Thursday, 1 January 2015

Guru of Anthropomorphism


Anthropomorphism
The attribution of human characteristics 
or behaviour togod, animal, or object.
[Oxford Dictionaries]


Derived from the Greek 
anthropos (“human”) and morphe (“form”)
[Encyclopaedia Britannica]
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Guru of Anthropomorphism

Ibn Taymiyyah condones of the claim that Aļļaah sits saying:
It has been narrated through the acceptable scholars and Muslim saints (‘awliyaa’) that Muĥammad, the Messenger of Aļļaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) will be seated by His Lord on His throne with Him.

قال ابن تيمية في مجموع الفتاوى – (4 / 374) فَقَدْ حَدَثَ الْعُلَمَاءُ الْمَرْضِيُّونَ وَأَوْلِيَاؤُهُ الْمَقْبُولُونَ : أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُجْلِسُهُ رَبُّهُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ مَعَهُ .
[Aĥmad Ibn Taymiyyah.Al-Ĥarraaniyy, Majmuuˆu-l-Fataawaa, 4 / 374.]
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Ibn Taymiyyah says:
فقد ثبت بموجب هاتين المقدمتين صحة قول القائلين بالجهة وقول القائلين بأنه جسم وكونه جسما يستلزم القول بالجهة
“…. It is established from what necessarily follows from these two premises, the correctness of the saying of those who say that Aļļaah is in a direction, and the saying of those who say that He is a body, and that Him being a body necessarily implies Him being in a direction
(Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 2 / 125).”
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Ibn Taymiyyah says Aļļaah is divisible
In Ibn Taymiyyah’s book Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah:
قال ابن تيمية: قولك إن كان منقسما كان مركبا وتقدم إبطاله تقدم الجواب عن هذا الذي سميته مركبا وتبين أنه لا حجة أصلا على امتناع ذلك بل بين أن إحالة ذلك تقتضي إبطال كل موجود ولولا أنه أحال على ما تقدم لما أحلنا عليه وتقدم بيان ما في لفظ التركيب والتحيز والغير والافتقار من الاحتمال وإن المعنى الذي يقصد منه بذلك يجب أن يتصف به كل موجود سواء كان واجبا أو ممكنا وإن القول بامتناع ذلك يستلزم السفسطة المحضة (بيان تلبيس الجهمية ج 1 ص 33).
[Fakħruddiin Ar-Raaziyy says,] if He (Aļļaah) was divisible, then He would be composed (i.e. and therefore attributed with multitude of parts) which contradicts oneness and we have already showed that this is an invalid claim….
[Ibn Taymiyyah responds:] Rather, it is clear that if this (i.e. that Aļļaah should be divisible) was impossible, then this would mean nothing could exist….
(Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/33)
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Ibn Taymiyyah said Aļļaah has a size
Ibn Taymiyyah said:
قال ابن تيمية: فأما كون الشيء غير موصوف بالزيادة والنقصان ولا بعدم ذلك وهو موجود وليس بذي قدر فهذا لا يعقل (بيان تلبيس الجهمية, ج3/ص146).
That something existing should not be increasing, or decreasing, or neither increasing nor decreasing, and yet exist and not have a size – this is impossible (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 3/146).
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Ibn Taymiyyah’s understanding of the ĥadith of lowering a bucket
Ibn Taymiyyah says in Majmuuˆu-l-Fataawaa1:

فَإِنَّ قَوْلَهُ : { لَوْ أُدْلِيَ أَحَدُكُمْ بِحَبْلِ لَهَبَطَ عَلَى اللَّهِ } إنَّمَا هُوَ تَقْدِيرٌ مَفْرُوضٌ ؛ أَيْ لَوْ وَقَعَ الْإِدْلَاءُ لَوَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ لَكِنَّهُ لَا يُمْكِنُ أَنْ يُدْلِيَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى اللَّهِ شَيْئًا ؛ لِأَنَّهُ عَالٍ بِالذَّاتِ وَإِذَا أُهْبِطَ شَيْءٌ إلَى جِهَةِ الْأَرْضِ وَقَفَ فِي الْمَرْكَزِ وَلَمْ يَصْعَدْ إلَى الْجِهَةِ الْأُخْرَى لَكِنْ بِتَقْدِيرِ فَرْضِ الْإِدْلَاءِ يَكُونُ مَا ذَكَرَ مِنْ الْجَزَاءِ .(مجموع الفتاوى – (6 / 571)
Verily his (the Prophet’s) statement: “If one of you lowered a bucket by a rope, then it would fall on Aļļaah.” This is a hypothetical consideration, that is, if the lowering happened, then it would fall on Him. It is not possible for anyone to lower anything on Aļļaah, however, because His self is high, and if anything was lowered in the direction of the Earth, then it would stop at the center, and would not go up in the opposite direction (from there). However, if there was a hypothesized lowering, then what he said would happen. (6/571)

He explains more about his problem with the concept of “lowering”, which is that it would in reality be rising, saying:
فَكَذَلِكَ مَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ أَعْلَى الْأَرْضِ إلَى أَسْفَلِهَاوَهُوَ الْمَرْكَزُلَا يَصْعَدُ مِنْ هُنَاكَ إلَى ذَلِكَ الْوَجْهِ إلَّا بِرَافِعِ يَرْفَعُهُ يُدَافِعُ بِهِ مَا فِي قُوَّتِهِ مِنْ الْهُبُوطِ إلَى الْمَرْكَزِ فَإِنْ قُدِّرَ أَنَّ الدَّافِعَ أَقْوَى كَانَ صَاعِدًا بِهِ إلَى الْفَلَكِ مِنْ تِلْكَ النَّاحِيَةِ وَصَعِدَ بِهِ إلَى اللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَا يُسَمَّى هُبُوطًا بِاعْتِبَارِ مَا فِي أَذْهَانِ الْمُخَاطَبِينَ أَنَّ مَا يُحَاذِي أَرْجُلَهُمْ يَكُونُ هَابِطًا وَيُسَمَّى هُبُوطًا…. وَهُوَ إنَّمَا يَكُونُ إدْلَاءً حَقِيقِيًّا إلَى الْمَرْكَزِ وَمِنْ هُنَاكَ إنَّمَا يَكُونُ مَدًّا لِلْحَبْلِ وَالدَّلْوِ لَا إدْلَاءَ لَهُ…. وَلَكِنَّ فَائِدَتَهُ بَيَانُ الْإِحَاطَةِ وَالْعُلُوِّ …. وَالْمَقْصُودُ بِهِ بَيَانُ إحَاطَةِ الْخَالِقِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى كَمَا بَيَّنَ أَنَّهُ يَقْبِضُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَيَطْوِي الْأَرْضَ وَنَحْوَ ذَلِكَ مِمَّا فِيهِ بَيَانُ إحَاطَتِهِ بِالْمَخْلُوقَاتِ. (مجموع الفتاوى – 6 / 572-573)
Likewise, what descends from a high point on Earth to its lowest point, which is it’s center, does not rise from there in that direction, except by someone lifting it, resisting its downwards pull down towards the center (i.e. the gravity pull.) If it was hypothesized that the lifter was stronger (than the gravity pull), then it would be rising towards the celestial sphere from there, and would rise to Aļļaah. It was only called lowering from the viewpoint of what is in the minds of the listeners in that what faces their feet is called falling…. even if it was actually lowering only to the point of the (Earth’s) center, and from there one would only be giving rope to the bucket, and there would be no actual lowering….. However, the beneficial point is to clarify the surrounding and highness from all directions (of the Earth)…. The purpose (of the ĥadiith) is to clarify the meaning of the Creator’s surrounding (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) just as He said that He grabs the Skies and folds the Earth and the like, which all explains His surrounding of created things. (6/572-573)

In other words, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, this surrounding is the physical surrounding of something with physical boundaries, size and shape.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s view on the ĥadith from a viewpoint of belief
In the final analysis of this ĥadith Ibn Taymiyyah says:

وَكَذَلِكَ تَأْوِيلُهُ بِالْعِلْمِ تَأْوِيلٌ ظَاهِرُ الْفَسَادِ مَنْ جِنْسِ تَأْوِيلَاتِ الْجَهْمِيَّة ؛ بَلْ بِتَقْدِيرِ ثُبُوتِهِ يَكُونُ دَالًّا عَلَى الْإِحَاطَةِ . وَالْإِحَاطَةُ قَدْ عُلِمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَادِرٌ عَلَيْهَا وَعُلِمَ أَنَّهَا تَكُونُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِالْكِتَابِ وَالسُّنَّة وَلَيْسَ فِي إثْبَاتِهَا فِي الْجُمْلَةِ مَا يُخَالِفُ الْعَقْلَ وَلَا الشَّرْعَ .
Likewise, interpreting this ĥadiitħ in term of knowledge (I.e falling by Aļļaah’s knowledge it clearly false, and of the Jahmiyy kind of interpretation. Rather, based on the assumption that the ĥadiitħ is authentic, then it explains (Aļļaah’s) surrounding, and it is known that Aļļaah is able to surround and that it is going to be on the Day of Judgment as stated in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. There is nothing, in general, in affirming this ĥadiith, that is in conflict with reason or Islamic Law. (6/574)
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Ibn Taymiyyah’s Affirmation of Limits for Allah in the Six Physical Directions
In his Bayān Talbīs al-Jahmiyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah affirms that Allah has boundaries and limits (hadds/ghāyahs) in the six physical directions, namely: up, down, back, front, left and right.
He mentions this in the context of discussing Qādī Abū Ya‘lā’s discussion on ascribing hadd to Allah.

Qādī Abū Ya‘lā is one of the notorious anthropomorphists taken to task by Hāfiz Ibn al-Jawzī in his Daf‘ Shubah al-Tashbīh.

First, Ibn Taymiyyah quotes Qādī Abū Ya‘lā relating two purported statements of Imām Ahmad:
1. The first that Allah has a hadd that only He knows
2. And the second that He does not have a hadd.
Then he quotes Qādī Abū Yalā’s attempt at reconciling these two purported statements:
فالموضع الذي قال (أحمد) إنه على العرش بحد معناه ما حاذى العرش من ذاته فهو حد له وجهة له والموضع الذي قال هو على العرش بغير حد معناه ما عدا الجهة المحاذية للعرش وهي الفوق والخلف والأمام والميمنة والميسرة
That is, Abu Ya‘la said: “The place in which Ahmad said that He is on the throne with a hadd, its meaning is [the part] of His essence that is in line with the ‘Arsh, so it (the ‘Arsh) is His hadd and His direction; and the place which he said He is over the throne without hadd, its meaning is what is besides the direction in line with the ‘Arsh – that is, above, behind, front, right and left.” (Bayān Talbīs al-Jahmiyyah, 3:735)
And he goes on to make it even more explicit. 
Abū Ya‘lā said:
“The difference between the downwards direction parallel to the ‘Arsh and other than it which we mentioned [i.e. the other five directions] is that:
The downward direction is in line with the ‘Arsh as established from evidence, and the ‘Arsh is limited (mahdūd) so it is possible to describe [the part] of the self [of Allah] that is in line with it and that it [the ‘Arsh] is a limit and direction. That is not so in other than it [i.e. other than the downward direction], because it is not in line with that which is limited, but it is traversing through the right and the left, up, front and behind, without a limit. This is why none of these [five directions] are described with Hadd or direction; whereas the direction of ‘Arsh is parallel to what opposes it from the direction of [Allah’s] self, but it is not in line with the whole [of Allah’s] self because it has no limit.”

In brief, Qādī Abū Ya‘lā is saying that the self or essence of Allah is limited by the ‘Arsh in the downward direction (from the perspective of Allah’s self); but in the other directions, i.e. up, right, left, front and back, there are no limits, and Allah’s self is endless. That is, he believes Allah is a physical body but an infinitely large body. Hence, Abu Ya‘lā reconciles the two purported statements of Imam Ahmad as follows: the negation of hadd is for the five directions and the affirmation is for the downward direction.
Ibn Taymiyyah, however, does not agree with Qādī Abū Ya‘lā. 
According to Ibn Taymiyyah, the difference between the downward direction and the other directions is not that the first is limited and the others unlimited, but that the limit in the first is known while the limits in the other five directions are unknown. This is also how Ibn Taymiyyah reconciles the two purported statements of Imam Ahmad. He says the affirmation is affirmation of limits themselves (i.e. that Allah Himself has limits in all six directions), and the negation is negation of known limits in the five directions besides the downward direction. He says: “Where he [Ahmad] negated it, he negated a definer defining Him and his knowledge of His hadd, and where he affirmed it, he affirmed it in itself.” (حيث نفاه نفى تحديد الحاد له وعلمه بحده وحيث أثبته أثبته في نفسه).

