Hafidh al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H): The Throne Is a (True and Real) Created Entity
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Saturday, August, 29 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Al-Bayhaqi Al-Arsh The Throne Al-Bayhaqi Al-Arsh The Throne

Hafidh al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) is considered to be amongst the Ash'aris, and he has a number of books which in their generality are beneficial due to what they contain of agreement with much of the creed of the Salaf, and due to his strong reliance upon the ahaadeeth and aathaar and avoidance of much of the Kalaam philosophy of other Ash'arites.

However, he does oppose the Salaf in numerous issues, such as his methodology in negation with respect to Allaah, he negates from Allaah in a specific sense, whereas the way of the Salaf is to negate from Allaah in a general sense and to affirm (Attributes) in a specific sense, following the methodology of the revelation in that. And he makes ta'weel of numerous Names of Allaah, such as ar-Rahmaan, al-Aliyy, al-Muta'aaliyy, ash-Shakoor, he adopts the saying of Ibn Kullaab on Allaah's Speech (that it is, Kalaam Nafsee, an eternal attribute of Allaah's Self), and his speech regarding the attributes in general follows the way of the Ash'aris.

Concerning the Throne

The issue of the Allaah's Throne is fundamental to the issue of Allaah being above the creation and above the Throne. For this reason we find that most of the deniers of Allaah being above the Throne attempt to make ta'weel of the Throne and to deny it is a real, created entity. This supports and strengthens what was initiated by the Jahmites that there is no Lord above the heaven and no Diety above the Throne.

And the reason for their need to do this is because of the intellectual proof (ad-daleel al-'aqlee) that they have made to be the foundation of their religion. Which is: Arguing for the createdness of the universe by the presence of incidental attributes (a'raad) and the occurrence of events (hawaadith) within creating bodies (things). When they made this intellectual proof (which is corrupt and false) to be the absolute truth, then they had to deny everything which came in the Book and the Sunnah that falsifies this intellectual proof - and that is whatever Allaah is described with of attributes and actions tied to His will (Sifaat Fi'liyyah). See this article for more details on this subject.

And following on from this, anything that got in the way of their intellectual proof, even if it was a subsidiary issue not directly relating to Allaah Himself, such as the Throne, then they had to make ta'weel of it. And for this reason they attempt to deny the Throne.

So amongst the Ash'aris (and Maturidis) are those who admit that the Throne is a created entity but that we don't know what it is and nor the meaning of al-istiwaa with respect to it. And others amongst them say that the Throne is but a metaphor for Allaah's dominion (mulk),. Yet others amongst them say that "the Throne" is simply a depiction to demonstrate the greatness of Allaah and there is no such thing as the Throne in reality. So the Ash'arites have no clear viewpoint on the issue and in reality all these different views are simply attempts by the Ash'aris to avoid affirming that Allaah is above the Throne, the Throne being a real and true created entity. As the texts of the revelation state that Allaah is above the Throne, then making ta'weel of the Throne is a necessity for the Mutakallimoon, because otherwise, Allaah being "above" the Throne and "above" the creation is to them an incidental attribute ('arad), and incidental attributes are only found in created bodies, according to their intellectual proof, and thus, whatever contradicts this intellectual proof has to be denied or interpreted.

Al-Bayhaqi on the Throne

Imaam al-Bayhaqi said in his book, "al-Asmaa was-Sifaat" (tahqeeq: al-Haashidee, p. 272):

The translation of which is:

Chapter: What has come regarding al-Arsh and al-Kursee

Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said:

...and His Throne was above the water...(Hud 11:7)

And the Exalted said:

...and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne (At-Tawbah 9:129)

And the Mighty and Majestic said:

Owner of the Throne, the Glorious (Al-Buruj 85:15)

And He, whose Mightiness is lofty, said:

And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of Allıh) from all round (Az-Zumar 39:75)

And the Most High said:

Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allıh) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord (Ghafir 40:7)

And the Blessed and Exalted said:

And the angels will be on its sides, and eight angels will, on that Day, bear the Throne of your Lord above them. (Al-Haqqah 69:17)

And the (various) sayings of the people of tafseer are upon (the explanation) that it (the Throne) is "as-sareer (elevated throne)", and that it is a created body (jism mujassam) that Allaah the Exalted created and ordered the Angels to carry, and their worship is by glorifying Him and making tawaaf around it (the Throne), just as He created a House on the earth and ordered the sons of Aadam to make tawaaf around it, and to turn towards it in prayer.

And it most of these verses is evidence for the correctness of what they have tended to (of the explanation of al-Arsh), and in the Narrations (akhbaar and aathaar) reported regarding its meaning is an evidence for the correctness of that.

And He, the Blessed and Exalted said:

His Kursı extends over the heavens and the earth (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

And we have narrated from Sa'eed bin Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that he said (about the Kursee), "His knowledge" [*], [but] all the narrations from Ibn Abbaas (put together) and others (regarding this) show that what is meant by it is the well-known Kursee that is mentioned alongside the Throne.

[*] This particular narration from Ibn 'Abbaas is not authentic.

After this passage al-Bayhaqi brings a large number of narrations from the Sunnah and from the Salaf regarding the Throne, affirming that it is a real entity, created by Allaah, and that it has qualities and descriptions of its own.

So we establish from this - from al-Bayhaqi who is considered an Ash'ari - that the Arsh, which is the Throne, is true and real, and it is a created entity, and Allaah is above the Throne, as He said in the abundant verses and as the Messenger affirmed in the abundant ahaadeeth.

And this is one of those issues that creates hardship and difficulty for the Ash'aris in that they have to go to many long-winded and tiresome attempts to deny the reality of the Throne - which is the highest of the created things, and in those long-winded attempts they have many different sayings, and if they had been upon the truth they would have had but one saying, but as Allaah says, "...If it had been from other than Allaah, then they would have found much discrepancy therein ...", and indeed the astray opinions of the Ash'ariyyah and Maaturidiyyah on the subject of the Throne are from other than Allaah.