As far as intelligence and analytical skills in understanding Islamic issues are concerned, people can be divided into the following 4 categories.Prophets - Those who have elevated virtuous nature, pay attention towards their natural instincts and carry out good deeds easily and as such, Prophet-hood, Apostleship, and leadership of nations is associated with them.
It is in Quran – Allah (SWT) knows it well who is capable for Apostleship’. ( An-A’am - 124).Mohammadur Rasulullah (SAWS) is the last Prophet and Apostle of Allah (SWT) sent for the entire mankind.It is in Quran - (Prophet) Mohammad (SAWS) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah (SWT) is ever Aware of all things’. (Al-Ahzab – 40).Awliya Allah / Shaikhs of Ihsan - They achieve their virtuous objectives with a little effort and hard work under the guidance and leadership of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) and his Sahaba.Imams of various Islamic subjects, truthful scholars and Ulema are all included in this category as per their degree of knowledge, service to Islam and spiritual status awarded to them by Allah (SWT).Hypocrites ( المنافقين ) - They never come to the straight path of Islam even if they are explained repeatedly. They have a tendency to deviate from the truth. They take the metaphorical verses of Quran in their literal / textual meanings, craving discord, and craving to spread wrongful interpretations among Muslims. They are termites of religion who eat away Correct Islamic Faith (Sahih Imaan) from Muslims' hearts. In religious issues they remain blind and deaf from the beginning and remain petty minded throughout their lives.It is in Quran – ‘Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the right path). (Al-Baqara – 18).
It is in Quran - 'Indeed, the hypocrites (will be) in the lowest depth of the Hell Fire and you (O'Prophet -SAWS) will not find any helper for them. (An-Nisa - 145).
Prejudiced - It is very difficult to convince a prejudiced person on the strength of a religious argument. Therefore, we should not get bogged down in thinking why some people do not understand the simple logic behind truthful Islamic beliefs. The perfect example of a prejudiced person is Abu Jahel. He considered himself superior and did not changed even while dying.It is in Quran - ‘You (O’ Mohammad - SAWS) cannot guide everyone you like (to the desired objective), but Allah (SWT) guides whom He will. And He is Best Aware of those who walk aright (who can follow guidance). (Al-Qasas – 56).
It is in Quran - "He (Allah -SWT) is who has sent down to you (O'Prophet -SAWS) the Book (Quran). Some verses of it are definite in meaning (Ayaat-e-Muhkamaat). These form the mother of the Book (the basic there in) and the rest are figurative (metaphorical) (Ayaat - e - Mutashaabihaat). But they, in whose minds there is a tendency to deviate from truth, take the metaphorical (verses in their literal / textual sense) craving discord, and craving to give them their own interpretation, although none knows the reality about them except Allah (SWT). And those who make it right approach to knowledge could only say 'we believe therein all that is from our Lord'. None can catch their significance except those gifted with insight." (Aal-e-Imran - 7).
Founders of Salafism and some other Muslim Sects misunderstood the meanings of figurative (metaphorical) verses (Ayaat - e - Mutashabihat) of Quran and related Ahadith and statements of Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence and claimed that (Nauzubillahi) Allah (SWT) is literally sitting over the throne (Arsh) and that He has a body, limbs and face, etc. For them the Divine Throne is like a dais (sarir) carried and surrounded by Angels.
Salafi believes about Allah (SWT)
- Allah (SWT) needs (meaning Allah -SWT is dependent upon certain needs)
- Allah (SWT) is divisible
- Allah (SWT) settles in a place
- Allah (SWT) has six directions, (i) up (ii) down, (iii) Left, (iv) right, (v) front, and (vi) back.
- Allah (SWT) is sitting above the skies and His face is towards His Throne (Arsh).
- Allah is literally (physically) sitting above the Throne without ever leaving it. He literally (physically) comes into the sky of the world towards the dawn (every night) because the Earth is round.
- Allah (SWT) has a "hadd" ( الحد ) (limitation / boundary), no one but He Knows it. (Asthaghfirullahi). His place also has a "hadd"( الحد ) (limitation / boundary) which is on His Arsh above the skies. These are two limits ( حدود ) for Allah (SWT).
- Allah (SWT) has a size ( حجم )
- Allah (SWT) must be creating continuously. Though He can choose what to create but He cannot choose whether to create or not.