Ibn Taymiyyah says: “As for what Qadi said of affirming hadd from the direction of ‘Arsh only (faqat)…it is the view of a group of the people that affirm (the attributes), and the majority hold the contrary view and that is correct.” (وأما ما ذكره القاضي في إثبات الحد من جهة العرش فقط فهذا قد اختلف فيه كلامه وهو قول طائفة من أهل الإثبات والجمهور على خلافه وهو الصواب)
What is the contrary view? It is the opposite of what Abū Ya‘lā said that Allah does not have a hadd above, behind, left, right and front. That is, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, Allah does have a hadd in all these directions, but it is just that we do not know what those hadds are.
He also says that the fact the hadd of Allah is not known (as mentioned in Imam Ahmad’s purported statement) shows that the hadd is not limited to the direction of ‘Arsh, as that is known to us! Hence there are hadds in the other directions which we do not know! (ولو كان مراد أحمد رحمه الله الحد من جهة العرش فقط لكان ذلك معلوما لعباده فإنهم قد عرفوا أن حده من هذه الجهة هو العرش فعلم أن الحد الذي لا يعلمونه مطلق لا يختص بجهة العرش)

Hence the clear meaning of Ibn Taymiyyah’s speech is that Allah has hadds from the six physical directions.
This is Ibn Taymiyyah’s view with respect to the self of Allah itself: that it is bounded by limits in the six physical directions (just like every single physical object). However, he does not believe the limited self is contained within creation (i.e. hulūl). The two issues should not be confused.

Scholars of lughah and other sciences, like Rāghib al-Asfahānī clearly defined “jism” as that which has length, breadth and depth. Imam al-Ghazāli defined jism in this way also:
أعني بالجسم عبارة عن مقدار له طول وعرض وعمق يمنع غيره من أن يوجد حيث هو إلا بأن يتنحى عن ذلك المكان
By jism I mean [something with spatial] measurement of length, breadth and depth, which prevents something else from being present where it is, unless it moves from that place.”

Ibn Taymiyyah affirms that Allah’s self is bounded by limits in the six physical directions which is the very definition of jism. Hence, Ibn Taymiyyah was explicitly promoting tajsīm (corporealism) in this passage.
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Ibn Taymiyyah says Aļļaah has 6 limits, one of which is adjacent to the ˆArsħ
Ibn Taymiyyah said:
قال ابن تيميةفهذا القول الوسط من أقوال القاضي الثلاثة هو المطابق لكلام أحمد وغيره من الأئمة وقد قال إنه تعالى في جهة مخصوصة وليس هو ذاهبا في الجهات بل هو خارج العالم متميز عن خلقه منفصل عنهم غير داخل في كل الجهات وهذا معنى قول أحمد “حد لا يعلمه إلا هو” ولو كان مراد أحمد رحمه الله الحد من جهة العرش فقط لكان ذلك معلوما لعباده فانهم قد عرفوا أن حده من هذه الجهة هو العرش فعلم أن الحد الذي لا يعلمونه مطلق لا يختص بجهة العرش (بيان تلبيس الجهميةج1/ص438).
This moderate saying among the three sayings of Al-Qaađii Abuu Yaˆlaa is the one that agrees with what Aĥmad says and others among the imaams. He [i.e. Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal – and this is a lie, Aĥmad believed what Muslims believe, but that is another matter (Trans.)] has stated, “Aļļaah is in a particular direction, and He is not spread out in all directions. Rather, He is outside the world, distinct from His creation, separate from it, and He is not in every direction.” This is what Aĥmad, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him, meant when he said,He has a limit that only He knows.” If Aĥmad had meant the direction towards the ˆArsħ (Throne) only, then this would be known to Aļļaah’s slaves, because they know that Aļļaah’s limit from this direction is the ˆArsħ, so we know then that the limit they do not know is unqualified, and is not specified for the direction of the ˆArsħ
(Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/438).
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Ibn Taymiyyah says Aļļaah has composition, settles in a place, has different sides/parts, and needs
[Ibn Taymiyyah continues to say:] We have already clarified what possibilities (in terms of what they mean) are associated with the words composition, settling in place, being other (having different sides or parts), and need, and that the meaning meant by this is something all existing things must be attributed with, whether necessary in existence (he means Aļļaah) or possible in existence (creation.) Verily, to say that this is impossible (for Aļļaah to be attributed with,) is pure sophistry. (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/33)
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Ibn Taymiyya said in his Fatawa: "The establishment of Allah over the Throne is real, and the servant's establishment over the ship is real (وللّه ـ تعالى ـ استواء على عرشه حقيقة، وللعبد استواء على الفلك حقيقة،) [Majmu` al-Fatawa, (5/199)].
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Astaghfirullah 
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The Holy Prophet (صلىالله عليه وآله وسلم)is related to have said in Sahih Muslim:
“O Allah, You are the first: there is nothing before You; and You are the last:
there is nothing after You. You are the Manifest (al-Zahir): there is nothing above You. You are the Hidden (al-Batin): there is nothing below You.”
The Holy Prophet (صلىالله عليه وآله وسلمsaid: "Allah was when there was nothing else than Him, and His Throne was upon the water, and He wrote in the Reminder (al-dhikr) all things, and He created the heavens and the earth."
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Narrated from 'Imran ibn Husayn by al-Bukhari, Sahih, book of the Beginning of Creation.
There are other wordings of this hadith such as the wordings: kâ na allâ hu wa lâ shay'a ma'ahu / ghayruhu / qablahu - "Allah was and there was nothing other than Him /together with Him /before Him." 
Narrated from Burayda by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:341), who declared it sound (sahîh) - al-Dhahabi concurred - and from 'Imran ibn Husayn by Bukhari, Ibn Hibban with two sound chains in his Sahih (14:7 #6140, 14:11 #6142), and Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf. 

Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib (d.4oAH) is reported to have said:
تفسير مدارك التنزيل وحقائق التأويل/ النسفي
قول علي رضي الله عنه: الاستواء غير مجهول والتكييف غير معقول والإيمان به واجب والسؤال عنه بدعة لأنه تعالى كان ولا مكان فهو على ما كان قبل خلق المكان لم يتغير عما كان
.
“al-Istiwa is not unknown, and the modality is altogether inconceivable. To affirm it is obligatory and to ask questions about it is an innovation, this is because Allah was, when there was nothing, and He created place before there was a place, and He is in no need for a place”.
[Reported (without chain)in Tafsir Madaarik al-Tanzeel wa Haqaa’iq al-Ta’weel by an-Nasafi, under surah Taha (20) ayat (5)]
Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib is also reported to have said:
قال الإمام علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه :-" من زعم أن إلهنا محدود فقد جهل الخالق المعبود" ا.هـ رواه أبو نعيم في حلية الأولياء
"He who a claims that our Lord is limited is ignorant about the Creator who is worshipped."
[Reported by Hafidh Abu Nu'aym (without chain)*
 in his Hilyatul Awliya]
1.*  Read  Here
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Sayyidina  Imam ‘Ali ibn abi Talib said; “Indeed, Allah the Exalted created the Throne as a manifestation of His Power and not a place for His Essence. He was in the beginning, while there was no place or time and He is now as He ever was” [Imam ‘Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, Al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, page, 41]
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Ibn Hajar al-Haytami  (d.974AH) writes: "When a Jew asked: Sayyidina Ali,
"Since when is the existence of our Allah?" 
Sayyidina Ali's colour changed and he said:
"He existed without how when there was no makan and nothing. He does not have a "before" or an "end" with respect to time. Everything other than Him comes to an end."
Source:
[Al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, Section on Imam Ali's virtues (Section 9, Part 4: The part on Sayyidina Ali's Karamats, Judgements, Knowledge, Wisdom and Zuhd). Translated from Turkish.]

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Sayyidina Imam Ali  is also reported to have said:
عن علي رضي الله عنه قال: سيرجع قوم من هذه الأمة عند اقتراب الساعة كفارا قال رجل:يا أمير المؤمنين كفرهم بماذا أبالاحداث أم بالانكار فقال:بل بالانكار ينكرون خالقهم فيصفونه بالجسم و الأعضاء
في كتاب نجم المهتدي لابن المعلم القرشي ص 588
 "Some people from this ummah will revert to blasphemy near the time of the day of judgement, a man said: Is it because of innovations or denial? He said: Denial (of Allah or His attributes), they deny the Attributes of their creator and attribute to him with the body and organs (bodily parts)".

Sayyidah Aishah (d.58AH) said that the Prophet(s) said: "If you find the people who follow the Mutashabih from the Qur'an, then those whom Allah said about them (there's misguidance (Zaygh) in their hearts), so be warned from them" [Narrated by al-Bukhariy.]
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Taking Mutashabih verses in al-Qur'an literally contradicts the Qurt'an itself and the hadith, and so it leads to Tashbeeh and Tajseem. (Mushabbihah, those who liken Allah to his creations, Mujassimah, those who attribute the body and bodily parts to Allah). More info Here
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Sayyidina Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (68 AH)
Ibn Abbas and the Companions of the Prophet, sallahu alayhi wa salam:
Concerning the verse, “The day that a Shin will be laid bare,” (Quran 68:42) 
Ibn Abbas interpreted the “shin” to mean “severity.” Commenting on this verse, Imam al Tabari said, “A group of the Prophet’s companions and their disciples, and the people of figurative interpretation have said, ‘He will uncover a severe matter.’ And among those who interpreted the shin to mean ‘severity’ from the Imams of Quranic exegesis are Mujahid, Said Bin Jubayr, Qataba and others. Allah be He exalted said, ‘And the sky we built with hands. And it is We who give expanse.’ (Quran 51:47).
 Ibn Abbas said concerning it: “With strength.” (Tafsir al Tabari) That is, “We built it with strength.”
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{ يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى ٱلسُّجُودِ فَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ }
On a day when shin shall be exposed, they shall be ordered to prostrate, but be unable” (Qur’an 68:42)
It shows that the great Sahabi, Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas actually made ta’wil (figurative interpretation) of this word. It is also a rebuttal to those who disputed its authenticity.
Ta’wil of Saaqfrom Ibn Abbas: Read  Here
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"...The Holy Prophet(s) said: May Allah grant him (Ibn Abbas) deep understanding of religion." 
[Sahih Muslim Book :031, Hadith No.6055]
Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas said,  Ibn Abbas would speak and Umar would not disregard what he had to say.”
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Ibn Abbas said, “I am of those well grounded in knowledge, who know the meaning (of the allegorical verses).” [Imam Suyuti, Itqan, Vol: 2, page, 4]
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Abû al-Aliya (d. 90AH) and al-Rabî (d. 139AH) said of 2:210: "It means the angels come in the clouds. It is confirmed by His saying: {A day when the heaven with the clouds will be rent asunder and the angels will be sent down, a great descent} (25:25)."
[Narrated from Abû al-`Aliya [al-Riyâhî the student of Ibn `Abbâs] by al-Bayhaqî in al-Asmâ' (Kawtharî ed. p. 448; Hâshidî ed. 2:370 §943) through al-Hâkim with a chain containing Abû Ja`far al-Râzî (`Isâ ibn Abî `Isâ Mâhân) whom al-Khatîb and Ibn Hajar declared "truthful but poor in memorizing" - although considered trustworthy (thiqa) by Ibn al-Madînî, Ibn Ma`în, Abû Hâtim, and al-Diyâ' al-Maqdisî - and by al-Tabarî, Ibn Abî Hâtim, al-Qurtubî, and al-Suyûtî in their Tafsîr (verse 2:210), also by Abû `Ubayd ibn Sallâm and Ibn al-Mundhir as stated in al-Suyûtî's al-Durr al-Manthûr.]
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Al-Bayhaqî said: "[Abû al-`Aliya's] commentary rightly establishes that the clouds are a place and vehicle only for the angels, whereas there is neither place nor vehicle for Allâh Almighty." [Al-Bayhaqî, Al-Asmâ' wal-Sifât (Kawtharî ed. p. 448; Hâshidî ed. 2:370).]
Read more:Here
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Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (d.95AH) is reported to have said:
وروى الحافظ اللغوي محمد مرتضى الزَّبيديُّ في شرح الإحياء بالإسناد المتصل أن الإمام عليًّا زين العابدين كان يقول: "سبحانك لا يحويك مكان" اهـ، وزين العابدين كان أفضل أهل البيت في زمانه
“glory be to you who has no place”

