Can humans see Allah in this world?

Q 2: Is it possible to see Allah in this world overtly?

A: This issue is one of the issues that are based upon Tawqif (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion). No one is allowed to allege it without an authentic proof that can be cited as evidence.

The Qur’an denotes that Musa (Moses) did not see his Lord. When Musa asked his Lord to see Him, He (Exalted be He) answered him saying: "You cannot see Me" (Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 143).

The authentic Sunnah denoted that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not see his Lord with his eyes.

It was reported in the Sahih of Muslim that Masruq said: I was resting (at the house of) ‘Aishah when she said: O Abu `Aishah, there are three things, and he who affirms even one of them has fabricated the greatest lie against Allah. I asked what they were.

She said: He who presumes that Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw his Lord (with his ocular vision) has fabricated the greatest lie against Allah. I was reclining but then sat up and said: O Mother of Believers, wait and do not be hasteful. Has Allah (may He be Exalted) not said: And indeed he (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) saw him [Jibrîl (Gabriel)] in the clear horizon (towards the east) (Surah Al-Takwir, 81: 23). and And indeed he (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) saw him [Jibrîl (Gabriel)] at a second descent (i.e. another time) (Surah Al-Najm, 53: 13). She said: I was the first of this Ummah to ask Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) about it. And he said: Verily he is Gabriel. I have never seen him in his original form in which he was created except on those two occasions (to which these verses refer). I saw him descending from the heaven and filling (the space) between the sky and the earth with the greatness of his bodily structure. She asked: Have you not heard Allah saying: No vision can grasp Him, but He grasps all vision. He is Al-Latîf (the Most Subtle and Courteous), Well-Acquainted with all things.(Surah Al-An`am, 6: 103)

She (i.e. ‘Aisha) further asked: Have you not heard that, verily, Allah says: It is not given to any human being that Allâh should speak to him unless (it be) by Revelation, or from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger until His saying: Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.(Surah Al-Shura, 42: 51) ...[1]

It was reported in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Dhar that he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): "Did you see your Lord?" He said: "I saw Light."[2] In another narration, the Prophet said: “Light, how could I see Him.” [3] It was reported also in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "None of you shall see his Lord until he dies." [4]

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "The Imams of Muslims have agreed that no believer is liable to see Allah with his eyes in this world. They did not disagree except in the case of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, the majority of scholars agreed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not see Him with his eyes in this world. Authentic narrations reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Companions and the Imams of Muslims have confirmed this viewpoint.

It was not authentically reported that Ibn `Abbas, Imam Ahmad and the like said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw his Lord with his eyes. What was authentically reported from them was the sight in general or confining the sight to that of the heart. There is nothing in the Hadiths of Mi’raj (Ascension to the heavens) that denotes that he saw Allah with his eyes. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "My Lord has come to me in the most-handsome shape I have ever seen." [5]

This Hadith was reported by Al-Tirmidhy and others. This Hadith was reported when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in Al-Madinah This Hadith was interpreted that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw his Lord in a dream.

There is also the Hadith of Um Al-Tufayl, the Hadith of Ibn `Abbas and others that contain seeing Allah. These Hadiths were reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he was in Al-Madinah just as they were explained by other Hadiths.

The Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) was at Makkah as Allah (Exalted be He) says: "Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allâh) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid-al-Aqsâ (in Jerusalem)".[Surah Al-Isra', 17: 1] Allah also said to Musa: "You cannot see Me" [Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 143]. Seeing Allah is greater than revealing a book from the heavens. Allah (Exalted be He) says: "The people of the Scripture (Jews) ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed, they asked Mûsâ (Moses) for even greater than that, when they said: “Show us Allâh in public,”"(Surah Al-Nisa’, 4: 153) Whoever alleges that he saw his Lord, it is as if he alleges that he is better than Musa ibn `Imran. This allegation is greater in evil than the allegation of those who falsely allege that Allah has revealed a book from the heaven upon them. The Companions, predecessors and Imams of Muslims believe that Allah will be seen in the Hereafter only and no one will see Him in this world except in a dream. Hearts in this case will find spiritual unveilings and sights that suit their status. Some people may have strong spiritual unveilings to the extent that they think that they saw their Lord with their eyes. But this is not true. Hearts unveilings or spiritual unveilings occur according the degree of the servant’s belief in his Lord. [6]

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Member     Member     Deputy Chairman     Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud     `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan     `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify     `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

Footnotes:

[1] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on the Beginning of Creation, no. 3234; Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 177; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on Tafsir, no. 3068; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 50.
[2] Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 178; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on Tafsir, no. 3282; Book on remembrance of Allah, supplication, repentance and seeking forgiveness, 5, p. 175.
[3] Muslim, no. 178; and Al-Tirmidhy, no. 3278
[4] Muslim, no. 2931, Abu Dawud, no. 4318; and Al-Tirmidhy, no. 2236.
[5] Imam Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 368, and vol. 5, p. 243; and Al-Tirmidhy, nos. 3232 and 3233.
[6] Fatwas of Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 2, p. 335

Source: Fatwas of the Permanent Committee
Group 1 > Volume 2: `Aqidah (2) > Seeing Allah in this world > Can humans see Allah in this world? > Seeing Allah in this world overtly

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