Question # 348: I read among the differences between shias and sunnis, a point that shias believe that they can never see Allah even Hereafter where as Ahle Sunnah believe in seeing Allah Hereafter. But when Hazrat Moosa a.s wanted to see Allah that time Allah refused also when Allah appeared to the mountains, He made it collapse to the dust. When a pious Prophet a.s. could not see Allah how can we as sinners claim to see Allah….moreover Allah is Noor how is it possible to see him….

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer:  It is not possible to see Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in this life, whereas without a doubt, the believers will be able to see Him in the Hereafter based on the very many ayat of the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah.  As for this life, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has willed that it should not happen for many reasons, some of which have been founded by scholars, and the knowledge of others remains only with Him. Among the reasons could be: (a) human weakness, which is apparent from the story of Moosa (عليه السلام); (b) seeing Him is a great blessing and joy, which is withheld for the place of ultimate abode; (c) since this blessing will be given exclusively to the believers, it provides strong motivation to enjoining good and forbidding evil in this life.

Also, the claim that Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saw Allah on the night of the Miraaj is not correct; in fact, he did not see Him physically because when he was asked about this, he said, he saw His veil of light.

The ahadith about seeing Allah in the Hereafter were narrated by nearly thirty Sahaabah; so whoever claims after this that no one will see Allah in the Hereafter is rejecting the Qur’an and the message with which Allah sent His Messengers. Lastly, the Shi’ite scholars differ among themselves in holding onto their view that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) will not be seen in the Hereafter.

Long Answer: Seeing Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in reality … 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 Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) 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 Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). Among the reasons which we do understand is human weakness, which is apparent from the story of Moosa (عليه السلام) (discussed later). Another reason is that seeing Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) 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 Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and feel secure and content in nearness to Him in the Hereafter.

The following are the evidences that it is not possible to see Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in this world:

  • Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says, in the story of Moosa (عليه السلام) in the Qur’an: “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. Allah 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.” (Soorah al-Araaf, 7:143). The Arabic 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 Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) 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)
  • Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things.” (Soorah al-Anaam, 6:103). The commentator Ibn Katheer (may Allah 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 Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), reach the level of mutawaatir[1] and are reported through more than one sound isnad in the books of Saheeh, Musnad and Sunan.
  • Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “It is not given to any human being that Allah 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.” (Soorah al-Shoora, 42:51)
  • Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), 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 hadith of Abu Moosa, who said, The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) stood up and told us five things: Allah 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 splendor of His countenance would consume His creation as far as His sight reaches.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad and Muslim)
  • Further clear evidence comes in the hadith 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)
  • So any claim that anyone but the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) can see Allah 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 (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saw Allah on the night of the Miraaj. 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 (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not see Him, but he saw His veil of light.

The following are the evidences that the believers will be able to see Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in the Hereafter:

  • The blessings which Allah bestows upon His slaves cannot be counted. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has singled out the believers… with the greatest blessing that He can bestow, which is the honor of looking upon His holy Face in the Paradise of ‘Adan, as He says in the Qur’an: “Some faces that Day shall be Naadirah (shining and radiant). Looking at their Lord (Allah)” (Soorah al-Qiyaamah, 75:22-23) i.e., the faces of the believers will be beautiful and radiant, joyful because they are looking at the Face of their Lord. Al-Hasan (رضي الله عنه) said: “They will look at their Lord and their faces will become radiant with His Light.” It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “[The phrase] ‘Some faces that Day shall be Naadirah (shining and radiant)’ means, because of the blessing. ‘Looking at their Lord’ means, looking upon the Face of their Lord.” This is the opinion of the mufassireen among the scholars of the Sunnah and hadith.
  • Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “There they will have all that they desire and We have more (for them, i.e. a glance at the All-Mighty, All-Majestic” (Soorah Qaaf, 50:35) What is meant by “more” here is looking upon the Face of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) as that was interpreted by ‘Ali and Anas ibn Maalik (رضي الله عنه).
  • Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “For those who have done good is the best reward and even more (i.e. having the honor of glancing at the Countenance of Allah)” (Soorah Yoonus 10:26) The “best reward” is Paradise, and “even more” is looking upon the Face of Allah, as that was explained by the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), as was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh from Suhayb, according to whom the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say, ‘Do you want anything more?’ They will say, ‘Have You not brightened our faces, admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?’ Then the veil will be lifted and they will not have seen anything more dear to them than looking upon their Lord, may He be glorified and exalted. This is what is meant by ‘even more.’” Then he recited the [above] verse…” So once you know that the people of Paradise will not be given anything there that is more dear to them than looking upon the Face of their Lord, it will become clear to you just how great is the deprivation and loss that awaits the sinners whom Allah warns with the words in the Qur’an: “Nay! Surely, they (evil doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day” (Soorah al-Mutafiffoon, 83:15)
  • al-Rabee’ ibn Sulaymaan – one of al-Shafi’i students – said: “I was with Muhammad ibn Idrees [i.e., al-Shafi’i], who had received a letter from Upper Egypt in which it said, ‘What do you say about the aayah, “Nay! Surely, they (evil doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day”?’Al-Shafi’i said: ‘because they will be veiled by the wrath (of Allah), this indicates that the friends of Allah will see Him because He is pleased with them.’”
  • Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that some people said: “O Messenger of Allah, will we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” The Messenger of Allah said, “Do you doubt that you see the moon on the night when it is full?” They said, “No, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, ‘Do you doubt that you see the sun when there is no cloud?” They said, “No, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “You will see Him likewise…”
  • According to a report narrated by al-Bukhari: “you will not have any doubts or disputes concerning seeing Him,” and seeing Him will not cause you any hardship or make you tired. And Allah knows best. (Summarized from Sharh Muslim)
  • Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allah said: “We were sitting with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), looking at the moon on the night of the fourteenth (of the month). He said, ‘You will see your Lord with your own eyes just as you are looking at this (moon), without any doubt that you are seeing Him.’”
  • Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Moosa that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Two gardens of silver, their vessels and everything in them, and two gardens of gold, their vessels and everything in them. And there will be nothing between the people and their seeing their Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, except the veil of pride concealing His Face in the Paradise of ‘Adan.”

The ahadith about seeing Allah were narrated by nearly thirty Sahaabah. Whoever learns them will have certain knowledge that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said them. So whoever claims after this that no one will see Allah in the Hereafter is rejecting the Qur’an and the message with which Allah sent His Messengers, and he is exposing himself to the stern warning mentioned in the aayah in the Qur’an: “Nay! Surely, they (evil doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day” (Soorah al-Mutafiffoon 83:15)

(See Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah; A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah by Shaykh Haafiz al-Hukami)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info)

Contradictions in Shi’ite Books

[The Shi’ite scholars] lied that (Isma’eel Ibn Fadl said: I asked Abu Abdulla Ja’far ibn Muhammad As-Swaadiq (alaihimas-Salaam): about Allah the Most blessed and the Most High whether He would be seen in the last Day? He said: far removed is Allah from that, Oh Ibn Fadl: eyes cannot perceive except one that has colors and modality or form, and it is Allah that creates colors and forms) (Reference: Bihar Al-Anwaar 4/31)

Their sheikh Al-Hurr Al-Aamili made the lack of seeing Allah one of the origins of their belief (Reference: Fusul Al-Muhimma fii usul Al-A’imma 1/177-181) and their Sheikh Ja’far An-Nujafi ruled that anybody that relates to Allah some attributes such as He being seen (on the day of Judgment) has turn apostate) (Reference: Kashf Al-Gitaa…pp: 417 Al-ja’far Khadr An-Nujafi)

In fact, this belief of the Shi’ite scholars in reality denies the existence of Allah because one that has no model or form has no existence, and this contradict with what their Hujatul_Islam Al-Kulaini reported on the authority of Abi Abdulla –rahimahullah-that he said: “however, it is compulsory to affirm that He (Allah) has a form that none deserves, and none shares with Him, and that which none knows or comprehend besides Him) (Reference: Usul Al-Kaafi 1/63)

[Also,] …Abu Baseer asked Abu Abdulla –rahimahulla: (informed about Allah; the most Glorified, shall the believers see Him on the Day of resurrection? he said: yes) (Reference: Tawheed Li -Ibn Baabaweih pp: 113)

(The above is an excerpt from the book ‘Doctrines of the Twelver Shiite’ by Abdurrahman bin Sa’d bin Ali Al-Shathri)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam

[1] 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