Where is Allah is a question which many Salafi Muslims today bring up. The reason to this is not really known but it seems as if they have confined Allah and now are on a mission to make others also confine Allah, God Forbid. The omnipotence and omnipresence of Allah is clear from the Qur’an. Allah has no direction and is not confined to a single area. Let us look at the countless proofs from the Holy Qur’an.
Let us first look at what the Quran says in regards to when someone asks where is Allah. Allah has stated in chapter 2 verse 187:
And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’(Chapter 2 Verse 187)
Now Allah makes it clear of how near he is as well in the Qur’an as well. Allah States:
And assuredly, We have created man and We know what his physical self whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein.(Chapter 50 Verse 17)
One might now say that Allah is only referring to knowledge but then Allah would not need to use jugular vein and nor has He used the word knowledge anywhere in this Ayahs. Allah is clearly referring to his omnipotence and omnipresence.
There are countless of more verses which prove to us that Allah is omnipresent and is not confined to a specific spot. Here are some clear verses which show us the omnipresence of Allah which we should not question as Muslims:
And He is Allah, the God, both in the heavens and in the earth. He knows your inside and your outside. And He knows what you earn.(Chapter 6 Verse 4)
He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, then He settled Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters the earth and what comes out of it, and what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees all that you do.(Chapter 57 Verse 5)
Dost thou not see that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret counsel of three, but He is their fourth, nor of five, but He is their sixth, nor of less than that, nor of more, but He is with them wheresoever they may be. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them of what they did. Surely, Allah knows all things full well.(Chapter 58 Verse 8)
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as alustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star. It is lit from a blessed tree — an olive — neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would well-nigh glow forth even though fire touched it not. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He will. And Allah sets forth parables to men, and Allah knows all things full well.(Chapter 24 Verse 36)
All that is on it (earth) will pass away.And there will remain only the Person of thy Lord, Master of Glory and Honour(Chapter 55 Verses 27-28)
To Allah belong the East and the West; so withersoever you turn, there will be the face of Allah. Surely, Allah is Bountiful, All- Knowing.(Chapter 2 Verse 116)
Now I have provided countless of proofs from the Holy Qur’an to show that Allah is indeed omnipresent and is not confined to a physical throne as some try to claim.
The only argument the salafis have is that a slave girl was asked by Muhammad (Saw) where is Allah, and she said above the sky. The reason is clear that the slave girl was from the idolaters and the Prophet(Saw) was trying to see if she differentiates with their beliefs and whether she believed in Allah or other gods, and when she said the heavens it was made clear that she believes Allah is the most high
Now some people always say Allah is up. Are they aware that the earth is round? If you believe that Allah is up, than would you believe that Allah is below the people on the opposite side of the earth from where we live?
It just refers to Allah being High, He is most High in terms of Honor. This refers to in terms of dignity, not physical presence. Allah is not physically described nor is He confined.
Imam al-Nasafi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “He [Allah] is not a body (jism), nor an atom (jawhar), nor is He something formed (musawwar), nor a thing limited (mahdud), nor a thing numbered (ma’dud), nor a thing portioned or divided, nor a thing compounded (mutarakkab), and nor does He come to end in Himself. He is not described by quiddity (al-mahiyya), or by quality (al-kayfiyya), nor is He placed in a space (al-makan); and time (al-zaman) does not affect Him. Nothing resembles Him; that is to say, nothing is like unto Him.” (See: Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani & Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 92-97)
Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy in him) states: “Anyone who describes Allah as being in any way the same as a human being has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and refrain from saying things such as the unbelievers say, and they will know that He, in His attributes, is not like human beings.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, article 34)
“He (Allah) is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions like all the created things.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Point: 38)
In Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa, “Allah is an entity unlike any other entity. The meaning of [Allah being a] entity [unlike any other] is that He is without body (jism), substance (jawhar), or accident (arad). He has no definition/limit, no opposite, no equal, and no peer…” (See: Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117-120)
Mulla Ali Qari (rh) states: “Allah Most High does not reside in a place from the places and neither in a time from the times, because place and time are from the created things whilst Allah Most High has existed eternally when nothing from the created things were in existence with Him.” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117)
Some Muslims quote the hadith of Allah descending to the lowest heavens during Tahajjud. This is also not a literal descent. Ibn Hajr and Imam Nawawi have explained this to mean his mercy, command and angels descend and that it is a metaphor for his gentleness to those making supplication and that He answers them. Imam Baidawi said its the mercy of Allah and not Him moving from one place to another.
Here are some beautiful writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) in regards to the concept of the Arsh in Islam: