SUM MAST TAWA ALAL ARSH
'Then, He (Allah Ta'ala) established Himself on the Throne befitting to His dignity'
When Allah Ta'ala established himself upon the Throne and the Throne is limited then the one who is seated upon the Throne is limited yet Allah Ta'ala in His being and in His attributes can never be limited. So, then what is the meaning of this verse?
Translation of the verse:
'Surely, you Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth within six days, then made Istiwa on the Throne befitting to His Dignity. He covers the night and day by each other following it swiftly. And He made the sun and moon and stars subservient to His command. Behold! His is the creation and command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds'
(Surah Al-A'Raaf. verse 54)
To Allah Ta'ala belong the world of creation and the world of command. In the world of command are all things that come into being through the command of 'be' e.g. angels, souls, etc. While the world of creation constitutes of things which are created through matter, e.g. physical world and the world of bodies which are created from clay, water, etc. The world of command is also known as angelic world, while the world matter is called physical world. It is for this reason that Allah Ta'ala is called Lord of Dominions and the Angelic world.
A world is besides Allah Ta'ala. Sometimes every species is referred to as a separate world, e.g. human world, animal world, planet world, etc. Due to this the world is represented as a plural entity, like knowledge (singular) and Uloom (plural of knowledge). Knowledge is a thing or material but due to differing types and differing nature it is used in the plural.
The word ISTIWA refers to the greatness of Allah Ta'ala. It does not mean that Allah Ta'ala is sitting on the Throne.
This verse of The Holy Quran is a MUTASHAABIHAAT ayat. A Mutashaabihaat' verse is from which its apparent surface meaning reduces the dignity or greatness of a distinguished. A Mutashaabihaat ayat will have apparent surface meaning, which is not the intent of Allah Ta'ala.
If anyone believes in the physicality of Allah Ta'ala, will he continue to be a Muslim?
Our Imaan is that this verse is a word of Allah Ta'ala. We believe in it.
However, it is not permissible to formulate aqeeda from a Mutashaabihaat verse.
Researched and compiled by Talib e Ilm, Afzal Khan Saifi.