Even the Ulama of Deoband say that Allah (azza wa jal) is above the throne, or He (azza wa jal) is over the Heaven. For example, look at the translation of this verse by a Deobandi scholar: “Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the Heaven, will not cause the Earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)?” [67:16-17] Isn’t this Tajseem (anthropomorphism) and exactly the same as what the Salafis say?
It is in fact obligatory to believe that Allah (azza wa jal) is “above the throne”, or “over the Heaven”. However, there is an unfathomable difference between the understanding of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah regarding such verses, and the understanding of the Salafi sect.
When we say that Allah (azza wa jal) is above the throne, we do not assign Allah (azza wa jal) a specific direction and place, as the Salafis do. We consign its true kayfiyyah (modality) and meaning to Allah (azza wa jal). In exactly the same manner, we also believe in the verse that states that Allah is in the Earth (fi’l Ard). We also believe in the verse that states that Allah (azza wa jal) is closer to us than our jugular veins. We also believe in the verse that states that Allah (azza wa jal) is in the East and the West. We also believe in the verse that states that Allah (azza wa jal) is with us wherever we are. The sum total of all these verses is that Allah (azza wa jal) is Omnipresent. How and in what manner He (azza wa jal) is Omnipresent are beyond our limited comprehension. We consign the true meaning of these verses to Allah (azza wa jal).
The Salafis expose their belief of Allah being in a specific direction and place, by singling out for a literal and spatial interpretation the verse regarding Allah being above the throne, whilst doing Ta’weel (interpretation) of all the other verses referred to above. Then in order to labour under the self-deception that they do not do Ta’weel, they stupidly re-brand such Ta’weel as the “Zaahir.”
In a similar manner do the salafis, who falsely claim to follow the Salaf-us-Saliheen, stupidly focus on the Hadith of the slave-girl pointing upwards, which none of the Salaf-us-Saliheen, or even the later Fuqaha, have ever singled out or used as a criterion for Aqeedah. Their obsession over this particular Hadith also exposes thoroughly their actual belief that Allah (azza wa jal) is in the specific direction upwards and cordoned off in a specific place – explicitly called “Makaan” by their major Imams – and sat physically on the throne.
For a better understanding, take the following authentic Hadith as an example:
“When one of you stands in his prayer, he is in close conversation with his Lord or his Lord is between him and his qibla. Therefore no one should spit in the direction of his qibla” [Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-us-Salah]
Now imagine some stupid salafi ‘mujtahid’, in the manner of Ibn Tayimiyyah, decides that he is qualified to be independent to some degree from the accepted Madh-habs of Fiqh and Aqeedah, and that he has the right to directly interpret this Hadith according to his puny, minuscule, and chaotically varying intellect. He decides to single this Hadith out, just as other Salafis single out the Hadith of the slave-girl and the Verse of the Throne.
Thus this salafi ‘mujtahid’ declares that this Hadith must be taken upon its ‘Zaahir’ and he proclaims that Allah (azza wa jal) is in the direction towards the Ka’abah – otherwise what is the meaning of not being able to spit in that particular direction, and of Allah being between him and the Qiblah? When the other verses declaring Allah’s presence everywhere are also mentioned to him, he applies a typically salafi, selective and baatil Ta’weel to them, and he insists on Allah only being in the direction towards the Ka’bah.
What will then be the logical conclusion of such twisted reasoning, other than subjecting Allah’s limitless presence to a specific direction and place, which is pure anthropomorphism (tajseem)? This is exactly what the salafis do with regards to verses such as the one stating Allah’s presence above the Heaven.
Furthermore, the books the Salafis themselves have recently published, which contain the Aqeedah of their major Imams (such as Ibn Taymiyyah), leave absolutely no doubt regarding the anthropomorphic consequences of their moronic, baatil, and selective application of Ta’weel and ‘Zaahir’. Explicit statements of the Salafi Imams mention that Allah (azza wa jal) is actually ‘sitting’ (qu-ood) on the throne; that the throne is so vast that after Allah’s (azza wa jal) ‘sitting’, only a space of four fingers remain on the throne; that Allah (azza wa jal) is able to sit upon the back of a mosquito and this fact in itself is a definite proof that Allah (azza wa jal) is settled upon the throne; that the top of a mountain is physically closer to Allah (azza wa jal) than it’s bottom; and numerous other deranged beliefs which amply expose the Kufr of their Aqeedah, and also demonstrate most vividly the natural result of arrogating for oneself the slightest independence from the accepted Madh-habs of Fiqh and Aqeedah.
See this article for a sample of the Kufr beliefs found in their mother books: http://reliablefatwas.com/are-the-salafis-ahlul-bidah-or-ahlus-sunnah/
The fact that Ibn Taymiyyah and other Imams of the salafi sect, despite the vastness of their textual knowledge, were able to fall into such depraved beliefs of Kufr , which are now being propagated rabidly by all salafi mutations around the world today, is a manifest proof of the necessity of rigid Taqleed.
Independence from rigid Taqleed of the accepted Madh-habs of Fiqh and Aqeedah is exclusive only to the Aimmah Mujtahideen of the Salaf-us-Saliheen. Disasters await anyone else – as it did to the Salafi Imams – who attempts to unfetter himself even slightly from these sacred shackles of Taqleed – a rigid adherence that is bound to the only valid interpretation of Qur’an and Sunnah, viz, the interpretation set in stone by the Aimmah Mujtahideen of the Salaf-us-Saliheen which have been transmitted to us reliably via the impenetrable fortresses of the 4 Madh-habs of Fiqh and the 2 Madh-habs of Aqeedah.
To conclude, what the salafis believe with respect to Allah’s presence above the Throne, and Allah’s presence everywhere else, and what Ahlus Sunnah believe, are two vastly different beliefs.
[Answer deemed correct by Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai]