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Assalamou 'Alaikum Warahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuh

Does Allah have a Shadow ? Is there any Salaf saying on this issue ?

I've read a Fatwa of Shaykh Ibn Baaz where he says Allah has a Shadow.

Here's the Fatwa:

Question: Regarding the narration of the seven in the shadow of Allah on the Day where there is no shadow save His Shadow, does this mean Allah Ta’ala has a shadow?”

ibn Baz answered, “Yes, as is reported in this narration and in some transmissions, ‘in the shadow of His Throne’. However, in the Swahihayn, it is, ‘in His shadow’ for He has a shadow that is befitting His Glory, and we do not know its form, just like the rest of His Attributes.”

Ref: Majmou Fatawa Vol 28 pg 402

Question: Is it true that Allah has a Shadow ? Is there any Salaf saying on this issue ?

Jazaak Allah Khayr!

  • What are you asking? Are you do others say against this? or did he actually say this—regardless of it being right or wrong... – Honey Nov 11 '17 at 15:48
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NOTE. I have not seen any translation that refers to the phrase ظل الله as the shadow of Allah. Almost all translations that I have seen (including the ones referenced in this answer) use the word shade instead of shadow. Hence, the translation of the fatwa should read:

Q: In the hadith of the seven people that will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His, is it attributed to Allah that He has a shade?

A: Yes, as stated in the hadith, and in some narrations "under the shade of His throne" but the one in the two Sahihs [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] is "His shade." It is a shade that befits Him, may He be exalted, which we do not know its form, just like the rest of the other attributes [of Allah], one stance for Sunnis, and Allah is the Grantor of success.

The fatwa in question adopts the third view from the three views offered by scholars:

  1. The shade is that of the throne of Allah.
  2. The shade is something that Allah creates specifically for the Judgment Day as when any of his creations are attributed to Him.
  3. The shade is attributed to Allah as per the words of the hadith, but without interpreting the shape or form of this shade.

The scholars who adopt the first view refer to Abu Huraira's narration in Jami' at-Tirmidhi, Book 14, Hadith 109: "Allah will shade him on the Day of Judgement under His Throne, a Day in which there is no shade except His shade." This view asserts that the shade is a literal shade, and it takes a contextual hadith and generalizes it to other mentions of the shade of Allah. It leaves one question unanswered: does this mean the sun will above the throne so that the throne may cast a shade?

The scholars who adopt the second view refer to 'Uqbah's narration in Bulugh al-Maram, Book 4, Hadith 632: "Everybody will be shaded by his sadaqah on the Day of Judgment." This view also asserts a literal shade but assumes that it is a different creation or form of shade that comes from a shade of material or immaterial things (like sadaqah).

The scholars who adopt the third view assert that it is a literal shade but they do not try to understand what this shade is. They adopt the same belief as that of the companions that "there is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing" (Surat Ash-Shurā' 42:11, Arabic: لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ). Accordingly, any attributes of Allah mentioned in the Qur'an or Sunnah are affirmed as per the words of the verse, but said attributes are not to be likened to those of His creations, nor are they denied, nor are they interpreted to mean something other than their apparent meaning, nor are they formed or questioned as how they are.

As to who among the salaf attributed a shade to Allah, the Prophet ﷺ did as the wording come from authentic hadiths attributed to the Prophet. One can safely assume that all companions shared his belief.

As to what the view of the salaf on this matter, there is none. This is why Ibn Baz said without evidence (Qur'an or hadith), we do not know the form of the shade in the hadith.

As for who among the salaf adopted the same view as that if Ibn Baz that the attributes of Allah are as stated without likening or interpreting or forming or denying, then there are several sources but all are in Arabic. You may refer At-Tabṣīr Fi Ma'ālim Ad-Dīn pp. 141-145, in specific, or Radd al-Imam Al-Darāmi 'Uthman ibn Sa'īd and Al-Ashā'ira Fi Mīzān Ahl as-Sunnah, in general.

