19 February 2014 CE | 17 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

Al-Baatin – The Hidden One

“When Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show (Yourself) to me that I may look at You.’ He said: ‘You shall never see Me. But look at the mount. If it stays at its place, you will see Me.’ So when his Lord appeared to the Mount, it smashed, and Musa fell down unconscious.” [Quran: Surah al-Araaf, Ayat 143]

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) explained this part of the Ayat, ‘And when his Lord appeared to the mountain’ by holding out the tip of his little finger and saying: “Like this.” [At-Tirmidhi]

In other words, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) showed only a tiny little part of Himself to the mountain. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) had told Musa (alaihis salam) that it was not possible to view Him with mortal eyes. Ibn Katheer mentions in Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said to him, “O Musa! No living soul sees Me, but will perish, and no solid but will be demolished.”

However, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) obliged Musa (alaihis salam) and told him to look at the mountain and if it were able to withstand viewing Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), so might Musa (alaihis salam). But the mountain could not behold such Majesty and collapsed to dust. And Musa (alaihis salam) who was only looking at the mountain fell unconscious. “When he recovered, he said: ‘Pure are You. I repent to You, and I am the first to believe (that no one can see You in this world.)’”

We cannot see things that are hidden and we also cannot see things which are so bright that they dazzle the senses, such as the bright sun at noon.

Allah is Baatin (hidden) because He cannot be seen in the way that other created things can be seen. Allah is too Majestic and Exalted to be viewed by eyes that are finite and mortal.

To understand Allah’s existence using our five senses and reason alone is as impossible as measuring the depth of the ocean using a metre rod. But through His works we know He is there and through revelation He has informed us a little regarding what He is like.

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