“The Qur’an has given indication of the same meaning as this hadith in a number of places, such as the verse: “Do they wait except that Allah should come to them in the shade of clouds along with the angels.” [2:210] And: “Do they wait except that the angels should come to them or your Lord should come or some of the signs of your Lord should come.” [6:158] And: “And your Lord shall come with the angels, rank upon rank.” [89:22]
The Companions and the Successors did not make ta’wil of any of that or remove it from its indicated meaning. In fact, it is reported from them that they affirmed them, believed in them, and passed them on as they are.
It has been reported that Imam Ahmad commented, “It is the Coming of His Command.” Only Hanbal reports this from him.
Some of our companions (i.e. the Hanbalis) say, “Hanbal erred in what he reported, and it contradicts his well-known madhab which is extensively reported (mutawatir) from him.” What’s more, al-Khallal and his companion used to not accept the lone narrations of Hanbal from Ahmad as (a legitimate) riwaya.
Some of the later scholars amongst them said, “It is a riwaya from him making ta’wil of everything that is like “coming” (al-maji’ wal-ityan) and the like.”
Others said, “He only said that as an argument against them who disputed him concerning the Qur’an. They used the coming of the Qur’an (on the Day of Judgment) as an evidence that it is created. Therefore he said, ‘it is only its reward that comes,’ as with the verse, ‘and your Lord shall come,’ meaning: as you yourselves say about Allah’s Coming that it is the Coming of His Command. This is the clearest way of dealing with this narration.
Our Companions are of three groups in this issue:
Some of them affirm “coming” (al-maji wal-ityan) and they explicitly affirm what they necessitate in created beings. They may even attribute that to Ahmad from routes that do not have authentic chains.
Some of them make ta’wil of it that it refers to the Coming of His Command.
There are still others who affirm it from Ahmad and pass it on as is without offering an exegesis for it. He will say, “It is a coming (maji wa ityan) that befits Allah’s Majesty and Greatness, Sanctified is He.
This is what is authentic from Ahmad, and those before him from the Salaf. It is also the view of Ishaq and the other Imams.
Furthermore, the Salaf used to attribute the practice of making ta’wil of these verses and authentic hadiths to the Jahmiyyah, because Jahm and his disciples were the first ones to be well known for saying that Allah is absolved of the meanings indicated by these texts based on evidences from the intellects (of men) which they referred to as decisive evidences (adillah qat’iyyah). These they deemed to be muhkamaat, while they deemed the words of the Book and the Sunnah to be mutashabihat. Consequently, they subjected their contents to those fancies (of theirs). They accepted what they claim their evidences affirmed while they rejected what they claim their evidences negate. Then the remaining groups of Ahlul-Kalam, the Mu’tazilah and others, agreed with them in that.
They claimed that the apparent meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah are Tashbih, Tajsim, and misguidance (dhalal). From this, they derived names for those who believe in what Allah revealed to His Messenger for which Allah has revealed no authority. In fact, they are lies fabricated against Allah by which they drive people away from having faith in Allah and His Messenger.
They claimed that what has been mentioned of that in the Book and the Sunnah – as plentiful and widespread as (such texts) are – are just examples of approximate, allegorical speech (al-tawassu’ wal-tajawwuz). They are to be understood according to farfetched metaphorical explanations. This is one of the gravest forms of attack on the precise, pure Shari’ah. It is similar to the Batiniyyah’s interpretations of the texts concerning unseen matters such as Resurrection, Paradise, Hellfire as being allegorical and metaphorical rather than literal. They also interpret the texts of commands and prohibitions in a similar manner, and all of this constitutes renegading from the religion of Islam.
The scholars of the Salaf al-Salih and the Imams of Islam such as al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, and others only prohibited al-Kalam and warned against it out of fear of falling into the likes of this. Furthermore, if these Imams had realized that understanding these texts according to their apparent meaning constitutes kufr, it would have been obligatory upon them to clarify that and warn the Ummah, as that is a necessary part of sincerity (nasiha) to the Muslims. Does it make sense that they would sincerely advise the Ummah concerning the laws governing deeds and yet neglect to sincerely advise them concerning fundamental beliefs. This is the worst sort of falsehood.
Ibn Rajab claims that the remaining groups of kalam followed the jahmiyyah in this ludicrous belief that the apparent meanings of the text indicate kufr. He mentions the m’utazilah and mentions others without naming them.
Let us name them
The famous 9th-century Ash’ari theologian, Imam as-Sanusi states in his Umm al-Barahin that the fundamentals of kufr are six. The sixth one he lists is
“Adhering to the apparent meanings (dhawahir) of the Book and the Sunnah alone in fundamentals of creed without comparing them with rational proofs and definitive shar’i principles.”
So here, Ash’aris follow the jahmiyyah in this asinine belief that the apparent meanings of the muslim scriptures entail blasphemy if one adheres to them without subjugating these scriptures to “rational proofs” and “definitive shar’i principles” i.e. the principles they themselves made up from foreign ideological principles.
However, what is really sad, is when self professed hanbalis, similar to other sellout hanbali heretics in history, follow the same path of betrayal in aligning themselves with the heretics in their beliefs and to blast the remainder of the hanabilah as misguided people who departed from the way of Imam Ahmad not realizing their own betrayal of Imam Ahmad.
One such “hanbali” is abdul-wahid al-azhari, who, on his refutation of ibn taymiyyah, quotes ibnul-Muflih saying that the apparent meanings of sifat INDICATE TASHBIH. So here we have a “hanbali”, following his own forefathers, the Jahmiyyah, in this repugnant belief against his Lord, that the dhawahir indicate tashbih.