Theologically, I ascribe myself to the school of the great Imam of Ahl us-Sunna, Ahmad b. Hanbal (rahimahullah). The old school Hanbalis were accused by their adversaries among the Jahmites, Mu’tazilites, Asharis, Shi’ites, etc., of being Hashwiyya and Mushabbiha (anthropomorphists), meaning those who liken Allah Azza wa Jall to His creation. This, of course, is a grave slander against the pure Sunni-Hanbalis. While there may have been some Hanbali figures (after the passing away of Imam Ahmad) who exaggerated in affirmation of attributes for Allah which have no textual basis, the phenomenon of tashbih and tajsim was preponderant in other sects, schools and tendencies. The Kurdish Shafi’is in parts of modern-day Iran were among the most prominent Mushabbiha of their day. They openly resembled Allah Azza wa Jall to His creation, but had nothing to do with Imam Ahmad or his great school of thought. Likewise, the Karramiyya sect, founded by the charismatic Muhammad b. Karram, ascribed a body to Allah, but they were all Hanafis. Some of the most gross anthropomorphism was found among certain Rafidi Shi’is, like Hisham b. al-Hakam and his followers, and others.
Shaikh ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiya (rahimahullah) wrote:
المشبهة والمجسمة في غير أصحاب الإمام أحمد أكثر منهم فيهم ، هؤلاء أصناف الأكراد كلهم شافعية وفيهم من التشبيه والتجسيم ما لا يوجد في صنف آخر وأهل جيلان فيهم شافعية وحنبلية .
قلت : وأما الحنبلية المحضة فليس فيهم من ذلك ما في غيرهم . وكان من تمام الجواب أن الكرامية المجسمة كلهم حنفية
“The Mushabbiha and Mujassima among those who are not of Imam Ahmad’s party are more numerous than those in it. All the Kurdish groups are Shafi’i, and we find more tashbih and tajsim among them than can be found in any other group. The inhabitants of Jilan are Shafi’is and Hanbalis. The pure Hanbalis do not have as much of it in their midst as there is in others. The Mujassima Karramiyya are all Hanafis.” (Majmu al-Fatawa v.3 p.185):
“In the Kitab al-naqd, a Shi’i polemic work of the first half of the twelfth century by Nasir al-Din Abu’l-Rashid al-Qazvini, an attempt is made at a sort of sectarian geography of Iran. The author observes that the areas of Luristan, Khuzistan, Karaj, Gulpaigan, Burujird, Nihavand were full of ‘anthropomorphists’ (Mushabbiha, Mujassima)” (The Cambridge History of Iran, v.5 p.283)
“A later work, also by a Shi’i author, the Tabsirat al-‘awamm (beginning of the thirteenth century), shows us the religious pattern of Saljuq Iran in more detail. Shafi’i, theologically divided into six groups: Mushabbiha or ‘anthropomorphists’ (Hamadan, Qara, Burujird, Isfahan, Yazd, Herat, Salmas, Shiraz, etc.)” (ibid, p.284)