Category Archives: Hanbali Fiqh & Aqeedah

Brief Response to the Claim: “Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was a Muhaddith & not a Faqih

Just like the post yesterday where we gave a short response on the claim that Imam Abu Hanifah was not a Muhaddith, an opposite claim is usually made upon Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahmatullahi alayh), some claimed that he was not a Faqeeh (Jurist) but only a Muhaddith (Hadith Narrator), the following is the testimony of the scholars who refute such contention.

Imam Abu Ubaid Qasim Bin Salam (rahimahullah) [d.224H] said:

“The knowledge of Hadith went to its apex in four scholars and Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) is the most learned Faqeeh of them.”

Imam Abu Thaur Ibraheem bin Khalid (rahimahullah) said:

“Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was more learned Faqeeh than Sufyan Ath-Thauri (rahimahullah).” [Imam Adh-Dhahabi (rahimahullah), Tazkirat-ul-Huffaz, 2/16]

Ibn ‘Aqeel said:

“One of the most surprising thing that I have heard from the young and ignorant folk is their saying that Ahmad (bin Hanbal) is not a scholar of fiqh, but a scholar of hadeeth. And this is the limit of ignorance, since he had preferred sayings which he based upon Ahadeeth and are not known by most people, and he had things that were extra to that which the greater scholars had.”

Hanbali Fiqh: Touching Women With Desire Breaks Wudhu’

[Compiled by Abul Layth]

The following is some research I did over a year ago for those striving to follow the Hanbali Madh-hab. I am not sure how much benefit it will be for people, but I decided that I would go ahead and post it for those that it may benefit insha’allah.

Al Hajjaawi states in Zaad Al Mustaqni’,

[The fifth nullifier of wudhu’] “He touches a woman bi-shahwah (with desire).”

Imaam Al-Bahuti in his “Rawdh Al Murabbi’” page 42 states, in explaining this: [He touches] meaning the man [a woman with desire] that is because it is calling (or is stimulation) to Al Hadath.

Ibn Qudaamah states in Al-’Umdah regarding the nullifiers of wudhu’:

“And to touch a woman when it is out of shahwah (desire).”

In Al-’Uddah Sharh Al Umdah, Imaam Bahaa’ud-deen Al Maqdisi states after mentioning the three reported opinions,

“…And the third report, and it is the Thaahir (manifest opinion) of the Madh-hab, that it (i.e. the touch) nullifies the wudhu’ when it is done due to shahwah (desire), and it does not nullify the wudhu’ if it is due to other than shahwah, combining all of the verses and narrations together…” ((Page 45 of Al-Uddah published by Maktabah Daar As-Salaam ))

Imaam Ibn Qudaamah Al Maqdisi states in Al Kaafi Fi Fiqh Al Imaam Ahmad page 74,

“[And the Third Opinion:] It is the Thaahir of the Madh-hab and it is that touching a woman out of shahwah (desire) nullfies the wudhu’. Touching does not nullify the wudhu’ if it is not done out of shahwah, [and this is derived by] combining all of the Aayaat and Narrations (Al Akhbaar). The “touch” is not hadath in and of itself, rather it is what calls (daa’) to hadath…”

The Sheikh continues with drawing a simile to An-Nawm (sleep), and how sleep itself is not hadath, but what it leads to (such as the probability of passing gas etc). For more detail see Sharh Al Kabeer and Al Mughni.

In Dalil At-Taalib, Shaykh Mar’i ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi writes,

“And the fifth (nullifier of wudhu’) is when a man touches a woman or a woman touches a man due to shahwa…”

In the gloss of Dalil At-Talib, Nayl Al-Maa’rib of Imam Abdul-Qaadir ibn ‘Umar Ash-Shaybaani he comments on the above,

“Due to Allah’s statement ‘…or touching women…’ and as for the touch it does not break wudhu’ unless it done out of shahwa due to the gathering of all the verses and narrations (akhbaar).” ((page 17 of Al-Azhar’s old publication – undated))

May Allah bless our beloved Prophet Muhammad, His family, His Companions, and those that follow them in righteousness. Amin!

Are all the Ḥanābilah Anthropomorphists???

