The Throne of God



In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Transliteration: Allahu la ilaha illa huwa alhayyu alqayyoomu la takhuthuhu sinatun wala nawmun lahu ma fee alssamawati wama fee alardi man tha allathee yashfaAAu AAindahu illa biithnihi yaAAlamu ma bayna aydeehim wama khalfahum wala yuheetoona bishayin min AAilmihi illa bima shaa wasiAAa kursiyyuhu alssamawati waalarda wala yaooduhu hifthuhuma wahuwa alAAaliyyu alAAatheemu
Translation: Allah, there is no object worthy of worship but Him; the Ever Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber siezes Him not, nor sleep. Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them; and none can encompass any of His Knowledge except what He pleases. His Throne (Knowledge and Authority) extends over the heavens and the earth; and the care of them burdens Him not; and He is the Supreme, the Greatest. (Quran 2:255)

This magnificent verse has been named "Ayat-ul-Kursi" and has been described as "The Grand Verse" in the hadith. In one concise verse it describes the grandeur and uniqueness of God.

Allahu la ilaha illa

Ilah is an object of worship and "Allah" is the title of that Single Absolute Being, in whom is concentrated all attributes of perfection. "Allah, there is none worthy of worship but Him." This is the fundamental creed of Islam and the ultimate expression of Tawhid. It is an absolute and unreserved negation of any plurality of the Supreme Being. This affirms the unicity and Divine unity of the unbegotten and unbegetting (Quran 112:1-4), and confirms the reality that "Godhead" in its entirety belongs exclusively to the Eternal Being, Allah.

alhay

This attribute of Allah signifies the Being who is deathless, for Al-Hayy is on a paradigm denoting perpetuity and thus denotes the Ever-living. "He is the All - Mighty, the All - Wise. Unto Him belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth; it is He who grants life and causes death; and He has power over all things. He is the First (without beginning) and the Last (without ending), He is the Evident and He is the Immanent." (Quran 57:2-3)

alqayyoom

Originating from the word "qaama" (to stand) it carries by association the connotation of establishing, accomplishing, managing, protecting, having power and authority. Al-Qayuum therefore refers to an attribute of Allah that indicates His ability to stand by Himself requiring the support of none, while everything else is in need of His support. He is the unoriginated Who originated everything else. He is the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining on Whom are dependent all levels of existence.

la takhuthuhu sinatun wala nawm

"Neither tiredness nor exhaustion overcome Him." 

Sinah is derived from Wasana which implies slumber, drowsiness, exhaustion, negligence or unguardedness. Nawm (Sleep) is the opposite of wakefulness and together Sinah and Nawm express the opposite of Qaama.  

It is not conceivable for "Al-Qayyum" to ever be in a state of Sinah or Nawm. This is an open refutation of the idea of those who consider the Supreme Being analogous to their own imperfect selves and who therefore ascribe to Him the finite weakness which is characteristic of human beings. In Islam, God is never in need of rest.

lahu ma fee alssamawati wama fee alard

"Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth."

After making reference to the attribute Al-Qayyum and negation of any fatigue or slumber on the part of Allah, reference is then made to His ownership. Every conceivable thing is part of creation, part of the universe and thus subject to Allah's authority. The comprehensiveness of Allah's Being Al-Qayyum includes ownership of the heavens and the earth with due authority. "The Beneficent, is established on the Throne. Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on earth; whatever is between them and whatever is below the surface. He is the One to whom you need not call upon aloud for He knows full well whatever is secret and most hidden. He is Allah, there is no deity nor object of worship but He; unto Whom belongs the most beautiful Names and Attributes." (Quran 20:5-8)

Allah's authority and ownership over creation is such that all their attributes, properties, characteristics and traits exist because of Him. There is no activity connected with anything, from its inception to its ultimate end that does not proceed from the ability and capacity provided by Him.

man tha allathee yashfaAAu AAindahu illa biithnihi 

"Who can intercede with Allah except by His permission,"

Intercession implies being an intermediary in affecting the consequence of a matter. The intercessor thus has some influence on the affair of the matter or thing for which intercession is made. Here, there is an unreserved refutation of the idea that anyone or anything has the power to impose its will on Allah. No one shares independently in Allah's governance of the universe and no one therefore could decisively affect His judgment or decision. Such influence would be contrary to the complete authority and total sovereignty of Allah, unless it is by His design, His decree or His permission.

