A thesis submitted to The University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

Department of Theology School of Historical Studies The University of Birmingham May 2002

A theodicy maintains that God is rational in creating a world containing evil. This thesis shows that the Muslim Hanbali theologian Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328) theodicy of optimism or a best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy in which presents a God wills all existents from eternity for the wise purpose or cause of establishing His perfection and right to worship. God's all-encompassing creation precludes

libertarian freedom. Nonetheless, Ibn Taymiyya asserts human responsibility by focusing on divine command, the `reality' human agency, and secondary of

causality. Evil is miniscule and harmful relative only to humans, and it is good by virtue of the divine wise purpose and its educational and religious benefits. Ibn Taymiyya maintains a semblance of divine retributive justice by attributing evil deeds to humans or tracing them to nonexistence. However, God's justice is

fundamentally His goodness in creation, and He creates the best of all possible worlds out of the necessity of His perfection. acknowledge rational difficulties. Ibn Taymiyya is reticent to

This, and the character of his theodicy as a

whole, is explained by his apologetic intention to elicit religious devotion through interpretation of God's ultimately unknowable attributes by reference to revealed tradition and rational notions of perfection-especially ethical utilitarianism.


I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to the many people who have made this

study possible. David Thomas has gently guided and encouragedmy research
through many a blind alley. His interest in my work and his patient trust that

something would come of it in due time has been a constant source of inspiration. The staff and my fellow students at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian Muslim Relations in the University of Birmingham have provided

friendship and much stimulating dialogue. The librarians at the Orchard steady
Learning Resources Centre have been most gracious in locating obscure items for me. Yahya Michot in Oxford has given very generously of his time and his Michael Shelley in Cairo

numerous translations of Ibn Taymiyya's writings.

graciously read through penultimate drafts of the text and saved me from many infelicities of language. Staff members at Dar Comboni Arabic Studies Institute in Cairo have offered freely of their friendship and hospitality, also providing temporary office space at a crucial point in my writing. I am deeply grateful to

my parents to whom this study is dedicated and to the numerous people of vision in the Mennonite churches of the United States and Canada for making this in so many different ways. I also owe a great debt to my wife research possible and children for bearing with me through the grueling process of study and granting me the daily joy and warmth of life in family. Last, but certainly not

least, I give thanks to God who in love and mercy has seen me through this

Theodicy in Islamic thought and the significance of Ibn Taymiyya........... I 6 Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean writings ............................................... 13 Method of analysis and presentation ............................................. 18 Notes to the Introduction ........................................................... CHAPTER ONE IBN TAYMIYYA



1.1 An overview of the backgroundissues ............................................


29 1.2 Ibn Taymiyya on the correspondence reasonand revelation of ................
1.3 1.3.1 1.3.2 1.3.3 1.3.4 1.4 1.4.1 1.4.2 1.4.3 1.4.4 1.5 Ibn Taymiyya on knowledge of God's existence and ethical value........... 32 Cosmological proof for the existence of God in the necessity of reason.... 32 Rationalist utilitarian ethics and the divine command 34 .......................... The natural constitution (ftra) and its perfection through prophecy.......... 39 45 Concluding notes on God's existence and ethical value ........................ Ibn Taymiyya on knowledge of God's attributes ................................ Agnostic affirmation of God's attributes in the revealed tradition............ The meanings of the revealed attributes in human language ................... The a fortiori argument for rationally delineating God's attributes........... God's attributes of perfection establish His right to worship ................. Conclusion: Ibn Taymiyya establishing God's right to worship .............. 47 48 52 56 63 70

Notes to ChapterOne ................................................................



Kaläm theology's objections to wise purpose/causality in the will of God.. 81 84 84 86 86 87 89

2.2 Ibn Taymiyya's defense of divine wise purpose in Minhüj .................... denial of causality in the acts of God........ 2.2.1 Preparing to refute the AshWari 2.2.2 God has been acting, creating, and willing in time from eternity ............. 2.2.2. a An endless chain of causes into the future and into the past ................ 2.2.2. b An eternal complete cause implies that nothing originates in time......... 2.2.2. c Temporal origination requires a temporally originated cause ...............

2.2.2. d The temporality of God's will ................................................... 2.2.2. e God in His perfection acts, wills, and creates perpetually .................. 2.2.2. g Refutation of Kaläm arguments against an infinite regress ............... 2.2.2. h Wrap-up on God's perpetual acting, creating, and willing ................. 2.2.3 God needs no help in perfecting Himself through His creation ............. 2.2.4 God's temporally originated wise purposes subsist in His essence ......... 2.3 2.3.1 2.3.2 2.3.3 2.4 2.5 Ibn Taymiyya's defense of divine wise purpose in Irüda .................... Four views on causality and wise purpose in the divine will ................ Purposive activity yields a judgement for which God is praiseworthy..... God acts for wise purposes to establish His perfection ....................... On hikma as Ibn Taymiyya's preferred term for divine purpose ............ Conclusion .......................................................................... .............................................................

91 95

2.2.2.f The temporally originated world ..............................................

96 ..

101 104 105 106 108 108 109 111 113 115 117

Notes to Chapter Two

3.1 3.2. 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.2.4 3.3 3.4 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 3.4.4 3.5 3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.6 The problem of creation and command in Ibn Taymiyya's thought........ 123 Ibn Taymiyya's classification of errors in creation and command.......... 124 124 A typology of errors ............................................................... 126 Qadaris and Muctazilis: Compromising creation .............................. Sufi antinomians, Jabris, and AshWaris:Compromising command.......... 128 Free-thinkers and poets: Impugning God's wise purpose and justice...... 132 Ibn Taymiyya: Analogy is the cause of error in creation and command... 135 Modes of expressing creation and command in Ibn Taymiyya's thought.. 140 Creation and command in the Wüsitiyya creed 140 ................................. Lordship and divinity 142 ...................................................... ...... Generation and legislation 145 ........................................................ Generative will and legislative will 148 ............................................. Ibn Taymiyya on possible resolution of creation and command 152 ............ God may be acting for His own benefit in not helping others obey I-Iim... 153 God may create things He hates for a wise purpose that He loves.......... 156 Excursus on God's eternal love as the final cause of His acts 158 ............... Conclusion .......................................................................... ............................................................ 160 163

Notes to Chapter Three


4.1 4.2 4.3 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.3 4.3.4 4.3.5 4.4 4.4.1 4.4.2 4.4.3 4.4.4 4.4.5 Prior research on Ibn Taymiyya's view of the human act .................... The human act in Kaläm theology ............................................... 171 173

Ibn Taymiyya on the compatibility of divine creation and human action.. 179 God is the Creator, Originator, and Preponderator of the human act....... 179 182 Human determining power and legislative power ............................. 184 Imprecision in the human will ................................................... 187 Reconciling the Jabris and the Qadaris with compatibilist freedom ........ The substrate principle: Humans are the agents of their acts in reality..... 189 Ibn Taymiyya's view of divine creation by means of secondary causes... 192 192 An overview of secondary causality ............................................. 194 Polemic on secondary causality .................................................. Secondary causality from the divine perspective is instrumental............ 196 199 Secondary causality from the human perspective is natural .................. 201 Conclusion on secondary causality ..............................................

4.5 Ibn Taymiyya on controversial terms relating to human agency............ 202 4.5.1 No Ashcari acquisition (kasb) and no independent efficacy (ta'thir)....... 202 4.5.2 No divine `obligation of what one is not able' (taklif mü la yutüq)......... 204 207 4.5.3 No divine compulsion (jabr) ...................................................... 4.6 Conclusion .......................................................................... ............................................................. 211 214

Notes to Chapter Four

CHAPTER FIVE GOD'S WISE PURPOSEAND THE ORIGIN OF EVIL 5.1 222 Backgroundon the explanationof evil in Islamic theodicies ................
224 224 225 227 233 237

5.2. Ibn Taymiyya's evil attribution typology ....................................... 5.2.1 Attributing evil to the generality, secondary cause, or elided agent......... 5.2.2 The attribution of evil illustrated from the Qur'an ............................. 5.2.3 Evil is good in the divine wise purpose and only evil for creatures......... 5.2.4 The relation of the divine names to evil ........................................ 5.3 Ibn Taymiyya on God's wise purposes in the creation of evil ...............

5.4 Ibn Taymiyya's location of the origin of evil in nonexistence ('acdnºn)....244 5.4.1 Exclusive divine goodness and the origin of evil deeds in Hasana......... 245 5.4.1.a Interpreting Q. 4: 78-9: everything is from God; evil is from the soul... 245

5.4.1. b All good comes from God's unmerited blessing 248 ............................ 5.4.1. c The source of evil deeds is ignorance, which is a nonexistent............ 250 5.4.1. d Punishment is for the lack of the deeds for which one was created....... 254 257 5.4.1. e Worship God alone because He is the sole source of good ................ 258 5.4.2 The origin of evil in human imperfection and lack in Fdtiha ................ 5.5 Conclusion .......................................................................... ............................................................. 262 264

Notes to Chapter Five

CHAPTER SIX THE JUSTICE OF GOD AND THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS 6.1 6.2 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3 6.3 6.4 6.5 Introduction ......................................................................... 270 271 271 277 280

Ibn Taymiyya's three-fold typology on views of God's justice ('ad! )...... Muctazilis: God's obligation to retributive justice ............................. Ashcaris: God's voluntaristic justice ............................................. Ibn Taymiyya: God's self-obligation to put things in their places..........

A passage from Ibn Taymiyya's cAdil: God necessarily does the best...... 284 Ibn Taymiyya on al-Ghazäli's best of all possible worlds .................... Conclusion .......................................................................... ............................................................... 287 290 292

Notes to Chapter Six


............................................................................ ...........................................................

295 308

Notes to the Conclusion

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ibn Taymiyya's Writings ......................................................... Other Arabic and Western Language Sources .................................

310 318




This study cites works by Ibn Taymiyya with short titles (e.g. Irüda,

Nubuwwät, Dar') whose full referencesare located in the Bibliography under `Ibn
Taymiyya's Writings'. Abbreviations referring to collections of his works (e. g.

MF, MRM, MRK) are also found there. Very short texts have not been given a

title and are cited only by their location in their respectivecollections. short
Minhäj, the full critical edition of Ibn Taymiyya's Minhüj al-sunna al-

is not yet widely available in libraries or in the marketplace, whereas nabativiyya, the old Büläq edition (short title Minhäjl3) has been used almost universally for Thus, volume and page citations to Minhäj in the notes are previous research. followed by a slash and the equivalent volume and page reference in the old Bü15q in order to facilitate cross checking. edition Dates are given in the Islamic lunar calendar followed by a slash and the

Common Era equivalent. Single dates given without a slash and marked `AH'
(Anno Hegirae) follow the Islamic calendar. Otherwise, single dates given are

Common Era only.
References to the Qur'an follow the verse numbering of the 1923 Cairo the Arabic text. Renderings of quranic texts into English are my own, edition of I have made constant reference to Muhammad Tagi-ud-Din al-I-Iilzli and although Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur'ün in the English Language, 4th ed. (Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 1994), as well as to Arberry and occasionally Pickthall. Except for modernizing English style, I

have sometimes followed one or the other of them very closely.

At times,

however, I have strayed from these interpretations in order to bring out Ibn Taymiyya's understanding and interpretation of particular texts and to maintain in translating key terms. consistency Due to the many different hadith collections on the market, I have not given information for any collection. References are given only to the name publishing (Bukhäri, Muslim, Ibn Mäjah, etc.) Hadith numbering follows the of the collector

the cAlamiyya company (targim al-cä1amiyya) used on the CD-ROM, system of
Mawsü'at al-hadith al-sharif, Version 2.0 (Cairo: Sakhr, 1997). For additional in locating assistance references in hadith collections not following this

I have also given the `Kitäb' and `Bib' for the first collection numbering system,
(usually Bukhäri or Muslim) in which the hadith has been found. Occasionally, I the `Kitäb' and `Bab' for a second collection if the hadith related by Ibn give Taymiyya is not found in the first collection in its entirety. Translations of hadith In the many cases where there are differences (usually slight) reports are my own. between the way a hadith appears in an authoritative collection and in Ibn Taymiyya's writings, I follow Ibn Taymiyya's text. It is beyond the scope of this to note and trace textual variations in hadith reports. study The primary authorities for names, death dates, and basic biographical information for figures mentioned in the text are The Encyclopedia of Islam, New [hereafter E12] (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960-), and Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli, ed. Ac1am: Qämas larüjim li-ashhar al-rijül u'a al-nisü' Al-

min al-carab it'a al-

[A'lüm], 8 vols. (Beirut: Där al cilm li-l-mallyln, musta'ribin wa al-mustashriqin 1997). In view of the facts that there are various editions of Adlüm, that the

E12 differs between the French and English editions, and that a new pagination of EI will soon be underway, I have not given exact citations for basic edition of information. Instead, I have given full names (at least first name, father's name,

honorifics) so as to facilitate location of these figures not only in E12 and common and A'läm but also in other reference works as well. This study is written in American English. Although it is now common

in English not to capitalize the pronoun `he' in reference to God, I have practice

taken the liberty of doing so becauseit remainswidespreadin Islamic studiesand because it may clarify the sense of often pronoun-laden Arabic sentencesin
translation. I have used inclusive language wherever possible except when I have judged it to extend beyond the spirit and structure of the texts with which I am Most of Ibn Taymiyya's illustrations and arguments are cast in the third working. singular, and I usually follow suit. person masculine Transliteration of Arabic terms and phrases has been supplied using Semitic Transliterator for Windows produced by Linguist's Software, Inc., Edmonds, WA,


The Arabic transliteration table below follows the Library of Congress found in Bulletin 91, Arabic Romanization (Washington, D. C.: Library of system Congress Processing Department, 1970), with some minor simplifications. Some

Sufi, Qur'an, hadith, jihad, fatwa, Damascus, Cairo, and words and names such as Mecca, which appear in unabridged dictionaries such as Webster s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (New York: Gramercy, 1996) are not transliterated from their Arabic equivalents. usually

Consonants hamza -' bä' tä' thä' jim hä' -b -t th -j -h däl dhäl rä' zä' sin shin -d dh -r -z -s - sh däd tä' zä' Cayn -d -t -z -c keif leim mim nün hä' w1w -k -1 - in -n -h -w

ghayn - gh f' -f


kh -







Long Vowels: Short Vowels: Dipthongs:

ä (for alif and alif magsilra) aiu aw ay iyy (final form i)

(final form ü) uww

Definite article: al- (no sun letters). No initial hamza. Ti? marbfita: -a (-at in construct as in majmücat al-rasü'il , and -h following alif as in saldh and quddh)

Maktabat al-'aqd'id wa al-milal. CD ROM. Version 1.5.

