For a Muslim, his or her life should revolve around Allah. Allah says in the Quran that He created humans and jinn to worship Him alone. That is our primary purpose in life. Therefore, we must always focus on worshiping Allah and doing things that please Him and avoid things that He forbids us from doing. However, at the same time, we cannot see Allah. Why is that the case?
Allah says in the Quran in Surah al-An’am that vision cannot see Him, but He can perceive all vision. This is a clear statement showing that humans cannot see Allah. We also have many incidents in the history of Islam that verify this fact, and Islamic scriptures also show that seeing Allah is one of the rewards of Paradise for the best of the believers.
The capability of the human eye
Allah tells us that He created us with certain capabilities and made things accessible to us. However, He also put many limitations on us and our bodies, due to which we are restricted in what we can do; hence, we can’t see Allah.
While humans possess great imagination, they can only see things that are relative to what is already in existence. So in our thoughts, we can imagine and perceive something. However, that something is either already in existence, or it’s a combination of different things in existence, or it’s something with a few variations of an existing item.
The human eye cannot perceive and imagine something that is entirely alien to it. Allah created us with finite abilities, whereas He has no limitations. He is capable of doing whatever He wishes. Additionally, as He tells us in Surah ash-Shuraa, there is nothing similar to Him.
Humans might try to imagine something similar to God (which Muslims shouldn’t do), but they can never get close to perceiving or imagining Him, His features, etc.
Allah and His attributes aren’t like anything we know
Muslims must accept Allah and His attributes exactly how He has described them in the Quran. However, we cannot equate these attributes with their human or worldly similar attributes. Everything that Allah possesses is far and beyond our imagination and perspective.
We can take the example of Christianity, where they have tried to depict God, and they end up doing so in the form of a man. Their depictions of Isa (AS) are similar to that of an average Western man.
As Allah tells us in Surah al-Ikhlaas, there is absolutely nothing comparable to Him. Hence, since we cannot see Allah, we cannot perceive His likeness or His attributes in any way.
When Allah says that He has a hand or can hear or see, we must accept that unequivocally. However, we cannot say that His hand is like so-and-so’s hand. No, we don’t know what His hand is like because Allah has clearly stated that there is nothing like Him.
Similarly, when Allah says that He is the All-Hearing and All-Seeing, we accept that means that He can see and hear everything that takes place in the universe. However, we cannot imagine His facilities for seeing and hearing. Humans see and hear with eyes and ears, and we know exactly what they look like. The same applies to other creatures around us. But, we can’t imagine or say that Allah has the same type of eyes and ears to hear and see.
Did Musa (AS) see Allah?
Musa (AS) is one of the prophets of Islam that almost every Muslim knows about. Allah mentioned Musa (AS) more than 100 times in the Quran. His story contains great morals for humans for all of time. We can learn lessons from this story no matter what era we’re in.
Allah narrates an incident in the Quran where Musa (AS) wanted to see Him. He says that Musa (AS) came to the place where Allah told him to be near a mountain. Allah spoke to him, and Musa (AS) requested that he may be allowed to see his Lord.
Allah blessed Musa (AS) with the ability to speak to Him directly without any intermediator. However, at this request, Allah said something that shows us just how impossible it is to see Him. He said that He would reveal Himself to a mountain, and then if the mountain stayed there, Musa (AS) would have seen Allah.
However, when Allah showed himself to the mountain, it crumbled to pieces. According to some Islamic scriptures, Allah only revealed a tiny portion of His being to the mountain, and it couldn’t withstand the sight of Him. Hence, it shattered into small pieces.
After that, Musa (AS) fell and was unconscious due to the immense nature of this event. Allah says that when Musa (AS) awoke after that, he praised and glorified Allah and said he repented to Him, and that he was the first of the believers.
In comparison to a human, a mountain is something massive. It is an enormous structure with immense beauty. But even this colossal structure can’t compare to Allah on any scale whatsoever. This is another sign for us regarding how it’s impossible to see Allah in this life.
Did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) see Allah?
Another incident that most Muslims are well-aware of is when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went on the Night Journey. During this incident, the Prophet (PBUH) went from Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa in just a few moments. After that, he ascended to the heavens.
The Prophet (PBUH) encountered many different prophets as he ascended through the heavens. He met and spoke to Adam, Isa, Yahya, Yusuf, Idris, Harun, Musa, and Ibrahim (PBUT). After this, he was taken to the seventh heaven and beyond. Eventually, he spoke to Allah.
