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Hisham Kabbani
  Exposing Kabbani 1 : On Comparing Allaah to the Sun and Moon
Author: Abu Hudhayfah
Article ID : NDV070001  

(All quotations from Kabbani, unless otherwise stated, are taken from his work ‘Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna’, Vol. 1, as-Sunna Foundation of America publication, Second Edition, 1997)


Having taken offence at the words of ibn Taymiyyah, Kabbani writes:

"In his infamous ‘Aqida wasitiyya, Ibn Taymiyya establishes a clear-cut case of tamthil or similitude for Allah and His attributes by comparing Him to the moon in his interpretation of the verse 57: 4: ‘He is with you wherever you are’ (Ibn Taymiyyah says): ‘The phrase ‘and He is with you’ does not mean that He blends into creation... Nay the moon... one of the smallest of Allah’s creations, is both placed in the heaven (mawdu’un fi al-samaa’) and present with the traveller and the non-traveller wherever they may be. And the Exalted is above (fawq) the Throne, as a watchful guardian of His creatures and their protector Who is cognizant of them.’ (Kabbani continues):... we all know that none of the Ahl al-Sunna ever compared Allah to the moon, or Allah’s knowledge to the moon’s rays. Exalted is Allah high above the fancies of those who give such examples for Him. Yet we find today the same type of aberration still passing for Islamic education, in books such as Ibn al-’Uthaymin’s Sharh al ‘aqida al-wasitiya, which we will address in a few pages, and where the author, dissatisfied with Ibn Taymiyya’s moon, turns to comparing Allah to the sun instead."

(Kabbani, Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna, p. 98, 1997)

It will be clear, if Allaah wills, to any seeker of truth that no attempt has been made by either ibn Taymiyyah or ibn al-Uthaymeen to liken Allaah to His creation. Ibn Taymiyyah’s recourse to the example he chose was simply as an illustration of the use of the word ma’a (with) in the ‘Arabic language. Not that he is saying Allaah is the moon or the moon is Allaah or that there is any similarity between them, despite Kabbani’s assertions. Anyone truly familiar with the works of ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Uthaymeen would be the first to acknowledge their censure of those who liken Allaah to His creation or vice versa.

Ibn al-Uthaymeen, for example, said: "Ahlus-Sunnah are free from resembling Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, to His creation, both in respect of His Dhaat and His Attributes... Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah affirm the Attributes for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, without resemblance" and he added: "Our belief is that there is nothing which resembles Allaah." (Sharh al-’Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah 1/pp. 102 and 108 of ibn al-Uthaymeen)

And ibn Taymiyyah clearly said: "They (Ahlus-Sunnah) do not make resemblance between His Attributes and the attributes of the creation, because for Him, Glorfied is He, there is no comparison, nor equal, nor partner, and there is no analogy for Him with His creation." (al-’Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah 1/p.127 with the commentary of ibn al-Uthaymeen)

Furthermore, if Kabbani is adamant in his criticism of the examples used by ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Uthaymeen, how then does he view the following ahaadeeth?

Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah reports: We were with the Prophet and he looked at the (full) moon and said: "Certainly you will see your Lord as you see this moon and you will have no trouble in seeing Him..." (Al-Bukhaaree)

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree relates: We said: O Allaah's Messenger! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection? He said: "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?" We said: No. He said: "So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon." (Al-Bukhaaree)

Abu Hurayrah relates: They (the Companions of the Prophet) said: O Messenger of Allaah, will we be able to see our Lord on the Day of Judgement? He replied: "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at noon when there is no cloud over it?" They said: No. He again said: "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on the fourteenth night when there is no cloud over it?" They said: No. Thereupon he said: "By Allaah Who is the One in Whose Hand is my life, you will not face any more difficulty in seeing your Lord than you face in seeing one of them." (Muslim)

Or is Kabbani going to find fault with these hadeeth also?

Or is he going to accuse his own teachers ‘Abdullah ad-Daghestani and Nazim al-Qubrusi of similitude in comparing Allaah with the Queen of England?

"Allah Almighty called Muhammad (peace be upon him) to His Divine Presence, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) went as ordered, just as a dignitary is received by the Queen of England."

(Nazim, Mercy Oceans - The Teachings of Maulana Abdullah al-Faizi ad-Daghestani, p. 9, 1980)

Kabbani ought therefore to take the following words of his that he has directed at others and apply them to his teachers: "Since when do created things serve as an analogy for the Creator?" (Kabbani, p.191)

After expressing disdain that Allaah has apparently been compared to the sun and moon, Kabbani, in contrast, is offended later in his book (pp. 197-198) by ibn al-Uthaymeen’s negation of the fact that none of the Prophets share in any of Allaah’s Divine Attributes. Kabbani hurriedly points out that, yes, the Prophets have been described with some of His Attributes! Once again he misses the point. Ibn al-Uthaymeen’s negation was to show that there is no similarity between the reality of Allaah’s attributes and those of the Prophets. Ibn al-Uthaymeen is fully aware that in a number of places in the Qur’aan both the Attributes of Allaah and those of the Prophets have been described using the same words.

Now here is the crux of the matter: Is Kabbani, by insisting that the Prophets are described with some of the Attributes of Allaah, falling into anthropomorphism?

Or put another way: Does, for example, saying that Allaah has the Attribute of Life and Knowledge and at the same time affirming that the Prophets and indeed others from the creation also have life and knowledge cause the speaker to fall into the very same abyss of tashbeeh (anthropomorphism) that Kabbani is quick to accuse others of?

Or is this merely a resemblance in wording and not in the true reality of such attributes?

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