Imam al-Maturidi

“Shaykh Abu Mansur [al-Maturidi] – may Allah have mercy on him – says: The sum of all this is that the predication of all things to Him and His predication – may He be exalted! – to them is along the lines of His description in terms of exaltation (`uluw) and loftiness (rif`a), and in terms of extolment (ta`zîm) and majesty (jalâl), as in His saying: {the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth} (2:107, 3:189, 5:17-18, 5:40 etc.) {Lord of the heavens and the earth} (13:16, 17:102, 18:14, 19:65, etc.), “God of all creation” (ilâh al-khalq), Lord of the worlds (1:2, 5:28, 6:45, 6:162, 7:54, etc.), “above everything” (fawqa kulli shay’) and so forth. As for the predication of specific objects to Him, it is along the lines of His specific attribution with generosity (al-karâma), high rank (al-manzila), and immense favor (al-tafdîl) for what is essentially meant to refer to Him, as in His sayings {Lo! Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him} (16:128), {And the places of worship are only for Allah} (72:18), {The she-camel of Allah} (7:73, 11:64, 91:13), “The House of Allah” (bayt Allâh), and other similar instances. None of these examples is understood in the same way as the predication of created object to one another….

“Abu Mansur – may Allah have mercy on him! – further says: The foundation of this issue is that Allah Almighty was when there was no place, then locations were raised while He remains exactly as He ever was. Therefore, He is as He ever was and He ever was as He is now. Exalted is He beyond any change or transition or movement or cessation! For all these are portents of contingency (hudth) by which the contingent nature of the world can be known, and the proofs of its eventual passing away….

“Furthermore [concerning the claim that Allah is on the Throne], there is not, in the context of spatial elevation, any particular merit to sitting or standing, nor exaltation, nor any quality of magnificence and splendor. For example, someone standing higher than roofs or mountains does not deservedly acquire loftiness over someone who is below him spatially when their essence is identical. Therefore, it is not permissible to interpret away the verse [20:5] in that sense, when it is actually pointing to magnificence and majesty. For He has said {Verily, it is your Lord Who created the heavens and the earth} (7:54, 10:3, 21:56) thereby pointing to the extolment of the Throne, which is something created of light, or a substance [or jewel] the reality of which is beyond the knowledge of creatures. It was narrated that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – while describing the sun, said: “Gibrîl brings it, in his hand, some of the light of the Throne with which he clothes it just as one of you wears his clothes, and so every day that it rises”; he also mentioned that the moon receives a handful of the light of the Throne.4 Therefore, the predication of istiwâ’ to the Throne is along two lines: first, its extolment in the light of all that He said concerning His authority in Lordship and over creatures; second, its specific mention as the greatest and loftiest of all objects in creation, in keeping with the customary predication of magnificent matters to magnificent objects, just as it is said: “So-and-so has achieved sovereignty over such-and-such a country, and has established himself over such-and-such a region.” This is not to restrict the meaning of this sovereignty literally, but only to say that it is well-known that whoever owns sovereignty over this, then whatever lies below it is meant a fortiori.”5

* Kitab Radd Awa’il al-Adilla, a refutation of the Mu`tazili al-Ka`bi’s book entitled Awa’il al-Adilla;

* Radd al-Tahdhib fi al-Jadal, another refutation of al-Ka`bi;6

* Kitab Bayan Awham al-Mu`tazila;

* Kitab Ta’wilat al-Qur’an (“Book of the Interpretations of the Qur’an”), of which Ibn Abi al-Wafa’ said: “No book rivals it, indeed no book even comes near it among those who preceded him in this discipline.”7 Hajji Khalifa cites it as Ta’wilat Ahl al-Sunna and quotes as follows al-Maturidi’s definition of the difference between “explanation” (tafsîr) and “interpretation” (ta’wîl):

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