The Heresiography of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is originally extracted from Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.): A Heresiography, by Shaykh Gibril Haddad.  However, it should be noted that this article is of a slightly different tone and less harsh towards Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.).

Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Abi al-Qasim ibn Taymiyyah, Taqi al-Din Abu al-‘Abbas ibn Shihab ad-Din ibn Majd al-Din al-Harrani ad-Dimashqi al-Hanbali (r.a.) was one of the most influential scholars of the late Hanbali school, praised by the Ahadits Master, Imam Swalah ad-Din al-‘Ala’i (r.a.) as, “Our shaykh, master, and imam between us and Allah 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 imam and faithful servant of his Lord, the doctor in the religion, the ocean, the light-giving pole of spirituality, the leader of a’immah, the blessing of the ummah, 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-Islam…”

He was a student of Imam ibn ‘Abd ad-Da’im (r.a.), Shaykh al-Qasim al-Irbili (r.a.), Shaykh ibn ‘Allan (r.a.), Imam ibn Abi ‘Amr al-Fakhr (r.a.) and a few others.  Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) mostly read by himself until he achieved great learning.  Shaykh al-Islam, Imam Taqi ad-Din as-Subki said (r.a.) said, “He memorised 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.

Among his most noted students were the ahadits masters, Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.), Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.), Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.), and Imam Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Maqdisi (r.a.), as well as the Hanbali jurist and ahadits narrator, Imam Siraj ad-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Azji al-Bazzar (r.a.), who should not be confused with the hafizh, Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Bazzar (r.a.).

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) views and manners created intense controversy both in his life and after his death.  Imam as-Sakhawi (r.a.), in at-Tawbikh, 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 Hazm and ibn Taymiyyah, who were subsequently tried and harmed.”

An illustration of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) ambivalent status is the fact that, the Shafi’i ahadits master, Imam al-Mizzi (r.a.) did not call anyone else “Shaykh al-Islam” in his time besides Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), Imam ibn Abi ‘Umar al-Hanbali (r.a.), and Imam Taqi ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.), yet the Hanafi scholar, Imam ‘Ala’ ad-Din al-Bukhari (r.a.) issued a fatwa that if anyone called Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) “Shaykh al-Islam”, they would be committing disbelief.  He also authored against Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), a book entitled al-Muljimah li al-Mujassimah, “Curbing the Anthropomorphists”.

Imam ibn Naswir ad-Din ad-Dimashqi (r.a.) countered this fatwa by authoring ar-Radd al-Wafir, in which he listed all the authorities who had ever written in praise of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) or called him “Shaykh al-Islam”.  Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah ibn Abu Ghuddah (r.a.) included Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) among the scholars who never married and extravagantly named him “Shaykh al-Islam” and “the Standard-Bearer of all Standard-Bearers” in his book al-‘Ulama’ al-‘Uzzab, which he wrote after he took up residence in Najd.

In Bayan Zaghl al-‘Ilm. Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) stated, “If you were to excel in the uswul and its affiliates – logic, ethics, philosophy, the sayings of the ancients and the conundrums – all the while protecting yourself with the Book and the sunnah 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 Taymiyyah.  No, by Allah, 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, he was shining with light and enlightening others, bearing the signs of the Salaf on his face.  Then he became lightless, dark and sombre 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, while the commonality of his uneducated friends, one and all, deemed him the standard-bearer of Islam, the defender of the religion, and the reviver of the sunnah.”  In al-‘Ibar, Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.), after praising his teacher, stated, “He also had some strange opinions on account of which he was attacked.”

Shaykh ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) in al-‘Uqud al-Durriyyah, made 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, ad-Durrat al-Yatimiyyah fi asw-Swirath at-Taymiyyah, Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) reported that Imam ibn Daqiq al-‘Iyd (r.a.) said, upon meeting with Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), “I saw a man with all the sciences before his eyes, taking what he wished and leaving what he wished.”  Asked why he did not debate him, Imam ibn Daqiq al-‘Iyd (r.a.) answered, “Because he loves to speak and I love silence.”

Imam Swalah ad-Din asw-Swafadi said, “The shaykh, imam, and erudite scholar, Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was immensely learned but he had a defective intelligence that embroiled him into perils and made him fall into hardships.”

