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Commentary

The word: دَرَجَات (darajat, translated above as 'stations' ) in: رَ‌فِيعُ الدَّرَ‌جَاتِ (He is High in stations - 40:15) has been taken by some commentators as meaning 'attributes.' If so, the sense of the expression would be that His attributes of perfection are most exalted. Ibn Kathir has relied on the words as they appear outwardly and has said that it refers to the most exalted 'arsh' (throne) for it comprehends all land masses and heavens and is located above them all like a roof as in Surah Al-Ma'arij: مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِ‌جِ ﴿3﴾ تَعْرُ‌جُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّ‌وحُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُ‌هُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ (From Allah, the Lord of the stairways to whom ascend the angels and spirit, in a day the length of which is fifty thousand years - 70:3, 4).

According to some further investigation into this verse by Ibn Kathir, it should be borne in mind that this measure of fifty thousand years is a description of the travel distance from the seventh level of the earth up to the 'arsh, and this is what has been declared as the preferred position by a majority of earlier and later scholars. He has also said that according to many scholars, 'arsh is made of a red ruby the diameter of which is so big as would take a travel distance of fifty thousand years to cover. Similarly, its height would take an identical travel distance to cover. Then there are commentators who have said that رَ‌فِيعُ الدَّرَ‌جَاتِ (rafi` u-d-darajat) appears in the sense of رَافعُ الدَّرَ‌جَاتِ (rafi'u-d-darajat: that is, the One who elevates others in ranks), that is, Allah Ta'la is the one who elevates the ranks of believers who have His fear in their hearts as borne by verses of the Qur'an, such as: نَرْ‌فَعُ دَرَ‌جَاتٍ مَّن نَّشَاءُ (We raise in ranks whom We will -Al-An am, 6:83) and هُمْ دَرَ‌جَاتٌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ (They are of various ranks with Allah -'Al-'Imran, 3:163).

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