Clarification of the following Hadith?

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My question is regarding this hadith:

Abu Huraira narrates that Allah’s Apostle said, “When it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, descends every night to the heaven of the world and says, ‘Is there anyone who invokes Me (demand anything from Me), that I may respond to his invocation; is there anyone who asks Me for something that I may give (it to) him; is there anyone who asks My forgiveness that I may forgive him?” (Sahih Al Bukhari: 8.333)

Since it is always the last third of the night somewhere on the earth, does this mean that Allah is always on the first heaven? This would mean that He doesn’t descend but He is always there. Can you please clarify this hadeeth and is it indeed considered sahih?

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Answer

The aforementioned hadith falls in the category of a Mutashabih hadith. The most preferable and cautious view is to read and say what Allah (SWA) says in his book or what His Messengers say about him, without making any comments on what it is meant by it.

With regards to the understanding of divine attributes which appear to be similar between the creator and creation, the following groups have said the following:

  1. Mushabihah.  They give such words its original and ordinary meaning and say that Allah (SWA) has a hand, face like his creation.
  2. Mutazilah and Khawarij: They hold the belief that Allah does not have any external attributes (sifah)
  3. Mufawidha: They would consign the specific meaning and details of such matters to Allah (SWA)
  4. Muawilah: ‘Sometimes when the need arose some early (salaf) and later (khalaf) Muslim scholars gave such “problematic texts” a meaning such as the Hand means power etc’  (Dars Tirmizi p.200 v.2)

The latter scholars engaged in Tawill more than earlier scholars because of the harms these were causing to many of the believers.

The Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaat say that the truth is that we accept these qualities for Allah (SWA) and no effort will be made to unravel the reality of it through opinion, kashf and ilhaam.  As these qualities of Mustashabihat appear in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, we accept them as they are without any investigations.  We do not interpret them as do the Mutazilas, so that we do not become deniers of the qualities of Mutashabihat as the Qadarias and Mutazilas and we do not say like the Mushabbihas that Allah (SWA) has limbs and organs.

Keeping the aforementioned information in mind, the interpretation of Allah (SWA) descending means the descending of Allah’s (SWA) mercy and not Allah (SWA) physically himself. (Dars Tirmizi p.200 v.2)

Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has said

‘There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing’ (Surah Shura v.11)

One is to believe such expressions have an appropriate understanding that fits Allah and the rest is to be left to the scholars to discuss and clarify.  This is the way of the Salaf.

Therefore, the question you posed would not be applicable in this context as Allah’s (SWA) mercy is constant whichever country the Muslims are worshiping him in the last third of the night.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

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