24 May 2013 / 1434 رجب 15
Praise be to Allaah.
You should note that one of the ways in which Allaah deals with His chosen slaves is to test them according to the level of their faith, to show who is sincere and who is not.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan, and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]
2. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.
3. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allaah knows all that before putting them to test)”
Those who are most severely tested are the Prophets, then the next best and the next best, as it says in the saheeh hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
If you study the seerah (biography) of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), you will see that he went through severe tests; he was even accused of being a liar, a sorcerer and a madman; garbage and filth were thrown on his back; he was expelled from Makkah; and his feet bled in al-Taa’if. This was the situation of all the Prophets who were rejected before him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him) suffered the same as other sincere scholars and daa’iyahs, but in the end the message of truth that he brought prevailed. How could it be otherwise? How could the light of truth be extinguished? Think about this man and how Allaah helped him to sow the seeds of Tawheed throughout the Arabian Peninsula and put an end to all kinds of shirk. If this indicates anything, it indicates that he was sincere in his call and made sacrifices for that cause as far as we can tell, and of course his efforts were supported and helped by Allaah.
But the enemies of this call have spared no effort to make false accusations concerning it. They claimed – falsely – that the Shaykh claimed to be a prophet, and that he did not respect the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) properly, and that he condemned all the ummah as kaafirs… and other fabrications and lies that were told about him. Anyone who examines these claims will realize for sure that they are all lies and fabrications.
The books of the Shaykh which are widely circulated bear the greatest witness to that, and his followers who answered his call never mentioned anything to that effect. If the matter were as they claim, his followers would have conveyed the same ideas, otherwise they would have been disloyal to him. If you want to know more details about this and to clarify the matter, you should read the book Da’aawa al-Manaawi’een li Da’wah al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab by Dr ‘Abd al-‘Azeez al-‘Abd al-Lateef, which will answer all your questions, if Allaah wills.
With regard to calling his followers Wahhaabis, this is just another in a long series of fabrications made up by the enemies of his call, to divert people away from the call of truth and to place a barrier between his call and the people so that the call will not reach them. If you study the story of how al-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr al-Dawsi (may Allaah be pleased with him) became Muslim, you will see the parallels with what happened in the case of Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab.
Ibn Hishaam narrated in his Seerah (1/394) that al-Tufayl set out towards Makkah, but Quraysh intercepted him at the gates of the city and warned him against listening to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). They made him think that he was a sorcerer who could cause division between man and wife… they kept on at him until he took some cotton and put it in his ears. Then when he saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he thought to himself that he would take out the cotton and listen to him, and if what he said was true then he would accept it from him, and if he what he said was false and abhorrent, he would reject it. When he listened to him, all he could do was become Muslim on the spot.
Yes, he became Muslim after putting cotton in his ears. Those who oppose the call of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab fabricated lies the same way Quraysh did. Quraysh understood full well that the call of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had the power to reach people’s hearts and minds, so they exaggerated in their lies about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in an attempt to stop the truth reaching people. Similarly we see that those who speak against Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab and his followers repeat the same lies that were told against the original call.
You should – if you follow the truth – not pay any attention to these lies and fabrications.
You should look for the truth of the matter by reading the books of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab, for his books are the greatest proof that these people are lying, praise be to Allaah.
There is another subtle point that should be noted, which is that the Shaykh’s name was Muhammad, the attributive of which is Muhammadi. The word Wahhabi is the attributive derived from al-Wahhaab (the Bestower), who is Allaah, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower [al-Wahhaab]”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:8]
As al-Zajjaaj said in Ishtiqaaq Asma’-Allaah, p. 126, al-Wahhaab “is the One Who gives a great deal. This form (fa’’aal) in Arabic is indicative of something that is done to a great extent. Allaah is al-Wahhaab (the Bestower) Who gives to His slaves one after another.”
Undoubtedly the path of al-Wahhaab is the path of truth in which there is no crookedness or fabrication, and His party is the one that will prevail. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever takes Allaah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as Protectors, then the party of Allaah will be the victorious”
“They are the party of Allaah. Verily, it is the party of Allaah that will be the successful”
Long ago they accused al-Shaafa’i of being a Raafidi (Shi’ah) and he refuted them by saying:
“If being a Raafidi means loving the family of Muhammad, then let the two races (of mankind and the jinn) bear witness that I am a Raafidi.”
We refute the claims of those who accuse us of being Wahhabis by quoting the words of Shaykh Mullah ‘Imraan who was a Shi’a but Allaah guided him to the Sunnah. He said:
“If the follower of Ahmad [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] is a Wahhaabi, then I affirm that I am a Wahhaabi
I reject the association of any other with Allaah, for I have no Lord except the Unique, the Bestower (al-Wahhaab)
Those who were called by the Prophet accused him of being a sorcerer and a liar.”
(See: Manhaaj al-Firqat al-Naajiyah by Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zayno, p. 142-143.
And Allaah knows best.
Praise be to Allaah.
The Muslim is obliged to accept the teachings of Islam, and act upon them. When he hears of some word or deed which is based on evidence (daleel) from the Qur’aan or Sunnah, then he has to accept it and give it priority over anything else. He should check what people say against the evidence of sharee’ah, and only accept those views which are in accordance with that evidence. It is known that Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him) called people to Tawheed and he wrote his famous book on that topic which is called Kitaab al-Tawheed. In this book he limited himself to quoting only the clear evidence from the verses of the Qur’aan and the saheeh ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Commentaries on this book were written by his grandson ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan and other scholars. Hence none of his opponents can refute this book or claim that his evidence is false. They fabricated lies and believed them, so they believed that he was misguided.
They gave the same label to the scholars of the Muslims such as Shaykh Ibn Baaz and Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on them both). It is known that the shaykhs whom we have mentioned did not deviate from the correct view with regard to beliefs and actions; they followed the same path as the Sahaabah and Taabi’een, the four imaams, the authors of the Six Books and others.
Those who do not acknowledge them do that either out of ignorance, blind imitation of others, jealousy, stubbornness or following their own whims and desires, or adherence to traditions, bid’ah (innovation) and evil actions that go against the evidence (of sharee’ah). Earlier and later scholars have proven such people to be wrong. So we must follow the evidence and give it priority over the views of all people.
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen
Praise be to Allah
Al-Ghazzaali was Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi, who was known as al-Ghazzaali. He was born in Toos in 450 AH. His father used to spin wool and sell it in his shop in Toos.
The life of al-Ghazzaali needs to be discussed at length because he went through a number of stages. He indulged in philosophy, then he recanted and rejected that. After that he indulged in what is known as ‘ilm al-kalaam (Islamic philosophy) and gained a sound grasp of its basic principles; then he rejected that after it became clear to him that it was corrupt and filled with contradictions. He was focusing on ‘ilm al-kalaam during the period when he refuted philosophy, and at that time he was given the title of Hujjat al-Islam, after he had refuted the arguments of the philosophers. Then he recanted ‘ilm al-kalaam and turned away from it. He followed the path of the Baatiniyyah (esotericists) and learned their knowledge, but then he rejected that and showed the beliefs of the Baatiniyyah to be false, and exposed the manner in which they tamper with the texts and rulings. Then he followed the path of Sufism. These are the four stages that al-Ghazzaali went through. Shaykh Abu ‘Umar ibn al-Salaah (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke well of him when he said: “A lot has been said about Abu Haamid and a lot has been narrated from him. As for these books – meaning al-Ghazzaali’s books which contradict the truth – no attention should be paid to them. As for the man himself, we should keep quiet about him, and refer his case to Allaah.” See Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali wa’l-Tasawwuf by ‘Abd al-Rahmaan Dimashqiyyah.
No fair-minded person would deny the rare level of intelligence, ingenuity and cleverness that Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali attained. Al-Dhahabi said of him: “Al-Ghazzaali, the imaam and shaykh, the prominent scholar, Hujjat al-Islam, the wonder of his time, Zayn al-Deem Abu Haamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi al-Shaafa’i al-Ghazzaali, the author of many books and one possessed of utter intelligence. He studied fiqh in his own town, then he moved to Nisapur in the company of a group of students. He stayed with the Imaam al-Haramayn and gained a deep knowledge of fiqh within a short period. He became well-versed in ‘ilm al-kalaam and debate, until he became the best of debaters…” (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, part 9, p. 323)
You will find that even though Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali had such a deep knowledge of fiqh, Sufism, ‘ilm al-kalaam, usool al-fiqh, etc., and even though he was such an ascetic and devoted worshipper, and had such a good intention and vast knowledge of Islamic sciences, he still had an inclination towards philosophy. But his philosophy emerged in the form of Sufism and was expressed through Islamic ideas. Hence the Muslim scholars, including his closest companion Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi, refuted his ideas. Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi said: Our shaykh Abu Haamid went deep into philosophy, then he wanted to come out of it but he was unable to. There were narrated from him opinions which sound like the Baatini way of speaking, and that may be verified by looking in al-Ghazzaali’s books. See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, part 4, p. 66.
Even though al-Ghazzaali was very advanced in knowledge, he had little knowledge of hadeeth and its sciences, and he could not distinguish between sound ahaadeeth and weak ones. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If we assume that someone narrated the view of the salaf but what he narrated is far removed from what the view of the salaf actually is, then he has little knowledge of the view of the salaf, such as Abu’l-Ma’aali, Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, Ibn al-Khateeb and the like, who did not have enough knowledge of hadeeth to qualify them as ordinary scholars of hadeeth, let alone as prominent scholars in that field. For none of these people had any knowledge of al-Bukhaari and Muslim and their ahaadeeth, apart from what they heard, which is similar to the situation of the ordinary Muslim, who cannot distinguish between a hadeeth which is regarded as saheeh and mutawaatir according to the scholars of hadeeth, and a hadeeth which is fabricated and false. Their books bear witness to that, for they contain strange things and most of these scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam and Sufis who have drifted away from the path of the salaf admit that, either at the time of death or before death. There are many such well-known stories. This Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, despite his brilliance, his devotion to Allaah, his knowledge of kalaam and philosophy, his asceticism and spiritual practices and his Sufism, ended up in a state of confusion and resorted to the path of those who claim to find out things through dreams and spiritual methods. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, part 4, p. 71).
