The Ahl al-Sunnah View of Ibn Taymiya and his Works
The following article is written by a Sunni brother
From: mas@Cadence.COM (Masud Khan)
Subject: Ahl al-Sunnah and Ibn Taymiya
Ibn Taymiya and his writings and those of his students have recently been used by "Wahabbis" and "Reformists" to provide evidence against madhaib and the Aqueedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jamaat (The Four Schools). As can be seen from the following brief biography, taken from "The Reliance of the Traveller" which is an AUTHENTIC book of fiqh, Ibn Taymiya (Rahim-ullah) was considered an innovaitor and a heretic and some scholars went so far as to declare his writings as Kufr.
Ibn Taymiya is Ahmad Ibn Abd al-Salaam ibn Abdullah, Abu al-Abbas Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiya al-Harrani, born in Harran, east of Damascus, in 661/1263. A famous Hanbali scholar in Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir), hadith and jurisprudence, Ibn Taymiya was a voracious reader and author of great personal courage who was endowed with a compelling writing style and a keen memory. Dhahabi wrote of him, "I never saw anyone faster at recalling the Qur'anic verses dealing with subjects he was discussing, or anyone who could remember hadith texts more vividly." Dhahabi estimates that his legal opinions on various subjects amount to three-hundred or more volumes.
He was imprisoned during much of his life in Cairo, Alexandria, and Damascus for his writings, scholars of his time accusing him of believing Allah to be a corporeal entity because of what he mentioned in his al-aqida al-Hamawiyya and al-Wasitiyya and other works, such as that Allah's 'hand', 'foot', 'shin' and 'face' are literal (haqiqi) attributes, and that He is upon the Throne in person. The error in this is suggesting such attributes are literal is an innovation and unjustifiable inferance from the Qur'anic and hadith texts that mention them, for the way of early Muslims was mere acceptance of such expressions on faith without saying how they are meant, and without additions, subtractions, or substituting meanings imagined to be synonyms, while acknowledging Allah's absolute transcedence beyond the characteristics of created things, in conformity with the Qur'anic verse "There is nothing whatsoever like unto him" [Qur'an 42:11]. As for figurative interpretations that preserve the divine transcendence, scholars of tenents of faith have only had recourse to them in times when men of reprehensible innovation (bid'a), quoting hadiths and Qur'anic verses, have caused confusion in the minds of common Muslims as to whether Allah has attributes like those of His creation or whether He is transcendently beyond any image conceivable to the minds of men. Scholars' firmness in condemning those who have raised such confusions has traditionally been very uncompromising, and this is no doubt the reason that a number of the Imams of the Shafi'i school, among them Taqi al-Din Subki, Ibn Hajar Haytami and al-Izz ibn Jama'a, gave formal legal opinions (fatawa) that Ibn Taymiya was misguided and misguiding in tenents of faith, and warned people from accepting his theories. The Hanafi scholar Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari has written "Whoever thinks that all the scholars of his time joined in a single conspiracy against him from personal envy should rather impugn their own intelligence and understanding, after studying the repugnance of his deviations in beliefs and works, for which he was asked to repent time after time and moved from prison to prison until he passed on to what he'd sent ahead."
While few deny that Ibn Taymiya was a copious and eloquent writer and hadith scholar, his career, like that of others, demonstrates that a man may be outstanding in one field and yet suffer from radical deficiencies in another, the most reliable index of which is how a field's Imams regard his work in it. By this measure, indeed, by the standards of all previous Ahl al-Sunnah scholars, it is clear that despite voluminous and influential written legacy, Ibn Taymiya cannot be considered an authority on tenents of faith (aqueeda), a field in which he made mistakes profoundly incompatible with the beliefs of Islam, as also with a number of his legal views that violated the scholarly consensus (ijma) of Sunni Muslims. It should be remembered that such matters are not the province of personal reasoning (ijtihad), whether Ibn Taymiya considered them to be so out of sincere conviction, or whether simply because, as Imam Subki said, "his learning exceeded his intelligence." He died in Damascus in 728/1328.
Taken From: English/Arabic Traditional Sunni Manual of Shari`ah Reliance of the Traveller (`Umdat al-Salik):|
| A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Fiqh) |
| By Ahmad ibn al-Naqib al-Misri (d.769/1386) |
| Translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller |
| English/Arabic (dual columns) |
| xxii+1232 pages, Hardcover |
| Published by Sunna Books 1991, 1993
`Umdat al-Salik in Arabic with facing English Text, Commentary, Appendices, Biographical Notes, Bibliography and Index *`Umdat al-Salik is a traditional Fiqh manual by Ibn al-Naqib (d.769/1386).
