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What does it mean that God descends every night from the seventh heaven to answer people's prayers?

There is a hadith narrated by Bukhrai (ra) saying that Allah every night goes down from the 7th heaven. Is this hadith true? Is all bukhrari hadiths autentic and without any mistakes?

Answer

Sahih al-Bukhari is the most authentic book of the noble Sunna. What al-Bukhari mentioned in his Sahih is that Allah descends every night through His omnipresence and answering His servants' supplication [Du'a]; meaning the revelation of Allah's commands or mercy. Imam Malik said in explaining this hadith: "It means that Allah's commands are revealed every night, but He is the Everlasting One".

In his commentary on Sahih Muslim, imam al-Nawawi said:

"This hadith is one of those that talk about Allah's Attributes. Scholars have two well-known opinions on this hadith: First, the predecessors and some theologians maintain that Allah's descend must be interpreted in the true way that befits His majesty and not according to the apparent meaning we know. It must be believed that Allah is above the attributes of His creations including movement and others. Second, Malik and al-Awza'i reported through many theologians and groups of the predecessors that this hadith can be interpreted according to the way that befits it [Allah's majesty]. Based on this, they interpreted this hadith in two ways: the first is that maintained by Malik ibn Anas and others who said that Allah's mercy, commands and angles descend, such as to say the ruler did so and so if his followers fulfilled his commands. The second is metaphorically interpreted as Allah's omnipresence to respond to His servants' supplication and showering them with mercy."
 

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