ACD AH Ar. ca.

Amman: Markaz al-turäth li-abbath al-häsib at-51I,1420/1999.
Anno Hegirae Arabic text circa

ed. E12 ET FT n.

edition, edited by editor(s), The Encyclopedia of Islam. New edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill,

English translation French translation note


no date
no publisher
p. pp. Q. rev. sg. trans.

no place of publication
page number page numbers Qur'an revised, revised by singular (as opposed to plural) translator(s), translation, translated by



Theodicy in Islamic thought and the significance of Ibn Taymiyya In the Islamic tradition, which confesses that one God createsthe universe
by His will, the existence of disobedience, unbelief, injustice, and pain may be to present `problems of evil', that is, questions of why the Creator wills to seen create a world in which this or that evil exists. ' However, the divine

`voluntarism' of AshcanKaläm theology precludessuch questionsby appealingto
the higher values of God's unfettered will, metaphysical self-sufficiency, to determine all things. exclusive power and

God is not limited or bound by any

of reason, and He has no need for deliberation, rational motives, or necessity
Thus, God's creation of evils such as unbelief and injustice are external causes. not susceptible to any explanation except that God wills 2 them.

The philosophical alternative to divine voluntarism is `theodicy', a term by Gottfried Leibniz (d. 1716) from the Greek theos (God) and dike coined (justice). Although Leibniz does not define the term, the issues that it typically

may be observedin the title of his major work: Theodicy: Essayson encompasses
God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. 3 Immanuel the Goodness of Kant (d. 1804) supplies a classic definition of the term: "By `theodicy' we the defense of the highest wisdom of the creator against the charge understand brings against it for whatever is counterpurposive in the world. s4 which reason More simply, a theodicy argues that God's will is governed by some kind of in creating a world in which there are evils. 5 rationality


Perhaps the best known Islamic theodicy is that of the Multazili


In general, the Muctazilis, like the AshWaris,seek to uphold God's theologians. freedom from need. However, they also emphasize the higher self-sufficiency and divine creation. In the Mu'tazili theodicy, God creates human good of purposive beings not out of His own need but for the benefit of humans themselves, which is to work for reward in the retributive order of obligations that God has imposed. Within this order God must do what is `best' (aslah) for all creatures in matters to religion, and even in matters of this world according to some pertaining Muctazilis. In order to protect God from the injustice of creating and then

disobedience, humans must be free to create their own punishing unbelief and deeds, and this leads the Muctazilis to sacrifice God's exclusive power in 6 In the the Muctazilis parlance of anglophone philosophers of religion, creation. `free will' theodicy in which humans have `libertarian freedom' to cause present a their own acts apart from external determinants.? The free will approach is not the only philosophically possible theodicy. A kind, often associated with Leibniz and going back to Neoplatonism, is second `optimism' or the `best-of-all-possible-worlds' theodicy in which God creates and determines all contingent existents for rational ends that make this world the best There is no `gratuitous' or `counterpurposive' evil since every evil is possible. higher good. 8 The determinism of this theodicy, explained as necessary to some that of divine voluntarism, appears to nullify human responsibility. as well as Contemporary philosophers of religion have given the label `compatibilism' or

`compatibilist freedom' to viewpoints that try to give significance to human action without libertarian freedom. granting Humans with compatibilist freedom



that they have free choice and are thereby morally perceive

for their deeds even though external causes fully determine their wills. responsible In the western Christian tradition, compatibilism has been attributed to Leibniz (d. 1274).9 more controversially, to Thomas Aquinas and, In the Islamic tradition, a `best-of-all-possible-worlds' theodicy is found in

(d. 428/1037), 1° who explains in al-Shims' that divine the philosophy of Ibn Sind ((inaya) means that the First (i. e. God) is the source of the best providence It is "a cause in Itself of good and perfection inasmuch as that is possible order. (bi-hasab al-imkän). "11 Evil for the philosopher is a privation of being or possible and it is a necessary consequence of and a means to the greater good existence, in creation. 12 Ibn Sind also insists that human beings that God providentially wills have free will, although this is clearly in a compatibilist rather than a libertarian he maintains that all contingent existents are necessary by virtue of sense since 13 external causes. The Sufis do not necessarily speculate over whether this world is the best but they do typically affirm that God creates evil as an instrument of possible, discipline on the spiritual path. Annemarie Schimmel sums up this perspective: "The mystic can understand that God's wrath is mercy in disguise, and that the that He inflicts upon those who love Him are necessary for pain and punishment their spiritual growth just for the sick. ", 4 The as bitter medicine is necessary

Sufi theodicy receives fuller philosophical expression in a best-of-all-possibleworlds tradition (d. 505/1111), 15 which will stemming from al-Ghazal! be

discussed further in Chapter Six of this study (6.4), and in the writings of the Sufi (d. 638/1240). 16 theosophist Ibn CArabi



Henri Laoust has identified `optimism' in the subject of the

'7 In the Damascene Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). present study, his still unsurpassed and encyclopedic 1939 Essai sur les doctrines sociales et de Taki-d-Din Ahmad b. Taimiya, Laoust makes the following brief politiques comments concerning the shaykh's perspective on evil. God is essentially providence. Evil is without real existence in the world. All that God has willed can only conform to a sovereign justice and an infinite goodness, provided, however, that it is envisaged from the point of the totality and not from that of the fragmentary and imperfect view of knowledge that His creatures have of these things... Ibn Taymiyya's . theodicy marks the advent in Sunni dogmatics of an optimism of Platonic inspiration which will be more amply and more literarily developed in the Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. 8 oeuvre of

Laoust's claim that optimism entered `Sunni dogmatics' with Ibn Taymiyya in light of further research. Apart from the tradition of requires qualification
deriving from al-Ghaz51i that has been noted above, a kind of optimism optimism (d. 333/944). 19 in the central Asian Sunni Kaläm theologian al-Mäturidi also exists

J. Meric Pessagnoshows that for al-Mäturidi God creates all things, including in conformity to His wisdom. In its own peculiar way, evil shows the evil, of the creation and thus its need for the Creator. Evil is createdas a contingency
lead human beings to knowledge of God. 20 In view of tool of divine wisdom to Ibn Taymiyya does not mark the `advent' of a best-ofal-Ghaz51i and al-Mäturidi, theodicy into Sunni theology. If, however, Laoust's synopsis all-possible-worlds Ibn Taymiyya's theodicy is correct in its essentials-and of that it is-the shaykh does present a significant, this study will show not entirely


instanceof optimism in the history of Islamic theology. unprecedented,


Ibn Taymiyya's


perspective derives particular In general, the shaykh

interest from its impact on subsequent Islamic thought.

21 deeply influenced his close disciple Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 751/1350), and both the shaykh and his disciple were important sources for the the writings of Wahhäbi movement in Arabia and modern reformers such as eighteenth century Ridä (d. 1935).22 In the realm of theodicy specifically, Laoust correctly Rashid in the quotation given above that Ibn al-Qayyim provides a more fully notes 23 In recent times, the direct developed optimism than does Ibn Taymiyya himself. influence of their optimism is easily detected in such diverse places as the work of Fazlur Rahman (d. 1988) and a detailed volume on good and evil published in by Muhammad al-Sayyid al-Julaynid. 24 The full extent to which the Egypt of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim have shaped subsequent reflection writings of evil in Islamic thought requires a separate investigation. on problems I hope

Ibn Taymiyya alone will provide a firmer foundation than has that this study on been available for research of that kind. previously

Apart from Laoust, a number of scholars, most notably Joseph Bell and
Daniel Gimaret, have investigated issues related to Ibn Taymiyya's theodicy, and discussed at relevant places in the present work. 25 However, their findings will be the shaykh's theodicean writings as such have not yet received sustained attention, be noted in the next section of this Introduction, scholars working in and, as will languages have not previously taken note of several pertinent texts. western The central concerns of this study are describing, analyzing, and sometimes Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean writings and evaluating how he copes with translating difficulties inherent in his best-of-all-possible-worlds approach, particularly those


relating to rationality in the will of God, the compatibility of divine determination

human freedom, and problems of evil andjustice. Beyond this, I also hope with
to shed light on why Ibn Taymiyya breaks with the Multazili perspectives and why he adopts a best-of-all-possible-worlds and Ashcari theodicy.

Answering these questions may provide clues to why Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean thought has been attractive to some Muslims in modern times.

Ibn Taymiyya's

theodicean writings

Ibn Taymiyya wrote voluminously and often polemically on a wide rangeof
issues in an effort to purge Islam of various innovations that he believed it to have suffered and to illumine the pure religion of the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the Salaf Muslims). 26 His output as a scholar was complemented and (i. e. the pious early shaped by his vocation as a prominent religious activist in the Bahri Mamlük sultanate of Egypt and Syria (648-784/1250-1382). The shaykh called for jihad

against Mongol incursions from the east that threatened Mamlük sovereignty in Syria, and, although he probably was a Sufi himself, he actively opposed Sufi and

religious practicesthat he believed to be in violation of the sacredLaw. popular Refusal to compromise on his allegedly anthropomorphic doctrine of God's
brought him public trials, imprisonment, and a seven-year stay in Egypt attributes (705-712/1306-1313). Ibn Taymiyya spent his last two years of life (726-8/1326-

8) imprisoned in the citadel of Damascus for his criticism of tomb visitation and

27 the cult of saints.
Certain difficulties attend research into Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean writings. In comparison to the full didactic style of his disciple Ibn al-Qayyim, Irmeli Perho


aptly observes that "Ibn Taymiyya wrote very sparse prose and expressed his

doctrinal views with a minimum of elaboration. Thus, it is not always readily "28
apparent what the shaykh intends to say. Moreover, he does not devote a single full and definitive work to theodicy. Instead, he deals with theodicean questions in fatwas, commentaries, and refutations of widely varying length and

completeness that, furthermore, approach the relevant issues from a number of different angles. In view of the spare and diffuse nature of Ibn Taymiyya's

reflection on theodicy, I have ranged widely in the shaykh's corpus in searchof applicable texts in order to provide a reasonablyfull picture of his thought on the
subject. The remainder of this section describes Ibn Taymiyya's major theodicean texts located for this study in order to facilitate further discussion and reference. The texts are dated where possible. Numerous shorter writings, as well as

in larger works, beyond those listed here will be briefly introduced as passages they are employed in later chapters or will be cited only in the notes. following section of this Introduction attends to the methodological The issues

involved in reconstructing the shaykh's theodicy from these respective texts. 29 I have identified texts relevant to this study in three ways. First, I have

the major texts identified in the secondary literature as touching on employed theodicy and related issues, most notably Minhäj al-sunna al-nabativiyya

[hereafter Minhäj], Iräda, and Abis Dharr, which are described below. Second, I examined the most comprehensive printed collection of the shaykh's writings, the thirty-seven volume Majmü' fatawü [hereafter MF]. devoted to divine `determination' (qadar), Especially Volume Eight, index on

and the matching


`determination' in Volume Thirty-Six

turned up many texts and passages that

30 in previous research. Theseinclude the treatisesKasb, Jabr, have not beenused Hasana, and Fdtiha describedbelow. Third, I found a few more items of interest by consulting the tables of contents in many of the books and collections not
found in MF. The treatise'Adil, which will be noted below, was identified in this No search was made among manuscripts because it appears that most of Ibn way. Taymiyya's have been published 31 However, there are some extant works .

lost works that would probably have been of interest to this study, apparently Ibn Taymiyya's commentaries on the Muhassa132and Arbadin33 of the especially 3 Apart from these Ashcari Kaläm theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi (d. 606/1209). lacunae, the body of texts identified should constitute a sufficiently upon which to base an inquiry representative sample theodicy. Much of the first and third volumes of Ibn Taymiyya's eight-volume Minhäj issues.35 Minhäj is a refutation of Minhaj al-karama, a tract deals with theodicean of anti-Sunni polemic composed by "Alläma Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hill! (d. large and

into Ibn Taymiyya's

36a Twelver Shidi scholar who lived in the Mongol Ilkhänid empire of 726/1325), Iraq and Persia that rivaled the MamlUk sultanate. The Ilkhänid ruler Oljeitu (d. 716/1316) converted from Sunnism to Twelver Shi9ism in 709/1310, possibly through al-Hilli's efforts, and al-Milli wrote Minhaj al-karüma at the ruler's

37 The date of Minhüj, Ibn Taymiyya's response, is no behest sometime thereafter. than 713/1313 because it includes several mentions of Dar' ta'ürud al-'aql earlier [hereafter Dar'], a tome which its editor Muhammad Rashäd Sälim has wa al-nagl


dated to sometime between 713/1313 and 717/1317.38 Given the great size of both Dar' and Minhäj, it is likely that Minhäj was written well after 713/1313. Henri Laoust speculates that it might have arisen from Ibn Taymiyya's

involvement in a conflict over Sh9 policy in Mecca in 716/1317.39 Among the many domains in which al-Hilli takes Sunnis to task in Minhäj is theodicy. Drawing on the Muctazili polemical tradition, which had al-karama permeated Shi9i theology, he imputes Ashcan voluntarism to all Sunnis and doctrine of God with numerous problems of moral evil. 40 For attacks this example, he charges that this God is unjust because He determines that some should not believe, does not create in them the power to believe, and then for not believing. 41 punishes them Also, this God is foolish because He believe. 42 that they

commands unbelievers to believe but does not will

Unbelievers are actually obeying God because they are doing what God wills. 43 Moreover, since the voluntarist God does not act rationally for a purpose, He may Prophet for obeying Him and reward Iblis for disobeying Him. 44 even chastise the Ibn Taymiyya's line-by-line refutation of al-Hilli's attack is rambling and

repetitious, but the dominant strands of thought consistently follow the lines of a best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy in which human accountability is somehow

compatible with divine determination. First, the shaykh affirms that God acts on account of wise purposes, and he deals with the peculiar problems of necessity imperfection that subjection to rational purpose poses for divine freedom at and length in Volume One of Minhäj. Second, and especially in Volume Three, Ibn

