Allah’s Omnipresence
God and Monotheism
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I am a young adult and currently I am still studying (in Singapore). Islam is my religion. I have certain questions to clarify about my understanding of Islam. However, I fear that by posing these questions to the public I may arouse anger from the Islamic community. My motive is none other than to increase my understanding of Islam, and thus enabling me to fulfil my Islamic duties with increasing sincerity. Here I am posing one of the few questions that I have in mind. There is one verse in the Qur’ān:

For wherever you face, Allah’s visage is there; because Allah is very widespread and knows everything. (2:115)

This verse seems to confine the presence of Allah and therefore limit His omnipresence. It seems to say that He is not present at directions we do not face. Is this true?


Every verse must be understood keeping in view its context ie, its relation with the preceding and succeeding verses. A verse must not be taken in isolation otherwise serious misinterpretation may result. A look at the context of (2:115) reveals that the Jews and Christians in order to oppose one another had adopted opposite sides of the Baytu’l-Maqdas as Qiblah (direction of prayer) to say their prayers. The Christians had adopted its eastern side while the Jews its western one. As a result of this difference, great wars were fought between them which have been referred to in the previous verse (2:114)

With this background, the Qur’ān cautions these two rival factions by saying that the east and the west belong to Allah (this is the first part of 2:115), and then goes on to say whether you (ie the People of the Book) face east or the west you face Allah [in both cases]. The conclusion drawn being that they must not fight with one another in such trivial matters. This is the correct meaning of this verse in my opinion.

As far as the question of Allah’s presence is concerned, it is not discussed in this verse at all. There are other verses in the Qur’ān which point to His omnipresence and certainly do not limit it; (See for example 50:16, 57:4). However, in our limited capacities we cannot determine the nature of His omnipresence.

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