- It is Kufr to say that Allah (SWT) is inside or mixed with His creation.
- Allah (SWT) is not mixed with His creation, but is encompassing the world from a surface outside the borders of His creation.
- Allah (SWT) has two real eyes, two real hands, a real face and other limbs, which are (different) not like any of His creatures.
- Human beings should not imagine the shape, body and limbs of Allah (SWT) as this is not allowed. But He does have the body and limbs whose shape has not been disclosed to human beings.
- We raise our hands towards sky in Dua to point towards this diety - Ilah (Allah-SWT) as He is sitting over there.
- Allah (SWT) moved His place of sitting to Arsh after not being their at first.
Any person with an average common sense will easily conclude that the above beliefs are clear cut idol / diety worship. We fail to understand the difference between them and other Idol worshipers?
Salafis misinterpret the statements of 4 Imams of Fiqh to suit their contentions. They claim that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was Textualist / Literalist which is a blatant lie and wrongful allegation on the great Imam.They often quote a statement of Imam Ahmad to legitimize their above wrongful beliefs about Allah (SWT).Let us discuss the statement of Imam Ahmad to see if their allegation about the Imam is truthful.Imam Ahmad said (we are writing here Salafi's translation) :Quote - "The Ahadith (regarding the attributes of Allah - SWT) should be left as they are... We affirm them, and we do not make any similitude for them. This is what has been agreed upon by the scholars." UnquoteSalafis claim that the above statement of Imam Ahmad confirms the textual / literal meanings of all related Quranic verses and Ahadith.We fail to understand how Salafis could come to the above conclusion because the above statement says that Islamic Scholars are in total agreement on this issue.Who are the other scholars Imam Ahmad is referring to?If Imam Ahmad is referring to the other three Imams, Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafai, and Imam Maalik, and their following generations Islamic Jurists, then, Salafi's interpretation of Imam's statement is not true. Because the three Imams and their prominent students and followers have condemned the above beliefs as blasphemous.Imam Bukhari has written the meaning of 'Wajha' as 'Dominion of Allah (SWT)' (Mulkuhu), and not His (nauzubillahi) face. (Refer Arabic Edition, Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Published Beirut, Lebanon, page 171 - last para).No one has agreed to the interpretation that (nauzubillahi) Allah (SWT) has face hands, eyes and body. No truthful Islamic scholar even knew about this interpretation till Ibn Taymiyyah invented it in early 14th Century AD.Since Imam Ahmad says that all scholars have agreed upon this issue, then he is referring to something different than what has been understood by Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers.Let us analyze Imam's statement. He says that the "Ahadith (regarding the attributes of Allah (SWT) should be left as they are ...., We affirm them, and we do not make any similitude for them."Well, this is exactly the position of Imam Ash'ari (873–935), Imam Maturidi (853 - 944) and other three Imams, viz, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafa'i and Imam Maalik.As far as the nature and divine attributes of Allah (SWT) are concerned, Imam Ash'ari and all other Imams rejected the Mu'tazila position that Quranic references, apparently implying physical attributes to Allah (SWT), are metaphorical.Imam Ash'ari and all other Imams insisted that these attributes were "true", since Qur'an could not be in error, but that these verses were not to be understood as implying a crude anthropomorphism (associating creature like attributes to Allah -SWT)."All Imams and other Islamic Scholars are united on the above. They all confirm that "the Quranic verses and Ahadith (regarding the attributes of Allah (SWT) should be left as they are. They affirm them". Meaning, they confirm that they do not want to make any similitude for them.What is the meaning of similitude?It means that they do not want to make imaginary hands, face and body for Allah (SWT) based on the literal / textual meanings of these Quranic verses and Ahadith as it will amount to accepting a body for Allah (SWT), which is Kufr.Therefore, when Imam Ahmad says "all Islamic scholars agree on the position, it means that all scholars agree that Allah (SWT) is free from hands, face and other limbs.Imam Ahmad never agreed to take textual / literal meanings of Quranic verses and Ahadith and associate hands/face/eyes and a real body for Allah (SWT).
