Monday, 16 February 2015

The Creator is clear from Anthropomorphism (Part1)

Aqidah of the Pious Predecessors

Sahih Muslim
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."
Sahih al-Bukhari
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. 
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (RA) (13H) said:
"العجز عن درك الإدراك إدراك والبحث عن ذاته كفر وإشراك"
 "Recognising his inability to come to know the Being of Allah is in itself a knowledge and seeking to conceive His Being leads to disbelief and association"
[Reported by Imam Badrou d-Din Az-Zarkachi in his book "Tachnifou l-Maçami '"]

(This word was quoted by the Muhaddith, the Faqih, the specialist of the science of foundations ('ousouli) Badrou d-Din Az-Zarkachi(RA), born in 745 and died in 794(AH.) More info/ scans: Here

40 AH

Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib (d.4oH) 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 عنهبدعة 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.هـرواه 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)1* in his Hilyatul Awliya]
1.*  Read  Here
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]
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."
 [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.]
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)".

50 AH

Sayyidah Aishah (d.58H) 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.]
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

Sayyidina Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (d.68 H)

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.”
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 Saaq from Ibn Abbas: Read More: Here
"...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.”
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]
In his famous work "Al-Asma-or wa s-Sifat" (Volume 2 page 80 of this edition) Imam Al-Bayhaqi said:

 "Regarding the explanation of the word" yawma youkchifou 'an saq} [-surat Al-Qalam / 42-, which means: "The day when a saq will be discovered"], It was reported from Ibnu' Abbas 'He said,' An intensity and anxiety '. Abu Sulayman Al-Khattabi (d.388AH)) said: "It is possible that the meaning of his word {yawma youkchifou rabbouna 'an saqih} [meaning" the day our Lord will show his saq "] is: Is manifested by intensity and difficulty.”

Abû al-Aliya (d. 90H) 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.]
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
Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (d.95H) is reported to have said:
وروى الحافظ اللغوي محمد مرتضى الزَّبيديُّ في شرح الإحياء بالإسناد المتصل أن الإمام عليًّا زينالعابدين 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]
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin ‘Ali Ibnul-Hussayn said: “
You are Allah, the One who is not confined to place” [‘as-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyyah’]
Imam Zayn ul-Abidin said that Allah is no place and that He is not limited.
Here the Imam Zayn ul-Abidin said that Allah is not in a place and he is free of limits. Here is the belief of Muslims from all periods and all places, the belief of the scholars of the Salaf, the belief of the people of the family of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu the Lahou 3alayhi wa sallam). "'It-s-hafou Sadati the-Mouttaqin" (Volume 4 page 643-644 of this edition) Here

100 AH

Imam Mujahid ibn Jabar  (d. 102H)
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‘iRufay‘ 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).
The ‘Makan’ Narration 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
Ibn Taawoos (106H) kaysan interprets the verse "the Yadou Fawqa aydihim-Lah" in Surat Al-Fath [Reported by Al-Qurtubi]Here he explains that the verse "يد الله فوق أيديهم" (l-Lah Yadou Fawqa aydihim) means that "The power of Allah and his help are greater than their power and help." He therefore interpreted the word "yad" with "power" and "rescue". And it proves that people sometimes had the Salaf used to interpret ambiguous texts (moutachabih). The mufassir-exegete Muhammad Ibn-Ahmad Al-Ansari al-Qurtubi died in 671 AH, (l-Lah rahimahou) that is to say there are over 760 years. It is the Madh-hab (school of jurisprudence) of Imam Malik. His tafsir "al-Jami3ou li'Ahkami the Qur'an" is an indispensable reference. Here

Imam Al-Hasan al-Basri (d.110H)
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 theProphet — 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 thatParadise 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).]
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.]
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.

Imam Abu Ja’far al-Sadiq (d.148H) : 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.”
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’.]
[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)]

Imam Abu Hanifa (d. 150H) said: "Had He been in a placeand 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 isnot 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
Imam Abu Hanifah from Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar on the beatific vision:
"Allāh Most High will be seen in the Hereafter. The believers will see Him, while in Paradise, with their own eyes, without any comparison or modality. There will not be any distance between Him and His creation."
Iamm Abu Haifah also says in Al-Wa
“The meeting of Allāh with the people of Paradise is a reality [and is to occur] without modality, corporealism, or direction.”

(The commentary of Imams 'Ali Al-Qari and Al-Maghnisawi are found in the link above.)
Al-Awza’i (d.157H) said, “I asked az-Zuhri and Makhul about the ayat pertaining to the Sifat (Attributes of Allah), so they said, ‘Leave them as they are.” (Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee in SharhUsulul-I’tiqad 3/430 and Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi in Dhammut-Ta‘wil, p. 18 and the chain of narration is hasan.)
Again nothing about taking them upon their literal meaning or apparent meaning.

Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161H) 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).
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)
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)
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

Ibn Al-Mubarak (d.181H)
The statement of Ibn al-Mubarak :
[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 theJahmiyyah 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.
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 Jahmitessay 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.
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
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
Al-Walid ibn Muslim (d. 194H) said, “I asked Malik, al-Awza’i, Laytb ibn Sa’d and Sufyan al-Thawri, may Allah have mercy upon them, concerning the reports related about the Attributes, so they all said, ‘Leave them as they are without asking ‘How?” (Reported by al-Aajurri in Ash-Sha’ri’ah, p. 314, al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma was-Sifat, p. 453 and also al-I’tiqad, p.118 and the chain of narration is hasan.) Again nothing about taking them upon their literal meaning. 
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]

200 AH

Imam Al-Shafi'i (d.204H) is reported to have stated,
إنه تعالى كان ولا مكان فخلق المكان وهو على صفة الأزلية كما كان قبل خلقه المكان لا يجوز عليهالتغيير 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]
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)
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

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H) 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) theImam 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
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).

Dhun Nun al-Misri (d.245H)
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”.
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.”
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.”
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. 
"Dhū al-Nūn Misrī was a person known by people to be mad, he was labelled deviant and kāfir. When he passed away, 40 awliyā’ saw the Messenger of Allāh(s) in their dreams that night. The Messenger of Allāh(s) said to each of them, ‘I have come to Baghdād to welcome the soul of Dhū al-Nūn, the lover of Allāh!"

Imam al-Bukhari (d.256H), 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.)
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]

Imam al-Tirmidhi (d.279H)

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"

, 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) 


Imam Abu Muhammed Sahl ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Tustari (d.283AH) 
Sahl ibn `AbdAllah al-Tustari  said; "Do not acquaint newcomers with the secrets before they become firmly settled in their belief that the Allah عزوجل is One and that the subject of monotheism is Unique, Everlasting, and transcends modality and place. Thoughts cannot encompass Him nor can hearts conceive of Him in terms of `How''.

[Shaykh Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi al-Halabi ash-Shaf'i' al-Ash'ari . al-Radd `ala Man Qala bi al-Jiha (Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya) Point 12]

Ibn Taymiyya included him as an adherent of “Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamah” saying:
The great shaykhs mentioned by Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami in Tabaqat al-sufiyya, and Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri in al-Risala, were adherents of the school of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a and the school of Ahl al-hadith, such as al-Fudayl ibn `Iyad, al-Junayd ibn Muhammad, Sahl ibn `Abd Allah al-Tustari, `Amr ibn `Uthman al-Makki, Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Khafif al-Shirazi, and others, and their speech is found in the Sunna, and they composed books about the Sunna.”  [Ibn Taymiyya, al-Risala al-Safadiyya (Riyad: matabi` hanifa, 1396/1976) 1:267.]

Some of the sayings of Sahl al Tustari (may Allah preserve his secrets) in commentary to the verses of the Quran are quoted below:
On opposition to heretical bidah
Sahl b. Abd Allah al-Tustari said: “No one has ever innovated a thing in matters of religious knowledge, but that he is questioned about it on the Day of Resurrection; should he conform to the Sunna, well and good; otherwise, he shall perish.” [Ibn Qudama in Tahrim al-Nazar fi Kutub al al-Kalam]
{As for those who have divided their religion and broken up into factions} He [Sahl] said:They are the people of whims (ahwāʾ) and innovations (bidaʿ) in religion. For them there is no form of repentance. Thus, has it been related from the Prophet(s)  that he said, ‘For every sin there is a form of repentance except for that of the people of whims and innovations, for truly I disown them just as they disown me, and God, Mighty and Majestic is He, has excluded them from repentance (tawba).’ That is, He has made the way to repentance difficult for them.
{You will not find a people who believe in God and the Last Day loving those who oppose God and His Messenger, even were they to be their fathers} He [Sahl] said:No person whose faith is sound enjoys the company of the innovator (mubtadiʿ), nor does he comply with him, eat with him, drink with him or keep his company. Rather, he shows him hostility and loathing from himself. On the other hand, whoever fawns over an innovator will have the sweetness of [following] the Prophet’s ways (sunan) removed from him by God, and whoever shows love for an innovator, seeking honour in this world and some worldy gain (ʿaraan minhā), will find that God humiliates him with that honour and impoverishes him through that wealth. Moreover, whoever jokes with an innovator will find that God removes the light of faith from his heart. As for the one who doubts this, let him try it for himself.
On the meaning of the verse {the Hand of God is above their hands}
{the Hand of God is above their hands} He said: That is, the power (awl) of God and His strength (quwwa) is above their strength (quwwa) and their action (araka). This is in their saying to the Messenger  at the time of the pledge (bayʿa), We have pledged to you that we will not flee, and we will fight for you.’ There is another possible meaning of the Hand of God is above their hands, which is, the grace (minna) of God is above them in their being guided to take the pledge, and His reward (thawāb) for them is above their pledge and their obedience for you.
On Quran as the Speech of Allah
{And there would never come from the Compassionate One any reminder that is new, but that they used to disregard it.}  He said: That is, whenever there came to them, through revelation, knowledge of the Qurʾān which was new to them and of which they had no prior knowledge, they would turn away from it. This is not to say that the Reminder (dhikr) itself is created (muhdath), however, for it is from among the attributes of the essence of God, and is therefore neither existentiated (mukawwan) nor created (makhlūq).
On the creation of the Prophet(s)
He created Adam from the clay of might consisting of the light of Muammad(s)

