D – ‘Uluww – Other Opinions – Incorrect Opinions Regarding ‘Uluww
The first incorrect opinion regarding this Attribute is the saying that Allah is everywhere.
- Hulooliyyah ‘Aamah – (Hulool means to occupy a space, or be around). This is like the saying of Jahm ibn Safwan (the first to reject Allah’s ‘Uluww) that Allah is like the air, i.e. all around us.
- Hulooliyyah Khaasah – the belief that Allah is in a certain person’s surroundings, or in certain places only, e.g. idol worship.
- Ittihaadiyyah ‘Aamah – to believe that Allah is everywhere, inside of everything, and there is no existence other than Him. This is the belief of the heretical sufis.
- Ittihaadiyyah Khaasah – to believe that Allah is manifest inside a specific person, e.g. the Christian’s belief in Jesus.
Muslim groups mostly fell into the first and third of those mentioned.
The second opinion is that of the mujassimah who say Allah(swt) is enclosed in a space, or is physically sitting on the Throne. As a side note here, it must be mentioned that some English books on Aqeedah, specifically some translated works of ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) have incorrectly translated his works to say “sitting on the Throne” (i.e. saying jalasa instead of istiwaa) when this is not found in the Arabic. It is a mistake in the translation, may Allah (swt) forgive us for our shortcomings.
The third deviant opinion is what is held by people of kalam (and most modern day Ash’aris) that Allah cannot be described with a direction. That is, He is neither to the left of us, the right of us, under us, over us, etc. This is in direct opposition to the way of Ahlus Sunnah because they have employed detailed negation and concise affirmation. While in the Quran it is found numerous times that Allah is above us, they claim that we should begin describing Allah by saying “He is not below us, He is not to the left, He is not…, He is not…, He is not…” and this is in clear opposition to the Quranic method.
The Ash’aris argued basically that this makes it appear Allah “needs” a Throne to sit on, that having a direction necessitates having a body, and that a being characterized by direction must ‘occupy space’ (tahayyuz) and have a directional relationship vis-a-vis other objects, thus implying a created being.
These assumptions are all based in Aristotelian logic, and contradict the rules established for Allah’s Names and Attributes. The simple response is that there is no basis for their assumptions, and the implications they assume are unfounded. We affirm what Allah says, and do not question the ‘how’. It is by delving into the ‘how’ that they made these assumptions and deviated.