Al-Tawḥīd > His Empyrean was on the Water
Hadith #2

2 - حدثنا تميم بن عبد الله بن تميم القرشي قال: حدثنا أبي، عن أحمد بن علي الأنصاري، عن أبي الصلت عبد السلام بن صالح الهروي قال: سأل المأمون أبا الحسن علي بن موسى الرضا عليهما السلام، عن قول الله عز وجل: (وهو الذي خلق السماوات والأرض في ستة أيام وكان عرشه على الماء ليبلوكم أيكم أحسن عملا) فقال: إن الله تبارك وتعالى خلق العرش والماء والملائكة قبل خلق السماوات والأرض، وكانت الملائكة تستدل بأنفسها وبالعرش والماء على الله عز وجل، ثم جعل عرشه على الماء ليظهر بذلك قدرته للملائكة فيعلموا أنه على كل شئ قدير، ثم رفع العرش بقدرته ونقله فجعله فوق السماوات السبع وخلق السماوات والأرض في ستة أيام، وهو مستول على عرشه، وكان قادرا على أن يخلقها في طرفة عين، ولكنه عز وجل خلقها في ستة إيام ليظهر للملائكة ما يخلقه منها شيئا بعد شئ وتستدل بحدوث ما يحدث على الله تعالى ذكره مرة بعد مرة، ولم يخلق الله العرش لحاجة به إليه لأنه غني عن العرش وعن جميع ما خلق، لا يوصف بالكون على العرش لأنه ليس بجسم، تعالى الله عن صفة خلقه علوا كبيرا. وأما قوله عز وجل: (ليبلوكم أيكم أحسن عملا) فإنه عز وجل خلق خلقه ليبلوهم بتكليف طاعته وعبادته لا على سبيل الامتحان والتجربة لأنه لم يزل عليما بكل شئ، فقال المأمون: فرجت عني يا أبا الحسن فرج الله عنك. باب العرش وصفاته

2. Tamim ibn `Abd Allah ibn Tamim al-Qurashi said: my father said, on the authority of Ahmad ibn `Ali al-Ansari, on the authority of Abu al-Salt `Abd al-Salam ibn Salih al-Hirawi that Al-Ma’mum asked Abu al-Hasan `Ali ibn Musa al-Rida (AS) about the Word of Allah, the Mighty and High: And He it is who created heaves and the earth in six days, and His Empyrean was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in action. He thus, (AS) replied, Verily, Allah the Blessed and Exalted, created the Empyrean, the water, and the angels before the creation of heavens and the earth. The angels use to ponder over the existence the Empyrean, the existence of the water, and the existence of Allah, the Mighty and High. Then He place His Empyrean over the water to make His Omnipotence evident to the angels so that they may know that He had power over all things. He then raised the Empyrean by means of His Omnipotence, moving it and placing it over the seven heavens. He created the heavens and the earth in six days, while He was in possession of the Empyrean. Although He has the power of creating them in the blink of an eye, He, the Mighty and High, created them over six days to show to the angels that He was creating, one after another, so that they could ponder over what Allah, exalted be His Remembrance, brought about in stages. Allah did not create the Empyrean because He was in need of it. On the contrary, He is Self-Sufficient without any need for the Empyrean and of anything He has created. He is not subject to location within the Empyrean, because He does not possess a body. Exalted is Allah, the Elevated and high, from the attributes of is Creation! As for His Word, the Mighty and High: that He might try you, which of you is best in action. Sao verily, He, the Mighty and High, crated His Creation to try them through His Obedience, and His service, and not for the sake of trial and experiment, because He has always been the All-knowing of Everything. Al-Ma’mum said: “You have relieved me. May Allah relive you!”