The attribute of smiling is close to happiness, being pleased and love in terms of its meaning. It is an attribute of action that is carried out by Allah in a manner that befits Him.
It is from the attributes that are exclusively found in the Sunnah, as it was not mentioned in the Quran. This does not have any affect with Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, because whatever is authentically established by the Sunnah, is the same as what is established by the Quran, there is no difference, because in the Quran itself, Allah orders His servants to unrestrictedly follow the Sunnah, whether it comes in emphasis of, or in establishing (an affair) without differentiating between affairs of creed or other than that. This issue has already been extensively discussed previously in The Chapter of the Authority of Hadeeth at the beginning of the book. The position of the Khalaf will be discussed after presenting the evidence.
The following Ahaadeeth have been transmitted establishing the attribute of smiling to Allah.
The Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah:
"Allah smiles at two men, one of them kills the other but both of them enter Jannah. One of them fights and is killed, Allah accepts the killer’s repentance, he embraces Islam and dies a Shaheed." [Collected by both al-Bukhari: 6/39 and Muslim 3/0504-1505]
The Hadeeth of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari:
"Allah will appear smiling on the Day of Resurrection." [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer: 6/318]
The Hadeeth of Abu Razeen al-'Uqaylee who asked:
"O Messenger of Allah, does Allah the Mighty and Majestic smile?" He replied: "Yes! We will not cease to receive good from a Lord who smiles." [Ahmad: 4/11,12,13 and ibn Maajah: 1/63]
Let us read the speech of Imaam Ibnul Qayyim when speaking about this attribute in his pleasant manner, while discussing the attributes of love, happiness and smiling where he – may Allah have mercy upon him ,says:
"His "Smiling" to His slave is due to them performing the greatest form of worship that Allah loves, so Allah smiles out of love and being pleased. He smiles at His servant when he leaves his bed and leaves laying with his beloved in order to serve Him by reciting His verses.[Madaarij al-Salikeen: 2/212 by Ibnul Qayyim]
He also smiles at a man whose companions fled from the enemy, but he turns towards them, selling his sole to Allah, he meets them and is killed in Allah's love and pleasure.
He smiles at one who hides his Sadaqah from his companions; a poor person asks them but they do not give him anything, so he lags behind them and gives the poor person in secret so as no one sees him except Allah - who has given him. This smiling is out of love for him and being happy with him.Likewise is the Shaheed when He meets him on the Day of Resurrection, He smiles at him at out of happiness and because he has come to Him.
This is how Shamsud Deen Ibnul Qayyim clarifies how the Lord smiles at some of His servants in some of those specific cases; it is a smile of happiness, love and being pleased, because the person or persons He is smiling at performed the greatest forms of worship that He loves; striving in the cause of Allah, selling one's sole to Allah and pleading to Allah which are things that Allah has blessed them with.
It is like this, that you find that Allah grants success to, and allows those whom He wills from amongst His servants to do what pleases Him, and He then accepts this from them and is pleased with it to the point that He smiles at them in love and being pleased. Glorified are You! How great You are!
As for the arid Jahmiyyah, and the negating Mu'attilah, they were not able to comprehend this tremendous standing from our Great Lord. They were not granted the success of submitting to it and leaving the affair to Allah. Rather they became as confused as the stray camel that goes and comes, climbs and descends - lost, does not know which way to go!
This attribute became confusing to them due to not depending on the transmitted evidence from the purified Sunnah that we have mentioned, and as we said earlier, the evidence is exclusive to the purified Sunnah. Furthermore this attribute is based exclusively upon transmitted information based on transmitted evidence. As for intellect, then it follows according to the Salafi Manhaj which we previously clarified in its appropriate place in the book.
Therefore there isn't anything incorrect in establishing the attribute of smiling to Allah, because it is a smile that does not resemble anything else as we have affirmed previously with information based attributes, because the topic is one, all the attributes are to be understood in the same way.