Taymiyya distinguishes God's will to create from God's will of command, and he explains that God has a wise purpose in willing to create some things that He


Third, the shaykh resists the charge that determinism obliterates human prohibits. accountability. Human beings are the agents of their acts and therefore

for them even though God creates them. The details of these three responsible lines of argument will be discussed below in Chapters Two, Three, and Four, respectively. The lengthy fatwa Irada departs from an inquiry on whether the goodness of God's will implies that He creates for a cause. Ibn Taymiyya opens the fatwa in God's will, but he does with a typology of views on causality and wise purpose defend the divine rationality against the Ashcari objection that this implies not in God until the end. In the intervening pages, he presents a typology of need that evil is attributed so as not to attribute it directly to God, an account of ways in divine creation and command, and a discussion of human agency that errors 45 The opening lines of Iräda, includes considerations of secondary causality. by a copyist, tell us that Ibn Taymiyya received the request for apparently added this fatwa from Egypt in Shawwal 714/January-February 1315. Presumably, the from Damascus soon thereafter. 46 shaykh responded

Ibn Taymiyya's Tadmuriyya creed is perhaps one of the shaykh's most
doctrine. 47 The first part deals systematic, although not complete, presentations of God's attributes while the second takes up God's relationship to the world. with Among other things, this latter part discusses secondary causality and God's it includes typologies of error in these realms. creation and command, and Two medium-length fatwas deal with the apparent incompatibility of human divine compulsion (jabr). accountability and In Kasb the inquirer asks whether The

humans have any efficacy (ta'thir) in bringing their acts into existence.


questioner argues that if someone does have efficacy then he becomes an

associate with the Creator in the creation of his act. This threatens God's
monopoly on creation. Conversely, if the human has no efficacy, this leads to divine compulsion, and there is no longer any basis for human accountability to the Law. The inquirer closes asking for clarification that will "release minds from "48 The questioner in the this bond and heal hearts of this distressing disease. fatwa, Jahr, asks in poetic verse, "How is it that the servant chooses his second

" the servant in acts is compelled? The inquirer infers that one who is acts, and compelled is forced and such a personis excused. He endsby noting that he had
become ill with longing to come to see Ibn Taymiyya, but divine determinations (magädir) had prevented him. 49 Jabr opens with a lengthy treatment of doctrine and error in the divine creation and the divine command. Then, in both Kasb and Jabr, Ibn Taymiyya attempts to maintain the compatibility of divine determination

(qadar) with human agency-focusing especially on the dynamics of secondary
in Kasb-in causality order to retain human accountability. He also maintains

that God has a wise purposein the creation of all things in order to amelioratethe in divine creation of all human acts. Towards the end of both fatwas he severity
gives brief typologies on ways evil is attributed, and Jabr also includes a typology of views on definitions of God's justice. Two major treatises deal extensively with God's justice. Abis Dharr is a

commentary on the divine saying found in the hadith collection of Muslim, "0

My servants! I have forbidden injustice to Myself... "50 At issuein the early part
this treatise is the conflict between the divine freedom afforded by voluntarism of and the necessary obligation on God imposed by rational justice. In an attempt to


two extremes, Ibn Taymiyya interprets this hadith to mean that divine avoid these justice is self-imposed rather than imposed by the necessity of independent 51 The treatise'Adil gives two successive typologies of positions on God's reason.

justice and then presentsa discussionof evil and God's punishmentof bad deeds
that focuses on the goodness of all that God creates. The treatise closes with a brief discussion of al-Ghazäli's statement that this is the best of all possible 52 The heading of 'Adil, apparently added by an early copyist, notes that worlds. is "among the things [Ibn Taymiyya] composed in his final detention this treatise in the citadel in Damascus.s53 This dates it to the last two years of his life, between 726/1326 and 728/1328. sometime Hasana, an exegetical work of nearly 200 pages on Q. 4: 78-9, includes one Ibn Taymiyya's longest discussions of a problem of evil. The difficulty is that of the contradiction between, "Everything is from God" (Q. 4: 78), and, of resolving "Any thing that comes to you is from yourself' evil (Q. 4: 79). How can

be from God if some things, namely, evil things, come from the everything individual himself? Ibn Taymiyya explains that everything God creates is good wise purpose, and he attempts to resolve the

of His divine on account

by locating the cause of evil in nonexistenceand the failure of contradiction
humans to do that for which they were created. The latter part of Hasana builds this interpretation by arguing that none should be worshipped but God and that on intercession should be sought only from whom He authorizes because God does evil and He is the sole source of good. no 54

Fätiha, a commentary on the first sura of the Qur'an, discusses the worship (cibäda) and asking for help (isti'äna) that derive from this sura's fifth verse,


"You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help. " It also explores various

metaphysicaland ethical aspects the relationship betweenGod and His servants of
Him. 55 As in Hasana, this text attributes the cause who were created to worship of evil ultimately to nonexistence. The comparatively formal character of

Fätiha's presentation of evil and its other contents suggests that it may come from late in Ibn Taymiyya's life.

Method of analysis and presentation

A diachronic analysis of the major theodiceantexts describedabove might
provide clues to evolution in the shaykh's thought. It would especially clarify

whether his use of the conceptof evil as nonexistencein Hasana and Fätiha, but
in other texts, was a later development or just an irregularity of habit. These not kinds of questions can only be answered with certainty on the basis of a the relevant texts. However, most of the major treatises do not chronology of indicate their dates, and they also do not mention other dateable works that would

56 1 also have not found by which to date terminus a quo. external evidence set a the remaining treatises. Moreover, even if the major theodiceantreatisescould be into chronological sequence,there would remain the problem of integrating set
dateless writings into the scheme. numerous other shorter and Since reliable diachronic analysis of the texts is not possible, some kind of analysis must be employed. synchronic A rigorously empirical methodology

that at least the major theodicean treatises described above receive might urge separate exposition and analysis. This would respect the unique character of each treatise, but limitations of space would preclude adequate consideration of each


text. A text-by-text examination would also entail extensive repetition of similar

ideas in scatteredparts of the presentation. Even though the major theodicean
texts described above have diverse points of departure, they usually broach several of the same theodicean issues and employ fairly consistent patterns of response. Ibn Taymiyya, for example, sets out similar three-fold typologies of divine justice in 'Adil, Jabr and Abis Dharr. 57 He contrasts two of the views on views on justice-the Ashcans' and his own-in similar analyses in Minhdj58 and

in his major work on prophecy Nubuwwüt. 59 In another example, the shaykh presents a consistent three-fold typology on the attribution of evil in nine different including Iräda, Kasb, Jabr, Fätiha, Hasana, and Minhdj. 60 places This repetition of certain basic issues suggests a thematic presentation in which the material relevant to a particular idea or question is discussed in one drawing from both the major theodicean texts and from other shorter and place, scattered passages. This also permits direct comparison of differing responses to similar questions. A thematic presentation, however, necessarily obscures the Occasional translation and the brief

unique character of each individual text.

descriptions of the major texts given above compensate for this to some degree. A thematic presentation also risks imposing more coherence and consistency on the texts than they may rightly bear. I try to reduce these difficulties by pointing out inconsistencies where they occur. When diversity warrants, I also treat passages to a particular question in succession instead of synthesizing them into relevant one account. The major questions related to theodicy are covered in Chapters Two through Six of this study. Chapter Two deals with Ibn Taymiyya's response to the


Ashcari challenges to wise purpose in the divine will.

I begin with this issue for

two reasons. First, establishing the very possibility of divine rationality is key for theodicy in Ibn Taymiyya's context of a strong tradition of Ashcari voluntarism.

Second,the shaykhhimself devotesconsiderableattention to this very early in his work Minhäj, and this is the question that prompts his important fatwa major
Iräda. The subsequent four chapters of this study examine major clusters of ideas

and rational difficulties in the divine-human relation. Chapter Three surveys the
varied terminology with which Ibn Taymiyya discusses God's creation of all things and God's command, and it notes the shaykh's use of divine wise purpose in creation to soften the contradiction between creation and command. Chapter Four investigates ways in which the shaykh attempts to maintain the compatibility of the divine creation of human acts with human agency and accountability. This

includes discussion of secondary causality. Chapter Five considers evil, looking especially at ends for which God wills it and its sources in human agents and The last chapter looks at Ibn Taymiyya's concept of divine justice, nonexistence. it closes with the shaykh's view that God creates the best of all possible and worlds.

It remains to explain the function of ChapterOne. Addressing problems of
is a dialectical enterprise involving controversial presuppositions concerning evil reason, value theory, God's existence, and the referentiality of theological

language that are often established outside the domain of theodicy itself. 61 Chapter One examines what Ibn Taymiyya has to say on these respective topics in order to provide background for the subsequent chapters on theodicy. The

Chapter One is reconstructedfrom the secondary literature and presentation of


texts employed by this literature, as well as from passages found through casual in the shaykh's works, random scans of indexes and tables of contents, reading

CD ROM searches.This chapteris basedon a much less thorough and occasional
investigation of the potentially relevant texts than the later five chapters on it is also more highly synthetic than those chapters in theodicy proper, and drawing from a sampling of the shaykh's works to exemplify a point. Ibn

Taymiyya's views on the respective issues require much more research. Despite these limitations, Chapter One provides clues to the shaykh's wider theological

againstwhich to view his theodicy. ethical perspectives and
In providing this background, I am assuming that there is some degree of unity of intention between Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean discourse coherence and his wider outlook. Given the typically contentious and ad homincm character and Kaläm theology, as well as Ibn Taymiyya's reputation as a polemist, this of may appear gratuitous, and it prompts the question of what the shaykh assumption

do in his theological writings.62 was trying to
As Joseph Bell and Thomas Michel both explain in their studies on Ibn Taymiyya, the Hanbali tradition, of which the shaykh was a part, was often hostile

to Kaläm theology. Some Ijanbalis like al-Barbahäri (d. 329/941)63and Ibn
Qudäma (d. 620/1223)64 were completely opposed to any discussion of

theological matters and confined themselves to repetition of the data of revelation. The Hanbalis Abü Yac1ä(d. 458/1066)65 and his disciple Ibn cAgil (d. 513/1119)66 in Kaläm, but Ibn cAgil was forced to recant for Muctazili sympathies. engaged Ibn Taymiyya, however, broke with the traditional Ijanbali reserve toward


in Kaläm himself, calling it instead `the rational argumentation and engaged principles of religion' (usii1 al-din). 67

As for why the Hanbali shaykh took up theological argument, Bell explains Mongol invasions, the spread of popular Sufism, the diffusion of the that the Ibn cArabi, and the increasingly philosophical nature of Ashcan theosophy of Kaläm "required that the Ijanbalites defend their doctrinal positions in a language the respect of their opponents and their hesitant and style which could command ,68 The presence of strong rivals definitely played a role in Ibn sympathizers. Taymiyya's adoption of dialectics. However, Henri Laoust in his Essai suggests a more specifically ethical intention in the shaykh's theological writings that

beyond the mere foiling of opponents that is often the aim of Kaläm. extends Laoust writes in summary comments on the shaykh's views of God and the Law, "It thus appears that Ibn Taymiyya's whole theology tends toward only one sole foundation to his ethics, and consequently, to all his juridical aim: that of giving a "69 Laoust reiterates this point in his general conclusion to and social philosophy. thought in Essai, remarking that the purpose of Ibn Taymiyya's the shaykh's God. 70 theology is to undergird worship of In this study, I provide evidence from one realm of theology, namely, theodicy, to confirm and deepen Laoust's finding that Ibn Taymiyya's theology has a specifically or we might say `religious', ethical, aim. Even though

competing ideas take up a substantial undermining rivals and clearing away discourse, these are not his sole objectives in writing. portion of the shaykh's Taymiyya's best-of-all-possible-worlds Ibn

theodicy appears to be part of a wider

to give the theological data of revelation a rationality that positively shapes effort


what comes to mind when human beings mention God so that they will judge God worthy of exclusive praise and worship.

Notes to the Introduction
I will be introducing a few terms and concepts found in anglophone philosophy of religion to facilitate discussion. I occasionally use `evil' in a generic sense to denote whatever ostensibly ought not to be. In this sense, `evils' appear variously in an Islamic context as disobedience (mdsiyya), bad deeds (sg. qabih), unbelief (k: fr), pain (alam), injustice (zulm), imperfection (nags), death, and even rational contradiction (tacarud), as well as `evil deeds' (sayyi'dt) and `evil' (sharr) in the specifically metaphysical and dysteleological senses that sharr often carries in Arabic. Philosophical `problems of evil' arise when it is asked why God wills or allows these various evils. For an overview of problems of evil as discussed in contemporary English-language philosophy of religion, see Michael L. Peterson, God and Evil: An Introduction to the Issues (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1998). There are several general treatments of problems of evil in Islam. John Bowker gives a detailed survey of problems of suffering in the Qur'an and some general comments on the subsequent Islamic tradition in Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World (Cambridge, UK: Other general discussions include `Umar Austin, Cambridge University, 1970), 99-136. "Suffering in Muslim Religious Thought, " The Islamic Quarterly 26.1 (1982): 27-39; Brian Hebblethwaite, Evil, Suffering and Religion, rev. ed. (London: SPCK, 2000), passim; G. E. von Grunebaum, "Observations on the Muslim Concept of Evil, " Studia Islamica 31 (1970): 117-134; Hermann Stieglecker, "Die islamische Lehre vom Guten und Bösen," Orientalia 4 (1935): 239245; W. Montgomery Watt, "Suffering in Sunnite Islam, " Studia Islamica 50 (1979): 5-19; and M. J. L. Young, "The Treatment of the Principle of Evil in the Qur'an, " Islamic Studies 5 (1966): 275281. Also of interest is Jean-Francois Legrain, "Variations musulmanes sur le theme de Job," Bulletin d'etudes orientales 37-8 (1985-6): 51-114. More extensive and more specialized studies dealing with problems of evil in the Islamic tradition will be cited in several of the following notes. 2 For the Ashcari position, see below 2.1 and 2.2.1, and Peter Antes, "The First AM'arites' Conception of Evil and the Devil, " in Melanges offerts ä Henry Corbin, ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Tehran: McGill University, Montreal Canada, Institute of Islamic Studies, Tehran Branch, 1977), 177-189; Mohammed Yusoff Hussain, "Al-AshWari's Discussion of the Problem of Evil, " Islamic Culture 64: 1 (1990): 25-38; and G. Legenhausen, "Notes towards an Ashlarite Theodicy, " Religious Studies 24 (1988): 257-266. 3 G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil, ET E. M. Huggard (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951). The title of the present study, An Islamic Theodicy: Ibn Taymiyya on the Wise Purpose of God, Human Agency, and Problems of Evil and Justice, has been inspired by Leibniz's title in the sequence of subjects noted. ° Immanuel Kant, "On the miscarriage of all philosophical trials in theodicy, " ET George di Giovanni, in Religion and Rational Theology, ET and ed. Allen W. Wood and George di Giovanni (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1996), 19-37, as excerpted in Mark Larrimore, The Problem of Evil: A Reader (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2001), 224-233 (quote on p. 224). 5 The way I understand the definition of `theodicy' appears to differ from that of Peter Berger in The Sacred Canopy (New York: Doubleday, 1967). Berger speaks of a theodicy as any religious explanation of phenomena that appear to lie outside the order or nomos of the respective religion. He notes that this need not involve a complex theory, and he explains that an illiterate peasant who attributes a child's death to the will of God is providing a theodicy just as much as is the theologian (pp. 53-4, as quoted and discussed in Peterson, God and Evil, 6-7). The point that even illiterate peasants engage in theodicy is well made, but I limit the term `theodicy' to giving reasons