He also said: Hence, even though Abu Haamid refuted the philosophers and classed them as kaafirs, and expressed veneration of Prophethood [as opposed to philosophy], etc., and even though some of what he says is true and good, and indeed of great benefit, nevertheless some of his writings contain philosophical material and matters where he followed the corrupt principles of philosophy that contradict Prophethood and even contradict sound common sense. Hence a group of scholars from Khurasaan, Iraq and the Maghreb criticized him, such as his friend Abu Ishaaq al-Margheenaani, Abu’l-Wafa’ ibn ‘Aqeel, al-Qushayri, al-Tartooshi, Ibn Rushd, al-Maaziri and a group of earlier scholars. This was even mentioned by Shaykh Abu ‘Amr ibn al-Salaah in his book Tabaqaat Ashaab al-Shaafa’i, and was confirmed by Shaykh Abu Zakariya al-Nawawi, who said in his book: “Chapter explaining some important things for which Imaam al-Ghazzaali was denounced in his books which were unacceptable to the scholars of his madhhab and others, namely his odd statements such as what he said in Muqaddimat al-Mantiq at the beginning of al-Mustasfa: ‘This is the introduction to all knowledge, and whoever does not learn this, his knowledge cannot be trusted at all.’”
Shaykh Abu ‘Amr said: “I heard Shaykh al-‘Imaad ibn Yoonus narrating from Yoosuf al-Dimashqi, the teacher of al-Nizaamiyyah in Baghdad, who was one of the famous deans of the school, that he used to denounce these words and say, “Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and So-and-so and So-and-so…” meaning that these great leaders had a great deal of certainty and faith even though they had no knowledge of this Muqaddimah and of any of the ideas contained in it.” (al-‘Aqeedah al-Isfahaaniyyah, part 1, p. 169).
Al-Dhahabi narrated in his book Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’ that Muhammad ibn al-Waleed al-Tartooshi said in a letter which he sent to Ibn Muzaffar: As for what you mentioned about Abu Haamid, I have seen him and spoken to him, and I think that he is a man of great knowledge, he is intelligent and capable, and has been studying all of his life, spending most of his time in study, but then he drifted away from the path of the scholars and entered the crowd of worshippers. Then he became a Sufi and forsook knowledge and its people, then he got involved with “inspiration”, those who claim to have spiritual knowledge, and the insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan. Then he mixed that with the views of the philosophers and the symbolic phrases of al-Hallaaj, and he started to criticize the fuqaha’ and the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam. He almost went astray from the religion altogether. When he wrote al-Ihya’ [i.e., Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen], he started to speak of the inspiration and symbolic words of the Sufis, although he was not qualified to do that and had no deep knowledge of such matters. Hence he failed, and filled his book with fabricated reports.
I (al-Dhahabi) say: as for al-Ihya’, it contains many false ahaadeeth, and it contains much that is good. I wish that it did not contain etiquette, rituals and asceticism that are in accordance with the ways of the philosophers and deviant Sufis. We ask Allaah for beneficial knowledge. Do you know what is beneficial knowledge? It is that which Allaah revealed in the Qur’aan, which was explained by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in word and deed, and the type of knowledge which we are not forbidden to acquire. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.” So, my brother, you must ponder the words of Allaah and persist in studying al-Saheehayn, Sunan al-Nasaa’i, Riyaadh al-Nawawi and al-Adhkaar by al-Nawawi, then you will succeed and prosper.
Beware of the opinions of the philosophers, the practice of spiritual exercises, the starvation of monks, and the nonsense talk of those who stay alone for long periods in their monasteries. All goodness is to be found in following the pure and tolerant way of the haneefs. And seek the help of Allaah. O Allaah, guide us to Your straight path.
Al-Maaziri praised Abu Haamid with regard to fiqh, and said that he had more knowledge of fiqh than of usool al-fiqh (the basic principles of fiqh). With regard to ‘ilm al-kalaam which is usool al-deen, he wrote books in this field, but he did not have deep knowledge of it. I realized that he was lacking in experience in this field, because he studied the branches of philosophy before he studied usool al-fiqh, so philosophy made him audacious in criticizing ideas and attacking facts, because philosophy goes along with one’s train of thought, without any shar’i guidelines.
A friend of his told me that he spent a lot of time studying Rasaa’il Ikhwaan al-Safa, which contains fifty-one essays. It was written by someone who has studied sharee’ah and philosophy, then had mixed the two. He was a man who was known as Ibn Seena, who filled the world with his books. He had a good knowledge of philosophy, which led him to try to refer all the basic principles of ‘aqeedah to philosophy. He strove hard and achieved what others had failed to do. I have seen some of his books and I noticed that Abu Haamid quotes him a great deal when he speaks of philosophy. With regard to Sufi views, I do not know where he got them from, but I have seen that some of his companions mention the books of Ibn Seena and their contents, and he also mentioned the books of Abu Hayyaan al-Tawheedi. As far as I am concerned, he picked up his Sufi ideas from him. I was told that Abu Hayyaan wrote a huge book about these Sufi ideas, and al-Ihya’ contains a lot of baseless ideas… then he said: In al-Ihya’ he mentioned ideas that have no basis, such as starting with the index finger when cutting the nails because it is superior to the other fingers, as it is the finger used in tasbeeh; then moving on to the middle finger because it is to the right of the index finger, and ending with the thumb of the right hand. He narrated a report concerning that.
