Will you give information about Ru'yatullah?

Details of the Question
Will you give information about Ru'yatullah?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

RU'YATULLAH

Ru’yah: “believers’ attaining the honor of seeing the jamal of Allah Almighty in Paradise.”

The greatest glad tiding for believers: They will be so lucky as to watch the beauty of Allah.

The issue of Allah Almighty being seen by believers on the Day of Judgment as verses and some hadiths reported from the Prophet indicate. There are various views put forward regarding the issue as it is the case in various issues by Islamic schools (madhhabs) due to viewing the issue from different viewpoints. Some scholars and schools state that ru’yah is not possible, regarding the belief in ru’yah as something non-Islamic while others attributed a body to Allah Almighty in addition to accepting its possibility; thus, they showed extremism in both ends. The school of Ahl as-Sunnah follows the moderate way as it is the case in general and states that Allah can be seen by believers in the hereafter but that how it will take place cannot be known.

Man, who benefits from this universe Allah created with his body, who encounters many realities with his mind, heart and feelings, each of which is a divine grant, desires to see his Lord, who bestows upon him so many boons, like a lover. The response to this desire placed in the heart of man will be given in Paradise; and man will attain the best grant, which will be superior to the pleasures of Paradise. We do not deem it useful to delve into their details. To conclude, according to Ahl as-Sunnah, ru’yah is true and permissible. According to Mu’tazila, which is one of the heretic madhhabs, ru’yah is not accepted.  

A believer who believes in ghayb believe this incident related to ghayb too. However, people who trust their souls and who base everything on their minds cannot believe easily.

Man, who tries to settle everything with the mind, has thought a lot about how this great manifestation will take place. As a matter of fact, the multitude of the questions from our readers and friends regarding the issue forces us to think more about the issue.

Indeed, this area is the field of the mind, not the heart, and the field of pleasure, not the thought. However, the mind wants to understand something, to find some clues and to be satisfied. It is not possible to express Paradise, which is a realm “that eyes have not seen, that ears have not heard of and that have not occurred to human heart (imagination)”, as the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) expresses it, with words in this world. In that case, how can we understand and grasp ru’yah, which is a divine mercy that is endlessly beyond Paradise and the blessings there? As a matter of fact, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars unanimously agree that ru’yah is true and that its nature cannot be known.  

However, human mind feels restless. He wants logical explanation of something that will be bestowed and that can be enjoyed only in the hereafter in this world. We need eyes and light to see in this world. We can see and watch this realm, in which we live, to the extent that our eyes allow us. When we sleep, we lose connection with our eyes and light. Another realm opens for us then.  

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi says, “The eye is a sense, a window through which the spirit looks out on this world.” Thus, he indicates that the spirit can watch other realms without needing this eye. The best example of it is dream. Nursi states the following in another book: “The works and deeds of the awliya (saints), whose spirits have overcome their material being, take place with the speed of spirit.” (Mesnevî-i Nuriye)

It means doors are opened to different realms in dreams when our eyes are deactivated; similarly, we could do so many things that seem impossible if our spirit became dominant over our body when we are awake. The secret of the incident of expansion of time and folding of space (place) is hidden in this sentence. Those who capture this secret and break the code do deeds that can be done in years in a very short time and move to a very distant place and even places at once.

As it is known, aspect and direction are in question for the body. Words like front, back, right and left are not used for spirit. Then, when the spirit becomes dominant over the body, directions and aspects become deactivated and the spirit can see all directions at the same time. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) could see the people who came from behind easily like the people at the front.  

After reminding another fact, we can deal with the issue of ru’yah. The following prayer exists in Risale-i Nur Collection: “Show us the source and origin of these examples and shadows You have shown us.” When we interpret this prayer for ru’yah, the following meaning comes to mind: “Our seeing in this world is like shadow; the real seeing will be granted to us in Paradise.” The spirits of the people of Paradise are dominant over their bodies. As a matter of fact, they will be able to be in many places simultaneously. The seeing of the people of Paradise is much more advanced than that of the people of the world. The difference between them is the difference between the origin and the shade.   