By Abdul Wahab Saleem

Are Ḥanābilah anthropomorphists (mujassimah) because they establish what appears to be attributes of Allah?

Firstly, allow me to be very clear that I am not ḥanbalī. However, there is a growing sentiment among certain subsections of Muslims around the world that many ḥanābilah are actually anthropomorphists, especially those in our times, and hence they are either non-Muslims or at least extremely misguided. Based on this view, at least two entire countries in the Muslim world are either full of non-Muslims or extremely deviant human beings, in addition to their official or unofficial emissaries and followers around the world.
Whilst it doesn’t escape me that there have been some ḥanbalīs who actually were anthropomorphists over the centuries, the general majority of ḥanābilah throughout the centuries and even today are not anthropomorphists! The confusions lie in our failiure to communicate with each other based on the terms of our counterparts.

To illustrate this, allow me to share just one example: Ibn al-Fā’ūs al-Ḥanbalī established the tradition which says ❝the Blackstone is Allah’s right hand❞. For this, he was severely criticized and even entitled as al-Ḥajarī by Ibn al-Khāḍibah for establishing that a ḥajar (stone) is Allah’s right hand. Subḥānahū Wa Ta‘ālā! Now obviously, any sane person wouldn’t establish such a tradition on its apparent meaning, and any sane person would recognize that this is some form of metaphor! This is why al-Ghazzālī considered it insanity to establish this tradition on the apparent meaning in Faiṣal al-Tafriqah!

However, commenting on this specific example, Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī said something that changes our entire view of the word ḍhāhir (apparent) or ḥaqīqah (reality) which is often used in the Ḥanbalī circles, for which they are often accused of anthropomorphism. Ibn Rajab said, ❝…If one were to say that this is metaphorical, some will understand that it has no meaning, and reality to it, so they (i.e. his ḥanbalīs) deny *that* and distance themselves from it. And those who denied the existence of metaphors forbid the usage of this term so the aforementioned fallacy doesn’t occur, and so it doesn’t become a means to deny meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.❞

He further explained that even if it is majāz (metaphorical) based on the terminology of most scholars, the ḥanbalī terminology (or at least that of some ḥanbalīs) is to use the word ḥaqīqah instead as ḥaqīqah to them is divided into two categories: 1) a meaning which the word itself renders, and 2) a meaning which is rendered by the context. The second meaning of the word ḥaqīqah based on this nomenclature is the same as that of other scholars who use the word majāz instead, and that is what they mean in this context! And whats important in relation to belief is the meaning and not the word choice!

If this is understood by a sincere and *fair* person on both sides of the equation, then much of the ṣifāt wars for which endless hours are wasted will be put to better use. And if this is read by an insincere and unfair person, then he will neither understand nor try to understand. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr Al-Qurṭubī said, ❝From the blessings of [true] knowledge is fairness, and whosoever is unfair will not understand, nor will he try to understand.❞

I ask Allah to make us of those who understand each other even if we disagree. I ask Allah to make us of those who call for beneficial knowledge, understanding, unity, love, and fairness.

Are Hanbali and Athari Aqeedah the same??

Question: Are Hanbali and Athari Aqida the same?? Was Athari `aqida ever a school like the Maturidi or Ash’ari??

Answer: Inside Islam Athari, Sunni, and Ahl al-Hadith are all synonymous with each other and with each of the Four Sunni Schools in contradistinction with those non-Sunnis that are defined, in Sunni heresiographical discourse, as denying part or all of the Athars (reports) and Hadiths that define the principles and practice of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a.

Inside Sunnism, however, the above terms differ in various ways due to further polemical meanings according to the emphasis desired by the speaker and the guidelines of his own self-definition.

For example, when Ahl al-Hadith define themselves in contradistinction of Ahl al-Raiy then the first term tends to be synonymous with Hanbalis (and Shafi’is) and the second term with Hanafis (and Malikis) although they are all Ahl al-Raiy wal-Hadith in the larger sense since, on the one hand raiy – qualified juridical opinion – is the soul of ijtihad and fiqh without which the Shari’a becomes impaired; and, on the other hand, the source-texts are no less essential to the Shari’a. Hence Imams Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi’is famous saying comparing the muhaddith to the pharmacist and the jurisprudent to the physician.

When defining ‘aqida, the distinctions similarly reflect the self-perceived and self-representating emphases of each school. In this respect the Hanbalis perceive and represent themselves as the most focused of the Sunni Schools on source-texts. In reality, insofar as those Schools are defined by their founding Imams, then all four of them are equally source-text-focused. But most self-definitions of who Ahl al-Sunna are or what Sunna and Jama’a consist in, are actually formulaic responses which are not meant to be all-comprehensive but are part of a timely, practical arsenal to help dispatch deviations to their graves.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa said: Sunna and Jama’a are defined by loyalty to the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and `Umar as Caliphs], love of the Two Sons-in-Law [`Uthman and `Ali], and [the permissibility of] wiping over leather socks [in ablution]. Yet, elsewhere (as in his Wasiyya and Fiqh al-Akbar) he also made belief in Divine foreordained destiny (qadar) and the un-createdness of the Qur’an as essential, defining articles of Sunni doctrine also. The discrepancy is moot since each definition is dictated by context and the needs of the time in which it was uttered.

Similarly, the emphasis of the Hanbali School on textualism is a legacy of the heroic stand taken by Imam Ahmad in defense of that self-defining principle of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a against Mu’tazilism: We stick to all the authentic reports narrated from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and his Companions that define his and their way because this is the Prophet’s own definition of the Saved Group. That legacy became embedded in Hanbali discourse and methodology even though there are, in the `aqidas narrated from the mouth of Imam Ahmad by his students, many Ash’ari and Maturidi truisms. This is the strain that a few Hanbalis embraced in their own positively Ash’ari creeds such as Ibn `Aqil, Ibn al-Jawzi, and al-Saffarini.

Al-Saffarini (d. 1188) notably gave the following definition in his Lawami` al-Anwar: Ahl al-Sunna consist of three groups: the textualists (al-Athariyya), whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash`aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. and they are all one sect, the saved sect, and they are Ahl al-Hadith.

Perhaps a more satisfactory expression of the Sunni self-definition of Ahl al-Sunna is given by the great Ash’ari Imam known in absolute terms as the Ustadh: Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429) in his Farq bayn al-Firaq (The Difference between the Sects). This entire book is in fact an elucidation of the hadith of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, of which the central part says: … and my Community shall divide into 73 sects… At the end of the book he defines Ahl al-Sunna thus:

Those that have completely mastered and codified the principles of belief [=Ash`aris and Maturidis], the Mujtahid Scholars of the four Schools of Law and their followers, the Scholars of hadith that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of Arabic grammar that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of tafsir that steered clear of deviation, the Sufis, the people making jihad, and the general masses of the Muslims.

Similarly al-Iji (d. 756) in the Mawaqif:

The Saved Group which is excepted from the Prophet’s hadith All of them are in the Fire except one: Those that adhere to what I and my Companions follow – these are the Ash’aris, the Salaf of the scholars of hadith, and [generally speaking] Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a.

While al-Haytami, al-Baydawi, and al-Saharanfuri say: When we use the term Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a, what is meant are the Ash’aris and the Maturidis.

Imam `Abd Allah ibn `Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132) said:

If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book, the Sunna, and the sayings of the Salaf… you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called Ash’ari, named after the Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs which the Companions and the best among the Successors agreed upon. The Maturidis are the same as the Ash’aris in the above regard.

Answered by Gibril F. Haddad

Ilm Chain of the Hanaabilah

How the Ilm reached in our Hearts…

Al-Basra is where 1 of the 10 Mushaf of Sayyiduna Uthman Ibn al-Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) was sent. Sayyiduna Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) wrapped the black Imamah around the head of his student, Imam Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) and licensed him to teach.

Imam Hasan al Basri (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his student Imam Habib al-Ajami (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Ajami (rahimahullah) did the same thing to Imam Sufyan Ibn al-Uyaynah (rahimahullah).

Imam Ibn Uyaynah (rahimahullah) did the same thing to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah).

Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his son, Imam Salih al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah).

