Interpreting Allah’s “Descent” and the “Ascent” of Good Words to Him

Interpretation has to be employed here as with the words, “Our Lord descends to the nearest heaven” since one of the aspects of descent (nuzul) is the granting of favours, kind behaviour, acceptance and kindliness. Al-Wasiti said, “Whoever speculates that the Prophet himself drew near sees this in terms of distance. All that draws near to the Real hangs in the distance, i.e. far from the perception of its reality since the Real has neither nearness nor distance.”

Further proof of the figurative import of Allah’s “descent” from high is the hadith narrated by Tirmidhi and Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurayra whereby the Prophet said: “By Him in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if you were to extend a rope down all the way to the seventh earth, verily you would alight upon Allah!” Ibn Hajar interpreted this to mean His knowledge. This means that Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything according to the absolute principle that He is transcendent above place, and He is now as He ever was, before place was created. The same principle applies to the hadith of Allah’s “descent,” as Ibn Hajar demonstrates in his commentary on that hadith.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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