So recently, I was doing some research and came across a view about abstract objects and necessity. We believe that Allah is a necessary being and nothing existed eternally with him, so with that in mind, how do we go about abstract objects like math, for example, or the laws of logic. I hold that these are just thoughts, but I would like to know what Muslim scholars have said about this issue.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which pleases Him, Amin.
Allah always existed, and nothing existed with Him. Abstract concepts like time and space are creations of Allah, and Allah knows best.
Time and Space Are Creations of Allah
Allah created everything; He existed before space and time. Therefore the terms “where” or “when”, or “how” don’t apply to Him.
Allah says: “˹He is˺ the Originator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you spouses from among yourselves, and ˹made˺ mates for cattle ˹as well˺—multiplying you ˹both˺. There is nothing like Him, for He ˹alone˺ is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” [Quran, 42:11]
“Nothing like Him” necessitates that it is impossible that Allah resembles creation. Creation exists inside time and space. Allah, therefore, created time and space.
Evidence from Hadith
Bukhari, Bayhaqi and Ibn Al-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Allah existed eternally, and nothing else existed.”
There was nothing with Allah: no place, no time, no sky, Earth, no light, no darkness, etc.
Evidence from Pious Predecessors
Imam Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi related in his book, Al-Farq Bayna Al-Firaq that the Companion, ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Allah existed and there was no place, and He is still as He was [without a place].”
Imam Abu Hanifa said: “Allah existed, and there was no place. He existed before creating the creation. He existed, and there was no place, creation, or thing. He is the Creator of everything.” [Al-Fiqh al-Absat and Al-Fiqh al-Akbar]
I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.