Wahhabi Contention: The threat of worshipping other than the True God (i.e., shirk) is actually much more real and pronounced, and it is for this reason that literally thousands of verses in the Quran deal with the problem of shirk, whereas only a handful deal with atheism. We only wish the Asharis took on refuting shirk with the same passion and zeal that they do in determining what God ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be characterized with.
Sunni Response: The Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah are concerned with the problem of shirk. We want everyone to believe that Allah is not a body. There is no difference between someone who believes that Allah is a body, and says “but I don’t know how,” and a Hindu that only worships one idol that he has not seen yet, and says “I don’t know how.” Both are worshiping something physical that they don’t know the shape of, but that has a shape; they are two things of the same kind. Al-Qurtubi in his commentary in the Quran narrates from his Shaykh Ibn Al-Arabi, the famous hadith scholar of Andalus, regarding those who say Allah has a body: “The sound verdict is that they are blasphemers, because there is no difference between them and those that worship idols and pictures. Thus they are requested to repent from this belief, and if they refuse they are killed” (4/14).
What it comes down to is that it is of extreme importance that you actually worship Allah, not just something that you call Allah. You don’t become a believer in Allah by calling an idol “Allah.” This is the main concern of Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah, and it is a concern about shirk.
Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji