6. Spread of heretical beliefs and sorcery amongst the Muslims due to the effortsof the people of innovation and desires from amongst the Shiites, the Rafidah, theSufis and the Baatinis.It was in this time of tribulations that Allah ordained for Ibn Taymiyyah toconfront these challenges and to defend the pure Deen against the tidal wave of misconceptions, deviations, innovations and heresies.
Family and Early Life, Teachers and Students19
6Ibn Taymiyyah was born in Harran (an old city between Sham and Iraq) on the10th of Rabi al-Awwal 661H. His family was renowned for their knowledge andexcellence. When he was six years old, his family fled to Damascus under thethreat of an imminent Mongol attack on their hometown. In Damascus, his fatherShahabud-Din Abu al-Mahasin Abd al-Halim established himself as a respectablescholar and later became the professor of Hadeeth and the khateeb of the greatUmmayyad mosque.
Education and Teachers
From an early age, Ibn Taymiyyah was noted for his memory, comprehension andstrict observance of time - qualities that would later cause the rest of his life to befilled with actions such as teaching, commanding the good, forbidding the evil,authoring books and refuting innovators. He memorized the Qur'aan and studiedHadeeth with his father, who was a specialist in this field.He learned the laws of Sharee'ah, Jurisprudence and studied the Hanbali system of law under his own father. He had a particular liking for the Tafseer (explanation)of the Qur'aan as Ibn Taymiyyah, himself mentions, 'Sometimes, I have gonethrough as many as hundred commentaries of a single verse of the Qur'aan. After Ihave dipped into these pages, I have supplicated to Allah to enlighten me about thetrue content and significance of the verse. I pray to Allah thus on these occasions,'You are the Exalted Teacher of Adam and Ibraheem. Favor me with the essenceof this verse.' [al-Uqood ad-Durriyah (p. 24)]In addition, Ibn Taymiyyah also studied secular sciences of his time like history,calligraphy, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, dialect, logic, philosophy anddifferent Islamic sects. These early intellectual pursuits contributed a great deal tohis future lectures and writings. Any subject, Ibn Taymiyyah tackled and wroteabout, left the reader under the impression that this was his specific field of expertise. The total number of scholars from whom he took knowledge exceedstwo hundred including four female teachers.