Allah ﷻ - Understanding His Existence, Divine Names & Actions
Can Allah ﷻ reveal himself?
The famous early Muslim Imam and mystic Jafar Sadiq (alaihi salaam) (CE 702–765) was once asked by someone “can I see Allah ﷻ?” The Imam told the man to look at the intense bright sun. As soon as the man looked he immediately withdrew his sight due to the intensity. Seeing this the Imam replied, “If you cannot see the creation, how can you see the Creator?”
So why Allah ﷻ cannot be seen? The Prophet ﷺ mentioned to us something about Allah ﷻ: “His hijab (veil) is light, and if He were to remove it, the glory of His Being would burn everything of His creation, as far as His gaze reaches.” What the Prophet ﷺ said about His veil being light is also confirmed in the Quran where Allah ﷻ says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.”
The demand to see Allah ﷻ was made by Prophet Musa (Moses) (alaihi salaam) which Allah ﷻ did accept and unveiled His covering to reveal a tiny portion of His tajjalli to a huge mountain: “And as soon as his Lord unveiled His glory to the mount, He crushed it into fine dust.”
Mind you over here Musa (alaihi salaam) demand was not due to lack of faith in the existence of Allah ﷻ, it was only due to his demand to confirm the impossibility of Allah’s vision in earthly existence. If Allah ﷻ were to truly appear before His creation on earth before judgment day, everything will turn to dust. It is due to this reason Allah ﷻ says: “No human vision can encompass Him, whereas He encompasses all human vision: for He alone is unfathomable, allaware.” The only one to have seen Allah ﷻ while being a resident of earth was none other than the leader of humankind, leader of all Prophets and Messengers, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. However even he was able to do so only when he traveled to the heavens during the Isra Wa’al Mira’aj event and not on earth. And this meeting and vision that he was given was a special gift from Allah ﷻ for him.
Some may ask that since Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had the special privilege to see Allah ﷻ then in what form did Allah ﷻ reveal himself to him?
Prophet Muhammad's vision of Allah ﷻ has also been subject to debate since the time of Companions such as Ayesha (r.a), who claimed that he did not see while Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a) and others suggested that he did. For those like myself who do believe that indeed Allah ﷻ revealed Himself to the Prophet ﷺ do not ask how or what was it that he saw, we do not ask specific questions because this vision can only be understood through individual experience and not mere words. According to the Islamic teachings paradise and many things in it and experiences of the hereafter are indescribable, then how can the One Who created them be describable? Narrated Abu Hurairah (r.a) that the Prophet ﷺ said: "Allah Most High said: 'I have prepared for My righteous worshipers what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived.'" And that is testified to in Allah's [the Mighty and Sublime] Book: No person knows what is kept hidden for them of delights of the eyes (Al Quran 32:17)
Since Allah ﷻ Himself testifies that based on our earthly life its almost impossible for us to even imagine the many types of pleasures and indescribable things in the hereafter then how can we even describe the form or even discuss of how or what when it comes to Allah ﷻ, Who created them. As one of the Saints mentioned beautifully that nothing of this world can be compared with that of hereafter except through words. Words can never express the reality just as the Prophet ﷺ said “Information is not the same as observation.” The actual experience and meaning of whats in the hereafter remain beyond the comprehension of majority humankind and their discussions in this worldly life cannot help us have true realization. Therefore the best way to deal with this question if it occurs to our mind is to have patience and experience it yourself in the hereafter.
Know that this experience of the vision of Allah ﷻ is one of the best rewards that the believers will have on the day of judgment and this is confirmed by a narration of the Prophet ﷺ who said “When the people of Paradise enter the Paradise, Allah will say,`Do you want me to give you anything extra' They will say, `Haven't you whitened our faces Haven't you entered us into Paradise and saved us from the Fire' Then He will remove the veil and they will not be given anything more beloved to them than looking at their Lord, and that will be the extra (Ziyadah).” The best reward can always be best if remain hidden and not exposed.
 Heard in one of the Islamic khutbahs (lectures).
 Sahih Muslim - Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 196
 Al Quran 24:35
 A very small ray of His glorious self.
 Al Quran 7:143
 Al Quran 6:103 – Asad Translation.
 Night Journey & Ascension was a highly significant event in which the Prophet journeyed through the heavens and to Jerusalem in one night. Historically there has been a scholarly disagreement from the time of the companions if he had a vision of Allah ﷻ or no.
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3197 - Sunnah.com
 ( Recorded in Ahmad) - Tafsir ibn Kathir - Surah Al Araaf (Chapter 7) Ayah 150 - 151
 Seeing Allah in the Hereafter - Tafsir of Imam Ibn Kathir