Notes to the Introduction


God and evil coexist beyond the mere attribution of evil to God's sheer will. If Berger's why that God willed the child's death for a reason that was beyond her peasant said that she trusted be a theodicy in my understanding of the term. It would not be a comprehension, this would still if the peasant said that God took the child's life because God just wills what He wills theodicy without reason. In the interest of economy I am glossing over a distinction often made in contemporary between `defenses' and `theodicies'. In God, Freedom, and Evil (Grand philosophy of religion Rapids, MI: Eermands, 1974), 28, Alvin Plantings defines a `defense' as giving a `possible' reason God might allow evil and a `theodicy' as an `actual' reason God allows evil. As Plantinga sees it, defense is basically a dialectical `for the sake of argument' attempt to show that a theistic a is not necessarily incoherent whereas a theodicy proposes to know what God's reasons position It would seem to be the rare theologian or philosopher who claims to know much of really are. God definitively, especially when it comes to the divine reasons for evil. anything about Moreover, it is disputed whether Plantinga's sense of `theodicy' represents the historical meaning the term. In The Problem of Evil: A Reader, 191, Larrimore submits that Leibniz was actually of in what Plantings calls a `defense'. Richard Swinburne, in Providence and the Problem engaging Evil (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 1998), 15, claims much the same for his own use of the of `theodicy'. Swinburne clarifies that his theodicy differs somewhat from Plantinga's defense, word but he says that it still refers to God's possible or probable reasons rather than God's actual reasons for allowing evil. 6 D. Gimaret, "Multazila, " E12 7:783-793 (at 789-791). For further discussion of the Mu'tazili doctrine of justice, see Margaretha T. Heemskerk, Suffering in M: 6tazilite Theology: 'Abd a! Jabbür's Teaching on Pain and Divine Justice (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 142-191; and Richard C. Martin and Mark R. Woodward with Dwi S. Atmaja, Defenders of Reason in Islam: Mu'tazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol (Oxford, UK: Oneworld, 1997), Part I, passim. For the Multazilis' doctrine of justice in Shi1i theology, see Martin J. McDermott, The Theology of aland Shaikh al-Mufid (d. 413/1022) (Beirut: Dar el-Machreq, 1978), 71-82,155-187,341-352; Sabine Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325) (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1991), 104-135. On the doctrine of aslalz see Robert Brunschvig, "Muctazilisme et Optimum (al" Studia Islamica 39 (1974): 5-23. aslah), For a discussion of free will theodicies in the western Christian tradition, see Marilyn McCord Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1999), 32Adams, 55. For `libertarianism' as set over against `compatibilism' and `determinism', which will be discussed below, see Thomas P. Flint, "Providence and predestination, " in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1997), 569-576. Richard Swinburne also draws the libertarian/compatibilist distinction in Providence Problem of Evil, 33-5. Some philosophers use different terms to refer to libertarian and the freedom. Plantings speaks of `significant' freedom in God, Freedom, and Evil, 30, while Adams `incompatibilist' freedom in Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God, 178. speaks of 8 Adams draws a distinction between `free will' and `best-of-all-possible-worlds' theodicies in Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God, 17-20,179, and 190. For a brief description of On theodicy, see Peterson, God and Evil, 92-4. Leibniz's best-of-all-possible-worlds Neoplatonism and the use of its theodicean ideas in western thought, see Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1936). 9 On compatibilism and determinism see Flint, "Providence and predestination, " 569-576. Compatibilism has also been ascribed to the Protestant Reformer John Calvin (d. 1564), but Calvin does not articulate a `best-of-all-possible-worlds' theodicy. His outlook is much closer to that of AshWaris. He condemns all speculation into reasons for God's acts, and, although he speaks of the God's `secret counsel', he also asserts that God's will does not have a cause outside His very will. On Calvin see Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, vol. 4, Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700) (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1984), 217-232.


Notes to the Introduction


Neo-Thomists are particularly concerned to configure the compatibilist divine-human to make room for some kind of `authentic' freedom. For a sketch of recent attempts relation so as by David B. Burrell and Katherine Tanner, see Adams, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God, 66-9. Burrell wrestles with this problem at length in dialogue with the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious traditions in Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1993).

10 Al-Husayn b. cAbd Allah b. Sind, Abo 'Ali.
" Ibn Sind, Al-Ship': Al-Ildhiyyät (2), ed. Muhammad Yüsuf Musa, et al. (Cairo: Al-llay'a alcamma li-shu'ün al-matabic al-amiriyya, 1380/1960), 415. My translation differs somewhat from that of Majid Fakhry who translates the whole of the section on `providence' from al-Shit', 414422, in Ethical Theories in Islam, 2d ed. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), 219-226. 12Ibn Sind, Al-Shy': Al-Ildhiyyüt (2), 414-422. The `best-of-all-possible-worlds' character of Ibn Sind's thought is unfortunately not made clear in Shams C. Inati's The Problem of Evil: Ibn Sind's Theodicy (Binghamton, NY: Global Publications, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University, 2000). 13On this, see Inati, The Problem of Evil: Ibn Sind's Theodicy, 153-167. Inati argues that Ibn Sind's insistence on human free will is completely negated by the philosopher's determinism in acts arise necessarily from external causes. Inati presupposes that human freedom can only which However, lbn Sind's notion of human freedom may be called be of the libertarian kind. `compatibilist', and it may be seen as an attempt to portray the relationship of human agency to divine agency as paradoxically both contingent and necessary. A best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy is also found in the philosophical novel of Ibn alNails ('Ala' al-Din cAli b. CAbü al-llaram, d. 687/1288), who leaves little doubt that history is the necessity. This accomplished doctor of the Mamlük Sultan Baybars (d. product of providential 676/1277) explains that God "must necessarily take the greatest care of everything, for otherwise would not be in its best possible condition. " In the novel Ibn al-Nails portrays the everything of Muhammad, the Islamic religion, the Mongol invasion of eastern Islamic lands, prophethood the very characteristics of Baybars himself as the products of providential inevitability. See and Max Meyerhof and Joseph Schacht, eds, The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn al-Naffs (Oxford, Remke Kruk examines the UK: Oxford University, 1968), quote on 44 (ET) and 9 (Ar). political legitimization functions of this novel in "History and Apocalypse: Ibn alapocalyptic and Nafis' Justification of Mamluk Rule, " Der Islam 72 (1995): 324-337. 14Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of /slam (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1975), 198. Louis Massignon provides evidence of the instrumental role of in Sufism in The Passion of al-Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr of /slam, ET Herbert Mason suffering (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1982) 3: 111-121. 15 Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad, Abli Hamid al-Ghazäli al-Ttusi. Eric L. Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought: The Dispute over al-Ghazüli's "Best of all Possible Worlds" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1984), has studied a controversy lasting several centuries that statements that al-Ghazäli made indicating that this is the best of all possible emerged out of some Ormsby's work will be surveyed at the end of Chapter Six of this study. For a detailed worlds. of optimism in al-Ghazäli's works themselves, see Richard M. Frank, Creation and the analysis Cosmic System: Al-Ghazdli and Avicenna (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1992), 4782. Frank concludes that al-Ghazäli adopts the optimism and natural necessitarianism of Ibn Sind despite incompleteness in his theology and his rejection of numerous "inconsequential" theses of the philosopher (p. 86). 16Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Muhammad b. al=Arabi, Muhyi al-Din Abü `Abd Allah al-Hatimi al-TS'i. For some of Ibn CArabi's ideas on evil, see William C. Chittick, The S1f Path of Knowledge: Ibn Metaphysics of Imagination (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989), al-'Arabi's 289-301. For Ibn 'Arabi's explicit affirmations that this is the best of all possible worlds, see Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought, 103-7.


Notes to the Introduction


" Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Halim b. cAbd al-Saläm,Tagi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, known also as al-Imam Shaykh al-Islam. In lieu of excessiverepetition of the name `Ibn Taymiyya' I also refer to and him as the `shaykh'.

18Henri Laoust, Essai sur les doctrines sociales et politiques de Talei-d-Din Ahmad b. Taimiya, hanbalite n6 b Harrdn en 661/1262, mors a Damas en 728/1328 [hereafter Essai] (Cairo: canoniste de l'institut frangais d'archeologie orientale, 1939), 169. In this text, I have translated Imprimerie French `theodicee' literally as `theodicy'. However, Laoust typically employs `thdodicee' to the denote the general doctrine of God, which is a much wider sense than that used in this study. A is Laoust's, "Quelques opinions sur la theodicee d'Ibn Taimiya, " Melanges good example of this Maspero, Vol. 3, Orient Islamique (Cairo: Imprimerie de l'institut francais d'archeologie orientate, 1935-40), 431-8. In this article, Laoust discusses the question of anthropomorphism and the status human knowledge of the divine attributes in general, but not problems of evil in particular. of 19Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Mahmüd, Abo Mansur al-Maturidi al-Saniarqandi. Al-Maturidi's is the Kitüb al-tawhid, ed. Fath Allah Khulayf (Alexandria: Dar al jämicät main work of theology al-miýriyya, n. d.) 20J. Meric Pessagno, "The uses of Evil in Maturidian Thought, " Studia Islamica 60 (1984): 59-82. links his notion of divine wisdom with the Muctazili notion of God's doing the Al-Mäturidi also best (aslah). On this and al-Mäturidi's view of human action, see Mustafa Ceric, Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam: A Study of the Theology of Abii Mansilr al-Müturidi (d. 333/944) (Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1995), 139-141,208223; and J. Meric Pessagno, "Irüda, Ikhtiyär, Qudra, Kasb: The View of Abü Mansur AlMdturidi, " Journal of the American Oriental Society 104 (1984): 177-191.

21Muhammadb. Abo Bakr b. Ayüb, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.
22 For Ibn Taymiyya's influence generally from his death through to early twentieth century Egyptian reform movements, see Laoust, Essai, 477-575; and Henri Laoust, "L'influence d'IbnTaymiyya, " in Islam: Past Influence and Present Challenge, ed. Alford T. Welch and Pierre Cachia (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1979), 15-33. Ibn Taymiyya has also become notorious inspiration to modern Muslim radicals who use his anti-Mongol fatwas to justify armed as an On this, see Emmanuel Sivan, "Ibn Taymiyya: Father of the Islamic Revolution: revolution. Medieval Theology and Modern Politics, " Encounter 60, No. 5 (May 1983): 41-50; and Johannes J. G. Jansen, "Ibn Taymiyyah and the Thirteenth Century: A Formative Period of Modern Muslim " Quaderni di Studi Arabi 5-6 (1987-88): 391-6. References to Ibn Taymiyya in the Radicalism, literature on modem and contemporary Islamic movements are frequent. 23A major source for Ibn al-Qayyim's theodicy is Shy' al-lalil fi masü'il al-gadü' wa al-qadar wa Mubammad al-Sayyid and Said Mal3mad (Cairo: Dar alal-hikma wa al-ta'lil, ed. al-Sayyid Hadith, 1414/1994). Irmeli Perho, "Man Chooses his Destiny: Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's view on " Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 12 (2001): 61-70, provides the best access predestination, the basic ideas found in this work, but the scope of her article does not extend to the to several of in the divine will. Chapters Seven through Twelve and questions of wise purpose and causality Chapter Seventeen out of the thirty chapters in the Shy' al-'alit are translated into French by A. de Vlieger, Kitäb al qadr: Materiaux pour servir a /'etude de la doctrine de la predestination daps la theologie musulmane (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1903), 116-169. These selections deal primarily with divine determination. The material on divine purpose and evil come later in lbn al-Qayyim's book. Also of interest for Ibn al-Qayyim is Joseph Normant Bell, Love Theory in Later Ilanbalite Islam (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1979), 92-181; Moshe Perlmann, "Ibn Qayyim the Devil, " in Studi Orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi della Vida, vol. 2 (Rome: Istituto and l'oriente, 1956), 330-7; and Francis T. Cooke, "Ibn al-Qaiyim's Kitüb al-Rüir, " The Moslem per World 25 (1935): 129-144. 24 In Islam, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1979), 113-4, Fazlur Rahman notes inaccurately in the case of Mäturidism, that "Ibn Taymiya reinstates into approvingly, although Muslim theology the doctrine of the purposiveness of the Divine behaviour, a doctrine so denied by Ash'arism, Mäturidism and 7ähirism as compromising the omnipotence of strenuously


