Islamic beliefs and information
The Beatific Vision of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ
The ultimate reward and bounty for a person is to behold Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ - The Perfect, Transcendent, Creator of the Universe and Lord of the Heavens and Earth. In this article, we explore the key beliefs pertaining to this blessing, the beatific vision.
Seeing Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in this world
Although beholding Allah Almighty in this world is a unique merit of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, other prophets and even some saints were privileged to see Him in their dreams, (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, pp. 20-21, paraphrased). Upon reaching the pinnacle of his Heavenly Ascension, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was granted the beatific vision, seeing Allah Almighty with his physical eyes, in complete wakefulness. This is the preferred view held by the majority of scholars as stated by Imam Nawavi and ‘Allamah Ali Qaari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهِمَا, (Sharh Shifa, vol. 1, p. 425).
Four narrations about the beatific vision عَزَّوَجَلَّ
1. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘رَاَيْتُ رَبِّی تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالٰى’ ‘I saw my Lord , the Blessed and the Supreme,’ (Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 611, Hadees 2580)
2. Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Abbas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما remarked: رَاٰی مُحَمَّدٌ رَبَّه ‘Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw his Lord,’ (Tirmizi, vol. 5, p. 185, Hadees 3290)
Qadi Iyaad Maliki رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه commented on this: ‘وَالْاشْهَرُ عَنْهُ اَنَّهٗ رَاَى رَبَّهٗ بِعَيْنِهٖ ‘According to the famous narration of Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Abbas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw his Lord with his eyes,’ (Al-Shifa, vol. 1, p. 196).
3. Sayyiduna Hasan Basri رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه swore an oath by Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and stated: لَقَدْ رَاٰی مُحَمَّدٌ رَبَّهُ ‘Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw his Lord,’ (Al-Shifa, vol. 1, p. 197).
4. Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hasan Ash’ari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه stated: اَنَّهُ رَاَى اللهَ تَعَالىٰ بِبَصَرِہٖ وعَيْنَىْ رَاسِهٖ ‘The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw Allah Almighty with his physical eyes,’ (Al-Shifa, vol. 1, p. 198).
Seeing Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in a dream
According to the vast majority of scholars رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـه, it is possible to see Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in this world through a dream. Far from being an impossibility, such dreams were granted to several of the predecessors throughout history, (Al-Mu’taqad Al-Muntaqad, p. 58):
1. Shaykh Abdul Haq Dehlavi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, the acclaimed scholar of Hadees from Delhi, writes that it is not only possible to see Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in this world through a dream, but this has actually transpired, as in the case of our Imam, Abu Hanifah, who received this honour, (Ashi’a-tul-Lam’aat, vol. 4, p. 449). ‘Allamah Ali Qaari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه listed the names of Hakim al-Tirmizi, Shams al-Aimmah, ‘Allamah Kardari, and Shaykh Hamza al-Zayyat, among many others, who were honoured with the beatific vision in their dreams, (Minah-ur-Raud-ul-Azhar, p. 151). Imam al-Sha’rani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه related that Shaykh Hamza al-Zayyat said: ‘I recited the Surah Yasin and Taha in front of my Lord,’ (Al-Yawaqeet-ul-Jawahir, p. 162, paraphrased).
2. Sayyiduna Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه stated: ‘I was honoured with seeing Allah Almighty in my dream. I cried out: ‘My Lord! Which action is beloved to You and by means of which Your proximity is achieved?’ It was said: ‘Recitation of My pure speech (the Quran).’ I then asked: ‘Dear Lord, reciting it with understanding or without?’ The response given was: ‘With understanding or without,’’ (Ihya-ul-‘Uloom, vol. 1, p. 364).
Seeing Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in the Hereafter
Believers will behold Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in the Hereafter; in Paradise, they will see Him with their physical eyes, (Minah-ur-Raud-Azhar, pp. 148-149). However, this vision will be without direction, place, and form, (Al-Nibras, p. 161). A pertinent question arises here: How will we see Him then? Answering this very query, Sadr-ush-Shari’ah, Mufti Amjad Ali A’zami رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه said: ‘We will inform of this when we see Him اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه,’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, p. 22). This is an important precept, the denial of which, is deemed a sin and misguidance,’ (Al-Mu’taqad Al-Muntaqad, p. 58; Siraat-ul-Jinan, vol. 3, p. 170). Hakeem-ul-Ummah, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Na’eemi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه adds: ‘In the Hereafter, all believers in Paradise, men and women, will behold Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. There is a difference of opinion regarding women, but the reliable view is that they too will behold their Lord,’ (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 7, p. 517). Regarding the beatific vision in the Hereafter, Sadr-ul-Afadil, ‘Allamah Muhammad Na’eemuddin Muradabadi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, explained that this is a key belief of Ahl-e-Sunnah which is based on a myriad of proofs from the Quran, Sunnah, and Consensus, (Khazaain-ul-‘Irfan, p. 1071).
Those proofs include
1. Allah Almighty’s statement in the Quran:
وُجُوْهٌ یَّوْمَىٕذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌۙ(۲۲) اِلٰى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌۚ(۲۳)
On that Day, some faces will be bright. Looking towards their Lord.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Al-Qiyamah, Verses 22-23)
2. Another verse reads:
لِلَّذِیْنَ اَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنٰى وَ زِیَادَةٌؕ-
For the person who does good is goodness; and even more than that,
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 11, Surah Yunus, Verse 26)
Commenting on this verse in his Durr-e-Mansoor, Imam Suyuti رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه cites many authentic Hadees and reliable reports to demonstrate that the word ‘زِیَادَۃٌ’ is in reference to believers seeing Allah Almighty in the Hereafter. Furthermore, ‘Allamah Ali Qaari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه adds that this is the view held by the majority of earlier scholars, (Minah-ur-Raud-ul-Azhar, p. 149).
3. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘Once people are admitted into Paradise, Allah Almighty will address them: ‘If you wish for anything more, I will grant it to you.’ The people of Paradise will reply: ‘Have you not brightened our faces? Have you not granted us salvation from Hell and admitted us into Paradise?’ Thereafter, Allah Almighty will lift the veils before them. They will not be granted anything more beloved than seeing their Lord,’ (Muslim, p. 95, Hadees 449).
4. Sayyiduna Jareer Bin Abdullah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ relates: ‘We were with the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم at night, when he looked towards the full moon and stated: ‘Soon, you will see your Lord, as you see this moon; you will not experience any difficulty in beholding Him,’ (Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 203, Hadees 554).