Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)’s Descent to the lowest heaven in last third of every night
Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
A sister is posing this question:
I know that from the sunnah Allah decends to the lowest heaven in last third of every night; but night times are different all over the world; if it is night time here it is day time in another country; so how we can understand that Allah descends here but not some other place in the world where it is not yet night time?? very important question; please answer
From Moosaa ibn John Richardson:(salafitak.net)
This question is about the specific details of how Allaah descends.
So the four-part answer given by Imaam Maalik (d.179)to a similar question should suffice us:
1) Descending is something well known.
2) The actual way Allaah descends is not known to us.
3) Belief in it is obligatory.
4) Seeking after its specific details is bid’ah.
From Abu `Iyaad Amjad bin Muhammad Rafiq: (salafitalk.net)
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah gives a lengthy explanation of this – which is another of the doubts of the Jahmiyyah – in his book “Sharh Hadeeth in-Nuzool”, towards the end of it (p.320 onwards), and the essence of it is is that this question only arises when it is presumed that the kaifiyyah of Allaah’s Descent is like the descent of created beings, for when you presume that, then this doubt arises. So as Imaam Malik said, as mentioned by Br. Moosaa, regarding Istiwaa and as Abu Ja’far at-Tirmidhi (the faqih of Bagdhad, d. 295H) said,as mentioned by ad-Dhahabi in al-Uluww (p. 231), regarding the nuzool:
the Nuzool is ma’qool (understood), and the kayf is majhool (unknown), to have faith in it is obligatory and asking about it is an innovation.
And in summary, we hold that:
- Allaah descends without Him leaving the Throne, He remains above the Throne
- Allaah descends without coming under or beneath the heaven – and as the Salaf said to the Jahmiyyah who raised such doubts in relation to the nuzool, “We believe in a Lord who does whatever He wills”
- To all people in all parts of the earth, alongside the variation in the night and day, Allaah’s descent is for them during the last third of their night – and we are not able to understand the kaifiyyah of that – just like we are not able to understand the kaifiyyah of how Allaah will do the hisaab (accounting) of all the people at the same time.
Ibn Taymiyyah says, “As for the nuzool that is not of the type of the nuzool of the (created) bodies of the servants, then it is not impossible that it occurs at the same time for a great number of the creation … and this is like His reckoning of His servants on the Day of Judgement, He will reckon all of them within a single hour, and all of them will be alone with Him, just like a man is alone with the moon on a clear night, and He will make him affirm his sins, and that one being reckoned will not see that He is reckoning others besides him” (p.334)
And then Ibn Taymiyyah brings ahaadeeth in this regard, and he also mentions the hadeeth of Allaah responding ot the servant when he recites al-Faatihah in the prayer, so Allaah says, “My servant praised me” and so on, and this is to every one who prays, at the same time, and likewise Allaah sees everyone all at the same time, and he provides for everyone all at the same time, so likewise, the nuzool – if we remove that presumption of “kayf” that is prohibited which is that the nuzool is like that of the created bodies – then we are not subject to this doubt, and then we are able to affirm it for Allaah without tashbeeh and tamtheel and without any caution in that.
And in all of this there is sufficiency for the believer who affirms what Allaah affirmed for Himself without takyeef and without ta’teel and without tamtheel.
Here is that athar regarding Imam Malik (rahimahullaah) that our brother Moosa alluded to:
And it was narrated by Yahya ibn Yahya at-Tamimi and Ja’far Ibn ‘Abd-Allaah and a group of them said:
“We were with Malik when a man came and asked him: ‘O Abu `Abd Allah! “The Most Beneficent (Allaah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). (Ta-Ha 20:5) How did He Istawa (rise over)?” Malik lowered his head and remained thus until he was completely soaked in sweat. Then he said:
”The Istiwaa (Allaah’s Rising Over His Throne) is ma’qool (known); the “how” is majhool (inconceivable); belief in it is wajib (obligatory); asking about it is bid’ah (an innovation); and I fear that you are not anything but an innovator.” Then he commanded that the man be removed.”
Shaykh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) declared this to be saheeh.
[See Mukhthasar al-Uluww Of Dhahabee, Checked by Shaykh Naasir rahimahullaah, page 141]
The Following is from -The book of knowledge by shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen Rahimullah page 47-48
”Our Lord descends every night to the heaven of this world when the last third of the night is still to come and says, “Who will call me so that I may answer him? Who will ask Me so that I give him? Who will ask forgiveness of Me so that I may forgive him”- Saheeh Bukhari.
“This Hadeeth has been narrated by the Prophet (sallallahu alyhi wa sallam), and is well known. None of the companions raised any objections by saying: “Oh Messenger of Allah! How does He descend? And does He leave His Throne or not?, and other such similar questions. However, we find some people talking like this and saying: How is He upon His Throne and descends to the lowest heaven? And that which is similar to this from the statements which reject this, even though they accept this hadeeth and say that certainly Allah (ta’alaa) has risen above His Throne, and His rising is from that which befits His Majesty, and He descends as He (ta’alaa) wishes, just so as to overcome their doubts that they are not bewildered with that which the Prophet (sallallahu alyhi wa sallam) has informed them of their Lord.
Therefore, it is obligatory upon us to accept what Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alyhi wa sallam) has informed us concerning the matters of the unseen (wholeheartedly), in full submission, and that we do not reject them in favour of that which is in our minds from feelings and preconceived notions; Because the matter of the unseen are far above this. And the examples about this are many, and I do not wish to prolong the issue by mentioning them.
However, the position of the believer when presented with a hadeeth like this is acceptance in full submission, by saying Allah and his messenger have spoken the truth. As Allah has informs in His statement ” The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. They say “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers”- and they say ” We hear and obey. Your forgiveness, Our Lord, and to you is the return”-Surah al Baqarah v. 285 “
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