Notes to the Introduction


God's will and His dissimilarity to His creation. " See the index for Rahman's numerous mentions of Ibn Taymiyya more generally. Muhammad al-Sayyid al-Julaynid, Qa(liyyat al-khayr wa alal-tatbigiyya, Dirüsa 'ilmiyya lisharr fi al-ftkr al-islami: Ust-tfuha al-nazariyyajawünibuha mas'iiliyyat al-inseln fi al-Islam, 2d Printing (Cairo: Matbalat al-Halabi, 1981), provides a study of the Muctazili and Ashlari Kaläm traditions on good and evil, evaluating both with the help of and borrowings from Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim. See, for example, numerous references pages 108-114, which draw heavily upon Ibn Taymiyya's Nasana and Ibn al-Qayyim's Shy al'ali!. Al-Julaynid's other uses of the shaykh and his disciple may be found on pages 134,177-18 1, 205-213,234-242,261-2,278-9,298-303, and 320-1. 'Umar Sulayman al-Ashgar, 'Alain al jinn wa al-shayyütin, (Cairo: Bayt al-Hikma, 1413/1992), 155-167, borrows directly from Ibn alQayyim's Shy' al-'alil to explain God's wise purpose in the creation of Satan. This work also exists in English: Umar Sulaiman al-Ashqar, The World of the Jinn and Devils, ET Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, (Boulder, CO: Al-Basheer, 1998). For the influence of Ibn Taymiyya's notion of divine determination (qadar) on Muhammad Rashid Ridä, see Christian van Nispen Tot Sevenaer, Activite Humaine et Agir de Dieu: Le Concept de 'Sunan de Dieu' dans le commentaire coranique du Manar (Beyouth: Dar el-Machreq, 1996), 264-5,483-4. Rashid Ridä also edited Majmi"t'at a! rasä'il wa al-masü'il [hereafter MRMJ (Cairo: Matbalat al-manär, 1341-1349/1922-1930), a five part collection of Ibn Taymiyya's treatises which includes the important theodicean fatwa Irdda MRM 5: 113-70. The edition oflrüda used for this study, however, is found in MF 8: 81-158. 25Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 46-91; Daniel Gimaret, "Theories de l'acte humain dans l'ecole 1-lanbalite," Bulletin d'etudes orientales 29 (1977): 156-178. 26 Extensive lists of Ibn Taymiyya's works were compiled soon after his death by his primary disciple Shams al-Din Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 751/1350), Asmü' mu'allafa-t Ibn Taynuyya, ed. $alab al-Din al-Munajjid (Damascus: Malbü<at al-majmaý al lilmi al carabi, 1953); and his main biographer Muhammad b. Abmad b. 'Abd al-Had! (d. 744/1343), Al-'Ugild al-durriyya min mandgib Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad b. Taymiyya (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al cilmiyya, n.d.), 26-67. Significant lists are also found in the biographies of Ibn Taymiyya by Salah al-Din Khalil b. Aybak al-5afadi (d. 764/1362), Kitdb al-wdfi bi-l-wafayüt, vol. 7, ed. Ihsän'Abbas (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1969), 23-30; Muhammad b. Shakir al-Kutubi (d. 764/1362), Fawiýt al-wafayyüt wa 'alayhü, ed. Ihsän 'Abbas (Beirut: Dar Siidir, 1973), 1:75-80; and Ibn Rajab (d. al-dhayl 795/1393), Kitdb al-dhayl'ald tabagdt al-handbila, (Cairo: Matbalat al-sunna al-muhammadiyya, 1372/1953), 2: 403-4. Ibn Rajab notes that it is impossible to account for everything Ibn Taymiyya wrote. 27 On Ibn Taymiyya's life events, see the various works of Henri Laoust: Essai, 7-150; "La biographie d'Ibn Taimiya d'apres Ibn Katir, " Bulletin d'etudes orientales 9 (1942-3): 115-162; "Le Hanbalisme sous les Mamlouks Bahrides (658-784/1260-1382), " Revue des etudes islamiques 28 (1960): 1-71; and "Ibn Taymiyya, " E12 3: 951-5. Hasan Qasim Murad, "Ibn Taymiya on Trial: A Narrative Account of his Mihan, " Islamic Studies 18 (1979): 1-32, deals especially with the shaykh's various trials. On the trials over anthropomorphism, see also Sherman A. Jackson, "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," Journal of Semitic Studies 39 (Spring 1994): 41-85. There is also substantial biographical material on Ibn Taymiyya in the introduction to Jean R. Michot, Ibn Taymiyya: Leitre a un roi croise (Al-Rise lat a! -Qubrusiyya), (Louvain-la-Neuve: BruylantAcademia, 1995). See also J. Y. Michot, "Un important tdmoin de I'histoire et de la soci6t6 mamlükes ä I'6poque des Ilhäns et de la fin des croisades: Ibn Taymiyya (ob. 728/1328), " in Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras: Proceedings of the Ist, 2nd and 3rd International Colloquium organized at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in May 1992,1993 and 1994, ed. U. Vermeulen and D. De Smet, (Leuven: Peeters, 1995), 335-353. Donald P. Little explores the possibility of analyzing Ibn Taymiyya's psychology in "Did Ibn Taymiyya have a Screw Loose?" Studia Islamica 41 (1975): 93-111. Yahya Michot attempts to explain Ibn Taymiyya's life-long celibacy in "Un celibataire endurci et sa maman: Ibn Taymiyya (m. 728/1328) et les femmes," Acta Orientalia Belgica 15 (2001): 165-190.


Notes to the Introduction


For analysis of the Arabic biographies and chronicle reports of Ibn Taymiyya, see Donald P. Little, "The Historical and Historiographical Significance of the Detention of Ibn Taymiyya, " International Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (1973): 311-327; and An Introduction to Mamlilk Historiography: An Analysis of Arabic Annalistic and Biographical Sources for the Reign of alMalik an-Näsir Muhammad ibn Qalä'iin, (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1970). Ibn Taymiyya's reputation for fanaticism and extremism, which was articulated by Ignaz Goldziher, has been put to rest by George Makdisi, "Hanbalite Islam, " in Studies in Islam, ET and ed. Merlin L. Swartz (New York: Oxford University, 1981), 216-274. For overviews of Ibn Taymiyya's reformist thought, see Laoust, Essai, 153-473; Henri Laoust, "Le reformisme d'Ibn Taymiya, " Islamic Studies (Karachi) 1:3 (Sept. 1962): 27-47; Serajul Haque, Imam Ibn Taintiya and his projects of reform (Dhaka: Islamic Foundation, 1982); Serajul Haque, "Ibn Taymiyyah: A Life and Works, " in A History of Muslim Philosophy, ed. M. M. Sharif (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrossowitz, 1966), 2: 796-819; Victor E. Makari, Ibn Taymiyyah's Ethics: The Social Factor (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983); and Thomas Michel, "Ibn Taymiyya: Islamic Reformer, " Studia Missionalia 34 (1985): 213-232. Also of interest is Qamaruddin Khan, The Political Thought of Ibn Taymiyya (India: Adam, 1988). A few studies point to Ibn Taymiyya's sympathy toward a Sufism disciplined of its excesses. For a brief exposition of Ibn Taymiyya's concept of the Sufi path, see Muhmammad Abdul Haq Ansari, Sufism and Shari'ah: A Study of Shaykh Ahnzad Sirhindi's Effort to Reform Sufism (Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1406/1986), 130-9. George Makdisi discusses Ibn Taymiyya's silsila in "Ibn Taimiya: A Suf i of the Qddiriya Order, " American Journal of Arabic Studies 1 (1973): 118-129. Also of interest on Ibn Taymiyya's spirituality are Th. E. 1-lomerin, "Ibn Taimiya's Al-Süfiyah wa-al fugarü', " Arabica 32 (1985): 219-244; George Makdisi, "The Hanbali School and Sufism, " Boletin de la Asociacion Espanola de Orientalistas 15 (1979): 115126, reprint as Part V in George Makdisi, Religion, Law and Learning in Classical Islam (Hampshire, UK: Variorum, 1991); Fritz Meier, "The Cleanest about Presdestination: A Bit of Ibn Taymiyya, " in Essays on Islamic Piety and Mysticism, ET John O'Kane (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 309-334, which is an ET of "Das sauberste über die vorbestimmung: Ein stück Ibn Taymiyya, " Saeculum 32 (1981): 74-89, references to Meier hereafter are to the ET only; Thomas Michel, "Ibn Taymiyya's Sharh on the Futiih al-ghayb of 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jiläni, " Hamdard Islamicus, 4.2 (Summer 1981): 3-12; and James Pavlin, "The Concept of'Ubiidiyyah in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyyah: the Relationship between Faith, Love and Actions in the Perfection of Worship" (Ph. D. diss., New York University, 1998). There are also many selections pertaining to Ibn Taymiyya's spirituality in the two series of translations by Yahya M. Michot, "Textes Spirituels d'Ibn Taymiyya, " Le Musulman (Paris), 1990-8, and "Pages spirituelles d'lbn Taymiyya, " Action (Mauritius), 1999-. Full references for some of these may be found in the Bibliography. For Ibn Taymiyya's various critiques of Sufi theosophy and popular religious practices, see Alexander Knysh, Ihn 'Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition: The Making of a Polemical Image in Medieval Islam (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1999), 87-111; for corrections to Knysh's analysis of Ibn Taymiyya, see my review in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10:3 (Oct. 1999): 392-4; Muhammad Umar Memon, Ibn Taimiya's Struggle against Popular Religion (The Hague: Mouton, 1976); Thomas F. Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity: Ibn Taymiyya's Al-Jawab AI-Sahih (Delmar, NY: Caravan, 1984), 5-14,24-39; Jean R. Michot, Musique et danse selon Ibn Taymiyya, Le livre du Samd' et de la danse (Kitäb al-Samd, wa 1-Rags) compile par le shaykh Muhammad al-Manbýi (Paris: J. Vrin, 1991); P. Nwyia, "Une cible d'Ibn Taimiya: Le moniste al-Tilimsäni (m. 690/1291), Bulletin d'Etudes orientales 30 (1978): 127145; Niels Henrik Olesen, "Etude comparee des idees d'Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) et de Martin Luther (1483-1546) sur le culte des saints," Revue des Etudes Islamiques 50 (1982): 175-206; and Niels Henrik Olesen, Cultes des Saints et Pelerinages chez Ibn Taymiyya (Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1991). On popular religious conditions under the Mamlüks, see Boaz Shoshan, Popular culture in medieval Cairo (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1993), 10-22,76-8; Donald P. Little, "Religion under the Mamluks, " The Muslim World 73 (1983): 176-7; and Leonor Fernandes, The


Notes to the Introduction


Evolution of a S:f Institution in Mamhck Egypt: The Khanqah (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1988), 96110. For a review of the most deviant dervish groups-the Qalandars, the Haydaris, and the Rifalis-under the Mamlüks, see Ahmet T. Karamustafa, God's Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period 1200-1550 (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, 1994), 526. For a history of the Mamlük Sultanate, see Robert Irwin, The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The early Mamluk Sultanate 1250-1382 (London: Croom Helm, 1986). 28 Perho, "Man Chooses his Destiny, " 63. A. S. Tritton in Muslim Theology (London: Luzac, 1947), 203, speaks of Ibn Taymiyya's style less sympathetically when he notes, "1-le was not a clear thinker. " 29 Shahab Ahmed faces a similar set of methodological issues when examining Ibn Taymiyya's the Satanic verses in "Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic verses," Studia scattered statements on Islamica 87 (1998): 67-124. See especially Ahmed's comments on p. 74. Ahmad's combination translation, exposition, and analysis also provides an excellent example of how these of methodological difficulties may be overcome in order to make Ibn Taymiyya's views accessible. 30The index on qadar is found in MF 36: 142-153. 31An important listing of Ibn Taymiyya's extant works remains Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der Litteratur, revised ed. (Leiden: E. J. Brill 1949), 2: 125-7 with Supplement (Leiden: E. arabischen J. Brill, 1938), 2: 119-126. An Arabic translation of Brockelmann's revised edition of Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur and the Supplement combined is found in Tdrikh al-adab al-'arabi, trans. Mahmüd Fahmi Hijäzi (Cairo: Al-Hay's al-misriyya al 15mma li-l-kitäb, 1995), 6:402-420. Brockelmann's listing in English with extensive additions is found in Khan, The Political Thought Ibn Taymiyya, 186-198. Taking Brockelmann and Khan as rough guides, as well as indications of in other secondary literature (e.g. Laoust, "Ibn Taymiyya, " E12 3: 953), it appears that most of Ibn Taymiyya's extant works have been printed. Additionally, what are usually the best editions of the available printed works have been collected onto a CD ROM produced in Jordan: most of Mu'allajät al-shaykh wa tilmidhihi Ibn al-Qayyim, CD ROM, Version 1.0 (Amman: Markaz altur5th li-abhäth al-häsib al-54,1420/1999). Except as a guide to what is in print, this CD ROM is limited use because the introductions and scholarly apparatus of the sources have unfortunately of been included. A number of treatises are in fact found on this CD ROM in more than one not place, but there is no cross referencing system to make this readily apparent. 32 Fakhr al-Din Muhammad b. 'Umar al-Khalib al-Räzi, Muhassal ajkdr al-mutagaddimin wa almuta'akhkhirin min al-'ulamü' wa al-hukamä' iva al-mutakallimin [Muhacsal], ed. 'ß'1hä'Abd alRa'üf Sa<d(Cairo: Maktabat al-kulliyyät al-azhariyya, n.d. ) 33 Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, Al-Arba'in ft usid al-din [Arba'in] ed. Ahmad Hijäzi al-Sagä (Cairo: Maktabat al-kulliyyät al-azhariyya, n.d. ) Ibn Taymiyya himself mentions that he wrote books on Muhassal and Arbafin in Qudra MF 8: 7. Ibn al-Qayyim, Asmü' mu'allaJüt Ibn Taymiyya, 19, says that Ibn Taymiyya's work on Muhassal is one volume and the work on Arba'in is two volumes. These two works are also noted by Ibn'Abd al-Hädi, Al-'Ugitd al-durriyya min mandgib Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad b. Taymiyya, 37; Ibn Rajab Kitdb al-dhayl 'alü tabaqüt al-handbila, 2: 403; alSafadi Kitdb al-wdfi bi-l-wafayat, 7:24; and al-Kutubi, Fawät al-wafayyüt na al-dhayl 'alayhä, 1:76. Brockelmann does not mention these two commentaries, and I have not seen any note of them elsewhere in the literature. 34Muhammad b. 'Umar b. al-llusayn, AbO'Abd Allah Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi Ibn al-Khätib. G. C. Anawati gives an overview of al-Räzi's writings in "Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, " E12 2: 751-5. For a survey of al-Räzi's Kaläm theology, see Yasin Ceylan, Theology and Tcfsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Rdzi (Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1996). 35Minhdj is published in nine volumes with the ninth volume devoted entirely to indexes. 36Hasan b. Yusuf b. 'Ali b. al-Mulahhar, Jamal al-Din 'Allama al-Hilli. I cite Minhüj al-kardma as it is found in Ibn Taymiyya's Minhäj. For an overview of this work, see Henri Laoust, "La critique du Sunnisme dans la doctrine d'Al-Milli, " Revue des etudes islamiques 34 (1966): 35-60.


