Ibn Taymiyya: A Heresiography

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By GF Haddad


Ah.mad ibn `Abd al-H.alîm ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Abî al-Qâsim ibn Taymiyya, Taqî al-Dîn Abû al-`Abbâs ibn Shihâb al-Dîn ibn Majd al-Dîn al-H.arrânî al-Dimashqî al-H.anbalî (661-728) was one of the most influential scholars of the late H.anbalî school, praised by the h.adîth Master S.alâh. al-Dîn al-`Alâ’î as “Our shaykh, master, and Imâm between us and Allâh Almighty, the master of verification, the wayfarer of the best path, the owner of the multifarious merits and overpowering proofs which all hosts agree are impossible to enumerate, the Shaykh, the Imâm and faithful servant of his Lord, the doctor in the Religion, the Ocean, the light-giving Pole of spirituality, the leader of Imâms, the blessing of the Community, the sign-post of the people of knowledge, the inheritor of Prophets, the last of those capable of independent legal reasoning, the most unique of the scholars of the Religion, Shaykh al-Islâm…”

He Was Mostly Self-Taught

A student of Ibn `Abd al-Dâ’im, al-Qâsim al-Irbilî, Ibn `Allân, Ibn Abî `Amr al-Fakhr, Ibn Taymiyya mostly read by himself until he achieved great learning. Shaykh al-Islâm, al-H.âfiz. al-Taqî al-Subkî said: “He memorized a lot and did not discipline himself with a shaykh.”  He taught, authored books, gave formal legal opinions, and generally distinguished himself for his quick wit and photographic memory.

His Principal Students

Among his most noted students were the h.adîth masters Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Dhahabî, Ibn Kathîr, and Muh.ammad ibn Ah.mad ibn `Abd al-Hâdî al-Maqdisî (705-744) as well as the H.anbalî jurist and h.adîth narrator Sirâj al-Dîn Abû H.afs. `Umar ibn `Alî ibn Mûsâ al-Azjî al-Bazzâr (688-749) who should not be confused with the h.âfiz. Abû Bakr al-Bazzâr (215-292)!

Divided Opinions Concerning Him

Ibn Taymiyya’s views and manners created intense controversy both in his life and after his death. Al-Sakhâwî in al-Tawbîkh (p. 61) noted: “Certain people gave rise to disavowal and a general reluctance to make use of their knowledge despite their stature in knowledge, pious scrupulosity, and asceticism. The reason for this was the looseness of their tongues and their tactlessness in blunt speech and excessive criticism, such as Ibn H.azm and Ibn Taymiyya, who were subsequently tried and harmed.”

An illustration of Ibn Taymiyya’s ambivalent status is the fact that, although the Shâfi`î h.adîth Master al-Mizzî did not call anyone else Shaykh al-Islâm in his time besides Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Abî `Umar al-H.anbalî, and Imâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî,  yet the H.anafî scholar `Alâ’ al-Dîn al-Bukhârî issued a fatwâ that if anyone called Ibn Taymiyya Shaykh al-Islâm they would commit disbelief and authored against the latter a book entitled al-Muljima li al-Mujassima (“Curbing the Anthropomorphists”). 

Ibn Nâs.ir al-Dîn al-Dimashqî countered this fatwa by authoring al-Radd al-Wâfir, in which he listed all the authorities who had ever written in praise of Ibn Taymiyya or called him Shaykh al-Islâm. Shaykh `Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda includes Ibn Taymiyya among the scholars who never married and extravagantly names him “Shaykh al-Islâm and the Standard-Bearer of all standard-bearers” in his book al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb, which he wrote after he took up residence in Najd.

Al-Dhahabî’s Synopsis of His Case

In Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm al-Dhahabî states:

If you were to excel in the Principles (al-Us.ûl) and its affiliates – logic, ethics, philosophy, the sayings of the ancients and the conandrums – all the while protecting yourself with the Book and the Sunna as well as the doctrines of the Salaf, then joining between reason and transmission, still, I do not think you would reach the level of Ibn Taymiyya. No, by Allâh! you would not even come near it. Yet, I saw what happened to him – how much opposition he faced, desertion, rightful and wrongful declarations of heresy, apostasy, and mendacity! Before he entered into this science [i.e. Islamic Doctrine], he was shining with light and enlightening others, bearing the signs of the Salaf on his face. Then he became lightless, dark and somber to countless droves of people, a wicked Anti-Christ and disbeliever according to his enemies, while great numbers of the wise and the elite considered him an eminent, brilliant, and scholarly innovator (mubtadi` fâd.il muh.aqqiq bâri`), while the commonality of his uneducated friends, one and all, deemed him the standard-bearer of Islâm, the defensor of the Religion, and the reviver of the Sunna.” 

In the `Ibar al-Dhahabî, after praising his teacher, states: “He also had some strange opinions on account of which he was attacked.”  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî in al-`Uqûd al-Durriyya makes a similarly meandrous admission that his teacher was accused of innovation: “He gave vent to certain expressions whom early and late Scholars never dared use while he boldly indulged them.” 

In his biographical monograph al-Durratu al-Yatîmiyya fî al-Sîrati al-Taymiyya, al-Dhahabî reports that Ibn Daqîq al-`îd said, upon meeting with Ibn Taymiyya: “I saw a man with all the sciences [laid open] before his eyes, taking what he wished and leaving what he wished.” Asked why he did not debate him, Ibn Daqîq al-`îd answered: “Because he loves to speak (yuh.ibbu al-kalâm) and I love silence.” 

Al-S.afadî: “He was very learned but lacked intelligence”

Imâm S.alâh. al-Dîn al-S.afadî said: “The Shaykh, Imâm, and erudite scholar Taqî al-Dîn Ah.mad ibn Taymiyya – Allâh have mercy on him! – was immensely learned but he had a defective intelligence (`aqluhu nâqis.) that embroiled him into perils and made him fall into hardships.” 

The Fatwâ Hamawiyya
Attributing Direction to Allâh Most High

His first clash with the scholars occurred in 698 in Damascus when he was barred from teaching after he issued his Fatwâ Hamawiyya in which he unambiguously attributes literal upward direction to Allâh (swt). He was refuted by his contemporary, Imâm Ibn Jahbal al-Kilâbî (d. 733), in a lengthy reply which Tâj al-Dîn al-Subkî reproduced in full in his T.abaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ. Ibn Jahbal wrote: “How can you say that Allâh is literally (h.aqîqatan) in () the heaven, and literally above (fawq) the heaven, and literally in (fî) the Throne, and literally on (`alâ) the Throne?!” 

Qâd.î Yûsuf al-Nabahânî also refuted the H.amawiyya in his magnificent epistle Raf` al-Ishtibâh fî Istih.âlat al-Jiha `alâ Allâh (“The Removal of Uncertainty Concerning the Impossibility of Direction for Allah (swt)”) cited in full in his Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 210-240).

His Several Imprisonments

Ibn Taymiyya then returned to his activities until he was summoned by the authorities again in 705 to answer for his `Aqîda Wâsit.iyya. He spent the few following years in and out of jail or defending himself from various “abhorrent charges” according to Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî. Because he officially repented, his life was spared, although at one point it was officially announced in Damascus that “Whoever follows the beliefs of Ibn Taymiyya, his life and property are licit for seizure.”

These events instigated great dissension among the scholars in Damascus and Cairo as detailed in Imâm Taqî al-Dîn al-H.is.nî’s Daf`u Shubahi Man Shabbaha wa Tamarrad wa Nasâba Dhâlika ilâ al-Sayyid al-Jalîl al-Imâm Ah.mad (“Repelling the Sophistries of the Rebel who Likens Allâh to Creation, Then Attributes This Doctrine to Imâm Ah.mad”). 

His Equivocations Under Interrogation

Ibn Taymiyya at various times declared himself a follower of the Shâfi`î school – as did many Hanbalîs in Damascus – and an Ash`arî. Ibn H.ajar wrote in al-Durar al-Kâmina:

An investigation [of his views] was conducted with several scholars [in Cairo] and a written statement was drawn in which he said: “I am Ash`arî.” His handwriting is found with what he wrote verbatim, namely: “I believe that the Qur’ân is a meaning which exists in the Divine Essence, and that it is an Attribute from the pre-eternal Attributes of His Essence, and that it is uncreated, and that it does not consist in the letter nor the voice, and that His saying: The Merciful established Himself over the Throne (20:5) is not taken according to its literal meaning (laysa `alâ z.âhirihi), and I do not know in what consists its meaning, nay only Allâh knows it, and one speaks of His ‘descent’ in the same way as one speaks of His ‘establishement.'” It was written by Ah.mad ibn Taymiyya. They witnessed over him that he had repented of his own free will from all that contravened the above. This took place on the 25th of Rabî` al-Awwal 707 and it was witnessed by a huge array of scholars and others. 

Al-T.ûfî’s Summary of the Charges Brought Against Him

The Hanbalî scholar Najm al-Dîn Sulaymân ibn `Abd al-Qawî al-Tûfî said: 

He [Ibn Taymiyya] could bring up in one hour from the Book, the Sunna, the Arabic language, and philosophical speculation, material which no one could bring up even in many sessions, as if these sciences were before his very eyes and he was picking and choosing from them at will. A time came when his companions took to over-praising him and this drove him to be satisfied with himself until he became conceited before his fellow human beings. He became convinced that he was a scholar capable of independent reasoning (mujtahid). Henceforth he began to answer each and every scholar great and small, past and recent, until he went all the way back to `Umar raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif and faulted him in some matter. This reached the ears of the Shaykh Ibrâhîm al-Râqî who reprimanded him. Ibn Taymiyya went to see him, apologized, and asked forgiveness. He also spoke against `Alî raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gifand said: “He made mistakes in seventeen different matters.”… Because of his fanatic support of the H.anbalî School he attacked Ash’aris until he started to insult al-Ghazzâlî, at which point some people opposed him and would almost kill him…. They ascertained that he had blurted out certain words, concerning doctrine, which came out of his mouth in the context of his sermons and legal pronouncements, several battles mentioned that he had cited the tradition of the descent of Allâh (swt) (to the nearest heaven), then climbed down two steps from the minbar and said: “Just like this descent of mine” and so was categorized as an anthropomorphist. They also cited his refutation of whoever uses the Prophet  as a means or seeks help from him (aw istaghâtha)…. People were divided into parties because of him. Some considered him an anthropomorphist because of what he mentioned in al-`Aqîda al-H.amawiyya and al-`Aqîda al-Wâs.itiyya and other books of his, to the effect that the Hand, Foot, Shin, and Face are litteral Attributes of Allâh and that He is established upon the Throne with His Essence. It was said to him that were this the case He would necessarily be subject to spatial confinement (al-tah.ayyuz) and divisibility (al-inqisâm). He replied: “I do not concede that spatial confinement and divisibility are necessarily properties of bodies,” so it was recorded against him (ulzima) that he held the Divine Essence to be subject to spatial confinement. Others considered him a heretic (zindîq) due to his saying that the Prophet  is not to be sought for help and the fact that this amounted to diminishing and impeding the establishing of the greatness of the Prophet …. Others considered him a dissimulator (munâfiq) because of what he said about `Alî:… namely, that he had been forsaken everywhere he went, had repeatedly tried to acquire the caliphate and never attained it, fought out of lust for power rather than religion, and said that “he loved leadership while `Uthmân loved money.” He would say that Abû Bakr had declared Islâm in his old age, fully aware of what he said, while `Alî had declared Islâm as a boy, and the boy’s Islâm is not considered sound upon his mere word…. In sum he said ugly things such as these, and it was said against him that he was a hypocrite, in view of the Prophet’s  saying (to `Alî): “Only a hypocrite has hatred for you.” 

His Former Admiration of Ibn `Arabî

Another reason why Ibn Taymiyya was opposed was his criticism of S.ûfîs, particularly Shaykh Muh.yî al-Dîn Ibn `Arabî, although he described himself, in his letter to Abû al-Fath. Nas.r al-Munayjî, as a former admirer of the Shaykh al-Akbar:

I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn `Arabî and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as what he said in many of his books, for example: al-Futûh.ât, al-Kanh, al-Muh.kam al-Marbût., al-Durra al-Fâkhira, Mat.âli` al-Nujûm, and other such works. 

His S.ûfi Affiliation With the Qâdirî T.arîqa

According to the S.ûfî Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî in his Bad’ al `Ilqa bi Labs al Khirqa, Ibn Taymiyya also declared himself a follower of several S.ûfî orders, among them the Qâdirî path of Shaykh `Abd al-Qâdir al-Gîlânî  on whose book Futûh. al-Ghayb he wrote a hundred-page partial commentary covering only five of the seventy-eight sermons of the book.  In al-Mas’alat al-Tabrîziyya Ibn Taymiyya declares: “Labistu al khirqa al-mubâraka li al Shaykh `Abd al-Qâdir wa baynî wa baynahu ithnân – I wore the blessed S.ûfî cloak of `Abd al-Qâdir, there being between him and me two shaykhs.” 

His Innovative Nullification of Multiple Divorce

Further charges of heresy were brought against Ibn Taymiyya for his unprecedented assertions on divorce pronounced in innovative fashion: he held (1) that a threefold formulation of divorce in a single sitting counted as one; (2) that divorce pronounced at the time of menses did not take place; and (3) that swearing an oath to divorce could be taken back through expiation (kaffâra), all in violation of the Consensus of the Four Imâms and others of the Salaf.

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Taqî al-Subkî said: “Ibn Taymiyya has spread deceit in [affirming] the existence of a difference of opinion in the matter [of divorce], which is a lie, a fabrication, and impudence on his part against Islâm. … It has been affirmed by many of the scholars that he who opposes the Consensus (al-ijmâ`) of the Community is a disbeliever (kâfir).” 

His Innovative Prohibition of Travel to Visit the Holy Prophet 

After spending the years 719-721 in jail, he was jailed again in 726 until his death two years later amid charges of kufr for declaring that one who travels to visit the Prophet  commits a prohibition (h.arâm), a sin (ma`s.iya), and an innovation (bid`a).

The H.anbalî Rejection of His Fatwâ

Al-Mardâwî, Ibn Hubayra, and others stated that the entirety of the early and late authorities in the H.anbalî Madhhab stipulate the desirability (istih.bâb) of visiting the grave of the Prophet  in Madîna, most especially after H.ajj, and/or travelling to do so.  Ibn Muflih., al-Mardâwî, and Mar`î ibn Yûsuf in Ghâyat al-Muntahâ stated the Sunnî character of visiting the graves of the Muslims and the permissibility (ibâh.a) of travelling to do so. Mar`î reiterates this ruling in his unpublished monograph on the ethics of graves and visitation, Shifâ’ al-S.udûr fî Ziyârat al-Mashâhid wal-Qubûr. 

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

This most notorious of all fatwas was refuted by his contemporary the h.adîth Master and Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî in his landmark book Shifâ’ al-Siqâm fî Ziyârati Khayri al-Anam (“The Healing of Sickness Concerning the Visitation to the Best of Creatures”) , also titled Shann al-Ghâra `alâ man Ankara al-Safar li al-Ziyâra (“The Raid Against Him Who Denied the Lawfulness of Travel for the Purpose of Visitation”). Shaykh al-Islâm adduced the h.adîth”Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him”as proof against Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that “all the h.adîths that concern the merit of visitation are weak or rather forged”  and denounced Ibn Taymiyya’s unprecedented fatwâ as a flagrant innovation.

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Zayn al-`Irâqî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Imâm Abû al-Fad.l Zayn al-Dîn `Abd al-Rahim ibn al-H.usayn al-`Irâqî al-Mis.rî (725-806), Shaykh al-Islâm, the Imâm, Qâd.î of Cairo, h.adîth Master of his time, and principal teacher to the h.adîth Master Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî, said in al-Ajwiba al-Makkiyya, a refutation of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwâ claiming the prohibition of travel to visit the Prophet  : “There is no tah.rîm (prohibition) of an act of travel in the h.adîth [“Mounts are not to be saddled except to travel to three mosques”]; rather, it is an emphasis on the importance of traveling to these three mosques in particular, and the emphasis becomes an obligation in case of vow (nadhr), which is not the case for a vow to pray in any mosque other than these three.” 

Al-`Irâqî further reacted to Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that it was an innovation in the Religion to several battles generosity to relatives on the day of `Âshûrâ’ with the words: “I find it strange that such words should come from this Imâm, whose followers say that he has encompassed the Sunna in knowledge and practice…. One who has not heard of something should not deny that it exists!” Al-`Irâqî then proceeded to several battles that, on the contrary, it was a Sunna based on sound narrations from the Prophet  as well as the Companions and the Imâms of the Successors and the succeeding generations. 

Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn H.ajar’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Imâm Ibn H.ajar al-`Asqalânî in Fath. al-Bârî said of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa prohibition to travel in order to visit the Prophet  : “This is one of the ugliest matters ever reported from him.” In his marginalia on that work the “Salafî” scholar Bin Baz comments: “This was not an ugly thing but a correct thing for Ibn Taymiyya to say”! 

H.âfiz. al-S.afadî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Al-S.afadî said:

Ibn Taymiyya gilded his statement
Concerning the visit to the Best of Creation,
Whereupon souls came in droves to complain
To the best of scholars and purest of Imâms
Who compiled this book, providing them with a cure
And so it was indeed The Healing of Sickness.

H.âfiz. al-Qârî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Al-Qârî said in his commentary on `Iyâd.’s al-Shifâ’:

Ibn Taymiyya – one of the H.anbalîs – committed excess when he declared it prohibited to travel to visit the Prophet  just as other than him also committed excess saying that it is obligatory in the Religion to know that the Visitation is an act that draws near to Allâh (qurba) and whoever denies it is judged to be a disbeliever (kâfir). Yet the latter view is probably closer to being correct than the first, because to declare prohibited something the Ulema by Consensus declared desirable (mustah.abb), is disbelief. For it is graver than to declare prohibited something agreed to be merely permitted (mubâh.) on this chapter. 

Imâm al-Khafâjî’s Rejection of His Fatwa

Another H.anafî Imâm who wrote a major commentary on `Iyâd.’s Shifâ’, al-Khafâjî, said of Ibn Taymiyya in relation to his heretical fatwa: “He imagined that he was defending monotheism with all kinds of nonsense which do not deserve mention for they do not originate from the mind of a rational person let alone an eminent one – Allâh forgive him!” 

Also rejecting Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa as invalid are Shaykh al-Islâm Ah.mad Zaynî Dah.lân in his books, Abû `Abd Allâh ibn al-Nu`mân al-Maghribî al-Tilimsânî al-Mâlikî in his Mis.bâh. al-Anâm fî al-Mustaghîthîn bi Khayr al-Anâm, Nûr al-Dîn `Alî al-H.alabî al-Shâfi`î – the author of the S.îra H.alabiyya – in his Bughyat al-Ah.lâm, both of them included in al-Nabahânî’s H.ujjat Allâh `alâ al-`âlamîn among many other works on the topic of seeking means and asking the Prophet  (al-tawassul wa al-istighâtha), al-Nabahânî with his Shawâhid al-H.aqq, Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Alawî al-Mâlikî in Shifâ’ al-Fu’âd fî Ziyârati Khayr al-`Ibâd, al-Lacknawî’s Ibrâz al-Ghay fî Shifâ’ al-`Ay (“The Exposure of Deviation for the Healing of the Sick”), Shaykh `Îsâ al-H.ymiarî of Dubai, al-Sayyid Yûsuf al-Rifâ`î of Kuwait, and others.

Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî Fanatic Defense of His Teacher

A S.ûfî but anti-Ash`arî student of Ibn Taymiyya and al-Dhahabî, Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, violently attacked Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî in a refutation titled al-S.ârim al-Munkî fî Nah.r al-Subkî (“The Hurtful Blade in the Throat of al-Subkî”) in which he “adopted the manner of fanatics and departed from the norms of the scholars of h.adîth” according to Shaykh `Abd al-`Azîz ibn al-S.iddîq al-Ghumârî.  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî filled his book with unfounded accusations “in order to defend the innovations of his teacher…. It would have better been titled al-Shâtim al-Ifkî (‘The Mendacious Abuser’).”  Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî falsely accuses al-Subkî of encouraging pilgrimage to the Prophet’s  grave, prostration to it, circumambulating around it, and the belief that the Prophet removes difficulty, grants ease, and causes whoever he wishes to enter into Paradise, all independently of Allâh (swt)!