When the light of the divine closeness in ru’yah is added, that mature spirit will be overwhelmed with prosperity, will watch its Lord in a way that is free from direction, distance and form in a decent state and will be entranced; then, it will be transformed into an ocean where so many hearty spiritual pleasures sail; that lucky spirit will enjoy a pleasure that cannot be compared to the pleasure taken from Paradise, which is something created, when he sees his Lord and will be entranced. 

When we think of the incidence of ru’yah, we should not forget that we can only see material and condense things in this world and that we cannot see the spirit, mind, memory and even tastes and smells. We should not confuse the ru’yah of Allah Almighty, one of whose names is an-Nur (Luminous Light) and all of whose names and attributes are luminous with the incident of seeing in this world.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi says “it is immersion in oneness” for the school of wahdatul-wujud (unity of existence). Everything in this ephemeral world, including seeing, hearing, eating and drinking, is like shadow compared to those in the land of eternity; the state of immersion in this world will be seen in the incident of ru’yah in its original form and in a loftiness that cannot be described.
The following verse gives the glad tiding about ru’yah:

“Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty);-  Looking towards their Lord”. (al-Qiyama, 22)

Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, one of the great scholars of the last century, states the following in the interpretation of this verse:
“Ahl as-Sunnah understood this looking as ru’yah and proved the ru’yah of the jamal of Allah by believers in the hereafter. Acting upon the phrase ‘lan tarani’, Mu’tazila interpreted this looking as waiting.However, the outcome of waiting that will not attain its purpose will be disappointment and pain, not joy”

Lan tarani means “you cannot see me”. Allah Almighty said this phrase to Hz. Musa, who wanted to see Him.

Ahmed Avni Bey, the esteemed man of knowledge, who explained Fusus, says that the request of the Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, for ru'yah is a proof of ru'yah and states the following: “If ru'yah was impossible, the Prophet Moses, (pbuh) would not make such a request.”

Another determination of his is also wonderful:

“Allah Almighty said lan tarani (you cannot see me). He did not say, ‘I am not seen.’ He said, ‘you cannot see me.’ He attributed lack of ru’yah to Hz. Musa. For, during this addressing, Hz. Musa was in a conversation. The statement of Allah Almighty lan tarani means you cannot see Me when you are alive.

With this statement, Ahmad Avni Bey points out significant signs about ru'yah by saying that in ru'yah, the person will be entranced, there will not be any existence left to him/her, and that s/he will be submerged in Divine reflection and closeness.

Imam Rabbani states the following regarding the issue in his book called Mektubat: “As for haqq al-yaqin (truth of certainty), this consists of watching Allah Almighty after taayyun (seeing) is eliminated. This takes place after the elimination of the one who sees. This means watching Allah Almighty with truth not with himself.”

The incident of ru’yah took place in the station of Qa’b Qawsayn. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi uses the phrase “between possibility and necessity” for this station; it means the incident of ru’yah will take place in a station like that in Paradise. The hadith mentioning that when people return from ru’yah their spouses will not recognize them informs us about such a station.    

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that Allah Almighty becomes manifest with His personal manifestation and at the highest level of asma al-husna. The word manifestation in this statement is very important. That is, ru’yah will take place in the form of Allah Almighty making Himself visible, not in the form of looking at a being that is in a certain direction.  

Nursi describes Miraj as “being honored by Allah Almighty’s conversation and address through His Name of Sustainer of All the Universe and title of Creator of All Beings”. In the previous statement, His personal manifestation and the highest level of asma al-husna are mentioned but this last sentence has a different importance since it states that it took place ”through His Name of Sustainer of All the Universe”.  
Only Allah knows the ghayb.

Our scholars write that it is possible for all beings to be visible and that it is not possible to see what is non-existent. In that case, it is possible for ru’yah to take place, that is, for Allah Almighty to show Himself to His slaves.
Ahmed Avni Bey deals with the manifestation of Allah Almighty in two parts:

“Manifestation takes place related to the being Himself or His attributes. When attributes become manifest, the being that sees the manifestation is existent… Therefore, speech and grasping exist at that level; so, the being that sees the manifestation is addressed by the deity. The manifestation in the form of fire that became visible to Hz. Musa is related to that part of the manifestation.”

The following is stated in the same book: “When Allah Almighty becomes manifest on something with His being, He destroys and eliminates the appearance of that thing. While thinking about ru’yah the following statement of Nursi’s come to mind: “Absolute reality cannot be comprehended by restricted views.” That is, it is not possible for the mind to understand a reality that cannot be limited because the mind is limited.