Notes to the Introduction


For manuscripts of Minhaj al-kardma, see Sabine Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Allima al-Hilli (d. 726/1325), 95. 37 On al-Hilli's relationship to Oljeitu, see Muhammad Rashid Salim in MinhäjA, Introduction 1: 16,23; Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Alllima al-Hilli (d. 726/1325), 23-31; and Moojan Momen, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Tivelver Shi'ism (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1985), 92. Oljeitu is also known by his Muslim name, Khuddbanda. 38 In the introduction to the earlier incomplete critical edition MinhajA (1: 16), Muhammad Rashid Salim notes that Minhaj mentions Dar' several times. He also dates Dar' and the subsequent Minhaj to as early as 710 AH. However, Salim renders this date impossible in his introduction to Dar', which was published later. There he cites Ibn 'Abd al-Hädi's report that Ibn Taymiyya wrote a volume answering a certain Kamäl al-Din b. Sharisi's response to Dar'. Salim reasons that Ibn Taymiyya wrote Dar' no later than 717 AH because Ibn Sharisi would have needed a bit of time to read Dar' and write his response before his death in 718 AH. Salim concludes that Ibn Taymiyya must have written Dar' after returning to Syria in 712 AH based on the fact that he once mentions his sojourn in Egypt in the past tense. Salim adds that it is more likely lbn Taymiyya wrote this long work during his later and calmer Syrian period than during his tumultuous life in Egypt. See the introduction to Dar' 1:7-10, and Ibn'Abd al-Hädi's reference to Ibn Sharisi in Al'Ugiud al-durriyya min mandgib Shaykh al-Islam Al: mad b. Taymiyya, 26. Ibn Taymiyya mentions having been in Egypt in Dar' 1:25. It is also worth noting that several of Ibn Taymiyya's major works can be safely dated later than 713/1313 because they contain references to Dar'. These include Mantigiyyin, Jawäb, Awliyü' and Nubuwwdt. See Salim in the introduction to Dar' 1:6. Note also that Dar' has been published previously in part as Baydn muwnfagat sarih alma'gül li-sahih al-mangitl (Clarification of the Agreement of Clear Reason with Correct Revealed Tradition) on the margin of Ibn Taymiyya, Minhaj al-sunna al-nabawiyya fi nagcl kalünr al-Shira wa al-Qadariyya [MinhajB], 4 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-kutub alcilmiyya, n.d. ), reprint of 1321/1903-4 Cairo (Büläq) edition. This edition corresponds to Dar' 1:3-4: 295. Tarif Khalidi gives Dar' the flattering remark that it "will undoubtedly become a philosophical classic" in Arabic historical thought in the classical period (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1994), 215 n. Yahya Michot, "Vanites intellectuelles... L'impasse des rationalismes selon le Rejet de la contradiction d'lbn Taymiyyah, " Oriente Moderno 19 (2000): 597-617, states with respect to Dar': "The quantity alone of [Ibn Taymiyya's] references [to the philosophical tradition] already allow him to be considered as the most important reader of the falüsifah after Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi in the Sunni world" (p. 599). In this article, Michot translates Dar', 1: 156-170, as an illustration of the sophisticated and interdisciplinary nature of Ibn Taymiyya grasp of the Islamic intellectual tradition. 39 Laoust, "Ibn Taymiyya, " E12 3: 952. In his earlier "La biographie d'lbn Taimiya d'apres Ibn Kafir, " 155, Laoust asserts that the Minhaj could have been written no earlier than 1321 because the work to which it responds, the Minhaj al-Kardma of al-Hilli, was only written in 1321. This is impossible because al-Hilli wrote Minhaj al-Karüma for Oljeitu (i. e. Khudäbanda) who had died five years earlier in 716/1316. 40 On al-Hilli's Mugtazilism in theology, see Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Allama a1-Milli (d. 726/1325). On al-Hilli's views of God's doing the best (aslal: ) in both religious and worldly matters and of divine compensation, see Schmidtke, 109-116, and 117-124, respectively. See also A the theological treatise, Hasan b. YQsuf b. 'Ali ibnu'l-Mulahhar al-Hilli, Al-Bc bl-Kddi'Ashar: Treatise on the Principles of Shiite Theology with Commentary by Miqddd-l-Fdclil al-Hilli, ET William McElwee Miller (London: The Royal Asiatic Society, 1928). In Minhiii al-kardma, alHilli sums up his moral charges against Sunnism as follows, "Most of the [Sunnis] hold the doctrine that God-He is Mighty and Great-does bad deeds and that all kinds of disobedient acts, unbelief, and corruption occur by God's decree and determination. And that the human has no efficacy in that. And that God has no purpose in His acts, and that He does not do anything for the


Notes to the Introduction


benefit of servants. And that He wills acts of disobedience from the unbeliever and does not will obedience from him. This makes hideous things follow necessarily, " as quoted in Minhdj 3: 78/1: 264-5. 41Al-Hilli, Minhdj al-karama, as quoted in Minhaj 3:20/1: 267. 42Al-Hilli, Minhaj al-karama, as quoted in Minhaj 3: 179/2:34. 43Al-Hilli, Minhdj al-karama, as quoted in Minhaj 3: 154/2:28. Al-Milli, Minhaj al-karama, as quoted in Minhaj 3: 86/2: 11. 451rada MF 8: 81-158. 46This information is found only at the beginning of the versions of Irüda found in MRM 5: 11370 and MRK 1:318-86. For some reason, the editor of MF did not see fit to include it. °' Tadmuriyya MF 3: 1-128. Ibn Taymiyya also tells us on the first page that he wrote this treatise in response to a request for the contents of one of his teaching sessions. Henri Laoust calls this creed Ibn Taymiyya's most methodological presentation of doctrine, La profession de foi d'Ibn Taymiyya: Texte, traduction et commentaire de la IVasitiyya (Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1986), 38-9, n. 4. 48Kasb MF 8: 386-405 (inquiry on p. 386). 49Jabr MF 8:448-515 (inquiry on pp. 448-9). Reading asqamani (MFCD) in the last line of the poem instead of the indecipherable sy-q-m-n (MF). In a third fatwa of this kind, Tü'iyya MF 8:245-255, the inquirer, identified as a scholar of the non-Muslim protected peoples (dhimmis), wonders whether he is disobedient when the Lord has willed his unbelief. To this Ibn Taymiyya himself replies in poetic verse. 50The hadith is found in Muslim 4674, al-Birr wa al-lila wa al-5dib, Tahrim al-7,ulm. See William A. Graham, Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam (The Hague: Mouton, 1977), 205-6, for a translation of this hadith and additional citations in the tradition. 51Abii Dharr MF 18: 136-209. 52cAdll JR 121-142. 53'Adil JR 121. 54 Hasana MF 14:229-425. An unnamed fatwa in MF 8:204-234 abridges Hasana MF 14:294361. Only the opening paragraph giving the inquiry and the final paragraph of the fatwa are not found in Hasana. 55Fatiha MF 14:4-36. 56 Ibn Taymiyya does mention Mahabba and an unidentifiable Qä'ida kabira in Fütiira MF 14: 14 and 27, respectively. Mahabba itself contains no mention of datable works and cannot therefore be dated. Ibn Taymiyya occasionally indicates that he has dealt with something in another place, but this is a common feature in his writing that does not give significant information. S''Adil JR 121-6,126-130; Jabr MF 8: 505-510; and Abii Dharr MF 18: 137-156. 58Minhaj 1: 134-141/1: 33-4,1: 451-4/1: 125-6,2: 304-313/214-5,3: 20-3/267-8. 59Nubuwwät 143-7. 60 Irdda MF 8:93-7; Kasb MF 8:400-1; Tü'a MF 8:446-7; Jabr MF 8: 511-2; Fiitilra MF 14:21; Hasana MF 14:265-6; Thulth MF 17:94-6,99; Minhaj 3: 142-5/2: 25-6; and Minhij 5:408411/3: 102. 61Adams, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God, 205, brings out the controversial aspect of the value and metaphysical presuppositions that go into the debate over problems of evil. Adams suggests that we conceive the methodological common ground when discussing such problems as "a philosophical stock exchange that trades in packages of assumptions and theories that compete with respect to clarity, coherence, simplicity, fruitfulness, and explanatory power. " 62Josef van Ess emphasizes that the dialectics of Kaläm are primarily ad hon: inem and concerned with winning arguments against adversaries even if truth is not necessarily attained. On this and the character of Kaläm more generally, see van Ess, "The Logical Structure of Islamic Theology, " in Logic in Classical Islamic Culture, ed. G. E. von Grunebaum (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1970), 21-50.


Notes to the Introduction


63Al-Hasan b. KAli b. Khalaf, AN Muhammadal-Barbahäri.

64 'Abd Alläh b. Ahmad b. Muhammad, Abü Muhammad Muwaffaq al-Din Ibn Quddma alMagdisi. 65Muhammad b. al-IIusayn b. Muhammad, Abü Ya9lä Ibn al-Farrä' 66 'Ali b. 11Agilb. Abmad, Abu 'I-Wafä' al-Baghdädi al-7,afari. George Makdisi has provided a comprehensive study of this figure in Ibn 'Agil. Religion and Culture in Classical Islam (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1997). 67 Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 49-56; and Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 40-1. Ibn Taymiyya defends the permissibility of rational argument in theology, or more specifically `the principles of religion', in Khaw(l, a fatwa written while in Egypt (705-712/1306-1313) and later included near the beginning of Dar' 1:25-78. (Khawcl also appears in truncated form in MF 3: 293-326. References to Khaw(l hereafter will be made only to Dar'. Ibn Taymiyya notes that he wrote the fatwa in Egypt at the point where he begins copying it into Dar'. ) The shaykh explains in Khawtl that it is not disliked (» rakri-th) to address people in their own terms as long as the proper meanings are ascertained. The Qur'an and hadith reports may also be translated into other languages as necessary. The shaykh says that the Salaf did not reject Kaläm terminology and argumentation as such. The Salaf were aware that God had Himself propounded rational arguments, and they were open to non-quranic terms as long as they carried meanings congruent with the revelation. However, they reproached Kaläm theologians for using terms in the wrong senses and misconstruing the role of rational arguments. Additionally, according to the shaykh, one needs to know both the meanings of words used by the group being addressed and the meanings of the terms used in the Qur'an and the Surma and in order to achieve clear communication (Dar' 1:28,43-6). When discussing translation of the Qur'an for the sake of non-Arabic speakers in Mantiq, MF 4: 117, Ibn Taymiyya explains that it may be necessary to give similitudes (amthdl) to convey the meaning and that this is in fact part of translation. In Bughya, 25, Ibn Taymiyya comments that one need only understand the technical terms of the philosophers to grasp their intentions. He adds that this is not only permissible but also good and sometimes obligatory. Bell, 54-5, and Michel, 41-3, both appear to be drawing on Khmvd when discussing Ibn Taymiyya's adoption of Kaläm. However, I could not verify this because the printed editions they used were not available to me. In terms of its purposes, Ibn Taymiyya's Khmvtt is comparable to al-Ashcan's Risdla fi istihsdn al-khawcl Ji 'ilm al-kalam. However, al-Ashcan does not draw Ibn Taymiyya's distinction between analogical and a fortiori reasoning that will be explained below in Chapter One (1.4.3), and al-AshWari implicitly accepts the former. The Risala is found in Richard J. McCarthy, The Theology of al-Ashfari (Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1953), 85-97 (Arabic) and 117-134 (ET). 68Bell, Love Theory in Later fianbalite Islam, 54. 69 Laoust, Essai, 177. Following Laoust, Makari, Ibn Taymiyyah's Ethics: The Social Factor, 45, makes the same point. Laoust's French text reads, "II apparait ainsi que toute la theodicee d'ibn Taimiya ne tend qu'a un seul but: celui de donner un fondement ä son ethique et, par suite, A toute I translate `thdodicde' here as `theology' rather than sa philosophie juridique et sociale. " `theodicy' because Laoust clearly intends it to refer to the overall doctrine of God and not just to `theodicy' in the more limited sense in which I am using the term. See also my remarks in Note 18 above on Laoust's use of the term `theodicee'. 70Laoust, Essai, 470,472. More recently, James Pavlin argues in the conclusion to his dissertation "The Concept of'Ubiüdiyyah in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyyah, " 367, that interpretation of Ibn Taymiyya's works should begin from the shaykh's focus on worship. Pavlin believes that other vantage points yield too narrow an interpretation of the shaykh's thought.




An overview of the background issues Before going on in subsequent chapters to Ibn Taymiyya's specifically

theodicean argumentation, this first chapter investigates his views on reason, metaphysics, value theory, and theological method, which will reappear in

theodicean contexts. The first section shows how the shaykh understands reason to be a source of religious knowledge that is independent of revelation and agrees it. Throughout this chapter and the rest of the study it will be observed that with Ibn Taymiyya often argues from reason and revelation as two mutually

sources of proof. The second section below surveys the shaykh's corroborating for God's existence, which are based on a `principle of cosmological arguments determinative cause for every possible preponderance' requiring an external the roles of revelation, reason, and the natural constitution (Jitra) of existent, and humanity in providing knowledge of a utilitarian ethic. The metaphysical

of preponderance and the value principle of utilitarianism play key roles principle in Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean writings. The final section of this chapter examines the shaykh believes can be known about God's attributes and acts through what revelation and reason. For the shaykh, revelation and the perfection of God

that human language not refer to anything in the actuality of God Himself. require However, he also devotes serious attention to delineating the meanings that the divine attributes evoke in the human mind on the basis of the early Islamic tradition and rational considerations of creaturely perfection. I will be suggesting


Ibn Taymiyya engages in this project of theological definition in order to that God worthy of human worship and praise. The remaining five chapters portray a this study on theodicy may then be read as an example of how Ibn Taymiyya of goes about this in one domain of theology.


