It has been said
The Qur’an contains two types of ayat
Muhkamat and Mutashabihat.
All praise is due to Allah The Exalted, and may Allah raise the rank of our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, his kind relatives and companions, and protect his nation from that which he feared for them Thereafter;Allah said in the Qur’an :
سورة آل عمران – سورة 3 – آية 7
هو الذي انزل عليك الكتاب منه ايات محكمات هن ام الكتاب واخر متشابهات فاما الذين في قلوبهم زيغ فيتبعون ما تشابه منه ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تاويله وما يعلم تاويله الا الله والراسخون في العلم يقولون امنا به كل من عند ربنا وما يذكر الا اولوا الالباب
This Ayah Means:
<<Allah is the One Who has sent down to the Prophet the Book that contains muhkamat ayat, which are the foundation of the Book, and other ayat which are mutashabihat. Those who have perversity in their hearts, they follow the mutashabihat ayat seeking discord and searching for unbefitting meanings based on their delusions. No one knows their true meanings except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in the knowledge of the Religion. The latter say, “We believe in it, all of it is from our Lord and none will understand the message except men of comprehension>>.
So, know firmly, that the Qur’an contains two types of ayat Muhkamat ayat and Mutashabihat ayat.
Muhkamat ayat :
These are the ayat that have only one meaning according to the rules of the Arabic language or else the meaning of the ayah is clearly known.
Examples of this type of ayat are: the saying of Allah, ta^ala:
ليس كمثله شىء وهو السميع البصير
Suratash-Shura,ayah 11 means: [Absolutely there is nothing like Him] and
His saying, ta^ala:
ولم يكن له كفوا احد
Suratal-Ikhlas, ayah 4 means: [There is nothing which is equal to Him].
These are the ayat that can have many meanings according to the rules of the Arabic language. Assigning meanings to these ayat requires thorough thinking so that acceptable meanings are given to them. Examples of this type of ayat are: the saying of Allah, ta^ala, in Surat Taha, ayah 5:
الرحمن على العرش استوى
This Ayah means: [Allah subjugated the ^arsh in al-azal with a subjugation which is without a beginning, like all of the attributes of Allah.]
According to the rules of the Arabic language, this ayah is among the mutashabihat verses; so they can have many meanings. If meanings are assigned to them, this must be done in a manner that complies with the language and the Religion, and does not contradict the ayat that are muhkamat. Surely the ayat of the Qur’an do not contradict one another. Likewise, the ahadith (sayings of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam,) do not contradict one another, and they do not contradict the ayat of the Qur’an.
Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbaliyy explained the term al-istiwa’, in SuratTaha, ayah 5:
الرحمن على العرش استوى
as al-istila’, which means subjugating. When alistila’ is used to explain this ayah it means that Allah subjugated the ^arsh with a subjugation that is without a beginning, like all of the attributes of Allah.
If the ayah is explained in this manner, it means that Allah was attributed with subjugating the ^arsh before the ^arsh was created in the same way that Allah was attributed with being the Creator before anything from the creation existed. In this context, the scholars have used the term al-azal, which means the status of existing without a beginning. Thus it can be said that Allah subjugated the ^arsh in al-azal, meaning that Allah subjugated the ^arsh with a subjugation which is without a beginning.
In his book, Al-Mu^taqad, Imam alBayhaqiyy related in a chain back to al’Awza^iyy and Imam Malik and Sufyan ath-Thawriyy and alLayth Ibn Sa^d that when they were asked about the ayat and the ahadith that are mutashabihat, they said:
“Accept them as they came without applying a ‘how’ to them.”
This is because if one asked the question ‘how?’ the answer would be, ‘Like this or that.’ Everything other than Allah is His creation so to say ‘like this or that’ would mean ‘like this or that created thing’ and Allah is not like His creation.
Anything a person can imagine, Allah is different from it.
When the scholars said: “… without applying a ‘how’ to them,” they meant that Allah is clear of being attributed with sitting, resting, moving, limbs, bodies, and parts. They did not mean that His istiwa’ over the throne has a ‘how’ of which we are ignorant.
On the contrary, the scholars completely negated that a ‘how’ could be applied to Allah .So the statement of those who say “Allah sits on the throne but we do not know how,” is rejected on the basis of what these scholars said. Anyone with a sound mind knows that sitting, no matter how it is, is an attribute of bodies. Occupying places necessitates a ‘how’ and applies to bodies. Furthermore, color and touching are attributes of bodies and ‘how’ applies to them. All of that is impossible to apply to Allah.
Imam Malik said: «Allah said about Himself that He’s attributed with Istiwa’ which befits Him.
It is invalid to say ‘how’; and ‘how’ does not apply to Him.»
The ‘how’ connotations are descriptions of the created. Only the created can be described with
sitting, settling, and occupying a place. The word istawa has 15 meanings in the Arabic language,
some of which befit Allah such as to subjugate, to preserve, and to maintain.
On the other hand, the word can also imply physical meanings, which do not befit Allah such as to sit,
to settle, and to stabilize.
It is blasphemy to apply any of these physical meanings to Allah.
The words preserve and subjugate are meanings that comply with the religion and the Arabic
Language. Al-Qushayriyy explained the meaning istiwa in this Ayah as to preserve, subdue and maintain. It cannot be believed that Allah sits on the throne as this belies:
(Suratun-Nahl Ayah 74):
فلا تضربوا لله الامثال
This verse means: [Do not attribute to Allah the attributes of His creation.]
Immam As-shafi^iyy said: ‘The one who attributes to Allah bodily characteristics blasphemes.’ This was narrated by Al-hafidh Assuyutiyy in the book Al-ashabah wa anatha’ir.
Immam Ahmad Ibn Hannbal said: ‘The one who says Allah is a body not like other bodies Blasphemes’. This was narrated by AbuMuhammad al Baghdadiyy in his book Al Khisaal and Badr adeen azzarkashiyy in his book tashneef Al masami^.
Yet the Mushabbihah (those who liken Allah to the creations) and those who ignorantly follow them and merely read their books take the literal meaning, and they say istiwa’ means Allah ‘sits’ on the throne and ‘firmly establishes’ Himself on it. Even if they say Allah sits but ‘we dont know how’ or ‘He sits in a way that suits his Majesty’.
This is against the fundamental belief of all Muslims, against the Quran, clear blasphemy and would render a person among the inhabitants of Hellfire if he or she dies on that belief.
We humbly ask Allah to enlighten us with the light of Knowledge, and keep us steadfast to the path of truth and righteousness.