was no place, creation, or thing; and He is the Creator of everything."

 Imam al-Hafidh al-Bayhaqiyy said in his book, Al-Asma'u was-Sifat, on page 400: ".... What was mentioned towards the end of the hadith is an indication of denying Allah has a place and denying the slave is alike to Allah, wherever he was in proximity or remoteness. Allah, the Exalted, is adh­Dhahir--hence, it is valid to know about Him by proofs. Allah is al-Batin--hence, it is invalid that He would be in a place." He also said: "Some of our companions used as a proof to refute the place to Allah the saying of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam : 'You are adh-Dhahir and there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin 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 at­Tahawiyy, who was born in the year 237 after Hijrah, wrote a book called Al-^Aqidah at­Tahawiyyah. He mentioned that the content of his book is an elucidation of the creed of Ahl as­Sunnah wal Jama^ah, which is the creed of Imam Abu Hanifah, who died in the year 150 after al­Hijrah, and his two companions, Imam Abu Yusuf al-Qadi and Imam Muhammad Ibn al­Hasan ash-Shaybaniyy and others. He said in his book: "Allah is supremely clear of all boundaries, extremes, sides, organs and instruments. The six directions do not contain Him--these are attributed to all created things." Such is the saying of Imam Abu Ja^far who is among the heads of as-Salaf. He explicitly stated that Allah is clear of being contained by the six directions. The six directions are above, below, in front of, behind, right, and left.

 

The linguist and scholar of hadith, Imam Muhammad Murtada az-Zabidiyy, narrated by a continuous chain from himself back to Imam Zayn al-^Abidin ^Aliyy Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, (who was among the first of as-Salaf, who earned the title of as-Sajjad, i.e., the one who prays a lot), that Zayn al-^Abidin said in his treatise as­Sahifah as-Sajjadiyyah about Allah: which means: "O Allah, You are clear of all imperfection. You are Allah, the One Who no place contains You." He also said  which means: "O Allah, You are clear of all imperfection. You are Allah, the One Who is not in boundaries."

 

In the explanation of al-Bukhariyy in the chapter on Al-Jihad, Hafidh Ibn Hajar said: "The fact that the two directions above and below are impossible to be attributes of Allah, does not necessitate that Allah would not be attributed with aboveness, because attributing aboveness to Allah is a matter of status and the impossibility lies in it being physical."

The scholar Imam Zayn ad-Din Ibn Nujaym, the Hanafiyy, in his book Al-Bahr ar­Ra'iq, on page 129 said: "Whoever says it is possible that Allah would do a doing in which there is no wisdom commits blasphemy, and also he commits blasphemy by affirming a place to Allah, the Exalted."
 

Imam Muhammad Ibn Hibah al-Makkiyy, in his book Hada'iq al-Fusul wa Jawahir al-^Uqul,--also called Al-^Aqidat-as-Salahiyyah because he gave it as a gift to Sultan Salah-ad-Din al-Ayyubiyy who ordered that this book be taught to the children in schools and broadcast from the top of minarets--said:

which means: "Allah existed eternally and there was no place, and the judgment about His existence now is that He is as He was, i.e., without a place."

Imam Ja^far as-Sadiq said: "He who claims that Allah is in something or on something or from something, commits ash-shirk. Because if He was in something, He would be contained, and if He was on something, He would be carried, and if He was from something, He would be a creature."

Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulsiyy said: "He who believes that Allah fills the heavens and earth or that He is a body sitting above al-^arsh (ceiling of Paradise; throne) is a kafir."

Imam Abul-Qasim ^Aliyy Ibnul-Hasan Ibn Hibatillah Ibn ^Asakir said in his ^Aqidah: "Allah existed before the creation. He does not have a before or an after, an above or a below, a right or a left, an in front of or a behind, a whole or a part. It must not be said when was He, where was He, or how was He. He exists without a place."

Imam Abu Sulayman al-Khattabiyy said: "What is obligatory upon us and upon every Muslim to know is that our Lord has no shape or form, because the shape has a 'how' and 'how' does not apply to Allah or His Attributes."

Know beyond doubt that the question 'how' does not apply to Allah, because this is a question about shapes, bodies, places, depths and dimensions; Allah is clear of all of that. Also be firm that it is invalid to say about Allah "... but we do not know how", because in essence, it falsely indicates that Allah has a color, shape, dimensions, body, place, but one is ignorant of the 'how' of it.


Imam al-Ghazaliyy said: " Allah, the Exalted, existed eternally and there was no place. He is not a body, jawhar (atom), or property, and He is not on a place or in a place."

