Hadith A book that Allaah wrote is with Him above the Throne

Question:

My question is regarding The Hadith: ‘When Allah completed creation, He wrote in a Book with Him above His throne, ‘Verily My mercy will precede my anger.’

What does it mean that the book is with Allah above His throne?

Some people use this to refute the Highness of Allah by saying that if the Hadith is literal then it is shirk to say that the book is also high with Allah.

Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His slave and Messenger.

This Hadeeth was reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him . The scholars differed in opinion about the meaning of ‘above’. Some of them interpreted it with different meanings. However, the most valid opinion is that it signifies its literal meaning – that this Book is above the Throne.

Ibn Hajar may Allah be pleased with him said in Fat’h al-Baari: “His saying: It is with Him above the Throne,” it was said: its meaning is below the Throne, which is like the saying of Allah (which means): {. . . that of a mosquito or anything above it} [Quran 2:26] , that is, ‘below it in size’.

The motive for this interpretation is that it is most unlikely that any of the creatures be above the Throne; but there is nothing which prevents understanding it according to its literal meaning as the Throne is one of the creatures of Allah. 

It is also a possibility that what is meant by His saying that ‘it is with Him’ is that its mention or its knowledge is with Him, so ‘with Him’ would not be in reference to a place but an indication that it is completely hidden from the creation and beyond their perception.

Al-Kirmaani reported that some scholars claimed that the word ‘above’ is additional, such as Allah’s saying (which means): “{But if there are [only] daughters, above two} meaning ‘two or more’, and he (al-Kirmaani) did not reject (or comment on) this statement,

whereas it required rejection or comment because the claim that the word is superfluous would be valid when the word is omitted and the meaning stays complete even with that omission as in the verse; but in the Hadeeth, if the word ‘above’ is omitted, the meaning would not be complete. It would be, ‘with Him His Throne’.” [End of quote] 

Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh reads: “‘Above the Throne’ means it is hidden from the entire creation and it is out of their perception. Al-Haafith said: ‘‘with Him’ would not be in reference to a place but an indication that it is completely hidden from the creation and beyond their perception and it is a nice indication of the greatness of the matter and the greatness of the value.”

Al-Khattaabi said: “What is meant by the Book is one of two things: either it is the Predestination which Allah has predestined, like the saying of Allah (which means): {Allah has written, “I will surely overcome, I and My Messengers.”} [Quran: 21]; meaning that He had predestined this.

and the meaning of His saying: ‘above the Throne’; meaning He has the knowledge of that, He does not forget it and He does not change it; this is like the saying of Allah (which means): {[Moses] said, “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.”} [Quran 20:52]

Or it is the Preserved Book in which there is mention of the kinds of creation, their affairs, their appointed time, their sustenance and their conditions, the meaning of ‘it is with Him above the Throne’ is its mention and its knowledge; all these interpretations are possible.

It was also said that the literal interpretation of ‘with Him’ as referring to location is impossible in relation to Allah Almighty, as it can only be interpreted in a way that conforms to what suits His Majesty or what is according to His knowledge. I said: it is information about which there is a text revealed in the Quran or in the Sunnah; so we have mentioned it,

and we negated from it the Takyeef (i.e. speculating as to “how” the Attributes of Allah are manifested) as there is nothing like unto Him (Allah), so it is more appropriate or, rather, it is an obligation to understand it and interpret it in the way as it was mentioned (i.e. according to its apparent meaning) without interpreting it in a specific way that contradicts its apparent meaning.”

With regard to Allah being ‘above all His Creation’, then this is confirmed in many texts in the Quran and the Sunnah; Ath-Thahabi cited a large number of them in his book Al-‘Uluw lil-‘Aliyy Al-Ghaffar (The highness of The High, The Perpetual Forgiver), and these are the meanings that Shaykh al-Albani abridged in his abridgement of Al-‘Uluw. 

Ibn al-Qayyim may Allah be pleased with him also cited them in his book Ijtimaa‘ Al-Juyoosh Al-Islaamiyyah. The above Hadeeth is one of them. Allah Almighty is High above all His creation, High in His Essence (Dhaat), High in His subjugation, and High in His superiority.

Allah Knows best.

Hadeeth: ‘A book that Allaah wrote is with Him above the Throne’