PART 1 – The Allaamah Nawaab Siddique Hasan Khan Series
Istiwaa & Nuzool By Allaamah Imaam Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan (d.1890-1307H)
Translated by Abu Hibbaan & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari
HEADING – ISTIWAA
The people and the companions of Hadeeth affirm Allaah is above the seven heavens, above the Arsh as Istiwa has been mentioned 7 times in the Quraan and my treatise ‘Ihtiwa’ is concerning this issue at hand. It contains therein verses of the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah and the statements of the Imaams of this Ummah and we have discussed this at length and in great detail there.
All of these verses, narration and reports are understood literally and they are to be left to their literal meaning and their exact knowledge is with Allaah. Umm Salamah (RadhiAllaahu Anha) said, “Istiwa is not unknown (ie it is known) its howness has not been mentioned, affirming Allaahs Istiwa is Eemaan and negating or denying it is Kufr (ie disbelief).” This has also been reported from Imaam Maalik.
Ibn Mubaarak said, “We know Allaah is above the Seven heavens rising over his Arsh, separate from the creation and we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say that Allaah is Here with us (ie everywhere)” Him by using the word here with us, he is referring to here on the earth (as the Wahdatul Wajoodees says).
Ibn Khuzaimah said whoever denies or rejects Allaah rising over his Arsh is a disbeliever, his his blood becomes lawful and he should be made to recant and repent, if not his head should be struck off and thrown on the rubbish heaps so that its foul smell does not harm the Muslims. Furthermore no Muslim can inherit his wealth because it has been reported in the ahadeeth that a Muslim cannot be the inheritor of a disbeliever. This is the statement of all of the Salaf and the scholars of Hadeeth.
Just as the companions and people of Hadeeth have affirmed the Istiwaa ie rising of Allaah over his Arsh, they similarly they also affirm the descending of Allaah and that he descends to the lowest heaven every night. This descent is not like or similar to the descent of the creation rather it is without tamtheel and takyeef. (likening or asking how)
As for that which has been authentically reported and transmitted to us, then we leave them to their literal and real meanings and we leave the knowledge of it to Allaah. Ameer Abdullaah Ibn Taahir said to Ishaaq Ibn Rahawaihah Oh Abaa Yaqoob the ahadeeth mentions that Allaah descents to the lowest heaven every night, so how is this descent and why. he replied, “He descends as he wishes.” And then quoted the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) which has been transmitted in the Saheehain.
Furthermore Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has authored a specific book with regards to this issue. The wording of the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) is, that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) said: “Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call Me that I might answer him, who will ask of Me that I might give him, who will ask My forgiveness, that I might forgive him?’”
Imaam Saboonee transmitted the ahadeeth pertaining to the descent of Allaah via his own chain and then said the scholars of Hijaaz and Iraaq established and affirmed the descent of Allaah with their own chains. Ibn Khuzaimah said We therefore testify and acknowledge with our tongues whilst certainly testifying with our hearts the reports about the descending of Allaah without delving into how it happens because our Prophet did not describe how our Creator descends to the heaven of the dunya and he only informed us of his descent.
Umm Salamah (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) said about the day of Arafah that it is the Day on which Allaah descends to the lowest heaven of this earth. Similarly the Hadeeth concerning the night of the middle of Shabaan also mentions the descent of Allaah to the lowest heaven.
Saboonee said, so when the ahadeeth pertaining to the descent of Allaah (ie Nuzool) are affirmed and established then Ahlus Sunnah accept these ahadeeth and affirm Allaahs descent, without likening it to the creation. They believe (ie Ahlus Sunnah) that no attribute of Allaah can be likened to the attribute of the creation just Allaahs Dhaat (essence) cannot be liked to the Dhaat of anyone from amongst the creation.
In summary Allaah descends from his Arsh to the lowest heaven, he is still Allaah. If a man was to rise in the sky then he still remains a man like the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) went on Me’raaj (here Allaamah Nawaab Siddique Hasan Khan is refuting the Wahdatul Wajoodees and those who attribute divinity to the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) because he went up in Me’raj)
Taken from ‘Fath ul-Baab Li-Aqaa’id Oulil al-Baab’(pg.33-34) of Allaamah Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan