The Ma`iyyah of Allah (Being With His Creation) And His Nearness


nearness paka

Allaah has described in His Book that He is ma`a (with) His creation. There are two types of ma`iyyah: general Ma`iyyah and specific Ma`iyyah.

As for the general Ma`iyyah, it is the encompassment of all the creation ,the believer and disbeliever, the righteous and wicked, with His Knowledge, He Sees what they do, and Hears what they says. This type of Ma`iyyah compels the one who believes in it to be always concerned and watchful over his relationship with Allah Ta`ala.
The evidence for this type of Ma’iyyah are Allaah’s statements:

{And He is with you wherever you are.} [57:4]
{There is no private conversation of three except that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them ‐ and no less than that and no more except that He is with them wherever they are.} [58:7]

As for the specific Ma`iyyah, it implies Allaah giving victory, protection, and assistance to whomever it is associated with. It is specific to the believers. This type of Ma`iyyah compels the one who believes in it to maintain constant steadfastness and strength. The evidence for this type of Ma`iyyah is the statements of Allaah:

{O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).}[2:153]
{If you help him (Prophet Muhammad) not (it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of two, when they (Prohpet Muhammad and Abu Bakr ) were in the cave, and he (peace be upon you) said to his companion (Abu Bakr ): “Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us.”} [9:40].

Allah Azza Wa Jal affirmed His Closeness to his servants as in the following Ayat:
{And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein’} [50:16]
{And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near . I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.} [2: 186]

During the time of the Tabi`een, a man named Jahm bin Safwan, whom the sect of Al-Jahmiyyah are attributed to, appeared and interpreted these verses on Allah’s Ma`iyyah differently than what the Pious Predecessors interpreted it, an interpretation that none has preceeded him in it, he claimed that it means that Allah is Himself everywhere, that He is with us and close to us with His Essence – Exalted Be Allah- , using these ayat to negate the Elevation of Allah Azza wa Jal above His Throne, and Bishr al-Mireesi and others, from the people of innovation who came after him, followed him in that. This belief contradicts the ayat on Allah’s Elevation, and it necessitates that His creation encompasses and surrounds Him – Exalted Be He-.

Abu Mu`adh Khalid bin Sulaiman Al-Balkhi (d. 199 H.) said: «al-Jahm bin Safwan was on the crossing of Tirmidh, and he had an eloquent tongue, but he had no knowledge, and had no sitting with the people of knowledge. He then spoke to the Sumaniyah, and they said to him: “Describe for us your Lord whom you worship.” So he entered his home and didn’t come out (for some time), then he came out to them after several days and said: “He is this air, (He is) with everything, and in everything, nothing is free of Him.” Abu Mu`adh said: “The enemy of Allah has lied, Allah is above the heavens (fis-sama) on the Throne as He described Himself.» (1)

Ishaq bin Rahwaih said (d. 238 H.) : «The sign of Jahm and His companions is their claim, with their passion with lying, that Ahl Al-Jam’ah: are Mushabbiha (one’s who liken Allah to His creation), nay but they are Mu`attilah (negators of Allah’s Attributes), and if it was probable to say: “they are the Mushabbiha”, it would be possible, for they say : Allah -Subhanahu Wa Taala- is everywhere with all of Him, in the lowest earth and the highest heaven the same, and they have lied in that, and kufr (disbelief) is imperative of them.» (2)
Abu Asim Khushaish bin Asram (d. 235 H.) said, when classifying the Jahmiyyah: «Some of them claims that there is no veil between Allah and His Creation, and that Allah cannot be sepretated from His creation and His creation cannot separate from Him unless He annihilate all of His creation, so none is left of His creation. And that He is at the end the Last of His creation mixed with it, so if He took the life of His creation, He would be clear of them and they would be clear of Him …


Another type of Jahmiyyah denied that Allah –subhanahu wa Ta’ala- is above the Heaven (fi as-sama), denied The Kursi, and denied that Allah is above the Throne, above the heavens; And they say that Allah is everywhere, existing even in dirty places, Exalted Be Allah from what they say.


