The Apparent (Dhaahir) Meaning of the Qur’aan and Sunnah

by Abű Hudhayfa

In continuation of his relentless attack on ibn Taymiyyah, Kabbani says:

"The evidence for this claim (i.e. Kabbani's accusations of anthropomorphism) is found in ibn Taymiyya's writings... Here and in other works he indicates that Allah's 'Hand', 'Foot', 'Shin' and 'Face' are literal (haqiqi) attributes, and that He is upon the Throne in person (bi al-dhat). His error was in believing such attributes are literal, and declaring as divesters-of-Allah's-attributes (mu'atilla) all the Ahl al-Sunna who believed them to be metaphorical. These are amongst his unwarranted innovations in faith..."

(Kabbani, p. 45)

Consider also what Jamal al-Zahawi writes:

"Since clear reason and sound theory clash in every way with what the Wahhabis believe, they are forced to cast reason aside. Thus by their taking the text of the Qur'an and Sunna only in their apparent meaning (zahir) absurdity results. Indeed, this is the well spring of their error and misguidance."

(The Doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, p.42 of the English translation, with notes from Hisham Kabbani, 1996)

What reply can one begin to give to al-Zahawi if he believes that the apparent meaning of either the Qur'aan or the Sunnah leads to absurdity? What benefit, therefore, is there in quoting Qur'aanic or hadeeth texts in reply to the accusations he and his followers have made?

Furthermore, affirming the texts upon their apparent (dhaahir) meaning, he would have us believe, is the well spring of error and misguidance.

What then of the views of the following scholars

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241H): "The hadeeth, in our estimation, is to be taken by its apparent (dhaahir) meaning, as it has come from the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam..."
(Usool as Sunnah no.27 of Imaam Ahmad)

Al-Khattaabee (d.388H) said: "The madhab of the Salaf with regard to the Attributes of Allaah is to affirm them as they are with their apparent (dhaahir) meaning, negating any resemblance to the creation and without asking how they are."
(Al-Ghuniyah 'an Kalaam wa Ahlihi, as quoted in Mukhtasar al-'Uluww (p.257/no.311). See also al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (2/p.198) of al-Bayhaqee)

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (d.463H) said: "As for speech about the Attributes (of Allaah), what is authentically related about them in the Sunnah, then the way of the Salaf, may Allaah be pleased with them all, was to affirm them all as they are, upon their apparent (dhaahir) meaning..."
(Al-Kalaam 'alas-Sifaat (pp.19-20) of al-Baghdaadee)

Shaykh 'Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee (d.561H) said: "It is essential to carry the Attribute of al-Istawaa (Allaah's ascending) upon its apparent sense... it is related from them (i.e. the Salaf) that they carried the meaning of Istawaa with its apparent meaning."
(Al-Ghuniyatut-Taalibeen (1/50) of 'Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee)

Ibn Qudaamah (d.620H) said: "The way of the Salaf is to have faith in the Names and Attributes of Allaah that He has described Himself with in His Revelation, or upon the tongue of His Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, without increasing or decreasing upon it, nor exceeding the limits, nor explaining them, nor making ta'weel of them in a way which opposes the apparent (dhaahir) meaning."
(Dhammut-Ta'weel (p.11) of Ibn Qudaamah)

Al-Haafidh ibn 'Abdul-Barr (d.463H) wrote: "Ahlus-Sunnah are agreed in affirming all of the Attributes which are related in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, having faith in them and understanding them in a real sense ('alal-haqeeqah) not metaphorically."
(ibn 'Abdul-Barr, At-Tamheed 7/145)

Abul Hasan al-Ash'aree (d.324H) who wrote in Al-Ibaanah 'an Usool ad-Diyaanah (p.133):
"The ruling concerning the Speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, is that it is taken upon its apparent (dhaahir) and real meaning. Nothing is removed from its apparent meaning to a metaphorical one except with a proof..."

Or are these scholars not considered from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah?

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