How can Imams and scholars agree on a blatant Kufr / Shirk?The above discussion confirms the fact that Imam Ahmad was not a textualist / literalist as has been alleged by Salafis and their like minded groups.We will cite another example to show our readers how Imam Ahmad's rulings differ from Salafis in many other issues.Salafis and their like minded groups support Yazid Ibn Muawiyah as pious Khalifa-e-Islam and blame Imam Hussain (RU) to have committed the mistake by not doing bay'a (allegiance) on his hands. They also say 'Razialallhu Unhu' (may Allah be pleased with him) with his name.Dr. Zakir Naik, a very famous scholar of Ahle Hadith (a like minded group of Salafis ) is reported to have said Raziallahu Ta'ala Unhu with Yazid's name in a public gathering. Later they clarified their position in an article as follows.QUOTE - As far as the Ahl-e-sunnat-wal-Jamaat is concerned (look Dr. Naik calling himself as Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama'a even though he belongs to Salafi/Ahle Hadith group), inspite of the difference of opinion it is agreed upon that it is permissible to say “May Allah have mercy on him” or “May Allah be pleased with him” for Yazeed. Therefore saying “May Allah be pleased with him” after Yazeed’s name is not Haraam, nor a sin and is not wrong. - UNQUOTEIn the same article they have manipulated and removed the special mention of Yazid from the Fatwas and Statements of Sunni Scholars like Ahmad Raza Khan in which he cursed Yazid.Dr. Nayak has memorized a lot, has mastered the art of debate, but has not disciplined himself with a prominent Shaikh of Ihsan. Before coming on the scene of public debate, it would have been good if he sat in front of a Shaikh of Ihsan / Wali Allah for some time and grasped the essence and spiritual facts of Islam. Instead of depending upon his book knowledge, photo finish memory, he should try to see reason. We pray for all of us, Allah (SWT) show us the right path of Islam.Let us see what is the opinion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in this context.Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked by his son that - " a group of people (qawm) attribute us to (be with) Yazid; he replied, O' son! Whoever believe in Allah, how can they have any association with Yazid? And why should he (Yazid) not be cursed (laanat) when Allah sends laanat on him in His Book. The son asked where did Allah send 'laanat' on him in His Book? The Imam replied - in this saying of Allah Ta’la -
It is in Quran - 'Do you then have the sign that if you get the authority, spread disorder in the land and sever your ties of Kinship? These are they whom Allah (SWT) has cursed and made them deaf from the truth and made their eyes blind. (Sura Mohammad -SAWS, Verses 22-23) "
And then Imam Ahmad said, "is there any greater fasaad (tribulation) than the assasination of Husain (RU)? "
( The above is mentioned in multiple sources such as Ibn Hajar Makki in al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa page 333, Tafsir Mazhari v. 8. p. 434 Imam Barzanji in al-Isha’at, Qadi Abu Ya’la in Mu’tamad al-Usool, ibn al-Jawzi and so on).
Salafis quote Hadith Bukhari No. 2924, vol. 3 in which the Prophet (SAWS) said that 'Paradise is granted to the first batch of Muslims who will undertake the naval expedition ..... and will invade Caesar's City (Costantinople - presently Istanbul) ".
Salafis and their like minded groups say that Yazid was commander of that army.
But historians have found out that, though Yazid was scheduled to fight in that Army, he stayed somewhere else in his worldly desires /comforts. It is wrong to say that he was commander of that Army.
There is no use debating on history books as many contain contrasting opinions. Also, it is not possible to convince prejudiced Groups who have already decided to malign Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA).
However, if Yazid was indeed commander of that army, then how come Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal did not know about the Hadith and Yazid's participation in that naval expedition?
It is a very important event of Islam and a person of Imam Hanbal's stature is sure to know about its facts.
Imam Jalal Uddin Suyuti mentions in his book ‘The History of the Rightly Guided Caliphs’ (Taarekh ul Khulufaa al-Raashideen) that - “Nawfal bin Abi al-Faraat said ‘Once I was with Umar bin Abdul Aziz when a man said in his presence ‘Yazid, the leader of the believers’ (Ameer ul Mu’mineen). Umar bin Abdul Aziz said [in shock] ‘Did you call Yazid the Leader of the Believers? Umar then ordered for the man to be lashed 20 times”.