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A different perspective on the question "Does Allah have a shadow?" One presumes from this question that you mean "have" not in the sense of having control over "shadow" and "shade". According to 2:225 (ayat al-Kursi), all things in the heavens and the earth are Allah's, therefore we could say Allah "has" or is in possession of not only "a shadow" or a "shade" but the infinitive of shadow/ shade in both its literal and conceptual/ metaphorical (mathal) senses. If indeed the Prophet Mohammad (saaws) mentioned something to the effect of "Allah's shadow/ shade" it must have been in this sense. (My reasoning and evidence for this is below.)

Then we must consider the meaning, presumed by all parties so far, of "Does Allah have a shadow" to be about whether or not Allah the Almighty, All-Merciful, Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in and between them, has a physical or literal "shadow" or, if one considers this to be distinctly different from "shadow", a "shade." But if one looks up the meaning of these two words, their meanings are interchangeable when used in the most literal way.

When we think of "shadow" for this discussion, we apparently think of meaning #1, out of 14 possible meanings:

  1. a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.

If indeed this is what you were thinking for this question, namely, does Allah have "a dark figure cast on...some surface by a body"—here presumably the "body" of the Almighty Allah—"by intercepting light", then you have an inherent contradiction, because Allah is, according to Ayat al-Nur (24:35), "the Light of the heavens and the earth" by which is clearly meant the infinitive and ultimate source of all light. Does it make sense for Allah (all glory to Him in the highest) to "intercept" His own light? And what does that mean, or more to the point, what would that prove?

To consider the being and nature of Allah (swt) in a way that compares Him to the nature of created things is to go down a dangerous path. Having said that, it is true that Allah (swt) in the Quran refers to Himself in 3:73 when He refers to "the Hand of Allah":

Undoubtedly the munificence lies only in Allah’s Hand (control); He may bestow upon whomever He wills; and Allah is Most Capable, All Knowing.

A "hand" is a specific physical body part of a creature, but it is understood clearly also as a metaphorical word, not solely literal, and as such implies "control", just as we control many things using our hands. So this goes under the category of mathal or "comparison/ example". The use of "shadow/ shade" in the question above is not metaphorical (as I understand the question) but literal. Even the use of "hand" would be prohibited were it to mean a physical hand, but Allah freely uses it in its commonly used metaphorical sense, as a strong word meaning "control." Even the translator felt compelled to include this parenthetically so as not to be guilty of comparing Allah directly to a human or created thing.

So in claiming that Allah has a literal shadow or shade in the sense I inferred from the discussion above, one would be insinuating, even if unintentionally, that we know, simply from reading this into a hadeeth, that this is so. This is indeed a problem of tafseer not merely of the Quran, which Muslims would do well to study in far more depth than they apparently do, but also of hadeeth. Even if "shadow" is interpreted to be "shade", one might look at definition #2 of "shadow":

  1. shade or comparative darkness, as in an area.

Or perhaps this definition of "shade" may prove my point:

  1. a shadow.

The number one definition of "shade" makes it preferable in this context because the "body" interfering with the light is not explicitly implied:

  1. the comparative darkness caused by the interception or screening of rays of light from an object, place, or area.
  2. a place or an area of comparative darkness, as one sheltered from the sun.

Yet still, physical "interception or screening of rays of light" or "a place...of comparative darkness" seem out of context used to describe Allah's actual being Himself. That He may intercept or screen whatever He wills goes without saying, the All-Capable, but this does not at all mean such resulting shade is part of His Being, but rather that it is something He does to creation, and that shade is therefore a part of creation, not a part of Him (swt).

"Shade" is usually associated with the "comparative darkness" itself whereas "shadow" has more emphasis on its being a negative effect of light associated with a body causing that effect, but again, that light is coming from a source different from the body that intercepts it. Allah is Oneand indivisible making this line of thought entirely false and opposed to Allah's singularity or Oneness.

Note also that all references in the Quran to shadow or shade are relating to things other than Allah (swt) Himself. The "shade" translations generally are included in descriptions of Paradise, although one refers also to it in Hell. The "shadow" translations are usually associated with created bodies, as in 13:15:

‎وَلِلَّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَظِلَالُهُم بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ ۩

And to Allah only prostrate all those who are in the heavens and in the earth, willingly or helplessly – and their shadows – every morning and evening.