Nu`mân al-Alûsî also wrote an attack on both al-Haytamî and al-Subkî in his Jalâ’ al-`Aynayn which he dedicated to the Indian Wahhâbî S.ûfî, S.iddîq H.asan Khân, and in which, according to al-Nabahânî, he went even further than Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî. Among the counter-refutations of these two works: al-Samannûdî’s Nus.rat al-Imâm al-Subkî, a monograph by al-Akhnâ’î, and al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid al-H.aqq.  The latter cites the poems of two other critics of al-Subkî – the H.anbalî Abû al-Muzaffar Yûsuf ibn Muh.ammad ibn Mas`ûd al-`Ubadî al-`Uqaylî al-Saramrî and Muh.ammad ibn Yûsuf al-Yumni al-Yâfi`î, “who claimed to follow the Shâfi`î school” – then proceeds to refute them together with Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s book.

The Hadîth “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him”

The hadîth “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him” (Man zâra qabrî wajabat lahu shafâ`atî is a fair (h.asan) narration as concluded by Imâm Abû al-H.asanât al-Lacknawî  and his editor `Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda in the latter’s notes on Mâlik’s Muwat.t.a’ as per Muh.ammad ibn al-H.asan’s narration (chapter 49: On the Prophet’s grave) as well as Shaykh Mah.mûd Mamdûh.,  although some early scholars had declared it sound (s.ah.îh.) such as Ibn al-Sakan in al-Sunan al-S.ih.âh. and `Abd al-H.aqq al-Ishbîlî in al-Ah.kâm, followed by Shaykh al-Islâm al-Taqî al-Subkî in Shifâ’ al-Siqâm in view of the totality of the chains.  Other h.adîth scholars who considered it authentic are Ibn H.ajar’s student the h.adîth Master al-Sakhâwî,  the h.adîth Master of Madîna Imâm al-Samhudi  and Shaykh al-Islâm al-Haytamî in al-Jawhar al-Munaz.z.am. Al-Ghassâni (d. 682) did not include it in his compendium of al-Dâraqut.nî’s weak narrations entitled Takhrîj al-Ahâdîth al-D.i`âf min Sunan al-Dâraqut.nî.  Some late scholars, beginning with Ibn Taymiyya, remained undecided whether to grade this h.adîth weak or forged.

Imâm al-Lacknawî said about this h.adîth:

There are some who declared it weak [e.g. al-Bayhaqî, Ibn Khuzayma, and al-Suyût.î], and others who asserted that all the h.adîths on visitation of the Prophet  are forged, such as Ibn Taymiyya and his followers, but both positions are false for those who were given right understanding, for verification of the case dictates that the h.adîth is h.asan, as Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî has expounded in his book Shifâ’ al-Siqâm.” 

Among those who fall into the category of “Ibn Taymiyya and his followers” on this issue:

• Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî who wrote al-S.ârim al-Munkî in violent refutation of al-Subkî’s book on visitation but contradicted his own position in another book of his: he makes much ado about the reliability of `Abd Allâh ibn `Umar al-`Umarî in al-S.ârim al-Munkî, but relies upon him in another book, al-Tanqîh.! Shaykh Mah.mûd Mamdûh. refuted his weakening of this h.adîth in great detail  and stated that al-S.ârim al-Munkî is at the root of all subsequent generalizations in weakening the h.adîths that concern the desirability of visitation. 

• The late Wahhâbî “Desert Storm” Shaykh, `Abd al-`Azîz Bin Baz, who reiterated Ibn Taymiyya’s imprudent verdict: “The h.adîths that concern the visitation of the grave of the Prophet  are all weak, indeed forged”; 

• The late Nasir al-Albânî,  who claimed that the visit to the Prophet  ranks among the innovations  although he himself is the arch-innovator of our time.

• and Nasir al-Jadya`, who in 1993 obtained his Ph.D. with First Honors from the University of Muh.ammad ibn Sa`ud after writing a 600-page book entitled al-Tabarruk in which he perpetuates the same aberrant claim. 

Imâm al-Sakhâwî said:

The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous h.adîths, and it would suffice to several battles this if there was only the h.adîth whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes guaranteed for whoever visits him, and the Imâms are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this [i.e. visiting him] is among the best acts of drawing near to Allâh. 

There is no contest among the jurists of the Four Schools as to the probative force of the narration of Ibn `Umar, as it is adduced time and again by the jurists to support the strong desirability of visiting the Prophet  in Madîna. See, for example, among H.anbalî sources alone, the textbooks cited above. See also the additional sound texts illustrating the visit to the Prophet  , among them that of the Companion Bilâl ibn Rabâh. al-H.abashî ? all the way from Shâm,  as well as the Companions’ practice of seeking the Prophet  as a means for their needs by visiting his grave, such as Bilâl ibn al-H.ârith al-Muzanî, Abû Ayyûb al-Ans.âri, `â’isha, and Fât.ima ?, all as cited in the sections on Tawassul and Visitation in Shaykh Hishâm Kabbânî’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine. And Allâh knows best.

His Final Repentence

In the final five months of his last two-year period in jail Ibn Taymiyya was prevented from writing, at which time he turned to prayer and the intensive recitation of the Qur’ân and repented from having spent time writing doctrinal refutations instead of focussing on the commentary of the Qur’ân. At that time he confided to his faithful student Ibn al-Qayyim: “My Paradise and my Garden are in my breast – meaning his faith and knowledge – and wherever I go they never depart from me. My prison is seclusion, my execution is martyrdom, and my exile is an excursion.” 

Al-S.afadî said: “He wasted his time refuting the Christians and the Râfid.a, or whoever objected to the Religion or contradicted it, but if he had devoted himself to explaining al-Bukhârî or the Noble Qur’ân, he would have placed the guarland of his well-ordered speech on the necks of the people of knowledge.”  Al-Nabahânî said in Shawâhid al-H.aqq: “He refuted the Christians, the Shî`îs, the logicians, then the Ash`arîs and Ahl al-Sunna, in short, sparing no one whether Muslim or non-Muslim, Sunni or otherwise.”

His Abandonment by His Former Admirers

His student al-Dhahabî praised him lavishly as “the brilliant shaykh, imâm, erudite scholar, censor, jurist, mujtahid, and commentator of the Qur’ân,” but acknowledged that Ibn Taymiyya’s disparaging manners alienated even his admirers.

For example, the grammarian Abû H.ayyân praised Ibn Taymiyya until he found out that he believed himself a greater expert in the Arabic language than Sîbawayh, whereupon he retracted his previous praise and dissociated himself from him.

Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî at first reportedly praised him in a letter to al-Dhahabî  but later accused him of disbelief.

Other former admirers turned critics were the Qâd.î al-Zamalkânî, Jalâl al-Dîn al-Qazwînî, al-Qûnawî, al-Jarîrî, and al-Dhahabî himself, in whose Nas.îh.a he addresses Ibn Taymiyya with the words: “When will you stop criticizing the scholars and finding fault with the people?”

His Revival of Ibn Hazm’s Vicious Style

The Ulema saw the influence of Ibn H.azm in Ibn Taymiyya’s poisoned quill. Al-S.afadî said: “He adorned himself with [Ibn H.azm’s] al-Muh.allâ, imitating whatever he wished from it – if he wished, he could cite it from memory – and adducing from it a number of attacks and disparagements.” 

Al-Dhahabî said: “I do not consider him sinless, and I even disagree with him on a number of questions in both the foundations and the branches, for, despite his vast knowledge, great courage, abundant wit, and staunch defense of what Allâh had prohibited, he was nevertheless a human being among other human beings, hot-tempered in his manner of debate, given to anger and outbursts against his opponents. This would sow enmity toward him in people’s hearts. If he had several battlesn kindness towards his opponents he would have been the pivot of consensus.” 

His Excessive Involvement in Kalâm and Philosophy

Dr. Sa`îd al-Bût.î pointed out that although Ibn Taymiyya blamed al-Ghazzâlî and other Ash`arî scholars for involving themselves in philosophical or dialectical disputations, yet he went much further than most into kalâm and philosophy. This is several battlesn by his books in kalâm and philosophy such as Muwâfaqât al-Manqûl wa al-Ma`qûl, al-Ta’sîs Radd al-Asâs, and most notably by his positions in al-Radd `alâ al-Mant.iqiyyîn (“Against the Logicians”) on the “generic beginninglessness” of created matters and Aristotelian causality (al-`illa al-arist.iyya). 

Al-Dhahabî alluded to this in his epistle to Ibn Taymiyya: “When will you stop investigating the poisoned minutiae of philosophical disbelief, so that we have to refute them with our minds? You have swallowed the poisons of the philosophers and their treatises, not once, but several times!” 

Al-Dhahabî’s Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm and His Nas.îh.a to Ibn Taymiyya

Al-Dhahabî’s Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab is a brief epistle in which al-Dhahabî lists the different disciplines and sciences of Islâm then proceeds to describe them briefly, includikng the Four Sunnî Schools. In his chapter on doctrine, he mentions his teacher: “Ibn Taymiyya was considered by his enemies to be a wicked Anti-Christ and disbeliever, while great numbers of the wise and the elite considered him an eminent, brilliant, and scholarly innovator (mubtadi` fâd.il muh.aqqiq bâri`).” 

Al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya li Ibn Taymiyya is an epistle written when al-Dhahabî was around fifty-five years of age and addressed to Ibn Taymiyya towards the end of his life. In this brief but scathing epistle the author distances himself from his contemporary and admonishes him without naming him, calling him “an eloquent polemicist who neither rests nor sleeps.” 

The Nas.îh.a contains the following prophetic description of Taymiyya-followers in our time:

Oh! The disappointment of him who follows you! For he is exposed to corruption in basic beliefs and to dissolution. Particularly if he is short of learning and religion, a self-indulgent idler who does well for you by fighting on your behalf with his hand and tongue, while he is actually your enemy in his being and heart. What are your followers but hidebound do-nothings of little intelligence, common liars with dull minds, silent outlanders strong in guile, or dryly righteous without understanding? If you do not believe it, just look at them and honestly assess them. 

