The Qur’anic Verse of the Throne

From the book “The Emotional Side of Islam” by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali. Translated and adapted by Haya Muhammad Eid and edited by
 Emily Katharine Richardson.

{Allah1, there is no god except Him, the Ever Living, the Self-Sufficient Master Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.}2

The merit of the Quranic Verse of the Throne lies in the flowing force of its exalting words, which powerfully uproot and dislodge whatever falsities are on their way to calmly enroot themselves, with the same motion, true belief within the soul.

{Allah, there is no god except Him…}

Nothing in existence goes beyond being a mere slave of Allah. Anyone or Anything, other than Allah, is a slave to Him. He Alone is the Sole God in the heavens and on the earth.

Anyone who claims himself to be a god is a liar. Any person who makes such a claim about a human is a liar.

There have been several eras during which people worshipped inanimate objects or animals as gods. These are truly the worst periods of mental and spiritual decline.

The prevalent error today is worshipping righteous men as gods besides or instead of Allah, under the false belief that they emanated from Him or that He dwelt in them.

This is a blasphemy that brings Allah (the Most High and Most Great) down to the level of man, and elevates man to the level of Allah.

Allah is the Sole God Who creates all creatures, gives them life, and cares and provides for them from birth to death.

{They have taken besides Him gods which create nothing but are themselves created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit, possess not (power to cause) death, life, or resurrection.}3

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad4, who is the peak of human perfection, stresses this reality with his supplication:

“O Allah, I am but Your slave, son of Your slave man, son of Your slave woman. I am in Your Grasp. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your Decree over me is forever executed, and Your Judgment over me is just.”5

{the Ever Living…}

Living creatures have no power to give life to themselves; rather, life is bestowed on them from outside themselves.

It is impermanent. It will depart them one day and shall not be returned to them except by the Will of He Who Bestowed it, the Ever Living, Whose Life has no beginning or end. Life is inherent in His Nature. It has been self-existent for eternity and will last until infinity. That is the difference between the life of the Creator and the creation. Therefore, Allah says to His Prophet:

{Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die.}6

For He Alone is the Author, Owner, Giver, and Taker of life.

It is indeed appropriate – even essential – that Allah’s eternal and non-bestowed Attribute of Living be followed by His Attribute of Self- Sufficiency and Provision for all creatures: (…the Self-Sufficient Master Who sustains and protects all that exists.) Every breath, motion, or pause in the universe and all creatures is powered by Allah. His Careful, Comprehensive, and Full Supervision covers all their events and affairs. They are the poorest and neediest they can be to Him, and He is beyond any need of them.

He is the Maintainer of every soul, knowing what it has earned, and the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them. It is impossible that anything slips out of His Control or veers in a direction other than that which He has designed. Every tiny little thing relies for its existence, movement, and continuity on His Supreme Being. {Verily, Allah holds the heavens and the earth lest they move from their places. If they were to move from their places, no one could hold them in place after Him.}7

These two attributes, the Ever Living and the Self-Sufficient Master, destroy any Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and bear witness to the Creator’s Absolute Oneness.

{Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him.}

Slumber is light drowsiness, relaxation, and heaviness, whereas sleep is profound drowsiness and complete rest of the body and mind.

We, as humans, experience hours of inactivity and unconsciousness of anything going on or anything around us. Even while awake, our mental alertness and cognitive performance differ during the day.

With tiredness or fatigue, our concentration diminishes, our energies wane, and our errors increase.

Allah is something entirely different. One subject does not distract Him from another, and nothing whatsoever escapes His Knowledge in the heavens or on the earth. He feels no fatigue, feebleness, or exhaustion. His Ever-Vigilant Grasp, never for a moment falters, wavers, or lets go of an atom.

{To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.}

Allah’s Kingdom is infinite. It is beyond words or thoughts, as limitless as the limitless horizons of the heaven, and as deep as the impenetrable depths of the earth. Visible and invisible realms of this vast cosmos of unknowable extents and energies all belong to Allah Alone. Those whom ignorant people think are partners of Allah own nothing of it, not even a speck.

Are they idols? Stones or wood shaped by human hands, then bowed to, treated like a god, and some lives maybe sacrificed for, although they are the own possession and making of humans!

Are they humans? These humans belong to their Creator who formed them in the wombs, made their chests heave up and down with breath, and can arrest their heartbeats at any moment He wills, and no one can prevent Him.

The truth is that humans are nothing more than metaphorical owners of whatever they have. Their unreal possessions may lead them to domineer and tyrannize over others, then death comes to them and they depart this world empty-handed, leaving it all to the True Owner, to Whom belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. {And truly you have come to Us alone (without wealth, companions or anything else) as We created you the first time. You have left behind you all that which We had bestowed on you.}8

{Who is it that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?}

There is no intercession for atheists or Mushrikin (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). No angel or prophet has the right to intercede with Allah on their behalf. Genuine faith in Allah and righteous deeds are the sole means of salvation.

{O you who believe, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day when no ransoming, nor friendship, nor intercession will avail. And the disbelievers, they are the wrongdoers.}9

{Verily, whoever associates others with Allah (in His Divinity or worship) Allah will forbid him Paradise, and the Fire will be his abode. And there shall be no helpers for the wrongdoers.}10

{No bearer of burdens (sins) shall bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls another to carry some of its load, nothing of it will be lifted, even though he be near of kin.}11

Those whose good deeds will rescue them may, by a grace bestowed on them through intercession, be raised to a degree of eternal bliss higher than that which they deserve. Or those whose deeds have almost drawn them to the shores of salvation, but have not reached them may, by a pardon through intercession, land safely on them.

