The Prophet’s (s) Seating on the Throne

(IQ‘ÂD AL-NABÎ (S) `ALÂ AL-`ARSH)

“Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (s) will be seated

by His Lord on the Throne next to Him.”

–  Ibn Taymiyya.[1]

“Whoever imagines that our Lord sits on the Throne and leaves space at His side for His Prophet to sit, has followed the Christians who hold that `Isa was raised to heaven and sat next to his Father – Allah (swt) is clear of the partnership they ascribe to Him!”

–  Al-Kawthari.[2]

Allah Most High said, as rendered in the translations of His meanings in the Qur’an (17:79):

And some part of the night awake for it, a largess for thee.

It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised estate. [Pickthall]

 

And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee : soon will thy Lord raise thee to a station of praise and Glory. [Yusuf Ali]

It is known that the meaning of the Exalted Station (al-maqâm al-mahmûd) mentioned in the above verse is the granting of the Major Intercession (al-shafâ‘a al-kubrâ) to the Prophet (s) on the Day of Judgment, at which time “people shall surge like the waves of the sea,” each community begging its Prophet for intercession but only the Prophet (s) shall accept to undertake it,[3] as expressed in al-Busiri’s poetry:

yâ akrama al-khalqi mâ lî man alûdhu bihi

siwâka `inda hulûli al-hâdithi al-‘amami

O noblest of creatures! I have none with whom to seek refuge

other than you when the Universal Event befalls.[4]

Furthermore, Ibn `Abbas explained that the formula of likelihood ‘asâ – “It may be” – when attributed to Allah (swt), denotes certainty, as related by al-Bayhaqi and reiterated by the commentators.[5]

However, several narrations are also adduced whereby the Exalted Station is the seating of the Prophet (s) by Allah (swt) on the Throne. The school of Imam Ahmad gave precedence to the latter view as the definitive explanation of the verse, despite the overall weakness of the narrations supporting it.

“the scholars of hadith agree that none of the narrations that mention the groaning is authentic.”

1.    The “Groaning of the Throne”

Ibn Mas‘ud (r) related that the Prophet (s) said: “Verily I shall occupy the Exalted Station.” It was asked: “What is the Exalted Station?” He said: “It is on the day you will be brought barefoot, naked, and uncircumcised; the first to be given a garment will be Ibrahim, when Allah says: ‘Cover my Close Friend.’ He will be presented with two soft, fine garments which he shall wear, and he will be seated opposite the Throne. Then I will be given a garment which I shall wear, after which I shall stand at the right of the Throne. Mine will be station which no one else will share. It will be the ardent desire of the first and the last to share it with me. Then a river will be caused to flow from the Kawthar to my Pond.”

It is narrated with weak chains by Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Tabari in his Tafsir, al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, al-Darimi in his Sunan (book of Riqaq), Abu al-Shaykh in al-‘Azama, and Ibn al-Mundhir. Ahmad and al-Hakim’s narrations begin with the words: Ummukuma fi al-nar – “Your mother [speaking to two brothers] is in the Fire” – while al-Darimi’s narration begins with the words: Dhâka yawmun yanzilu Allâhu ta‘âlâ ‘alâ kursiyyihi ya’itu kama ya’itu al-rahlu al-jadîdu min tadâyuqihi bih – “On that day, Allah shall descend on His Throne which shall groan the way a new saddle does, due to the pressure it will feel from Him.”[6]

Al-Darimi’s narration is highly questionable from another perspective, namely the anthropomorphism of the explicit attribution of the Throne’s groaning to the pressure of Allah (swt) on it. It is known that all the narrations that mention this “groaning of the Throne” are also weak. They are narrated from five Companions:

–          Abu Umama;[7]

–          Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari;[8]

–          ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab;[9]

–          Ibn Mas‘ud, as narrated by the hadith masters already mentioned;

–          Jubayr ibn Mut‘am from his father from his grandfather.[10]

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