A “Salafî” apologist recently cast doubt on the authenticity of al-Dhahabî’s authorship of this epistle, also claiming that, even if al-Dhahabî wrote it, then it is directed to someone other than Ibn Taymiyya.  However, Ibn H.ajar cites the Nas.îh.a in al-Durar al-Kâmina and does not doubt its authenticity as attributed to al-Dhahabî,  nor his student al-Sakhâwî who calls it “a glorious statement of doctrine” in al-I`lân wa al-Tawbikh.  And the two greatest experts on al-Dhahabî’s works, S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid and Bashshâr `Awwâd Ma`rûf, declared there was no doubt al-Dhahabî wrote it towards the end of his life and addressed Ibn Taymiyya. 

Al-Subkî’s Summary of Ibn Taymiyya’s Deviations in Doctrine

Shaykh al-Islâm al-Subkî wrote in his introduction to the first epistle of his threefold refutation of Ibn Taymiyya:

When Ibn Taymiyya innovated whatever he innovated in the principles of doctrines and destroyed the pillars and seams of the foundations of Islâm after camouflaging himself with the pretense of following the Book and the Sunna, feigning to summon people to the truth and guide them to Paradise, he exited conformity (ittibâ`) and entered novelty (ibtidâ`), strayed (shadhdha) from the Congregation (jamâ`a) of the Muslims by violating the Consensus (al-ijmâ`), and attributed what necessitates corporeality and compound nature (mâ yaqtad.î al-jismiyya wal-tarkîb) for the Transcendent Essence.He claimed that dependency on composite parts is not an impossibility; that created entities (al-h.awâdith) subsist in the Essence of Allâh (swt); that the Qur’ân is originated, Allâh speaking it after its nonexistence; that He speaks, falls silent, and originates in His Essence the volitions (al-irâdât) according to created things, in the process arriving at the necessary pre-eternity of the world (istilzâm qidam al-`âlam) by stating that there is no beginning for created entities. So he claimed the existence of originated entities without beginning (h.awâdith lâ awwala lahâ),  affirming the pre-eternal attribute to be originated and the created and originated to be without beginning. And none ever held these two doctrines at one and the same time in any society nor in any religious community, so he is not part of any of the seventy-three sects  into which the Umma split, nor can there be any ground for him to stand with any particular umma. And even if all this constitutes the foulest disbelief (kufran shanî`an), yet it is little compared to what he innovated in the branches! 

Al-Haytamî’s Summary His Deviations in `Aqîda, Us.ûl, and Fiqh

Another Shâfi`î jurist, al-Haytamî, similarly wrote in his Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya:

Ibn Taymiyya is a servant which Allâh forsook, misguided, blinded, deafened, and debased. That is the declaration of the Imâms who have exposed the corruption of his positions and the mendacity of his sayings. Whoever wishes to pursue this must read the words of the mujtahid imâm Abû al-H.asan al-Subkî, of his son Tâj al-Dîn Subkî, of the Imâm al-`Izz ibn Jamâ`a and others of the Shâfi`î, Mâlikî, and H.anafî shaykhs… It must be considered that he is a misguided and misguiding innovator (mubtadi` d.âll mud.ill) and an ignorant fanatic (jâhilun ghâlin) whom Allâh treated with His justice. May He protect us from the likes of his path, doctrine, and actions!… Know that he has differed from people on questions about which Tâj al-Dîn Ibn al-Subkî and others warned us. Among the things Ibn Taymiyya said which violate the scholarly consensus are:• that whoso violates the consensus commits neither disbelief (kufr) nor grave transgression (fisq); • that our Lord is subject to created events (mah.allun li al-h.awâdith) – glorified, exalted, and sanctified is He far beyond what the depraved ascribe to Him!• that He is complex or made of parts (murakkab), His Essence standing in need similarly to the way the whole stands in need of the parts, elevated is He and sanctified beyond that!• that the Qur’ân is created in the Essence of Allâh (muh.dath fî dhâtillâh), elevated is He beyond that!• that the world is of a pre-eternal nature and exists with Allâh since pre-eternity as an “ever-abiding created object” (makhlûqan dâ’îman), thus making it necessarily existent in His Essence (mûjaban bi al-dhât) and [making Him] not acting deliberately (la fâ`ilan bi al-ikhtyâr), elevated is He beyond that! 

• his suggestions of the corporeality, direction, and displacement [of Allâh (swt)] (al-jismiyya wa al-jiha wa al-intiqâl),  and that He fits the size of the Throne, being neither bigger nor smaller, exalted is He from such a hideous invention and wide-open disbelief, and may He forsake all his followers, and may all his beliefs be scattered and lost!

• his saying that the Fire shall go out (al-nâr tafnî), 

• and that Prophets are not sinless (al-anbiyâ’ ghayr ma`s.ûmîn),

• and that the Prophet  has no special status before Allâh (la jâha lahu) and must not be used as a means (la yutawassalu bihi), 

• and that the undertaking of travel (al-safar) to the Prophet  in order to perform his visitation is a sin, for which it is unlawful to shorten the prayers, and that it is forbidden to ask for his intercession in view of the Day of Need,

• and that the words (alfâz.) of the Torah and the Gospel were not substituted, but their meanings (ma`ânî) were. Some said: “Whoever looks at his books does not attribute to him most of these positions, except that whereby he holds the view that Allâh (swt) has a direction, and that he authored a book to establish this, and forces the proof upon the people who follow this school of thought that they are believers in Divine corporeality (jismiyya), dimensionality (muh.âdhât), and settledness (istiqrâr).” That is, it may be that at times he used to assert these proofs and that they were consequently attributed to him in particular.
But whoever attributed this to him from among the Imâms of Islâm upon whose greatness, leadership, religion, trustworthiness, fairness, acceptance, insight, and meticulousness there is agreement – then they do not say anything except what has been duly established with added precautions and repeated inquiry. This is especially true when a Muslim is attributed a view which necessitates his disbelief, apostasy, misguidance, and execution. Therefore if it is true of him that he is a disbeliever and an innovator, then Allâh will deal with him with His justice, and other than that He will forgive us and him. 

The “Salafî” Nu`mân al-Alûsî responded to the above condemnations and took the side of Ibn Taymiyya in his Jalâ’ al-`Aynayn bi Muh.âkamat al-Ah.madayn (“The Arbitration Between the Two Ah.madsî), which Shaykh Yûsuf al-Nabahânî refuted in turn in his Shawâhid al-H.aqq fil-Istighâtha bi Sayyid al-Khalq ? (“The Witnesses to Truth Concerning the Obtainment of Aid through the Master of Creatures”).

Al-Kawtharî’s Scathing Exposure of His Anthropomorphism

The Renewer of Islâm in the previous century, Imâm Muh.ammad Zâhid al-Kawtharî also stated in strong terms that Ibn Taymiyya’s position on the Divine Attributes is tantamount to disbelief and apostasy because it reduces Allâh to a corporeal body. He states in his Maqâlât:

In al-Ta’sîs fî Radd Asâs al-Taqdîs (“The Laying of the Foundation: A Refutation of al-Râzî’s “The Foundation of Divine Sanctification”) Ibn Taymiyya says: “Al-`arsh (the Throne) in language means al-sarîr (elevated seat or couch), so named with respect to what is on top of it, just as the roof is so named with respect to what is under it. Therefore, if the Qur’ân attributes a throne to Allâh, it is then known that this throne is, with respect to Allâh, like the elevated seat is with respect to other than Allâh. This makes it necessarily true that He is on top of the Throne.” So then the Throne is, for Ibn Taymiyya, the seat (maq`ad) of Allâh (swt) – Exalted is He far beyond such a notion!He also says: “It is well-known that the Book, the Sunna, and the Consensus nowhere say that all bodies (ajsâm) are created, and nowhere say that Allâh Himself is not a body. None of the Imâms of the Muslims ever said such a thing.  Therefore if I also choose not to say it, it does not expel me from religion nor from Sharî`a.”  These words are complete impudence. What did he do with all the verses declaring Allâh (swt) to be far removed from anything like unto Him? Does he expect that the idiocy that every single idiot can come up with be addressed with a specific text? Is it not enough that Allâh (swt) said: ?There is nothing whatsoever like Him? (42:11)? Or does he consider it permissible for someone to say: Allâh (swt) eats this, chews that, and tastes this, just because no text mentions the opposite? This is disbelief laid bare and pure anthropomorphism.In another passage of the same book he says: “You [Ash`arîs] say that He is neither a body, nor an atom (jawhar), nor spatially bounded (mutah.ayyiz), and that He has no direction, and that He cannot be pointed to as an object of sensory perception, and that nothing of Him can be considered distinct from Him. You have asserted this on the grounds that Allâh is neither divisible nor made of parts and that He has neither limit (h.add) nor end (ghâya), with your view thereby to forbid one to say that He has any limit or measure (qadr), or that He even has a dimension that is unlimited. But how do you allow yourselves to do this without evidence from the Book and the Sunna?”  The reader’s intelligence suffices to comment on these heretical statements. Can you imagine for an apostate to be more brazen than this, right in the midst of Muslim society?In another place of the same book he says: “It is obligatorily known that Allâh did not mean by the name of “the One” (al-Wâh.id) the negation of the Attributes.” He is here alluding to all that entails His “coming” to a place and the like. He continues: “Nor did He mean by it the negation that He can be perceived with the senses, nor the denial of limit and dimension and all such interpretations which were innovated by the Jahmiyya and their followers. Negation or denial of the above is not found in the Book nor the Sunna.” And this is on an equal footing with what came before with regard to pure anthropomorphism and plain apostasy.In another book of his, Muwâfaqât al-Ma`qûl, which is in the margin of his Minhâj, Ibn Taymiyya asserts that things occur newly in relation to Allâh and that He has a direction according to two kinds of conjecture.  And you know, O reader, what the Imâms say concerning him who deliberately and intently establishes that Allâh has a direction, unless his saying such a thing is a slip of the tongue or a slip of the pen. Then there is his establishing that the concept of movement applies to Allâh, along with all the others who establish such a thing; his denial that there is an eternal sojourn in hellfire has filled creation; and his doctrine of the “generic pre-existence” of the world (al-qidam al-naw`î). 