The intercession of the prophets or the righteous does not have the power to protect against or save from Allah’s Wrath. No one, neither angels nor prophets, would dare take such a stand before Allah.

They only intercede with His Permission and for those whom He consents to. {They do not precede Him in speech and they act on His Command. He knows what lies ahead of them (the hereafter) and what lies behind them (their deeds). They only intercede on behalf of those with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of Him.}12

{On that Day, no intercession shall avail, except that of the one to whom the Most Merciful has given permission and has accepted his word.}13

But the Plentiful and Abundant Mercy of Allah always precedes His Anger, without the need to ask. Intercession, therefore, is more a gesture of Allah’s Grace and Honor in the hereafter towards those who suffered in the worldly life for His Sake and in defense of His Cause, as consolation to their minds, joy to their hearts, and grace to their souls. Their high status with Allah and generous compensation will thus be recognized by the rest of humanity, with feelings of love and gratitude within the hearts of sinners and the weak believers among them, for the forgiveness and blessings they shall attain by virtue of them.

It is no upset to the balance of justice or suspension of the scales of judgment.

It is of no need to those foremost in good deeds, and is of no avail to those who rejected the truth.

{He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the hereafter.}

Nothing on the earth or in the heavens is hidden from Allah. Knowledge of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is the same for Him. All events, from the beginning of the world until its end, are one open page with everything, past or present, near or far, spread out before Him.

Naturally, the creator knows what he has created. It is unthinkable that a created thing can do something out of sight or without the knowledge of its creator.

Creation from nothing is in the Power of Allah Alone. Changing an already existing matter is the substance of human actions that only happen by the Decree of Allah, and from hence is His Perfect Knowledge of His creatures.

Anything existing is surely known by Allah, which is the meaning of His Words: {They worship besides Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.}14

Every thought anyone thinks, every word anyone speaks, and every deed anyone does of all the past, present, and future countless generations… Allah knows them in detail. Thinking this over, one cannot help but humbly say: {Our Lord! You comprehend all things in Your Mercy and Knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of Hellfire.}15

{And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.}

Springs of knowledge gush forth from the Will of the Creator, even perception of the things happening within sight and hearing could not have been possible without the tool of the mind installed in mankind.

Acquisition of further knowledge depends on the level of human intelligence, whose portions are allotted while humans are still in the wombs of their mothers.

The universe opening little windows for the human mind to peep through and discover new horizons of knowledge is governed by the natural or supernatural means that Allah furnishes.

Yet natural sources of knowledge are scattered everywhere in the wide open book of nature all around us and the life experiences of people. Through awareness, contemplation, and practice we can reach far ends in this arena without restrictions.

Divinely revealed knowledge of the Unseen was unfolded to the Messengers whom Allah chose, ending with the Last Message (Islam). No one will ever receive more of this knowledge, whether through communion with Allah or His Angels, after the end of prophethood. Anyone who claims so is a liar.

Akin to this is the foretelling of future events. This kind of knowledge is not open to humans and has no scope of equal accessibility. Again, divine revelations have ceased. Claims of being given such knowledge within the general meaning of {they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills} are false.

{His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth.}

It seems to the mind that the heavens and the earth are the boundaries of Allah’s Kingdom, which is wrong. They are just some of His Sublime Signs. {And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and whatever He has dispersed throughout them of creatures.}16

They are both among His Infinite Signs that testify to His Grandeur and Majesty.

The spaciousness of His Throne is so grand that it holds the heavens, the earth, and His other countless signs.

We do not know what His Throne is and have no power to imagine it. All that we can perceive is the Perfect Divine Sovereignty over creatures, visible and invisible to us, that the word inspires in us.

The heavens and earth are just a small part of the vast cosmos floating in the unknowable expanses of that Throne.

{And He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them.}

Allah controls and disposes of the affairs of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in between them without a tinge of fatigue, just as He created them without a tinge of fatigue. {With power did We construct the heaven.}17

It is Extreme Powerfulness, Ability, and Strength of the Masterful Creator before Whom all meanings of tiredness or fatigue are meaningless.

{And He is the Most High, the Most Great.}

The Quranic Verse of Divine Grandeur and Perfection, summarized in the word “Throne”, is brought to conclusion by two of His Majestic Attributes, befitting this aura of magnificence, that only belong to the Possessor of All Glory and Dominion.


1 The Name is indicative and all-inclusive of every Divine Name and Attribute of Absolute Perfection: the One God, the Maker, the Almighty, the All-Merciful, etc.; in Arabic it means: The One exclusively worthy of deification and worship.

2 Translated meanings of Al-Baqarah 2: 255 (the Qur’anic Verse of the Throne). Described by the Prophet as the greatest verse in the Qur’an.

3 Translated meanings of

Al-Furqan 25: 3.

4 May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

5 Reported by Al-Thirmidhi.

6 Translated meanings of Az-Zumar 39: 30.

7 Translated meanings of Fatir 35: 41.

8 Translated meanings of Al-An‘am 6: 94.

9 Translated meanings of Al-Baqarah 2: 254.

10 Translated meanings of Al-Ma’idah 5: 72.

11 Translated meanings of Fatir 35: 18.

12 Translated meanings of Al-Anbiya’ 21: 27-28.

13 Translated meanings of Taha 20: 109.

14 Translated meanings of Yunus 10: 18.

15 Translated meanings of Ghafir 40: 7.

16 Translated meanings of Ash-Shura 42: 29.

17 Translated meanings of Az-Zariyat 51: 47.