A similar aya can be found in 16:48. These indicate that shadows are associated with created things whereas Allah (swt) cannot be associated with anything.

There is no metaphorical justification for this usage or idea except in the possessive sense, that Allah "has" or "possesses" the power/ potency of shade and shadow, which He may grant to those He wills (as in Paradise, a shielding from excessive heat or blinding light) or of which he may deprive those He wills, or give (as in the three-pronged shade of hell) in a way that curses rather than blesses. Understood this way alone, one can gain understanding of the meaning of "Allah's shade" ("shadow" more strongly implying a darkness associated with a body than "shade" which is more of the darkness itself not implying its source).

Because the mere concept of a shadow of Allah Himself, as an essential part of His being, is so problematic logically, and skirts the borders of shirk or idolatry, we must reject the idea of Allah having a shadow in no uncertain terms. Keeping the Creator and His nature entirely distinct from His creation is central to tawheed or monotheism which is the shahadah that there is no god but Allah, which is the beating heart of Islam and indeed the universe and all creation.

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No, Allah doesn't have shadow. Even, logically it can remark that Allah has no shadow. In truth, shadow is related to creatures which are limited, but Allah as the creator Who is not limited, doesn't have shadow. Meanwhile, Allah is not material to have shadow.

Let me add some related issue based on my assumption, too: E.g., in Persian (Farsi) language, it is an expression that people say: your parent's (your grandparents) shadow be upon you/your head, that actually means: their supervision/watching be upon you. How come? Actually, it is assumed that your parents are higher than you and you are lower/smaller than them), then their shadow protects you of ...

Hence, by that aspect perhaps it might be true (by this intention that e.g.) the shadow of Allah (as a kind of metaphor for supervision/watching) be upon you, but it doesn't mean that Allah is a material and have shadow!, so, it is better we don't use such speech/assumption about Allah, and ultimately it is concluded that Allah has no shadow because He is not material to have shadow.

Ref.: http://14masom.rasekhoonblog.com/show/18936/

  • I like your reasoning when you attempt to answer the question. +1 for that. However I feel the answer is missing some discussion of the second question: " Is there any Salaf saying on this issue ?" – Kilise Nov 15 '17 at 20:14
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Yes, it’s true. He does have. Holy Prophet (asws) is saying:

”The Sultan, he is the Shadow of Allah upon the earth; the weak seek refuge with him and by him the oppressed are given victory. Whoever honors the sultan of Allah in the world Allah honors him on the Day of Judgment.” And Faruk el-Azam (ra) is saying: “Fear and obey Allah your Lord until the Day of Resurrection, as if you see Him, and obey the Ruler even if he is a cut-nosed Abyssinian slave: if he beats you, be patient; if he robs you, be patient and if he belittles you, be patient. Never leave the Main Jamaat of the Muslims.”

The seven shadow of Allah are:

Just a ruler, a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the Mosques, two men who love each other for the sake of Allah, meeting for that and parting upon that, a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position by he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides in, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.

Issue relating to the Attributes [of Allah]:

In the hadith of the seven of those who will be shaded by Allah in His shadow on the day that there is no shadow save His shadow, is this attributing Allah the Exalted with a shadow?

Answer:

Yes, as is reported in the Hadith and in some transmissions : “in the shadow of His throne”. But, in the Sahihayn it is : “in His shadow” for He has a shadow that is befitting to Him, the Glorious, and we do not know its modality (Kayf) just like the rest of His attributes…

  • Read legacy.quran.com/17/36 before answering questions. – Sassir Nov 11 '17 at 10:10
  • If you would read his question and find out the answer on the internet, then maybe you’ll say that I’m right about it. – Alex A Nov 11 '17 at 11:06
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    Do you know the hadith about the seven who are in the shadow of Allah? – Medi1Saif Nov 11 '17 at 12:16
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    @Medi1Saif I suppose are: Just a ruler, a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, a man’s heart who is attached to mosques, Two men who loves each other for the sake of Allah, meeting for that and parting upon that, a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position but he says: I fear Allah, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears? – Alex A Nov 11 '17 at 12:25
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    @AlexA good, but your answer is missing the scope. – Medi1Saif Nov 11 '17 at 12:29

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