Answered by Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael
Question: Assalam alaykum,
In Sahih Muslim there is a Hadith which says that Allah is in front of a person who is Praying. Does it go against the belief that Allah is above His throne (Arsh)?
Answer: Dear questioner about the presence of Allah, Assalam alaykum.
Allah is perfect
The people of Sunna say that Allah has not been created and has always existed, before there was anything created. Thus they say, Allah does not share time and space with creation. He is not subjected to time and space. Allah was The Elevated and most High before creation existed. Meaning that these names were not linked to a direction or space of to any form of creation. He was and will always be perfect.
Allah is not subjected to time or place
When we say that Allah is in front of the one that prays, it can impossibly mean that He is literally in front of them, it means that He listens to them and sees them and their need. That is what someone does when he is in front of you. He sees you and hears you and will help you if you are in need of help.
Allah rules over the ‘Arsh
We believe that Allah rules over the arsh exactly like He rules over everything else. But we do not say that Allah resides above the Arsh. He created the Arsh to show His kingdom not as a place where He resides or sits or any other characteristic that is human.
A lack of understanding the Arabic language is the cause of wrong interpretations
It is a lack of understanding of Arabic language that caused people to give wrong interpretations of the verses and prophetic narrations about Allahs names and attributes. I strongly advice people to translate the book of ibn Jama’a: Eedah ad daleel into the English language as the book is very easy to grasp and is one of the best works written on this subject.
Wal hamdu lillah Rabbil ‘alameen
[Shaykh] Sulayman Van Ael
Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael received ijazah from various luminaries in the ten Qur’anic readings, in Ihya Ulum al-Din, in the major books of hadith, in different texts in Guelph classical Islamic sciences–including grammar, tafsir, fiqh, and usul.