Sunnies believe that Allah ﷻ will be seen by the believers in the hereafter. This in accordance with what He has informed us in His book:

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ
Some faces on that day will be beaming, while looking at their Lord.[1]

And as has been reported from His Messenger ﷺ:

إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا القَمَرَ
You will see your Lord as clearly as you see this moon[2]

An opponent might object by claiming: “Everything that is seen is a body, and Allah is not a body, therefore Allah cannot be seen. You are misinterpreting the verses which suggest this belief, and the narrations relating this belief to the Prophet ﷺ must be rejected.”

We respond: this is a fallacious generalisation. Just because everything you’ve seen is a body, doesn’t mean everything that can be seen is a body.

To this the opponent can respond with: “Seeing involves a ray of light reflecting off that which is seen, before the ray then enters the eye for sight to occur. Necessarily then, whatever is seen must have a surface that light reflects off of. Therefore, whatever is seen must be a body.”

We respond: seeing for humans, is an act of their eyes. It is the event that emerges in the eye, by which knowledge about that which is seen is acquired. The light that reflects off of bodies and then enters the eye, is therefore an event preceding seeing, not seeing itself[3]. This light is nomically related to sight, not rationally related to it[4]. For it is possible for Allah ﷻ to directly create sight in the eye, without requiring light to enter the eye first.

Once the above is established, it becomes clear that that which is seen, does not need to be a body. Since light is not a rational condition for seeing it.

It is in the above sense, that Sunnies maintain that the seeing of Allah will occur. Allah ﷻ will directly create vision of Himself in the eyes of the believers, by which they will come to know more about Him. This seeing will not require light, and so it will not require that Allah be confined to a place, at a distance, or in a direction from the seer. Seeing Allah therefore, does not necessitate His corporeality. The relevant verses and narrations do not need to be re-interpreted or rejected.


 

[1] Quran 75:22-23.

[2] Sahih Al-Bukhari, 7434.

[3] Since seeing for humans, is an act of their bodies. And the human body has nothing to do with the light external to it.

[4] Light entering the eye correlates with the emergence of sight, but it is not what causes it. Rather, everything that emerges into existence, was created by Allah ﷻ. He has chosen to create sight for the human, when light enters the eyes of this human. But this doesn’t mean it is impossible for Allah to directly create this sight, without requiring light to enter the eye of this human first.

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