The Throne is greater than the Chair

Question 62:

In the book of Tafsir al-Ayashi and in Bihar al-Anwar, Imam al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “Abu Thar said: ‘O Messenger of Allah what is best of what was sent down unto you?’ He (pbuhap) said, ‘Ayat al-Kursi [2:255],the Seven Heavens and the Seven Earths within the Chair are like a ring lying in desertlands’, then he (pbuhap) said: “And verily its favor upon the Throne is like the favor of the desert upon the ring’”. 1

And in al-Kafi, 2 al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuhap) said: ‘{His Chair encompasses the Heavens and the Earth and He does not tire in preserving them and He is the Most High, the Mighty} [2:255], and the beasts of prey, the ocean, the mountains, the wind, the veils of light and the Chair in comparison with the Throne are like a ring in an open desert, and he recited this verse, {The Abundantly Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.} [20:5] … ) [Bihar Al-Anwar: vol57 page83-85, transmitted from Al-Tawhid by Al-Saduq: page199.]

From the two narrations, we understand two different and contradictory meanings. From the first one we understand that the Chair is greater than the Throne. But from the second one we understand that the Throne is greater than the Chair, so which is true and what is the proof?

 

Answer:

Imam Ahmed Al Hasan (pbuh) said: The Throne is greater than the Chair, and the Chair in comparison to the Throne is like a ring in a desert, and the Throne is the veil between the door of the Divine Self and everything beneath it down to the lowest earths. And this veil is the veil which oscillates between Muhammad (pbuhap) and the door of the Divine Self which Al-Sadiq (pbuh) mentioned in the narration of the Ascension, so he (pbuh) said: “Between them is a veil that oscillates.” [Tafsir Al-Safi – Surat Al-Najm: vol5 page84, and onwards.]

And the door of the Divine Self –or Allah– is the Abundantly Merciful, the Intensely Merciful. The exterior of it is the Abundantly Merciful, and the interior is the Intensely Merciful. This is why the Almighty said, {The Abundantly Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.}, meaning the door of the Divine Self established above the throne, meaning Allah (swt) overflowed His light and knowledge from His door (The Abundantly Merciful); the door He wanted to face His finest creation with, Muhammad (pbuhap), upon the surrounding of the Throne, or the veil which Al-Sadiq (pbuh) mentioned, that is the Greatest Throne.

As for the Great Throne, which represents the seven skies and what is below them, it is subordinate to the Chair, as the Chair is the surroundings of the seventh absolute sky or its luminous veil. Therefore, we understand that the Great throne in comparison to the Chair, is like a ring in a desert. And the Chair in comparison to the Greatest Throne, is like a ring in a desert. And to make the picture more clear to you, refer to the books ‘Interpretation of Surat Al-Fatiha’ and ‘The Allegories’. And if this knowledge had people to bear it, I would have clarified the truth of the Throne and the truth of the Chair which Imam Al-Mahdi (pbuh) clarified for me. Thus not all that is known is said, and not all that is said has its rightful people present, and just because the rightful people are present does not mean that its time has arrived.

1 – The Hadith inside the question is narrated accordingly, and it contains confusion, and this is the text from the reference, the owner of Al-Bihar said: (In the Hadith of Abu Dhar from the Prophet pbuhap who said: “O Abu Dhar, the Seven Heavens within the Chair/Kursi are not except like a ring lying in a desertland, and the excellence of the Throne(‘Arsh) over the Chair/Kursi is like the excellence of the desert over that ring”) Bihar Al-Anwar: vol55 page5 and page17, transmitted from Al-‘Ayashi, and Al-Sadooq in Ma’ani Al-Akhbar wal-Khisal, and Al-Dar Al-Manthur.

2 – From what was narrated in Al-Kafi from the Hadith of Abi Abdullah pbuh from Zainab Al-‘Atara (perfumer) this is the text: (from Abi Abdullah pbuh who said: “Zainab Al-‘Atara Al-Hawla’ came to the women of the Prophet pbuhap then the Prophet pbuhap came and if she was with them then he pbuhap would say: “When you come to us our homes become pleasant”, then she said: “Your homes are become more pleasant from your perfume O Messenger of Allah”, then the Messenger of Allah pbuhap said to her: ”When you have sold [items], then do good and do not obscure. For that is more pious to Allah, and more enduring for wealth”) Al-Kafi: vol5 page151 Hadith5.

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