 
 
Last words
All of these sayings in tawheed creed, show that attributing the sensuous physical aboveness and place to Allah is contrary to the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Ijma^, and the intellectual proof. The intellectual proof that Allah exists without a place lies in the fact that the one who is in a place would have an area, and the one who has an area is in need of it, and the one who needs others is not God. Moreover, as the mind determines that Allah existed without a place before creating places, the mind determines that after Allah created the places He still exists without a place.

The scholars like Imam Ahmad ar­Rifa^iyy determined that lifting the hands and the faces towards the sky when performing du^a (supplication) is because the heavens are the qiblah of du^a just as the Ka^bah is the qiblah of as­Salah. From the heavens, the mercies and blessings of Allah descend.

Hence, it is clear for the one who seeks the truth that the saying that Allah exists without a place is what complies with the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Ijma^, and the criteria of the sound intellect. Be firm and certain that before creating places, Allah Who created everything (places and others), existed without a place, and after creating places, He still exists without a place.

 

Since we have determined that the creed of the Muslims is that Allah exists without a place and that the question 'how' does not apply to Allah, it is clear to us that al-^arsh (the throne) which is the biggest of the creations of Allah and the ceiling of Paradise, is not a place for Allah, the Exalted.

Imam Abu Hanifah said in his book, al­Wasiyyah,: " ... and He is the Preserver of al­^arsh and other than al-^arsh, without needing it, for had He been in need, He would not have the power to create the world and to manage and preserve it. Moreover, had He been in a place needing to sit and rest­­before creating al-^arsh, where was Allah?" That is, the question 'where was Allah' would have applied to Him, which is impossible.

 

Also, in his book, Al-Fiqh al-Absat, Imam Abu Hanifah said: "Allah existed eternally and there was no place; He existed before creating the creation. He existed and there was not a place, a creation or a thing; and He is the Creator of everything. He who says 'I do not know if my Lord is in the heavens or on the earth,' is a kafir. Also is a kafir whoever says that 'He is on al-^arsh, and I do not know whether al-^arsh is in the heaven or on the earth'."

Consequently, Imam Ahmad declared a kafir whomever says these last two phrases because they contain attributing a direction, boundary, and place to Allah. Everything which has a direction and boundary is by necessity in need of a Creator. Thus it is not the intention of Imam Abu Hanifah to prove that the heaven and al-^arsh are places for Allah, as those who liken Allah to the creation claim. This is by virtue of the aforementioned saying of the Imam: "Had He been in a place needing to sit and rest, then before creating al-^arsh where was Allah?", which is clear in negating that Allah has a direction or a place.

In his book, Ihya'u ^Ulum ad-Din, Imam al­Ghazaliyy said: "... places do not contain Him, nor do the directions, earth, or heavens. He is attributed with an istiwa' over al-^arsh as He said in the Qur'an--with the meaning that He willed--and not as what people may delude. It is an istiwa' which is clear of touching, resting, holding, moving and containment. Al-^arsh does not carry Him, but rather al-^arsh and those that carry al-^arsh are all carried by Allah with His Power and are subjugated to Him. He is above al-^arsh and above the heavens and above everything--in status-- an aboveness that does not give Him proximity to al-^arsh or the heavens as it does not give Him farness from earth. He is higher in status than everything: higher in status than al-^arsh and the heavens, as He is higher in status than earth and the rest of the creation."

Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghaniyy an-Nabulsiyy said: "He who believes that Allah filled the heavens and earth or that He is a body sitting above al-^arsh, is a kafir." Ayah 93 of Surat Maryam:

means: "All those in the heavens and earth must come to Allah as a slave." In his Tafsir (book of explaining the Qur'an), Imam ar-Raziyy said: "... and since it is affirmed by this ayah that everything that existed in the heavens and earth is a slave to Allah, and since it is obligatory that Allah is clear of being a slave, thus He is clear of being in a place or direction, or on al-^arsh or al-kursiyy."

 

Hence Surat Taha, ayah 5, in the Qur'an, clearly does not mean that Allah sits on the throne or that Allah is firmly established on the throne. In the Arabic language, the word istawa has fifteen (15) different meanings, among of which are to sit, to subjugate, to protect, to conquer, and to preserve. Based on what we have covered so far it is clear that it is blasphemous to apply the meaning 'to sit' to Allah. However the terms to preserve and to subjugate are in compliance with the Religion and the language.

Allah Knows best.■