I (al-Dhahabi) say: this is a fabricated report. Abu’l-Faraj al-Jawzi said: Abu Haamid wrote al-Ihya’ and filled it with fabricated ahaadeeth which he did not know were fabricated. He spoke of inspiration and deviated from the framework of fiqh. He said that what is meant by the stars, moon and sun that Ibraaheem saw was the barriers of light that keep a person from Allaah, not the things that are well known. This is like the words of the Baatiniyyah.
(Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, part 19, p. 340).
Then at the end of his life, al-Ghazzaali (may Allaah have mercy on him) came back to the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. He focused on the Qur’aan and Sunnah and condemned ‘ilm al-kalaam and its proponents. He advised the ummah to come back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and to act in accordance with them, as was the way of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Judgement).
Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: After that he came back to the path of the scholars of hadeeth, and wrote Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam.
(Majmoo Fataawa, part 4, p. 72)
A glance at Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam will prove to us that he had indeed changed in many ways:
1 – In this book he advocated the belief of the salaf, and pointed out that the way of the salaf was the truth, and that whoever went against them was an innovator or follower of bid’ah.
2 – He emphatically denounced ta’weel (interpretation of the attributes of Allaah in a manner that differs from their apparent meaning). He advocated affirming the attributes of Allaah and not misinterpreting them in a manner that would lead to denying the attributes of Allaah.
3 – He emphatically denounced the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam and described all their principles and standards as “reprehensible innovations” which had harmed a great number of people and created trouble for the Muslims. He said: “The harm caused to a great number of people is something that has been seen, witnessed and experienced. The evil that has resulted since ‘ilm al-kalaam began has become widespread even though people at the time of the Sahaabah forbade that. This is also indicated by the fact that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Sahaabah, by consensus, did not follow the way of the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam when they produced arguments and evidence and analysis. That was not because they were incapable of doing so; if they had thought that was something good, they would have done it in the best manner, and they would have studied the matter hard, more than they did with regard to the division of the estate among the heirs (al-faraa’id).”
He also said: “The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) needed to prove the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the Jews and Christians, but they did not add anything to the evidence of the Qur’aan; they did not resort to arguments or lay down philosophical principles. That was because they knew that doing so would provoke trouble and cause confusion. Whoever is not convinced by the evidence of the Qur’aan will not be convinced by anything other than the sword, for there is no proof after the proof of Allaah.”
See Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali wa’l-Tasawwuf.
These are a few of the comments that trustworthy scholars have made about al-Ghazzaali (may Allaah have mercy on him). Perhaps this is enough for those who wish to be guided. And Allaah is the Guide to the straight path.
Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Haleem ibn Taymiyah is regarded as one of the prominent mujaddids (renewers and revivers) of Islam. He was born in 661 AH and died in 728 AH (may Allaah have mercy on him). If the efforts of a mujaddid bear fruit in his own time and generation, the efforts of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah began to bear fruit in his own time and have continued to do so until the present, affecting scholars and seekers of knowledge and Islamic groups that belong to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. Scholars still refer to his books to refute the enemies of Islam among the Jews and Christians and sects that claim to belong to Islam such as the Raafidis, Huloolis and Jahamis, and innovated sects such as the Ash’aris and Murji’is.
His achievements in the fields of fiqh, hadeeth, tafseer and sulook (ways of drawing close to Allaah) are too well known for us to need to give any examples here. His books and writings bear witness to that and he does not need anyone like us to praise him, rather his knowledge and fiqh are extant and bear witness that no one can deny except one who is ignorant or stubborn.
The testimony of the imams of his own and subsequent eras makes clear to any fair-minded person the falseness of the claims that have been fabricated by the enemies of Islam and the enemies of the Sunnah against this prominent imam, and highlight his knowledge, understanding and strength of argument. Hence we may know the reason why the people of kufr and innovation fought against him, which was because he demolished their principles and “and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them” (cf. al-Nahl 16:26). We will quote some of the testimony to the soundness of the belief of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, and his support for the Sunnah, and his refutation of those who followed innovation and myths.
These words of praise and testimony in favour of this imam did not come only from his students and supporters, but even his opponents testified that he surpassed others in knowledge and understanding, and they even bore witness to his courage, generosity and jihad for the sake of Allaah in support of Islam. There follow some of these words of praise and testimony:
1 – Imam al-Dhahabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, listing his Shaykhs:
He is our Shaykh, the Shaykh of Islam, unrivalled in our time in terms of knowledge, courage, intelligence, spiritual enlightenment, generosity, sincerity towards the ummah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and learning hadeeth – he put a great deal of effort into seeking it and writing it down, and he examined the different categories of narrators and acquired knowledge that no one else acquired.