The main purpose of that statement is to teach that it is impossible to understand Allah’s being and His endless attributes through the limited human mind. However, we can regard the word “view” in the statement as “seeing” and say that it is impossible for man to encompass Allah’s personality with his limited seeing. No matter how much man’s vision develops and advances in Paradise, it is still limited. Ru’yah will take place with this limited view and based on the ability of man. Otherwise, it is not possible to understand ru’yah as encompassing Allah’s personality and His endless attributes.  
As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the chapter of al-Anam:

“No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision.” (al-An’am, 103)

This verse does not teach us that ru’yah will not take place; on the contrary, it states that ru’yah will take place but that eyes will not be able to grasp Him. He will be seen but He will not be grasped and encompassed.  
The following is stated in another verse about ru’yah:

“To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).” (Yunus, 26)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) interpreted the word “more” in the verse as “looking at the jamal of ar-Rahman”.
The following hadith of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) gives glad tiding about ru’yah:

“You will see your Lord as you see the full moon at night without feeling cramped.”

It is interesting that the phrase “You will see your Lord” is used instead of “You will see Allah” in the hadith. Hz. Musa also said, “My Lord! Show Yourself to me so that I may look upon You.”

It is important that the following is stated in the verse informing us that unbelievers will not be able to see Allah Almighty on the Day of Judgment: “Verily, from (the Light of) their Lord, that Day, will they be veiled” (al-Mutaffifin, 15)

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who followed the way of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), maintained the same subtlety in the explanation of the phrase “wa ilayhil masir” (unto Him is the final goal/return) and said, “Everybody will directly know and find their own Creator, Deity, Lord, Master and Owner.” Since we know our Lord in the sense of “belief” in this world, that this blessing will take place in the hereafter can only be explained by “ru’yah”.

It is stated that different people who eat the same boons in Paradise will take different pleasures. Everybody will benefit from the same Paradise and the same boons, take and feel pleasure based on their belief, sincerity, deeds and piety. This decree about the boons of Paradise is also valid for ru’yah. The phrase “your Lord” also teaches us the same thing;, the name Lord (Rabb) will be manifest on us based on the degree of our spirit, heart, feelings and faculties being educated by listening to His Quran, and obeying the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); similarly, we will benefit from the boons of Paradise and the honor of ru’yah based on it.   

In that case, instead of trying to find out how ru’yah will take place, let us give importance to the education of our spirits and hearts. Let us beg and pray to our Lord so that He will make us worthy of Paradise and our spirits ready for ru’yah; let us try to do our best for it.
Let us remember that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who attained the honor of ru’yah with the miracle of Miraj miracle, said, “Glory to You I could never know You as You deserve, O Recognized One” after he attained that lofty honor and enjoyed the best pleasure. Considering that this statement of the Prophet also means “I could never see You as You deserve”, let us try to cover the distances to attain this great honor.    
Let us spend our lives progressing in divine knowledge and love day by day.

Prof. Dr. Alaaddin Başar

The following can be read for more detailed explanations:

The word "ru’yah" is a noun derived from the word (ra-a-ya) in Arabic. There are various meanings of this word in dictionaries. We can mention to see, look, believe, know, think, think about the outcome of something, meditate, plan and dream among them. A verb having such various meanings is based on certain states and the rules of Arabic. The meanings change based on the preposition used with the verb. There are various examples of it in the Quran. Although this verb has a wide range of meanings, it is generally used in the sense of seeing. This shows that the general structure of the verb is related to seeing.

Terminologically, when the word ru’yah is used, the issue of Allah Almighty being seen by believers in Paradise comes to mind first in Islamic literature. This issue has been one of the most discussed issues in the science of Kalam. Some Kalam books regarded it as something related to the essence of Allah and dealt with it under the heading of the issues related to the essence of Allah (Ghazzali, al-Iqtisad fil-Itiqad, p. 41-48) while others dealt with it in the chapter of the issues that are permissible and impermissible about Allah (Amidi, Ghayatul-Marami fi Ilmil-Kalam, p. 159-179).