His Denial of the Eternality of Hellfire

Ibn Taymiyya’s affirmed and denied the eternality of hellfire intermittently, in the same way as he intermittently affirmed and denied the corporeality of the Divine, the beginninglessness of the world, and other things. His denial of the eternality of hellfire and his suggestion of its eventual extinction was refuted, among others, by the Commander of the Believers in H.adîth Muh.ammad ibn Ismâ’îl al-S.an`ânî in his Raf` al-Astâr li-Ibt.âl Adillat al-Qâ’ilîn bi Fanâ’ al-Nâr (“Exposing the Nullity of the Proofs of those that Claim that Hell-Fire Shall Pass Away”) and by Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî in his epistle al-I`tibâr bi Baqâ’ al-Jannati wa al-Nâr published as part of his book al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya, which also contains two epistles refuting the latter’s positions on divorce. In al-I`tibâr al-Subkî states:

The doctrine of the Muslims is that Paradise and Hellfire do not pass away. Abû Muh.ammad Ibn H.azm has reported Consensus on the question and the fact that whoever violates such Consensus is a disbeliever (kâfir) by Consensus. There is no doubt over this, for it is obligatorily known in the Religion and the evidence to that effect is abundant. fn78

This heretical doctrine was endorsed by Ibn Taymiyya’s admirer Ibn Abî al-`Izz in his commentary on al-T.ah.âwî, in flat contradiction of the latter’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall never be extinguished nor come to an end.” 

His Invention of a Double or Triple Tawh.îd

Also among Ibn Taymiyya’s kalâm innovations was his division of tawh.îd into two types: tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, respectively, Oneness of Lordship and Oneness of Godhead.  The first, he said, consisted in the acknowledgment of Allâh as the Creator of all, a belief shared by believers and non-believers alike. The second, he said, was the affirmation of Allâh as the one true deity and only object of worship, a belief exclusive to believers. His natural conclusion was that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.” He then compared the scholars of kalâm to the Arab idol-worshippers who accepted tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya but ignored tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya! This dialectic was imitated by Ibn Abî al-`Izz in his commentary on al-T.ah.âwî’s `Aqîda. 

Al-Tubbânî’s Refutation of His Multiple Tawh.îds

Abû H.âmid Ibn Marzûq [Imâm al-`Arabî al-Tubbânî] wrote:

Tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya were invented by Ibn Taymiyya who claimed that all Muslims among the mutakallimûn worshipped other than Allâh due to their ignorance of tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya; he claimed that the only tawh.îd they knew was tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya. The latter consists in affirming that Allâh is the Creator of all things, as, he says, the polytheists conceded. He then declared all Muslims to be unbelievers. Muh.ammad ibn Abd al-Wahhâb imitated him in this, and others imitated Muh.ammad ibn Abdul Wahhâb. The late erudite scholar al-Sayyid Ah.mad ibn Zaynî Dah.lân (d. 1304) looked into this matter in a small section of his treatise al-Durar al-Saniyya fî al-Radd `alâ al-Wahhâbiyya (“The Resplendent Pearls in Refuting the Wahhâbîs”).  So did the savant al-Shaykh Ibrâhîm al-Samannûdî al-Mans.ûrî (d. 1314) who spoke excellently in his book Sa`âdat al-Dârayn fî al-Radd `alâ al-Firqatayn al-Wahhâbiyya wa al-Z.âhiriyya (“The Bliss of the Two Abodes in the Refutation of the Two Sects: Wahhâbîs and Z.âhirîsî). The late erudite scholar al-Shaykh Salâmat al-`Azzâmî (d. 1376) also wrote valuable words about it in his book al-Barâhin al-Sât.i`a fî Radd Ba`d. al-Bida` al-Shâ’i`a (“The Radiant Proofs in Refuting Certain Widespread Innovations”)…Imâm Ah.mad ibn H.anbal… never said that tawh.îd consisted in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya. Nor did he ever say that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.”… None of the followers of the Followers… none of the Successors… none of the Companions of the Prophet  ever said that tawh.îd consisted in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, nor did any of them ever say that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.”… Nowhere in all the Sunna of the Prophet  … is it related that the Prophet  ever said or ever taught his Companions that tawh.îd consists in two parts, one being tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya and the other tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, nor that “whoever does not know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.” If mankind and jinn joined together to establish that the Prophet  ever said such a thing, even with an inauthentic chain of transmission, they would not succeed.The books of the Sunna of the Prophet  overflow with the fact that the call of the Prophet  to the people unto Allâh was in order that they witness that there is no God except Allâh alone and that Muh.ammad is the Messenger of Allâh, and in order that they repudiate idol-worship. One of the most famous illustrations of this is the narration of Mu`âdh ibn Jabal when the Prophet  sent him to Yemen and said to him: “Invite them to the testimony that there is no God but Allâh and Muh.ammad is the Messenger of Allâh….” And it is narrated in five of the six books of authentic traditions – and Ibn H.ibbân declared it sound – that a Bedouin Arab reported the sighting of the new moon to the Prophet  and the latter ordered the people to fast without asking this man other than to confirm his testimony of faith. According to this drivel of Ibn Taymiyya, it would have been necessary for the Prophet  to call all people to the tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya of which they were ignorant – since tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya they knew already – and he should have said to Mu`âdh: “Invite them to tawh.îd al-ulûhiyyaî; and he should have asked the Bedouin who had sighted the new moon of Ramadan: “Do you know tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya?”Finally, in His precious Book which falsehood cannot approach whether from the front or from the back, Allâh never ordered tawh.îd al-ulûhiyya to His servants, nor did He ever say that “whoever does not know this tawh.îd, his knowledge of tawh.îd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account.” 

Ibn Marzûq is the pseudonym of Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Alawî’s Shaykh, Muh.ammad al-`Arabî ibn al-Tubbânî al-Maghribî al-Mâlikî al-Makkî (d. 1390) who authored both Barâ’at al-Ash`ariyyîn and al-Ta`qîb al-Mufîd `alâ Hady al-Zura`î al-Shadîd in refutation of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim, and the Wahhâbî movement’s insinuations against the Ash`arîs. 

His Verbose Methodology in Disputation

Ibn Taymiyya’s method in debate was to provide a barrage of quotes and citations in support of his positions. In the process he often mentioned reports or stated positions which, upon closer examination, are dubious either from the viewpoint of transmission or from that of content. For example:

• His report of Ibn Bat.t.a’s narration whereby H.ammâd ibn Zayd was asked by a man: “Our Lord descends to the heaven of the earth – does that mean that he removes Himself from one place to another place? (yatah.awwalu min makân ilâ makân?)” H.ammâd replied: “He Himself is in His place, and He comes near His creation in the way that He likes (huwa fî makânihi yaqrabu min khalqihi kayfa shâ’).” Even if the question and its answer can be authentically established to have taken place – since Ibn Bat.t.a’s reliability was questioned -, the doctrine of attributing place to Allâh (swt) is unheard of among the Salaf.

• His report from Ish.âq ibn Râhûyah’s words to the Emir `Abd Allâh ibn T.âhir: “He is able to descend without the Throne being vacant of Him” (yaqdiru an yanzila min ghayri an yakhlua al-`arshu minh).  Such a statement leaves nothing of the characteristics of creatures except it attributed it to the Creator: body, place, surface, and displacement!

• Al-Bayhaqî in al-Asmâ’ wa al-S.ifât narrates the reports of Ish.âq’s encounter with the Emir `Abd Allâh ibn T.âhir with five chains (three of them sound according to al-H.âshidî), none of them mentioning the words “without the Throne being vacant of Him.”  This apparent interpolation is nevertheless the foundation of Ibn Taymiyya’s position in Sharh. H.adîth al-Nuzûl (p. 42-59) that Allâh Most High descends “in person” yet remains above the Throne “in person”! That position has been characterized by Imâm Abû Zahra (see further below) as a dual assertion of the aboveness and belowness of Allâh Most High on the part of Ibn Taymiyya, although strenuously denied by Ibn Taymiyya himself in Minhâj al-Sunna and by al-Albânî who defends the latter against Abû Zahra’s conclusion in his introduction to Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw! 

• His report from Abû `Umar al-T.alamankî’s book al-Wus.ûl ilâ Ma`rifat al-Us.ûl: “Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamâ`a are in agreement (muttafiqûn) that Allâh established Himself in person (bi dhâtihi) on the Throne.”  Note that Ibn Taymiyya quotes inaccurately, as al-Dhahabî quotes from the same book the following passage: “The Muslims of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamâ`a have reached consensus (ajma`[û]) that Allâh is above the heavens in person (bi dhâtihi) and is established over His Throne in the mode that He pleases (kayfa shâ’).”  Of course, both assertions are false since no such consensus exists; and the position of Ahl al-Sunna is that whoever attributes direction to Allâh commits apostasy.

• His statement: “The scholars approved by Allâh and His accepted Friends have narrated that Muh.ammad the Messenger of Allâh (swt) will be seated by His Lord on the Throne next to Him.”  By “the scholars approved by Allâh and His accepted Friendsî here he means a minority of H.anbalî scholars with anthropomorphist convictions.

• His claim regarding the narration of `Abd Allâh ibn Khalîfa from `Umar whereby “the Prophet  glorified Allâh and said: `Verily, His Seat of Authority (kursî) encompasses the heavens and the earth, and verily He sits on it (innahu yajlisu `alayh) and there does not remain of it [but] a space of four fingers, and verily it groans like the sound of the new saddle when one mounts it, due to His weight pressing down on it'”  that “most of Ahl al-Sunna accept [this narration]” when their near-totality – including his own students al-Dhahabî and Ibn Kathîr – grade it “denounced” (munkar), and he himself acknowledge Abû Bakr al-Ismâ`îlî’s rejection of it among others. 