Since he had the privilege of speaking to Allah, some people naturally assume that he also saw his Lord. A companion, Abu Dharr (RA), asked the Prophet (PBUH) if he saw Him. The Prophet (PBUH) replied that there was only light, and he didn’t see Allah.
In another Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) explained that Allah doesn’t sleep. He raises and lowers the scales. He is well-aware of all deeds of humans. Then, he went on to say that Allah’s veil is the light. Aisha (RA) also said in a Hadith that whoever claims Muhammad (PBUH) saw Allah had fabricated a lie.
This corresponds to what Allah says in the Quran. He says in Surah ash-Shuraa that He doesn’t speak to humans unless it’s via revelation or with Allah behind a partition, or through a messenger.
Some scholars appear to have the view that the Prophet (PBUH) may have seen Allah during his Night Journey while he spoke to Him. However, the evidences mentioned above are enough to refute the possibility of this taking place.
Can we see Allah in dreams?
According to many classical Islamic scholars, it is indeed possible for humans to see Allah in dreams. However, they cannot see him in his real true form because, as we mentioned earlier, humans don’t have the capability to even imagine, let alone see something that is not similar to what we already know. Meanwhile, Allah is not like anything that we already know.
We know that Iblees can’t take Allah’s form, nor can he take the form of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Therefore, when people say that they have seen Allah in a dream, it’s something that we can take seriously and consider.
Seeing Allah in a dream is a blessing from Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) stated that Allah came to him once while he was asleep. He said that Allah put his hand between his shoulder blades and that he could feel the coolness in his chest.
Hence, we can see Allah in a dream in various forms, and it depends upon our faith and belief. Seeing Him in a dream is not like seeing Him in reality because His real form isn’t something that He will reveal to us in this life.
In many such cases, a Muslim might report that Allah spoke to him in his dream and told him to do such and such religious activities, which encourages him to get closer to Islam. However, that person may not have actually seen any physical form or image.
Muslims will see Allah in Paradise
One of the well-established things regarding seeing Allah is that believers will see him in the afterlife. Allah says in Surah al-Qiyamah that on that day, some faces will be bright as they gaze at their Lord.
The Prophet (PBUH) also said that the Day of Judgment is the first day that anyone will be able to look at and see Almighty Allah. Another time, someone asked the Prophet (PBUH) if we will see Allah on the Last Day. In response, he asked whether looking at the moon is harmful to humans. The answer was in the negative. After that, Muhammad (PBUH) said that believers would see Allah in the same way.
The Prophet (PBUH) also said in another Hadith that the believers would see Allah on the Last Day, where they will meet him, and He said there would be no veil between them.
Paradise is for our pleasures, as Allah has stated in numerous places in the Holy Quran. Allah says in Surah al-Mutaffiffin that woe is to the deniers, and He goes on to say that on the Last Day, He will partition them from their Lord.
In one of the duas that the Prophet (PBUH) taught Ammar bin Yasir, he prayed to Allah to grant him with the ability to see the ‘sweetness’ of looking at His face and to see Allah. This shows that to see Allah will be among the greatest pleasures that people will experience in Paradise.
Some people are of the view that humans cannot see Allah at all, whether it is in this life or the hereafter. They back up this claim by saying that the human eye is incapable. However, this depends on this world. Allah can do anything as He wishes.
Why can’t we see Allah in this life?
There are many possible reasons for this. Ultimately, Allah knows best.
First of all, we are bound by the laws of this world, including space, time, etc., whereas Allah doesn’t have any limitations. He is incomparable to anything we may see in this life.
Next, seeing Allah is to be one of the best rewards for the believers in the afterlife. He is our Lord and Creator, and therefore He is far and above our imagination. It would not be fitting for us to have this pleasure in this life. Additionally, it also serves as a great motive for believers to do good and work hard to attain Paradise.
Another possible reason is the issue of faith. This life is a test for humans. For Muslims, it’s a test to have stronger faith and refrain from committing evil acts. Meanwhile, disbelievers need to try and find their way to the right path. If we could see Allah, then the aspect of faith wouldn’t be there, and acceptance of a known fact would replace it.
We have faith because we accept the truth of Allah’s existence, and we believe in Him. However, that is because of our strong belief and ability to resist people who say things to the contrary. If Allah is visible to us and in front of us, then life isn’t a test anymore, as we will always be mindful of Him.
One of the highest levels of faith is to have Ihsaan. This means to live life as if we see Allah in front of us, and we are always aware of Him being there, watching us. Perfecting this level of faith means that we focus entirely on doing good and refrain from evil.