[Documented in Imam Murtada Zabidi’s Sharh al-Ihya 'ulum ud Deen, with a Mutasil Isnad]
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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin ‘Ali Ibnul-Hussayn said: “You are Allah, the One who is not confined to place” [‘as-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyyah’]

Imam Mujahid ibn Jabar  (d. 102 AH)
This is the most widespread interpretation (ta’wîl) of the issue among the Salaf: al-Baghawi said that the meaning of the verse ( The Merciful established Himself over the Throne) (20:5) according to Ibn ‘Abbas and most of the commentators of Qur’an is "He elevated Himself" (irtafa‘a). This is the interpretation quoted by al-Bukhari in his Sahih from the senior Tâbi‘i Rufay‘ ibn Mahran Abu al-‘Aliya (d. 90).
Al-Bukhari also cites from Mujahid (d. 102 AH) the interpretation "to rise above" or "exalt Himself above" (‘alâ). Ibn Battal declares the latter to be the true position and the saying of Ahl al-Sunna because Allah described Himself as "the Sublimely Exalted" -- ( al-‘Alî) (2:255) and said: ( exalted be He (ta‘âlâ) over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)!) (23:92).
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TheMakanNarration Attributed to Imam Mujahid
...some observations on the narration attributed to Imam Mujahid ibn Jabar regarding the ascription of a Makan (“Place”) for Allah… Read Full Artical: Here
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Imam Al-Hasan al-Basri (d.110AH)
Imam Al-Hasan interpreted the verse “Nay, both His hands are spread wide, and He bestows as He wills” (5:64) to refer to Allah’s kindness and goodness. [Ibn al-Jawzi, Daf` Shubah al-Tahsbih(Saqqaf ed. p. 115).]
Similarly, he interpreted Allah’s qadam to mean “those whom He has sent forth” (qaddamahum) in the hadith of the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him –:
Hellfire will keep asking: “Is there more?” until the Lord of Might places His qadam (lit. “foot”) in it. Then it will say: “Enough! Enough!” (qatt qatt) and gather up all its parts together. There will still remain room in Paradise until Allah originates a creation which He will place in the remainder of Paradise.[ Narrated from Anas by Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Khattabi said: “The meaning of qadam here is possibly a reference to those whom Allah has created of old or `sent forth’ for the Fire in order to complete the number of its inhabitants. Everything that is `sent forth’ is a qadam, in the same way that the verbal noun of demolishing (hadama) is a hadm or ruin, and that of seizing (qabada) is qabd or a seizure. Likewise Allah said: “They have a sure foundation (qadam sidq) with their Lord” (10:2) with reference to the good works which they have sent forth. This explanation has been transmitted to us from al-Hasan al-Basri. It is supported by the Prophet’s saying in the aforementioned hadith: `As for Paradise, Allah will create for it a special creation.’ Both meanings (i.e. respectively pertaining to the Fire and Paradise) are in agreement with the sense that Paradise and hellfire will be provided with an additional number of dwellers to complete their respective numbers, at which point they will be full.” Al-Khattabi, Ma`alim al-Sunan (Hims ed. 5:95). Cf. Ibn al-Jawzi, Daf` Shubah al-Tahsbih(Saqqaf ed. p. 15).]
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For example: the establishment is the conquering (istila') and dominion (tasallut), Allah's hand is His strength in His saying: "Allah's hand is over their hand" (48:10) and His generosity in His saying: "Nay, both His hands are spread wide, and He bestows as He wills" (5:64). [Ibn al-Jawzi interpreted the former verse as Allah's favor (ni`ma) and power (qudra), and the latter, according to Hasan al-Basri, as His kindness and goodness.] [Ibn al-Jawzi, Daf` shubah al-tahsbih p. 115.]
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Abu Sulaiman said: "The meaning of the qadam here is possibly a reference to those whom Allah has created of old or "sent forth" for the Fire in order to complete the number of its inhabitants. Everything that is "sent forth" is a qadam, in the same way that the verbal noun of demolishing (hadama) is a hadm or ruin, and that of seizing (qabada) is qabd or a seizure. Likewise Allah said: "They have a sure foundation (qadam sidq) with their Lord" (10:2) with reference to the good works which they have sent forth. This explanation has been transmitted to us from al-Hasan al-Basri.
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Imam Abu Ja’far al-Sadiq (d.148AH) : Whoever claims that Allāh is in something, or from something, or on something has associated a partner with Allāh , because if He was in something, then He would be confined; and if He was on something, then He would be carried; and if He was from something, then He would be something that has a beginning.”
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Imam Abu Ja’far al-Sadiq  said: He who claims that Allah is in anything or on anything or from anything commits shirk (type of blasphemy). Because, had He been on anything, He would have been carried, had He been in anything, He would have been contained, and had He been from anything, He would have been a creation”. [Narrated by Imam al-Qushayriyy (d.465AH) in his book ‘ar-Risalah’.]
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[Al-Risala al-Qushayriyya Fi 'Ilm al-Tasawwuf'. The author of the Epistle on Sufism, Abu ’l-Qasim al-Qushayri (b.376/986–d.465/1074), was a famous Sunni scholar and mystic (Sufi) from Khurasan in Iran. His Epistle is probably the most popular Sufi manual ever. from the Great Books of Islamic Civilization series.
Written in 437/1045, it has served as a primary textbook for many generations of Sufi novices down to the present. [More Info: Here ][Also see below his son Imam Abu Nasr ibn al-Qushayri (d.514 AH)]
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Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 150AH) said: "Had He been in a place and needing to sit and rest before creating the Throne, then the question: 'Where was Allah?' would have applied to Him, which is impossible."
[Abu Hanifa, Wasiyya al-Imam al-A'zam Abu Hanifa, ed. Fu'ad 'Ali Rida (Beirut : Maktabat al-Jamahir, 1970) p. 10.]


In his “Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar” Imam Abu Hanifah said,

ومعنى الشىءِ إثباتُهُ بلا جسمٍ ولا جوهرٍ ولا عَرَضٍ، ولا حدَّ لهُ، ولا ضدَّ لهُ، ولا ندَّ له، ولا مِثلَ لهُ.
“When we say that Allah is shay’ we mean that He exists without a body, essence, or temporary attributes. He does not have a limit, an opposite, a substitute, or a like in any sense of likeness at all.” (Al Fiqh Al Akbar 63)
Imam Abu Hanifah said in Al Fiqh Al Absat:
كان الله ولا مكان ، كان قبل أن يخلق الخلق ، كان ولم يكن أين ولا خلق ولا شىء وهو خالق كل شىء فمن قال لا أعرف ربي أفي السماء أم في الأرض فهو كافر . كذلك من قال إنه على العرش ولا أدري العرش أفي السماء أم في الأرض
Allah existed and there was no place. He existed before he created creation. He existed and there was no “where,” no creation or anything else. He is the Creator of everything.  So the one that says, “I do not know about by Lord, is He in the Sky or on Earth,” is a blasphemer. Likewise, the one who says “Verily He is over the throne, but I do not know whether the throne is in the sky or on Earth.”
[Abu Hanifah, An Nu`maan ibn Thaabit (80-150 AH/ 699-767. Al Fiqh Al Akbar. KairoEgypt: Maktabah Al-Azhariyah Li Al-Turaath, 1421/2001.]
Imam Abu Hanifah said this because in both expressions it is clear that the speaker ascribes a place to Allah, and is not intending to say aboveness without direction or place. This is obviously what Abu Hanifah means, as he stated right before it, “Allah existed and there was no place.”
Note again that the Prophet made it clear that Allah’s abovenes is not in place or direction, but in status, when He said: “You are Al-Thahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al Batin, so there is nothing below you.” This hadith makes it explicit that Allah’s aboveness is not one of place and direction."
Read the Full article here: Abuu Ĥaniifah
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Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161 AH) interpreted istiwâ’ in the verse (The Merciful established Himself over the Throne) (20:5) as "a command concerning the Throne" (amrun fi al-‘arsh), as related by Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni and quoted by al-Yafi‘i in the latter’s book Marham al-‘Ilal al-Mu‘dila fi Daf‘ al-Shubah wa al-Radd ‘ala al-Mu‘tazila ("Book of the Resolution of Difficult Problems for the Removal of Doubts and the Refutation of the Mu‘tazila"):
The understanding of istiwâ’ as the turning of Allah to a particular command concerning the Throne is not far-fetched, and this is the ta’wîl of Imam Sufyan al-Thawri, who took as corroborating evidence for it the verse: (Then turned He (thumma istawâ) to the heaven when it was smoke) (41:11), meaning: "He proceeded to it" (qasada ilayhâ).
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Sufyan al Thawri said concerning Allah’s saying, “And He is with you where ever you are” (Quran 57:4) “It means with His knowledge.” (Tashih al Mahafim al Aqadiyya)
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Imam Malik (d.179AH) answered: ’Istiwa s not unknown, and its how [manner] is not conceivable (al-istiwa ghayr majhul wa l-kayf ghayr ma’qul).
(Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d.386AH)  Kitab al-Jami fi s-sunan wa al-adab wa l-maghazi wa t-tarikh)
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Imam Malik said: ‘"The Merciful is established over the Throne" just as He described Himself. One cannot ask "how." "How" does not apply to Him.
From Yahya ibn Yahya al-Tamimi and Malik’s shaykh Rabi`a ibn Abi `Abd al-Rahman:
Imam Malik  said: ‘The establishment is not unknown; the "how" is not conceivable;”
(Narrated by Imam al-Bayhaqi(d.458AH) with a sound chain in al-Asma' wa al-Sifat)
More info Here
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Ibn Al-Mubarak (d.181 AH)
The statement of Ibn al-Mubarak :
Quote:
[قال ابن المبارك : "لا نقول كما قالت الجهمية إنه في الأرض ههنا، بل على العرش استوى" وقيل له : كيف تعرف ربنا ؟ قال : " فوق سماواته على عرشه " ]
 Khalq says: Ibn al-Mubarak said: We do not say what the Jahmiyyah said that Allah is here on the earth, but we say that He rose on the Throne / ala al-arsh istawa .
Ibn al-Mubarak was also asked:
How do you know of our Lord? He replied: That He is above His heavens above His Throne.
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Answer: Yes, we attribute Allah with whatever He attributed Himself with and He has attributed Himself with being established on the throne. Therefore, we do not say what the Jahmites say that He is in every location - we seek refuge with Allah!- but rather He is without locality and distinct from His creation.
We know this by what has come in clear texts and reports of His being above the throne. This is affirmation of that which is textually established in the Book and the Sunna, without any affirmation of an outwardly sensory meaning.
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Imam al-Bayhaqi says in al-Asma' wal-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 426-427; Hashidi ed. 2:334-336:… so He is on the Throne as He related. By saying this, he meant to belie the Jahmiyya who claimed that He is in every place. His other report confirms this
From `Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Shaqiq: 'I heard `Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak say, "We know our Lord to be above (fawq) seven heavens, [He established Himself over His Throne], distinct (ba'in) from His creation, and we do not say as the Jahmiyya said, that He is right here' - and he pointed to the ground (hahuna fil-ard)."'
By the term 'distinct' he means, as he explained directly afterwards, to negate the claim [of intermixing (imtizaj)] of the Jahmiyya, NOT to suggest direction on the opposite side. He means what the Law said in absolute terms
 'Abd Allah Ibn al-Mubarak was simply emphasising the point that Allah is not mixed in creation but rather He is distinct from it. More Info: Here
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Quote: “Ishaq bin Ibraheem Al-Handhali narrated that Ibn Al-Mubarak said: "The Top of the Minaret is closer to Allah than it's Bottom" ? Answer/Reply:  Here
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Imam Sufyan bin Uyayna (d.198AH) said: All that Allah described Himself with in the Glorious Qur'an then "ITS RECITATION IS IT'’S INTERPRETATION. There is no Kayfia (asking how it's meant) nor likeness (tamtheel or tashbeeh) [As-Sifaat” by Imam al Daraqutni, Page # 70]

Imam Al-Shafi'i (d.204 AH) is reported to have stated,
"
إنه تعالى كان ولا مكان فخلق المكان وهو على صفة الأزلية كما كان قبل خلقه المكان لا يجوز عليه التغيير في ذاته ولا التبديل في صفاته " اهـ. [إتحاف السادة المتقين (2/ 24 ]
"Verily, He the exalted was, without makaan (station or place). He created Makaan and He was upon His attribute of eternality just as He was before he created makaan. It is not permitted upon Him to change his essence or to change in His attributes." 
[It-Haaf As-Saadah Al Muttaqeen 2/24]
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Imam Al-Shafi'i has stated: "If it is said that "Allahu ta'ala said "Rahman did istiwa over Arsh,"" then the following response is given:
These (types of) ayats are among the mutashabihat that perplex those who don't have the desire to achieve depth in ilm when answering these and others like them. That is, they should accept these ayats as they are and they should refrain from research and talking about them. This is because, one cannot ensure avoiding doubt and danger when he does not have rusukh [deep understanding] in ilm. He must believe in Allahu ta'ala's attributes as we have mentioned. No makan can contain Allahu ta'ala. Time does not pass over Him. He is exalted beyond having limits and end points; He is mustaghni [independent] from makan and directions. "There is nothing like Him." (42/11)"

Source: Imam ash-Shafi'i, al-Fiqh al-Akbar, 17. Quoted by: Dr. Ebubekir Sifil, Milli Gazete [daily newspaper in Turkish], Jan 8, 2006. Dr. Sifil states: See Kashf al-Zunun, II, 1288. Katib Chalabi points out the doubt about the attribution of this book to Imam ash-Shafi'i. However, Professor Fuad Sezgin  reports that a copy of this book written in the year 292 is present in the al-Azhar Library and states: "If this date is correct, the doubt about the attribution of this book to Imam ash-Shafi'i is removed." (Tarikh al-Turath, I, 491) 

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Imam al-Shafi'i said: 'The one who attributes to Allah bodily characteristics blasphemes.' This was narrated by Imam al- Suyuti in the book: Al-Ashabah wa Anatha'ir. (Al Ishbah Wa'n Nadha'ir Fi Qawa'id wa Furu Fiqh Shafi'i see here
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Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241AH) said:
'The one who says Allah is a body not like other bodies Blasphemes'.
[Narrated by Abu Muhammad al Baghdadiy in his book: Al Khisal and Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi in his book: Tashnif Al Masami']
Similarly, Hafiz al-Bayhaqi quotes Imam Ahmad in Manaqib Ahmad:
"A person commits an act of disbelief (kufr) if he says Allah is a body, even if he says: Allah is a body but not like other bodies."
In I'tiqad Imam Ahmad bi Riwaya Tamimi (page 4) the Imam is quoted as saying:
Allah ta'ala has Yadayn. They are attributes of His Essence which are not two limbs, nor two composite parts, nor a body...وكان يقول إن لله تعالى يدين وهما صفة له في ذاته ليستا بجارحتين وليستا بمركبتين و لا جسم ولا من جنس الأجسام ولا من جنس المحدود والتركيب ولا الأبعاض والجوارح
Itiqaad Al-Imaam Al-Mubajjal Ibn Ĥanbal, Page, 297:
"Aļļaah taˆaalaa did not change or experience any substitution (in His attributes), and has not been attributed with any limits before creating the Arsħ and not after creating it
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Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about ‘Istawa”[Istiwa’]: It means height/exaltation (`uluw) and elevation (irtifa`). Allah – Most High – is ever exalted (`ali) and elevated (rafi`) without beginning, before He created the Throne. He is above everything (huwa fawqa kulli shay’), and He is exalted over everything (huwa al-`ali `ala kulli shay’). He only specified the Throne because of its particular significance which makes it different from everything else, as the Throne is the best of all things and the most elevated of them. Allah – Most High – therefore praised Himself by saying that He {established Himself over the Throne}, that is, He exalted Himself over it (`alayhi `ala). It is impermissible to say that He established Himself with a contact or a meeting with it. Exalted is Allah above that! Allah is not subject to change, substitution, nor limits, whether before or after the creation of the Throne(Tabaqat al-Hanabila, 2:296-297).
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Dhun Nun al-Misri (245AH)
Az-Zahid, Shaykh of Misr (Egypt), Thawban bin Ibrahim. He narrated from Imam Malik, Imam Layth, Bin Luhay’a, Fudayl bin ‘Ayyad, Salim al-Khawwas, Sufyan bin ‘Uyayna and others. Those who narrated from him include: Ahmed bin Sabih al-Fayumi, Rabi’ah bin Muhammed at-Tai, Ridwan bin Muhaymid, Hasan bin Mus’ab, al-Junayd bin Muhammed az-Zahid, Miqdam bin Dawud ar-Ra’ini, and others. He narrated only a few hadith, and wasn’t an expert in it. 
Daraqutni said, “he narrated from Malik Ahadith, in which are difficulties, and was a religious orator.” 
Bin Yunus said, “he was a wise eloquent scholar he passed away in Dhil Qi’dah in the year 245 Hijri.”
‘Ali bin Hatim said, ‘I heard Dhu an-Nun say, ‘Quran is the Speech of Allah ta’ala, and is not created (is eternal).
 Yusuf bin al-Husayn said, “I heard Dhu an-Nun say, “what image comes in your mind, then Allah is not that”.
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Dhul Nūn al-Misrī  was asked about the saying of Allāh: “al-Rahmān `alāl `arsh istawā
 He answered: “He affirmed His existence, and denied that He has a place. So He Himself exists independently, while other things exist by His Wisdom as He Wills.”
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Imam Ibn Kathir , Bidaya wa an-Nihaya:
‘Thawban bin Ibrahim, one of famous Mashayikh, Ibn Khalkan wrote a biographical note about him in al-Wafayat, and mentioned his merits and states, and stated his death was in the year 245 Hijri. He’s considered amongst those who narrated Muwatta from Imam Malik, Ibn Yunus mentioned him in Tarikh Misr, and he was eloquent and wise.”
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It should be kept in mind that there is no censure on the terminology (of the Sufis) as long as the meaning is sound, and what Dhun Nun al-Misri spoke about and is recorded doesn't contradict any ‘Aqidah of Ahlus Sunnah, his statements of ‘Aqidah, two of which are recorded here, are in clear conformity with Ahlu Sunnah. Scholars have accepted him and quoted him abundantly which shows that he wasn't deviant, scholars such as Imam Nawawi, Hafidh Ibn Hajar, Hafidh Ibn Qayyim and others. 
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Imam al-Bukhari (d.256 AH), in the chapter of Exegesis (Kitab at-Tafsir) of his Sahih, in volume 3 p.171 of the edition used, says:
Surat al-Qasas : kullu shay’in haalikun illa wajhah :’Everything will be destroyed, except His  wajh [i.e.]: except His ‘Dominion’ ( illa mulkah).’
[Explanation: This phrase means ‘Everything will be destroyed except his ‘wajh‘. The term wajh has several meanings: the one that comes immediately to the mind is ‘face’, however this is not a meaning suitable for Allah as this would contradict the explicit verses from the Qur’an such as the one meaning that He does not resemble anything. Therefore, that is why al-Bukhari here explains the term wajh with one of its other meanings which is ‘Dominion’, i.e. everything will be destroyed, but the fact that Allah owns and controls everything will not be destroyed.]. (The commentary of Imam as-Sindi (d.1138AH) can be seen on the margin confirms that this interpretation is correct.)
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Sahih al-Bukhari:  from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, Allah Most High laughs about two men, one of whom kills the other, but both of whom enter paradise: the one fights in the path of Allah and is killed, and afterwards Allah forgives the killer, and then he fights in the path of Allah and is martyred, the hadith master al-Bayhaqi records that the scribe of Bukhari [Muhammad ibn Yusuf] al-Farabri related that Imam al-Bukhari said, "The meaning of laughter in it is mercy[Kitab al-asma’ wa al-sifat, 298)]
Imam al- Bukhari believed that Allah exists without a place. Imam Ibn Hajar repeats the belief that Allah is without a place many times. (ibn hajar, fath al-bari 13:357; Cf. 3:23, 6:102, 13:309,328,351,354,355,357,366,369-370, 414.)
Sahih Bukhari states:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet(s) saw expectoration in the direction of the Qibla of the mosque while he was leading the prayer, and scratched it off. After finishing the prayer, he said, "Whenever any of you is in prayer he should know that Allah is in front of him. So none should spit in front of him in the prayer." [Volume 1, Book 12, Number 720]
[Imam al-Bukhari attributed a specific meaning to the term "illa wajhahu" in Surat al ­Qasas, ayah 88. He said, "illa mulkahu," i.e., he said that word "wajh" which is an attribute of Allah means "Mulk" or "Dominion."
 Following this method, one would say: "His istiwa' means 'He preserves the throne,' His yad means 'His Care,' His wajh means 'His Self,' 'His Dominion, as al-Bukhari said' or 'His Qiblah.' as Ibn Abbas and Mujahid said.

In Surat al-Qalam, ayah 42, Allah said: {يوم يكشف عن ساق} The scholars of the Salaf explained the term "saq" by 'hardship,' and the ayah to mean 'a day of anguish and hardship.' This explanation is known to have been given by: Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ibrahim an Nakhiy, Qatadah, Said Ibn Jubayr…others]
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Imam al-Tirmidhi (d.279AH)
Imam al Tirmidhi in his al-Jami (vol.5, pp. 376-377, no. 3298, under Kitab Tafsir al Qur'an, as edited by the "Salafi" - Ahmad Shakir) narrated:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم حدثنا عبد بن حميد ، وغير واحد ، والمعنى واحد ، قالوا : حدثنا يونس بن محمد قال : حدثنا شيبان بن عبد
الرحمن ، عن قتادة ، قال : حدث الحسن ، عن أبي هريرة ، قال : بينما نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم جالس وأصحابه إذ أتى عليهم سحاب ، فقال نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : " " هل تدرون ما هذا ؟ " " فقالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " هذا العنان هذه روايا الأرض يسوقه الله تبارك وتعالى إلى قوم لا يشكرونه ولا يدعونه " " ثم قال : " " هل تدرون ما فوقكم " " ؟ قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " فإنها الرقيع ، سقف محفوظ ، وموج مكفوف " " ، ثم قال : " " هل تدرون كم بينكم وبينها ؟ " " قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " بينكم وبينها مسيرة خمس مائة سنة " " . ثم قال : " " هل تدرون ما فوق ذلك ؟ " " قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " فإن فوق ذلك سماءين ، ما بينهما مسيرة خمسمائة عام " " حتى عد سبع سماوات ، ما بين كل سماءين ما بين السماء والأرض ، ثم قال : " " هل تدرون ما فوق ذلك ؟ " " قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " فإن فوق ذلك العرش وبينه وبين السماء بعد ما بين السماءين " " . ثم قال : " " هل تدرون ما الذي تحتكم " " ؟ قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " فإنها الأرض " " . ثم قال : " " هل تدرون ما الذي تحت ذلك " " ؟ قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : " " فإن تحتها أرضا أخرى ، بينهما مسيرة خمس مائة سنة " " حتى عد سبع أرضين ، بين كل أرضين مسيرة خمس مائة سنة . ثم قال : " " والذي نفس محمد بيده لو أنكم دليتم بحبل إلى الأرض السفلى لهبط على الله " " . ثم قرأ هو الأول والآخر والظاهر والباطن وهو بكل شيء عليم . هذا حديث غريب من هذا الوجه . ويروى عن أيوب ، ويونس بن عبيد ، وعلي بن زيد ، قالوا : لم يسمع الحسن من أبي هريرة ، وفسر بعض أهل العلم هذا الحديث ، فقالوا : إنما هبط على علم الله وقدرته وسلطانه . علم الله وقدرته وسلطانه في كل مكان ، وهو على العرش كما وصف في كتابه *
The red highlighted portion of the Hadith translates as:
"By Him in whose hand Muhammad's soul is, if you were to drop a rope to the lowest ard (land/earth), it would descend upon Allah."
Imam al-Tirmidhi
expounded on this narration by saying (blue text):
"Some of the people of knowledge explained this Hadith by saying: Verily it would descend upon the knowledge of Allah, and His power and His authority, for Allah's knowledge, His power and His authority is in every place, and He is upon the Throne, as He described Himself in his Book"

Now, ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya, the student of ibn Taymiyya commented on this in his al-Sawa'iq al-Mursala:
قال ابن القيم في الصواعق ص 400