• His statement that “I do not know any of the Salaf of the Community nor any of the Imâms, neither Ah.mad ibn H.anbal nor other than him, that considered these [verses on the Divine Names and Attributes] as part of the mutashâbih”  when everyone has heard the statement of Imâm Mâlik on istiwâ’ whereby “its modality is inconceivable” (al-kayfu ghayr ma`qûl)! Al-Baghdâdî in Us.ûl al-Dîn cites, among those who consider the verse of istiwâ’ one of the mutashâbihât, Mâlik ibn Anas, the seven jurists of Madîna, and al-As.mâ’î while Imâm al-Ghazzâlî counted the verses and narrations on the Divine Attributes among the mutashâbihât in al-Mustas.fâ and Imâm al-Nawawî concurred with him. 

• His statements: “The elevation of Allâh (swt) over the Throne is literal, and the elevation of the creature over the ship is literal” (lillâhi ta`âla istiwâ’un `alâ `arshihi h.aqîqatan wa li al-`abdi istiwâ’un `alâ al-fulki h.aqîqatan). “Allâh is with us literally, and He is above His Throne literally (Allâhu ma`ana h.aqîqatan wa huwa fawqa al-`arshi h.aqîqatan).  … Allâh is with His creation literally and He is above His Throne literally (Allâhu ma`a khalqihi h.aqîqatan wa huwa fawqa al-`arshi h.aqîqatan).” 

His Climbing Down the Pulpit to Illustrate the Divine Descent

The above statements all undoubtedly corroborate Ibn H.ajar’s and Ibn Bat.t.ût.a’s reports whereby he once climbed down the minbar in purported illustration of the descent of Allâh (swt) to the nearest heaven, saying: “Just like the descent I just made”! 

The Revival of His Teachings by the Wahhâbî Movement

Ibn Taymiyya’s burial was attended by about 50,000 people. His teachings were by and large forgotten until Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Najdî brought them back from oblivion. Later, the “Salafî” movement revived them through a large-scale publication campaign backed up by political and financial activism from the 1930s to our day.

Imâm Muh.ammad Abû Zahra said in his book on the history of the madhâhib in Islâm:

The “Salafîs” and Ibn Taymiyya assert that settledness takes place over the Throne. […] Ibn Taymiyya strenuously asserts that Allâh descends, and can be above (fawq) and below (tah.t) “without how”. […] and that the school of the Salaf is the affirmation of everything that the Qur’ân stated concerning aboveness (fawqiyya), belowness (tah.tiyya), and establishment over the Throne. The Wahhâbîs appeared in the Arabian desert […] and revived the School of Ibn Taymiyya. The founder of the Wahhâbiyya is Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb who died in 1786. He had studied the books of Ibn Taymiyya which became inestimable in his sight, deepening his involvement in them until he brought them out from the realm of opinion into the realm of practice. In reality, the Wahhâbîs did not add anything to what Ibn Taymiyya had brought but they exaggerated it more than he had, instituting practical matters which Ibn Taymiyya had not addressed because they were not widespread in his time. These can be summarized thus:1. They did not restrain themselves to view worship (`ibâda) in the same way that Islâm had stipulated in the Qur’ân and Sunna and as Ibn Taymiyya had mentioned, but they wished to include customs (`âdât) also into the province of Islâm so that Muslims would be bound by them. Thus they declared cigarette smoking haram and exaggerated this ruling to the point that their general public considered the smoker a mushrik. As a result they resembled the Khawârij who used to declare apostate whoever committed a sin.2. In the beginning of their matter they would also declare coffee and whatever resembled it as haram to themselves but it seems that they became more indulgent on this point as time went by.3. The Wahhâbis did not restrain themselves to proselytism only, but resorted to warmongering against whoever disagreed with them on the grounds that they were fighting innovations, and innovations are an evil that must be fought, and it is obligatory to command good and forbid evil. […] The leader of Wahhâbî thought in the field of war and battle was Muh.ammad ibn Sa`ûd, the ancestor of the ruling Sa`ûdî family in the Arabian lands. He was a brother-in-law to Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb and embraced his madhhab, defending it fervently and calling unto it by force of arms. He announced that he was doing this so as to uphold the Sunna and eradicate bid`a. Perhaps, this religious mission that took a violent turn was carrying with itself a rebellion against Ottoman rule. […] Until the governor of Egypt, Muhammad `Alî, faced them and pounced on the Wahhâbîs with his strong army, routing them in the course of several battles. At that time their military force was reduced and confined to the Arabi tribes. Ryadh and its vicinity was the center for this permanent da`wa that would turn violent whenver they found the strength and then lie still whenever they found violent opposition.4. Whenever they were able to seize a town or city they would come to the tombs and turn them into ruins and destruction […] several battles would destroy whatever mosques were with the tombs also. […]

5. Their brutality did not stop there but they also came to whatever graves were visible and destroyed them also. And when the ruler of the H.ijâz regions caved in to them they destroyed all the graves of the Companions and razed them to the ground. […]

6. They would cling to small matters which they condemned although they had nothing to do with idolatry nor with whatever leads to idolatry, such as photography. We found this in their fatwas and epistles at the hands of their Ulema, although their rulers ignore this saying of theirs completely and cast it by the wayside.

7. They expanded the meaning of bid`a to strange proportions, to the point that they actually claimed that draping the walls of the noble Rawd.a is an innovated matter. Hence they forbade the renewal of the drapes that were in it, until they fell in tatters and became unsightly, were it not for the light that pours out to all that are in the presence of the Prophet  or feels that in this place was the abode of Revelation on the Master of Messengers. In fact, we find among them, on top of this, those who consider that the Muslim’s expression “our Master Muh.ammadî (sayyiduna Muh.ammad) is an impermissible bid`a and they show true extremism about this and, for the sake of their mission, use foul and furious language until most people actually flee from them as fast as they can.

8. To tell the truth, the Wahhâbîs have actualized the opinions of Ibn Taymiyya and are extremely zealous followers and supporters of those views. They adopted the positions of Ibn Taymiyya that we explained in our previous discussion of those who call themselves “Salafiyya”. However, they expanded the meaning of bid`a and construed as innovations things that have no relation to worship. […] In fact, it has been noticed that the Ulema of the Wahhâbîs consider their own opinions correct and not possibly wrong, while they consider the opinions of others wrong and not possibly correct. More than that, they consider what others than themselves do in the way of erecting tombs and circumambulating them, as near to idolatry. In this respect they are near the Khawârij who used to declare those who dissented with them apostate and fight them as we already mentioned. This was a relatively harmless matter in the days when they were cloistered in the desert and not trespassing its boundaries; but when they mixed with others until the H.ijâz country was in the hand of the Sa`ûd family, the matter became of the utmost gravity. This is why the late King `Abd al-`Azîz of the Sa`ûd family opposed them, and treated their opinions as confined to themselves and irrelevant to others.” 

Recent Literature

1.) The Mauritanian Shaykh Muh.ammad Miska al-Ya`qûbî’s Fatâwâ Ibn Taymiyya fîl-Mîzân mostly cites and sources Ibn Taymiyya verbatim in the following chapters:

1. Sayings of the Scholars on IT
2. The H.ashwiyya, IT’s group
3. The doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamâ`a
Al-Ghazzâlî’s Qawâ`id al-Ah.kâm Ibn `Abd al-Salâm’s Mulh.a

Chapter One: Salient Characteristics of IT’s Fatâwâ
1. The Prevalence of Tashbîh and Tajsîm in the Fatâwâ of IT
2. IT’s aggressiveness against his opponents and his manipulating their words
3. His style of verbose argumentation
4. Concerning his scholarly trustworthiness
5. Concerning his program

Chapter Two: Refutation of IT’s position on the direction [of the Deity]
1. Refutation of direction in the Qur’ân and Sunna
2. Refutation of direction by rational proofs
First Corollary
Second corollary: IT’s virulent denial of kalâm terminology
3. Refuting the sayings of those who affirm direction
4. Status of those who affirm direction according to Ahl al-Sunna

Chapter Three: Refutation of IT’s creed of contingencies subsisting in Allâh (swt) and his belief in the pre-existence of the world
1. Establishing his creed in this from his own words
2. Refutation of his creed in the pre-existence of the world
3. The Divine transcendence beyond the subsistence of contingencies in him

Chapter Four: Refutation of IT’s statement that the Qur’ân is created and that Allâh speaks with a voice
1. Establishing his creed in this from his own words
2. Refutation of his creed that the Qur’ân is created and his attribution of voice and silence to Allâh Most High

Chapter Five: His creed in the non-`is.ma of the Prophets, upon them blessings and peace

Chapter Six: His statement that travel to visit the grave of the Prophet  is a sin and that tawassul through him is shirk or leads to shirk.

Chapter Seven: His statement that Hellfire comes to an end and his opinion on resurrection

Chapter Eight: His proclivity for insulting the pious servants of Allâh

Chapter Nine: His probing the positions of the philosophers and their influence on him and that of other non-believers

Chapter Ten: Some of the issues in which he violated the Consensus.

Main Sources: al-Dhahabî, Tadhkirat al-H.uffâz. 4:1496 #1177; Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidâya wa al-Nihâya 14:5, 14:42-48; Ibn H.ajar, al-Durar al-Kâmina 1:144-160 #409; al-Haytamî, Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya; al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât.