Suyuti further writes that in the year 63 H Yazid was involved in sacking Madinat al-Rasul (SAWS) in killing a whole generation of the Companions, and in desecrating and robbing Madinah. Suyuti continues that the Prophet (SAWS) had said, whoever terrifies the people of Madinah, upon him is the curse of Allah (SWT), that of His angels and that of all the people of the world. (Sahih Muslim). After creating carnage in Madinah in the incident of Harrah, the army of Yazid proceeded to Makkah to confront Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, a self-declared Caliph in Hijaz. In Makka, the Army of Yazid committed unthinkable war crimes. Please read Islamic History for details.
Since Imam Ahmed and Imam Suyuti are cursing Yazid on the strength of Quranic commandment and Ahadith, then what should we do?
Instead of cursing Yazid, the Salafis and their like minded groups are literally cursing Imam Hussain (RU) by finding fault with him.
Could Salafis and their like minded Groups be on the right path of Islam? Will they get Salvation on the Day of Judgment?
Read the following Ahadith to get an answer to the above question.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) looked at Hazrat Ali (RU), Hazrata Fatima (RA) and Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Raziallu unhum) and said " "I am in war with those who will fight with you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you."
Maligning Imam Hussain (RU) is indeed character assassination of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS). Many Ulema will agree that character assassination of the deceased Imam (RU) is indeed a bigger crime than his physical assassination.
The above Hadith is narrated in - (i) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p699, (ii) Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, p52, (iii) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p767, Tradition #1350, (iv) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p149, (v) Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p169 (vi) al-Kabir, by al-Tabarani, v3, p30, also in al-Awsat, (vii) Sawaiq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, p144, (viii) Talkhis, by al-Dhahabi, v3, p149, (ix) Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, p25 (x) Mishkat al-Masabih, by Khatib al-Tabrizi, English Version, Tdadition #6145.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said " He who loves al-Hasan and al-Husain (Raziallau unhum), loved me, and he who makes them angry has made me angry."
Imagine the fate of those who indulge in character assassination of Imam Hussain (RU) and praise and show a lot of respect towards his assassin Yazid and say (Radiallahu unhu) with his name.
The above Hadith is narrated in - (i) Sunan Ibn Majah, (ii) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, from Abu Hurairah, (iii) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p292.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad said - "Al-Hasan and al-Husain (Raziallahu Unhum) are the chiefs of the youth of Paradise and Fatimah (RA) is the chief of their women."
Is it possible for someone to accuse and malign the chief of paradise and stay there at the same time."
The above Hadith is narrated in (i) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p660, on the authority of Abu Sa'id and Hudhayfa, (ii) Sunan Ibn Majah, Introduction 8, (iii) al-Tabarani, on the authorities of: Umar, Ali, Jabir, Abu Hurayrah, Usamah Ibn Zaid, al-Baraa, Ibn 'Adi, and Ibn Masud, (iv) al-Kubra, by al-Nisa'i, (v) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 62,82, v3, pp 3,64, v5, p391, (vi) Fada'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, p771, Tradition #1360, (vii) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 166,167, (viii) Wilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu'aym, v5, p71, (viii) Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p187, (ix) Ibn Habban, as mentioned in al-Mawarid, pp 551,553, (x) al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p290, (xi) Mishkat al-Masabih, by Khatib al-Tabrizi, English Version, Tradition #6154
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said " Husain (RU) is from me and I am from Husain (RU)."
This Hadith is available in (i) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v4, p172, (ii) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Hanbal, v2, p772, Tradition #1361, (iii) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p 177, (iv) al-Tabarani, v3, p21, (v) Adab by al-Bukhari, (vi) al-Tirmidhi, (vii) Ibn Majah, (viii) al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p291, (ix) Mishkat al-Masabih, by Khatib al-Tabrizi, English Version, Tdadition #6160.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said "I named Hasan and Husain and Muhsin the names of the sons of Aaron (Haroon) who were: Shubbar, Shubair, and Mushbir."
This Hadith is narrated in (i) Sunan Abu Dawud al-Tilyasi, v1, p232 (without mentioning Muhsin), (ii) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p774, Tradition #1365, (iii) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 165,168, (iv) Kashf al-Astar, by al-Bazzar, v2, p416, (v) Ibn Hibban, as quoted in al-Mawarid, p551, (vi) al-Tabarani, v3, p100, (vii) al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p292.
