Allah ﷻ - Understanding His Existence, Divine Names & Actions
"What it the correct location and size of Allah ﷻ? Does Allah ﷻ stay on our heart? Did Allah ﷻ create the whole universe? Does Allah ﷻ stay everywhere?" - I was inquired these questions and attempted to answer each through one of the sermons of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) called "Creation of the Earth and Sky and birth of Adam," in which he philosophically expresses some divine facts about the existence of Allah ﷻ:
What it the correct location and size of Allah ﷻ?
Hazrat Ali (a.s) said “Praise is due to Allah whose worth cannot be described by speakers, whose bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim (to obedience) cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so, whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the divings of understanding cannot reach; He for whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed.” - No eulogy exists that could fully describe and praise Him just as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ expressed in his dua (supplication): “O Allah ﷻ, I cannot praise You enough, You are as You have praised yourself.” The Prophet ﷺ would also make zikr (remembrance) of Allah ﷻ in these words: Subhan Allahi adada khalqihi meaning “Glory to Allah according to the number of His creation” which is a fact that in total His creation is so great in number that it cannot be counted! And he would say Subhaan Allahi midaada kalimaatihi meaning “Glory be to Allah according to the amount of His Words” which as per Quran (18:109) are never ending even if the oceans were ink! If His creation and words are never ending then how can we limit His Being to size and location? Such attempts to define Him in human terms would be meaningless in the light of Quran’s message: “Limitless is He is His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition.”
Does Allah stay everywhere? Does Allah stay on our heart?
Hazrat Ali (a.s) said “Whoever asked in what is He, held that He is contained; and whoever asked on what is He held He is not on something else. He is a Being but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation. He acts but without connotation of movements and instruments. He sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His creation. He is only One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence.” - A hadith e Qudsi (sacred tradition) narrated by the Prophet ﷺ teaches us that Allah ﷻ said: “The heavens and the earth cannot contain Me but in the heart of a believer I enter like a guest.” This tells us that Allah ﷻ stays inside our hearts just as someone whom we love dearly stays close to our hearts i.e. remains in our thoughts and concerns even though they may not be physically present. Despite Him being Al Alee ul Azeem (The Highest and Greatest) He is very close: “We know whatever his (human’s) self-whispers within him. We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” Allah ﷻ created opposites in everything while He is different from all creation in the sense that He is unique: “(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves….there is nothing whatever like Him.”
Did Allah ﷻ create the whole universe?
Hazrat Ali said “He initiated creation most initially and commenced it originally, without undergoing reflection, without making use of any experiment, without innovating any movement, and without experiencing any aspiration of mind. He allotted all things their times, put together their variations gave them their properties, and determined their features knowing them before creating them, realizing fully their limits and confines and appreciating their propensities and intricacies.” - Allah ﷻ created the entire creation and He continues to create: “who creates [everything], and thereupon forms it in accordance with what it is meant to be, and who determines the nature [of all that exists], and thereupon guides it [towards its fulfilment].” Not only did He create, He also gave each creation its nature and guided it towards its functioning and lifestyle. He also determined their abilities and limitations. All His acts of creation does not at all include any thinking on His part, He does not depend on ideas, and He creates what is already in His knowledge: “Of course He is! He is the All Knowing Creator. When He wills something to be, His way is to say, “Be”- and it is!” In fact, after creating also sustains them every day while Himself remains free of all dependency: “All those in the heavens and the earth are dependent on Him. Day in and day out He has something to bring about.”
 Nahjul Balagha - Sermon 1 Creation of Earth and Sky and the birth of Adam - Radi n.d.
 Sunan An Nasai - Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 169
 Al Quran 6:100 – Asad Translation.
 Ghazzali 1993
 Two of the 99 beautiful names of Allah ﷻ.
 Al Quran 50:16
 Al Quran 42:11
 Al Quran 87:2–3 – Asad Translation.
 Al Quran 36:81–82 – Asad Translation.
 Al Quran 55:29