Seeing Allaah in reality (as opposed to in a dream) is not possible in this life, although no doubt it will happen after death. This is not because seeing Him is impossible in itself, but because Allaah has willed that it should not happen. This is for many reasons, some of which have been found by the scholars, and others which remain known only to Allaah. Among the reasons which we do understand is human weakness, which is apparent from the story of Moosa (upon whom be peace), which we will quote shortly. Another reason is that seeing Allaah is a great blessing and joy, indeed it is the greatest blessing, so it is withheld for the place of ultimate blessing and joy, namely Paradise. Another reason is that this world is a mixture of good believers and kuffaar, so this blessing is deferred until it will be given exclusively to the believers in Paradise. Withholding this blessing until the Hereafter also provides a strong motive to do good in this world, so that one may see Allaah and feel secure and content in nearness to Him in the Hereafter.
Evidence that it is not possible to see Allaah in this world
Allaah says, in the story of Moosa (peace be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning): “And when Moosa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.’ Allaah said, ‘You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain, if its stands still in its place, then you shall see Me.’ So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Moosa fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said, ‘Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.’” [al-A’raaf 7:143]. The word lan (here translated as cannot in ‘You cannot see Me’) conveys the meaning of ‘You will not see Me in this life’, because there is evidence that man will see Allaah in the Hereafter, which means that this lan is not eternal in application. (The negative particle lan often carries a sense of eternal negation, that something will never happen, but this is not the case here.).
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things.” [al-An’aam 6:103]. The commentator al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, in his tafseer of this aayah: “Concerning the phrase No vision can grasp Him, several comments regarding it have been narrated from the imaams of the salaf, one of which is that it means, you will not be able to see Him in this world, even though you will see Him in the Hereafter. The reports that state this, narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), reach the level of mutawaatir and are reported through more than one sound isnaad in the books of Saheeh, Musnad and Sunan. [ a mutawaatir report is one that was narrated by so many to so many that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie].
TO BE CONTINUED… INSHA ALLAH