فقوله " لو دليتم بحبل لهبط على الله " اذا هبط في قبضته المحيطة بالعالم فقد هبط عليه والعالم في قبضته وهو فوق عرشه , ولو ان احدنا امسك بيده او برجله كرة قبضتها يده من جميع جوانبها ثم وقعت حصاة من اعلى الكرة الى اسفلها لوقعت في يده وهبطت عليه , ولم يلزم من ذلك ان تكون الكرة والحصاة فوقه وهو تحتها , ولله المثل الاعلى وانما يؤتى الرجل من سوء فهمه او من سوء قصده من كليهما , فاذا هما اجتمعا كمل نصيبه من الضلال
واما تأويل الترمذي وغيره له بالعلم فقال شيخنا : هو ظاهر الفساد من جنس تأويلات الجهمية بل بتقدير ثبوته , فانما يدل على الاحاطة , والاحاطة ثابتة عقلا ونقلا وفطرة
The red portion above states that the Ta'wil of al Tirmidhi and other than him was commented on by his Shaykh - meaning ibn Taymiyya - as follows:

"It is manifest depravity (zahir al fassad) from the sort of figurative interpretation's (Ta'wilat) of the Jahmiyya..." Quote to:  ibn Taymiyya's own work (Al-Risala al -Arshiyya) Here
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Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310 AH)
Imam al-Tabari says in his Muqaddimah to his Tarikh, “That (essence) which is not devoid of al-Hadath (accidents) there is no doubt that it is Muhdath (has a beginning).”
Imam al-Tabari says in Tabsir, “He’s the speaker (al-Mutakallim) upon whom silence is not allowed (i.e. It is negated).”
He says in another place, “There is consensus of the people of Tawhid from the Ahlul Qiblah upon the incorrectness or falacy of qualifying Allah ta’ala with Harakat (movement) and Sukun (stillness).”
Imam al-Tabri says in his Tafsir, “Indeed Allah ta’ala negated regarding Himself through it (the following): change (Taghayur), movement (tanaqqul) from one place to another, occurrence of change which occurs in humans and other creation,”
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Imam al-Tabari says in At-Tabsir fi Ma’alim ad-Din, “And whoever rejects what we said regarding it, it will be said to him, “tell us about the speech which you described that the Eternal is Mutakallim, did He created it in His Essence or created it in something else or subsists in His essence? “If he believes that He created it in His Essence then he has necessitated that His Essence is a locus for creation, and this is Kufr according to everyone.”
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Imam al-Tabari's tafsir of the ayah [2:186]:

{
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ }

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.
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Imam al-Tabri interprets:
يعنـي تعالـى ذكره بذلك: وإذا سألك يا مـحمد عبـادي عنـي أين أنا؟ فإنـي قريب منهم أسمع دعاءهم، وأجيب دعوة الداعي منهم.
By that, the Most High means: And when My servants, O Muhammad, ask you about Me and where I am, then verily I am near to them: I hear their supplications and respond to the supplicant among them
and he goes on to quote a Mursal hadith from al-Hasan al-Basri:
حدثنا الـحسن بن يحيى، قال: أخبرنا عبد الرزاق، قال: أخبرنا جعفر بن سلـيـمان عن عوف، عن الـحسن، قال: سأل أصحاب النبـي صلى الله عليه وسلم النبـي صلى الله عليه وسلم: أين ربنا؟ فأنزل الله تعالـى ذكره: { وَإذَا سألكَ عِبَـادي عَنِّـي فإنّـي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إذَا دَعان... } الآية.
Al-Hasan said, "The Prophet's Companions  asked the Prophet, 'Where is our Lord?' And so, Allah, Exalted is His mention, revealed: 'And when My servants ask concerning Me. . .'"
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Imam al- Tabri In the Tafseer of Aayatul Kursi (2:255):
The explanation Al Imam At Tabari gave in his tafseer for the Highness of Allah :
والعلـيّ: ذو العلوّ والارتفـاع علـى خـلقه بقدرته.
And Al 'Alee: The One possessing Highness and Exaltedness over His creation through His Omnipotence (bi qudratih).
And he also said in his explanation of the name The Exalted or Elevated (Al Muta'aali) {13:9} :
الـمتعال: الـمستعلـي علـى كلّ شيء بقدرته
The Elevated (Al Mutal'aali) He who is elevated over everything in His Omnipotence (bi qudratih)
In both places, his definition of Allah's Highness was not Him being physically high in Himself (bi Nefsihi) or His essence (bi thaatihi), but high above everything in power.
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Imam al-Tabari Refutes the Christians and in Doing so Refutes Pseudo-Salafis - Allah is not located in a place:

للَّهِ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ وَمَا فِيهِنَّ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ }
يقول تعالى ذكره: أيها النصارى { لِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَوَاتِ والأرْضِ } يقول: له سلطان السموات والأرض، { وَما فِيهِنَّ } دون عيسى الذين تزعمون أنه إلهكم ودون أمه، ودون جميع من في السموات ومن في الأرض فإن السموات والأرض خلق من خلقه وما فيهنّ وعيسى وأمه من بعض ذلك بالحلول والانتقال، يدلان بكونهما في المكان الذي هما فيه بالحلول فيه والانتقال أنهما عبدان مملوكان لمن له ملك السموات والأرض وما فيهنّ. ينبههم وجميع خلقه على موضع حجته عليهم ليدبروه ويعتبروه، فيعقلوا عنه. { وَهُوَ على كُلّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ } يقول تعالى ذكره: والله الذي له ملك السموات والأرض وما فيهنّ، قادر على إفنائهن وعلى إهلاكهن وإهلاك عيسى وأمه ومن في الأرض جميعاً كما ابتدأ خلقهم، لا يعجزه ذلك ولا شيء أراده لأن قدرته القدرة التي لا يشبهها قدرة وسلطانه السلطان الذي لا يشبهه سلطان ولا مملكة.
Imam Tabri in his tafsir of Surah Ma'idah verse 120 he refutes the Christians and in doing so negates that fact that God can be in a place - again a very rough translation:
"To Allah doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, and it is He Who hath power over all things. "
The Exalted said: O Christians "To Allah doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth]", He said: He has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth "and what they contain" without, you claim, 'Isa (Jesus) whom you consider your God, and without his mother, and without all of those who are in heaven and on earth. The heavens and the earth are a creation from amongst His creations and what they contain - Isa (Jesus) and his mother are part of it. By dwelling in it and displacement (Al hulul wal intiqal) it is proven that they are in a place and, therefore they are two slaves belonging to the One who has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth and all it contains.

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Imam, Hafidh and Mujtahid Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Jarir at-Tabariyy (d. 310 AH) In his book ‘Tarikh al-‘Umam wal-Muluk’ the History of Nations and their Kings), said on the subject of the Attributes of Allah said: “Delusions cannot grasp the Reality of Allah, places do not contain Him, sights do not attain Him, rather He knows about them all. Verily He is The One Whose Reality cannot be grasped by delusions and Whose Knowledge encompasses all”.
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Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310) said in his commentary on the verse “Then turned He (Thumma istawa) to the heaven” (2:29): The meaning of istiwa in this verse is height and elevatio, but if anyone claims that this means displacement for Allah, tell him, He is high and elevated over the heaven with the height of sovereignity and power, not the height of displacement and movement to and fro. (ibn jarir al-tabari, tafsir 1:192)
The above position is exactly that of the Ash‘ari school, as shown by Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi’s and Ibn Hajar’s numerous comments to that effect directed against those who attribute altitude to Allahn their interpretation of His ‘uluw such as Ibn Taymiyya. The latter stated: "The Creator, Glorified and Exalted is He, is above the world and His being above is literal, not in the sense of dignity or rank." This doctrine was comprehensively refuted by Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi (d. 733) in his Radd ‘ala Man Qala bi al-Jiha ("Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya Who Attributes A Direction to Allah ") and Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabahani (1265-1350) in his Raf‘ al-Ishtibah fi Istihala al-Jiha ‘ala Allah ("The Removal of Doubt Concerning the Impossibility of Direction for Allah"). More info: Here
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The Hanbali Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Khallal,(d. 311 AH), who took his fiqh from Imam Ahmad’s students, relates in his book al-Sunna through his chain of narrators from Hanbal ibn Ishaq al-Shaybani, the son of the brother of Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s father, that Imam Ahmad was asked about the hadiths mentioning
"Allah’s descending," "seeing Allah," and "placing His foot on hell"; and the like, and Ahmad replied: "We believe in them and consider them true, without ‘how’ and without ‘meaning’ (bi la kayfa wa la ma‘na)." 
And he said, when they asked him about Allah’s istiwa’ [translated above as established]:
"He is ‘established’ upon the Throne (istawa ‘ala al-‘Arsh) however He wills and as He wills, without any limit or any description that be made by any describer (Daf‘ shubah al-tashbih, 28).
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This demonstrates how far Imam Ahmad was from anthropomorphism, though a third example is even more explicit. The Imam and hadith master (hafiz) al-Bayhaqi relates in his Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad [The memorable actions of Imam Ahmad], through his chain of narrators that:
Ahmad condemned those who said Allah was a "body," saying, "The names of things are taken from the Shari‘a and the Arabic language. The language’s possessors have used this word [body] for something that has height, breadth, thickness, construction, form, and composition, while Allah Most High is beyond all of that, and may not be termed a "body" because of being beyond any meaning of embodiedness. This has not been conveyed by the Shari‘a, and so is rebutted" (al-Barahin al-sati‘a, 164). 
These examples provide an accurate idea of Ahmad’s ‘Aqida, as conveyed to us by the hadith masters (huffaz) of the Umma, who have distinguished the true reports from the spurious attributions of the anthropomorphists’ opinions to their Imam, both early and late. But it is perhaps even more instructive, in view of the recrudescence of these ideas today, to look at an earlier work against Hanbali anthropomorphists about this bid‘a, for the light this literature sheds upon the science of textual interpretation, and I will conclude my talk tonight to it.  
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 Imam Al-Zajjaj (d.311AH)  (from the era of the Salaf) interprets 'istawa' as 'istawla' (dominated by His omnipotence) [as Reported by Imam Al-Nasafi]
In his famous tafsir when explaining the verse, "
ٱلرحمن على ٱلعرش ٱستوى" "Al-Rahman 'ala al-'arsh istawa" (Surah Taha/5), Imam Al-Nasafi said :
"The meaning of "istawa" is "dominated by His omnipotence" (istawla) according to Al-Zajjaj"
 The Arabic Language Specialist (Linguist) Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Mouhammad Ibn al-Sourri Al-Zajjaj Al-Baghdadi, is one of the best-known linguists and was from the Salaf. He is often cited as a reference by the exegetes (mufassirun).
Here it says that the meaning of "istawa" in verse "Ar-Rahman-3ala the 'arsh istawa" is "dominated by His omnipotence" (istawla). We recall that Az-Zajjaj is not only of the Salaf, but he is also one of the leading experts of the Arabic language (linguists).
In relation to God, the meaning of "istawla" is not: to dominate/conquer after battling to overcome, which would imply a change, and change does not apply to Allah the Exalted.
or to physically dominate with an elevated position, which would imply a place and a direction, which does not apply to Allah ta3ala.
Az-Zajjaj himself relates the interpretation of "istawla" in his book "
غريب القرءان و تفسيره" (Gharib al-Qur'an wa Tafsirih).
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Al-Zajjaj, The Grammarian and Mufassir
Ibrahim bin as-Sirri bin Sahl Abu Ishaq az-Zajjaj, was from the people of virtue and religion, of good path and belief, from his works are Ma’ani al-Quran an exegis, Khalq ul Insan, Tafisr Jami’ al-Mantiq, He said in his last breath, “O Allah ta’ala raise me upon the madhab (path) of Ahmed bin Hanbal, as is mentioned in Mawdu’at al-‘Ulum of Tash Kobri and Tarikh Mir’at al-Jinan.” (Page 16 Tabaqat al-Mufassirin of Ahmed bin Muhammed al-Udnarwi)
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Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya: “Ibrahim bin as-Sirri bin Sahl Abu Ishaq az-Zajjaj, he was a virtuous religious individual, of good (correct) belief, he authored great works, from them Ma’ani al-Quran and other beneficial works.”
Ibn al-Jawzi says the same in al-Muntadham, page 512. That he was of good ‘Aqidah.
Al-Imam, the Grammarian of his time, Abu Ishaq…” Siyar al-‘Alam an-Nubala’ li Dhahabi, Page: 2588)