It is in Hadith - Usamah Ibn Zayd narrated that "I went to the Prophet (SAWS) one night about something I required and he came out with something (I did not know what) under his cloak. When I had finished telling him my purpose, I asked him what he had under his cloak, and when he opened it I saw al-Hasan and al-Husayn (Raziallahu unhum) on his hips. The the Prophet (SAWS) said "They are my sons and my daughter's sons. O' Allah, I love them, so I beseech Thee to love them and those who love them." (Tirmidhi)
It is in Hadith - Anas ibn Malik Narrated that When Allah's Messenger (SAWS) was asked which member of his family was dearest to him, he replied - "Al-Hasan and al-Husain." He used to say to Fatimah, "Call my two sons to me," and then would sniff and cuddle them. (Tirmidhi).
There are many more Ahadith which emphasize the truthfulness and high status of Iman Hassan (RA) and Imam Hussain (RU) and other Ahle Bait-e-Rasulullah (SAWS).
It is in Quran - (O'Prophet - SAWS) Convey the hypocrites the tiding that for them there is a painful torment. (An-Nisa - 138).
Muslim Ummah is united that 4 Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Maalik, Imam Shaffi'i and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal are most authentic.
The interpretations and explanations of all the above Imams are known as schools of thought in Fiqh. Like Hanafi School of thought, Maliki School of thought, Shafi'i School of thought and Hanbali School of thought.
Similarly, in Islamic Theology or Aqeedah, there is a consensus that Imam Asha'ri and Imam Mathuridhi are most authentic.
The interpretations of the above Imams are known as Ash'ari School of thought and Mathuridhi School of thought.
Salafis claim that there is a third school of thought in Islamic Aqeeda which is known as Athari school of thought (textualist).
Nobody knows about the origins of this school of thought and nobody knows who was the Imam of this school of thought. Therefore, this school of thought may have been the brain child of some misguided scholars.
Salafis claim that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal supported this school of thought.
To associate Imam Ahmad with this school of thought is a grave injustice with the Imam and a serious allegation on his beliefs. The textualists or Athariya followers misinterpreted many sayings of this great Imam and wrongly implicated him in this deviation to legitimize their self fabricated beliefs.
We will briefly describe the schools of thought in Islamic theology in the following paragraphs so that our readers get full knowledge in this context.
Ash'ari school of thought was founded by Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (873-935). It was embraced by later Muslim scholars like Imam al Ghazali.
Abū al-Hasan Alī ibn Ismā'īl al-Ash'arī ( ابو الحسن بن إسماعيل اﻷشعري) was born in Basra, Iraq. He was a descendant of a companion of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), namely, Abu Musa al-Ashari (RU). He spent major part of his life in Baghdad. Initially he became a pupil of famous Mutazalite scholar al-Jubba'i (d.915) and himself remained a Mutazalite until he was 40 years old.
It is reported that in 912 he saw Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) in his dream asking him to come back to the right path. He then left the Mu'tazalites. He spent the remaining years of his life in polemics and debates against his former Mutazalite colleagues. He is reported to have written over one hundred books, out of which, only four or five have survived.Ash'ariyyah theology emphasizes divine revelation over human reason. Ethics cannot be derived from human reason. As per Ash'ari school of thought, Quran, Ahadith (Sunnah) and the practice of Sahaba are the sources of all morality in Islam.
Ash'ari rejected the Mu'tazilite position that all Qur'anic references to Allah (SWT) depicting physical attributes are metaphorical. Ash'aris insisted that these attributes were "true", since the Qur'an could not be in error, but that they were not to be understood as implying a crude anthropomorphism.Ash'aris emphasize divine omnipotence over human free will. They believe that the Qur'an is eternal and uncreated.
While Imam al-Ash'ari was opposed to the views of the Mu'tazila school for its over-emphasis on Ijtihad (reason), he was also opposed to the views of certain orthodox schools such as the Zahiri, Mujassimite (anthropomorphist) and Muhaddithin (traditionalist) schools for their over-emphasis on taqlid (imitation) in his Istihsan al‑Khaud.
Most of the Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan and scholars are the followers of Ash'riyya School of Thought in Aqeedah.
Maturidiyyah school of thought was founded by Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.
Imam Mohammad Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (853 - 944 AD) محمد بن محمد بن محمود أبو منصور ماتریدی سمرقندی حنفی was a Persian Muslim theologian and a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence and Quranic exegesis. He is one of the pioneers of Islamic Jurisprudence scholars and his works are considered to be authoritative on the subject.