Imam Baghdadi (rahimahullah) did the same to his student Imam Abu Qasim al-Kharaqi (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Kharaqi (rahimahullah) did the same to his student ibn Battah (rahimahullah).

Imam Ibn Battah (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his student Abu Talib al-Ushari (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Ushari (rahimahullah) did the same to his student, Imam Mahfuz al-Kalwazami (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Kalwazani did the same thing to his student Imam Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (rahimahullah).

Imam Shaykh al-Jilani (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his students and successors, Imam Abd al-Rahman Ibn Jawzi, Imam Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi, Imam Muwaffaq-uddin Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (rahimahumullah) and others.

With the exceptions of Imam Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullah), all these Imams were Palestinians and this is part of the story of how this strand of Islam spread from Makkah to Medina to Palestine and the whole world.

In sha Allah, I feel all of us who follow this beautiful Madh-hab should know this.

Share it with our brothers and sisters and memorize this.

Via Br. Mohammad Raza Mirza (Hafidhahullah)…

Jumu’ah Salah before Zawaal [Hanbali]

Translated by Mufti Abu Hajira

It is mentioned in Dars e Tirmidhi of Hadhrat Mufti Taqi Uthmani maddazilluhu under the hadeeth:

“…that Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam used to pray jumu’ah when the sun had declined..”[1]

According to the majority of Ulama’ the meaning of the hadeeth is that Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would pray jumu’ah right after the Zawaal of the sun (zenith). Hence, the time for Jumu’ah Salah according to the majority is same as that of Dhuhr.

However Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullah and some Ulama’ of Dhahiriyyah view Jumu’ah Salah to be permissible even before the Zawaal. According to them the starting time of Jumu’ah Salah is Dahwatul Kubra’[2].

Their evidence is the famous narration of Sahl bin Sa’d radhiyallahu anhu.

“…we neither used to have breakfast in the time of Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam nor used to have our siesta until after Jumah.”[3]

The reason for their deduction from this narration is the use of the word “al ghada’” which according to linguistics refers to that food which is partaken “after sunrise but before Zawaal”. Hence this hadeeth would mean that the sahaba radhiyallahu anhum used to eat their breakfast before zawaal and after having finished their Jumu’ah Salah. This necessitates that the Jumu’ah must have been much before the Zawaal.

Response to this is that although “al ghada’” linguistically refers to the meal taken before Zawaal, but if someone were to partake their afternoon meal after Zawaal, then that meal can be generally and contextually included under “al ghada’”. An example of this is how Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam mentioned about Sehri (food before Subah Sadiq), “…hasten towards al ghadaa al Mubarak[4]. It can never be deduced from this narration that Sehri can be eaten after sunrise.

Imam Bukhari rahimahullah has mentioned an evidence contrary to the deduction of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahullah through the narration wherein Sayyidatuna Ayeshah radiallahu anha says, “They used to go after noon towards Jumu’ah, so go after noon in the same manner like them”[5] The usage in this hadeeth is “rawaah” and the word “rawaah” is linguistically specific to leaving after zawaal.

Another strong evidence of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullah is the statement of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah who says, “I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was before the mid-day. Then I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was just about at the mid-day. Thereafter I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was after declining of mid-day and I never saw anyone finding fault with that and negating that.[6]

In response to this Hadeeth Hafiz ibn al Hajar rahimahullah has placed his concern that Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah is da’eef (weak). Hadhrat Shah Saheb rahimahullah has mentioned that this contention of Hafiz ibn al Hajar rahimahullah is not correct. The reality of the matter is that Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah is one of the elder Tabi’een and Hafiz ibn Abd al Bar rahimahullah has included him among Sahabah. Ibn Hiban rahimahullah has mentioned him as thiqqah (strong). Hence, this hadeeth cannot be rejected based on strength of the sanad.

A plausible response to this narration is that mid-day although is a particular time of the day which occurs, yet it can be generalized over a broad range of time period as well. So much so, that sometime after-noon is also metaphorically called mid-day. The intent in the hadeeth in reality is to mention the action of the three Khulafa’ and the sequence in their actions. Hence the reason of mentioning would be that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu would pray Jumu’ah so quickly after the passing of Zawaal, that one could still say that it is not even mid-day (Zawaal). Sayyiduna ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu would pray a bit later such that one would say that it was mid-day at the time. Sayyiduna Uthman radhiyallahu anhu would delay it to the extent that no one would be able to doubt that it is at mid-day.

A similitude of this is mentioned in Sunan Nasa’i where “Sayyiduna Anas radhiyallahu anhu mentions, ‘When Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would come home (from a journey) he would not unmount except that he would pray Dhuhr.’ So it was said, ‘even if it were mid-day?’ so he answered, ‘yes, even it were mid-day’.” Now it is obvious that no one takes the meaning that Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would pray Dhuhr before the Zawaal or at Zawaal, rather it means that he would pray Dhuhr so early that it would be doubtful whether it is still Zawaal or not. This is the meaning of the narration of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydaan rahimahullah.

Dars e Tirmidhi Vol. 1 Pg. 276 – 279



503 – حدثنا أحمد بن منيع قال: حدثنا سريج بن النعمان قال: حدثنا فليح بن سليمان، عن عثمان بن عبد الرحمن التيمي، عن أنس بن مالك، «أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصلي الجمعة حين تميل الشمس» (سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (2/ 377))

[2] Dahwatul Kubra is the mid-point between Subah Sadiq and Sunset, while Zawaal is the mid-point between Sunrise and Sunset. Since Subah Sadiq marks the beginning of the time of Fajr Salah, it is much before the sunset. While calculating the mid-point between Subah Sadiqh and Sunset, this result will be before the Zawaal. In fact this time delay will be exactly half of the time between Subah Sadiq and Sunrise (i.e. the total time of Fajr Salah of that day).


525 – حدثنا علي بن حجر قال: حدثنا عبد العزيز بن أبي حازم، وعبد الله بن جعفر، عن أبي حازم، عن سهل بن سعد، [ص:404] قال: «ما كنا نتغدى في عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولا نقيل إلا بعد الجمعة» وفي الباب عن أنس بن مالك: «حديث سهل بن سعد حديث حسن صحيح» (سنن الترمذي ت شاكر(2/ 403))


2163 – أخبرنا شعيب بن يوسف بصري، قال: حدثنا عبد الرحمن، عن معاوية بن صالح، عن يونس بن سيف، عن الحارث بن زياد، عن أبي رهم، عن العرباض بن سارية، قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يدعو إلى السحور في شهر رمضان، وقال: «هلموا إلى الغداء المبارك» (سنن النسائي(4/ 145))


903 – حدثنا عبدان، قال: أخبرنا عبد الله، قال:أخبرنا يحيى بن سعيد: أنه سأل عمرة عن الغسل يوم الجمعة، فقالت: قالت عائشة رضي الله عنها: ” كان الناس مهنة أنفسهم، وكانوا إذا راحوا إلى الجمعة، راحوا في هيئتهم فقيل لهم: لو اغتسلتم ” (صحيح البخاري (2/ 7))


1623 – حدثنا يزيد بن الحسن بن يزيد البزاز أبو الطيب , ثنا محمد بن إسماعيل الحساني , ثنا وكيع ,ثنا جعفر بن برقان , عن ثابت بن الحجاج الكلابي , عن عبد الله بن سيدان السلمي , قال: ” شهدت يوم الجمعة مع أبي بكر وكانت صلاته وخطبته قبل نصف النهار , ثم شهدتها مع عمر وكانت صلاته وخطبته إلى أن أقول: انتصف النهار , ثم شهدتها مع عثمان فكانت صلاته وخطبته إلى أن أقول زال النهار فما رأيت أحدا عاب ذلك ولا أنكره ” (سنن الدارقطني (2/ 330))

Istiwa alal Arsh—Where is Allah Ta’ala?

By Jamia Maseehiyyah Ashrafiyyah

The  issue  of  Istiwa  alal  Arsh is  mentioned  in  seven  Surahs, viz.  Surah  A’raaf,  Surah  Yunus,  Ra’d,  Taha,  Furqaan,  Sajdah  and Hadeed.

The  following  Tafseer  of  Istiwa  alal  Arsh appears  in  Tafseer Mukammal Bayaanul Qur’aan under the Aayat in Surah A’raaf:
“Then  He  established  (and  manifested)  Himself  on  the  Arsh  (which resembles  the  Throne  of  a  King,  in  a  manner  befitting  His  Sublime Self).”

This  is  precisely  the  view  of  the  Jumhoor  Salaf [Overwhelming majority  of  the  Former  Ulama], i.e.:  

•  Istiwa is in its  literal  sense.

The  nature  of  the  literal  meaning  is  entrusted  to  Allah  Ta’ala.  Delving in the reality of it is prohibited.

This  prohibition  is  only  logical  because  our  mental  perception  is incapable  of  comprehending  it  [the  reality  of  Allah  Ta’ala’s  Istiwa]. This  is  like  a  person  who  is  born  blind  will  be  advised  not  to  delve  into the  nature  of  colour,  for  the  same  reason  [i.e.  he  is  incapable  of comprehending the nature of colour]. 

And  beware  of  comparing  His  [Allah  Ta’ala’s]  Istiwa  to  your Istiwa,  for  indeed  the  nature  of  an  attribute  differs  in  relation  to  the holder  of  the  attribute.  Zaid  ‘settling’  somewhere  is  not  like  the  mind settling  on  an  issue.  Similarly,  the  length  of  a  stick  is  not  the  same,  i.e. it  does  not  share  the  same  reality,  as  the  length  of  night,  not withstanding  the  fact  that  both  ‘settling’  and  ‘length’  are  in  their  literal sense (in the two examples mentioned). 

When  the  Mustawi  [that  is,  the  Being  Who  has  established  and manifested  Himself  on  the  Arsh]  is  unfathomable  in  His  Essence,  His Istiwa  will  undoubtedly  be  unfathomable  in  reality.  Thus,  there  is  no way  to  judge  One  Whose  reality  is  unfathomable  with  an  entity  whose reality is fathomable. Your Istiwa is inconceivable for Allah Ta’ala.

The safest course is not to discuss this issue and leave the nature of it to Allah Ta’ala.  

The approach of the illustrious Salaf [i.e. Predecessors, Former Ulama] was that the Nusoos [Quraanic Texts and Ahadeeth—here reference is to the allegorical texts] are in their literal senses. However, the nature and essence of it is not known.

Istiwa and Uluw [Loftiness] do not necessitate direction. If direction is declared [for Allah Ta’ala as the deviate Salafis fallaciously claim, that Allah Ta’ala is above on His Throne] then the nature of Istiwa is specified which is in violation to the belief of the illustrious Salaf as they unequivocally state that the reality [of Istiwa] is not known.  

To summarize, there are two dimensions to Istiwa and Uluw:

Declaring direction [for Allah Ta’ala].

Without declaring direction, in fact, declaring no direction. 

The first is the doctrine of the Mujassimah [a deviant sect who subscribe to anthropomorphism] and the second is the doctrine of the Ahlus Sunnah in which the Muhadditheen and Soofiyah both are included. 

Direction [for Allah Ta’ala] is negated traditionally and rationally. In tradition, on the basis of the Aayat: “There is none like unto Him.”  

Rationally, for this reason that direction is created and non-eternal, whereas Allah Ta’ala is pure from the attribute of non-eternity, as the location of non-eternity is also non-eternal.

And,  how  beautifully  did  Imam  Maalik  put  it  when  he  was  asked about  this  [i.e.  Istiwa  alal  Arsh]:  “Istiwa  is  known,  the  manner is  unknown,  delving  into  it  is  bid’at  and  belief  in  it  is  incumbent.”— Marginal  Notes  of  Nibraas  with  reference  to  Sharhul  Fiqhil  Akbar  by Mulla Ali Qaari.

The  bid’at  and  dhalaalat  (innovation  and  deviation)  of  the  modernist Salafis  is  thus  manifest  from  Imam  Maalik’s  statement.  They  have raised  and  dabbled  into  this  issue  without  fear  for  the  delicate  nature  of the  subject,  thus  exposing  their  Imaan  and  the  Imaan  of  innocent Muslims  to  kufr.  May  Allah  Ta’ala  protect  us  from  transgressing  the limits.