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Major Mufassirin quote him in their works. For those who want to attack him because of ta’wil, then it should be made clear that the Salaf did ta’wil, and what Zajjaj did wasn't something new or in contradiction to Ahlus Sunnah.
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Imam Abu Jafar Al- Tahawi (d.321AH)
Imam Abu Jaf’ar al-Tahawi:  “ Only a fanatic follows another blindly! ”
- 38وتعالى ( 5 ) عن الحدود والغايات والأركان والأعضاء والأدوات لا تحويه الجهات الست كسائر المبتدعات (6
"He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are." 
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Imam Al-Tahaawi in his Aqidah, who stated at the beginning of it: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah according to the method of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifah Al Nu`maan ibn Thaabit Al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya`qub ibn Ibrahiim Al Ansari, and Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Al Hasan Al Shaybaani…} Then he said later {in brackets}: {Allah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments. The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}.
Aqidah al-Tahawiyya by Imam Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi al-Hanafi :
Read Here: The Creed of Al Tahawi – Translated by Shaykh Abu Adam
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 Imam abu Ja^far At-Tahawi in his book: Al-^Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah statement #37 said:
قالَ الإِمامُ أَبُو جَعْفََََََرٍ الطَحاوِيُّ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ في بَيانِ عَقِيدَةِ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَماعَةِ :
وَتَعَالَى عَنِ الْحُدُودِ وَالغَايَاتِ وَالأرْكَانِ وَالأَعْضَاءِ وَالأَدَوَاتِ. لا تَحْوِيهِ الْجِهَاتُ السِّتُّ كسائرِ الْمُبتَدَعاتِ.
Means: Allàh is clear of all limits, boundaries, sides, organs and limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all the created things are. The six directions are (above, below, in front, behind, right and left). These six primary directions which are created by Allah contain only the created things.
It must not be believed or said that Allàh exists inside everyone or He is everywhere. What we as Muslims believe and say: ‘Allàh has knowledge about everything that is, wherever it is’.
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Imam Abu al-Hasan Al-Ashari (d.324AH) 
 Stated:
“Allah is established on the Throne in the sense that He said and the meaning that He wills, with an establishment that transcends touch, settlement, location, immanence, and displacement. The throne does nto carry him, rather the throne and its carriers are carried by the subtleness of His power, subdued under His grip, and He is above the throne and above everything down to the extremities of the lower earth, with an aboveness that does not make him any closer to the throne or to the heavens. Rather, He is as exalted high over the throne as He is exalted high over the lower earth, and together with this He is near every creature, and He is nearer to His servant than his jugular vein, and He is witness over everything.” [al-ibana an usul al-diyana, ed. Fawqiyya Husayn Mahmud (Cairo: dar al-ansar, 1977 p.21]
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Imam Al-Ash'ari said:
'Allah existed when there was no place; then He created the Throne and the Footstool (al-'arsh wa al-kursî ) without ever being in need of place, and He is, after creating place, exactly as He was before creating it.' [In Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (Saqqa ed. p. 150).]
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In Brief: some of Imam al-Asharis Books-Refutations:
Al-Fusul ("The Sub-Headings") in twelve volumes, a refutation of the philosophers, perennialists, and members of various religions such as Brahmans, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians. It contains a refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi’s claim that the world exists without beginning.
Al-Istita`a ("Potency"), a refutation of the Mu`tazila.
Al-Luma` fi al-Radd `ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Bida` ("The Sparks: A Refutation of Heretics and Innovators"), a slim volume.
Naqd al-Balkhi fi Usul al-Mu`tazila ("Critique of al-Balkhi and the Principles of the Mu`tazila"), a refutation of the book of the Mu`tazili scholar al-Balkhi entitled Naqd Ta’wil al-Adilla ("Critique of the Interpretation of the Textual Proofs").
Al-Qami` li Kitab al-Khalidi fi al-Irada ("The Subduer: A Refutation of al-Khalidi’s Book on the Will"), a refutation of a-Khalidi’s doctrine whereby Allah creates His own will.
Al-Radd `ala Ibn al-Rawandi ("Refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi") concerning the Divine Attributes and the Qur’an.
Al-Radd `ala al-Mujassima ("Refutation of the Anthropomorphists").
Al-Sifat ("The Attributes"), a description of the doctrines of the Mu`tazila, Jahmiyya, and other sects that differ from Ahl al-Sunna on the topic of the Divine Attributes. It contains a refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl, Ma`mar, al-Nazzam, al-Futi, and al-Nashi, and an affirmation that the Creator possesses a face and hands.
Hikayat Madhahib al-Mujassima ("The Tales of the Schools of the Anthropomorphists"), a refutation of the proofs they adduce.
Mutashabih al-Qur’an ("The Ambiguities in the Qur’an"), in which he brought together the stands of the Mu`tazila and the atheists in their invalidations of the ambiguities in the hadith.
A refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl on the limitlessness of the foreknowledge and decisions of Allah Almighty and Exalted and another on motions.
Al-Jism ("The Body"), a proof of the Mu`tazila’s inability to answer essential questions that pertain to corporeality, contrary to Ahl al-Sunna.(For more List of Books/Refutations: Here)
For  more info: Here also Here
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Imam Ibn Asakir (d.571AH) In Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari fima nusiba ila l-imam al-Ash’ari, said, p.150:
Also, the ‘Najjariyyah’ say that the Creator, may He be exalted, is in all places without being diffused and without a direction, whereas the ‘Hashawiyyah’ and the ‘Mujassimah’ say that He is present on the Throne, that the Throne is His place, and that He is sitting on itAs for him [i.e. al-Ash’ari], he chose a middle way between the two, and he said that Allah existed and there was no place, then He created the Throne and the Kursi’, He does not need a place, and He is, after having created the places, as He has always been before He created them.
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Ibn Asakir (d.571AH) said:
The Mu`tazila said: [Allah’s] “Descent” (nuzul) is the descent of any given sign of His, or that of His angels. The Mushabbiha and Hashwiyya said: Descent is the descent of His person (dhat) through movement (haraka) and displacement (intiqal). Al-Ash`ari took the middle road and said: Descent is one of His attributes. (Ibn `Asakir, Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (p. 151)
Al-Bayhaqi (d.458AH) further reports that Imam Al-Ash`ari said:
“What is meant by the descent is an act brought to be by Allah in the nearest heaven every night, which [the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him –] has named a descent, without movement nor displacement. Exalted is Allah above the characteristics of creatures!”
(As quoted by al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Hashidi ed. 2:371)
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Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d.333 AH) said;
The foundation of this issue is that Allah Almighty was when there was no place, then locations were raised while He remains exactly as He ever was. Therefore, He is as He ever was and He ever was as He is now. Exalted is He beyond any change or transition or movement or cessation! For all these are portents of contingency (hudth) by which the contingent nature of the world can be known, and the proofs of its eventual passing away…”  [Kitab at-Tawhid Imam Maturidi p. 72]
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Imam al-Maturidi said: Allah was when there was no place. It is possible that no place exists with Him remaining as He was. Therefore, He is as He was, and He was as He is now. He is exalted from change, movement and transforming. (Kitab al-Tawheed, page 69).
Imam al-Maturidi said: As for the raising of the hands to the heaven [in supplication], it is done so out of worship [only, not that Allah is actually in the heaven]. Allah can make His servants worship Him in any manner He wishes. He can make them face anywhere He wishes. If someone thinks that the raising of the gazes to the heaven is because Allah is in that direction is just like that person who thinks that Allah is in the direction below the earth due to the fact that the face is placed on the earth in [prostration], or like the person who thinks Allah is in the east and the west due to the fact that one faces these directions in [the end of] prayer, or like the person who thinks that Allah is towards Makkah due to the fact that one sets out in that direction for Pilgrimage. Allah is exalted from all that. ( Kitab al-Tawheed, page 75- 76).
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Imam al-Maturidi said: when talking about the affirmation of the vision of Allah by the Muslims in the Hereafter: 
If it is said 'How will He be seen?', it would be said that He shall be seen without modality, as modality is only for one who possesses an image. So He shall be seen without the descriptions of standing or sitting, leaning or suspension, connection or separation, being in front or behind, short or long, light or darkness, stationary or moving, touching or separate, outside or inside, or any meaning that can be comprehended by any stretch of the imagination or estimated by sense - all because He is exalted from all that. (Kitab al-Tawheed, page 85).
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Imam Ibn Hibban (d.354 AH)  in his Thiqaat says:
"الحمد لله الذي ليس له حد محدود فيحتوى، ولا له أجل معدود فيفنى، ولا يحيط به جوامع المكان ولا يشتمل عليه تواتر الزمان". الثقات (1/ 1)
He also stated in his Saheeh:
"
كان- الله- ولا زمان ولا مكان"
"Allah was - without Time and without Makaan (station)." 
[Sahih ibn Hibban]
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Shaykh Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ishaq al-Kalabadhi (d.380 AH), a Hanafi scholar, In his book: ‘At-Ta’rif li-Madhhab Ahlit-Tasawwuf’ (The Guidance to the methodology of the true sufis),  said: “The Sufi scholars unanimously agree that Allah is not contained by place nor is He subject to time”.
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Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d.386AH) said in his book: Kitab al-Jami fi s-sunan wa al-adab wa l-maghazi wa t-tarikh, p.123: A man asked Malik: « O Abu Abd Allah [he recited the verse:] ‘al-Rahman ‘ala ‘arshi stawa': how ‘istawa’  ?”.
Imam Malik(d.179AH) answered: ’Istiwa s not unknown, and its how [manner] is not conceivable al-istiwa ghayr majhul wa l-kayf ghayr ma’qul). To ask the question about this topic is an innovation, and to believe in it is an obligation; and I believe you are among the [bad] innovators” and he had him taken out”.
Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani is a great Maliki scholar
This version is the correct version of what Imam Malik said on the topic of Istiwa. 
To say that the istiwa of ALLAAH is without a how is therefore the correct way to follow Imam Malik as he said ‘The how is inconceivable’. It is not the same as saying ‘ we do not know how‘ Imam Malik never said that.
There are several narrations of this event. However the one presented here is the most reliable one, as it is narrated from different people in the SAME way, and in different books. This version is authentic. 
Imam Malik never said al-istiwa ma’lum wa l-kayf majhul . He never said ‘the istiwa is known and its manner/how  is unknown’. Those who claim that he did say that do not have the beginning of a chain of narration for it. Rather he said ‘the how is not conceivable’, i.e. : there is no ‘how’, no manner to it.
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Imam al-Khattabi (d.388 AH) in A'lamul Hadith pg. 1474 explains the meaning of the statement 'Allah is above the throne' saying:
وليس معنى قول المسلمين "إن الله على العرش" هو أنه تعالى مماس له, أو متمكن فيه, أو متحيز في جهة من جهاته. ولكنه بائن من جميع خلقه
“And the statement of the Muslims, Allah is ‘alal ‘arsh (upon the throne) does not mean that He is touching it or is in the place above it, or that He is located in a direction from it. But He is separate / distinct from all of His creations”
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Allah is distinct or separate “baa’in” from His creation after he negated Allah being in a place or in a direction from the throne. This shows that their understanding of distinctness and separateness meant that they believed that Allah was totally OTHER than His creation and that the laws of physics did not apply to Him in the first place. Hence, the dissimilarity of Allah to the creation is the type of "separateness" and "distinctness" we as Ahl al-Sunnah affirm.'
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Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani , in volume 13, page 414, of his book Fath l-Bari, while explaining a hadith relating the Mi’raj (ascension to the skies) of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

Al-Khattabi said that in this version there is another term narrated by Sharik which makes it different from the other [versions] and which has not been narrated by anyone else. It is [where it is said] : “fi’lan bihi, i.e. from Jibril to Allaah (al-Jabbaar) and  [Sharik] said : “wa huwa makaanuhu” [i.e. literally it would mean 'and it is his place'], and [later on] the Prophet said  “O My Lord alleviate for us [the number of prayers]. He [i.e. al-Khattabi] said : a place cannot be attributed to Allaah, therefore here it is the place of the Prophet which is meant, i.e. that he returned where he was standing before leaving.’
More info: Here and Here Also: Here
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Imam Al-Baqillani (d.403AH) Here is an explicit statement showing that he did not mean that Aļļaah is in a direction:
And Aļļaah, (تعالى) is neither ascribed with directions, nor that He is in a direction. [Al-Inşaaf, 177.]
قال الباقلاني في كتابه الإنصاف : والله تعالى لا يوصف بالجهات، ولا أنه في جهة.
[الباقلاني, الإنصاف, 177.]
He also said:
If someone said, “How is He?” then it is said to him, “If you mean by howness composition, form or kind, then (the answer is that) He has no form or kind to tell you about. If you meant by “how is He?” to ask, ”What is His attribute?” then the answer is that He is attributed with Life, Knowledge, Power, Hearing and Seeing. If you meant by “How is He?” to say, “How does He deal with His creation?” then the answer is: “By justice and grace.” [Tamid, 300.]
قال الباقلاني (ت 403 هـ) في [التمهيد : "فإن قال قائل وكيف هو قيل له إن أردت بالكيفية التركيب والصورة والجنسية فلا صورة له ولا جنس فنخبرك عنه. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي على أي صفة هو فهو حي عالم قادر سميع بصير. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي كيف صنعه إلى خلقه فصنعه إليهم العدل والإحسان" اهـ