2.) The Refutation of he who attributes direction to Allah, by Sh. G F Haddad
publ. at: Aqsa Publications, x L 20120703


fn1 Al-Subkî, Fatâwâ cited in his al-I`tibâr (3rd epistle of al-Durra al-Mud.iyya p. 59). 
fn2 Cf. Ibn al-Subkî, T.abaqât al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubrâ (10:195) and al-Sakhâwî’s introduction to al-Jawâhir wa al-Durar. 
fn3 Cf. al-Sakhâwî, al-D.aw’ al-Lâmi` (9:292). Cf. H.ajjî Khalîfa, Kashf al-Z.unûn (1:838). 
fn4 Cf. al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât (p. 413). 
fn5 Al-Dhahabî, Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm (p. 23-24), cited in al-Sakhâwî, al-I`lân (p. 78). 
fn6 Al-Dhahabî, al-`Ibar (4:84). 
fn7 Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, al-`Uqûd al-Durriyya (p. 117). 
fn8 As cited by Abû Ghudda in al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb (p. 169) from Ibn al-Wardî’s citation of al-Dhahabî in his Tatimmat al-Mukhtas.ar fî Akhbâr al-Bashar (2:406-413). 
fn9 Al-S.afadî, Sharh. Lâmiyya al-`Ajam li al-T.ughrâ’î, in al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 189). 
fn10 Ibn Jahbal, Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya ß93 in Ibn al-Subkî, T.abaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ (9:61). 
fn11 Published in Cairo at Dâr Ih.yâ’ al-Kutub al-`Arabiyya, 1931. 
fn12 The names of the scholars who counter-signed Ibn Taymiyya’s deposition are listed by al-Kawtharî in his notes to Ibn al-Subkî’s al-Sayf al-S.aqil (p. 95-96). 
fn13 In Ibn H.ajar’s al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:153-155). 
fn14 Narrated from `Alî by Muslim, al-Tirmidhî, al-Nasâ’î, and Ah.mad. 
fn15 Ibn Taymiyya, Tawh.îd al-Rubûbiyya in Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (2:464-465). 
fn16 See George Makdisi, “L’isnâd initiatique soufi de Muwaffaq ad-Dîn ibn Qudâma,” in Cahiers de l’Herne: Louis Massignon (Paris: Éditions de l’Herne, 1970) p. 88-96; “Ibn Taimiya: A S.ûfî of the Qadiriya Order,” in American Journal of Arabic Studies I (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974) p. 118-129; and “The H.anbalî School and Sufism,” in Boletin de la Asociacion Espa@nola de Orientalistas 15 (Madrid, 1979) p. 115-126. Based on Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s Bad’ al `Ilqa bi Labs al Khirqa, ms. al-Hâdî, Princeton Library Arabic Collection, fos 154a, 169b, 171b 172a; and Damascus University, copy of original Arabic manuscript, 985H.; also mentioned in al-T.alyânî, manuscript Chester Beatty 3296 (8) in Dublin, fo 67a. 
fn17 The commentary is found in the tenth volume of the first Riyadh edition of the Majmû` Fatâwâ Ibn Taymiyya (10:455-548). 
fn18 Ms. Damascus, Zahiriyya #1186 H. 
fn19 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (1st epistle, Naqd al-Ijtima` p. 12, 14). 
fn20 Ibn Qudâma, al-Mughnî (3:117, 3:297, 5:465), al-Muqni` (1:466), al-Kâfî (1:619); Ibn Muflih., al-Mubdi` fî Sharh. al-Muqni` (3:259); al-Buhûtî, Kashshâf al-Qinâ` (2:514-515; 5:36), al-Rawd. al-Murba` (1:522); Ibn Dawyân, Manâr al-Sabîl (1:256); Shams al-Dîn ibn Muflih., Furû` (3:523); al-H.ajjâwî, Iqnâ` (1:395); `Abd al-Rah.mân al-Ba`lî, Kashf al-Mukhaddarât (p. 193); Mar`î, Ghâyat al-Muntahâ (1:418), Dalîl al-T.alîb (p. 88); Ah.mad al-Ba`lî, al-Rawd. al-Nadî (p. 190); Bahâ’ al-Dîn al-Maqdisî (p. 209); Ibn al-Najjâr, Muntahâ al-Irâdât (1:286); Ibn al-Jawzî, al-Madhhab al-Ah.mad (p. 68); Shams al-Dîn Ibn Qudâma, al-Sharh. al-Kabîr (3:494); al-Kawladhânî, Hidâya (p. 105); Ibn Hubayra, Ifs.âh. (1:297), al-Mardâwî, Ins.âf (4:53). 
fn21 Z.âhiriyya ms. cf. Ibn Muflih., Mubdi` (2:107), Mar`î, Ghâya (1:258), al-Mardâwî, Ins.âf (2:317). 
fn22 A claim heedlessly perpetuated by Ibn Taymiyya’s followers in our time. 
fn23 Cf. al-`Irâqî, T.arh. al-Tathrîb (6:43). 
fn24 Cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (25:299-300). 
fn25 See al-`Irâqî’s fatwâ in al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 192-195). 
fn26 Fath. al-Bârî (1989 ed. 3:66). 
fn27 Al-Qârî, Sharh. al-Shifâ’ (2:514). 
fn28 In al-Nabahânî’s Shawâhid (p. 185). 
fn29 In his al-Tahânî fî al-Ta`qîb `alâ Mawd.û`ât al-S.âghânî (p. 49). 
fn30 Al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 275-276). 
fn31 Cf. Al-Nabahânî, Shawâhid al-H.aqq (p. 241-247, 275-298). 
fn32 Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Dâraqut.nî in his Sunan (2:278 #194), al-T.ayâlisî (2:12), al-Dûlâbî in al-Kunâ wa al-Asmâ’ (2:64), al-Khat.îb in Talkhîs. al-Mutashâbih fî al-Rasm (1:581), Ibn al-Dubaythi in al-Dhayl `alâ al-Târîkh (2:170), Ibn Abî al-Dunyâ in Kitâb al-Qubur, al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-îmân (3:490), al-H.akîm al-Tirmidhî in Nawâdir al-Us.ûl (p. 148), al-Haythamî (4:2), al-Subkî in Shifâ’ al-Siqâm (p. 12-14), Abû al-Shaykh, Ibn `Adî in al-Kâmil (6:235, 6:351), al-`Uqaylî in al-D.u`afâ’ (4:170), al-Bazzâr in his Musnad with a very weak chain containing `Abd Allâh ibn Ibrâhîm al-Ghifari [cf. Ibn H.ajar’s Mukhtas.ar (1:481 #822)] with the wording “my intercession shall take place for him” (hallat lahu shafâ`atî), and Ibn H.ajar who indicated its grade of h.asan in Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (2:266) as it is strengthened by other h.adîths which both he and al-Haythamî mention, such as: (1) “Whoever visits me without any avowed purpose other than my visit, it is incumbent upon me to be his intercessor on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Awsat. and al-Kabîr with a chain containing Maslama ibn Salim and by Ibn al-Sakan in his Sunan al-S.ih.âh. as stated by al-Shirbînî in Mughnî al-Muh.tâj (1:512). (2) “Whoever makes pilgrimage then visits me after my death it is as if he visited me in my life.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Kabîr (12:406) and al-Dâraqut.nî (2:278) with a chain containing H.afs. ibn Abî Dâwûd al-Qârî, whom only Ah.mad declared passable (sâlih). Mamdûh. said (p. 337-340) it is more d.a`îf than other weak h.adîths in this chapter. (3) “Whoever visits my grave after my death is as those who visited me in my life.” Narrated by al-T.abarânî in al-Kabîr (12:406) and al-Awsat.. (1:94) with a chain containing `â’isha bint Yûnus, whose status is uncertain, and from H.ât.ib by al-Dâraqut.nî (2:278) with another chain which al-Dhahabî said was one of the best chains in that chapter. Mamdûh. said (p. 330-334) it is da`îf but not mawd.û`, contrary to the claims of Ibn Taymiyya and his imitators. Abû Ghudda cites a fourth narration: (4) “Whoever makes pilgrimage and does not visit me, has been rude to me.” Narrated by al-Dâraqut.nî in his Sunan. Abû Ghudda said: “It is not forged as Ibn al-Jawzî and Ibn Taymiyya said, rather, a number of scholars considered its chain fair, and a number considered it weak.” Mamdûh. (p. 344-346) considers it forged. Al-`Uqaylî in al-D.u`afâ’ (4:170) declared the chains of Ibn `Umar’s narration “soft” (layyina) as did al-Dhahabî, the latter adding – as did al-Bayhaqî and al-Fattanî in Tadhkirat al-Mawd.û`ât – that they strengthened each other as none contains any liar nor forger, as stated by al-Suyût.” in al-Durar al-Muntathira, al-Munâwî, and al-`Ajlûnî in Kashf al-Khafâ (2:328-329). 
fn33 In Z.afar al-Amânî (p. 422) and al-Ajwibat al-Fâd.ila (p. 155). 
fn34 In his Raf` al-Minâra (p. 280 and p. 318). 
fn35 As related by Ibn H.ajar in Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (2:267). Cf. al-Shawkânî in Nayl al-Awtar (5:95) and al-Sindî in his notes on Ibn Mâjah. 
fn36 In al-Qawl al-Badî` (p. 160). 
fn37 In Sa`âdat al-Darayn (1:77). 
fn38 Published at Ryad: Dâr `Alam al-Kutub, 1991. 
fn39 Al-Lacknawî, Z.afar al-Amânî (p. 422). 
fn40 Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî, al-Tanqîh. (1:122) as pointed out by Mamdûh. in Raf` al-Minâra (p. 12). 
fn41 In Raf` al-Minâra (p. 280-318). 
fn42 In Raf` al-Minâra (p. 9). 
fn43 In his annotations on Ibn H.ajar’s Fath. al-Bârî (1989 ed. 3:387), echoing the exact words used by Ibn Taymiyya in his Minhâj al-Sunna al-Nabawiyya (1986 ed. 2:441) and Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (27:119). 
fn44 In his Irwa’ al-Ghalîl (4:337-338) in which he imitated Ibn `Abd al-Hâdî’s claims. 
fn45 In Talkhîs. Ah.kâm al-Janâ’iz (p. 110) and elsewhere in his writings. 
fn46 Nasir al-Jadya’, al-T.abarruk (p. 322). Note that all these books are presently available in print, but not Shifâ’ al-Siqâm! 
fn47 Al-Sakhâwî, al-Qawl al-Badî` (p. 160). He contradicts himself in al-Maqâs.id al-H.asana (p. 413) where he adopts al-Dhahabî’s opinion that “the chains of the h.adîth of visitation are all `soft’ (layyina) but strengthen each other because none of them contains any liar.” 
fn48 Narrated by Ibn `Asâkir (7:137) with a good chain (sanad jayyid) as stated by al-Shawkânî in Nayl al-Awtar (5:180), at the conclusion of Kitâb al-Manâsik. 