He excelled in Qur’aanic commentary (tafseer) and delved deeply into its subtle meanings. He derived meanings from it that no one else managed to do before him. He also excelled in hadeeth and in the memorization thereof; very few have memorized as much hadeeth as he memorized. He attributed ahaadeeth to their proper sources and narrators, and he was able to quote readily whatever he needed to establish proof. He surpassed all people in knowledge of fiqh and the views of different madhhabs, and the fatwas of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een, so much so that when he issued a fatwa he did not adhere to the view of a madhhab, rather he based his fatwa on whichever view was supported by the stronger evidence. He excelled in knowledge of Arabic language, and studied issues on the basis of rationality and reason. He studied the views of the philosophers and refuted their arguments and pointed out their mistakes and warned against them. He supported the Sunnah with the strongest evidence and proofs. He was harmed for the sake of Allaah by his opponents and persecuted for his support of the pure Sunnah, until Allaah caused him to prevail and caused the pious to unite in loving him and praying for him, and suppressed his enemies and guided men of other groups and sects through him. Allaah made kings and commanders inclined to follow him and obey him, and he revived Syria – and indeed Islam – through his efforts, when it was almost defeated, by urging the rulers to resist the Tatars, when people were harbouring doubts about Allaah and the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking (cf. al-Ahzaab 33:10-11), and hypocrisy grew strong.
His good qualities are many, and he is too great for a man like me to talk about his life. If I were to swear an oath between the Corner and the Maqaam I would swear that I have never seen anyone like him, and that he has never seen anyone like himself.
See: Dhayl Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (4/390).
2 – al-Haafiz ‘Imaad al-Deen al-Waasiti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
By Allaah, there was never seen under the canopy of heaven anyone like your Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah in knowledge, righteous deeds, attitude, manner, adherence to the Sunnah, generosity, forbearance and carrying out duties to Allaah when His sacred limits were transgressed; he was the most sincere of people, the most sound in knowledge, the most effective, the most serious in supporting the truth, the most generous, the most perfect in following the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). We have never seen anyone in our own time who demonstrates the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Sunnahs in word and deed like this man; a sound heart will bear witness that this is following the Sunnah in the true sense of the word.
Al-‘Uqood al-Durriyyah (p. 311).
3 – al-Haafiz Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Ibn Taymiyah, the Shaykh, the imam, the ‘allaamah (great scholar), the hafiz, the critic, the faqeeh, the mujtahid, the brilliant mufassir, the Shaykh of Islam, the leader of ascetics, the unrivalled in our time, Taqiy al-Deen Abu’l-Abbaas Ahmad al-Mufti Shihaab al-Deen ‘Abd al-Haleem, the son of the imam and mujtahid Shaykh al-Islam Majd al-Deen ‘Abd al-Salaam ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi’l-Qaasim al-Haraani.
One of the prominent figures, he was born in Rabee’ al-Awwal 661 AH, and he learned from Ibn Abi’l-Yasar, Ibn ‘Abd al-Daa’im, and some others.
He took an interest in hadeeth, and narrated and selected (sound ahaadeeth); he excelled in the study of narrators’ biographies, defects in ahaadeeth, fiqh, the sciences of Islam, ‘ilm al-kalaam and other fields.
He was a man of vast learning, one of the few brilliant scholars, ascetics and unique individuals. He wrote three hundred books, and he was tested and persecuted many times.
He died in the latter part of Dhu’l-Qa’dah 628 AH.
Tabaqaat al-Huffaaz (p. 516, 517.
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami [one of the greatest Shaafa’i fuqaha’, who died in 974 AH and who is someone other than Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani, the author of Fath al-Baari, who died in 852 AH] criticized the two Shaykhs of Islam, Ibn Taymiyah and his student Ibn al-Qayyim, a great deal and accused them of describing Allaah in physical terms, likening Him to His creation, and other abhorrent beliefs. But he was refuted by many, who explained the falseness of what he said and demonstrated that the two imams were innocent of any belief that goes against the Qur’aan and Sunnah. One of these scholars was:
4 – Al-Mulla ‘Ali Qaari (may Allaah have mercy on him), who said, after quoting Ibn Hajar’s accusations against them and his criticism of their ‘aqeedah:
I say: Allaah protected them – i.e., Ibn al-Qayyim and his Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah – from this abhorrent accusation. The one who studies Sharh Manaazil al-Saa’ireen by Nadeem al-Baari al-Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah al-Ansaari, who is the Shaykh of Islam according to the Sufis, will clearly see that they were among Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah and are indeed among the awliya’ (close friends of Allaah) of this ummah. Among what he said in the book mentioned was the following:
“These words of Shaykh al-Islam highlight his position as a prominent scholar of Ahl al-Sunnah, and his status among scholars, and it demonstrates that he is innocent of what his Jahami enemies accused him of, that he likened Allaah to His creation, as they usually accused the scholars of hadeeth and Sunnah, just as the Raafidis accuse them of being Naasibis, and the Naasibis accuse them of being Raafidis,, and the Mu’tazilah accuse them of being anthropomorphists. That is a legacy of the enemies of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who accused him and his companions of having invented a new religion. And this is a legacy of the scholars of hadeeth and Sunnah from their Prophet, that the people of falsehood give them offensive labels.