This  brings  us  to  the  question:  Where  is  Allah  Ta’ala?  This question  too,  like  the  previous  mas’alah  is  delicate  and  delving  into  it  is unwise.  In  fact,  for  us  who  lack  expertise  in  Shar’i  Uloom to  discuss  the issue  is  fraught  with  perils  for  our  Imaan.  And,  even  if  we  possessed deep  knowledge  of  the  Shariah  and  Islamic  Sciences,  then  too  words lack  the  scope  to  describe  this  as  well  as  all  the  Infinite  Attributes  of Allah Azza wa A’laa. 
The  minimum  requirement  is  that  we  believe  in  the  following:

Allah  Ta’ala  declares:

“East  and  west  belongs  to  Him.  Thus,  wherever you turn, the Face of Allah is there.”

Thus,  the  Face  of  Allah  Ta’ala  is  everywhere.  In  what  way  and  in  which manner is not for our concern. In fact, it is kufr to probe the details. 

Allah Ta’ala declares: 

“Be aware that indeed He encompasses everything.”

Thus,  everything  is  surrounded  and  encompassed  by  Him.  Nothing escapes Him and nothing is beyond Him. This much we believe and it is part of  our  categorical  Faith.  How  He  encompasses  everything  is beyond the limit of our finite minds. 

Allah  Ta’ala  declares:  

“And He is with you wherever you are.”

The  above  Aayat  also  asserts  the  Presence  of  Allah  Ta’ala  to  be everywhere.  We  do  not  know  the  kaif  or  manner  and  nature  of  His presence.  This  is  the  belief  of  the  illustrious  Soofiyah  whom  the Salafiyyah  (Salafis)  target  with  slander.  The  scope  of  this  treatise  does not  permit  a  detailed  rebuttal  of  the  Salafi  slander  levelled  against  the honourable  Soofiyah  and  Mashaaikh  of  Tasawwuf.  Our  purpose  here  is simply  to  provide  the  essential  dalaail  and  basis  for  the  Mathhab  and Maslak  of  the  Hanafiyyah,  Soofiyah  and  Jumhoor  Ahlus  Sunnah  wal Jama’ah. 

Shaikh  Shamsud  Deen  Ramli  Shaafi’i  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  in  his Fataawa  cites  an  incident  of  a  person  who  offensively  questioned  a Soofi  [Saint,  Buzrug]:  “Where  is  Allah?”  The  anti-Mathhab  Madinah University  students  rudely  pose  the  same  question  to  Musallis  in Masjid-e-Nabawi.  The  Buzrug  gave  the  following  apt  reply:  “Be  gone! Are  you  searching  with  your  eyes  where?  Allah  Ta’ala  declares:  ‘And He is with you wherever you are.”

Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  said:  “If  you  send  a  rope  down to the bottom-most earth, it will come to Allah.”

The  Hadeeth  clearly  rebuts  the  Salafi  view  of  Allah  Ta’ala  being confined  to  the  skies.  As  stated  earlier,  Allah  Ta’ala  is  free  from  time, place, direction and limit.

Hazrat  Ali  (Karramallahu  wajhahu)  sums  up  the  Aqeedah  [Tenet  of Faith]  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnah  as  follows:  “I  recognise  my  Rabb  with  that which He Himself has made me recognise Him. He cannot be perceived with the senses and He cannot be judged according to humans. He is near in His absence, yet far in His presence. He is above everything, yet nothing will be said to be below Him. He is in front of everything, yet nothing will be said to be in front of Him. He is in everything unlike one thing in another. Thus, Glory to that Being Who is such whilst nothing else is like that.”

A poet said it very beautifully:                                    

“We can think about You, but we cannot fully comprehend You.”

Salafis question Allah Ta’ala’s Omnipresence by disgorging the following profanity: “Is He in the toilet when you are in the toilet?” Allah Ta’ala instructs us to respond to the drivel of the ignoramuses in the following manner:
(Salaam to you! We do not quarrel with the juhalaa.) (Insha Allah we will refute this drivel soon)

In short, Allah Ta’ala’s Presence is everywhere, i.e. He is Omnipresent, in a manner He knows best.