God, Glorified and Exalted is He, created him as a light within a column of light (nūran fī ʿamūd al-nūr), a million years before creation, the light of the prophets is from his [Muammad’s](s)  light, the light of the heavenly dominions is from his light and the light of this world and the Hereafter is from his light.  (link/source find: Here)

300 AH

Imam al-Tabari (d.310H)

Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari 
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,”
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.”
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 لَعَلَّهُمْيَرْشُدُونَ }
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.
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، عنالـحسن، قال: سأل أصحاب النبـي صلى الله عليه وسلم النبـي صلى الله عليه وسلم: أين ربنا؟ فأنزل اللهتعالـى 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. . .'"
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 (b
i 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.

Imam al-Tabari saying: “The outward wording of the Qur’an indicates the correctness of the saying of Ibn Abbas that is related by Ja’far ibn Abi’l Mughira from Sa’eed ibn Jubayr from him (Ibn Abbas), that he said: ‘It is His Ilm (His knowledge).”And the Asl (original sense) of al-Kursi is al-Ilm.” Read more: Here
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 فيالأرض 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 السمواتوالأرض 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 علىإفنائهن وعلى إهلاكهن وإهلاك عيسى وأمه ومن في الأرض جميعاً كما ابتدأ خلقهم، لا يعجزه ذلك ولاشيء 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.
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”.
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, tellhim, 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
Imam at-Tabari says in Tārīkh al-Umam wa l-Mulūk, (1/3):
لا تحيط به الأوهام، ولا تحويه الأقطار
''The Mind can not be comprehend him and the locations do not contain him.''


The Hanbali Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Khallal (d. 311H) 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).

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. 
As you may know, the true architect of the Hanbali madhhab was not actually Imam Ahmad, who did not like to see any of his positions written down, but rather these were conveyed orally by various students at different times, one reason there are often a number of different narratives from him on legal questions. It is probably no exaggeration to say that the real founder of the Hanbali madhhab was the Imam and hadith master (hafiz) ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi, who died 597 years after the Hijra, and who recorded all the narratives from Imam Ahmad, distinguished the well-authenticated from the poorly-authenticated, and organized them into a coherent body of fiqh jurisprudence. 

 Imam Al-Zajjaj (d.311H)  (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-Nasafisaid :
"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).

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)
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)
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.
Imam Abu Jafar Al- Tahawi (d.321H)
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." 
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
 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 كسائرِالْمُبتَدَعاتِ.
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’.

Imam Abu al-Hasan Al-Ashari (d.324H) 
“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]
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).]
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’sdoctrine 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
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.
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)

Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d.333H) 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]
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).
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).
Imam Al-Maturidi In his book: "Kitab ut-Tawhid" (page 151), says confirming the view that the believers will see Allah in the Hereafter without modality:
فإن قيل: كيف يرى?  قيل: بلا كيف, إذ الكيفية تكون لدى صورة بل يرى بلا وصف قيام وقعود واتكاء وتعلق واتصال وانفصال ومقابلة ومدابرة, وقصير وطويل, ونور, وظلمة وساكن ومتحرك, ومماس ومباين, وخارج وداخل ولا معنى يأخذه الوهم أو يقدره العقل لتعاليه عن ذلك
Rough translation:
[If someone says, "How will we see [Him]?" It is said: "Without modality / bila kayf" because  modality / kayfiyya applies to beings with a form (surah),  but He will be seen without description by means of a comparison, without being standing, sitting, leaning or suspended, without being in contact or separation, without having a front or back, being long or short, light or dark, motionless or moving, in contact or separated, inside or outside and in no sense that the imagination could perceive or reason could evaluate because He transcends it all.]

