One of the misconceptions some people have is that God is not physical, that He is some sort of Spirit without a physical form. The physical nature of God, is most clearly depicted in the following verse when Moses asked to see God, and God manifested Himself to a mountain and the mountain crumbled.

[7:143] When Moses came at our appointed time, and his Lord spoke with him, he said, “My Lord, let me look and see You.” He said, “You cannot see Me. Look at that mountain; if it stays in its place, then you can see Me.” Then, his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, and this caused it to crumble. Moses fell unconscious. When he came to, he said, “Be You glorified. I repent to You, and I am the most convinced believer.”

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

The other misconception some people have is that God has a physical form that we can comprehend, like the artist rendition of an old man with a white beard sitting in the clouds.

[6:103] No visions can encompass Him, but He encompasses all visions. He is the Compassionate, the Cognizant.

لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ

The reality is that God is the One who created space-time, therefore God is outside of space-time. If we try to imagine something outside of time and space we quickly realize that it is an impossible task. Even if we could see something outside of space-time the second problem is that we lack the vocabulary to be able to properly articulate what it is what we saw. For instance, try to find the proper words to describe a phenomenon that exists outside of space-time.

But who is to say that the sense of sight or any other of our worldly senses would even be the sense best suited to utilize in a dimension outside of three-dimensional space-time. Perhaps in these higher dimensions there are senses that would be required in order to be able to fully grasp the experience that we do not possess or can even conceive.

To put this in in a worldly perspective just consider how vastly different a dog’s experience in the world is compared to a humans. While we as humans rely predominately on our sense of sight to experience and navigate the world, a dog resorts to their sense of smell. Depending on the breed or type, a dog’s sense of smell is around 10,000 – 100,000 times better than ours. Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to about six million in ours and the part of a dog’s brains that analyses and processes scents is (proportionally) 40 times greater than a humans. So we are incapable to fully understand how a dog observes the world because we lack the acuteness of the sense of smell that dogs have.

Without the proper vocabulary and senses it shows the impossibility for us in these worldly bodies to describe anything observed in a higher dimension. This is the same problem many people who have had a near-death experience face when attempting to describe their stories. So instead they often resort to allegorical descriptions in order to try to articulate their experience.

To understand this challenge consider trying to describe the taste of chocolate to someone who not only has never tasted chocolate, but lacks the ability to even taste food. No matter what description someone is to provide them, they will never fully encompass the actual experience. This is the reason God uses allegory to describe Paradise and Hell in the Quran. Until one experiences these places in our forms in the Hereafter we will never be able to grasp them while we are limited to these bodies in this world.

[2:25] Give good news to those who believe and lead a righteous life that they will have gardens with flowing streams. When provided with a provision of fruits therein, they will say, “This is what was provided for us previously.” Thus, they are given allegorical descriptions. They will have pure spouses therein, and they abide therein forever.

وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُوا مِنْهَا مِنْ ثَمَرَةٍ رِزْقًا قَالُوا هَٰذَا الَّذِي رُزِقْنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَأُتُوا بِهِ مُتَشَابِهًا وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُطَهَّرَةٌ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

[32:17] You have no idea how much joy and happiness are waiting for you as a reward for your (righteous) works.

فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَا أُخْفِيَ لَهُمْ مِنْ قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Or look at the example of when God took the soul of the prophet to the Highest Heaven, and the description of this event.

[53:1] As the stars fell away. [53:2] Your friend (Muhammad) was not astray, nor was he deceived. [53:3] Nor was he speaking out of a personal desire. [53:4] It was divine inspiration. [53:5] Dictated by the Most Powerful. [53:6] Possessor of all authority. From His highest height. [53:7] At the highest horizon. [53:8] He drew nearer by moving down. [53:9] Until He became as close as possible. [53:10] He then revealed to His servant what was to be revealed. [53:11] The mind never made up what it saw. [53:12] Are you doubting what he saw? [53:13] He saw him in another descent. [53:14] At the ultimate point. [53:15] Where the eternal Paradise is located. [53:16] The whole place was overwhelmed. [53:17] The eyes did not waver, nor go blind. [53:18] He saw great signs of his Lord.