May Allaah sanctify the soul of al-Shaafa’i, who said when he was accused of being a Raafidi:
If being a Raafidi means loving the family of Muhammad, then let the two races (of mankind and jinn) bear witness that I am a Raafidi.
May Allaah be pleased with our Shaykh Abu’l-‘Abbaas ibn Taymiyah when he said:
If being a Naasibi means loving the family of Muhammad, then let the two races (of mankind and jinn) bear witness that I am a Naasibi.
May Allaah forgive the third – Ibn al-Qayyim – when he said:
If being an anthropomorphist means affirming the divine attributes and regarding them as being above the interpretation of a liar,
Then praise be to Allaah, I am an anthropomorphist; bring your witnesses.”
Mirqaah al-Mafaateeh by al-Mulla ‘Ali Qaari (8/146, 147).
The words between the quotation marks “” were quoted by al-Mulla ‘Ali Qaari from Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, from his book Madaarij al-Saalikeen bayna Manaazil Iyyaaka Na’budu wa Iyyaaka Nasta’een (2/87, 88).
The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked:
People say that Ibn Taymiyah was not one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and that he was misled and misled others, and that this is the view of Ibn Hajar and others. Is what they say true or not?
Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Haleem Ibn Taymiyah is one of the imams of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, who called people to the truth and to the straight path. Allaah supported the Sunnah by means of him and suppressed the followers of innovation and deviation. The one who regards him as something other than that is the one who is an innovator and is misled and is misleading others. They heard wrong things about him, and they thought that truth was falsehood and falsehood was truth. That is known by the one whom Allaah guides and who reads his books and the books of his opponents, and compares his biography with theirs. This is the best and most decisive testimony between the two parties.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (2/451, 254).
Comments of Imam al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) concerning Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah:
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani is a well known imam who died in 852 AH; he is the author of beneficial books such as Fath al-Baari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari, al-Talkhees al-Habeer, Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb and others. Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said a few things in different places about Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, in which he testified that he was a man of knowledge and virtue who defended the Sunnah. The points on which al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) criticized Shaykh al-Islam can be refuted, and there are those who criticize Ibn Hajar himself on some points of ‘aqeedah, but that does not concern us and there is no need to discuss it here. Rather we will quote what he said in praise of Shaykh al-Islam, in order to highlight the error of those who say that al-Haafiz (may Allaah have mercy on him) did not respect Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.
There follows a glimpse of what al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said about Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him).
Shaykh Ibn Naasir al-Deen al-Dimashqi wrote a book called al-Radd al-Waafir ‘ala man za’ama anna man sammaa Ibn Taymiyah Shaykh al-Islam kaafir, in which he refuted one of the fanatical Hanafis who claimed that it was not permissible to call Ibn Taymiyah “Shaykh al-Islam”, and that the one who did that was a kaafir. In it he mentioned eighty five imams, all of whom described Ibn Taymiyah as Shaykh al-Islam, and he quoted their words from their books to that effect. When al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) read this book – al-Radd al-Waafir – he wrote an introduction to it, in which he said:
Praise be to Allaah, and peace be upon His slaves whom He has chosen.
I came across this beneficial book and I realized what deep knowledge the imam who wrote it has, and how prominent he is in many branches of knowledge, to such an extent that he became greatly respected and honoured by the scholars. The fame and position of Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen as an imam is brighter than the sun, and his title as the Shaykh al-Islam of his own era has lasted until today and will continue tomorrow.
Nobody rejects that except one who is ignorant of his position, or is unfair. How wrong is the one who thinks that way and how mistaken he is. Allaah is the One Whom we ask to protect us from the evil of our own souls and of our tongues by His blessing and grace.
If there were not other evidence of the greatness of this man apart from that which was pointed out by al-Haafiz al-Shaheer ‘Ilm al-Deen al-Barzaali in his Tareekh, (where he says): There was no one in the history of Islam for whose funeral people gathered as they did for the funeral of Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen. He pointed out that the funeral of Imam Ahmad was attended by hundreds of thousands, but if the population of Damascus was like that of Baghdad, or many times greater, no one would have stayed away from his funeral. Moreover, all of those who were in Baghdad, except a very few, believed in the leadership of Imam Ahmad. The ruler and caliph of Baghdad at that time had a great deal of love and respect for him. This is unlike the case of Ibn Taymiyah, for the ruler of the city when he died was absent, and most of the fuqaha’ in the city had ganged up against him, and he died imprisoned in the citadel. But despite that none of them stayed away from his funeral or failed to pray for mercy for him and mourn for him, except three individuals, who stayed away for fear of the anger of the masses.
Although these huge numbers attended his funeral, there was no motive for that except their belief that he was a great imam and their desire to seek blessing from attending his funeral. They did not gather on the orders of the authorities or for any other reason.
