Bismi AllahPart–4(i) of 11
By Abul Kasem (e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
July 6, 2006
Allah’s Executive Office-(i)
Does Allah have an executive office? Does Allah have a desk, a chair, and a diary – a super-duper one–to manage His affairs of heaven and the earth? Where is His Throne? How does it look like? Does Allah have secretaries and personal assistants? We already saw Allah does have hands, feet, and eyes. Does Allah have telephones, fax machines, PCs, CDs, DVDs, PDAs, the Internet, and all other office equipment which are used by every executive in a modern office? Nay, Allah does not need them because there are no earthlings who know how to fix them because Murphy’s Law is supposed to work everywhere and yes, that includes Allah’s Executive Office too.
All those questions are silly and blasphemous–no doubt, aren’t they? A good Muslim should neverask such preposterous questions. The Holy Qur’an clearly admonishes any Muslims asking such questions, because these are not permitted (5:101, 102), for the fear that if you ask such silly questions you may end up losing your faith. This is the worst crime a Muslim could commit. Therefore, you had better watch out. Let us hear from Allah Himself:
Allah has a Throne; sitting there, Allah watches and manages the affairs of the earth
In many verses of the Qur’an Allah manifestly declares that He does indeed have a huge executive office. He admits that after the creation of the Heavens and the Earth He walked to sit on his executive chair—His Throne to be precise. Allah even discloses the location of his throne: it is above the seventh heaven. Sitting on this ponderous Throne He looks at the earth and the earthlings. Here are a few verses (summarised) which will leave no doubt that Allah manages His affairs from His Executive Office.
Allah created the heavens (first) and (then) the earth in six days and then He ascended on His Throne; He regulates all His affairs from His firmly established Throne …10:3
Allah raised heavens without pillars (supports) (first), (then) established His Throne, (then) subjected the sun and (then) the moon to run their courses; He regulates all affairs…13:2
Allah is present over His Throne…20:5
The unbelievers admit that Allah is the Lord of the seven Heavens and the supreme Throne…23:86
Allah is most forgiving, kind, possessing the glorious Throne…85:14-15
Sunaan Abu Dawud provides a little more details of Allah’s executive Chair, the Throne. It is above the Heavens, like a dome over Him—just like the thrones of mighty emperors have a canopy over them. Just to make sure that Allah’s Throne is real, Sahih Bukhari even tells us that the throne makes some noise when Allah takes His seat there—just the way the saddle of a horse rider emits a mild raspy sound during riding. Let us read this hadith. This hadith is not available online, so I shall quote it from the print version.
You cannot choose anyone as Allah’s intercessor; Allah’s Throne is above the heavens, like a dome over him; the Throne groans as a saddle does because of the rider; Allah is above the heavens…(Sunaan Abu Dawud 3.40.4708)
Sunaan Abu Dawud, Vol iii, Book 40, Hadith number 4708:
Muhammad b. Jubair b. Mut’im said from his father on the authority of his grandfather: An A’rabi (a nomadic Arab) came to the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) and said: People are suffering distress, the children are hungry, the crops are withered, and the animals are perishing, so ask Allah to grant us rain, for we seek you as our intercessor with Allah, and Allah as our intercessor with you. The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Woe to you: Do you know what you are saying? Then the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) declared Allah’s glory and he continued declaring His glory till the effect of that was apparent in the faces of his Companions. He then said: Woe to you: Allah is not to be sought as intercessor with anyone. Allah’s state is greater than that. Woe to you! Do you know how great Allah is? His throne is above the heavens thus (indicating with his fingers like a dome over him), and it groans on account of Him as a saddle does because of the rider. Ibn Bashshr said in his version: Allah is above the throne, and the throne is above the heavens. He then mentioned the rest of the tradition. ‘Abd al A’la, Ibn al Muthanna and Ibn Bashshr transmitted it from Yaq’ub b. ‘Utbah and Jubair b. Muhammad b. Jubai from his father on the authority of his grandfather.
A gigantic angel bears Allah. His size is so humongous that the distance between the widths of his shoulder is the distance of the journey of seven hundred years. In this sense the journey probably meant the distance a camel could cover in a day’s walk—possibly around thirty kilometers. Multiply this distance by seven hundred years (i.e. 255,500 days) and we end up with a figure of 7,665,000 kilometers. That’s correct, a distance of around 7.7 million kilometers. And remember this is the distance between the earlobe and the shoulder. So the total width of the angel’s shoulder, from ear lobe to ear lobe will be about 15.4 million kilometers. With this numerical figure in mind, now, imagine the width, depth and the height of Allah’s Throne.