The issue of ru’yah is generally dealt with in two points. Firstly, whether it is possible in the world; secondly, its happening in the hereafter. Some rational explanations are used as evidence for the first one and verse 143 of the chapter of al-A'raf is put forward as evidence. However, it is interesting that both those who claim that ru’yah is possible and those who claim that it is impossible use the same verses as evidence. The issue is interpreting and understanding those verses differently. This shows us the difference between the issues that are essential in the religion of Islam and that are not included among the essentials. For, none of them who claim that ru’yah is possible or impossible can be accused of unbelief according to Islam. For, this issue is something that is not regarded about the essence of the religion; it is an issue that can be understood differently based on interpretations, understanding and basic principles. Therefore, both groups used the same verses as evidence. If it were one of the basic issues of Islam, such liberty and tolerance would not be possible and the same verses could not have been used by the same groups.

The Possibility of Ru’yah in the World: We know that rational evidences are used more in this issue. According to them, ru'yatullah is rationally possible. If the mind is left alone, away from temporary reasons, it decrees that ru’yah is possible, not impossible. For, the property of being visible is one of the common properties of things. Man naturally wants to see his Sublime Creator, whom he desires very much and who continues his life with this desire. In that case, the requirement of proving is valid for those who claim that He cannot be seen, not for those who claim that He can be seen. On the other hand, the discussion whether Allah Almighty can be seen or not is the proof of His visibility from another aspect.

There is another evidence regarding the issue of the possibility of ru’yah rationally called the evidence of wujud (existence); it can be explained as follows:

Man sees the being in the universe with his eyes and discriminates the differences with his eyes. For instance, he discriminates a between a person and a horse, between white and black with his eyes. We can reach this point from it: A common reason is necessary for the validity of ru’yah; they must be wujud (existence), huduth (creation) and imkan (possibility). We cannot think of another reason. We cannot reach a conclusion by saying a jawhar (substance) is a jawhar and an araz (attribute) is an araz. For, the occurrence of ru’yah cannot be proved through various reasons.

As for the issue of which one of these three reasons can be the common reason,

If we think of the reason of huduth, it consists of wujud though the previous form of huduth is regarded as non-existence. Adam (non-existence) cannot be a part of the reason. And huduth is transition from non-existence to existence; it is formation (happening). That is, it needs existence, in other words, wujud, during transition to existence. Therefore, the common reason in question cannot be huduth.   

As for imkan (possibility), it is related to both existence and non-existence. Non-existence cannot be seen. It is not possible for imkan, which is related to non-existence, that is, invisibility, to be the common reason. For, in imkan, both existence and non-existence is present equally.

In both huduth and imkan, non-existence is considered. Since it is clearly known that non-existence cannot be seen, neither huduth nor imkan can be the common reason.  

There remains only the reason of wujud; the possibility of seeing in the realm of senses originates from “existence”, not from any other thing. Since Allah Almighty exists and there is no doubt about it, Allah will be seen. His being seen is possible. On the other hand, a discussion is made about something that exists whether it can be seen or not. A discussion is not made for something that does not exist. If such a discussion is made, it indicates the property of visibility of that thing. (For a detailed discussion about this evidence, see Sırrı Paşa, Naqdul-Kalam fi-Aqaidil-Islam, İstanbul 1324, p. 147 ff.)

It will be appropriate to say the following here: The main point of discussion in this issue is the possibility of Allah being seen. That is, the issue of whether He has the property of being seen. It is not the claim that He will definitely will be seen in the world and by eyes. The discussion is whether it is possible in the world, not about its occurrence in the hereafter. This point especially needs to be stated and known.

Let us deal with verse 143 of al-Araf, which is used as evidence for the possibility of ru’yah in the world:

That verse mentions Hz. Musa's demanding ru’yah from Allah; the text of the verse is as follows:

"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: ‘O my Lord! Show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee.’ Allah said: ‘By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me.’ When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: ‘Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe.’"

This verse is dealt with in two aspects in terms of proving and refuting ru’yah.

The First Aspect: It included Hz. Musa's asking for ru’yah and the discussions about it.

Hz. Musa's asking Allah to see Him is evidence that He can be seen. For, he clearly said, "Show Yourself to me so that I may look upon You." If ru’yah were impossible, Hz. Musa would have asked something that was not permissible for Allah; asking for something that is impossible for Allah is not an appropriate deed for a prophet.

It is possible to think of this wish of Hz. Musa's based on two possibilities:

1st possibility: Hz. Musa knew that it was impossible to see Allah but he asked for it; this is a very weak possibility since Hz. Musa is a prophet and it is impossible for him to be ignorant about oneness.

2nd possibility: Hz. Musa asked something like that without knowing that it was possible or not. This can happen in two ways:

a) Hz. Musa wanted something like that though he knew that it was not possible. It can be said that to say this cannot be thought for a prophet as it has just been mentioned. On the other hand, there are some verses in the Quran showing how Allah reproached some prophets who wanted things that were contrary to Allah’s law. For instance, When Hz. Nuh wanted to save his son from the deluge and when Hz. Adam and Hawwa wanted to eat from the fruits of the forbidden tree, Allah warned and reproached them. Something like that is not in question here in the wish of Hz. Musa. For, Allah did not reproach Hz. Musa when he wanted to see Him. He did not address him as He addressed Hz. Nuh: "Do not want something like that from me! I advise you. Do not be an ignorant person."

b) Hz. Musa wanted something like that knowing that it was possible. For, Allah did not address Hz. Musa as He addressed Hz. Nuh and Hz. Adam as it has just been mentioned. This indicates that Hz. Musa demanded something like that knowing that ru’yah was possible; this demand is an important evidence for the possibility of ru’yah.  

The Second Aspect: It includes the ru’yah being attributed to the stability of the mountain and the discussions about it.

As it has just been mentioned, Allah did not accuse Hz. Musa due to his wish unlike the incident of Hz. Nuh. He said, "You cannot see me but look at that mountain. If it remains stable, you will see me." This expression is evidence for ru’yah from another aspect.

Let us deal with this expression: The answer that Allah Almighty gave is interesting. If it were impossible for Allah to be seen, the answer to be given to the wish, “I want to see you” would have been “I am invisible” according to the rules of Arabic. Or the following answers could have been given: "It is not permissible and possible for me to be seen." "How do you want something that is not permissible and possible for me?" "I am not visible." Then, it is understood that the negativity here is not related to the deed but to the incomplete state in the demand and the person demanding it. The negativity of the state of the person is in question. (Jawharatut-Tawhid, p. 186; Ruhul-Beyan, III, 232-33). As a matter of fact, when Allah became manifest on the mountain, the mountain could not put up with it and broke into pieces.

If ru’yah had been rejected generally, such an answer would not have been given. For, if somebody said to a person who is holding a stone, "Give me that stone so that I will eat it" the answer to be given to him would be "This stone is not edible." The answer would not be "if such and such a person eats it, you can eat it too" or "do not eat this stone" as it is attributed to the stability of the mountain here. For, stone is not eaten.

Attributing ru’yah to the stability of the mountain is an evidence for proving ru’yah in another aspect: The mountain remaining in its place is something possible; before the manifestation, the mountain remained in its place. It is possible for the mountain to remain in its place or not. There is a rule of logic regarding the issue: "Everything that is attributed to something that is possible and permissible to happen is possible." Attribution to something that is possible is in question here. If attribution to something impossible like "It will take place if the fish climbs a poplar tree (if pigs fly)" or as it is mentioned in the Quran "It will take place ifthe camel can pass through the eye of the needle" (al-A 'raf, 7/40), were in question, it would be different. It is attributed to something that is possible and permissible here. In that case, ru’yah is possible and permissible.

We hold the view that ru’yah can be permissible in the world based on the explanations mentioned here and similar ones. What should not be forgotten is that the discussion about ru’yah is the permissibility of it; that is, the issue of possibility. We do not say that ru’yah will definitely take place while we are in this state. Such a claim necessitates very strong evidences; as it can be seen above, the deduction related to the verses is based on different explanations; the same verse is used by both parties. The conclusion they reach is based on different explanations.

The Necessity of Ru’yah in the Hereafter: Some verses are used as evidencerelated to the necessity of ru’yah in the hereafter. The reason why the necessity of ru’yah in the hereafter is mentioned here is because the state of the hereafter and Paradise are mentioned in those verses:

Allah Almighty states the following: "Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty);- Looking towards their Lord" (al-Qiyama, 75/22-23).