The Holy Prophet, to whom the Divine Will has been revealed, is the model par excellence for humanity (Uswatun Hasanah). The Holy Prophet being the supreme human guide by the design of Allah, leads us to the Path of Salvation and in this sense is shafi' (intercessor). He is thus the most appropriate of Allah's creation to be permitted to intercede in the Hereafter.

yaAAlamu ma bayna aydeehim wama khalfahum wala yuheetoona bishayin min AAilmihi illa bima shaa

"He knows whatever is before them and whatever is behind them. They cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge except that which He pleases."

The whole tenor of this phrase relates directly to the Omniscience of Allah. Allah's Knowledge is not limited nor measurable for it is not bound by the limitation of the finite. His boundless knowledge is comprehensive, complete and all - embracing; encompassing all dimensions of reality in its entirety. "And there does not lie concealed from your Lord the weight of an atom in the earth or in heaven; nor anything greater nor anything less." (Q 10:61) The knowledge that all beside Allah have is acquired by instinct, training and experience. The knowledge possessed by creation is but a study and appreciation of Allah's manifestations which are reflected in His creation.

wasiAAa kursiyyuhu alssamawati waalard

"His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth."

Kursi literally means chair. This word has been variously interpreted by the scholars:

  1. The Kursi (chair) and 'Arsh (throne) of Allah (Quran 20:5) is one and the same. The Kursi and 'Arsh is symbolic reference to Divine Sovereignty.

  2. It signifies Allah's power. It is used to connote Divine Authority and relates to Allah's Omnipotence.

  3. It signifies Allah's Knowledge. The word Kursi has often been used in Arabic to indicate learning and knowledge. This is evident from the Arabic proverb "Khayr al-nasi al-karasi" (the best of people are the learned)

  4. It is an image expressing Allah's Grandeur and Majesty.

There is no doubt that the tenor of this phrase relates to Allah's Omnipotence and All-Encompassing Divine Authority. In cognizance of that, the Kursi could be an expression indicating the Divine capacity, originating and maintaining the functioning order which is prevalent in the cosmos.

The Authority and Knowledge of Allah is an indispensable extension of His Divinity, reflected in the maintenance and preservation of everything in the heavens and the earth with all its potentialities, characteristics and variety.

wala yaooduhu hifthuhuma

"And the preservation of both (the heavens and the earth) does not tire Him."

Allah is not burdened by the responsibility of the heavens and the earth, for the management of all affairs is the dominion of Allah. This management is exercised through His knowledge of all existence and His authority over the intermediary causes which He Himself created. Thus, he is not burdened by the preservation of all that which His limitless knowledge and authority encompasses. This is clear indication of Allah's total authority, perfectness of His management, supremacy of His ability, greatness of His sovereignty; His freedom from weakness and imperfection.

wahuwa alAAaliyyu alAAatheem

"And He is the Supreme (Most High), the Greatest."

The ayah concludes by indicating two great principles of Divine Attributes. They reflect Allah's Eminence, Majesty and Grandeur. He is High above all levels of existence, beyond imperfection, beyond comparison and beyond limitations. He is the Perfect, the Absolute, the Supreme, The Magnificent... the Greatest.

A'zam - al - Avah (The Grand Verse)

A person asked the Holy Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah! Which verse in the Book of Allah is the Grandest?" The Holy Prophet replied: "Ayat - ul - Kursi; Allah, there is no deity but Him, the Ever - Living, the Self- Subsisting..." (Al - Darirai).

The fact that this verse was referred to by a special name indicates the importance attached to it. Its uniqueness is due to the highest nobility of its meanings, the elegance and grace of its style, dealing in detail with the various aspects of monotheism and Divine Authority, establishing the pristine belief of the Absolute Supremacy and Perfection of Allah. Imaam Al - Ghazali (Allah's Mercy be upon him) wrote in his book, Jawahir - ul - Qur'an; "When you reflect on all the meanings contained in the Verse of the Throne and recite other verses of the Qur'an, you will not find all these meanings of Divine unity, sanctification and explanation of highest attributes combined in a single one of them. This is the reason why the Prophet said that the Verse of the Throne is the chief of the verses of the Qur'an."


 Sadullah Khan is the Director of Islamic Center of Irvine. He has presented lectures on Islamic Civilization at California State University at Dominguez Hills. He is a frequent lecturer for the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He is also an advisor to the Chancellor's Committee on Religion Ethics and Values at UCLA and serves as Director of Muslim Affairs at USC (University of Southern California).

You can watch his lectures on Empowerment and Hadith of the Day at IslamiTV

Dimensions of the Quran
The lucid and clear reflections of Sa'dullah Khan, his smooth sailing in the oceans of Quranic wisdom and beauty is most encouraging and pleasantly inviting the English reader of the Quran to plunge again into the ultimate source of enlightenment and empowerment that we have. 

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  13 Comments   Comment

  1. John from Singapore

    This is a message to Doin

    "Seeing they see not. Hearing they hear not and neither they understand".

  2. Ben from Tunisia

    Doin, kindly read below the best definition I've come across for the biggest Christian enigma:

    Chris, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the father being the first and the Holy Ghost third. Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both. The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten - just the same before as after. Christ is just as old as his father, and the father is just as young as his son. The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and Son, but was equal to the Father and Son before he proceeded, that is to say, before he existed, but he is of the same age as the other two. So it is declared that the Father is God, and the son and the Holy Ghost God, and these three Gods make one God. According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three time one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar: if we add two to one we have but one. Each one equal to himself and to the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity. (Ingersoll's Works, Vol. 4, p. 266-67).

    Doin, God helps you and shows you and me his right path ~ Amen.

  3. Ben from Tunisia

    This is my reaction to what Doin wrote:

    Anyone who's trying to take a verse from the holy quran and understand it out of its context will definitely get it wrong.

    I've read both NT/OT and I can tell you that you can't find any humbler meanings or better words put together to introduce God and his greatest attributes better than this 'The Grand Verse'.

    It's not found in any other holy books whatsoever.

    In OT God loses his godly power and plays hide and sick with Adam and Eve in paradise.

    After the completion of earth & skies' creation in six days, he gets tired and needs to rest on Saturday.

    He even gets involved into ethnic issues and chooses only the Jews to be 'his chosen people'...

    On NT things get worse. God becomes more human, so he starts having all earthly attributes: eating, sleeping, performing all his biological needs, and finally gets humiliated, tortured, despised, spat on, crucified and ultimately killed. What a deserving end for God!

    Got it Doin?!

    These quranic verses are the heart of our belief. No other verses explain more God's powerful attributes and his oneness. It is the core of Monotheism. Once you believe in that there's no other god(s) but God (Allah), everything else easily comes your way. You don't need to live centuries believing in absurd dogmas or unsolved enigmas...

  4. ahmed asgher from bahrain

    Peace. Doing Phine? sure I am! Only few know what Prophet Mohammad pbuh knew of this verse. Most Quran verses have physical meaning and spiritual meaning. From my own personal feeling about this verse, I can say that volumes can be written but for sake of simplicity here are some points that springs from the heart:

    1) It is a statement of unity thus informing mankind to unite and worship only One God. You might say what about the details but this is from your lack of faith coz when we put our trust in One God then all the rest becomes clear. Doin Phine: So long as you keep on trying to find faults and stear people to your way of thinking you are in confusion. When you let go and try to find yourself only then divine things happen.

    2) It is affirmation acknowledging His dominion which is self-sustaining thro the laws that He has created. Thus He need not worry about universal function - by inference we also need not worry about life if we put our trust in Him -

    3) It is confirmation that everything we know is from Him.

    4) It is acceptance of this knowledge which is a blessing from Him - we are blessed purely by knowing Him and acknowledging His existance.

    5) It is comfort for the believer to know that he has sided with absolute PURITY whose door always remain open to those who CHOOSE to enter.

    6) It is acknowldgement that HE knows what is in our hearts. We can not deceive HIM and He knows our begining and our end.

    7) Finally it is a statement that no matter how close we come to HIM, He is always way ahead of us - so don't be proud of your knowledge - and that His wisdom is never ending. This is the case in physical space and it is the case in the spiritual realm.

    I hope this is of use to you since you asked. You see once a human being reflects on these verses and understands their significance then he need not worry, nor he needs to inflict suffering on others since he knows that we are all ONE. Peace.

  5. halim

    The whole universe were shaken when these verses came down. Satan admitted that these verses posed him great problems and most frighten with these verses. Muslims used these verses to protect themselves from Satan, evil spirits, witchcraft and others. Every Muslim knows these verses very well.Life on earth is only at a wink of an eye, hereafter is forever. May Allah protect us all from burning stones......