Ibn Taymiyya on the correspondence of reason and revelation Ibn Taymiyya vigorously maintains that all the principles of religion have

Sunna.1 The shaykh's high regard for the been revealed in the Qur'an and the tradition has combined with his frequently polemical spirit to earn him a Majid Fakhry, for example, uses in

in some quarters for antirationalism. reputation

the terms "slavish traditionalism, " "antirationalist polemics, " and "misology" the context of describing Ibn Taymiyya's

in the history of Islamic place

2 Fakhry does not note, however, that the shaykh also claims in philosophy. passagesthat clear reason (al-'aql al-sarih or al-sarilz al-ma'gi7l) agrees numerous tradition (nagl or samc), the message of the and corresponds with revealed 3 The this point especially in his the Salaf. shaykh argues prophets, and the way of Dar', a refutation of the rule established by Fakhr al-Din al-RIizi and major work be given precedence over traditional proofs in others that rational arguments must case of contradiction. 4

Two studies by Binyamin Abrahamov illustrate that it is not immediately Ibn Taymiyya means by the agreement of reason and revelation. In obvious what 1992 article on Dar', Abrahamov notes that Ibn Taymiyya's view appears to a the philosopher Ibn Rushd (d. 595/1198)5 in which come very close to that of 6 Abrahamov concludes, are both true and do not contradict. revelation and reason


however, that Ibn Taymiyya differs fundamentally from Ibn Rushd by confining himself to the terms and rational proofs found in the Qur'an and the Sunna. Reason does not disagree with revelation because it has no status apart from 7 Later, however, Abrahamov explicitly rejects his former conclusion. revelation. In a 1998 general study of reason and revelation in Islamic theology, he briefly argues that for Ibn Taymiyya there are rational arguments arising from the human intellect independently of revelation, which are valid so long as they do not contradict revelation. Reason is thus an independent source for knowledge of

God. Abrahamov does not present his case in detail, and he does not investigate in question. 8 However, the following discussion the nature of the rational proofs

his latter conclusion. supports
Yahya Michot, in the introduction to his French translation of Ibn

Taymiyya's letter to the Syrian prince AbU al-Fidä' (d. 732/1331), 9 conceives the matter somewhat differently. Drawing upon Dar' and the letter to Abis al-Fidä',

Michot explains that for Ibn Taymiyya the Qur'an and the Sunna are the summit the two paths of reason and tradition come together and from and peak where they depart. Whatever contradicts the Qur'an and the Sunna lies outside the where pale of rationality. Thus, the proofs of reason, rightly exercised, lead to the same

derive from the sane source. 10 A end as do the proofs of tradition, and they from Ibn Taymiyya's letter illustrates how revelation and reason may be passage conceived as complementary paths to the same divine truth. [The Salaf and their followers] knew that both revelational and rational true and that they entailed one another. Whoever gave rational proofs were (al-adilla al-'agliyya al yaginiyya) the complete inquiry and certain proofs due them knew that they agreed with what the messengers informed about that they proved to them the necessity of believing the messengers in and


what they informed about. Whoever gave revelational proofs (al-aclilla a! the understanding due them knew that God guided His servants in samciyya) His Book to certain rational proofs by which is known the existence of the Creator, the subsistence of His attributes of perfection and His exoneration from imperfections and from anything being like Him in the attributes of perfection, and which prove His uniqueness, the uniqueness of His lordship, the uniqueness of His divinity, His power, His knowledge, His wisdom, His mercy, the truthfulness of His messengers, the obligation to obey them in what they obliate and command, and believing them in what they teach and inform about. ' The key point in this text is that revelation reiterates the correct rational proofs pertinent to religion. Ibn Taymiyya explains that revelation contains both

information (khabar) and rational proofs.

The rational proofs are both

revelational (sharci) by virtue of being brought by God and His messengers and rational (cagli) since they are judged true by reason. The shaykh also notes in the letter to Abü al-Fidä' philosophers-by and elsewhere that Kalam theologians, as well as

whom he usually means the Aristotelian Neoplatonists al-Faräbi

(d. 339/950)12 and Ibn Sind 13-err when they confine revelation to the domain of information. 14 To put the matter in another way, revelation embodies true rationality. Once one has access to revelation, one identifies it immediately as

identical to whatever truth one knew previously through reason. In this vein Ibn Taymiyya observes that the truthfulness of the prophets can be known only 15 Conversely, the immediately exposes irrational ideas through reason. revelation for what they are.16 As indicated in the quotation above, Ibn Taymiyya believes that what revelational and rational proofs both demonstrate are God's existence, His attributes of perfection, and the obligation to believe and obey what He brings through His messengers. The following section (1.3) examines knowledge of


God's existenceand the proper human responseto Him. The subsequent section looks at God's attributes(1.4).


Ibn Taymiyya on knowledge of God's existence and ethical value

1.3.1 Cosmological proof for the existence of God in the necessity of reason Ibn Taymiyya reports that `reason' or `commonsense' ('aql) has two For Abmad b. Hanbal, '7 it is a potency

meanings in the Islamic tradition.

(quwwa) and an instinct (ghariza) by which one reasons. For others, including

knowledge (darb min cd-'uliüm Kaläm theologians,reasonis a body of necessary
al-darüriyya). Ibn Taymiyya says that both are true, and he compares 'aql to the

basar, which in Arabic can refer both to the faculty of sight and to the word faculty. 18 perception of seeing with this

The shaykh believes that reasonknows the basic rules of thought: that like
things are alike, that different things are different, and that two things cannot exist in the same place at the same time. For example, it is neither rational nor possible to combine black and white in one place at one time, and something cannot be simultaneously existent and nonexistent. 19 Moreover, reason knows basic

metaphysical notions relating to efficient causality. It is known by clear reason that an existent is either necessary in itself (ii'üjib bi-nafsil: i) or not necessary by itself, either eternal or originated (muhdath), either created or uncreated, and in need of another or self-subsistent (ghani `ammä sAv hu). 20 With these either metaphysical oppositions in place, the shaykh sets forth simple and direct cosmological arguments for God's existence. known The existence of the Creator is It is

necessarily by reason from the fact of created existence.


commonsensethat everything needs a cause and that all things must have an
originator that is ultimately eternal and self-sufficient. "The originated being

itself knows through clear reason that it has an originator. ,21 Every creature is by its very existence a sign necessarily entailing the essence, attributes and unity of the Creator, and it is the way of the prophets to point to God by mentioning these 22 The the Self-Sufficient and the Eternal Existent which is signs. existence of Necessary in Itself is known by "the necessity of reason" (clarra"at al-cagl) and from the need of every originated event for an originator (inuhdith), as well as

from the need of something possible (mumkin) for something else to give it
(müjid). 23 existence Ibn Taymiyya contrasts his proof for God from 'aql with the Kaläm method of rational inference (na?ar) which proves the existence of the Creator by indirect cosmological arguments appealing to the origination of accidents and the

bodies from atoms.24 He criticizes especially the Muctazilis and composition of Ashcan and Hanbali theologians25 for making nazar the initial human some obligation. He argues that this method, whose origins he traces to Jahm b. Safwän (d. 128/745), 26 is not a necessary basis for knowledge of God's existence. Speculation of this sort leads to error. 27 He observes, furthermore, that not even the philosophers make their speculative methods an obligation since they do not knowledge to be available to the general populace.28 regard their special According to Ibn Taymiyya, God's origination of the human being after it was nonexistent is known by all through reason apart from prophetic revelation even Qur'an also use this form of proof. 29 though the prophets and the


1.3.2 Rationalist utilitarian

ethics and the divine command

Beyond knowledge of God's existence, Ibn Taymiyya believes that basic ethical and religious truths are known by reason. Reason knows that the Creator be the sole object of worship and that nothing may be associated with Him. 30 must Reason also knows which human actions are good (hasan) and which are bad (gabih). suitability, This is because good and bad reduce to the difference between pleasure, profit, and benefit for the agent on one hand and harm, and detriment on the other. 31 In this pain,

unsuitability, incompatibility,

regard the shaykh also notes the view of Fakhr al-Din al-Riizi that reasonknows is an attribute of perfection (kamä! or of imperfection (nags).32 ) whether an act
Ibn Taymiyya adds that only later Kaläm theologians use such terms and that alRäzi got this from the philosophers. The shaykh refers perfection and

imperfection also back to pleasure and pain and the suitable and incompatible: The perfection that occurs to the human being through some acts goes back to agreement and opposition, which is pleasure and pain. The soul takes in what is a perfection for it, and it suffers pain in the imperfection. pleasure So, perfection and imperfection go back to the suitable and the incompatible. 33 Similarly, Ibn Taymiyya relates other value terms to suitability and pleasure. "It is known that knowledge, justice, truthfulness, and beneficence are suitable for humans and that they take pleasure in these. Moreover, their pleasure in these is greater than in anything else. This is what it means for an act to be good."34 In a like manner, the terms `good deed' (hasana) and `evil deed'
(sayyl'a) are a matter

35 The of pleasure and pain. shaykh does not define good (khayr) and evil (sparr) directly, but in their contexts they also relate to benefit (masla{za) and detriment (mafsada), profit (naf) and harm (darar), respectively. 36 1 have not found Ibn


Taymiyya claiming that khayr and sharr are known by reason although there would be nothing to prevent him from doing so. Generally speaking, value terms in Ibn Taymiyya's discourse reduce to considerations of benefit and detriment, these are known by reason. It is a special quality of human reason to know and know and repel harm. 37 and seek profit and to The shaykh contrasts his view with the value theories of the Multazilis and the Ashcaris. In the Muctazili view, an act is good or bad on account of an

to the act and necessarily concomitant with it, and its value is attribute essential

known by reason. The function of God's command and prohibition is not to
values to acts but to unveil them. assign Moreover, a bad act deserves

in the hereafter even without the warning of a messenger. This is chastisement called a deontological ethic or, following George I-lourani, `rationalistic

objectivism' because good and bad are objective qualities of acts themselves. In the Ashcari ethic, however, acts are good or bad only because God commands or them. There are no attributes in acts making them good or bad. Their prohibits be known only by revelation. Ibn Taymiyya claims, furthermore, that value can the AshWaris make God's command wholly arbitrary and devoid of regard to human benefit. This position goes by the name `theistic subjectivism' (I-Iourani) or `voluntarism' divine will. 38 Ibn Taymiyya adopts a third view, a teleological and utilitarian ethic in acts depend on their final benefit for their value. An act does not have an which attribute (sifa dhütiyya) that makes it good or bad. Rather, something essential may be good, loved, and profitable in some circumstances and bad, hated, and (Majid Fakhry) because good and bad depend solely on the


harmful in others.39 Acts have attributes by which they become good or bad, but these are accidental ('ärida) and must be considered in light of what is suitable (mulä'im) or Unsuitable (munäfir) to the agent.40 "The good [act] is that which procures what is loved, sought, and intended for itself. The bad is that which

procures what is hated and loathed. 9,41 Some things like eating meat that has not been ritually slaughtered may be bad in some circumstances and good in others.42 Ibn Taymiyya claims wide consensus for the proposition that good and bad defined in this relative and utilitarian manner are known rationally. 43 This does in fact appear to be the case, especially among the Ash'ari Kalium theologians that

dominate the later medieval period. Mul}ammad al-Julaynid explains that, from through al-Ghazäli (d. 505/1111), al-Räzi, and cAdud al-Juwayni (d. 478/1085)44
al-Din al-Iji (d. 756/1355), 45 the later Ash'aris interpret the Multazili

deontological notions of good and bad in terms of profit and harm, pleasure and they hold that these effects are known pain, and suitability and unsuitability, and by reason. However, these Ashcaris say that reason cannot know whether an act is praiseworthy or blameworthy and rewarded or punished. This can be known only Law. 46 Ibn Taymiyya notes this AshWariqualification as well, but he through the is not sympathetic to it. He unsuccessfully tries to reduce it also to a natter of and harm. He argues, "In reality this controversy comes back to the suitable profit and the unsuitable, the profitable and the harmful. Blame and punishment are

among the things that harm the servant and are unsuitable for him. "47 While it is intuitive that blame and punishment cause pain and harm, this does not address the question of whether one knows about blame and punishment-especially the hereafter-through in

reason. In a different text Ibn Taymiyya does say that the


ultimate ends of acts can only be known through the revealed Law: "Knowledge of the end which is the consequence of acts, that is, happiness and unhappiness in hereafter, is known only by the Law. A8 the This brings us to the relationship of the Law to the good and bad that is known by reason. According to Ibn Taymiyya, God's command is directed

the wise purpose (hikma) and mercy of promoting human benefit. 49 toward

"[God] commandedand prohibited according to His knowledge of the benefits
and detriments to servants in the command, the prohibition, the thing commanded forbidden. ,50 God raised up messengers to bring benefits and and the thing detriments. 5' reduce Beyond this the shaykh identifies three types of divine command. 52 In the first, God's command and prohibition confirm that humans should do and not do knows is good and bad, respectively. 53 One example of what their reason already this is the quranic verse, "[God] commanded them to the right and prohibited them from the wrong, and He made agreeable things lawful (halal) for them and forbade disgusting things for them" (Q. 7: 157). Ibn Taymiyya says that this

indicates that these things are right or wrong, agreeable or disgusting, apart from God's command. Otherwise, the verse becomes tautologous: "Ile commanded

them what He commanded them... "53 Ibn Taymiyya clarifies that in this first type God does not punish acts known to be bad until He sends a messenger. He bases this on quranic texts such as "We do not chastise until We raise up a messenger" (Q. 17: 15) and "Your Lord never destroyed the towns until He raised up a messenger in their leading town reciting Our verses to them. We never destroyed the towns unless their people were


(Q. 28: 59). 55 God first sent messengers to condemn what was already unjust" known to be bad. This was followed by prohibition and warning of

56 The shaykh observes that this differs from the Ashcans for whom chastisement. bad acts prior to revelation were as indifferent as eating and drinking and that it also opposes the Muctazilis for whom bad acts are punished even apart from the 57 warning of a messenger. In dealing with an objection that there is no meaning to a `bad' act that is not punished, Ibn Taymiyya draws a distinction between two kinds of `bad' and two kinds of `punishment' ('igäb). First, `bad' means that the act is a cause of

of the kind that God deals out after a messenger's warning. Second, punishment `bad' means blameworthy, imperfect, and defective. Bad acts entail a