fn49 In Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Wâbil al-S.ayyib min al-Kalim al-T.ayyib (p. 66). 
fn50 Al-S.afadî, al-Wâfî bi al-Wafayât (7:19-22), cf. Ibn Taymiyya as related from al-Dhahabî by Ibn Rajab in Dhayl T.abaqât al-H.anâbila (2:401-402). 
fn51 Reproduced by Ibn Rajab in Dhayl T.abaqât al-H.anâbila (2:392) and Ibn H.ajar in al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:159) cf. Abû Ghudda, al-`Ulamâ’ al-`Uzzâb (p. 175). In light of al-Subkî’s published positions on Ibn Taymiyya the authenticity of this letter is dubious. 
fn52 Al-S.afadî, al-Wâfî bi al-Wafayât (7:19-22). 
fn53 Al-Dhahabî as cited by Ibn H.ajar in al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:176-178). 
fn54 Cf. al-Bût.î, al-Salafiyya (p. 164-175). Cf. Ibn Khafîf’s `Aqîda (“Things do not act of their own nature…”). 
fn55 Al-Dhahabî, al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya, in the margin of his Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab, ed. al-Kawtharî (Damascus: Qudsi, 1928-1929); also in Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn Taymiyya, Sîratuhu wa Akhbâruhu `inda al-Mu’arrikhîn, ed. S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dâr al-Kitâb al-`Arabî, 1976) p. 11-14. 
fn56 Al-Dhahabî, Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-T.alab (p. 23-24). Also cited in al-Sakhâwî, al-I`lân (p. 78). 
fn57 Al-Dhahabî, al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya, in the margin of his Bayân Zaghl al-`Ilm, ed. al-Kawtharî; also in Shaykh al-Islâm Ibn Taymiyya, Sîratuhu wa Akhbâruhu `Inda al-Mu’arrikhîn, ed. S.alâh. al-Dîn al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dâr al-Kitâb al-`Arabî, 1976) p. 11-14. 
fn58 See masud.co.uk for a full translation of the Nas.îh.a. 
fn59Muh.ammad al-Shaybânî, al-Tawd.îh. al-Jalî fî al-Radd `alâ al-Nas.îh.a al-Dhahabiyya al-Manh.ûla `alâ al-Imâm al-Dhahabî (al-Kuwayt: Markaz al-Makht.ût.ât wa al-Turâth, 1993). This type of revisionist scholarship is reminiscent of the story-teller who was caught by Imâm Ah.mad saying: “Ah.mad ibn H.anbal narrated to us…” whereupon the unfazed fibber replied: “I meant another Ah.mad ibn H.anbal, not you!” (Al-Dhahabî in the Siyar [9:511] considers this report forged.) 
fn60 Al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:166). 
fn61 Al-I`lân wa al-Tawbîkh (p. 77=54). 
fn62 Cf. Bashshar `Awwad Ma`rûf, al-Dhahabî (p. 146). Two extant manuscripts of the Nas.îh.a are kept, one in Cairo at the Dâr al-Kutub al-Mis.riyya (#B18823) copied by Ibn Qâd.î Shuhba and one in Damascus at the Z.âhiriyya library (#1347). 
fn63 Cf. below (n. 67). 
fn64 An allusion to a mutawâtir h.adîth of the Prophet  . 
fn65 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (1st epistle, Naqd al-Ijtimâ` p. 6-7). 
fn66 A necessary corollary of Ibn Taymiyya’s claim that the triple formulation of divorce counts as one in unambiguous violation of the Consensus on the matter.
fn67 This is mentioned about Ibn Taymiyya also by Ibn H.ajar in Fath. al-Bârî (1959 ed. 13:411). Whoever holds this doctrine is considered a kâfir by Imâm Abû Ish.âq al-Isfarâyînî. Ibn Taymiyya was refuted by his contemporary al-Ikhmîmî al-Mis.rî (d. 764) in his Risâla fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya fî Mas’alati H.awâdith lâ Awwala lahâ (“Epistle in Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya on the Question of Created Matters that Have no Beginning”) and by al-S.an`ânî in his Risâla Sharîfa fî ma Yata`allaqu bi Kam al-Bâqî Min `Umr al-Dunyâ? (“A Precious Treatise Concerning the Remaining Age of the World”) ed. al-Wasabi al-Mathani. (San`a’: Maktabat Dâr al-Quds, 1992). 
fn68 This doctrine was refuted by Ibn Jahbal al-Kilâbî and Qâd.î Yûsuf al-Nabahânî. 
fn69 As reported from him by Ibn al-Qayyim – who tends to agree with him – in his Hâdî al-Arwâh. (p. 252-258 and following). 
fn70 This is explicitly contradicted by the vast majority of scholars, including Ibn Taymiyya’s own students Ibn al-Qayyim (cf. Nûniyya, section on tawassul) and al-Dhahabî, as well as al-Shawkânî and countless others cf. volume on tawassul in Shaykh Hishâm Kabbânî’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine. 
fn71 Al-Haytamî, Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya (p. 114-117). 
fn72 Al-Ash`arî in Maqâlât al-Islâmiyyîn (p. 211) says precisely the contrary: “Ahl al-Sunna and the people of h.adîth said that Allâh (swt) is not a body.” Similarly al-Kalabâdhî in al-Ta`arruf (p. 34-35). Ibn Taymiyya knows this cf. his Minhâj (2:326): “Al-Ash`arî and his early disciples said…. He is not a body.” 
fn73 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sîs = Bayân Talbîs al-Jahmiyya (1:118) cf. Minhâj (2:205). He also claims in the latter (2:220) that the first to say that Allâh (swt) is not a body were the Jahmiyya and Mu`tazila. 
fn74 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sîs (1:101) = Bayân Talbîs al-Jahmiyya (1:444). It is amusing that the defenders of Ibn Taymiyya indirectly acknowledge the heresy of this position by claiming that “he was merely paraphrasing the position of those who affirm the Attributes among the mutakallimîn”! Salmân, al-Rudûd (p. 21-22). As Salmân undoubtedly knows, the truth is that this particular argument of Ibn Taymiyya comes up frequently and favorably enough under his pen [cf. Bayân Talbîs (1:548, 1:600, 2:169); Sharh. H.adîth al-Nuzûl (69-76); Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (3:306-310, 13:304-305); Minhâj (2:134-135, 192, 198-200, 527)] to be safely attributed to him. Compare to Imâm Mâlik’s statement: “He is neither ascribed a limit nor likened with anythingî (lâ yuh.addad wa lâ yushabbah). Ibn al-`Arabî said after citing it in Ah.kâm al-Qur’ân (4:1740): “This [statement] is a pinnacle of tawh.îd in which no Muslim preceded Mâlik.” 
fn75 Ibn Taymiyya, Muwâfaqât al-Ma`qûl on the margins of Minhâj al-Sunna (2:75, 1:264, 2:13, 2:26). The Muwâfaqa was republished under the title Dâr’ Ta`ârud. al-`Aqli wa al-Naql. 
fn76 Al-Kawtharî, Maqâlât (p. 350-353). 
fn77 Ibn H.azm, Marâtib al-Ijmâ` (p. 193-194). 
fn78 Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mud.iyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (3rd epistle, al-I`tibâr bi Baqâ’ al-Jannati wa al-Nâr p. 60). 
fn79 Cf. Ibn Abî al-`Izz, Sharh. (p. 427-430). 
fn80 In his Fatâwâ (1:219, 2:275); Minhâj al-Sunna (2: 62); Risâlat Ahl al-S.uffa (p.34). 
fn81 But in no other commentary of the same text, not even the “Salafî” commentary on the Tahâwiyya by H.asan al-Busnawî, although the latter does follow Ibn Abî al-`Izz in other matters. 
fn82 Recently republished in Damascus (2001). 
fn83 Ibn Marzûq, Barâ’at al-Ash`ariyyîn Min `Aqâ’id al-Mu`tazilati wal-Mukhâlifîn (1:89, 1:94f.) Chapter reprinted in Ibn Marzûq, al-Tawassul bi al-Nabî  wa al-Salihin (Istanbul: Hakikat Kitâbevi, 1993) p. 25-101. Cf. H.asan `Alî al-Saqqâf’s al-Tandîd bi man `Addada al-Tawh.îd (“Punishment of Him Who Counts Several Tawh.îds”). 
fn84 Cf. Mah.mûd Mamdûh.’s Tashnîf al-Asmâ’ bi Shuyûkh al-Ijâzati wa al-Samâ` (1984 ed. p. 375). 
fn85 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:376). Narrated with its chain by al-Dhahabî in the Siyar (8:213, chapter of Bishr ibn al-Sirî). 
fn86 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:376-377). Also narrated by al-Dhahabî with a sound chain according to al-Albânî in Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 192 #235). 
fn87 Al-Asmâ’ wa al-S.ifât (Kawtharî ed. p. 451-452; H.âshidî ed. 2:375-377 #950-953). 
fn88 Cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Minhâj al-Sunna (2:248) and Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 40-41, 192-193). 
fn89 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:189). 
fn90 Al-Dhahabî, Mukhtas.ar al-`Uluw (p. 264 #321). Al-Dhahabî criticizes these assertions: see the post, “Allâh is now as He ever was”. 
fn91 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (Mufas.s.al al-I`tiqâd – “Specifics of Belief” – 4:374). See the post, “The Prophet’s  Seating on the Throne”. 
fn92 Narrated by al-T.abarî in his Tafsîr (3:10-11). 
fn93 In his commentary on Sûrat al-`Alaq in Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at Rasâ’il (16:435). 
fn94 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Rasâ’il (13:294). 
fn95 Al-Ghazzâlî, al-Mustas.fa (p. 85); al-Nawawî, Sharh. S.ah.îh. Muslim (16:218). 
fn96 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmû`at al-Fatâwâ (5:199) 
fn97 Ibid. (5:103). 
fn98 Ibn Bat.t.ût.a, Rih.la (1:110) and Ibn H.ajar, al-Durar al-Kâmina (1:180). 
fn99 Abû Zahra, Târîkh al-Madhâhib al-Islamiyya (p. 320-322). 
fn100 Abû Zahra, Târîkh al-Madhâhib al-Islamiyya (p. 235-238). 

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