Malik on Aqidah: Modality of divine attributes is inconceivable

Yahya ibn Yahya reported: We were with Malik ibn Anas, may Allah have mercy on him, and a man came to him, saying, “O Abu Abdullah, ‘the Merciful rose above the Throne,’ (20:5). How is this rising?” Malik bowed his head silently until he raised it dripping sweat, saying, “The rising is not unknown, its modality is inconceivable, faith in it is an obligation, and asking about it is an innovation. I do not see you as anything but an heretic.” Then, he ordered for the man to be expelled.

Al-Bayhaqi said, “Most of our scholars followed this example in the issue of the divine attribute of ‘rising,’ as well as the issues of ‘coming,’ ‘going,’ and ‘descending.'”

Source: al-I’tiqād lil-Bayhaqī 1/116

عن يَحْيى بْنَ يَحْيى قَالَ كُنَّا عِنْدَ مَالِكِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ رحمه الله فَجَاءَ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى كَيْفَ اسْتَوَى قَالَ فَأَطْرَقَ مَالِكٌ رَأْسَهُ حَتَّى عَلَاهُ الرُّحَضَاءُ ثُمَّ قَالَ الِاسْتِوَاءُ غَيْرُ مَجْهُولٍ وَالْكَيْفُ غَيْرُ مَعْقُولٍ وَالْإِيمَانُ بِهِ وَاجِبٌ وَالسُّؤَالُ عَنْهُ بِدْعَةٌ وَمَا أَرَاكَ إِلَّا مُبْتَدِعًا، فَأَمَرَ بِهِ أَنْ يَخْرُجَ

قَالَ البيهقي وَعَلَى مِثْلِ هَذَا دَرَجَ أَكْثَرُ عُلَمَائِنَا فِي مَسْأَلَةِ الِاسْتِوَاءِ وَفِي مَسْأَلَةِ الْمَجِيءِ وَالْإِتْيَانِ وَالنِّزُولِ

1/116 الاعتقاد للبيهقي