The Lies and Distortions of Keller Against the Salafis

Below are a list of some of the errors [insha’allaah] that Keller fell into in his attacks against the Salafee madhab. These are taken from one of his talks and some of his articles written in Q-News. I have not gone in great detail in most of the issues as I feel their error is clear for any sincere Muslim who considers the quotes and claims carefully. Some of the issues that required some depth have been dealt with in separate articles.

  1. Talking about taking Allaahs Attributes Literally (alaa dhaahirihaa or alaa haqeeqatiha) he says, “but in tenants of faith and particularly in interpreting the relation of the mustashaabihaat to the Attributes of Allaah, literalism has never been accepted as an Islamic School of thought neither among the salaf - early Muslims - nor those who came later” [Literalism and Allaahs Attributes]. The fallacy of this claim is dealt in a separate article, “the madhab of Ahlus Sunnah and Ta’weel”
  2. His claim that taking Allaahs Attributes literally is anthropomorphism [ibid], thus betraying his total lack of comprehension of the intended meaning behind these words when the early scholars used these terms. This is also dealt with on the same leaflet as mentioned above.
  3. His statement “As for ibn Hazm, traditional scholars have not accepted his claims to be a mujtahid” [ibid] If he means by ‘traditional scholars’ the contemporary so-called Ash’arees then maybe he is telling the truth. As for the true traditional scholars, then they have accepted his capability of making fatawaa.
  4. His claim that most of the Salafee Scholars are merely trained in hadeeth alone. [ibid]
  5. His claim that “Kitaab as-Sunnah” of Imaam Abdullaah bin Ahmad is forged due to it’s containing two unknown narrators in it’s chain of narration, and that it’s editor al-Qahtaanee tries to sweep this fact under the rug by saying that ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Qayyim authenticated the attribution to the author. [ibid]. Suffice it to say that the authenticity of the sanad is not the only thing that can be used to attribute a book to it’s author rather there are other conditions that can be met, and due to these being fulfilled the researching scholars firmly attributed the book to it’s author, such as those that Qahtaanee mentioned: not only ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Qayyim as Keller incorrectly claims, but ibn al-Jawzee, al-Bayhaqee, al-Laalikaa’ee and others.
  6. As for the rest of his argument against ‘as-Sunnah’ [ibid] then it is empty words, for he has not given any new information, the fact that it contains fabrications is known, and they have been pointed out by the various scholars who have done tahqeeq to it. To reject a book because it contains fabrications is unjust as any person will understand.
  7. Following on from (5) his then going on to quote from ‘as-Sunnah’ of al-Khallaal a narration going to Imaam Ahmad that he apparently made tafweed of the meanings of the Attributes of Allaah. [ibid]. But this book has more than two unknown narrators in it’s chain. So why the discrepancy? Why reject one book for a specific deficiency, but accept another book with that same deficiency? The answer is that justice is rare to find! In the case of the first book it contains [in it’s authentic narrations] things which contradict the innovations of the Ash’arees, so they try to find something to discredit it. In the second case, the book contains one narration [out of many that contradict the Ash’aree stances] that agrees with them, so they in turn sweep under the rug the deficiencies [in their eyes] of the book! Suffice it say, in case anyone is now in doubt of the authenticity of this books ascription, that in the same way that the researching scholars firmly attributed ‘as-Sunnah’ to Imaam Abdullaah, they firmly attributed ‘as- Sunnah’ to al-Khallaal.
  8. His criticism that ibn al-Qayyim believes that Allaah has Two eyes, and the fact that he derived this from the hadeeth, “and your Lord is not one-eyed” [ibid] what would he say, now to the same argument being presented in the works of the very Imaam he claims to follow, Abul Hasan al-Ash’aree and other Imaams?!
  9. His examples in which he tries to show that ta’weel was delved into by the salaf [ibid] this is dealt with in the same article as mentioned above and in the article on the biography of ibn Taymiyyah.
  10. His claim that Abul Hasan al-Ash’aree performed ta’weel and did tafweed of the meanings of the Attributes [ibid]. To see the fallacy of this just read the work ‘al-Ibaanah’ of the Imaam!
  11. His claims that Salafees are anthropomorphists!
  12. His claim that Salafees try to reduce ‘gatherings of dhikr’ to ‘education gatherings alone’ [Q-News. “Do the practice of the whirling dervishes fall within orthodox Islaam?”] This is not the case, rather they allow dhikr but not in the manner performed by the Sufis, rather as taught by the sunnah.
  13. His claim that the hadeeth ‘shirk is more hidden in my Ummah than the creeping of ants across a great smooth stone…” was used by the ‘Wahhaabees’ to prove that “the majority of Muslims may not be Muslims at all, but rather mushrikun or polythiests, and those that do not subscribe to the view of their Shaykhs may be beyond the pale of Islaam.” [Q-News, “would you advise individuals to study hadith from Bukhari and Muslim on their own?”] Subhaanallaah this is a grievous lie! The salafee scholars have explained this hadeeth in it’s true understanding, that this refers to minor shirk and warns of the danger of shirk in general. For if the Messenger feared for his nation minor shirk, than what of major shirk?[See ‘fath al-Majeed’, the commentary to ‘Kitaab at- Tawheed’ of ibn Abdul Wahhab for example.] Kellers accusation that those that ‘do not subscribe to the views of their Shaykhs may be beyond the pale of Islaam’ is pure sectarianism and bigotry that is blind to the truth.

This is a glimpse of how this person has quoted erroneous facts, made up arguments that the Salafees are supposed to have used and then refuted them in an attempt to show the ‘weakness’ of the Salafee stances.

And Allaah the Most High knows best, and it is He Alone Who guides to attaining the truth.