Believing in Allah the Exalted by Both Sects
The most important point that can be referred to in this respect, is sighting Allah — the Exalted — which Ahl al-Sunnah have established in the Hereafter for all the believers. When going through the Sihàh of Ahl al-Sunnah, like those of al-Bukhàri and Muslim for instance, we shall find narrations proving the sighting really not figuratively.23 Rather they contain even anthropomorphism to Allah — the Glorified — and that He laughs,24 comes and walks and descends to this world (dunyà),25 or even that He uncovers His leg that has a distinguishing sign.26 Moreover, they say that He (Subhànahu) places His foot in hell, whereat it will be filled saying: at all, at all; beside other things and descriptions from which Allah — the Glorified and the Mighty — is free and far.27
One day I have passed by the City of Laamo in Kenya, at East Africa, finding a Wahhabi Shaykh giving a sermon in the mosque. He was telling the worshippers that Allah has two hands, two legs, two eyes and a face.When I disapproved this from him, he began to confirm his argument by citing some Qur’anic verses, saying: “The Jews say: Allah’s hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty.” (5:64) He also said: "Build the ship under Our eyes...” (11:37) He further said: “Everyone that is thereon will pass away; There remaineth but the Countenance of thy Lord...” (55:26,27).
I said: O brother, all these verses you cited and other ones, are all but metaphors and not real meanings!
He replied by saying: All the Qur’àn is real and has no metaphor at all. Thereat I said: How do you interpret then the verse: “Whoso is blind here will be blind in the Hereafter...” (17,72), do you conceive it with the real meaning? Is every blind in the world will be blind in the Hereafter? The Shaykh replied: We are talking about Allah’s hand and eye and face, and have nothing to do with the blind!
I said: Forget about the blind. How do you interpret the verse I mentioned: “Everyone that is thereon will pass away; There remaineth but the Countenance of thy Lord...?” He turned his face to the attendants saying to them:
Is there anyone among you who couldn’t understand this verse? ...It is as clear and explicit as the Almighty’s saying: “Everything will perish save His Countenance...” (28:88) I said to him: You have added fuel to the fire! My brother, we have disputed regarding the Qur’àn... you claimed that the Qur’àn has no figurative speech, and all is but reality! While I claimed that there is figurative speech in the Qur’àn, especially the verses having materialization or anthropomorphism. If you insist on your opinion, you have to say that the meaning of “Everything will perish save His Countenance” is that his two hands and legs, and all of His body will perish, and nothing will remain of Him but the face, above which Allah is highly elevated, and too far! I then turned my face toward those present in the meeting saying: Do you approve of such an interpretation? All of them kept silent, and even their shaykh could never say one word. So I bade them farewell, invoking Allah to guide and help them to know the truth.
This is the way they believe in Allah, as recorded in their Sihàh and their sermons. I hold that some of our scholars deny this, but the majority of them believe in sighting Allah— the Glorified — in the Hereafter, and that they will see Him in the same way as seeing the moon at the night of full moon, with no cloud covering it, citing as a proof the verses: “That day will faces be resplendent. Looking toward their Lord.” (75:22,23)28
But as soon as you be acquainted with the creed of the Imàmiyyah Shiah in this respect, your conscience will be at rest and your mind will submit to accept the interpretation of the Qur’anic verses having incarnation or anthropomorphism to Allah — the Exalted — holding them to indicate figurative meaning and metaphor, not reality or the superficiality of utterances, as imagined by some people.
In this regard al-’Imàm ‘Ali (A) says: “...Whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the divings of understanding cannot reach’; He for Whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed...”29
In refuting the anthropormorphists, al-’Imàm al-Bàqir (A) says:
“Rather, whatever we have distinguished with our imagination, in its minutest meanings, is but a creature that is made like us, returning toward us...”30
Further we should be sufficed in this respect with Allah’s reply in His holy Scripture: “Naught is as His likeness,” and His saying: “Vision comprehendeth Him not”, beside His saying to His messenger and conversationalist Musà (A), when he asked to see Him”... He said: My Lord! Show me (Thy self), that I may gaze upon Thee. He said: Thou wilt not see Me,", and this lan (wilt not) in the verse, which is called Zamakhshari lan gives the meaning of ta’bid (neverness), as grammarians observe.
All this being a decisive evidence proving the veracity of the opinions of the Shi‘ah, who derive them from the traditions of Ahl. al-Bayt Imams — the source of knowledge and trustees of the Message, and whom Allah made to inherit the knowledge of the Scripture.
Whoever intends to go into details about this research, has to refer to the books elucidating this topic, like Kalimah hawl al-ru’yah of al— Sayyid Sharaf al-Din, the author of al-Muràja‘àt.
23. Sahih al-Bukhàri, Vol. II, p. 47, & Vol. V, p. 179 & Vol. VI, p. 33.
24. Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 226 & Vol. V, pp. 47-48; Sahih Muslim, Vol. I, pp. 114-122.
25. Ibid., Vol. VIII, p. 197.
26. Ibid., Vol. VIII, p. 182.
27. Ibid., Vol. VIII, p. 187, and on page 202 he confirms Allah’s having a hand and fingers.
28. Verse 23 of Surat al-Qiyàmah was interpreted by Ahl al-Bayt Imams (peace be upon them), that the faces at that Day (Doomsday) be resplendent (nàdirah), to mean prettiness and splendour (bahjah), while looking at their Lord’s mercy.
29. Nahj al-balàghah, exposition (sharh) of Muhammad `Abduh, Vol. I, Khutbah No. 1.
30. ‘Aqà’id al-’Imàmiyyah.
Adapted from the book: "To Be With the Truthful" by: "Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi"
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