The strongest evidence about the necessity of ru’yah in the hereafter according to Ahl as-Sunnah is this verse. When the verses before this verse are viewed, and even the name of the chapter is considered, it will be seen that they mention the states of the hereafter. For, the name of the chapter is "al-Qiyama". The states of the hereafter are mentioned at the beginning of the chapter; the tragic states of the polytheists are mentioned up to one or two verses before this verse; then, believers and the states of Paradise are mentioned; this verse, which is related to ru’yah is mentioned there; it is stated that believers are very happy and joyful on that day. Thus, the occurrence of ru’yah is mentioned clearly.  

As for the discussions and views on the verse, it is possible to summarize them as follows:

Those who claim that ru’yah is not permissible – Mu’tazila madhab is the leading advocate of this view – state that the word "nazar" mentioned in the word needs to be interpreted as waiting not looking and that there are many examples of it in the Quran.

Ahl as-Sunnah says the word "nazar" is used in the sense of many other words along with waiting like hoping, showing compassion, taking a lesson, thinking and judging. However, the word "nazar" mentioned in this verse has a specialty because the preposition ila (at) and the word wujuh (human faces) are used together in the same sentence; as all linguists agree, this means seeing (ra-a-ya); it is accepted unanimously. Due to this unanimous agreement, Mu’tazila says the word ila mentioned in the verse is not a preposition but a noun meaning “boon”. For, they also know that there is an agreement on it. On the other hand, in terms of logical coherence, it is not possible to use this word in the sense of waiting, showing compassion, etc. For, Paradise is not a place of waiting; it is a place of blessing where rewards are given. Besides, waiting brings about boredom and weariness. However, the existence of such things in Paradise is unthinkable. The meaning compassion is not possible in terms of the usage of the phrase. For, according to the wording of the phrase, the slaves need to show compassion to Allah, which is a possibility that is impossible to think.    

In conclusion, as this verse indicates, ru’yah is necessary in the hereafter and believers will see Allah in a way that is not certain. We say in a way that is not certain because it is not possible to describe things that will happen in the hereafter and to say that they will be like this and that. The Prophet stated the following regarding the issue: "In Paradise, there are boons thateyes have not seen and that ears have not heard of." It is not appropriate to qualify and describe something that eyes have not seen and that ears have not heard of up to now. Such a description would only be a guess.

Another verse mentioned used in order to state whether ru’yah is possible or not is verse 103 of the chapter of al-Anam:

"No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision." This verse is put forward as a strong evidence by both Ahl as-Sunnah and Mu’tazila. The discussion originates mainly from the word "idrak" (grasping), which has several meanings. Idrak means to surround something that is limited. Something limited has boundaries and an end. Idrak takes place with these boundaries. Things like color, taste, pleasure and smell are like that. Each of them has aspects and boundaries peculiar to them.  To grasp them becomes possible only with it. In brief, idrak means seeing the boundaries of something and ru’yah means seeing in general. It is understood from the explanations that idrak is specific and ru’yah is general.

Fakhruddin Razi explains the relationship between idrak and ru’yah and their difference as follows:  

Ru’yah is divided into two: Firstly: when something that has limits and an end is seen with those limits and that end, it can be expressed by the word idrak. In that case, there might not be any difference between them. 

Secondly: when something that has no limits and end, it does not mean that it has been grasped (idrak). Accordingly, it is possible to say ru’yah sometimes takes place with idrak and sometimes separately from idrak.

If it is possible to use the word ru’yah in both cases and even if a person means both ru’yah in isolation and ru’yah together with idrak by saying, “I saw something”, it does not show that ru’yah is meant in isolation without idrak. 

We understand from it that ru’yah is general and idrak is specific. Therefore, the proof of something specific necessitates the proof of the general but the negativity of something specific does not necessitate the negativity of the general. Every idrak is ru’yah bot not every ru’yah is idrak.

If we view the relevant verse under the light of these explanations, we will see that Allah negates idrak in this verse but its negation does not necessitate the negation of ru’yah. In this verse, Almighty Allah states that He has no directions and boundaries and hence that eyes will not be able to grasp Him even if they see him. To see does not mean to grasp. For, if we grasped, Allah would be a limited being, which is something unthinkable for Allah. He has no boundaries and limits and He is beyond what we can think. In that case, the meaning of the verse can be expressed as follows: "Eyes cannot encompass the reality of Allah. He sees all eyes and encompasses them."

