I have read that no man has seen Allah (S) in this life, not even the
prophet (SM) in his mira'j. The book has been written by Sk. Abu Ameenah Bilaal Philips.
Now, I have heard from one scholar from my country that Imam Malik saw Allah (S) hundred
times in his dream. Is that possible?
May Allah (S) reward you.
Praise be to Allaah.
Seeing Allaah in reality (as opposed to in a dream) is not possible in
this life, although no doubt it will happen after death. This is not because seeing Him is
impossible in itself, but because Allaah has willed that it should not happen. This is for
many reasons, some of which have been found by the scholars, and others which remain known
only to Allaah. Among the reasons which we do understand is human weakness, which is
apparent from the story of Moosa (upon whom be peace), which we will quote shortly.
Another reason is that seeing Allaah is a great blessing and joy, indeed it is the
greatest blessing, so it is withheld for the place of ultimate blessing and joy, namely
Paradise. Another reason is that this world is a mixture of good believers and kuffaar, so
this blessing is deferred until it will be given exclusively to the believers in Paradise.
Withholding this blessing until the Hereafter also provides a strong motive to do good in
this world, so that one may see Allaah and feel secure and content in nearness to Him in
Evidence that it is not possible to see Allaah in this world
Allaah says, in the story of Moosa (peace be upon him) (interpretation
of the meaning): “And when Moosa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and
his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon
You.’ Allaah said, ‘You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain, if its stands
still in its place, then you shall see Me.’ So when his Lord appeared to the
mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Moosa fell down unconscious. Then when he
recovered his senses he said, ‘Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am
the first of the believers.’” [al-A’raaf 7:143]. The word lan
(here translated as cannot in ‘You cannot see Me’) conveys the meaning of
‘You will not see Me in this life’, because there is evidence that man will see
Allaah in the Hereafter, which means that this lan is not eternal in application.
(The negative particle lan often carries a sense of eternal negation, that
something will never happen, but this is not the case here. Translator).
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “No vision can
grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Courteous,
Well-Acquainted with all things.” [al-An’aam 6:103]. The commentator
al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, in his tafseer of this aayah:
“Concerning the phrase No vision can grasp Him, several comments regarding it
have been narrated from the imaams of the salaf, one of which is that it means, you will
not be able to see Him in this world, even though you will see Him in the Hereafter. The
reports that state this, narrated from the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him), reach the level of mutawaatir and are reported through more than
one sound isnaad in the books of Saheeh, Musnad and Sunan. [Translator’s
note: a mutawaatir report is one that was narrated by so many to so many that it is
inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie].
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “It is not given to
any human being that Allaah should speak to him unless (it be) by inspiration, or from
behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He will by His Leave. Verily,
He is Most High, Most Wise.” [al-Shoora 42:51].
Abu Hurayrah said: “Some people said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah,
will we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?’ He said, ‘Do you have any
doubt about seeing the sun on a cloudless day?’ They said, ‘No, O Messenger of
Allaah.’ He said, ‘Do you have any doubt about seeing the full moon on a
cloudless night?’ They said, ‘No, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said,
‘You will see Him just as clearly on the Day of Resurrection…’” (Reported
by al-Bukhaari, 6088). It is clear that the idea that Allaah will not be
seen in this life was well-entrenched in the minds of the Sahaabah. They were asking about
the Hereafter, and this is what the Prophet’s answer also referred to.
Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah
blessings of Allaah be upon him), ‘Have you seen your Lord?’ He said,
‘(There is) light, how could I see Him?’” This light, which prevented him
from seeing Him, is a veil of light, which is further explained in the hadeeth of Abu
Moosa, who said, “The Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) stood up and told us five things: ‘Allaah does not sleep, and it is not
befitting that He should sleep. He lowers the scale and lifts it. The deeds in the night
are taken up to Him before the deeds of the day, and the deeds of the day before the deeds
of the night. His veil is the light. If He were to withdraw it (the veil), the splendour
of His countenance would consume His creation as far as His sight reaches.’” (Reported
by Imaam Ahmad and Muslim, 263).
Further clear evidence comes in the hadeeth which warns against the
Dajjaal (antichrist): “Written between his eyes is (the word) kaafir, which will be
read by everyone who hates his works, or every believer will read it. Know that none of
you will see your Lord until he dies.” (Reported by Muslim, 5215).
