The Meaning of ” Thummas tawaa ‘alal ‘arsh ” ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ

QUESTION BY: Norjata Alonto

assalamu ‘alaikum.. tanong lng po..

ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng “thummas tawaa ‘alal ‘arsh”?

at ano po meaning ng word na “istawa”? hnd kc aq makaintindi ng arabic..

RESPONSE:

alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘aalameen wa bihi nasta’een, wa salatu wa salaam wa ‘ala aalihi wa sahbihi ajma’een wa ba’ad.
wa alaykum missalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

This is a very lengthy explanation sister so please, bear with us..The answer to your question is very important and it is important to follow the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah following the Manhaj of the Salafus Saalih in regards with this, because this is one of those that which differs us from other sects that sprung and claiming to be the true Islam, especially that this is a matter of tawheed. The verse you are trying to refer to is found in Surah Al-‘Araf:54, Allah says:

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)! ”

May we start our answer with this narration in regards with a similar verse that pertains about ISTAWA…

And it was narrated by Yahya ibn Yahya at-Tamimi and Ja’far Ibn ‘Abd-Allaah and a group of them said:

“We were with Malik when a man came and asked him: ‘O Abu `Abd Allah! “The Most Beneficent (Allaah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). (Ta-Ha 20:5) How did He Istawa (rise over)?” Malik lowered his head and remained thus until he was completely soaked in sweat. Then he said:

“The Istiwaa (Allaah’s Rising Over His Throne) is ma’qool (known); the “how” is majhool (inconceivable); belief in it is wajib (obligatory); asking about it is bid’ah (an innovation); and I fear that you are not anything but an innovator.” Then he commanded that the man be removed.”

Shaykh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) declared this to be saheeh.

[See Mukhthasar al-Uluww Of Dhahabee, Checked by Shaykh Naasir rahimahullaah, page 141]

Now, for further explanation, let us quote the words of Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) about this verse. He said:

“Then He Ascended to the sky”

[Their claim: Some of the Salaf have explained this aayah to mean, that Allaah has set His focus on the creation of heavens. This shows how they used to make ta`weel”].

The response: Ahlus-Sunnah have two different explanations of this aayah.

The first explanation is that it means He ascended over the sky, and it was the choice of ibn Jareer. He said in his Tafseer, ” And the

most befitting of the meanings for the statement of Alaah the Exalted,

“Then He Ascended to the sky” is that He ascended over them, organized them using His Power, and made them into seven heavens.

Al-Baghawee mentions this in his Tafseer, and that it was the position of Ibn `Abbaas and most of the scholars of Tafseer from the Salaf. This is in keeping with the literal meaning of the verb istawaa(ascended), while holding that the specific details of it are known only to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

The second explanation of the maning of istiwaa here is that Allaah has set His complete focus on the creation of the heavens.

Ibn Katheer held this position in his explanation of Soorathul-Baqarah, and al-Baghawee held it also in his explanation of Soorah Fussilat.

Ibn Katheer said, “It means that He set His focus on the heavens. Istiwaa here means ‘to turn to and set one’s focus upon something, since it is paired with the preposition ilaa.

Al-Baghawee said, ” It means that He set His focus on the creation of the heavens”.

The second explanation is not a departure from the apparent meaning, since the verb istiwaa is mentioned paired with a preposition that denotes an intention, so its meaning is understood based upon the preposition used.

Do you not see the preposition used in the statement of Allaah, “A spring from which the Servants of Allaah drink to their fill”. The verb yashrabu, meaning to drink, is understood here as yarwee meaning to drink to one’s fill, since it is paired with a preposition that is appropriate for it.

So the verb takes on the meaning that is in accordance wit h the preposition used, and this conveys the proper meaning.

[Thus, to say that the aayah means that Allaah has set His focus on the creation of the heavens is not a departure from the apparent meaning of the aayah.]

Source: See the translation in english of Qawaaid al-Muthlaa, page 103

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