Another aspect that the verse is used as evidence is the aspect of Allah praising Himself. There is almost a unanimous agreement regarding the issue. If ru’yah were impossible, a praise with the statement "No vision can grasp Him" would not be in question like “non-existence”, which is not an issue of praise because it is impossible to see. If something is possible to see but if it is not seen because the conditions are not suitable, a praise is in question then. How can praise be in question if it is not possible to see? Besides, it is not possible to see according to that understanding.

In that verse, it is shown that He is visible but it is also indicated that the eyes to see Him are too weak to see Him under the circumstances of this world. What makes the eyes too weak to see him is Allah Himself. This is the point that necessitates praise. Accordingly, that eyes are too weak to see Him does not necessitate him being invisible. However, the eyes being unable to see Him though He is visible becomes a means of praise and pride fitting His power and majesty. He is the one that makes eyes too weak to see Him. However, He is also the one that will save them from weakness and give them the power to see Him when He wishes. It will take place in the hereafter. It will be the greatest blessing for believers.   

Another verse put forward as evidence for ru’yah is verse 26 of the chapter of Yunus:

“To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).”

The reason why this verse is thought to indicate ru’yah is the phrase "more" mentioned in the verse being interpreted as "looking at Allah". This interpretation became stronger due to attribution to the Prophet and some Companions.  

When Ubayy b. Ka'b was asked the meaning of "more" in terms of attribution, he said, the Prophet (pbuh) said, it is "looking at the jamal of ar-Rahman."

Acting upon this attribution and similar ones, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars accept this verse as evidence for ru’yah.

As for the etymological interpretations on the verse, it is possible to summarize them as follows:

The word "al-Husna" mentioned in the verse has ‘al’ (the) before it; that is, it is a definite word. Therefore, it refers to a noun mentioned in the previous verse. The meaning of this verse together with the previous verse is as follows: But Allah doth call to the Home of Peace: He doth guide whom He pleaseth to a way that is straight. To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure)."

The place Allah invites people to is Darus-Salam (Home of Peace); that is, Paradise. Therefore, there is Paradise for those who do good deeds. As a matter of fact, the word husna is interpreted as Paradise by hadiths. In that case, “more” to be given to man with Paradise must be something different from Paradise. For, Paradise is given to man including all of its boons. Ziyadah (more) is something else. Otherwise, if what is meant by more was Paradise as Mu’tazila says, the same thing would be expressed with the same word, which would an unnecessary repetition.    

Fakhruddin Razi has a nice explanation about “ziyadah” being something different from the boons of Paradise:

"When something added to another thing is determined with a certain amount, 'ziyadah' needs to be of the same kind. However, if it is not determined with a certain amount, 'ziyadah' needs to be something different. For instance, if somebody says, 'I gave you ten kilos of wheat and ziyadah (more)', it is understood that this ziyadah is wheat. However, if he says, 'I gave you wheat and ziyadah (more)' without determining an amount, this 'ziyadah' here must be and is something different from wheat." (ar-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir, IV, 333).

The phrase "Paradise (a goodly reward) and more " exists here. In that case, such a boon must be different from Paradise; it is ru’yah.

Another evidence is verse 15 of the chapter of al-Mutaffifin: "Verily, from (the Light of) their Lord, that Day, will they be veiled."

According to Ahl as-Sunnah, this verse also indicates ru’yah. The word “hijab”, which means to cover and to prohibit, is mentioned in the verse in order to threaten and frighten those who deny resurrection and the day of Reckoning. Something mentioned as a means of threat and fear for unbelievers cannot be thought for believers. Therefore, unbelievers will be prevented from seeing their Lord on the Day of Judgment. However, believers will see him. 

Ahl as-Sunnah and Mu’tazila accept that the word "mahjub" (veiled) in the verse means "mamnu" (prohibited) but they disagree about in which issue they are mahjub. Mu’tazila seems to accept that preventing someone from going over to a person and from seeing him is expressed by the word hijab but they do not accept the verse that expresses the same meaning fearing that it will lead to tajsim (embodiment) and tashbih (likening); they understand the verse as follows: "Unbelievers will be away from Allah's mercy and thawab. For, according to Mu’tazila, ru’yah is understood as the pupil of the eye turning toward a direction. In order to turn the eye toward something, that thing should be an object. Then, Allah needs to be an object in order to be seen. In that case, He cannot be seen. 

