Assalamualaikum SS Mufti. What is the ruling for someone who thinks about Allah?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Thinking about Allah SWT may be understood into two meanings and ways. First, one thinks of the essence and attributes of Allah SWT. While the second one is one thinks of Allah SWT by remembrance and dhikr.
In term of the first, which is thinking of the essence and attribute of Allah SWT, we state here that there is a narration of Ibn Abbas RA where the Prophet PBUH said:
تفكروا في خلق الله ولا تتفكروا في الله
“Think on the creations of Allah and do not think of Allah”
Narrated by Abu Nu’aim, Hilyah al-Awliya’
The above hadith clearly indicates that Muslims are encouraged to think of the creations of Allah so that by doing so, it will increase their faith in Allah SWT. Therefore, the above hadith carries the same meaning to several sayings of Allah in the Quran which emphasize on the commandment of observing and thinking about the creations of Allah SWT. Among them are:
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ
Say, [O Muhammad], "Travel through the land and observe how He began creation.”
Surah al-Ankabut (20)
It is because, by thinking and contemplating on the creations of Allah SWT, it may help a person to increase his faith and iman (belief) in the greatness of Allah. This is in accordance with the saying of Allah SWT:
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَـٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
Surah Ali ‘Imran (191)
The same is stated in the saying of Allah SWT:
وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
And in yourselves. Then will you not see?
Surah al-Dhariyat (21)
Imam al-Thabari in his commentary upon this verse said: “The most accurate opinion in explaining the meaning of this verse is: O people! And upon yourself are signs of Allah’s greatness and ‘ibrah which shows you the Oneness of your Creator. Indeed, there is no God except Him. In the aspect of the ability to create the creations. Will you not observe deeply on this matter while contemplating on Him? Verily, you will know the true meaning of the Oneness of your God.” Refer: Tafsir Al-Thabari (22/419).
Moreover, we as Muslims are forbidden by syarak to think of the essence (zat) of Allah SWT due to the limitation of our mind. This is the same as someone who thinks of the shape of Allah; whether He has a matter or mass. So, this is forbidden by syarak. In fact, Allah SWT say:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
Surah al-Syura (11)
Nevertheless, thinking of Allah SWT through zikrullah by reciting zikr and the Quran is a praised act of good deeds. There are so many encouragements on the remembrance of Allah which are mentioned in the Quran as well as hadiths which are sahih (authentic).
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured."
Surah al-Ra’d (28)
Also, there is a hadith which mentioned the seven people who will be under the shades of Allah SWT on the Day of Judgement as narrated by Abu Hurairah RA where the Prophet PBUH said:
وَرَجُلٌ ذَكَرَ اللَّهَ خَالِيًا فَفَاضَتْ عَيْنَاهُ
“…a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1423)
As a conclusion, we state here that if thinking of Allah SWT means thinking about the essence of Him, then this is prohibited. However, if this means the remembrance through zikrullah and recitation of the Quran, then this is highly encouraged and commanded.
Lastly, may Allah SWT give us the true understanding in this religion. Ameen.