Praise be to Allah who rose over the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty), whom I beseech to shower His blessing upon the Prophet (ﷺ) who has established this fact; his companions who believed him on that, and all who follow the path till the Day of Judgement.
Years ago, there have gone viral misconceptions about where Allah is. Some have thereby opined that He is everywhere, while some others have claimed that He resides in the hearts of His friends (awliyā). Therefore, this article is aimed at revealing where Allah is.
It is no longer strange that some of these misconceptions have been built on some Quranic and Hadith texts. However, it is unpleasant to Allah to be relocated by His creature to where He has not stated. Nonetheless, for this article, we shall take only one of these misconceptions, which claims that Allah is everywhere.
It should be noted that the proponents of this view do refer to a fact stated in some Quranic texts. This fact is an attribute of Allah, and it is (ma’iyyah), which means companionship. Allah says:
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَٰثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَآ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
“Have you not seen that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth? There is no najwā (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth… He is with them wherever they may be….” Q58, V7. Here, He uses the word “with,” which indicates “companionship.”
However, the companionship of Allah with His creatures has three acceptable meanings apart from the above unacceptable one, which states that He is everywhere. This shall be explained last. The three authenticated ones are as follows:
Allah, at times, says that He is with us to instil in us His fear by letting us know His awareness of all that we do. For instance, He says:
يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَا يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لَا يَرْضَىٰ مِنَ ٱلْقَوْلِ ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطًا
“…and He is with them when they plot by night in words that He does not approve….” Q4, V108. Understanding this will help one minimize one’s sins as it will create the fear of Allah in one’s heart.
Also, He, at times, uses His companionship with His creatures to mean His constant assistance. Justifying this, He says:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوا۟ وَّٱلَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ
“Truly Allah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty to Him) and those who are muhsinūn (good-doers).” Q16, V128. This means that He would continuously support them. Similarly, He says about His Prophet-peace be upon him: “…he said to his companion (Abū Baker): Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us….” Q9, V40. This means that Allah would surely assist them. Believing in this will fetch one steadfastness against challenges.
More so, His companionship with His creatures could mean His circumventing knowledge about everything. As great as the seven earth and the seven heavens, Allah knows all that is in them. Indeed, this signifies His greatness. However, to get right the circumvention of His knowledge for everything, he says:
ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَٰوَٰتٍۢ وَمِنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ ٱلْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عِلْمًۢا
“It is Allah who has created the seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e., seven). His command descends between them (the heavens and the earth) that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah surrounds all things in (His) knowledge.” Q65, V12. Believing in this will thereby help one minimize one’s rate of violating Allah’s rules.
On the other hand, the view that Allah is everywhere has been discredited by Allah himself as He says:
ٱلرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ ٱسْتَوَىٰ
“The Most Gracious rose over the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty.)” Q20, V5.
Furthermore, both the heavens and the earth cannot accommodate Allah; hence He says,
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْحَىُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُۥ سِنَةٌۭ وَلَا نَوْمٌۭ ۚ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِۦ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىْءٍۢ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُۥ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْعَظِيمُ
“…His Kursiyy (Throne) extends over the heavens and the earth….” Q2, V255. This, whereas Kursiyy is just a footstool of Allah! This, and the Prophet-peace be upon him-has stated that a combination of the heavens and the earth are like a small ring thrown in an open space compared to Kursiyy, and so is Kursiyy compared to Allah’s Throne (‘Arsh) over which Allah rose! This, whereas Allah is higher than His Throne. Hence, claiming that Allah is with us on the earth is equivalent to ridiculing Him-the Most Great!
In addition to the above, this can even be analogically established. Allah is pure and does not like impurity. Hence, He encourages purity and builds Islam on virtue. This fact manifests in “salat” and some other acts of worship. Correctly, “solat” cannot be observed in impure places. Also, Qur’an must not be taken along to a toilet. If all this is true, does it conform to the commonsense that Allah is everywhere, including bathrooms and the likes? No, indeed.
On a final note, this can be summarily stated that Allah with His body is on top of His Throne above the seventh heaven, and He is everywhere with His knowledge. There is even widely said, “my only companion during the journey was the moon.” In contrast, the moon itself is in heaven, while its light is everywhere on earth.
1. Ibn Taymiyyah; Fatawah Ibn Taimiyyah, pages 54 and 55.
2. Ibn ‘Uthaymeen; Sharhu Riyādis Sōlihīn. Mukhtār Foundation: Egypt.
3. The Noble Quran (1427 A. H) King Fahd Complex, Madinah: Saudi.