Maturidiyyah school of thought was a minority tradition until it was accepted by the Turkish tribes of Central Asia. One of the tribes, the Seljuk Turks, migrated to Turkey, where later the Ottoman Empire was established. They followed Maturidiyyah school of thought in Aqeedah and Hanafi school of thought in Fiqh.
Maturidiyyah argue that knowledge of Allah's (SWT) existence can be derived through reason.
Followers of Maturidiyyah school of thought are also known as 'Mutakallimeen'.
Both Imam al-Maturidi and Imam al-Tahawi followed Abu Hanifa and his companions in regard to belief.
Imam Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Muhammad At-Tahaawee (843 - 935) was a famous Sunni Islamic Scholar who followed Hanafi school of thought. He has been famous for Aqeedah At-Tahawiyyah, a treatise on Aqidah that has been accepted by all four schools of thought. He wrote over 40 books, some of which are still available today.
Both Imam al-Maturidi and At-Tahaawee said Imaan consists of "conviction in the heart and affirmation by the tongue. Al-Maturidi even declared (on the authority of Imam Abu Hanifa) that the foundation of belief consisted only in conviction in the heart, the tongue's affirmation is a supplementary integral /pillar (rukn zâ'id).
The other three Imams, Maalik, al-Shafi'i and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said that Islamic belief consists of 'conviction in heart, affirmation by the tongue, and practice with the limbs."The real Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama'a are the followers of Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyya school of thought in Aqeedah and 4 schools of thought, Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maaliki and Hanbali, in Fiqh.
Athariyyah (Textualist) school of thought is not associated with any Imam. Islamic history does not show any specific founder of this school of thought. Some misguided scholars may have invented these beliefs.
Salafis claim that Imam Ahmad was the supporter of this school.
As we have explained above, this is a serious allegation on Imam Ahmad which is not true. Those who accuse Imam Ahmad should worry about the Day of Judgment.
Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were the most prominent followers of Athariyyah school of thought.
Salafis, Wahhabis, Ahle Hadith, Tabhligee Jama'at, Jama'at-e-Islami, and many other like minded sects and their sub groups are the followers of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and their Athariyya School of Thought. They do not follow any of the 4 Imams of Fiqh and say that everyone should deduce rules of Quran and Ahadith independently. They misinterpret certain rulings of 4 Imams' of Fiqh to legitimize their Athari school of thought. For them Ibn Taymiyyah and Abd al-Wahhab are ultimate authorities in Aqeedah, Fiqh and everything related to Islam and they follow them blindly. They also refer themselves as Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama'a to hide their beliefs from innocent Muslims.
Atharis claim that all Quranic verses and Ahadith relating to Allah's (SWT) names and attributes should be taken in their literal/textual meanings with the addition that "how" of these attributes is not known to us. They argue that Allah (SWT) is as He described Himself in a way betting His majesty. Therefore, they associate face, hands, eyes and a body for Allah (SWT). They emphasize that we should not question "how is Allah's face and body, as these are known to Him only. They believe that Allah (SWT) does not resemble His creation, therefore they prohibit people to think about the shape, size of body and other limbs of Allah (SWT). But they insist that Allah (SWT) has a body and limbs.
In order to legitimize their Aqidah, Atharis / Salafis try to misinterpret Imam Ahmad's statements.From the above discussion, it is evident that, in view of their ignorance and inability to think rationally, Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers became inclined to blind faith in anthropomorphism. They condemn those who try to rationalize the principles of religion as 'innovators'.They consider discussion about motion, rest, body, accident, color, space, atom and attributes of Allah (SWT) to be an innovation and a sin.They say that, had such discussions been the right thing, the Prophet (SAWS) and his Companions would have definitely done so. They further point out that the Prophet (SAWS), before his death, discussed and fully explained all those matters which were necessary from the religious point of view, leaving none of them to be discussed by his followers and since he did not discuss the problems mentioned above, it was evident that to discuss them must be regarded as an innovation.What a strange logic to cover ignorance, illiteracy and inability to understand these issues! In their attempt to legitimize their ignorance, they attempt to stagnate Islam and portray to the world that Islam is not for all people for all times as it does not offer rightful definitions and explanations to modern scientific / knowledge based issues.