Is God above the seven heavens?
Is the idea that Allah is located above the seven heavens part of the creed of Ahlul SunnahwalJma'ah? Is it shared by the four Imams and all Sunni scholars?
Jazakum Allah khair.
It is established in Muslim creed that Allah Almighty is not contained by space (the throne or otherwise) nor confined in time since both time and place are His creations and Allah cannot be contained by any of His creation. Allah is the Creator of everything and the all Encompassing. The throne is borne by His power as are the angels carrying it. Muslims unanimously agree upon this without a shadow of a doubt and scholars expressed this by saying, "Allah was, before creating space, and is now even as He was."
Scholarly quotes on Allah Almighty
• Imam Ja`far As-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever claims that Allah is contained in anything, or originated from anything, or is borne by anything has associated partners with Him. If He was in something, then He would be contained; and if He was on something, then He would be borne; and if He was from something, then He would have a beginning."
• It was said to Yahya ibn Mu'adh al-Razi: "Tell us about Allah the Exalted!" Yahya replied: "He is one god." The inquirer asked: "What is He like?" Yahya replied: "He is The Ever-Sovereign, The Ever-Powerful." The inquirer asked: "Where is He?" Yahya replied: "He is ever Watchful." Thereupon, the inquirer said: "I was not asking about this!" Yahya said: "Other than this would be an attribute of [His] creatures; as for the attribute of Allah, it is as I told you."
• Dhul Nun al-Misri was asked about the words of Allah 'Ar-Rahmanu `ala al-`arsh istawa (The Most Merciful is firmly established on the Throne [Ta-Ha; 5])'. He answered: "He affirmed His existence and denied containment in space. He exists independently; everything else exists by His Wisdom and as He Wills."
The textual evidences mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunna on the exaltedness of Allah Almighty over His creation refer to His Sublime status, Sovereignty, and dominance and power over them. Allah Almighty transcends His creation i.e. he is free from any resemblance to [His] creatures. His attributes are not like theirs—they are free from imperfection and to Him belongs the perfect attributes and the most beautiful Names. Allah is beyond anything one can ever imagine. The realization of the inability to understand the nature of Allah is in itself knowledge of Him and to inquire into His nature is associating partners with Him.
Al-Qadi 'Iyad said: "There is a consensus among Muslims: their scholars, orators, scholars of hadith, mujtahidin [those who derive rulings from legal texts] and those who follow them that the verses mentioning Allah's existence in the heavens are interpreted figuratively." Such verses include:
Do you feel secure that He who [holds authority] in the heaven would not cause the earth to swallow you [al-Mulk: 16).
If we were asked about Allah's place we would say that there is nothing whatsoever like Him as Allah Himself says in His Book:
There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. [Ash-Shura: 11)
One must not occupy oneself with pondering over the nature of Allah; this is a great danger as it will lead to drawing analogies between Allah and His creation. What we must do, is ponder on the signs of Allah's Might and Greatness hence, strengthening our belief in Him.