Acting upon the principle "it is not possible to abandon the apparent meaning of a verse unless there is definite evidence and to move away from it", Ahl as-Sunnah regards it as evidence for ru’yah by explaining the meaning as ru’yah. For, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars also agree that Allah is not an object and neither group has any doubts about it. However, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars hold the view that “the possibility of something being seen or not being seen does not depend on that thing’s being an object or not. As a matter of fact, colors are seen though they are not objects. What is not permissible to see is only "ma'dum" (what is non-existent). Since Allah is existent, it is not impossible for Him to show Himself to us.

There is an important point here; Ahl as-Sunnah has given a lot of importance to this issue. For, seeing the moon is an involuntary deed. We will see the moon willingly or unwillingly. It is like the difference between seeing and looking; seeing takes place involuntarily. There is no drawback to creating ru’yah; that is, Allah showing Himself. Allah creates it; if He wishes, He can create the deed of seeing. For, the issue is in the phase of permissibility here, not obligation. We do not have the right to introduce a drawback to it. On the other hand, His being invisible should not be seen as a deficiency.   

In conclusion, the issue of "ru'yatullah", which has an important place in Islamic creed, originates from the worry oftajsim and tashbih. For, Ahl as-Sunnah says, "Allah is visible" while Mu’tazila says "He is invisible."; both has the same worry and fear: the worry and fear of attributing tajsim and tashbih to Allah, which is an objectionable state in terms of the principles of creed. In other words, good will and the thought of not blemishing the majesty and loftiness of Allah lie in the mentality of both of them. Therefore, it is necessary to regard and evaluate the discussions and the views that are put forward about the issue within themselves and based on their wholeness.

On the other hand, this issue is not among the principles of tawhid (oneness), nubuwwah (prophethood) and ma’ad (resurrection), which are regarded as the essentials of the religion; they are not among the issues that are contrary to those principles. It can be said that if an issue is not included in one of these three principles, to think about it is encouraged in order to understand the wisdom behind it. For, the Quran displays quite a free and wide approach regarding the issue and it deals with these issues within the framework of encouraging “the understanding of the true nature of things”. What matters is the framework of thought to be within the framework of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Abdurrahim GÜZEL

Will the people of Paradise speak to Allah?

- There are narrations that people of Paradise will be addressed by Allah and that they will speak to Him from time to time.

“Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty);- Looking towards their Lord” (al-Qiyama, 76/22-23),“Verily, from (the Light of) their Lord, that Day, will they be veiled.”(al-Mutaffifin, 83/15) Acting upon the verses above and some hadiths at the degree of mutawatir, Ahl as-Sunnah scholars agree unanimously that Muslims will see Allah in Paradise. Logically, seeing also necessitates speaking. 

As a matter of fact, the speaking of Allah with the people of Paradise are in question in the following two hadiths:
- Hz. Suhayb narrates: The Messenger of Allah said, “"When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say to them, ‘Do you want anything else from Me; I will give it to you too.’ They will say, 'Have You not brightened our faces? Have You not put us in Paradise and saved us from Fire? (What else can we ask from You?) Then, Allah will remove the veil. Nothing dearer was given to them than the sight of their Lord, the Glorious.” [16] Suhayb said, “After that the Messenger of Allah read verse 26 of the chapter of Yunus: ‘To those who do right is a goodly (reward)- Yea, more (than in measure).’” (Muslim, Iman, 297-298)

- According to what Abu Said al-Khudri narrates, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah will say to the people of Paradise, ‘O, Dwellers of Paradise!’ They will say in response, ‘At thy service and pleasure, our Lord! The good is in Thy Hand. He (the Lord) will say, ‘Are you well pleased now?’ They will say: Why should we not be pleased, O Lord, when Thou hast given us what Thou hast not given to any of Thy creatures? He will say, ‘Shall I give you (something) even more excellent than that? And they will say, ‘O Lord! What thing can be more excellent than this? And He will, I shall cause My pleasure to alight upon you and I shall never be afterwards annoyed with you.‘”(Muslim, Jannah, 9).

It means Allah will talk to people of Paradise though we do not know how.

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