Imam Ibn Hibban (d.354 H)  in his Thiqaat says:
"الحمد لله الذي ليس له حد محدود فيحتوى، ولا له أجل معدود فيفنى، ولا يحيط به جوامع المكان ولايشتمل 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]

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”.

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d.386H) 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.
Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani  (d.386AH)
Imam Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani al-Maliki  mentioned in his Kitab al-Jami, translated into English by Abdas Samad Clarke under the title: “A Madinan View on the Sunnah, courtesy, wisdom, battles and history” (Taha publishers, London, 1999, p. 30):
Someone said, ‘What about one who narrates the hadith, ‘Allah created Adam on his form,’ and that ‘Allah will unveil His shank on the Day of Resurrection,’ and that ‘He will put His hand into Jahannam and bring out whomever He wills out of it’, and He (Malik) rejected them strenuously, and forbade anyone to narrate them. Someone said, ‘Ibn Ijlan has narrated it.He said, ‘He was not one of the people of fiqh.’ Malik did not reject the hadith of ‘descent’ nor the hadith of ‘laughter.’ Someone said, ‘What about the hadith that ‘the Throne shook because of the death of Sa’d?He said, ‘It should not be narrated, and what call has a man to narrate that when he sees what danger it contains?’”
Junayd said: We have one of the foremost students of Ibn Abi Zayd stating clearly Allah is not literally above. Imam Makki bin Abi Talib (355-437) stated Allah is High in the sense of His power, not higher in respect to what is supposed to be below him.
فيكفي أن نردّ عليهم بكلام أعلم الناس بعقيدة الإمام ابن أبي زيد وهو تلميذه الإمام مكي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه، فقد قال في تفسير قوله تعالى: (وَهُوَ القَاهرُ فَوْقَ عبادِه)[الأنعام:18]: واللهُ المذلِّل لعباده، العالِي عليهم عُلُوَّ قُدْرَةٍ وَقَهْرٍ، لَا عُلُوَّ انْتِقَالٍ مِنْ سُفْلٍ، بَلْ اسْتَعْلَى عَلَى خَلْقِهِ بِقُدْرَتِهِ، فقَهرَهُم بالموت وبما شاء من أمره، لا إله إلا هو، ولَـمَّا وصف نفسه تعالى بأنه الـمُذِلُّ القاهِرُ، ومن صفة القاهر أن يكون مستعلياً. (الهداية، ص 1977)
Risala of Ibn Abi Zayd:
And He [Allah] is above the Throne al majeed bi dhatihi.”
Maliki scholars, such as Sidi Ahmed Zarruq, have said that the line in the Risala that indicates Allah being in a direction (above the Throne) is something that was added in by deviant people and it was not part of the original manuscript [Zarruq, Sharh al Risala].
Explanation for the line that is given by the commentators of the Risala.
Metaphorical Aboveness
If we are to assume that Ibn Abi Zayd actually wrote the line, then the explanation given by the Maliki scholars is that he meant “above” in a metaphorical sense and not a literal sense.
In other words, that Allah is above the need of the throne or that He is above it in grandness.
They say that Ibn Abi Zayd could not have meant it in a literal sense because that would make him from the people that believe Allah to be in a particular direction, which is a deviant belief.
 “Everything that you can conceive, Allah is different than that.”
Sidi Ahmed Zarruq, may Allah be pleased with him, said that one of the explanations of why Ibn Abi Zayd would say that Allah is “above” His Throne is that there were people at in his time that believed Allah to be on earth. These people were the ‘Ubaydiyyah, also known as the Isma’ilis, and were deviant in many aspects of their belief and practice including believing that one of their rulers was God.
Therefore, Ibn Abi Zayd was using this line to teach people that Allah is not on earth and he is above, in a way similar to the slave woman who was asked where Allah was [Zarruq, Sharh al Risala].
Above in the Quran
One thing to note is that although the line in the Risala uses the preposition “fawq” in Arabic to describe Allah in relation to the Throne, nowhere in the Quran do we find this preposition used with the Throne.In the Quran, all the verses that speak about the Throne use the preposition “ala.” So, if one is to stay true to the texts of the Quran and Hadith, saying “fawq al arsh” is not acceptable.
Many people that believe Allah to be in a direction use the line of Ibn Abi Zayd as a proof.
The response should be that we use the verse as it is and say “ala”.
Then, we have to understand that the prepositions can have literal and metaphorical interpretations. One place where the preposition “fawq” is used is in the verse 48:10 but it is not in relation to the Throne.
The people that believe Allah to be in a direction say that this preposition of “fawq” (above) is metaphorical, yet when they read the preposition “ala” for the throne, they say it is literal and that Allah is literally on His throne.
They have contradicted themselves by allowing metaphorical interpretation sometimes and other times not. Contradiction is a sign of falsehood as truth does not contradict itself (Quran 4:82).
[...]Read Full Article Here
Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d.386AH) belonged to the Ash`ari school which he took, among others, from Abu Bakr ibn `Abd al-Mu’min, the student of Ibn Mujahid, the student of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari. [1] Al-Qadi `Iyad mentioned that in the year 368 Ibn Abi Zayd sent two of his students to deliver some of his books by hand to Ibn Mujahid who had requested them, with a full license to narrate them from him (ij’aza). [2] 
Ibn Abi Zayd notably defended the Ash`ari school in his epistle entitled "Al-Radd `ala al-Qadariyya wa Munaqada Risala al-Baghdadi al-Mu`tazili," a refutation of the attacks of the Mu`tazili `Ali ibn Isma`il al-Baghdadi. [3] 
Al-Mayurqi further narrated that Ibn Abi Zayd said: " Al-Ash`ari is a man famous for refuting the people of Innovation, the Qadariyya and the Jahmiyya, and he held fast to the Sunan." [4]

