بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Q: What is well known is that Allah is not incorporated within the creation, so how do we respond to one who says and uses as proof (to substantiate the opposite) Allah’s descent to the lowest heavens?
A: This is the one that says Allah is everywhere. He, fundamentally, does not believe in Allah being elevated (not sitting, nor reclining) over His Throne, due to him stating that Allah is in every place. So in order for him to support his falsehood he interprets the narrations pertaining to descent. The descent is a matter wherein the salaf differed. Did Allah descend (thus leave being above) the Throne? The stronger position with Ahlus Sunnah is that he remains over His Throne, and His descending, the manner of such (how He does it) is incomprehensible. As there is nothing like Allah (to be able to compare His mode or manner of performing an action with), nothing like Himself, His qualities, nor His actions.
So just as we believe in Allah being above His Throne without stating a mode or manner as to how, we also believe in His descent to the lowest heavens without stating a mode or manner as to how. As Allah does what He wills. Surely He descends, and He will come on the Day of Resurrection. Thus He Himself is not like that of His creation, so His descending is not like the descent of His creation. His knowledge is not like that of His creation, His ability is not like that of His creation, He being elevated (above everything including His Throne, as He is not on it but above it) is not like the elevation of His creation, His ascending is not like their ascending, and His descent is not like theirs.
Therefore Ahlus Sunnah say He descends but do not say how. However does it necessitate, by saying He descends, that He moved from being above His Throne to the lowest heavens? Some hold this opinion, however it is less probable. The correct opinion is Allah is over His Throne and He descends as He wants and Wills, as He is able to do anything, and abandoning delving deeply into these affairs is from safety.
Hence the principle with us is that we believe in that which is affirmed from Allah, and the narrations pertaining to descent are (classed as) mutawaatir. Indeed Ibn Taimiyyah explained these matters and rebutted such doubts, and he as it relates to the subject reported the way of the salaf. Thus the subject of descent is like the remainder of the issues pertaining to Allah’s qualities. We believe in the qualities without stating a mode or manner, without striking a resemblance (to them), nor denying them.
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi
Source: فتاوى فضيلة الشيخ العلامة ربيع بن هادي المدخلي