His first clash with the scholars occurred in 698 CE in Damascus when he was barred from teaching after he issued his Fatwa al-Hamawiyyah in which he unambiguously attributed literal upward direction to Allah (s.w.t.).  He was refuted by his contemporary, Imam ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi (r.a.), in a lengthy reply which Imam Taj ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) reproduced in full in his Thabaqat ash-Shafi’iyyah al-Kubra.  Imam ibn Jahbal (r.a.) wrote, “How can you say that Allah is literally in Heaven, and literally above Heaven, and literally on the Throne, and literally above the Throne?”  Qadhi Yusuf an-Nabhani (q.s.) also refuted al-Hamawiyyah in his magnificent epistle, Raf’ al-Ishtibah fi Istihalat al-Jiha ‘ala Allah“The Removal of Uncertainty Concerning the Impossibility of Direction for Allah”, which was cited in full in his Shawahid al-Haqq.

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) then returned to his activities until he was summoned by the authorities again in 705 CE to answer for his ‘Aqidah al-Wasithiyyah.  He spent the next few years in and out of prison or defending himself from various ‘abhorrent charges’, according to Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.).  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 Taymiyyah, his life and property are licit for seizure.”  These events instigated great dissension among the scholars in Damascus and Cairo as detailed in Imam Taqi ad-Din al-Hiswni’s (r.a.) Daf’ ash-Shubah man Shabbaha wa Tamarrad wa Nasaba Dzalika ila as-Sayyid al-Jalil al-Imam Ahmad, “Repelling the Sophistries of the Rebel Who Likens Allah to Creation, Then Attributes This Doctrine to Imam Ahmad”.  “Imam Ahmad” here refers to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.).

The Hanbali scholar, Imam Najm ad-Din Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Qawi’ at-Tufi (r.a.) said, “He could bring up in one hour from the Book, the sunnah, 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.  Henceforth, he began to answer each and every scholar great and small, past and recent, until he went all the way back to ‘Umar (r.a.) and faulted him in some matter.  This reached the ears of the Shaykh Ibrahim al-Raqi’ who reprimanded him.  ibn Taymiyyah went to see him, apologised, and asked forgiveness.  He also spoke against ‘Ali (k.w.) and said, ‘He made mistakes in seventeen different matters.’”

Imam Najm ad-Din at-Tufi (r.a.) also wrote, “Because of his fanatic support of the Hanbali madzhab, he attacked Ash’aris until he started to insult al-Ghazali, at which point some people opposed him and would almost kill him.”  And he wrote, “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 Allah (s.w.t.),” referring to the descent to the lowest Heaven, “then climbed down two steps from the minbar and said, ‘Just like this descent of mine’, and so was categorised as an anthropomorphist.  They also cited his refutation of whoever uses the Prophet (s.a.w.) as a means or seeks help from him.”

Imam Najm ad-Din at-Tufi (r.a.) said in the same work, “People were divided into parties because of him.  Some considered him an anthropomorphist because of what he mentioned in al-‘Aqidah al-Hamawiyyah and al-‘Aqidah al-Wasithiyyah and other books of his, to the effect that the Hand, Foot, Shin, and Face are literal Attributes of Allah 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 and divisibility.  He replied, ‘I do not concede that spatial confinement and divisibility are necessarily properties of bodies,’ so it was recorded against him that he held the Divine Essence to be subject to spatial confinement.  Others considered him a heretic due to his saying that the Prophet (s.a.w.) 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 (s.a.w.).”  Imam Najm ad-Din at-Tufi (r.a.) said that such as the rancour towards him, others considered him a munafiq because of what he said about ‘Ali (k.w.), 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 ‘Utsman loved money.”  He would say that Abu Bakr (r.a.) had declared Islam in his old age, fully aware of what he said, while ‘Ali (k.w.) had declared Islam as a boy, and the boy’s Islam 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 (s.a.w.) saying to ‘Ali (k.w.), “Only a hypocrite has hatred for you.”

Another reason why Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was opposed was his criticism of Sufis, particularly Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.), although he described himself, in his letter to Shaykh Abu al-Fath Naswr al-Munayji (r.a.), as a former admirer of the Shaykh al-Akbar: “I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of ibn ‘Arabi 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-Futuhat, al-Kanh, al-Muhkam al-Marbuth, ad-Durrah al-Fakhirah, Mathali’ an-Nujum, and other such works.”