It summerizes the conclusions of Imam al-Nawawi (d.676/1277),the great Hadith scholar and Shafi`i jurisprudent. It is based mainly on al-Nawawi's Fiqh works; al-Majmu` and al-Minhaj.
*Reliance of the Traveller contains `Umdat al-Salik in Arabic with facing English translation, Commentary, Appendices, Biographical Notes about every person mentioned (391 biographies), Bibliography of each work mentioned (136 works), and a detailed subject Index (95 pages). The Appendices form an integral part of the book and present readers with original texts and translation from classical works by Imam al-Nawawi, al-Ghazali, al-Dhahabi and other famous scholars on many Islamic topics such as Islamic Law (Fiqh), Principles of Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh), Faith (Iman/`Aqidah), Spirituality (Tazkiyah/Suluk). Of the 136 works drawn upon in its commentary and appendices, 134 are in the original Arabic. The sections and paragraphs have been numbered to facilitate cross-reference which is utilized extensively.
*Noah Ha Mim Keller is an American Muslim who produced this work in Damascus and Amman from 1982 to 1990. He studied the book word by word in the traditional way with two Shaykh-s (teachers) over a period of five years after which they gave him their written warrant (ijazah) to expound the book and translate it into English.
*Certificate: "...We certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a)..." Islamic Research Academy (Majma` al-Buhuth al-Islamiyyah), al-Azhar. al-Azhar is the Muslim world's most prestigious institution of higher Islamic learning, Cairo.
The following article is written by a Sunni brother
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walid Dabbous)
Subject: Re: Ahl al-Sunnah and Ibn Taymiya
Dear brothers, as-Salamou alykum wa rahmatoullahi wa barakatouh, I agree with brother Masud when he says that we can NOT rely on ibn taymiyya in matters os aqueedah in the end part of his
posting (I only pur the beginning here above).
Someone was defending ibn taymiyya a few weeks, so please find a contribution on this subject taken from the aqueedah of Ahl-es-Sunna wal Jamaa (ashaira wa maturidiyya).
In article <email@example.com>, U58369@uicvm.uic.edu writes: Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu Concerning the accusation of Ibn Taymiyyah that he attempted to ascribe Human qualities to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala: Some of the people who lived in the same era as Ibn Taymiyyah accused him of this and they had no proof to back up their accusations whatsoever. The people after them received this information from what Ibn Batutah collected. As most of us know, Ibn Batutah was not a scholar either of hadith OR aquidah. Besides, he never met nor heard Ibn Taymiyyah speak. The biography of Ibn Taymiyyah shows that he always strongly opposed those people who attempted to ascribe human qualities to Allah Subhana waTa'ala (See Hayat Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah by Muhammad al-Baytar). You can find more proofs in Ibn Taymiyyah's book, Sharh Hadith An-Nuzool (Commentary on the Hadith of Nuzool). There are many proofs that Ibn Taymiyyah had the same belief and aquidah as the Sahabah and the scholars of As-Salaf. To show just one example: Ibn Taymiyyah says in his book, al-Aquidah al-Wasitiya, pg. 9,...and from the belief in Allah is the belief in what Allah ascribed for himself in the Quran and in the Sunnah without falsifying or denying or "takeef" (ie-to question how his attributes are). And he quotes this ayah from the Quran, Surah al-Shurah, Ayah 11: ...there is nothing whatsoever like unto Him and He is the one that hears and sees.
And Ibn Taymiyyah explains that the Muslims from Ahl al-Sunnah wa Jama'ah don't deny what Allah ascribed to Himself & don't falsify His words. And they believe in all His names and ayat. And they don't make comparisons between Allah and his creatures because there is nothing like Him. And Allah knows best about everything and about Himself. This is one of many examples that proves that Ibn Taymiyyah never Claimed |"tashbeeh" (ie-never attempted to ascribe human qualities to Allah).
I read many of ibn taymiyya books and the books wrote by other scholars to refute him. It is very clear that ibn taymiyya was refuted by the majority of scholars. he was accused not to belong to the Salafi school. I showed this in a previous message and I will repost this message soon in sha'a Allah. The scholars of Ahl eSunna wal Jamaa from the 4 schools refuted his opinions and ibn taymiyya always tried to escape from punishment by saying the 2 shahadas.
ibn taymiyya and his disciple ibn aljawziyya (different from the great hanbali scholar Ibn alJawzi) are not considered to belong to the salafi school. ibn taymiyya was put in jail because of many of his wrong teachings concerning the aqeeda. He was not put in jail by some tyranic ruler. He was put in jail to preserve the people from his ideas. (See Rihlat Ibn Battoutah where ibn battoutah said: when i came to damascus there was a man called ibn taymiyya speaking about religion science, but there was something strange in his mind... Once he was doing "kutbat aljuma'a" and he said yanzilou rabbuna ila assam'a adunya, then he went down two steps on the minbar and he said "kanuzuli hatha" (like my descending). the people of damascus jumped on him and wanted to kill him. al-'imam al-mujtahid asSubkiy wrote many books to refute ibn taymiya. This event of ibn Taymiya is registered by the bokks of history and they are available and may be the Muslims need to read them or some of their contents. Ibn Taymiyah was put in jail by the agreement of the Muslim scholars of Egypt and ashSham. His imprisonment came as a result of the ijma^ of the scholars of his age.. In addition, not only ibn battouta spoke about ibn taymiyya but a lot of scholars wrote books and letters to warn the people from this man. i have a long list of these Ulema and their books. I have a lot of their books also.
Among the great Ulemas from ahl es-Sunna wal jama'a who refuted him and decalred that his is out of the right way of islam:
1) "aSubki" in his "aRasae'l aSubkiyya firrad ala ibn taymiyya",
2) ibn hajar alhaytami, in al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya
3) Abou hayyan alandaloussi in an-Nahr almaadd
4) ibn hajar alaskalani in fath albari page 410 fascicle 13 kitab atawhid.
from the 12th hegire century
5) Sheikh ahmad ibn Zayni dihlane in finat alwahhabiyya,
6) sheikh Muhammad ibn darwiche al-Hout from beirut in his book
Rasail fi akidat ahl-esunna waljamaa.
from the 20th century
7) sheikh muhammad Ouwayss from alAzhar in his book ibn taymiyya laysa
salafiyyan, and many others.
In fact, there are many sayings of ibn taymiyya related to TAJSIM, in his own books. He pretended in his fatawa, (al-asma'a was-sifat) that the ahl-esSunna wal Jamaa did not refute Mujassima (those who attributed body to Allah). He even said that there isn't any single text from the Salaf to refute mujassima. While in fact, al-'imam Ahmad said that the person commits kufr if he says Allah is a body (jism) even if he says that Allah is a body not like other bodies (jism la kalajsam). He was quoted saying that "The terms are taken from language and al-'Islam and the people of language have put this term (body) on something that has length, width, thickness, image, structure and components and it was not narrated in ash-shari^ah (Islamic law). Therefore, it is invalid and cannot be used" (end of quotation of Imam Ahmad). al-bayhaqiyy narrated that about Ahmad in his book manaqib Ahmad and az-Zarkashiyy narrated the first saying of Ahmad. Notice that Ahmad did not accept the term (body not like other bodies) because it does not befit Allah and the language does not accept that. I also quoted the saying of al-Imam al-Ash^ary from
Kitab An-Nawader: "If someone belives that Allah is a body then he ignores Allah and he is a kafir".
To be continued.. In sha'a Allah
Ibn Taymiyyah: Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728/1328) was a theologian who was sent to the jail by the consensus (Ijma'a) of prominent Sunni scholars of his time (in Egypt and Damascus) because of his heretical beliefs. He was considered an innovator and a heretic and some Sunni scholars went so far as to declare his writings as Kufr. Now he has become a Muslim scholar for Wahhabis! I don't want to go into the details of the charges against Ibn Taymiyah which was raised by prominent Sunni scholars about his heretical beliefs such as his idea that Allah has limbs and these limbs are physical (Haqiqi) and so on since it needs thousands of lines by itself. Among those Sunni scholars who denounced him, are Taqi al-Din Subki, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ibn Hajar al- Asqalani, al-Izz ibn Jama'a, Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, Abu Hayyan al- Andalusi, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Zayni dihlani, Shaykh Mohammad Ouwayss from al- Azhar, and many others. In their fatwa, they called Ibn Taymiyah as a misguided person who was deserting the Sunni tenets. I refer Sunni brothers to their authentic Fiqh book called "The Reliance of the Traveller" for a biography of Ibn Taymiyah.
Now, as for Ibn Taymiyyah: A number of prominent Muslim scholars of great repute -have- in fact pronounced kufr on Ibn Taymiyyah, although the majority of scholars of ahl-al-Sunnah have not pronounced kufr on him. Many have, however, criticized him for innovation (bid`ah). Among those who criticized him are -Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani (FatH al-Baaree, [Vol 12, p202], [V 13, p 410]), -Ibn Hajar al-Haytami ([al-Fataawaa al-Hadeethiyyah p116, p203], [Haashiyah, p443, p489]) -Taqi al-Deen al-Subki ([al-sayf al-Saqeel], [al-durrah al- maDiyyah] Others include Taj al-Deen al-Subki, al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi, Ibn Daqeeq al-`Eed and Zayn al-Deen al-`Araaqee.
Firstly, we should realize that those scholars who pronounced kufr on him based their verdicts on very real evidence from Ibn Taymiyyah's own books. One of the primary contentions of these group of scholars was that Ibn Taymiyyah believed in - eternity of the universe, which is that he said that some kind of creation always existed. Also a large number of scholars, of both former and latter times, have criticized some of Ibn Taymiyyah's opinions as innovations. It cannot be denied that in some issues, Ibn Taymiyyah (though he may have had good intentions) has contradicted the consensus (ijmaa`) of the Muslim scholars. Some of these issues are doctrinal (e.g. he believed that Allah can be described with (limits), compare this to the mainstream Sunni creed as presented by Imam al-Shafi`ee, for example in , p8, or Abu Haneefah (al-fiqh al-akbar, p57), al-Tahawi (al- `aqeeedah al-TaHaawiyyah), al-Bayhaqi (al-Asmaa' waS-Sifaat, p410), etc), others are related to fiqh (jurisprudence) (e.g. his opinion that three divorces pronounced together do not all take effect -this fatwaa incidentally was the reason that Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali forsook Ibn Taymiyyah).
The following article is written by a Sunni brother. This also shows the fact that ortodox Sunnis beleive that Allah can be seen but we don't know how? He talks but we don't know how? He is stablished on the trone but we don't know how? On the other hand Wahhabis attribute physical entities to it, while shia do not beleieve Allah has hand at all. Shia also beleive he can not be seen at all, and so on.
From: mas@Cadence.COM (Masud Khan)
Subject: The Aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l Jamma'ah
Date: 3 May 1994 23:13:19 GMT
THE AQEEDAH OF AHL AL-SUNNAH WA'L JAMA'AH - in contrast with the Aqueedah of the "Salafi" sect.
What follows are some examples of the anthropomorphic nature of the neo- 'Salafite' Aqeedah, and how it varies from the actual Aqeedah transmitted to us by the earliest generations of the Muslim Ummah. Today's 'Salafiyya' claim to have the original and pristine Aqeedah of the first three pious generations of Islam; but in reality it is the Aqeedah of the likes of Ibn Taymiyya and his disciple Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah when it comes to describing Allah and His attributes and so on. The following four points points have derived directly from the works of the "Salafi" scholars (al-Harras and al-Uthaimin) themselves. In comparison to these points I have also quoted from the Aqeedah of Imam Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi's [d. 321 AH; Rahimullah] and others for you to compare and contrast. Imam Tahawi's Aqeedah represents the Aqeedah as transmitted by the scholars of his Madhab (which represents in the main the Aqeedah of the Salaf-us-Salihin) - Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam al-Shaybani (Allah mercy be upon them) - three of the greatest Ahl al-Sunnah scholars.
1 The Vision of Allah in the Hereafter
Imam al-Tahawi (Rahimullah) said with regard to this issue in "al-Aqeedah at-Tahaweeah" [English trans. by I.A. A'zami, under the title 'Islamic Belief'], "Belief of a man in the 'seeing of Allah by the people of the Garden' is not correct if he imagines what it is like, or interprets it according to his own understanding, since the interpretation of his 'seeing' or indeed, the meaning of any subtle phenomena which are in the realm of Lordship, is by avoiding its interpretation and strictly adhering to the submission. This is the din of Muslims. Anyone who does not guard himself against negating the attributes of Allah, or likening Allah to something else (anthropomorphism), has gone astray and has failed to understand Allah's glory, because our Lord, the Glorified and the Exhalted, can only possibly be described in terms of Oneness and Absolute Singularity and no creation is in anyway like Him."
