al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani interprets a hadith and confirms from Imam al-Khattabi that Allah is not in a place

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani , in volume 13, page 414, of his book Fath l-Bari, while explaining a hadith relating the Mi’raj (ascension to the skies) of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

Inside title page of volume 13 , Fath al Bari Page 414 of volume 13 Fath al Bari

“Al-Khattabi said that in this version there is another term narrated by Sharik which makes it different from the other [versions] and which has not been narrated by anyone else. It is [where it is said] : “fi’lan bihi, i.e. from Jibril to Allaah (al-Jabbaar) and  [Sharik] said : “wa huwa makaanuhu” [i.e. literally it would mean ‘and it is his place’], and [later on] the Prophet said  “O My Lord alleviate for us [the number of prayers]. He [i.e. al-Khattabi] said : a place cannot be attributed to Allaah, therefore here it is the place of the Prophet which is meant, i.e. that he returned where he was standing before leaving.’ End of quote.

Points to remember from this quote:

  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani died in 852 of the Hijri calendar, i.e.  more than 500 years ago.
  • His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled  “Fath al-Bari”  is a must-have book for any serious student of Islamic studies, and for any scholar.
  • In this extract, he explains one of the various versions of the hadith which narrates the ascension of the Prophet sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam. The apparent meaning of this version would attribute a place to Allaah. Ibn Hajar narrates from al-Khattabi that the pronoun in (makaanuhu , i.e. ‘hu’) refers to the Prophet and his palce, not to Allaah as Allaah cannot be attributed with a place.

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