According to the Sufi, Shaykh ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) in his Bad’ al-‘Ilqa bi Labs al-Khirqah, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) also declared himself a follower of several Sufi orders, among them, the Qadiri path of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.).  He wrote a hundred-page partial commentary covering five of the seventy-eight sermons of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s (q.s.) Futuh al-Ghayb.  In al-Mas’alat at-Tabriziyyah, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) declared, “I wore the blessed Sufi cloak of ‘Abd al-Qadir, there being between him and me, two of the shuyukh.”

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), at various times, declared himself a follower of the Shafi’i madzhab, as did many Hanbalis in Damascus at that time, and an Ash’ari.  Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) wrote in ad-Durar al-Kaminah, about the scholars of Cairo investigating Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) theological positions and clarifying them with him.  He wrote, “An investigation was conducted with several scholars and a written statement was drawn in which he said, ‘I am Ash’ari.’  His handwriting is found with what he wrote verbatim, namely: ‘I believe that the Qur’an 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’ is not taken according to its literal meaning, and I do not know in what consists its meaning, nay only Allah Knows it, and one speaks of His ‘Descent’ in the same way as one speaks of His ‘Establishment.’”  It was written by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.).  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 Rabi’ al-Awwal, 707 CE, and it was witnessed by a huge array of scholars and others.

(Allah) Most Gracious is firmly established on the Throne (of authority). (Surah ThaHa:5)

Even though he had repented, there were a litany of issues regarding his jurisprudential and theological positions as people did not cease to rightly criticise him for them.  For example, further charges of heresy were brought against Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) for his unprecedented assertions on pronounced divorce.  He held that a threefold formulation of divorce in a single sitting counted as one; that divorce pronounced at the time of menses as invalid; and that swearing an oath to divorce could be taken back through expiation, kaffarah.  All these position were in violation of the ijma’ of the four a’immah and others of the Salaf.  Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) said, “ibn Taymiyyah has spread deceit in the existence of a difference of opinion in the matter, which is a lie, a fabrication, and impudence on his part against Islam.”  He added, “It has been affirmed by many of the scholars that he who opposes the ijma’ of the ummah is a kafir.”  This is a harsh position and I disagree.

After spending the years 719 to 721 CE in jail, he was jailed again in 726 CE until his death two years later amid charges of kufr for declaring that is haram to travel to visit the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) maqam, and whoever does is committing a sin and an innovation.  It is without doubt that this particular fatwa is nonsensical and without merit.  Imam al-Mardawi (r.a.), Imam ibn Hubayrah (r.a.), and others stated that the entirety of the early and late authorities in the Hanbali madzhab stipulate the desirability of visiting the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Madina, most especially after hajj, or travelling to do so.  Imam ibn Muflih (r.a.), Imam al-Mardawi (r.a.), and Imam Mar’i ibn Yusuf (r.a.) in Ghayat al-Muntaha stated visiting the graves of the pious and the permissibility of travelling to do so is without doubt.  Imam Mar’i (r.a.) reiterated this ruling in his unpublished monograph on the ethics of graves and visitation, Shifa’ asw-Swudur fi Ziyarat al-Mashahid wa al-Qubur.

This notorious fatwa was also comprehensively refuted by his contemporary the hadits master and Shaykh al-Islam, Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) in his Shifa’ as-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayri al-An’am“The Healing of Sickness Concerning the Visitation to the Best of Creatures”, also titled Shann al-Ghara ‘ala man Ankara as-Safar li al-Ziyarah“The Raid against Him Who Denied the Lawfulness of Travel for the Purpose of Visitation”.  Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) adduced the hadits, “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him” as proof against Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) claim that “all the ahadits that concern the merit of visitation are weak or rather forged”, and denounced Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) unprecedented fatwa as a flagrant innovation.

Shaykh al-Islam Imam Abu al-Fadhl Zayn ad-Din ‘Abd ar-Rahim ibn al-Husayn al-‘Iraqi al-Miswri (r.a.), principal teacher to Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), said in al-Ajwiba al-Makkiyyah, a refutation of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) fatwa claiming the prohibition of travel to visit the Prophet (s.a.w.), “There is no prohibition of an act of travel in the hadits ‘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 a vow, which is not the case for a vow to pray in any mosque other than these three.”

Imam ibn Hajr al-`Asqalani (r.a.), in Fath al-Bari, said of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) fatwa, “This is one of the ugliest matters ever reported from him.”

