(Surat Hud: 7)
And His throne was on water
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2016.
In the context of the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, the Quran describes Allah Ta’ala’s throne resting on water. “It is He who created the Heavens and the earth in six Days - and His Throne was on water” (Surat Hud: 7). To imagine that there is actually a physical throne that somehow rests physically on water is indeed a stretch of the imagination. Also, to attribute such physicality to Allah Ta’ala is in itself problematic. Our Mawali Tahereen explain to us that ayats in the Quran use imagery that is familiar to us to express abstract Truths.
This ayat conveys the fundamental Truth that Allah’s throne – His Dawat is resting on the water of eternal knowledge. Each representative of Allah Ta’ala establishes his Dawat on the foundation of eternal knowledge.
In our kitaabs and the bayaans of our Hudaat, the expression that an Imam ascended the throne of Imamate upon the passing of his predecessor is very common (for example, Hasan Imam wafat thaya, Husain Imam Imamat na ‘arsh par mustawi thaya). The same expression is used in the context of the representatives of the Imam in seclusion, the Du’at Mutlaqeen. The celebrations marking the ascension of a Dai to the throne (‘arsh) of Dawat have been historically known as the “Eid of Ascension” on the throne of Dawat - Eidul Istawa’. Inspired from a Quranic ayat, the historic name for the celebrations of Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA ascension to the throne of Dawat in 1333H was “Zu Arshin Majeed” (the numerical value of the historic name in Arabicis 1333).
These references do not refer in most cases – except in the time of zuhoor— to a temporal throne that our A’immat or Du’aat ascended. It refers to the throne of Dawat, the throne resting on ‘ilm.
Throughout the ages, trials and tribulations have meant varying levels of temporal authority: from the zahiri khilafat of Amirul Mumineen to the peace treaty that Hasan Imam SA agreed upon with Mu’awiya to forsake temporal authority of the Islamic empire; from the Fatimid rule of the vast empire established by 11th Imam Mehdi Billah SA to the complete seclusion of the 21st Imam Tayyib SA; from the rule of the Du’aat Mutlaqeen on vast areas and strong fortresses in Yemen to the difficult periods in the time of Da’ud bin Qutubshah in which the Dai had to remain in hiding for years.
This is the reality and the cyclical nature of history. Though, what has remained constant throughout the years is that each Imam and each Dai in the Imam’s seclusion, has ascended the throne of Dawat. A throne not made of rubies and gold, or wealth and power but a throne of divine knowledge and wisdom - a throne on water.
The 54th Dai al-Mutlaq Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS ascended this throne. His Dawat is established on the foundation of divine knowledge and wisdom. Fortunate are those who seek knowledge from its waters.