It is narrated in a saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You are the witnesses of Allaah on earth” – narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
A number of scholars opposed Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen many times, because of reasons for which they criticized him that had to do with fundamental and minor issues. Many hearings were held against him in Cairo and Damascus, but there is no report that any of them said he was a heretic and there was no ruling that he should be executed, even though there were many people in government at that time who were strongly opposed to him, and he was imprisoned in Cairo, then in Alexandria. Despite that, they all recognized his vast knowledge and his deep piety and asceticism, and they described him as generous and courageous, as well as supporting Islam and calling people to Allaah in secret and openly.
Why shouldn’t we denounce the one who says that he was a kaafir or that the one who calls him Shaykh al-Islam is a kaafir, when there is nothing to imply kufr in calling him that? He was undoubtedly a Shaykh of Islam, and the issues for which he was opposed were not things that he said on the basis of whims and desires, and he did not persist in saying them after proof was established against him out of stubbornness. His books are filled with refutations of those who promoted anthropomorphism and his disavowal thereof. But nevertheless he was a human being who made mistakes and got things right. That in which he was correct – which was most of it – may be benefited from, and we may pray for mercy for him because of that, and that which he got wrong should not be followed, but he may be excused for it, because the imams of his era bore witness that he was fully qualified to engage in ijtihaad; even the one who was most strongly opposed to him and strove to harm him, namely Shaykh Kamaal al-Deen al-Zamalkaani, bore witness to that, as did Shaykh Sadr al-Deen ibn al-Wakeel, who was the only one who was able to hold a debate with Ibn Taymiyah.
It is most amazing that this man was the staunchest opponent of the innovators such as the Raafidis, Huloolis and Ittihaadis, whose writings on that are many and well known, whose fatwas concerning them are too numerous to count. How happy they would be to realize that there are people who accuse him of kufr and say that the one who does not regard him as a kaafir is a kaafir. The one who claims to have knowledge, if he has any reason or sense, should ponder the man’s words in his famous books, or hear them from honest and trustworthy narrators, so that he will put aside what he finds objectionable and warn others by way of sincerity, and praise him for the matters he got right, as the attitude of other scholars should be.
If there was no good quality in him except the fact that his student was Shaykh Shams al-Deen ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the author of so many beneficial books, from which everyone has benefited, both those who agree with him and those who oppose him, that would be sufficient indication of his great status, so how about when his prominence in various fields of knowledge and his distinction in the study of the texts was affirmed by the prominent Shaafa’is of his time and others, in addition to the Hanbalis? No attention should be paid to the one who calls him a kaafir despite all these achievements, or who describes the one who calls him “Shaykh al-Islam” as a kaafir, and he should be ignored with regard to this matter; indeed he should be rebuked for saying that, until he comes back to the truth. Allaah speaks the truth and He guides to the right way; Allaah is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of affairs.
Said and written by Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Hajar al-Shaafa’i, may Allaah forgive him, on Friday 9 Rabee’ al-Awwal, 835 AH. Praise be to Allaah, and may Allaah send blessings and peace upon His Messenger Muhammad and his family.
Al-Radd al-Waafir by Imam Ibn Naasir al-Deen al-Dimashqi (p. 145, 146), al-Haafiz al-Sakhaawi – the student of Ibn Hajar – quoted the words of his Shaykh in his book al-Jawaahir wa’l-Durar (2/734-736).
al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar wrote a lengthy biography of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on them both) in his book al-Durar al-Kaaminah, at the beginning of which he said:
His father took him with him from Harraan in 667 AH, and he learned from Ibn ‘Abd al-Daa’im, al-Qaasim al-Arbili, Muslim ibn ‘Allaan, Ibn Abi ‘Umar and al-Fakhr, among others. He read by himself and copied Sunan Abi Dawood, and he studied al-rijaal (narrators of hadeeth) and al-‘ilal (faults in hadeeth). He acquired deep knowledge, and he distinguished himself and went ahead of others. He wrote books, taught and issued fatwas, and he surpassed his peers. He had an amazing ability to recollect quickly; he was courageous; he had a deep knowledge of textual and rational matters; and he was able to discuss matters in detail on the basis of the views of earlier and later scholars. End quote.
Al-Durar al-Kaaminah fi A’yaan al-Mi’ah al-Thaaminah (1/168).
In his biography he quoted many texts of the imams which praised Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) and affirmed his scholarship in rational and textual fields of knowledge. For example, he said:
I read in the handwriting of al-Haafiz Salaah al-Deen al-‘Alaa’i, when he wrote the biography of the Shaykh of our shaykhs, al-Haafiz Baha’ al-Deen ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Muhammad ibn Khaleel, the following: This Baha’ al-Deen learned from the two Shaykhs, our Shaykh, master and leader in the way of Allaah, the prominent Shaykh, the one who leads his followers to the best way, the one who has numerous virtues and the strongest evidence, which all the nations affirm that they are unable to list all this evidence; may Allaah enable us to learn from his great knowledge and benefit us by means of his knowledge in this world and in the Hereafter. He is the Shaykh, imam, scholar, teacher and bright star, the imam of imams, the blessing of the ummah, the leader of scholars, the example for people to follow, the light for the learners, the suppressor of innovators, the sea of knowledge, the treasure of those who seek benefit, the interpreter of the Qur’aan, the wonder of our age, the unrivalled one of our era, Taqiy al-Deen, the imam of the Muslims, the proof of Allaah against the world, the one who will join the righteous, the follower of the predecessors, the supporter of the truth, the sign of guidance, the prominent hafiz, the most eloquent of speech, the pillar of sharee’ah, the possessor of brilliant knowledge, Abu’l-‘Abbaas Ibn Taymiyah.
