al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani confirms that God is free from being in a place

Inside title page of volume 13 , Fath al BariVolume 13 page 328

In his book Fath al-Bari, Amir al-Mu’minin fi l-hadith (literally the Commander of the believers as far as hadith is concerned), al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said, in volume 13 page 358, while explaining a version of the hadith which means that there is a book above the Throne with an inscription:

“As for his saying ” ‘indahu“, Ibn Battal said that the term “ ‘inda” in the language applies to places, when Allah is free from being incarnated in a place, because being incarnated implies having an end and having been created, and having been created is not suitable for Allah. Therefore, it has been said that the meaning [of this hadith] is that His knowledge has preceded the confirmation of who will [in the end] act in obedience to Allah, and of who will be punished for having committed sins, and this [interpretation] is reinforced  by the hadith which comes next, and which says “ana ‘inda dhann ‘indi“, and it is not at all related to a place.

Points to remember:

  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani died in 852 in the Hijri calendar, i.e. more than 500 years ago.
  •  His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled “Fath al-Bari” is a book that no student in Islamic Studies or a proper scholar can do without.
  • In this extract he explains the hadith in which there is a statement which could potentially be misunderstood.  It is mentioned in that hadith that a book is “‘indahu” which, if taken literally, would mean that this book is “next to God”, wa l-iyaadhu billaah. Ibn Hajar quotes other Muslim scholars to establish the different meanings of ‘‘inda‘  to explain that here  ”indahu’ does not refer to the place at all, and he takes the opportunity to repeat the Muslims’ belief that Allah  exists without a place.

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