THE FACTS ABOUT SAHIH IMAN
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
Misunderstandings of the followers of deviant sects about Sahih Iman have been clarified in this book. It is an important read for all Muslims.
CATEGORIES OF PEOPLEAs far as intelligence and analytical skills in understanding Islamic issues are concerned, people can be divided into the following 4 categories.(i) 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 are associated with them.
It is in Quran – اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ [Allah knows it well who is capable for Apostleship.] ( Al-an'aam - 124).Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) is the last Prophet and Apostle of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) sent for the entire mankind.It is in Quran - مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا (Prophet) Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of Prophets; and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is Aware of all things’. (Al-Ahzab – 40).(ii) Awliya Allah / Shuyookh of Ihsan - They achieve their virtuous objectives with a little effort and hard work under the guidance and leadership of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) 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 (سبحانه و تعالى).(iii) 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 Iman) 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 – صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ [Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the right path).] (Al-Baqara – 18).
It is in Quran - إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الْأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا [Indeed, the hypocrites (will be) in the lowest depth of the Hell Fire and you (O'Prophet ﷺ) will not find any helper for them.] (An-Nisa - 145).(iv) 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. At the same time, he knew that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) was truthful. He did that to safeguard his status among his people.It is in Quran - إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ [You (O’ Prophet ﷺ) cannot guide everyone you like (to the desired objective), but Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) guides whom He will. And He is Best Aware of those who walk aright (who can follow guidance). (Al-Qasas – 56).An important issue has to be understood here. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) knew all his creatures before their birth. He knew them as they were and what are their characteristics. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) knew Horse as Horse, elephant as elephant and human being as human being. Among Humans, Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) knew who is capable to understanding Tawheed, who will follow His prophets and who will reject them. Thus Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) knowledge is as the per the fact of the creatures. If you feed a tiger with grass, it will die. Similarly, if you feed a cow with meat, it will die. Thus, Hidaya will be effective only for those who are capable of understanding it and who were destined to follow it. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) will not command a virtuous person to steal and kill people. Similarly, a evil nature man will not follow the teachings of prophets even if you tell him a thousand times about its virtues.(i) It is in Quran - وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ [ And say (O'Prophet ﷺ), the truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve. ] (Al-Kahf - 29)(ii) It is in Quran - قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۖ وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُم بِوَكِيلٍ [ Say (O'Prophet ﷺ), O' mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for himself, and whoever goes against it, goes astray for himself. And I (Prophet Mohammad ﷺ) am not responsible for you.(iii) It is in Quran - إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ [Indeed, (O' Prophet ﷺ), you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows who is capable of guidance. ] (Al-Qasas - 56)(iv) It is in Quran - وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ [ And indeed, (O' Prophet ﷺ), you (are the one who) guide (people) to a straight path.]The above verses clearly indicates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) is a guide for everyone in the world. However, it is up to individuals to accept it or not. And they do it as per their inbuilt natures.
It is in Quran - هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ [He (Allah - سبحانه و تعالى) is who has sent down to you (O'Prophet ﷺ) 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 (سبحانه و تعالى). 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).
THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF SALAFIS, AND THEIR LIKE MINDED GROUPS
Founders of Salafism and some other Muslim Sects misinterpret 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 (سبحانه و تعالى) is physically 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.
The following are the beliefs of Salafis and their like minded groups about their Sky God, who they call Allah.(i) Allah needs, meaning Allah is dependent upon certain needs. (ii) Allah is divisible. (iii) Allah settles in a place. (iv) Allah has six directions, up, down, Left, right, front, and back. Meaning he has a physical body. (v) Allah is sitting above the skies and His face is towards His Throne (Arsh). (vi) Allah is physically sitting above the Throne without ever leaving it. He physically comes into the sky of the world towards dawn (every night) because the Earth is round. (vii) Allah has a 'hadd' (الحد) (limitation), no one but He Knows it. His place also has a "hadd"(الحد) (limitation) which is on His Arsh above the skies. These are two limitations (حدود) for him. (viii) Allah has a size (حجم). (ix) Allah must be creating continuously. He has no choice but to create, though he can choose what to create but he cannot choose whether to create or not. (x) It is Kufr to say that Allah is everywhere. (xi) Allah is not everywhere, but is encompassing the world from a surface outside the borders of His creation. (xii) Allah has two real eyes, two real hands, a real face and other limbs, which are different, not like any of His creatures. (xiii) Human beings should not imagine the shape, body and limbs of Allah as this is not allowed. But He does have the body and limbs whose shape has not been disclosed to human beings. (xiv) We raise our hands towards sky in Dua to point towards this deity (Sky God) as he is sitting over there. (xv) Allah 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/deity worship. We fail to understand the difference between them and other Idol worshipers?
Salafis also misinterpret the statements of 4 Imams of Fiqh to suit their wrongful beliefs. 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 idolatory.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 - سبحانه و تعالى) 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 their misinterpretation of Quranic verses and Ahadith in relation to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).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, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafai, and Imam Malik, 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 Salafi beliefs as blasphemous.Imam Bukhari has written the meaning of 'Wajha' as 'Dominion of Allah (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 Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) 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 (سبحانه و تعالى) 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.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 physical body and attributes to Allah - سبحانه و تعالى)."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 (سبحانه و تعالى) 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 (سبحانه و تعالى) based on the literal/textual meanings of these Quranic verses and Ahadith as it will amount to accepting a body for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), which is Kufr.Therefore, when Imam Ahmad says "all Islamic scholars agree on the position, it means that all scholars agree that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) 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 (سبحانه و تعالى). 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 how Imam Ahmad's rulings differ from Salafis in other issues as well.Salafis and their like minded groups support Yazid Ibn Muawiyah as pious Khalifa-e-Islam and blame Imam Hussain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) 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.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 - فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ - أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فَأَصَمَّهُمْ وَأَعْمَىٰ أَبْصَارَهُمْ [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.] (Mohammad - ﷺ 23-22)
And then Imam Ahmad said, 'is there any greater fasaad (tribulation) than the assassination of Husain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)? '
(References - The above statement 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).
Suyuti wrote : in the year 63 H Yazid was involved in sacking Madinat al-Rasul (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) in killing a whole generation of the Companions, and in desecrating and robbing Madinah. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) had said, whoever terrifies the people of Madinah, upon him is the curse of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), 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, the Caliph in Hijaz. In Makka, the Army of Yazid committed unthinkable war crimes.'
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 (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) by finding fault with him.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) looked at Hazrat Ali, Hazrata Fatima and Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہم) and said, I am in war with those who will fight with you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you."
References - (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 (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said - Hasan and Husain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہما) are the chiefs of the youth of
Paradiseand Fatimah (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) is the chief of their women."
References : (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
There are many more Ahadith which emphasize the truthfulness and high status of Iman Hassan and Imam Hussain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہما) and other Ahle Bait-e-Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
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 have briefly described 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.