Is Allah on the ‘Throne’?
God and Monotheism
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr Khalid Zaheer

I have read in the Qur’ān that Allah is on the Throne (‘Arsh). The Qur’ānic verse, repeated 6 or 7 times says: ‘The Beneficent is on the Throne’. Several authentic Ahādīth have quoted the Prophet Muhammad (sws) to have affirmed that Allah is on the ‘Throne’. In one Hādīth, he said that during the last one third of the night, Allah descends on His Throne (however His Majesty suits Him) and declares that He will accept the prayers of those who ask from Him. In another Hādīth, the Prophet (sws) affirmed the correctness of the faith of a person who pointed to the sky when asked where Allah is. Then there was the Prophet’s ascension (Mi‘rāj). There are numerous other supporting arguments from the Qur’ān and Sunnah that all prove that Allah is above us on the ‘Throne’ and not everywhere. His Hearing, Sight and Knowledge are inescapable and everything is within His reach, but that’s not the same as He being everywhere. However, despite this evidence I have heard a few scholars say that Allah is everywhere. I wanted to know what the evidence is to support their stance. Would you please give arguments for your reply from the Qur’ān and Sunnah.


The verses of the Qur’ān that talk about the physical aspects of Allah Almighty, like the ones that talk about the physical features of the life Hereafter, fall in the category of Mutashābihāt (allegorical) verses. The Qur’ān says:

He it is Who has sent down to you the Book: in it are verses Muhkamāt (basic, fundamental, of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are Mutashābihāt (allegorical). But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical seeking discord and searching for its true meanings but no one knows its true meanings except Allah; and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord’; and none will grasp the message except men of understanding. (3:7)

The Mutashābihāt verses talk about those realities which we can neither see nor imagine. The Qur’ān has used worldly examples to enable us to have some idea of a few of the important aspects of the unseen world. Given this understanding, it can be appreciated that in case of the Mutashābihāt verses whoever is making an attempt at ‘searching for its true meanings’ should be told that ‘no one knows its true meanings except Allah’. Thus, when we are told that Allah Almighty has a throne and He descends on it at some part of the night, we can only make an attempt to understand its metaphorical meanings and not the real ones. The metaphorical meanings in this case could be that God Almighty’s rule (which His Throne symbolizes) is firmly established and that during night His Kingly generosity is at its climax for those who get up to worship Him. Otherwise we have no way of knowing the physical location of God Almighty.


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