Source : alifta.com – Fatwas of Ibn Baz
Allah (Glorified be He) mentions two types of Maiyyah (Allah being with His creation): general and particular.
The first is mentioned in the Ayah (Qur’anic verse): And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be. The second is mentioned in the Ayah: Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allâh is with us. and: I am with you both, hearing and seeing. There are other Ayahs to the same effect.
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim main body) are of the opinion that Ma`iyyah is one of the Attributes of Allah (Glorified be He) as befits His Glory. Moreover, they attest to Allah’s Istiwa‘ (Allah’s rising over the Throne in a manner that befits Him), His `Uluw (Allah being high above His creation) and His Glorification above mixing with His creations. Allah (Glorified be He) is the Most High despite His Nearness and the Most Near despite His Highness.
The two Attributes of Ma`iyyah and `Uluw – in a manner that befits Allah – do not involve Tashbih (comparison) to one of His creations or negate one another.
Jahmiyyah and Mu`tazilah (deviant Islamic sects) uses the Ayahs to prove Allah’s Ma`iyyah, deny Allah’s `Uluw and claim that He is Omnipresent.
The Salaf (righteous predecessors) denied these claims and agreed that Allah’s Ma`iyyah entails His Knowledge of His servants’ affairs despite His Istiwa’. That is why Allah begins and ends the Ayahs referring to general Ma`iyyah by mentioning His Knowledge in order to inform His servants that His Ma`iyyah entails His encompassing Knowledge of their affairs. Based upon this, the majority of the Salaf scholars have interpreted the Ayahs which mention Ma`iyyah as referring to Allah’s Knowledge. Other scholars have discussed Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah’s consensus on interpreting Ayahs talking about Ma`iyyah as referring to Allah’s Knowledge and denying the claims of Jahmiyyah and Mu`tazilah, who say Allah is Omnipresent and who deny His Attributes of `Uluw and Istiwa’ (May Allah curse them! How can they deny the Truth).
Thus, we know that interpreting the word “Ma`iyyah” as Knowledge is not only the opinion of Shaykh Taqiy Al-Din only, but is also the opinion of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. The Shaykh (may Allah be merciful with him) wrote in his book “Al-Wasitiyyah” what supports the obligation of believing in the two Attributes of Allah, namely `Uluw and Ma`iyyah without Tahrif (distortion of the meaning) and false claims. You can refer to the book if you are interested. In general, the Shaykh (may Allah be merciful with him) meant that it is obligatory to confirm the Ma`iyyah and `Uluw of Allah above the Throne in a manner that befits Him and does not compare Him to any of His creations.
Al-Hafizh ibn Kathir (may Allah be merciful with him) while interpreting the Ayah: There is no Najwâ (secret counsel) of three but He is their fourth (with His Knowledge, while He Himself is over the Throne, over the seventh heaven) he said, “The majority of scholars agree that what is meant in this Ayah,regarding Ma`iyyah, is Allah’s Knowledge and there is no doubt in this”. These words do not negate interpreting Ma`iyyah as knowledge, since it is what is meant and intended by it. This is the true meaning of it.
Ma`iyyah refers to Allah’s Knowledge of all things related to the affairs of His servants, as for its manner, it is only known to Allah just as the rest of His Attributes.
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah believe in the Names and Attributes of Allah and understand their meanings but do not know their manner. Only Allah knows the exact manner of assuming His Attributes, as He alone knows His Dhat (Essence). Exalted and Glorified be He above the false claims of those who deny or compare His Attributes to those of humans.
Imam Malik (may Allah be merciful with him) and other scholars among Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah said,
“Allah’s Istiwa’ is known, its manner is unknown, and believing in it is obligatory.”
This is the adopted view in relation to all of Allah’s Attributes and Allah knows best.