The Shia’s and Sunni’s differ have historically differed upon this Question. The Shia say this is metaphorical rather than literal and material, while (most of) the Sunni’s say we will see Allah (swt) with our own eyes and go to the extent to say He (swt) has a physical body (audhubillah). Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ

(Some) faces on that day shall be bright, Looking to their Lord. (75:22-23)

What do the Imams (as) say about this ayah?..


To begin, let us share the position of the `Aammah (Sunni’s). Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer, which is one of the most famous and reliable Tafseers of the `Aammah, states the following regarding this ayah:

﴿وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ ﴾

(Some faces that Day shall be Nadirah.) which comes from the word Nadarah, which means splendid, radiant, glowing, delighted with goodness.

﴿إِلَى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ ﴾

(Looking at their Lord.) meaning, they will see Him with their very eyes. This is just as was recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih,

«إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ عِيَانًا»

(Verily, you all will see your Lord with your own eyes.) The believers seeing Allah in the abode of the Hereafter has been confirmed in the authentic Hadiths from numerous routes of transmission with the scholars of Hadith. It is not possible to deny this or refuse it. Examples would be the Hadiths of Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurayrah, and they are both recorded in the Two Sahihs. They both mentioned that some people said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will we see our Lord on the Day of Judgement” The Prophet said,

«هَلْ تُضَارُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَةِ الشَّمْسِ وَالْقَمَرِ لَيْسَ دُونَهُمَا سَحَابٌ؟»

(Are you harmed by seeing the sun and the moon when there are no clouds beneath them) They replied, “No.” The Prophet then said,

«فَإِنَّكُمْ تَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَذَلِك»

(Then you will surely see your Lord like that.) In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from Jabir that he said, “The Messenger of Allah looked at the moon on a night when it was full, and he said,

«إِنَّكُمْ تَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا الْقَمَرَ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَنْ لَا تُغْلَبُوا عَلَى صَلَاةٍ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَلَا قَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا، فَافْعَلُوا»

(Verily, you will see your Lord just as you see this moon! So if you are able to avoid missing a prayer before the rising of the sun (Fajr prayer) or before its setting (`Asr prayer) then do so.)”

Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Volume 8, Page 279
Scan in Arabic below, and link to official English page of Ibn Katheers Tafseer:


The Mukhalafeen say that God also has a physical body. For example, Ibn Taymiyyah relates a hadith attributed to the Prophet (sawa) where he describes the God as a beardless man (audhubillah) and also authenticates it.

We conclude that it was eyesight as it is in the Sahih narration from Qutada from Ikrama from Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet said : ‘I saw my God in image of beardless (man), with long curly hair in a green garden’

Source: Bayan Talbis Al-Jahmiyah, Ibn Taymiyyah, Volume 7, Page 280


Ibn Taymiyyah is not the only one who authenticated this. Others such as Ahmed bin Hanbal and Al-Tabarani have also authenticated it. (See here)


There is absolutely no doubt in the Imami school that Allah (swt) has no physical form and cannot be seen with the eye. Here are a few hadiths from the infallible Imams (as) explaining what it means to see Allah (swt):

‘I said to Abu Abdullah (as), ‘Inform me about Allah Mighty and Majestic. Will the Believers see Him on the Day of Judgement?’ He (as) said: ‘Yes, and they have (already) seen him before the Day of Judgement’. I said, ‘When?’ He (as) said: ‘Where Allah Said to them: “Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! We testify’.” (7:172) Then he (as) was silent for a while, then said: ‘The Believers are (already) seeing Him in the world, before the Day of Judgement. Do you not see Him at this time of yours?’ Abu Baseer said, ‘I said to him (as), ‘May I be sacrificed for you, So I should narrate this from you?’ He (as) said: ‘No, for if you were to narrate it, the denier would deny it, being ignorant of the meaning of what you are saying. Then he will estimate that, that is similar to blasphemy (Kufr), and the visioning with the heart is not the same as visioning with the eyes. Allah (swt) is Higher from what the comparers and the Atheists describe Him to be’.

Sanad: And from him, said, ‘It has been narrated to us by Ali Bin Ahmad Bin Muhammad Bin Umran Al-Daqaq, from Muhammad Bin Abu Abdullah Al-Kufy, from Musa Bin Umran Al-Nakha’ie, from Al-Husayn Bin Yazeed Al-Nowfaly, from Ali Bin Abu Hamza, from Abu Baseer, who has narrated the above hadith

Source: Al-Tawheed, Sh. Al-Sadooq, Page 117, Hadith #20 (See Image)


Our Imams (as) had an incredible ability to answer these questions. Look at this amazing statement:

“I wrote to (Imam) abu al-Hassan the third, and asked him about witnessing Allah’s Self and the differences among people on this issue. The Imam (as) answered in writing, ‘Witnessing an object is not possible until there is air (a light-carrying medium) that can allow the light to reach the eye. If air is removed from space between the viewer and the object, no witnessing will take place. In this there is ground for similarity. When the viewer and the object in view have the same medium a similarity must exist between them to make witnessing possible, such as reflecting surfaces. (When applying this to the case of Allah) it is an analogy and similarity. The means must have a connection with the source.”

Sanad: It is narrated from the same narrator (Ahmad ibn Idris) from Ahmad ibn Ishaq who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 1, Chapter 31, Hadith #4 (See Image 1)

Grading: Allaamah Majlisi (rh) said it is Sahih/Authentic (صحيح) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 1, Page 334 (See Image 2)]



Another authentic hadith:

“About the words of Allah, ‘No mortal eyes can see Him, but He can see all eyes. He is All-kind and All-aware’ (6:103), the Imam said that, ‘No mortal eyes can see Him’ means through guessing (al-Wahm) not by witnessing Him. Consider the words of Allah in, ‘Clear proofs have certainly come to you from your Lord . . . (6:104)’ do not mean that such ‘Clear proofs’ are visible to people’s eyes. Also consider, ‘Whosoever sees clearly, it is to his own gain . . . (6:104)’ it does not mean seeing with the eyes. In ‘Whosoever is blind, it is to his own loss (6:104),’ ‘Blindness’ does not mean deprivation of eyesight. It means within the range of Wahm (mentioned above). It is as is commonly said, so and so is very keen-sighted in matters of poetry, and so and so is very keen-sighted in religion and jurisprudence. So and so has a keen eye for money, and so and so has an eye for clothes. Allah is by far great and above being witnessed by people.’”

Sanad: Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from ibn abu Najran from ‘Abd Allah ibn Sinan from (Imam) abu ‘Abd Allah (as) who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 1, Chapter 31, Hadith #9 (See Image 1)

Grading: Allaamah Majlisi (rh) said it is Sahih/Authentic (صحيح) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 1, Page 339 (See Image 2)]



And of course the famous hadith on Ameer Al-Mu’mineen (as):

“Once a rabbi (hibr) came to Imam Ali ibn abu Talib (as) and said: ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin, have you seen your Lord when worshipping Him?’ Imam Ali (as) replied, ‘This is not a proper question. I have not worshipped a Lord whom I could not see.’ He then asked, ‘How did you see Him?’ Imam Ali (as) said, ‘This is not a proper statement. Eyes cannot see Him in a witnessing process but hearts see Him through the realities of belief.’”

Sanad: A number of our people have narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn abu Nasr from abu al-Hassan al-Muwsali from abu ‘Abd Allah (as) who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 1, Chapter 31, Hadith #6


May we remain on the Path of Ahlulbayt (as) or be guided to this Straight Path and not give Allah (swt) attributes of the created.