All praise and thanks are due to Allah Ta^ala and may He Raise the rank of His best creation—Prophet MuHammad, sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam and protect his nation from that which he feared for it.
Man can imagine only that with which he is familiar and that which is a created thing. The two great contemporary scholars, Imam Dhulnun Al-Misriyy and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said:
”Whatever you imagine in your mind, Allah is different from it.”
Whatever one pictures or imagines in the mind is a creation of Allah and Allah does not resemble any of His creations.
Because in your mind; in your imagination, you imagine something with volume, with shape, with dimensions–something that you are familiar with. And we are familiar with what? With the creations.
In Surat Ar-Ra^d aayah 8, Allah said which means:
”Allah Created everything with a specific size”
All bodies are created by Allah. Allah is the One Who specified the creations with a shape, length and volume. Allah is not a body because He, SubHaanahu, is not like His creations.
We are familiar with bodies that have sizes, dimensions, volumes and shapes. We are familiar with the characteristics of the creation and Allah ^aza Wa Jal is not like that. Allah doesn’t resemble any of His creation.
So whatever we imagine in our mind, the maximum that we can reach by thinking—is a figure, a shape with volume and dimensions and Allah ^aza Wa Jal is not like that. For this reason, Imam Ash-Shafi^iyy RaDiyy Allahu ^anhu, said a very nice statement in this regard, he said what means:
”The one who intended to know about His Creator and started thinking and reached an imagination in his mind and he believed that this imagination is Allah–then he is considered aMushabbih”.
A Mushabbih is the one who likens Allah to His creation. So hes not MuwwaHid; hes not Muslim, he doesnt have the proper belief and if by thinking he reached a result where he denied the Existence of Allah ^aza Wa Jal, then he is an Atheist—the one who denies the Existence of Allah. But if he reached a state where he believes in Allah SubHaanahu Wa Ta^ala and he admits that he is unable to imagine Him in his mind—then he is MuwwaHid, because he has the proper belief.
That means that we can not reach a state where we can imagine Allah in our minds because Allah is not something you can imagine in your mind or draw on a paper. Allah is not a creation and all that we are familiar with—-are creations. All are objects and bodies.Tangible objects—like a chair, you can grasp it by hand and the intangible objects that you can not grasp with your hand—like air, light or the soul for instance. Everything that we are familiar with fall under these two categories of objects; tangible & intangible. Both these two types of objects are created by Allah SubHaanahu Wa Ta^ala—–so whoever believes that Allah SubHaanahu is an object–whether tangible or intangible—he commits blasphemy and he is not a true MuwwaHid.
Abul Qasim Al-Ansariyy and Imam As-Suyutiyy in his book, Dur Al Manthur related that the prophet sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam said:
”Do not attempt to imagine the Self of Allah.”
With that, no body should attempt to imagine the Self of Allah Ta^ala because with our minds we will never be able to and if we happen to picture or imagine something—-then it is a creation and if one was to believe this is Allah or Allah is similar to it in any way—-then this is kufr/blasphemy. So its very important that we do not try to imagine Allah, not only because its a waste of time but most importantly because it can take a person out of Islam. Instead think about the creations of Allah Ta^ala that are around us every day. Think about the skys, the earth, the rain, the beautiful animals, those that we ride on and those that produce food that we eat. Lastly, think about yourself. The human is such a great creation of Allah. Think about your body and how everything works and comes together. SubHaana Allah. This is indeed a great Sign.
Imam Al-Bayhaqiyy in Al Asmaa’ Was-Sifaat narrated with a strong chain with ^Abdullaah Ibn ^Abass, the prophets cousin, who said:
”Ponder about the creations of Allah but do not attempt to imagine the self of Allah.”
May Allah protect us from blasphemy and make us die as true and pious believers. Ameen.
And Allah Knows best.