وَالنَّجمِ إِذا هَوىٰ مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَىٰ ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَاسْتَوَىٰ وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَىٰ ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَىٰ أَفَتُمَارُونَهُ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَىٰ وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَىٰ عِنْدَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَىٰ عِنْدَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَىٰ إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَىٰ مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَىٰ لَقَدْ رَأَىٰ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَىٰ

God is informing us in the Quran that the mind of the prophet could not make up what it is that he saw, and that God saw Muhammad in another descent. I believe that this may be inferring that Muhammad was in another dimension where his wordly senses were incapable of understanding and make sense of what he saw.

So back to the physical nature of God. Since God created time and space, then He is outside of time and space in a higher dimension. Therefore, we cannot fully understand physical makeup of God because we lack the vocabulary and senses to do so. So instead, we can resort to a metaphor to help better understand this paradox.

Imagine you were a two-dimensional being living in a two-dimensional world. This can be achieved by imagining a world that could exist on a single piece of paper, where there would be an x-axis, y-axis, but no z-axis.

In the above diagram, we see that it would be impossible to reach the square without breaking the circle. This is because in a two-dimensional world one could not go over or under the circle as the z-axis would be inaccessible. But this same limitation would not exist for a being living in a three-dimensional space. Theoretically, a three-dimensional being would be able to jump between being inside the circle to outside the circle. For instance, a human in 3-D space could not only enter the circle without breaking it, but can even manipulate the square and transport it outside the circle if they wished and this would appear like magic to a being in a 2-D world.

This analogy might be similar to how humans might appear to jinns; who reside in a higher dimension than we do. This is encompassed in the example of the Queen of Sheba’s palace. The jinn who had knowledge of the book was able to transport her palace faster than the speed of light because they, unlike us, are not limited to the constraints of a 3-D space.

[27:38] He said, “O you elders, which of you can bring me her mansion, before they arrive here as submitters?” [27:39] One afrit from the jinns said, “I can bring it to you before you stand up. I am powerful enough to do this.” [27:40] The one who possessed knowledge from the book said, “I can bring it to you in the blink of your eye.” When he saw it settled in front of him, he said, “This is a blessing from my Lord, whereby He tests me, to show whether I am appreciative or unappreciative. Whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good, and if one turns unappreciative, then my Lord is in no need for him, Most Honorable.”

قَالَ يَاأَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَقُومَ مِنْ مَقَامِكَ ۖ وَإِنِّي عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٌ قَالَ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمٌ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ ۚ فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِنْدَهُ قَالَ هَٰذَا مِنْ فَضْلِ رَبِّي لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ ۖ وَمَنْ شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ

How would a 2-D being perceive a 3-D being? If a 3-D being attempts to project themself onto a 2-D world while the 2-D being would not be able to fully grasp the 3-D being they would be able to perceive their outline, similar to a shadow.

This may be part of the reason why we are incapable of seeing Satan and the jinns in their physical form in our world, yet they can see us.

[7:27] O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.

يَابَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُمْ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنْزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

But if the 3-D being attempted to insert themself into a 2-D world, this would tear the fabric of the 2-D world because the 2-D world would be unable to support such entities. Therefore, if we had to assess which being is more physical, the 2-D being or the 3-D being, we would consider the 3-D being to be more physical as their presence in the 2-D space would decimate their 2-D world.

So now we come full circle back to the first verse we saw that informed us that God is physical. This verse shows not only that God is physical, but a more accurate statement would be that God is the Most Physical. This is because God not only created space-time, but He created the dimensions that jinns reside in as well and the angels and all the creation that exists. And if God was to insert Himself into these lower dimensions it would most certainly crumble and fall apart as any lower dimension would be incapable of supporting such immense power. God be glorified!

[7:143] When Moses came at our appointed time, and his Lord spoke with him, he said, “My Lord, let me look and see You.” He said, “You cannot see Me. Look at that mountain; if it stays in its place, then you can see Me.” Then, his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, and this caused it to crumble. Moses fell unconscious. When he came to, he said, “Be You glorified. I repent to You, and I am the most convinced believer.”

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

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