Al-Durar al-Kaaminah (186-187).
Although the texts that we have quoted or referred to, which contain the words of al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) or which were quoted by al-Haafiz from others, speak of respect for Shaykh al-Islam and highlight his status in the field of religious knowledge, that does not mean that al-Haafiz did not differ with Shaykh al-Islam at all in some fields of knowledge, or that he never criticized him, because it usually happens that scholars refute one another, without that necessarily meaning that the one who refutes another does not respect or appreciate the status of the latter, let alone accuse him of innovation or misguidance.
Long ago, Imam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke his famous words: “Anyone’s opinion may be accepted or rejected, except the occupant of this grave” or words to that effect – meaning the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Regardless of who was right in any given issue, whether it was Shaykh al-Islam or the one who differed with him or tried to refute him, al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar or someone else, how about if the one who was right in most of the cases where they objected to him, was Shaykh al-Islam? May Allaah have mercy on them all.
You may refer to many of the issues for which Shaykh al-Islam was criticized, especially by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, to whom we referred above, in what was written by Shaykh Nu’maan Khayr al-Deen ibn al-Aloosi (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his beneficial book Jala’ al-‘Aynayn fi Muhaakamah al-Ahmadayn, meaning Ahmad ibn Taymiyah and Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haytami (may Allaah have mercy on them).
You may also see the book Da’aawa al-Munaawi’een li Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, which is an academic research by Dr. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Saalih al-Ghusun.
What is mentioned in the question about Shaykh al-Islam having deviated from sound ‘aqeedah and ascribed to Allaah, may He be exalted, the attributes of His creation, is an utter fabrication and a blatant lie against Shaykh al-Islam and his methodology and ‘aqeedah. Anyone who reads any of his major or minor books will realize that. Among these texts and rules which it would be too difficult to refer to all of them, let alone quote them, are his words:
The early generation of this ummah and its imams are unanimously agreed that there is nothing like unto Allaah, either in His essence or His attributes or His actions. One of the imams said: Whoever likens Allaah to His creation is a kaafir, and whoever denies that which Allaah has ascribed to Himself is a kaafir; there is nothing like unto that which Allaah has ascribed to Himself or His Messenger has ascribed to Him. End quote.
Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam (2/126).
And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The comprehensive statement concerning all of this matter is that Allaah is to be described as He has described Himself or His Messenger has described Him, and as the early generation have described Him, and we are not to go beyond what the Qur’aan and hadeeth say.
Imam Ahmad (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Allaah is not to be described except as He has described Himself or His Messenger has described Him, and one is not to go beyond the Qur’aan and hadeeth.
The approach of the salaf was to describe Allaah as He described Himself and as His Messenger described Him, without distorting or denying, and without asking how or likening Him to His creation. We know that what Allaah has ascribed to Himself is true, and there is nothing mysterious or puzzling in it, rather its meaning is to be understood as the One Who said it meant it to be understood, especially when the one who said it is more knowledgeable of what he says than all other people and the most eloquent and most able to explain what he wanted to explain, and the most fluent in explaining, defining and guiding.
In addition to all of this, there is nothing like unto Allaah, either in His holy essence or His names and attributes or actions. We believe firmly that He has a real essence and that He has real actions, and real attributes. There is nothing like unto Him, in his essence, attributes or actions. If there is anything that implies shortcomings or that He has a beginning, He is far above that in a real sense, and He is to be thought of as perfect in such a way that there is no perfection above it. He has no beginning and He cannot have been created, because there was never a time when He did not exist. For anything to be created implies that there was a time when it did not exist, and that creation would require a creator, but He has always existed from eternity.
The view of the salaf is one of moderation, neither denying the divine attributes nor likening Allaah to His creation. They do not liken the attributes of Allaah to the attributes of His creation, as they do not liken His essence to the essence of His creation. They do not deny that which He ascribes to Himself or that His Messenger ascribes to Him, which leads to denying His beautiful names and sublime attributes, and to displacing words from (their) right places (cf. al-Nisa’ 4:46) and turning away from (Fussilat 41:40) the names and signs of Allaah.
Both those who deny Allaah’s attributes and those who liken Him to His creation are guilty of both errors. Those who deny His attributes failed to understand the names and attributes of Allaah except in a manner that is befitting to created beings, so they denied these concepts and thus they have combined both errors; first of all they likened Him to His creation, then they denied His attributes as a result. That is likening the names and attributes to what may be understood from the names and attributes of His creation, then they denied the attributes that He deserves to have that are befitting to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted.
Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam (5/26-27)
The texts of Shaykh al-Islam concerning this issue are very many, as we have indicated, but what we have quoted is sufficient, in sha Allaah.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Sects and Innovations (Bidah)
Madhabs (Schools of Thought)
Jinn and Black Magic
Seerah (Biography) of the Prophet
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