[1] Al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd" (p. 109, 237).
[2] Al-Qadi `Iyad, "Tartib al-Madarik" (4:477). See al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd" (p. 240-241).
[3] Al-Qadi `Iyad, "Tartib al-Madarik"(2/4:486-494). See al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd" (p. 286-287).
[4] Al-Subki, "Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra" (3:368).
Imam Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī was an Ash'ari and a Defender of Shaykh Ibn Kullab
āfi al-Dhahabī said in al-‘Uluw:They critisized him [Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī] for his statement: “with His Essence”, so would that he had left it out.”
Now, we are most certain that Imām Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī did not intend by this phrase – if it is authentically from him – the meaning that some intend, and this is evident and clear from the statements of those who wrote commentaries on his book. He was an Ash‘arī and he loved Imām Abū al-
asan, as is clear from his response to someone who critisized him for his love for him. He said: “al-Ash‘arī is no more than a man who is well-known for refuting the people of innovation and the Qadirites and the Jahmīs, and who holds firm to the Sunnas.” Al-Tāj al-Subkī mentioned him among the second tier of Ash‘arīs that went unmentioned in al-afi Ibn ‘Asākir’s book, Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī.
[Source: Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash‘arīs -The Testimony of the Scholars and Their Proofs By:
amad al-Sinān & Fawzī al-‘Anjarī]
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”
It was mentioned in relation to this statement: 'observe how he said that 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.'
Imam al-Baqillani (d.403AH) said in at-Tamhid (pp.300-301):
And if someone says: Where is He? It is said to him: Asking where (al-ayn) is asking about place (al-makaan) and He is not one that a place (makaan) is permitted to enclose (yahwee), and nor [one that] places can encompass. Except that we say: Indeed He is Above His Throne, [but] not with the meaning of a body [being as such] through contact and adjacency, Exalted is He above that with a Lofty Exaltation.
Notice how the Imam answers the question 'Where is He?' with the reply that 'He is Above His throne' whilst denying He is in a place or location.  
Imam Ibn Furak (d.406AH) stated: Know that when we say that Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is above (fawqa) 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 senses; one of them means.........The second sense is that He is above them meaning He is distinct (mubāyin) of His creation.
What is reported from the foremost students of Ibn Abi Zayd is their stating clearly that Allah is not literally above.
Imam Makki bin Abi Talib (b.355-d.437), for example, stated Allah is High in the sense of His power, not higher in respect to what is supposed to be below him.
فيكفي أن نردّ عليهم بكلام أعلم الناس بعقيدة الإمام ابن أبي زيد وهو تلميذه الإمام مكي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه، فقد قال في تفسير قوله تعالى: (وَهُوَ القَاهرُ فَوْقَ عبادِه)[الأنعام:18]: واللهُ المذلِّل لعباده، العالِي عليهم عُلُوَّ قُدْرَةٍ وَقَهْرٍ، لَا عُلُوَّ انْتِقَالٍ مِنْ سُفْلٍ، بَلْ اسْتَعْلَى عَلَى خَلْقِهِ بِقُدْرَتِهِ، فقَهرَهُم بالموت وبما شاء من أمره، لا إله إلا هو، ولَـمَّا وصف نفسه تعالى بأنه الـمُذِلُّ القاهِرُ، ومن صفة القاهر أن يكون مستعلياً. (الهداية، ص 1977)

Hence, there is no doubt that Imam Ibn Abi Zayd did not believe Allah to be in a sensory direction or place ‘above’ as the Wahhabis / pseudo- salafis of today claim.
Imam al-Bayhaqi (d.458 AH) in his Asma' wal-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 396-397; Hashidi ed. 2:280) states in relation to the statement of the Muslims, 'Allah established Himself over the throne': The meaning of what the Muslims say whereby Allah "established Himself over the Throne" is not that He is in contact with it, nor that He is fixed there (mutamakkin fih), nor that  He is circumscribed (mutahayyiz) by any of its directions (jihaat). However, He is separate / distinct (ba'in) from all of His creation. It is but a report whose terms are ordained and so we say it, at the same time denying any modality (takyif) for it, for {There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All Seeing} (42:11) 
Imam Al-Bayhaqi also says further down (Kawthari ed. p. 426-427; Hashidi ed. 2:334-336): 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 the Jahmiyya; * not to suggest direction on the opposite side*. He means what the Law said in absolute terms, and Allah knows best.

Al-āfi Ibn ‘Asākir (d.571AH) said:
I read from a letter from the handwriting of the
adīth scholar of Egypt, ‘Alī b. Baqā’ al-Warrāq that was written by the Mālikī jurist, Abū Muammad ‘Abdullāh b. Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī who was the leading scholar of Mālik’s school in the Maghreb during his time. He wrote it ‘Alī b. Amad b. Ismā‘īl al-Baghdādī al-Mu‘tazilī as a response to a letter written by the latter to the Mālikīs of Qayrawān in which he offered them advice that would convert them to the Mu‘tazila doctrine. [within the letter – produced in full by Ibn ‘Asākir – it reads:]…[A]nd you attributed him to innovation then you did not mention a statement from him that can be identified as an innovation or be used to call him an innovator. We know of no one who has accused Ibn Kullāb of innovation. What has reached us is that he closely follows the Sunna and takes it upon himself to refute the Jahmīyya and other innovators…
This is a mighty testimony from Imām Ibn Abī Zayd regarding Ibn Kullāb and his close adherence to the Sunna and refutations against the innovators and that he knew of no one who accused him of innovation.
[Source: Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash‘arīs - The Testimony of the Scholars and Their Proofs By:
amad al-Sinān & Fawzī al-‘Anjarī]
Qadi ibn Farhun al-Maliki said about him:
He [Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari] was a follower of the Maliki school of law and he authored works for the people of the Sunna and he adduced arguments for the establishment of the Sunna and those things that the people of innovation refuted.
He established these clear arguments and proofs from the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions as well as sound rational arguments. He suppressed the arguments of the Mu’tazalites and those apostates after them. He wrote these extensive works that God has benefited the Muslims with; he debated the Mu’tazalites and was victorious over them.
Abu al- Hasan al-Qabisi used to praise him and he even authored a treatise about al-Ash’ari and his school in which he praised him and did him justice. Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd and others from the leaders of the Muslims also praised him.
Imam al-Kawtharī said in his footnote to Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī (pg 123):
“The commentators on his Risāla concur that this phrase is either interpolated or understood as a nominative [rafa‘], in other words: ‘…upon the Throne, Glorious in His Essence […al-‘Arshi, al-Majīdu bī Dhātihi].’” (as opposed to describing the Throne as glorious and affirming that He is above it with His Essence: “al-‘Arshi al-Majīdi bī Dhātihi”)
[Source: Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash‘arīs -The Testimony of the Scholars and Their Proofs By:
amad al-Sinān & Fawzī al-‘Anjarī] More info Here


Imam al-Khattabi (d.388H) 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”
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.'
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani , in volume 13, page 414, of his book Fath l-Bari, while explaining a hadith relating theMi’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
Imam Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi (d. 388 AH) said:
وليس معنى قول المسلمين : إن الله على العرش ، هو أنه مماس له ، أو متمكن فيه ، أو متحيز في جهة من جهاته ، لكنه بائن من جميع خلقه
And the saying of the Muslims, that Allah is above the throne, does not mean that He is in contact with it or that He is located there or that He is occupied by one of it's directions, rather [it means that] He is beyond (ba`in) all of his creation.

Source: "A'lam al-Hadith fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari" p. 1474: Here
Aqeeda of Abu Sulayman al Khattabi Here
Quote Wahhabi said: “Al-Khattaabee (d.388H) said: “The madhab of the Salaf with regard to the Attributes of Allaah is to affirm them as they are with their apparent (dhaahir) meaning, negating any resemblance to the creation and without asking how they are.”….”
This is a perverted translation.
The Arabic states كان مذهب السلف فيها الإيمان بها ، وإجراءها على ظاهرها ونفي الكيفية عنها
Which means: “(
كان مذهب السلف فيها) the way of the salaf in this (scripture texts that might make someone ignorant liken Allah to creation) (الإيمان بها) is to believe in them (the texts) (وإجراءها) and to pass them on (على ظاهرها) as they appear, (ونفي الكيفية عنها) and denying any modality from them.” Then he narrated from Az-Zuhriyy and Makĥuul that they said “امضوا الأحاديث على ما جاءت”, which means, “(امضوا) pass on (الأحاديث) the hadiths (على ما جاءت) as they came.”
 There is no mention of “apparent meaning” in any of these statements.
Subĥaana Allaah,
if the apparent meaning was meant, then why would the salaf make such a big deal out of it?
If the apparent meaning was meant then they would not even have mentioned these ways of dealing with these types of scripture texts. Here

400 AH

Imam Al-Baqillani (d.403H) 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 التركيبوالصورة والجنسية فلا صورة له ولا جنس فنخبرك عنه. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي على أي صفةهو فهو حي عالم قادر سميع بصير. وإن أردت بقولك كيف هو أي كيف صنعه إلى خلقه فصنعه إليهمالعدل 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-ˆAsqalaaniyybelieved Aļļaah to be in a direction. We have shown this to befalse. Click the ^above links!
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”.

Imam Ibn Furak al-Shafi’i (d.406H)
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”.
The statement of Ibn Mas'ud 
وقال بن مسعود في قوله "ثم استوى على العرش" قال العرش على الماء ولله فوق العرش وهو يعلم ماأنتم 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.
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 placeas opposed to another place.

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]."
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)

Imam Abu Manşur Al-Baghdadi (d.429H) 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.)
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 كِتابِهِ الفَرْقُ بَيْنَ الفِرَقِ أَنَّ الإِمامَ عَلِيَّ بْن أَبِى طالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُقالَ :
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 مَكاناًلِذاتِهِ.
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.
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).]
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.

Imam al-Mawardi (d.448H) recommends seeking intercession through the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam:
فأما زيارة قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فمأمور بها ومندوب إليها ، روى عبيد الله ، عن نافع عن ابن عمر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : من زار قبري وجبت له شفاعتي ، وحكي عن العتبي أنه قال : كنت عند قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأتى أعرابي ، فقال : يا رسول الله وجدت الله تعالى يقول : ولو أنهم إذ ظلموا أنفسهم جاءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدوا الله توابا رحيما [ النساء : 64 ] ، وقد جئتك تائبا من ذنبي مستشفعا بك إلى ربي وأنشأ يقول : يا خير من دفنت بالقاع أعظمه *** فطاب من طيبهن القاع والأكم *** نفسي الفداء لقبر أنت ساكنه *** فيه العفاف وفيه الجود والكرم
قال العتبي : فغفوت غفوة فرأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : يا عتبي الحق الأعرابي ، وأخبره بأن الله تعالى قد غفر له

"As for visiting the grave of the Prophet - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - then this is something that is ordered [in the Shari'ah] and recommended.
'Ubaydallah reported from Nafi', [who reported] from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said: "Whoever visits my grave, then my intercession will surely be granted to him."

And it was narrated from al-'Utbi, that he said:

"As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam -, a Beduin Arab came and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I've found Allah ta'ala saying: { If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful } [4:64], so I have come to you repenting from my sins and seeking intercession through you unto my Lord." 
Then he began to recite poetry:
O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth and the height have become sweet,
May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!

Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Messenger of Allah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - [in my sleep]. He said to me: "O 'Utbi, run after the Beduin and tell him that Allah ta'ala has forgiven him.""


Imam al-Hafidh al-Bayhaqi (d.458H) 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 فيالقرب والبعد من الله تعالى سواء، وأنه الظاهر فيصح إدراكه بالأدلة، الباطن فلا يصح إدراكه بالكونفي مكان. واستدل بعض أصحابنا في نفي المكان عنه بقول النبي صلّى الله عليه و سلّم أنت الظاهرفليس فوقك شىء، وأنت الباطن فليس دونك شىء، وإذا لم يكن فوقه شىء ولا دونه شىء لم يكن فيمكان

".... 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.]
 “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]
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).
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).
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.
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
 Imam al-Bayhaqi ,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.
Think about the creations of Allàh, but do not attempt to imagine the Self of Allàh.
Imam al-Bayhaqi said in his book, al-I'tiqad, in which he has a whole section on ru'yah:
قال الشيخ الإمام أحمد رحمه الله: سمعت الشيخ الإمام أبا الطيب سهل بن محمد بن سليمان رحمه الله يقول فيما أملاه علينا في قوله: لا تضامون في رؤيته بضم التاء وتشديد الميم: يريد لا تجتمعون لرؤيته في جهته، ولا يضم بعضكم إلى بعض لذلك، فإنه عز وجل لا يرى في جهة كما يرى المخلوق في جهة، ومعناه بفتح التاء لا تضامون لرؤيته مثل معناه بضمها، ل تتضامون في رؤيته بالإجتماع في جهة وهو دون تشديد الميم من الضيم معناه: لا تظلمون في رؤيته برؤية بعضكم دون بعض، وأنكم ترونه في جهاتكم كلها، وهو يتعالى عن جهة، قال: والتشبيه برؤية القمر ليقين الرؤية دون تشبيه المرئي، تعالى الله عن ذلك علوا كبيرا
“I heard Shaykh Imam Abut Tayyib Sahl ibn Muhammad ibn Sulayman [al-Sa'luki] (may Allah have mercy on him) say in that which he dictated to us regarding his saying, “you will not huddle together to see Him”: he means you will not huddle together to see Him in His direction, and one of you will not join to the other for that, as He will not be seen in a direction as creation is seen in a direction…You will see Him in all your directions, and He is beyond direction. He said: The comparison with seeing the moon is for the certainty of seeing not a comparison of that which is seen, exalted is Allah beyond that with great exaltation.”

As for Arabic expression, for example
'Ala al-Din al-Bukhari said in his Risalah fil I'tiqad:
اعلم أن رؤية الله تعالى بمعنى الانكشاف التام بالأبصار للمؤمنين فى الآخرة بعد دخولهم الجنة جائزة عقلا وواجبة سمعا فيرى لا في مكان ولا في جهة ولا اتصال شعاع ولا ثبوت مسافة بين الرائي وبينه تعالى وغير ذلك من أمارات الحدث
"Know that Ruy'ah in the meaning of a complete opening-up by means of the sights of believers in the afterlife after their entrance into Jannah is possible rationally and necessary textually, so He will be seen, neither in a place, nor in a direction..." (p 139)

- The "opening-up" as the editor of the book mentioned in the footnote is a perception that is acquired by the eyes more complete than what we have through knowledge, reason and reports. So the "complete" that al-Bukhari is referring to is in reference to the inkishaf itself, not the reality of Allah.
Al-Hafiz al-Bayhaqi (ra) said after narrating the Hadith of “descent” [nuzul]:
This is a rigorously authentic Hadith narrated by a group of the Companions from the Prophet(s).
Regarding the likes of this report mentioned in the Book and the Sunna, and the meaning of which none of the Companions and followers spoke about, the Companions of Hadith are two groups:
Some of them accepted it and believed in it without interpreting it, and they entrusted the knowledge of it to Allah and negated resemblance and modality.
Some of the accepted it and believed in it and interpreted it in a manner that conforms to its usage in the [Arabic] language and that does not contradict Divine Oneness…

In general, it must be known that Allah’s rising [istiwa] is not a rising [that entails] straightening up after being bent, nor it is settlement in a place or with contact with anything of His creation. Rather, He is risen above His Throne as He informed and without modality , … withoutwhere;’ He is distinct from all of His creation. It must also be known that His coming’ is not the coming from one place to another place. It must be known that His approaching is not a movement, His descent is not by displacement, His Self is not a corporeal body, His face is not an image, His hand is not a limb, and His eyes are not pupils. These descriptions are Divinely inspired, and thus we believe in them and negate modality from them, for Allah, the Exalted, said: ‘Do you know any equal to Him?’  [Al-Itiqad, p.92.]


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”.

Imam al-Baji al-Maliki (d. 474 AH) states in al-Muntaqa Sharh al-Muwatta’ 1:357, in explanation of the hadith of Allah’s descent to the nearest heaven in the last third of the night:
“The Prophet’s — Allah bless and greet him — saying that our Exalted Lord descends every night to the nearest heaven is to inform us that supplication at that particular time is answered, petitioners are given what they request, and those who ask for forgiveness are forgiven. It warns us as to the great merit of that time and strongly encourages us to make abundant supplication, petition, and contrition at that time. It was narrated from the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him — in similar terms that Allah Almighty and Exalted said: “If My servant comes near Me one hand-span I come near him one cubit. If he comes near Me one cubit I come near him an arm’s length. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.”

He did not mean by this hadith a coming-near in terms of distance, for such is impossible and inexistent. All he meant was the servant’s coming-near in terms of good works, and Allah’s coming-near in terms of answer and acceptance. In the same sense one says “So-and-so is near So-and-so,” and they say of the leader “He is near his people” if he helps them a lot and welcomes them. This is well-known in the language of the Arabs.”

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)”.
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”.
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.

Last Updated:Dec/2016

Continue to (Part2) 500AH - 700AH
(Edited by ADHM)