Question 3: Impossible to see the Almighty Allah
وَلَمَّا جَاءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنْظُرْ إِلَيْكَ ۚ قَالَ لَنْ تَرَانِي وَلَٰكِنِ انْظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي ۚ فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ مُوسَىٰ صَعِقًا ۚ فَلَمَّا أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
"And when Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me ..."
(Al A’araaf, 7: 143)
Q.3: With reference to the above verse of the Holy Quran, Mamun Abbasid asked Imam Ridha’ (a.s.): Prophet Musa (a.s.) was a prophet and he knew that God cannot be seen. Then how did he ask for the same? Please narrate the summary of the reply given by the Imam to Abbasid to convince him.
A: The summary of the reply given by the Imam, as mentioned in Uyun Akhbar ar-Ridha’ is that he said: Prophet Musa (a.s.) did know that Allah cannot be seen by an eye as He is pure from being seen by an eye. But as he had informed his community that Almighty Allah had spoken to him, they said:
'We will not believe you unless we also hear the Word of God., So Musa (a.s.) took seventy persons and placed them at the foot of Mount Tur. He went up the hill and requested Allah to speak with him and make those people hear His words. So they heard the Word of God from six directions as He had created voice from the tree. But they insisted that would not trust him and testify that it was the Word of God unless and until they see God clearly. When they uttered this audacity, He sent down a thunderbolt on them, which killed them.
Musa (a.s.) said: 'My Lord, what shall I say when I return to Bani Israel? They will tell me: You took seventy men with you and got them killed.' God made them alive again. After being revived, they asked Musa (a.s.): 'O Musa, ask God to make Himself visible to you. Then tell us how is He? Then we would recognize Him as recognition deserves.
Musa (a.s.) replied: 'O people, Allah cannot be seen by a physical eye and He has no shape or likeness. He cannot be recognized with signs and examples.' But they insisted: 'We will not believe in you unless and until you ask God what we told you to. ' Musa (a.s.) said: 'My Lord, You have heard these people and only You know what is good for them, Then Musa (a.s.) got a revelation: 'Well, ask what they want You to ask. 'Musa (a.s.) said: 'O Lord, make Yourself
visible to me.' The Almighty Allah said:
'You can never see Me, but just look at the mountain. If it remains intact you may see Me. ' When God made His majesty descend on the mountain, it shattered the mountain into particles; Musa (a.s.) fainted. When he recovered, he said: 'O Lord, You are above being visible. I repent for the ignorance of my people and I do know by the knowledge bestowed by You that You can never be seen and really I am the first of those who believe that You cannot be seen.'