So any claim that anyone but the Prophet
blessings of Allaah be upon him) can see Allaah in reality is impossible, according to the
consensus of the scholars. However, there is some disagreement among the scholars as to
whether or not the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw Allaah on
the night of the Mi’raaj. The correct view is that he did not see Him physically,
with his own two eyes, because when he was asked about this, he said, “(There is)
light, how could I see Him?” According to another report, he said, “I saw
light.” The Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not see Him,
but he saw His veil of light.
The question of whether Allaah may be seen in a dream does not
contradict the fact that Allaah cannot be seen in reality in this world, because all the
texts quoted above speak about physical vision when one is awake, not the
“vision” of the heart when one is asleep. Proof that the latter kind of vision
is possible is to be seen in the hadeeth about the dispute of the “chiefs on
high” (the angels). Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, “The
Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘My Lord
came to me tonight in the most beautiful form.’ I think he said, ‘in a dream. He
said, “O Muhammad, do you know what the chiefs on high disputed about?” I said,
“No.” He put His hand between my shoulder-blades and I could feel its coolness
on my chest (or just beneath my throat), then I knew everything that is in the heavens and
on earth. He said, “O Muhammad, do you know what the chiefs on high disputed
about?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “About expiation, and expiation is
staying in the mosque after prayers, walking to join congregational prayers, and doing
wudoo’ properly in adverse conditions. Whoever does that will live a good life and
die a good death, and will be as sinless as the day his mother bore him.” He said,
“O Muhammad, when you pray, say Allaahumma innee as’aluka fa’l
al-khayraat wa tark al-munkaraat wa hubb al-masaakeen, wa idha aradta bi ‘ibaadika
fitnatan fa’qbudni ilayka ghayra maftoon (O Allaah, I ask you to make me do good
deeds and avoid evil deeds, and to make me love the poor and wretched. If You want to test
Your slaves, then take me unto You without subjecting me to the trial). One’s status
in Paradise may be raised by spreading the greeting of salaam, feeding others, and praying
at night when people are sleeping.”’” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad,
16026; and by al-Tirmidhi, 3159, who said it is a saheeh hasan hadeeth).
Some of the scholars have commented that it is possible
to see Allaah in a dream.
Imaam al-Daarimi said, in his refutation of Bishr ibn Ghiyaath,
“This seeing took place in a dream, and in a dream it is possible to see Allaah in
any shape or form.” (p. 166)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said, “A believer may see his Lord in
a dream, in various forms according to his faith and belief. If his eemaan is correct, he
can only see Him in a beautiful form, and if his faith is lacking, this will be reflected
in the way he sees Him. Seeing Allaah in a dream is not like seeing Him in reality. It may
have different interpretations and meanings referring to something in reality.” (al-Fataawa,
He also said, “Whoever sees Allaah in a dream sees
Him in a form that corresponds to his own state. If he is righteous, he will see Him in a
beautiful form, which is why the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
saw him in the most beautiful form. (al-Fataawa, 5/251)
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Azeez ibn Baaz was asked about the
ruling concerning one who claims to have seen the Lord of Glory in a dream, and whether it
was true, as some claim, that Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal had seen the Lord of Glory in his
dreams more than one hundred times. The Shaykh answered as follows:
“Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) and
others said that it is possible for a man to see his Lord in a dream, but what he sees is
not reality, because there is nothing like Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘… There is nothing like unto Him, and
He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.’ [al-Shoora 42:11]. Nothing in His creation
is like unto Him. A person may dream that his Lord is speaking to him, and no matter what
kind of image he sees, that image is not Allaah, because there is nothing that is like
Allaah in any way. Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned that
dreams differ according to the state of the person who is dreaming. The more righteous and
closer to goodness a person is, the more correct his dream will be, but the truth is still
something other than what he sees, because the guiding principle is still that there is
nothing like unto Allaah.
He may hear a voice and be told such-and-such, or to do such-and-such,
without any clear image resembling anything in creation, because there is nothing at all
like unto Allaah… Some people may imagine that they have seen their Lord when in fact
this is not the case. The Shaytaan may deceive a person and make him imagine that he is
their Lord, as it was reported that he made ‘Abd al-Qaadir al-Jeelaani see him on a
throne above water, and said, ‘I am your Lord and I freed you from doing any duties
(worship, etc.).’ ‘Abd al-Qaadir al-Jeelaani said, ‘Get lost, O enemy of
Allaah! You are not my Lord, because the commands of my Lord are not cancelled for
anyone,’ or some similar words.
As for whether Imaam Ahmad saw his Lord, I do not know if this is true
or not. It is said that he saw his Lord but I do not know if this is true.” And
Allaah knows best.