In his marginalia on that work the Wahhabi scholar, ibn Baz commented, “This was not an ugly thing but a correct thing for ibn Taymiyyah to say.”  But then, what can we expect from these filthy heretics?

Imam al-Khafaji’s (r.a.) a Hanafi imam, also wrote a major commentary on Qadhi ‘Iyadh’s (r.a.) Shifa’.  He said of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) 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 – Allah Forgive him!”

The list of scholars, both contemporaneous to Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) and after him, who wrote refutations of this fatwa is long.  Were we to include all of them, it would be a hefty book in its own right.  It is sufficient to say that this fatwa alone caused Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) great grief, and was the cause of his death in prison.

There were several people who were prompted to write a defence of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.).  Many of them, unfortunately, were vitriolic attacks on Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) detractors and filled with unfounded accusation and lies.  These works have done nothing but tarnish the legacy of these scholars.  Imam ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.), his student, was a Sufi but anti-Ash’ari.  He was also a student of Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.).  Imam ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) violently attacked Imam as-Subki (r.a.) in asw-Swarim al-Munki fi Nahr as-Subki“The Hurtful Blade in the Throat of as-Subki” in which he “adopted the manner of fanatics and departed from the norms of the scholars of ahadits,” according to Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn asw-Swiddiq al-Ghumari (r.a.).  Imam ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) falsely accused Imam as-Subki (r.a.) of making ‘pilgrimage’ to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grave wajib, prostration to it, circumambulating around it, and the belief that the Prophet (s.a.w.) removes difficulty, grants ease, and causes whoever he wishes to enter into Paradise, all independently of Allah (s.w.t.).

The hadits, “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him,” is a hasan narration as concluded by Imam Abu al-Hasanat al-Lakhnawi (r.a.), and his editor, Imam ‘Abd al-Fattah ibn Abu Ghuddah (r.a.) in the latter’s notes on Imam Malik’s (r.a.) al-Muwaththa’.  Some early scholars such as Imam ibn as-Sakan (r.a.) in as-Sunan asw-Swihah and Imam ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili (r.a.) in al-Ahkam, had declared it swahih.  Imam ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili (r.a.) had followed the reasoning of Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) in Shifa’ as-Siqam, in view of the totality of the chain.  Other ahadits scholars who considered it authentic include Imam ibn Hajr’s (r.a.) Imam as-Sakhawi (r.a.), Imam as-Samhudi (r.a.), and Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) in al-Jawhar al-Munazhzham.  Imam al-Ghassani (r.a.) did not include it in his compendium of Imam al-Daraquthni’s (r.a.) weak narrations, Takhrij al-Ahadits ad-Dha’if min Sunan ad-Daraquthni.  Some later scholars, beginning with Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), remained undecided whether to grade this hadits weak or forged.

Imam al-Lakhnawi (r.a.) said, about this hadits, “There are some who declared it weak, and others who asserted that all the ahadits on visitation of the Prophet (s.a.w.) are forged, such as ibn Taymiyyah and his followers, but both positions are false for those who were given right understanding, for verification of the case dictates that the hadits is hasan, as Taqi ad-Din as-Subki has expounded in his book Shifa’ as-Siqam.”

His student, Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) praised him lavishly as “the brilliant shaykh, imam, erudite scholar, censor, jurist, mujtahid, and commentator of the Qur’an,” but acknowledged that Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) disparaging manners alienated even his admirers.  For example, the grammarian, Shaykh Abu Hayyan (r.a.) praised Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) until he found out that he believed himself a greater expert in the Arabic language than Shaykh Sibawayh (r.a.), whereupon he retracted his previous praise and dissociated himself from him.  Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) at first reportedly praised him in a letter to Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.), but later accused him of disbelief.  Other former admirers turned critics include Imam az-Zamalkani (r.a.), Imam Jalal ad-Din al-Qazwini (r.a.), Shaykh al-Qunawi (r.a.), Imam al-Jariri (r.a.), and Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) himself, in whose Naswihah, he addressed Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) with the words, “When will you stop criticising the scholars and finding fault with the people?”

