Question: What is the opinion of Your Eminence on whoever says that Allaah’s Name “Al-Thaahir” means the Manifest in everything?
Does this fall under the opinion advocating Hulool (a Sufi term meaning indwelling) or not?
Answer: “This is Baatil (null and void), for it contradicts the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) interpretation of a noble Aayah. It is authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) said,
O Allaah, You are Al-Awwal (the First), there is nothing before You, and You are Al-Aakhir (the Last), there is nothing after You, and You are Al-Thaahir (the Manifest or Supreme), there is nothing over You, and You are Al-Baatin (the Hidden or Most Near) and there is nothing beyond You. Settle the debts on our behalf and suffice us from poverty (Related by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh).
Thus, Al-Thaahir means ‘The Supreme’ over all creatures, but His Signs and evidence of His Existence, Sovereign, and Knowledge are everywhere proving that He is the Lord of all Worlds, their Creator and Sustainer. Human beings have been granted hearing, sight, mind, body and organs; these are some of the ample Signs indicating that He is the Lord of all worlds.
The same applies to heaven, earth, night, day, metals, animals and everything, as they are all Signs for Him (Glorified be He), indicating the Existence of His Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, and that He is the Only One worthy of being worshipped, just as a poet said:
I wonder How God is being disobeyed
or how a denier can deny His Entity?
Although in everything, there is a Sign for Him
Denoting His Divine Unity
Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God – Allaah), Laa ilaaha illaa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Then, He says afterward: Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allaah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Aayaat (proofs, evidence, signs, etc.) for people of understanding. He (Glorified be He) has outlined in this Aayah various types of His Creatures, which indicate that He (Glorified be He) is the True God that none should be worshipped but Him (Glorified and Exalted be He). Everything includes a Sign for Him and this is our proof that He is the Lord of all the worlds; He exists, He is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Only One worthy of being worshipped (Glorified and Exalted be He). Whereas the meaning of Al-Thaahir is the Most Supreme over all creatures as previously mentioned in the authentic Hadeeth reported from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).“
Source: Fataawaa Ibn Baaz, alifta.net