How Do We Understand Allah’s Transcendence in Relation to Time?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


How can you comprehend that there is no time with Allah Most High? Does this imply that Allah’s actions have no sequence and that when he creates three things, they are not successive actions for him, in the sense of first a, then b, then c? I don’t understand how Allah can live in eternity and no time passes around him; does that mean creation was created in eternity? Isn’t saying something was created in eternity a contradiction?

The whole issue began when I learned that Ibn Taymiyya believes Allah Most High will always create. In contrast, the Asharis and Maturidis believe that there was only Allah (Most High) at the beginning and nothing else.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health.

Allah Most High is Transcendent

Allah Most High is transcendent above any quality of His creation, including existing within time or space, as that would entail being limited. Time is contingent, created, and having a beginning; it is not the attribute of Allah Most High. In general, when we refer to time, it relates to the creation of Allah, not Himself. As such, time in that context is not an attribute of Allah. They are not successive actions, a, b, and then c.

Only Created Things are in Time and Space

The created things are in time and space. Allah Most High is eternal, and His attributes, too, without beginning, end, or change. There are associations, a realm the mind cannot penetrate. The exact relationship between the timeless attributes and their temporal effects in creation is one of the mysteries of the cosmos. And despite the unique expression of our theology, it remains a theology of humility and embracing our limits. Trying to enter such realms causes only problems and misgivings. [Sawi, Jawhara al-Tawhid; Sanusi, Sharh al-Sanusiyya]

A Reader on Understanding the Attributes of Allah
Allah’s Relationship with Time and Space

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May Allah (Most High) give you ease and relief from the illness.

I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.