All Al-Baqillani is doing is saying that Aļļaah is ascribed with aboveness, but not in the sense of direction, just as many of the Salaf did, like Aţ-Ţabari.
They did not explain it further, and simply left it at that. This is what we call tafwiid. Then there are those that explain it further, such as Al-Qurţubiyy in this quote.
Note that the wahabis (so called "salafis") have also claimed explicitly or implied that:
Abuu Ĥaniifah, Al-Qurţubiyy, An-Nawawiyy and Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy believed Aļļaah to be in a direction. We have shown this to be false. Click the ^above links!
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Al-Qadi (Judge) Abu Bakr al-Baqillaniyy (d.403AH), a renowned Malikiyy scholar In his book ‘Al-‘insaf fima yajibu ‘i’tiqaduhu wa la yajuzu al-jahlu bihi’ (the just ruling regarding what one is obligated to believe in and cannot be ignorant of) said: “We do not state that the Grand ‘Arsh (Throne) is a residence or a location for Allah, due to the fact that Allah, the Exalted, is eternally existent and place is not, hence when place was brought into existence by His Creating He did not change”.
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Imam Ibn Furak al-Shafi’i (d.406 AH)
Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn al-Hussayn, also known as Imam Ibn Furak, In his book ‘Mushkil al-Hadith’ said: “It is intellectually impossible for Allah, the Exalted, to occupy places, by reason of the impossibility of limits and ends applying to Him which is in turn due to the impossibility that Allah is created”.
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The statement of Ibn Mas'ud 
وقال بن مسعود في قوله "ثم استوى على العرش" قال العرش على الماء ولله فوق العرش وهو يعلم ما أنتم عليه
Ibn Mas'ud said about the Istiwaa verse: The Throne is on water, and Allah is above the Throne, and He knows what you are on [i.e. what you are doing]
Ibn Mas'ud is explaining that Allah [subhanahu wa ta’ala] does not require a local presence amongst us in order to have knowledge regarding, in this case, our deeds.  As previously described in this thread one of the Salaf's sayings regarding “istawa ˆala-l-ˆArsh” is that it means that Allah is distinct from His creation, not in a place,location or direction, because there is nothing beyond the ˆArsh.
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Imam Ibn Furak Explains the Statement ‘Allah is Above His Creation’
Know that when we say that Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is above what He has created that does not mean that He is above in terms of a physical place, or that He has risen above physical places by a certain distance and He supervises these places by applying Himself to something from them. Rather, our saying that He is above them carries two sensesWhat is Meant When We Say Allah is Above What He Created
Imam Ibn Furak al-Shafi’i
A short excerpt from the article:
: one of them means that He is the Absolute Master, in charge of them and establishing His all-encompassing power over them, as well as His comprehensive mastery over them and them being under his direction, progressing in accordance with His knowledge and His will. 
The second sense is that He is above them meaning He is distinct (mubāyin) of His creation. He is different in terms of His attributes and qualities, and that which is possible for temporal beings, such as defects, imperfection, incapacity, problems, and needs, are not befitting of Him at all and it is not possible for him to be attributed with any of them. It is also commonplace in the language that it is said that ‘so-and-so is above so-and-so’ , and what is meant is a higher rank and position. Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is above His creation in both senses while the third sense is impossible for him, which is, being confined in some direction, or in a specific place as opposed to another place.
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Abul Fadl At Tameemi (d.410AH) said about the creed of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal:
وأنكر على من يقول بالجسم وقال: إن الأسماء مأخوذة بالشريعة واللغة. وأهل اللغة وضعوا هذا الإسم على كل ذي طول وعرض وسمك وتركيب مصورة وتأليف. والله خارج عن ذلك كلهفلم يجز أن يسمى جسما لخروجه عن معنى الجسميةولم يجئ في الشريعة, فبطل. أهـــ
"And he (Imam Ahmaddisapproved of anyone stating that Allah is a “jism”. And he would say, “Names of Allah are taken from the Sharee’ah and from the Arabic Language. The people of the Arabic Language coined that term for whatever has length, width, depth, composition, and form. And Allah the Exalted is free from all of that. So it is impermissible to call him a "jism", since He is free from what a "jism" means. Furthermore, it did not come in the Sharee’ah [so it is null and void]."
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Al-Raghib al-Isfahani (d. 425 H) explained that Allah Tal’a  is the Manifest because His existence is intuitively evident to us through everything we see in the creation, while He is the Hidden because we can not comprehend the nature of His existence. (Mufradat al- Qur`an; Damascus, Dar al-Qalam; Beirut, Dar al-Shamiyya, 1992, p.131)
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IMAM ABU ALI AL HASHIMI AL-HANBALI (d.428 H
ON ISTAWA
Imam Al Sharif Al Qadi Abu Ali bin Abi Musa Al Hashimi (b.345-d.428H), was among the early Hanbali scholars of Baghdad. As from his name “Al Hashimi” he comes from the family of the Prophet. He was born before Qadi Abu Yala (380-458H) and he lived during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Al Qadir. He was one of the teachers of the Ashari scholars Imam Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi and Imam al-Khatib al Baghdadi.

In the tafsir of the Hanbali scholar Imam Izz ad-Din Abu Muhammed ar-Rasani al Hanbali (d. 661 H), in commentary to the verse Quran 7:54, he says:
مذهب أهل الحق في هذه الآية وأمثالها من آيات الصفات وأخبار الصفات: الإقرار والإيراد، من غير تشبيه ولا تمثيل ولا تأويل ولا تعطيل. وإلى هذا وأمثاله أشار النبي بقوله: ” وسكت عن أشياء رحمة لكم فلا تبحثوا عنها “.
(Rough translation) the way of the people of truth with regards to this verse and similar from the verses and reports regarding attributes (is to) acknowledge it and accept it, without comparison nor likening, nor tawil nor negation. And regarding this is the saying of the Prophet , “(Allah) has kept silent about things out of mercy for you so do not search them out”.
Later on he quotes Imam al-Thalabi (d. 427H):
قال الأستاذ أبو إسحاق الثعلبي رحمه الله: قال أهل الحق من المتكلمين: أحدث الله فعلاً سمّاه: استواء، وهو كالإتيان والمجيء والنزول، كلها من صفات أفعاله.
Abu Ishaq al-Thalabi said: The people of truth among the mutakalimin say……Istawa is like His Itiyan and Majee (coming), Nuzul (descent), all of them are  from His Sifat al-Af’al (Attribute of Acts).”
and also:
قال الثعلبي: وبلغني أن رجلاً سأل إسحاق بن إبراهيم الحنظلي فقال: كيف استوى على العرش؟ أقائم هو أم قاعد؟ فقال: يا هذا إنما يقعد من يملّ القيام، ويقوم من يملّ القعود، وغير هذا أولى بك أن تسأل عنه.
Al-Thalabi said: I heard a man ask Ishaq bin Ibrahim (d. 238H): “How did He Istawa over the Arsh ? Standing or sitting ?” He said: O You only those sit who are tired of standing and those stand who are tired of sitting, and this is not firstly what you should ask about Him.”

After which he quotes the saying of Imam Abu Ali Al Hashimi al-Hanbali on Istawa:
قال الشريف القاضي أبو علي بن أبي موسى الهاشمي -من علمائنا- رضي الله عنه: اختلف أصحابنا هل الاستواء من صفات الذات أو من صفات الفعل؟ على طريقين:
منهم: من قال إنه من صفات الفعل، غير أنه لا يعلم كيفيته، ولا نقول أنه انتقال من مكان إلى مكان، ولكنا نسلمه ونقول فيه كما نقول في حديث النزول.
ومنهم من قال: إنه من صفات الذات، لم يزل مستوياً قبل خلق العرش من غير تكييف.
ومن أصحابنا من تأول الاستواء على معنى الارتفاع.قال الشريف رحمه الله: فأنا لا أقول في ذلك إلا ما قال أبو عبدالله أحمد بن محمد بن حنبل رضي الله عنه: استوى كما قال، بلا حَدٍّ ولا كيف.
قلت: وعلى هذا القول الذي قاله الشريف وارتضاه، وجدت علماءنا وأشياخنا الذين بالشام والعراق، وله نعتقد، وعليه نعتمد، وبه نقول.
“Al Sharif Al Qadhi Abu Ali bin Abi Musa Al Hashimi – from our ulema – may Allah be pleased with him, said: There is difference among our companions whether Istawa is from the attribute of His Self or of His Acts. The two ways are:
Of them:  who say,  it is an attribute of His Acts, however we do not have knowledge of its howness, nor do we say it is a movement from place to place, instead we acknowledge it and we say as we say about the hadith of Nuzul (descent)
Of those who say: It is from the Attribute of His Self, and He was Mustawian before the creation of the throne, without any likeness.
And from of our companions are those who interpreted (tawil) Istawa as Irtifaa (elevation).
Al Sharif said: We do not say except what Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said: “Istawa as He said, without limit, without howness”.
I (Imam Izz ad-Din ar-Rasani) say: Based on this saying of Al Sharif which he favored,  I found the ulema and shaykhs of Sham and Iraq, hold this belief, and we adopt this,  and we say as this.” End

Points to note:
The interpretation accepted by the Hanbalis was not monolithic.
Their negation of tasbih was explicit such as negations of Standing, Sitting, movement from place to place, limits.
The view of Imam Ahmed and much of the Hanbalis was restricted to saying “Istawa As He Wills” while at the same time explicit negation of limit and howness.
Despite this standard view of non-interpretation, some of the Hanbalis also did tawil/interpret Istawa as Irtifaa. And this is the meaning that was related in Sahih al Bukhari, and which Imam al-Tabari (d. 310H) said “The meaning of istiwa’ in this verse is height (uluw) and elevation (Irtifaa)… but if one claims that this means displacement for Allah, tell him: He is high and elevated over the heaven with the height of sovereignty and power, not the height of displacement and movement to and fro.”
Imam Abu Ali Al Hashimi al-Hanbali in his book الإرشاد إلى سبيل الرش, begins with a chapter on the creed of Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamah, among which is:
ولا تخطر كيفيتُهُ ببال ولا يدخل في الأمثال والأشكال صفاته كذاته ليس بجسم في صفاته جل أن يُشبّه بمبتدعاته أو يضاف إلى مصنوعاته (ليس كمثله شي وهو السميع البصير) الشورى 11)
One cannot imagine his Howness, nor is is there any similarity or form to His Attributes & Self, nor is He attributed with a body (jism)……”
and also,
وأن القران كلام الله وصفة من صفات ذاته وأنه غير محدث ولا مخلوق كلام رب العالمين في صدور الحافظين وعلى ألسن الناطقين وفي أسماع السامعين وبأكف الكاتبين وبملاحظة الناظرين برهانه ظاهر وحكمة قاهر ومعجزة باهر
http://shamela.ws/index.php/author/2655

The Quran is the Speech of Allah and His Attribute of Self, and is not temporal (Muhdath) nor created (Makhluq)…..”
Note:
In commentary to the verse:
{And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.}[Quran 4:64]
Imam Izz ad-Din ar-Rasani al-Hanbali, quotes the famous narration (translated many times elsewhere on this site) of a Bedouin Arab seeking intercession at the tomb of Prophet Muhammed(s)  :
وقد روى الإمام أبو الفرج ابن الجوزي رضي الله عنه في مواضع من كتبه بإسناده عن محمد بن حرب الهلالي، قال: دخلت المدينة، فأتيت قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فجاء أعرابي فَزارَهُ، ثم قال: يا خير الرسل! إن الله عز وجل أنزل عليك كتاباً صادقاً، قال فيه: { وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُوۤاْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَٱسْتَغْفَرُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً } ، وإني جئتك مستغفراً إلى ربك من ذنوبي، مستشفعاً بك، ثم بكى وأنشأ يقول:
يَا خَيْرَ مَنْ دُفِنَتْ بالقَاعِ أَعْظُمُهُ طَابَ مِنْ طِيبهِنَّ القَاعُ وَالأَكُمُ
نَفْسِي الفِدَاءُ لِقَبْرٍ أَنْتَ سَاكِنُهُ فيهِ العَفَافُ وَفيهِ الجُودُ وَالكَرَمُ
ثم استغفر [الله] وانصرف، فرقدت، فرأيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في نومي وهو يقول: الحَق الرَّجُل فبشِّره أن الله تعالى قد غَفَرَ له بشفاعتي
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Imam Abu Manşur Al-Baghdadi (d.429AH) states about those who say that Aļļaah has a body, or that events happen in Him or His attributes(such as hearing or seeing one thing after another as they happen to creation) : 
“All those who disagreed with them say that they are blasphemers, so in this respect they are the worst of all the deviant sects (‘Uşuulu-d-Diin, 338).” 

