The Attribute of Coming

Q 1: It is well known that Ta'wil (allegorical interpretation) is one of the controversial issues among the Salaf (righteous predecessors) and the Khalaf (successors). We advocate the view of the Salaf. I was asked about the Hadith mentioned by Shaykh Nasir Al-Din Al-Albany when verifying the book entitled Al-Jami` Al-Saghir wa Ziyadattuh written by Al-Suyuty. The Hadith reads, Last night, my Lord came to me in the most handsome shape and said to me: O Muhammad! Do you know about what Exalted Assembly differ? I said: No. He put His hand between my shoulders until I felt the coldness of His hand in my chest. Consequently, I had knowledge of everything on earth and heaven... It is related by Al-Tirmidhy and Ahmad from Ibn `Abbas. Now, what is the meaning of "coming"? Should it be interpreted literally as Allah came in a manner that befits Him? Should we apply Ta'wil to it as is done by Al-Asha`irah school of thought in our country?

A: The action of "coming" narrated in this Hadith is literally interpreted. Allah comes in a manner befitting His Majesty which is not similar to that of His creatures. We do not make Ta'wil of this action to be the coming of His mercy or an angel. Rather, we affirm the interpretation of following the Ayah given by the Salaf. Allah says, Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord (Allâh) should come, or that some of the Signs of your Lord should come (i.e. portents of the Hour e.g., rising of the sun from the west)! (Part No. 3; Page No. 177) This is done with no Tamthil (likening Allah’s Attributes to those of His creatures), Ta'wil, tashbih "anthropomorphic literalism" or Ta`til (denial of Allah’s Attributes) of the following Ayah. Allah (Exalted be He) says, There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. And "Allâh-us-Samad (السيد الذي يصمد إليه في الحاجات) [Allâh is the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)]. "He begets not, nor was He begotten. "And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him." May Allah grant us success. May Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!