Allah’s Two Hands

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

From the principles pertaining to Allah’s perfect attributes that safeguard the creed of the Muslim is: الإثبات ما أثبت الله لنفسه و الإثبات ما أثبت له رسوله -صلّى الله عليه و سلّم– “Affirming whatsoever Allah affirms for Himself and affirming for Him whatsoever the Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- affirmed for Him.”

This principle has been taught repeatedly by the prominent scholars of Islam past and present that applies to all qualities and attributes of Allah. It necessitates belief in all qualities and attributes attributed to Him and negates denial of them. In light of this it is incumbent upon all Muslims to affirm that Allah has two Hands, as Allah affirms this for Himself throughout the Quran, likewise the Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- has affirmed this in multiple narrations authentically attributed to him. Allah says:

تبارك الذي بيده الملك و هو على كل شيءٍ قدير

Blessed is He in whose Hand is the dominion; and He is capable of doing anything.” [Al-Mulk: 1]

و قالت اليهود يد الله مغلولة غلت أيديهم و لعنوا بما قالوا بل يداه مبسوطتان ينفق كيف يشاء

And the Jews said: Allah’s Hands are tied. (In reality) their hands are tied and cursed are they for what they said. On the contrary Allah’s Hands are outstretched spending however He wills...” [Al-Maidah: 64]

قل إن الفضل بيد الله يؤتيه من يشاء

…Say: Surely all bounty is in Allah’s Hand, He gives to whomever He wills…” [Ali-Imran: 73]

و ما قدروا الله حق قدره و الأرض جميعا قبضته يوم القيامة و السماوات مطويات بيمينه سبحانه و تعالى عما يشركون

They did not make a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him, and the entire Earth will be within His grasped on the day of resurrection. The heavens will be rolled (or folded) in His right Hand. Glorified is He, and exalted is He from what they associate as partners with Him.” [Az-Zamar: 67]

The Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam said: “The hands are three; so the highest Hand is Allah (‘s hand), the hand of the giver which is after His hand, and the low hand of the beggar…” Collected by Abu Dawud, upon the authority of Malik ibn Nadhlah.

He -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- also said: “Allah will seize the Earth on the day of resurrection and the sky will be folded in His right Hand, then He will say, I am the King where are the monarchs of the Earth?” Collected by Al Bukhari, upon the authority of Abu Huraira.

Furthermore he -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- said: Allah’s right Hand is full and does not decrease due to continuous spending throughout the night and day. Have you seen what He spends since creating the heavens and earth? Surely there is no decrease in what is in His right Hand, and His throne is above the water (which is above the 7 heavens). In His other Hand is the bounty or power…” Collected by both Al Bukhari and Muslim, upon the authority of Abu Huraira.

At this point it’s important to mention a principle in qawaa’id -ul- fiqh that being:

الأصل في الكلام الحقيقة

“The foundation with regards to speech is its true reality and or meaning.”

This principles implies that all speech found in the Quran or the Sunnah is to be taken and understood on its apparent meaning and no interpretation that renders its apparent meaning void is accepted (unless there is another text to support it). It is imperative to uphold this principle with regards to Allah’s qualities. Sheikh Salih Al Fawzan states, “Allah -glorified and exalted is He- affirms names and attributes for Himself and likewise His messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam-. Thus negating them (in totality) or a portion of them is to negate what Allah and His Messenger have affirmed, and this (in reality) is opposing Allah and His Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam.(1) 

Moreover the affirming of these attributes upon their apparent meaning does not necessitate a resemblance between Allah and His creation. Sheikh Al Fawzan states: What is well known is that Allah’s names and attributes are specific to Him and fitting for Him, whereas the names and attributes of the creation are specific to them and fitting for them. Thus the sharing of names and general meanings does not entail any sharing with regards to (their) true reality.”(2) Thus the hand of man is not like Allah’s Hand, the resemblance is only in the name (the word “hand”) and general meaning not in the specific reality as Allah says:

ليس كمثله شيء و هو السميع البصير

There is nothing like Him, and He is The All Hearing, The All Seeing.” [Ash-Shura: 11]

 Unfortunately there are misguided groups that falsely interpret the meanings of Allah’s attributes in defiance to the principle “The foundation with regards to speech is its true and apparent meaning.” As groups like the Asharis and Maturidis along with their modern day counterparts from the Tablighis, Ahbashis, and others claim that the intent of Allah’s Hand is Ability. This is incorrect and deemed to be deviation with regards to Allah’s names and attributes, and it is inventing a lie on Allah. The Exalted says: 

قال يا إبليس ما منعك أن تسجد لما خلقت بيديّ

(Allah) said: O Iblis! What prevents you from prostrating to one (Adam) whom I created with both My Hands?” [Sad: 75] 

Sheikh Ali Al Faqeehi states, “If Allah meant by His statement –I created with both My Hands– ability, then there would not be any virtue of Adam over Iblis in that regard. Allah wanted Iblis to see the virtue of Adam over him by creating Adam with both His Hands and not him. If He had created Iblis with both His Hands as He did Adam, there would be no preference over Iblis from that perspective and Iblis would have said you created me with both Your Hands as You have created Adam with both of them. So when Allah wanted to give preference over Iblis by way of that He said rebuking him due to his arrogance with regards to Adam, “prostrate to him!” –What prevents you from prostrating to one (Adam) whom I created with both My Hands, are you too proud…– This proves that ability is not the intent of the verse, as Allah created everything with His ability, (here) He only intends the affirmation of Two Hands and that Iblis did not share (in the virtue) of being created by them, unlike Adam.”(3)    

Therefore made binding upon the Muslim is to believe that Allah has Two Hands that are real, how they look only Allah knows, but we believe He has Hands that do not resemble the hands of His creation in any way whatsoever. This is the creed of Ahlus Sunnah pertaining to the attributes of Allah.

Written by Najeeb Al Anjelesi. 

1: عقيدة التوحيد

2: عقيدة التوحيد

3: كتاب التوحيد لابن منده بتعليقات الشيخ علي بن ناصر الفقيهي

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