He also commented: “By claiming tha
Aļļaah has events happen to Him, they ruined for themselves the proof of the monotheists which holds that bodies are creations since they have events in them. Based on this principle of theirs, they cannot prove that the world has a beginning, and thus they have no way of knowing the Creator of the world. Consequently, they are like all others who do not know Him (‘Uşuulu-d-Diin, 337-338).” (Ed. That is, they are idolaters.)

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Imam abu Mansur Al-Baghdadi , in his book:  Al-Farqu Baynal-Firaq, that Imam Ali ibn abi Talib  said:
قالَ الإِمامُ أَبو مَنْصُورٍ البَغْدادِيُّ في كِتابِهِالفَرْقُ بَيْنَ الفِرَقِأَنَّ الإِمامَ عَلِيَّ بْن أَبِى طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قالَ :
كانَ اللَّهُ وَلا مَكان، وَهُوَ الآنَ عَلَى ما عَلَيهِ كانَ.
Means: “Allàh existed eternally and there weren’t any places created and after He created all the places, He is now as He was without a place.”
Imam abu Mansur Al-Baghdadi related that Imam Ali ibn abi Talib said:
قَالَ الإِمامُ سَيِّدُنا عَلِيُّ بْن طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ الْعَرْشَ إِظْهارًا لِقُدْرَتِهِ وَ لَمْ يَتَّخِذْهُ مَكاناً لِذاتِهِ.
رَوَاهُ الإِ مامُ أَبُو مَنْصُورٍ البَغْدَادِيُّ.
Means: Allàh created the ^Arsh as an indication of His Power and did not take it as a place for Himself.
It is Allàh who created the ^Arsh as a ceiling for Paradise and did not create the ^Arsh as a place for Himself to sit on as some people wrongly claim.
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The saying: "Allah existed eternally without a place, and He is now as He ever was" is related - without chain - from 'Ali ibn Abi Talib -- Allah be well-pleased with him. 
As cited by 'Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d.429AH) in his al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq (p. 256)
[Ibn 'Ata' Allah al-Sakandari (d. 709AH) cites it as one of his Hikam (#34).]
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Regarding: al-Imam Abdul Qahir ibn Tahir Al Baghdadi Al Tamimi, also known as Abu Mansur,
Al Dhahabi (d. 748 AH) described him in his book Siyar A`lam al Nubala’ as:  “the great, outstanding, and encyclopedic scholar” …. “He used to teach 17 different subjects and his brilliance became the source for proverbs.” Al Dhahabi said that he would have like to write a separate, more complete article about him, and quoted Abu Uthman Al Sabuni saying: Abu Mansur is by scholarly consensus counted among the heads of the scholars of belief and the methodology of jurisprudence, as well as a front figure of Islam.
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Imam al-Hafidh al-Bayhaqi (d.458AH) said in his book, Al-Asma' was-Sifat, on page 400 [Kawthari edition]:
والذي روي في اّخر هذا الحديث إشارة إلى نفي المكان عن الله تعالى، وأن العبد أينما كان فهو في القرب والبعد من الله تعالى سواء، وأنه الظاهر فيصح إدراكه بالأدلة، الباطن فلا يصح إدراكه بالكون في مكان. واستدل بعض أصحابنا في نفي المكان عنه بقول النبي صلّى الله عليه و سلّم أنت الظاهر فليس فوقك شىء، وأنت الباطن فليس دونك شىء، وإذا لم يكن فوقه شىء ولا دونه شىء لم يكن في مكان

".... What was mentioned towards the end of the hadith is an indication of denying Allah has a place and denying the slave is alike to Allah, wherever he was, in proximity or remoteness. Allah, the Exalted, is adh-Dhahir--hence, it is valid to know about Him by proofs. Allah is al-Batin--hence, it is invalid that He would be in a place."
He also said:
"Some of our companions used as a proof to refute the place to Allah the saying of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam : 'You are adh-Dhahir and there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin and there is nothing underneath You.' Therefore, if there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, He is not in a place."
Similarly, regarding this same hadith [from Sahih Muslim]:
O Allah, You are the first: there is nothing before You; and You are the last: there is nothing after You. You are the Manifest (al-Zahir): there is nothing above You. You are the Hidden (al-Batin): there is nothing below You.
Al-Raghib al-Isfahani (d. 425 AH) in his Mufradat al-Qur`an explained that Allah is the Manifest because His existence is intuitively evident to us through everything we see in the creation, while He is the Hidden because we can not comprehend the nature of His existence.
[Mufradat al-Qur`an, (Damascus, Dar al-Qalam; and Beirut, Dar al Shamiyyah, 1992), p.131.]
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 “O Allah, You are the first: there is nothing before You; and You are the last: there is nothing after You. You are the Manifest (al-Zahir): there is nothing above You. You are the Hidden (al-Batin): there is nothing below You.” [ Sahih Muslim, kitab al-dhikr wal-du`a wal-tawba wal-istighfar, bab ma yaqulu `ind al-nawm wa-akhd al-madhja, #7064]
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Imam Al-Bayhaqi also said, commenting on a haditħ: “What is at the end of this hadith is a hint to the fact that Allah exists without a place…. Some of our companions used as a proof for Allah not being in a place the saying of the Prophet (about Aļļaah): 
َYou are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below You.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then He is not a body or in a direction, and He does not have physical specification.”
(Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/391).
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Imam Al-Bayhaqi said, “He means separation of self in the sense of being isolated or at a distance, because contact and separation, of which the latter is the opposite of the former, and standing and sitting, are attributes of bodies, and Allah is One, did not beget and was not begotten, and there is nothing that resembles Him. So it is impossible that what is possibly true of bodies should be possibly true of Him.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/412).
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Imam Al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma' wa al-Sifat, chapter entitled "The Beginning of Creation": Allah ( said: (He it is Who produces creation then reproduces it( (30:27). 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As narrated that the Prophet ( said: "Allah foreordained (qaddara) all the destinies (al-maqâ dî r) before creating the heavens and the earth by fifty thousand years." [Narrated from 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As by al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahîh gharîb) and Ahmad; also by Muslim with the following wording: "Allah inscribed (kataba) the destinies of all created things before creating the heavens and the earth by fifty thousand years, while His Throne stood upon the water (wa 'arshuhu 'alâ al-mâ')."] 'Imran ibn Husayn narrated ... that the Prophet said - Allah bless and greet him: "Allah was when there was nothing other than Him. His Throne stood upon the water...." His words "Allah was when nothing was other than Him" indicate that there was nothing else other than Him - neither water, nor the Throne, nor anything else, since all of that is "other than Him." His words: "His Throne stood upon the water" means that He then created water, and He created the Throne upon the water, after which He inscribed all things in the Remembrance, as we narrated in the hadith of 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As.
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From the most authentic variants transmitted from Imam Malik with Isnad is the following version narrated by Hafiz Al-Bayhaqi:
قال البيهقي: أخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ أحمد بن محمد بن إسماعيل بن مهران، ثنا أبي حدّثنا أبو الربيع بن أخي رشدين ابن سعد قال: سمعت عبد الله بن وهب يقول: كنا عند مالك بن أنس فدخل رجل فقال: يا أبا عبدالله الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى العَرْشِ اسْتَوَى كيف استواؤه؟، قال: فأطرق مالك وأخذته الرحضاء ، ثم رفع رأسه فقال: (( الرحمن على العرش استوى كما وصف نفسه، ولا يقال كيف، وكيف عنه مرفوع، وأنت رجل سوء صاحب بدعة أخرجوه، قال: فأُخرج ))( ).
البيهقي الأسماء والصفات (2/304)،
قال الذهبي في العلوّ: (( وساق البيهقي بإسناد صحيح عن أبي الربيع الرشديني عن ابن وهب ... )) وذكره . مختصر العلوّ (ص:141).
وقال الحافظ ابن حجر: (( وأخرج البيهقي بسند جيِّد عن ابن وهب ..)) وذكره. فتح الباري (13/406،407 ـ

From Ibn Wahb: "We were with Malik when a man asked him: ‘O Abu `Abd Allah! "The Merciful is established over the Throne" (20:5): how is His establishment?’ Malik lowered his head and began to sweat profusely. Then he lifted up his head and said: ‘"The Merciful is established over the Throne" just as He described Himself. One cannot ask "how." "How" does not apply to Him. And you are an evil man, a man of innovation. Take him out!’ The man was led out."
[Narrated by al-Bayhaqi with a sound chain in al-Asma' wa al-Sifat (2:304-305 #866), al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (7:416), and Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:406-407; 1989 ed. 13:501).]
Imam al-Dhahabi said regarding this: al Bayhaqi brought it with an authentic isnad from abi rabi' from Ibn Wahb....
Imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: Al-Bayhaqi's isnad from Ibn Wahb is good.
Implication: If 'How' does not apply to Him then the idea of Tafwid of 'How' is impossible.
Read more:Here
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 Imam al-Bayhaqiyy,In his book al-Asma’a was-Sifat, narrated with a strong chain of narrators that the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), 
whose name is Abdullàh ibn Abbas said:
قال ابن عباس رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : تَفَكَّرُوا في خَلْقِ اللَّه وَلا تَفَكَّرُوا في ذَاتِ اللَّه. رَوَاهُ البيهقيُ.
Means: Think about the creations of Allàh, but do not attempt to imagine the Self of Allàh.
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Abul-Mudhaffar al-‘Asfarayini (d. 471 AH) In chapter 15 of his book ‘At-Tabsir fid-Din’ (The Guide to the Religion) for the purpose of elucidating the creed of Ahlussunnah wal-Jama’ah, the Faqih and well-known scholar of Tawhid said: “The slave must know that anything which dictates creationism such as limits, extremes, place, direction, stillness and movement is impossible to apply to Allah, the One clear of all the creations’ attributes”.
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Imam and Faqih Abu Ishaq ash-Shiraziyy (d.476 AH), In his book ‘al-‘Isharah ila madhhab ahlil-Haqq’ (The Guide to the methodology of the People of Truth) said: “Allah is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist. Allah created the place, and He is still existent as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”.
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Shaykh Abul-Ma ali  Abdul-Malik al-Juwayni (d. 478 AH), a great Shafii scholar known as Imam al-Haramayn , In his book ‘Ash-Shamil fi ‘Usul ad-Din’ said: Know that the creed of the righteous people is that the Almighty Lord is clear of engaging a space as He is clear of pertaining to any direction”.
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Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni said in his al-Irshad as quoted by al-Yafi`i in the latter's book Kitab marham al-`ilal al-mu`dila:
Care must be taken to show the vulgar anthropomorphists (hashwiyya) the verses upon which they do practice ta'wil so that when they invoke as proof of their belief in Allah's "settling" (istiqrar) the external meaning of "The Merciful is established on the Throne" (20:4), ask them for the meaning of "And He is with you wheresoever you are" (57:4). If they take the latter according to its external sense also, then they annul the external sense of His being established on the Throne which they claim, and they also proclaim the disgrace of their beliefs for all reasonable persons to see; however, if they understand it as referring to His encompassing us with His knowledge, then they have applied ta'wil, and it is no longer forbidden for us to do the same in interpreting His establishment as "subduing" (qahara) and "prevailing over" (ghalaba), as is permitted by the Arabic language... Moreover, istiwa' in the sense of istiqrar, or settling, presupposes a prior state of disturbance, and to hold this is disbelief (kufr)....
If they say: Why don't you let the verse pass according to its external sense without interpreting it, and only say that it is among the mutashabihat whose meaning only Allah knows? We say: If the questioner wants to let istiwa' pass according to the external sense it commonly suggests, which is physical settlement, then such a sense drives us to anthropomorphism, but if that is explicitly shown to be impossible, then the external sense ceases... at which time it is not far-fetched to understand the verse rightly and reasonably according to the demands of the divine Law and the obligation to avoid ta'wil, lest wrong belief results.


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From 500AH: Here
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Edited by ADHM

CREDIT: THE AHL AS-SUNNAH WA'LJAMA'AH