  6. umm khaled from usa

    I think what people need to understand is that in order to grasp the significance of this verse is to go back to basics. What comes before creation? - The Creator. So before anything is established i.e. commandments, rules, ect., we need to better understand who made us in the first place. This is the most specific piece of information we have in better knowing what came before everything else. This verse clearly and precisely describes God himself with facts. Unfortunately, with other religions today, this fact has been totally corrupted and changed and that's why a lot of people are turning to Islam - to find out truth.

  7. Doin Phine from Canada

    I humbly ask, as a non-Muslim, how could this be the bestmost important verse of the Koran? It teaches no moral, no lesson and gives no indication on how to lead one's life relative to other humans. The English translation surely doesn't give justice of the original text, but I find that it is not the best verse from the Koran. I find the verse. 109.1 to 6 (Yusuf Ali) the best. Because it teaches in not convertingkillingenslaving non-muslims, and preachs non violence. Below is a copy of these verses from Islamicity Koran.

    109:1 Say : O ye that reject Faith!

    109:2 I worship not that which ye worship,

    109:3 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

    109:4 And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

    109:5 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

    109:6 To you be your Way, and to me mine.

    These 6 verses contradict other parts in the Koran, but I feel that it is important for Muslims to know of these verses.

    I say for Muslims to follow because it is written in the Koran, for followers of Islam. It is for Christians to follow the Bible.

    Thank-you everybody for taking time to read my humble opinion.

  8. RAIS AHMED FAROOQUI from India

    Dear Publisher,

    Assalam-u-alaikum-vr-vb!

    The verse Ayat-al-Kursi has been described as the Grand Verse in Hadith. I feel so is the explaination by Sa'dullan Khan. It has really touched me and has given me an immense spiritual satisfaction as I have never ever come across such an indepth translation. Each and every word of the verse has been ornamentally taken up which Insha Allah bring many to the Islamic fold.

    Thanks,

    Fi-Aman-Allah,

    Rais Farooqui

  9. Muntaro Ibrahim from Japan

    Assalamaleikum,This verse from the sura Baqara has infact transformed my belief and has strenghten me in Islam.This verse has simply explained to us of the One and only God to whom due worship and praise belongs.He is indeed the Supreme and the Greatest.Dr.Khan thanks a lot for more detailed explanation to the magnificent verse.

    salam

  10. mujaihid from us

    As Salamu Alaykum, your article is very good however can you please mention the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) in whitch he describes Allah's throne and his foot stool.His Arsh, and his Kursi. Kursi- is like a ring in a desert in comparison to the arsh. This Hadith refutes the claim that Allah's Knowledge alone extends over the heavens and earth. We have to take this ayah in a litiral sence also, unless otherwise indicated via hadith or another ayah in Quran.

  11. Miguel Rius from Austria

    What program (freeware) should I download to be able to hear your Audio-files in "ram" format?

  12. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    Allahu Akbar. Allah has indeed spoken the truth.

    I must commend the beatiful way Dr Khan produce the explanation of the meaning of the great verse. One may need to point out though, that the changing in meanings of the word throne and Knowledge or authority could not be ideal here, as this will be changing the meaning. For example, if we say throne imply knowledge then we will be force to say "His knowledge extends over and within....." which implies adding something to the verse.

    Allah says He has a throne(or Chair of majesty), yes we have to agree. Does it look like the throne of Solomom (AS)? No, or look like that of King of Saudi Arabia? (God forbid). His is His and does not look like anything we can surmise for "Nothing compares with Him.."

    Wallahu 'alam.

  13. Mario from USA

    After reading this text, I am compelled to get something off my chest. Back in March, I was party to a terrible crime and deciet and I am ashamed of it. I want to state that our shooting at the car carrying the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was not a mistake. The intention was to eliminate Ms. Sgrena, a left leaning journalist and all occupants of the car, and blame the Iraqi resistance. At the time this was planned, the Italian public was overwhelmingly against our presence and that of their forces in Iraq. The thinking was that this event would cause the Italian public to totally support the war and their PM, Silvio Berlusconi. However somehow Ms. Sgrena survived and her security agent Nicola Calipari bit the bullet. Initially we stuck to the script and denied any involvement, but with Ms. Sgrena surviving the incident, it was only a matter of time before the truth was out, so we decided to call it an accident. What I also want to add is that I have it on very good authority, given the nature of my job, that though the orders to execute the plan came from Washington, it originated from Silvio Berlusconi's office.