Imam as-Subki (r.a.) wrote in his introduction to the first epistle of his threefold refutation of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), “When ibn Taymiyyah innovated whatever he innovated in the principles of doctrines and destroyed the pillars and seams of the foundations of Islam after camouflaging himself with the pretence of following the Book and the sunnah, feigning to summon people to the truth and guide them to Paradise, he exited conformity and entered novelty, strayed from the jama’ah of the Muslims by violating the ijma’, and attributed what necessitates corporeality and compound nature for the Transcendent Essence.  He claimed that dependency on composite parts is not an impossibility; that Created entities subsist in the Essence of Allah (s.w.t.); that the Qur’an is originated, Allah Speaking it after its nonexistence; that He speaks, falls silent, and originates in His Essence the volitions according to Created things, in the process arriving at the necessary pre-eternity of the world by stating that there is no beginning for Created entities.  So he claimed the existence of originated entities without beginning, 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 ummah split, nor can there be any ground for him to stand with any particular ummah.  And even if all this constitutes the foulest disbelief, yet it is little compared to what he innovated in the branches!”

Another Shafi`i jurist, Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.), similarly wrote in his Fatawa al-Haditsiyyah, “ibn Taymiyyah is a servant which Allah Forsook, Misguided, Blinded, Deafened, and Debased.  That is the declaration of the a’immah 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 imam Abu al-Hasan as-Subki, of his son Taj ad-Din Subki, of the imam al-‘Izz ibn Jama’ah and others of the Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanafi shuyukh.”

He continued, “It must be considered that he is a misguided and misguiding innovator and an ignorant fanatic whom Allah 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 Taj ad-Din ibn as-Subki and others warned us.”

Among the things Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) said which are considered to grossly violate the scholarly consensus is that Allah (s.w.t.) is subject to Created events; that Allah (s.w.t.) is complex or made of parts, His Essence standing in need similarly to the way the whole stands in need of the parts; that the Qur’an is created in the Essence of Allah (s.w.t.); that the world is of a pre-eternal nature and exists with Allah (s.w.t.) since pre-eternity as an ‘ever-abiding created object’, thus making it necessarily existent in His Essence and not Allah (s.w.t.) acting deliberately; his suggestions of the corporeality, direction, and displacement of Allah (s.w.t.), and that He fits the size of the Throne, being neither bigger nor smaller; that prophets are not sinless; that the Prophet (s.a.w.) has no special status before Allah (s.w.t.) and must not be used as a wasilah: and that the undertaking of travel to the Prophet (s.a.w.) 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.

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was also responsible for the innovated ‘aqidah of the Wahhabi sect.  He divided tawhid into two types: tawhid ar-rububiyyah and tawhid al-uluhiyyah, Oneness of Lordship and Oneness of Godhead respectively.  He said the first consisted in the acknowledgment of Allah (s.w.t.) as the Creator of all, a belief shared by believers and non-believers alike.  And he said the second was the affirmation of Allah (s.w.t.) as the one true deity and only object of worship, a belief exclusive to believers.  His natural conclusion was that “whoever does not know tawhid al-uluhiyyah, his knowledge of tawhid ar-rububiyyah is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.”  He then compared the scholars of kalam to the Arab idol-worshippers who accepted tawhid al-rububiyyah but ignored tawhid al-uluhiyyah.  This is the basis by which the Wahhabi sect uses to deny the shahadah of the Muslims and claim them to be kafirun and mushrikin.

In the final five months of his last two-year period in jail, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was prevented from writing, at which time he turned to prayer and the intensive recitation of the Qur’an and repented from having spent time writing doctrinal refutations instead of focusing on the commentary of the Qur’an.  At that time, he confided to his faithful student, Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.), “My Paradise and my Garden are in my breast and wherever I go they never depart from me. My prison is seclusion, my execution is martyrdom, and my exile is an excursion.”  His ‘Paradise’ and ‘Garden’ meaning his faith and knowledge.  He repented for all the heresy that he was charged with, listed above.  And he gave instructions that all these books with them were to be burnt.

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) janazah was attended by about 50,000 people, including many of the very scholars who had opposed him.  They had accepted him as one of them, and prayed for him as they would for any Muslim, and affirmed that despite his shortcomings, his famous temper and quick tongue, his previous arrogance and character faults, he was an ‘alim, and his piety was never in question.  His teachings were by and large forgotten, a distant nightmare of the ummah.  Forgotten that is, until the coming of the great shaythan, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi.  The founder of the Wahhabi sect brought them back from oblivion, and innovated them further.  Later, the ‘Salafi’ movement revived them through a large-scale publication campaign backed up by political and financial activism from the 1930s to our day.


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