In contrast, Muhammad Khalil Harras (a 'Salafi' scholar) said in his "Sharh- ul-Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah (of Ibn Taymiyya, pg. 73): "The Mutazila deny the vision. This denial is based on refusing to accept Allah in any direction for it is necessary for a thing being seen to be in the direction of the seer.." Thus, al- Harras claims that for Allah to be seen in the Hereafter, He (Allah) must have a direction!! In comparison, Imam al-Shahrastani [d. 1153 CE; Rahimullah] said in his "Kitab al-Milal wa'l Nihal (Muslim Sects and Division, trans. by A,K, Kazi and J.G. Flynn, pg. 85): "Imam Ash'ari (Rahimullah) says, however, that the vision of God does not entail direction, place, form, or face to face encounter either by impingement of rays or by impression, all of which are impossible."
2 The Speech of Allah
Imam al-Tahawi (Ramimullah) said: "The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how...(next paragraph): It is not created, as is the speech of human beings, and anyone who hears it and claims that it is human speech has become an unbeliever. Allah warns him and censures him and threatens him with Fire when He says, Exalted is He: 'I will burn him in the Fire.' [al-Muddaththir 74:26] When Allah threatens with the Fire those who say 'This is just human speech' [al- Muddaththir 74:25] we know for certain that it is speech of the Creator of mankind and it is totally unlike the speech of mankind."
In contrast al-Harras stated in "Sharh-ul-aqeedat-il-wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymiyya" [pg. 87]: "His statement, voice and speech take place with Letters and sounds. One to whom He (ie Allah) speaks he hears. This includes the refutation of the stand taken by the Ash'aria (e.g. Imam al-Ghazali, Rahimullah, in his 'Ihya 'ulum al-din') that speech of Allah is primeval and is without letter or ound."
NB- Imam ibn Tahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429/1037; Rahimullah) said with regards to this issue: "Another group (of anthropomorphists) is represented by those who draw a resemblance between God's Word and the word of His creatures. They hold thatGod's speech consists of sounds and letters belonging to the same species as the sounds and letters which are ascribed to mankind." (vide: 'al-Farq bayn al-firaq', English trans. by A.Halkin: as 'Moslem Schisms and Sects', v2, p35)
3 Allah's Hands
al -Harras stated without any definite proof (pg. 44, above reference): "How can 'hand' be interpreted to mean power when the text proves mentioning of palm, fingers, right and left, closing, opening, etc. which can happen only in the case of a real hand."
Imam al-Tahawi said [no.34 in his above mentioned book]: "Anyone who describes Allah as being in anyway the same as a human being has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and refrain from saying things such as unbelievers say, and they will know that He, in His
attributes, is not like human beings."
4 Allah's establishment on the Throne
Imam Malik (Rahimullah) was asked about Allah's establishment on the Throne; he said: "Establishment (Istiwa) is known, the how of it is unknown, belief in it is obligatory, and questions about it are reprehensible innovation (bid'ah)." (see Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 854). In contrast, Muhammad as- Saleh al-'Uthaimin (a leading 'Saudi' scholar) said in 'The Muslim's Belief' (pg.11, this work was heard and approved by the foremost 'Saudi' Mufti - Abd al-Aziz ibn B'az, trans. M.H. al-Johani): "'His (Allah's) settling on the Throne' means that He is sitting in person on his Throne in a way that is becoming His majesty and Greatness. Nobody except He knows exactly how He is sitting." Imam al- Shahrastani (Rahimullah) stated that the leader of the heretical sect called the 'Karramites - Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Karram declared: "God is firmly seated on the Throne and that he is sitting in person on the upper side of it..." (Muslim Sects and ivisions, pg. 92 trans. A.Kazi and J.Flynn).
The above are CLEAR proofs that the 'Salafi/Wahabi' interpretation of Allah (swt) is in essence athropomorphic, the claim that indivduals like Ibn Taymiyya, Bin Ba'z and al-Albani have the same Aqeedah as Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah is blatantly untrue and misleading to Muslims in genral.