Fiqh al-Akbar Commentary (al-Maghnisawi)

12. Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_beatific vision

Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_

Beatific Vision – pp.167-169

Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar: “wa Allahu ta`ala yura…khalqihi musafah.


  • The visio beatifica or visio dei (‘seeing God’) is a fact (cf. 75:21-22).[1]
  • It is the direct self-disclosure or personal communication of Allah to His elect servants but does not entail visio dei per essentiam (seeing Allah’s Essence).
  • It is the direct sight of Allah’s countenance in the Hereafter (akhira).[2]
  • It is encountering Allah with no distance, direction or loci, (musafa) between the observer and the observed because Allah cannot be encompassed by these categories (cf. analogy: we can see the sun but we cannot see it entirely).[3]
  • It is differentiated from mediated knowledge (i.e. that which is arrived through some form of reasoning or inference).
  • It is established via text (i.e. the Qur’an) and not reason (`aql [because its meanings are from the mutashabihat/ambiguous category of verses and hence by definition cannot be qat`i/definitive in purport])[4] and encompasses the totality of fulfilment, i.e. maximal joy, happiness, bliss and experience.[5]
  • It is called visio (sight) because the elect will actually see Allah and beatifica (bliss) because it engenders total fulfilment in the servant.
  • The Visio dei does not entail anthropomorphism (Allah is really creature-like) and it does not entail corporealism (Allah is a body) – both contradict His transcendence.
  • Vision is definitively established but the modality is ambiguous (non-definitive).[6]

[1] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.167. See also al-Wasiyyah, art. 24 in Wensinck’s The Muslim Creed, pp.163ff., 88f and 130, 179-180.

[2] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.181.

[3] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.181.

[4] Although al-Taftazani offers rational arguments based on substance and accident metaphysics in his commentary on al-Nasafi’s Creed (= Elder’s trans.), pp.75-76.

[5] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, pp.167-168 and `Ali al-Qari, Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, pp.249-250.

[6] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.168.


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