Did Prophet peace be upon him see Allah?

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Did Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) see Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) on the night of ascension?
 
 
Following is the detaild commentary of al Hafidh Ibn Hajr al asqalani Rahimaullah.
 
Ibn Hajr said:
وقد اختلف السلف في رؤية النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - ربه فذهبت عائشة وابن مسعود إلى إنكارها ، واختلف عن أبي ذر ، وذهب جماعة إلى إثباتها ، وحكى عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن الحسن أنه حلف أن محمدا رأى ربه . وأخرج ابن خزيمة عن عروة بن الزبير إثباتها ، وكان يشتد عليه إذا ذكر له إنكار عائشة ، وبه قال سائر أصحاب ابن عباس ، وجزم به كعب الأحبار والزهري وصاحبه معمر وآخرون ، وهو قول الأشعري وغالب أتباعه . ثم اختلفوا هل رآه بعينه أو بقلبه ؟ وعن أحمد كالقولين . 
قلت : جاءت عن ابن عباس أخبار مطلقة وأخرى مقيدة ، فيجب حمل مطلقها على مقيدها ، فمن ذلك ما أخرجه النسائي بإسناد صحيح وصححه الحاكم أيضا من طريق عكرمة عن ابن عباس ، قال : أتعجبون أن تكون الخلة لإبراهيم والكلام لموسى والرؤية لمحمد ؟  
 
وأخرجه ابن خزيمة بلفظ " إن الله اصطفى إبراهيم بالخلة " الحديث . وأخرج ابن إسحاق من طريق عبد الله بن أبي سلمة أن ابن عمر أرسل إلى ابن عباس : هل رأى محمد ربه ؟ فأرسل إليه أن نعم . ومنها ما أخرجه مسلم من طريق أبي العالية عن ابن عباس في قوله تعالى ما كذب الفؤاد ما رأى ولقد رآه نزلة أخرى قال : رأى ربه بفؤاده مرتين . 
 
وله من طريق عطاء عن ابن عباس قال : رآه بقلبه وأصرح من ذلك ما أخرجه ابن مردويه من طريق عطاء أيضا عن ابن عباس قال : لم يره رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - بعينه ، إنما رآه بقلبه .
 
 وعلى هذا فيمكن الجمع بين إثبات ابن عباس ونفي عائشة بأن يحمل نفيها على رؤية البصر وإثباته على رؤية القلب . ثم المراد برؤية الفؤاد رؤية القلب لا مجرد حصول العلم ، لأنه - صلى الله عليه وسلم - كان عالما بالله على الدوام . بل مراد من أثبت له أنه رآه بقلبه أن الرؤية التي حصلت له خلقت في قلبه كما يخلق الرؤية بالعين لغيره ، والرؤية لا يشترط لها شيء مخصوص عقلا ، ولو جرت العادة بخلقها في العين ، وروى ابن خزيمة بإسناد قوي عن أنس قال : " رأى محمد ربه " ،
 
 وعند مسلم من حديث أبي ذر أنه سأل النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - عن ذلك فقال : نور أنى أراه ولأحمد عنه ، قال : رأيت نورا ولابن خزيمة عنه قال : " رآه بقلبه ولم يره بعينه " . وبهذا يتبين مراد أبي ذر بذكره النور أي النور حال بين رؤيته له ببصره ، وقد رجح القرطبي في " المفهم " قول الوقف في هذه المسألة وعزاه الجماعة من المحققين ، وقواه بأنه ليس في الباب دليل قاطع ، وغاية ما استدل به للطائفتين ظواهر متعارضة قابلة للتأويل ، قال : وليست المسألة من العمليات فيكتفى فيها بالأدلة الظنية ، وإنما هي من المعتقدات فلا  يكتفى فيها إلا بالدليل القطعي 
وجنح ابن خزيمة في " كتاب التوحيد " إلى ترجيح الإثبات وأطنب في الاستدلال له بما يطول ذكره ، وحمل ما ورد عن ابن عباس على أن الرؤيا وقعت مرتين مرة بعينه ومرة بقلبه ، وفيما أوردته من ذلك مقنع . وممن أثبت الرؤية لنبينا - صلى الله عليه وسلم - الإمام أحمد فروى الخلاف في " كتاب السنة " عن المروزي قلت لأحمد إنهم يقولون إن عائشة قالت " من زعم أن محمدا رأى ربه فقد أعظم على الله الفرية " فبأي شيء يدفع قولها ؟ قال : بقول النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - رأيت ربي ، قول النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - أكبر من قولها . وقد أنكر صاحب الهدي " على من زعم أن أحمد قال : رأى ربه بعيني رأسه قال : وإنما قال مرة : رأى محمد ربه وقال مرة : بفؤاده . وحكى عنه بعض المتأخرين رآه بعيني رأسه وهذا من تصرف الحاكي ، فإن نصوصه موجودة
 
There is difference of opinion among the righteous predecessors as to whether the Prophet peace be upon him saw Allah or not. Aisha ra and Ibn Masood ra said He (peace be upon him) did not see Allah, There are two opinions of Abu Zar ra in this matter, A group said He (peace be upon him) saw Allah, Abdul Razzaq narrated from al Hasan that: He would swear that Muhammad peace be upon him saw his Lord, Ibn Khuzaima Narrated from Urwa bin Zubair that He (peace be upon him) saw his lord, and He would dislike it when it was mentioned against him that Aisha ra negated this opinion. And this is the opinion of all the companions of Ibn Abbas ra, Ka`b Ahbar, Zuhri and his student M`amar and others have same opinion. This is also the saying of al Ashari and his followers, Then they (those who have the opinion that the Prophet saw Allah) differed, whether He (peace be upon him) saw with his eyes or with his heart? Imam Ahmad has two different sayings in this matter.
 
I (Ibn Hajr) say: Some narrations from Ibn Abbas are Mutlaq and others are Muqayyad, It is obligatory to mahmool Mutlaq over Muqayyad, It is authentically reported by an-Nasaaee and al Hakim also said its authentic that Ibn Abbas a said: "Are you surprised at friendship of Ibrahim aleh salam [with Allah], The Speech of Musa aleh salam (directly with Allah) and Sight of Muhammad peace be upon him?" 
 
Ibn Khuzaima narrated with the words: Allah chose friendship for Ibraheem , Ibn Ishaq narrated from the rout of Abdullah bin abi Salma that Ibn Umar ra forwarded a question to Ibn Abbas ra that, Did the Prophet peace be upon him saw his Lord? He replied Yes. 
 
It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the words:
" The heart belied not what he saw" (al-Qur'an, Iiii. 11) and" Certainly he saw Him in another descent" (al-Qur'an, Iiii. 13) imply that he (peace be upon him) saw his Lord twice WITH HIS HEART." 
 
Ata narrated from Ibn Abbas  that He (peace be upon him) saw his Lord with his heart, Ibn Mardwiyah narrated from Ata from Ibn Abbas ra that Prophet peace be upon him DID NOT SAW HIS LORD WITH THE EYES, RATHER HE SAW WITH HIS HEART. 
 
By these narrations we can reconcile the negation of Aisha and acceptance of Ibn Abbas on this issue, Aisha NEGATED THE SEEING OF EYES WHILE IBN ABBAS ACCEPTED THE SEEING WITH HEART....
 
Ibn Khuzaima narrated with the powerful chain from Anas ra that He (peace be upon him) saw his Lord. 
 
It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Dharr:
I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): Did you see thy Lord? He said: (He is) Light; how could I see Him?
 
It is narrated by Ahmad from him that "HE is light"
 
Ibn Khuzaima Narrated from him: "I saw him with the heart not with the eyes"
 
This shows the meaning of Abu Dharr when he said "He is Light" that the Light came in between the seeing of eyes,
 
al Qurtubi said in "al Mufhim" that "we should remain silent on this issue, and said this is the opinion of a group of scholars." And He said: There is no clear evidence in this matter on both of the sides, and the evidence given by both of the sides which are apparently different than each other can be interpreted. He said: This is not the matter of Amliyaat where we can accept dhanni evidence, rather it is among the aqaid where we need CLEAR evidence.
 
In "Kitab at Tawheed" Ibn Khuzaima did tarjeeh to the opinion of Ithbaat (i.e. Prophet peace be upon him saw his Lord) and went into details, and said that the narration of Ibn Abbas means that He (peace be upon him) once saw with the heart and second time with the eyes. 
 
Imam Ahmad also accepted this seeing of Allah tala, It is narrated in Kitab as-Sunnah that Maruzi (rah) asked Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rah): People say that Aisha (ra) used to exclaim that whosoever says the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord has attributed a lie to Allah, so how shall this be answered? (Imam Ahmed) replied: From the saying of Prophet (Peace be upon him) [himself] when he said:  “رأيت ربي” i.e. I saw my Lord, this will be an answer to Aisha (ra)’s Qawl because the saying of Prophet (Peace be upon him) is far superior than saying of her (i.e. Aisha ra). But the author of "AL Huda" rejected that Imam Ahmad said: He (peace be upon him) saw Allah with his eyes, He said: Imam Ahmad once said: He saw his Lord, another time Ahmad used the words of Heart. (i.e. Imam Ahmad said The Prophet peace be upon him saw his Lord with the heart not with the eyes). And what some of the later people narrated from him that He peacee be upon him saw with the eyes of head than this is a Tasarruf of the narrator as there are clear text available (against this).
 
[Fath al Bari, Kitab al-Tafsir, under the hadith no. 4855]
 
In short,
 
1. Aisha ra, Ibn Masood ra and others said He peace be upon him did not see his Lord with the eyes.
 
2. Ibn Abbas and his companions said He peace be upon him saw his Lord with his heart. So there is no contradiction here in the saying of Aisha ra and Ibn Abbas ra.
 
3. Imam Ahmad also said: He peace be upon him saw his Lord with the eyes of heart.
 
4. al Qurtubi said: We should remain silent on this issue.
 
5. Ibn Khuzaima said: once He peace be upon him saw with the eyes and other time with the heart.
 
6. Abu Dhar ra said He peace be upon him saw a Light.
 

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