Another type of them claim that Allah is neither separate nor not separate from His creation, nor above them, nor beneath them, nor to their right, nor to their left, and He is neither greater/bigger than a fly or a tick, nor smaller than it.»
(3)

Abu Ja`far bin Abi Shaybah (d. 297 H.) said: «They mention that Al-Jahmiyyah say that there is no veil between Allah Azza Wa Jal and His creation, they denied the throne and that Allah is above it and above His creation, and they said that Allah is everywhere.» (4)
Adh-Dhahabi (d. 748 H.) said: “Jahm denied The Lord’s -Azza Wa Jaal- Attributes, claiming to glorify Him from all the attributes, and he believed in the creation of the Quran, and claimed that Allah is not over the Throne, but rather everywhere.” (5)

Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (d. 795 H.) said: “The companion of the Prophet –Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam- did not understood from these texts except its true intended meaning. So this increased their knowledge of Allah’s Greatness, His Majesty, and His encompassing of his slaves, His view of them, and his closeness to them, and His answering of their duaa, so their fear, glorifying, reverence, shyness of Him increases, and they worship Him as if they see Him.
After their time, there came people who didn’t have much fear of Allah, who had an evil understanding (of the texts) and aim, and the Glorifying of Allah weakened in his heart. They wanted to show the people their sharp intellect and deep understanding, so they claimed that the texts point to Allah being Himself in every place, as it has been reported about a number of sects such as the Jahmiyyah, Mu’tazilah, and others who agree with them, Exalted Be Allah from what they say… And they used what they understood , with a weak understanding with evil aims, from the ayat of Allah’s Book, such as Allah’s saying: {And He is with you wheresoever you may be}, and His saying: {There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth}, so the scholars of Salaf said that He (Allah) meant that He is with them with His Knowledge, and they meant by that to refute what they (the deviants) said, which was never said by anyone before them, nor was it understood from the Quran.” (6)

The pious Salaf and Ahl As-sunnah wal-Jama`ah refuted their use of these ayat as evidence for their deviant belief, and they clearified the correct meaning of those verses. The beginning and the end of these ayat show its meaning, that what is intended is Allah’s Knowledge of everything:
Allah said- translation of the meaning-:
{Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth? There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, not of less than that or more, but He is with them, wheresoever they may be; and afterwards on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.} [58:7]
{He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.} [57:4]
{And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.} [50:16].

The pious Salaf mentioned the above when replying to Al Jahamyyiah:
Abu Talib Ahmad bin Humaid asked Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 241.H) about a man who said: “Allah is with us” and recited {There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth}, so Imam Ahmad said: «This man has Tajahham (is talking like the Jahmyyiah) since they (Jahmyyiah) take the last part of Ayah and leave the first part of it, I recited {Have you not seen that Allah knows…} so His Knowledge is with them.» (7)
Abu Saeed Uthman Ad-Darimi (d. 280 H.) said: «Some of them said: Let’s put aside the interpretation of scholars, we only depended on the Quran for evidence, so bring the Book of Allah. We said: ‘yes … however, you are ignorant of its meaning, so strayed from the straight path, and you clung to the middle of the ayah, and deliberately overlooked its beginning and its ending, because Allah –Azza wa Jal- began the verse with His knowledge of them, and ended it with that, He said: {Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth? There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth…} until His saying: {and afterwards on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything}, so this is evidence that He meant His knowledge of them and their deeds, not that He Himself is in every place with them as you claim.» (8)

The Salaf’s and Sunni Scholars’ Interpretations of the Verses:

Imam Al-Shafi’i (d. 204 A.H.) said: “He (Allah) informed His creation -with His evidence that there is none like Him- that His Knowledge of the hidden and the apparent is the same. Allah said- interpretation of meaning-: {And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.} [50:16]; {Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.} [40:19]” (9)
Nu`aym bin Hammad (d. 228 H.) said regarding the meaning of Allah’s saying –translation of the meaning- {And He is with you wheresoever you may be} [57:4] : “Nothing is hidden from His Knowledge, do you not see that He said {There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth …}, He meant: No secret is hidden from Him.” (10)
Uthman Ad-Darimi (d. 280 H.) responded to Al-Jahmiyyah’s claim about the interpretation of the Aya {There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth}: “This Aya is evidence for us against you and not the other way around. It means that Allah is present in every secret councel with His Knowledge from above the Throne, because His knowledge encompasses them, and His Sight penetrates them, nothing is veiled from His Knowledge and Sight… and He is with His entireness above the Throne, separate from His creation, and Knows what is secret and what is more hidden than that.” (11)

Harb bin Isma`il Al-Karmani (d. 280 H.) said in an answer: «And He (Allah) is on the Throne above the Seventh Heaven, below Him are veils of fire, light and darkness, and what only Allah knows. So if an innovator or a dissenter used the following ayat as evidence:{And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein} [50:16] and: ‘There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be} [58:7], and other ayatat with similar meanings from Quran, then say (to them):what is meant is the Knowledge (of Allah), because Allah –Azza wa Jal- is on the Throne, above the Seventh Heaven, He knows everything, and He is separate from His creation, no place is free from His Knowledge.” (12)

Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (d. 310 H.) said: “The meaning of {And He is with you wheresoever you may be} [Al-Hadid:4] is that He (Allah) is a witness of you O people wherever you are, He knows your deeds, and your moving about and place of rest, while He (Allah) is on His Throne above His seven Heavens.” (13)
Ibn Abi Zayd AlQairawani Al-Maliki (d. 386 H.) said in the intro of his famous Risalah: (Allah is above His glorifious Throne with His Essence, and He is everywhere by His knowledge, He created man and knows what his ownself whispers to him and He is closer to man than his jugular vein {And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.} [6:59].)
Abu Umar At-Talamanki Al-Maliki (d. 429 H.) said in “Al-Wusul Ila Ma`rifat Al-Usul”: “The Muslims from Ahl As-Sunnah are upon consensus that the meaning of His saying: {And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be } [57:4] and what is similar to it from the Quran is: by His Knowledge, and that Allah –Ta`ala- is above the Heavens by His Essence (bi-dhatihi), Mustawen (I.e. Done Istiwa, Has Risen) above His Throne however He willed.” (14)
Al-Husain Al-Baghawi Asg-Shafi’i (d. 510 H.) said: “{And We are nearer to him} (meaning) more knowing of him {than his jugular vein} because its (i.e. the jugular vein’s) parts veil each other, and nothing veils Allah’s knowledge.” (15)
Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani (d. 852 H.) said: “His (The Prophet’s) saying: ”Allah is the third (of them two“) means : He is their Supporter and Helper, or else Allah is with every two with His Knowledge as He said : {There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth}[Almujadalah:7] (16)

Response To A Doubt:
Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (d. 795 H.) said: “Some of whom pretend to be smart claimed that what those (the Salaf) said is wrong, because Allah’s Knowledge is an attribute that is not separated from His Essence. This is a bad assumption from him towards the Imams of Islam, for they did not mean what he assumed about them, what they meant is that Allah’s Knowledge is connected to everything, in it is His knowledge (of it) and not the Attribute of His Essence, as it is pointed to in the Quraan: {He has full knowledge of all things}[20: 98]; {“Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge} [Ghafir: 7]; {… then Istawa (rose over) the Throne. He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be…} [Al-Hadid:4](17)

Related Articles:

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SOURCE :


(1) Kitab Al-`Arsh by Adh-Dhahabi (2/201); It was also narrated in Al-Bayhaqi’s book “Al-Asma wa Sifat” (2/337) with a sahih chain.
(2) Sharh Usool I`tiqad Ahl Assunnah wal Jama`ah by Al-Lalaka’I (3/532) with authentic chain.
(3) At-Tanbih war-Rad by Abul Husain Al-Malti, chapter: alFiraq wa dhikriha.
(4) Al-‘Arsh Wa Ma Ruwiyah Fihi by Abu Ja`far Ibn Abi Shaybah (p. 276)
(5) Tarikh Al-Islam by Adh-Dhahabi (8/66)
(6) Fath Al-Bari by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (3/113)
(7) Al-Uluw by Adh-Dhahabi (p.176), and al-Ibanah Al-Kubra by Ibn Battah.
(8) Ar-Rad `Ala Al-Jahmiyyah by Ad-Darmi (p.43)
(9) Ahkam Al-Quran – Shafi’I (1/300)
(10) Kitab Al-Arsh by Adh-Dhahabi (2/238), he said: (all both statements are authentic from him), and it was narrated through Ibn Battah with his chain, and it is narrated in Ibn Battah’s Al-Ibanah al Kubra.
(11) Ar-Rad `Ala al-Jahmiyyah (p.42-43)
(12) Hadi Al-Arwah Ila Bilad al-Afrah by Ibn Al-Qayyim (p. 835-836), he said: “He (Al-Karmani) said in his famous Masa’il:…”
(13) Jami` Al-Bayan by At-Tabari (his tafsir) 22/387
(14) Al-Uluw by Adh-Dhahabi (p. 246)
(15) Ma`alim At-Tanzil (tafsir) by Al-Baghawi (7/358)
(16) Fath Al-Bari by Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (7/305)
(17) Fath Al-Bari by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (3/115)

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Via : Um Abdullah al-Misawi

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