Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Divine Attribute of Arriving, Coming (2:210; 89:22)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على خاتم النبيين
والعاقبة للمتقين
Among the divine attributes of Allah Most High are:
الإتيان والمجيء
al-Ityān wal-Majī
These are attributes of activity or صفات الفعلية and they basically mean that Allah comes, as He says:

هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ ٱللهُ
Do they wait but that Allah should come to them
(Surah 2:210)

وَجَآءَ رَبُّكَ
Your Lord has come
(Surah 89:22)

The holy Quran teaches that Allah Most High shall come Himself in His holy Person with all glory in all glory on Judgment Day, with a massive army of Angels in the shade of clouds. Many misguided Muslims object to this doctrine, imagining it to be anthropotheism. They make ta’wil (figurative interpretation) of these Verses, stating that it refers to the coming of Allah’s command and not Allah Himself in His Person. This is because they imagine the divine attributes of ityān and majī (arriving, coming) require harakah (movement, motion), and according to them, movement is negated for Allah. This, of course, is a wrong approach to theology, as it is built on the outdated model of Aristotelian metaphysics. According to that model, movement is an incidental attribute of a substance or body, and since, according to them, Allah is not a substance or body, motion must be negated for Him. Again, based on Aristotelian metaphysics, these misguided Muslims understand Allah to be the unmoved mover. But Islam itself never describes Allah as “unmoved” nor does it explicitly negate movement or motion for Him. Simultaneously, Islam does not affirm movement or motion to Allah either, therefore we avoid the term harakah (movement, motion) with respect to Allah’s Essence, neither affirming nor negating it. But we affirm the attributes of ityān and majī (arriving, coming) for Allah, without expressing that in the modality of movement and motion. It’s modality is known to Allah alone and we are not permitted to speculate upon it. But as for sukūn I affirm this attribute for Allah upon the meaning of dwelling and not the Aristotelian meaning of stasis (rest, stillness). So I believe that Allah Most High occupies the Throne, it is filled with His Glory, and His Presence dwells there. He is settled upon it, and it may be said that He is sitting upon it. And it says in the Torah:
וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתֹוכָֽם
And let them make Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them
(Exodus 25:8)

The Hebrew verb שָׁכַן shakan means to settle down, abide, dwell, like it Arabic equivalent سكن (rest, dwell).

1 comment:

  1. The Hebrew Scriptures affirm that the Lord God is sitting upon His Throne, as in Micaiah's Vision (1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18), Isaiah's Vision (Isaiah 6:1), and most significantly, as a theological statement, in Psalm 47:8


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