Let us peruse this incredible hadith:
Sunaan Abu Dawud, Vol iii, Book 40, Hadith number 4709:
Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah reported the Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying: I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years.
Professor Ahmad Hasan, the translator of Sunaan Abu Dawud agrees with the above hadith. He writes:
These traditions indicate that there is a throne on which Allah has taken His seat. The modality of these things is not intelligible to the people. As the Jahmiyyah denied the existence of the throne of Allah, their belief has been refuted by these traditions (Hasan, 2003, p. iii. 1324,foot note 4119).
In Sunaan Ibn Majah we read that Allah, truly, is seated on His Throne. Let us read this hadith:
Sunaan Ibn Majah, Vol. i, Hadith Number 193:
‘Abbas b. Abdul Muttalib (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, “I was at Batha with a band of people and Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He looked towards it and asked, “What do you call this (cloud)?” They (the people) said, “(It is) sahib (cloud).” He (the Holy Prophet) said, “It is also called) al muzn i.e. rain cloud.” They (the companions) said, “Muzan”, upon which he remarked, “And ‘anan also.” Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said that they said, “And ‘anan?’ He (the Holy Prophet) said, “How much (distance) do you think is there between yourselves and the heaven?” They said, “We do not now.” Thereupon, he said, “(The distance) between you and it is equivalent to (the distance to be covered in) seventy one, or seventy two or seventy three years. The heaven above it has a similar distance”…till he counted seven heavens… “Then beyond the heavens is a river. Its upper and the lower bank has as much distance between them as a distance stretched from one heaven to the other one. Then beyond it, there are eight Angels in the shape of mountain goats. The distance between their hoofs is as much as the distance between the two heavens. Then, there lies on their back the Throne. The distance between its upper and lower side is as much as the distance between the two heavens. Then, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted is (seated) on this (Throne).”
The above hadith will surely stretch beyond belief one’s imagination.
Another hadith, almost similar to the above (ibn Majah), is found in Sunaan Abu Dawud.
Let us read (Sunaan Abu Dawud 3.40.4705)
Not only that Allah has a mighty Throne, but His throne also has a footrest, on which Allah rests His feet. This footrest is known as Allah’s Kursi. Many Muslims wrongly believe that Kursi means Allah’s Throne. Imam ibn Taimiyah, one of the most formidable imams in the Islamic world corrects this wrong notion. According to Imam Taimiyah Allah’s throne is known as ‘Arsh. Commenting on verse 2:255 where this term (Kursi) is mentioned, the translator of the Noble Qur’an writes:
(V.2.255). Kursi) Literally a footstool or chair, and sometimes wrongly translated as Throne. The Kursi mentioned in this Verse should be distinguished from the ‘Arsh (Throne) mentioned in V.7:54, 10:3, 85:15 and elsewhere. Prophet Muhammad said, “The Kursi compared to the ‘Arsh is nothing USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts but like a ring thrown out open upon a space of the desert.”
If the Kursi extends over the entire universe, then how much greater is the ‘Arsh. Indeed, Allah, the Creator of both the Kursi and the ‘Arsh, is the Most Great. Ibn Tayimiyah said in the chapters: a) To believe in the Kursi b) To believe in the ‘Arsh (Throne). It is narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah and from other religious scholars that the Kursi is in front of ‘Arsh (Throne and it is at the level of the feet [Fatwa Ibn Taimiyah, Vol. 5, pages 54, 55] (Hilali and Khan, 1996, p. 67, foot note 1)
Just like any mighty emperors, Allah’s executive office – His official Throne-Room is surrounded by His attendees. Angels are there at Allah’s beck and call. These angels spend their time singing Allah’s praise and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Then Allah will forgive whom Muhammad had forgiven. Allah will have a list of those creatures (human and jinni) forgiven by Muhammad. All the prophets and messengers (postmen) of Allah will be seated in Allah’s court. Here are a few more verses from the Qur’an on the enormous jurisdiction of Allah’s Executive office.
