(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)
CLARIFICATION ON THE WAY OF THE SALAF FROM THE IMAAM OF HADEETH AND AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS SUNAN, AT-TIRMIDHEE
At-Tirmidhee writes in his Sunan (1/128-129):
"It has been said by more than one person from the People of Knowledge about such ahaadeeth that there is no resemblance to the Attributes of Allaah. And the Lord - the Blessed, the Most High - descends to the lowest heaven every night. So they say: Affirm these narrations, have faith in them and do not deny them, and do not ask how. The likes of this has been related from Maalik ibn Anas, Sufyaan ath-Thawree, ibn Uyaynah and Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak, who all said about these ahaadeeth: Leave them as they are without asking how. Such is the saying of the People of Knowledge from Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaaah. However, the Jahmiyyah oppose these narrations and say: This is making resemblance (tashbeeh)! However, Allaah - the Most High - has mentioned in various places in His Book the Attribute of Hand, Hearing and Seeing. So the Jahmiyyah make false interpolation (taweel) of these verses and explain them in a way other than that explained by the People of Knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allaah did not create Aadam with His own Hand. And they say that the meaning of Hand is: Power. Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah (one of the famous teachers of al-Bukhaaree) said: Resemblance is if it is said: Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand. Or Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing. So when it is said: Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing, then this is making resemblance. But if what is being said is what Allaah has said: Hand, Hearing, Seeing, and it is not asked how, nor is it said: like my hearing, or similar to my hearing, then this is not making resemblance. Allaah - the Most Blessed, Most High - said in His Book: "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.""
Could anything be clearer than this in clarifying the confusion that Kabbani has portrayed in his books?
Let us look closely at this statement from at-Tirmidhee:
i. The view he has expressed, as he himself affirms, is the position of the People of Knowledge from Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaaah, such as: Maalik ibn Anas, Sufyaan ath-Thawree, Sufyaan ibn Uyaynah, Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak and Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah.
ii. That the Jahmiyyah accuse Ahlus-Sunnah of anthropomorphism when they agree with the views of the Imaams mentioned in (i) above.
The only justifiable reply to Kabbanis aspersions that the Salafis are anthropomorphists is the statement of Alee ibn al-Madeenee (teacher of al-Bukhaaree) who said: "When someone says so and so is an anthropomorphist, we come to know that he is a Jahmee." (Reported by al-Laalakaaee in Sharh Usool Itiqaad no.306). And Aboo Haatim ar-Raazee (d.277H) who said: "A sign of the Jahmiyyah is that they call Ahlus-Sunnah anthropomorphists." (From his book Ahlus-Sunnah p.21).
iii. Ahlus-Sunnah are not making resemblance between Allaah and His creation when they affirm for Allaah those attributes that He has described Himself with, such as: Hand, Hearing, Face etc. As Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah said: "Resemblance is if it is said: Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand. Or Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing. So when it is said: Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing, then this is making resemblance..."
This is the very same understanding of the Salaf which ibn Taymiyyah was to repeat centuries after Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah:
"It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for Himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation... Whoever says: His Knowledge is like my knowledge, His Power is like my power, or Love like my love, or Pleasure like my pleasure, or Hand like my hand, or Istawaa like my ascending, then he has resembled and likened Allaah to the creation."
(at-Tadmuriyyah, p.20, of ibn Taymiyyah)
Aside from showing that the methodology of ibn Taymiyyah was wholly in conformance with Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah and the other scholars of the Salaf which at-Tirmidhee mentioned, this quote is another concise reply to the allegations of anthropomorphism maliciously levelled at him. Ibn Taymiyyahs way, as he himself describes, was to believe in the Attributes of Allaah: "whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation."
Therefore, since the Salafis do not say: "Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand. Or Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing," but rather say whatever Allaah has said about Himself, this is not, despite what Kabbani would have his readers believe, anthropomorphism. As Ishaaq ibn Raahawaiah concluded: "Hand, Hearing, Seeing, and it is not asked how, nor is it said: like my hearing, or similar to my hearing, then this is not making resemblance"