The angels surround on all sides of the Throne of Allah …39:75
Those (angels) who bear Allah’s Throne and those around Allah’s Throne ask for Allah’s forgiveness; Muhammad is to forgive those who repent and obey him…40:7
All apostles (messengers) will be gathered together beside the Throne…77:11
To grasp the capaciousness of Allah’s Executive office, we must remember this statistics: Allah’s Throne has 8,000 pillars and the distance between each pillar is 3,000,000 (yes, three million) miles (Hughes, 1994, p. 28). Multiply these two numbers and try out.
Muhammad will fall unconscious on the judgment day but will be the first to regain consciousness; he will see Moses holding the side of Allah’s Throne… (Sahih Bukhari, 3.41.594, 595).
Above Al-Firdaus is the Throne of Allah… (Sahih Bukhari, 4.52.48).
On the day of resurrection, Muhammad will be the first person to recover consciousness and Moses will be catching hold of Allah’s Throne…(Sahih Muslim, 30.5853, 5854)
Moses will be clinging to Allah’s throne (Sahih Bukhari, 6.60.337).
It is worth quoting here the last hadith:
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 337:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “I will be the first to raise my head after the second blowing of the trumpet and will see Moses hanging the Throne, and I will not know whether he had been in that state all the time or after the blowing of the trumpet.”
Allah’s Executive office (Throne) is over water and it has a title
Previously, we noted that Allah’s Throne is above al Firdous, the highest grade of paradise. In Islamic Paradise, a river flows with heavenly water which no one had ever tasted. This river emanates from the location of Allah’s Throne, possibly from beneath it. Naturally, we can safely assume then that Allah’s throne is floating on water—much like some Hindu deity that is shown seated on a Lotus throne which is afloat over water. Allah even keeps His diary and necessary Books just near His Throne, so that He could quickly and easily refer to them. The Tablet, Al-Lauhu-L-Mahfuz (the prescribed tablet; Hughes, 1994, p.285) on which the Qur’an is presumably written, rests on Allah’s huge executive Table. Just like any other deity’s sign over its seated throne, Allah also has His seal (or title) of His Throne. Here are a few ahadith to confirm those outstanding features of Allah’s Executive office.
In the beginning there was nothing, then Allah created His Throne; Allah’s Throne is over the water, He then wrote everything in the Book… (Sahih Bukhari, 4.54.414)
Allah wrote, “My mercy overpowers my anger” and His creation in a Book and kept it in His Throne…4.54.416
After finishing creation, Allah wrote over his Throne: ‘My mercy preceded my anger’… (Sahih Bukhari, 9.93.518)
While Allah sits on His Throne His angels sit on their chairs
Just like any authoritative ruler or a king Allah also has graded His employees and servants. While he seats on His titanic ‘Arsh (Throne), his untiring employees, the angels sit on modest chairs—clerical chairs, we might say. Even Muhammad himself had seen Allah’s angles seated on chairs. Let us read this hilarious hadith from Sahih Bukhari.
Muhammad heard a voice from the sky and saw an angel in the sky sitting in a chair, he hurried home and Allah revealed 74:1-5 … (Sahih Bukhari, 1.1.3).
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3:
Narrated ‘Aisha: (The mother of the faithful believers) The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read. The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.” (96.1, 96.2, 96.3) Then Allah’s Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your Kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Apostle asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while. Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah Al-Ansari while talking about the period of pause in revelation reporting the speech of the Prophet “While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the cave of Hira’ sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said, ‘Wrap me (in blankets).’ And then Allah revealed the following Holy Verses (of Quran): ‘O you (i.e. Muhammad)! wrapped up in garments!’ Arise and warn (the people against Allah’s Punishment)…up to ‘and desert the idols.’ (74.1-5) After this the revelation started coming strongly, frequently and regularly.”
Allah has His own official seal
Just like any rulers, Allah has His own royal seal or stamp or official insignia. His seal is etched on baked clay. In fact, to confirm this, Allah inflicted with might a severe punishment to the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. He incessantly bombarded them with fiery baked-clay lumps bearing the official seal of Allah.
Let us read this verse from the Qur’an.
The city of Lot (Sodom) was destroyed with brimstones of baked clay which was marked by Allah (i.e. Allah destroyed Sodom with stoning) in layers…11:82-83.
YUSUFALI: When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,-
YUSUFALI: Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong!
Ibn Kathir, the most eminent Tafsir writer confirms that Allah destroyed Sodom with stoning; each stone had the name of its victim inscribed on it. This means that each clay stone of Allah had His royal emblem attesting the official approval of the total annihilation of the disbelievers ofSodom.