"punishment of deprivation of good" (hirmün khayr) which results from not doing is better. Thus, those who commit bad acts before the arrival of messengers what do suffer the punishment of imperfection, but they do not suffer direct divine punishment. In this connection the shaykh also mentions that there are traditions

in which those who have never received a messenger will have one sent to them 58 Day of Resurrection. on the
In the second kind of divine command and prohibition, an act becomes good or bad by the pronouncement of God, but it still entails benefit and detriment. Ibn Taymiyya notes that God may specify places and times like the Kacba and the month of Ramadän in which to dispense greater quantities of His mercy, beneficence, and blessing. As examples of this second kind, he also cites the prohibitions against drinking wine and praying toward Jerusalem. In response to the objection that the forbidding of wine was arbitrary, the shaykh says that God


it at the time dictated by His wise purpose. Something may be prohibited
profitable at one time and harmful at another, or something that is harmful may not be prohibited if its prohibition might result in greater detriment. In the case of wine, God did not prohibit it completely until the early Muslims had adequate faith to withstand its prohibition. 59 The third type of divine command is the test. The primary example Ibn Taymiyya provides of this is God's command to Abraham to sacrifice his son. The shaykh explains that such a sacrifice would have brought no benefit. Rather, God tested Abraham to see whether his love for Him was greater than his love for his son. God's intention was to remove anything that might have come between Abraham's friendship with Himself. G0 them and to perfect The above discussion of Ibn Taymiyya's ethics has focused on his

interaction with the debate over rational discernment of good and bad in the Kaläm tradition. 61 These issues will appear later in this study in connection with Muctazili and Ashcari concepts of divine justice (3.3 and 6.2). The shaykh's

utilitarian outlook also appears in the following treatment of another source of knowledge, the natural constitution. religious

1.3.3 The natural constitution tetra) and its perfection through prophecy The natural constitution (Iltra) in Ibn Taymiyya's thought is an innate

faculty or knowledge that is closely related to reason ('agl). G2 However, it is difficult to determine the exact relation. The shaykh occasionally uses cagl and fitra derivatives in parallel. 63 In other places, the natural constitution or their

appears to be the basis for reason. For example the shaykh speaks of "the rational


methods (al-turuq al-cagliyya) that people endowed with reason know by their
constitutions, "64 and he writes, "What is intended by the term `object of natural reason' (ma'qül) is the clear object of reason that people know by their natural constitutions upon which they have been naturally constituted ."6'5 However, the following statement could be cited to support the opposite thesis-that the basis of the natural constitution-"Rational reason is

propositions (al-gacldyü al-

'agliyya) are the foundations of the natural constitutions of people endowed with reason (usitl fitar al-'ugalä'). "66 Many of the same things that Ibn Taymiyya says are known by reason are

known by the natural constitution. These include the basic rules of thought. also
has placed knowledge of likeness and difference in the natural constitution. 67 God It is known by the natural constitution that a body or person cannot be in two The shaykh adds that if in fact it appears that a person is in two places at once. then one of the appearances is actually that of a jinni who places simultaneously, form of the person.68 As with reason, the shaykh also frequently has adopted the claims that the existence of the Creator is known by the natural constitution

through direct cosmologicalproof. All humanbeings in their natural constitutions
know necessarily that the creature needs a creator, maker, and governor (mudabbir) and that an originated event needs an originator. Something possible

needs a preponderator (murajjih) to tip the scales in favor of its existence over its nonexistence. These fundamental affirmations of external determinative

causality, or what may be called the `principle of preponderance' correspond to humanity's fundamental felt need for and dependence upon God 69 Even the .

" insaneare awareof their needfor a creator.


Wael Hallaq in an article on Ibn Taymiyya's proofs for God's existence inconsistent. 't points out that the shaykh's views of the natural constitution appear Ibn Taymiyya sometimes presents the natural constitution as a means or faculty for knowing necessarily from created things that they must have a creator. Created things are signs immediately pointing to God. At other times, however, he regards the natural constitution as an inborn knowledge of God requiring no In this vein he argues that natural constitutions must know evidence whatsoever. Creator without signs: "If [the natural constitutions] had not known Him apart the from the signs, they would not have known that these signs [pointed] to Him. "72 Hallaq observes that the latter argument is circular and that it contradicts the former. Further investigation shows that Ibn Taymiyya probed the matter more deeply, especially in the direction of the natural constitution being a faculty, yet knowledge of the Creator without signs. To examine one that necessarily entails this, it is helpful to begin with the textual basis for the doctrine of the natural hadith found in the collections of Bukhiiri and Muslim. constitution, a Every newborn is born with the natural constitution. Then, his parents make him a Jew, Christian, or Zoroastrian. This is like an animal that bears is perfect of limb. Do you sense any mutilation in it? Then another that Abü Hurayra said: If you wish, recite, "The natural constitution (Ji!ra) of humanity" (Q. 30: 30). 73 God according to which He has constituted (fatara) The shaykh interprets the natural constitution in this hadith to be the religion of Islam, and he connects this to the covenant God made with all humanity in time, "[The Lord said], `Am I not your Lord? ' primordial indeed"' (Q. 7: 172). (bi-l-fi'l) actuality They said, `Yes,

However, he explains that this Islam does not exist in

birth because the newborn does not have knowledge of at



Yet, as his innate `potency' (quwtiva) of knowledge and will become

the knowledge of God that the natural constitution entails arises as well so active, impediments. 74 long as there are no In a part of Dar' not accessible to I-lallaq, Ibn Taymiyya observes that teaching is not a sufficient for imparting knowledge. 75 Teaching condition

inanimate objects does not yield the same results as teaching human animals and beings. There must be a potency entailing knowledge and will that is receptive to is taught, and this potency is created so as to preponderate the true religion what It is possible that inner voices (khawütir) in the soul alert it to the over any other. true religion without external teaching, and, apart from corrupting influences, this indeed happen. To deal with the problem of circularity, however, the shaykh will has resort to external determinative causes. He says that these inner voices still inspiration of an angel or other causes (a.shdb) that God arise through the Yet, he insists that they do not arise from human teaching and calling. originates. human intermediaries is not a necessary condition for knowing Guidance through the true religion. Taymiyya compares the natural constitution to an infant's Ibn If nothing impedes the infant, such as illness in

instinct for its mother's milk.

himself or his mother, he will necessarily drink. The shaykh adds that the natural instinct. 76 to believe in God is even stronger than the infant's constitution In Ibn Taymiyya's view, the natural constitution also dictates what is good for humans to do and love. God has constituted humans to will naturally what is for them and repel what is harmful: "The [human being] has been profitable he must inevitably have and to hate what harms naturally constituted to will what him and injures him. "77 This corresponds to loving what is good and right and


hating what is bad and wrong. Justice ('ad! ) is good because it is beloved to the natural constitution and yields pleasure, joy, and profit to oneself and others. Injustice (zulm) is bad because the natural constitution knows it is hateful and causes pain, trouble, and torment. Humans have been naturally constituted to love and find pleasure in justice, truthfulness, beneficence, and knowledge just as they have been naturally constituted to find pleasure in food and drink. 78 Moreover, God has naturally constituted human beings to love and worship Him alone. To

be a willing being is an essential concomitant of the natural constitution. A
willing being necessarily has a god toward which it directs its love and which it loves for itself. Apart from corrupting influences, this ultimate object of the

natural constitution's will and love will be God. Thus, a child, left on his own, know, praise, love, and worship his Lord. 79 In Dar Ibn will necessarily come to Taymiyya sums up the religion of the natural constitution in terms of exclusive

of God as the end for which creatureswere createdand the "lawfulness of worship good things" as the meanstoward this end:
The foundation of the religion upon which God naturally constituted His He said, "I have created My servants original believers servants-As (hunafa-'). Then, satans turned them away, forbade them what I had made lawful for them, and commanded them to associate to Me that to which I had not given authorityi80-this combines two foundations. The first of them is worship of God alone without associate. He is worshipped only through what He loves and has commanded. This is the objective for which God created creatures. Contrary to this is associationism and innovation. Second is the lawfulness of good things (tayyibüt) in which help is sought toward the objective. This is the means (uwasila). Contrary to this is forbidding the lawful. 8' Despite Ibn Taymiyya's optimistic view of the natural constitution's ability to know God and the purpose of worship for which it was created, the above ütin). quotation also indicates that it may become corrupted by satans (.sha), In


scattered references, the shaykh cites many things that may corrupt the natural constitution. In addition to Satans from among humans and jinn, ignorance and

heedlessness play a detrimental role. 82 As noted in the hadith on the natural Jew, Christian, or Zoroastrian. 83 Also, constitution, parents may make a child a vain doctrines may corrupt the natural constitution "like a veil blocking the from seeing the sun."84 Pride, ill purposes, and divided love for God all eyesight influences. 85 exert their corrupting In view of corrupted natural constitutions, Ibn Taymiyya notes that one of the best ways to reach necessary knowledge is through purifying the soul and spiritual disciplines. 86 Inferential methods may also be needed and even

discern the existence of the Creator. 87 However, Ibn Taymiyya obligatory to distinguishes between the invalid rational inquiry (nazar) of Kal,; theology on -im the one hand and the valid nazar of examining the guidance brought by the Messenger and inferring the Creator from the existence of the human being on the 88 It is in fact part of the role of messengers, the Qur'an, and the Sunna to other. the correct rational proofs obvious to those whose natural constitutions have make become corrupt. 89 In addition to revealing details of the Law that cannot be known by the natural constitution, messengers have been sent to those who have suffered corruption in order to set the natural constitution back on the right path it. 90 The following and complete and perfect Nubuwwit from Ibn Taymiyya's passage

shows how he views the role of prophecy to be that of pointing

humans back to their original constitutions: The Prophet, he and the rest of the believers inform only of the truth. They command only justice. They command the right and they prohibit the wrong.... They were raised up to perfect the natural constitution and firmly


establish it, not to replace it and change it. They command only what agrees with what is right to rational minds which pure hearts accept with So too, they themselves did not differ, and they did not receptivity. one another. Rather, their religion and their faith were one even contradict if the laws were of diverse kinds. They also agree with the obligation of the natural constitution according to which God constituted His servants. [They] agree with rational proofs and do not contradict them at all.... The prophets perfected the natural constitution and made humankind see. As has been said concerning the description of Muhammad-God bless him and give him peace-that through him God opens the eyes of the blind, the cars of the deaf, and hearts that are closed. Their opponents corrupt sense 91 just as they have corrupted the proofs of perception and reason

A similar passagein anotherwork points to the role of messengers perfecting the
natural constitution for the sake of blessing in Paradise. is He-raised up the messengers to perfect the natural constitution. They indicated to human beings that by which they obtain blessing in the hereafter and are saved from the chastisement of the hereafter. The difference between what is commanded and what is forbidden is like the difference between Paradise and the Fire, pleasure and blessing and chastisement.92 pain, and God-Exalted The role then of prophets and messengers for Ibn Taymiyya is to purify humans of corrupting influences and return them to the natural constitution in which they love God alone and dedicate their religion solely to I-Iim.93 This were created: to involves pointing to what is known to be just and right in reason and guiding them on the path to Paradise. Prophecy and revelation are fully congruent with and the

perfection of what all humanbeings have naturally constitutedwithin them.

1.3.4 Concluding notes on God's existence and ethical value To sum up the previous three subsections, reason and the natural constitute two functionally equivalent sources in Ibn Taymiyya's constitution thought for attaining knowledge of God's existence and the ends to which human beings should devote themselves. Apart from prophetic revelation, human beings


know by virtue of their very createdness that God exists, that the fundamental human telos is to gain benefit and repel determent, and that this may be achieved most fully in worshipping and loving God. Prophecy and revelation of the divine command restore and perfect these basic human intuitions. Certain rational difficulties arise from Ibn Taymiyya's ethical vision. His

view of the powers of the natural constitution to recognize and follow truth is very does not appear to take serious account of inveterate unbelievers optimistic and for whom prophecy and spiritual discipline do not avail. It is insufficient to pass the blame off on satans because this only pushes the question back one step to how even the natural constitutions of the satans were corrupted. From whence

then does evil ultimately come? A similar problem exists with respectto reason.
If humans know by reason what will profit and harm them, why do they go astray, and if it is a matter of God creating disbelief and disobedience in them-as Ibn

Taymiyya asserts-then how is God just to create that, much less punish it? The to these problems in several places, but most fully in Hasana, shaykh attends which will be examined in Chapter Five (5.4.1). Also, two key principles underlying the material above will appear in the

later chapters on theodicy.

Ibn Taymiyya's cosmological proof for God's

existence is rooted in the metaphysical presupposition that every possible and originated existent requires an external cause preponderating and determining its existence. The shaykh usually upholds this `principle of preponderance' with an into the divine will. 94 The second principle extraordinary rigor that extends even from the above discussion that appears in later chapters is the value of utilitarianism. Ibn Taymiyya portrays God's will as governed by an ethical


that is essentiallythe sameas the utilitarianism operatingon the human rationality
plane. An important question is whether the shaykh applies these principles of to God univocally or in some other way. The preponderance and utilitarianism next section on the character and purpose of theological discussion of the divine attributes provides an indication of how the shaykh answers this question.


Ibn Taymiyya on knowledge of God's attributes Ibn Taymiyya observes that the unseen world, which includes both God and

the hereafter, can only be discussed through the medium of what is known in the 95 It is inevitable that the unseen world be discussed in terms visible world. analogous to what is known in the visible world: "Things that are concealed from sight and feeling are only known, loved, and hated via a kind of likening (tamthil) and analogy (giyäs). "96 Despite this, Ibn Taymiyya is agnostic as to what this

language might mean when applied to God. He denies that the language used
God corresponds to anything in God that resembles what is known in concerning the created world: "There is nothing like (mittel) [God], neither in His essence, nor in His acts. ,97 On the one hand, God can only be discussed in His attributes, nor in terms provided by human language. On the other, what these terms indicate in God cannot be known. Since the referentiality of theological language is

indeterminate, what criteria should be applied to establish which human language is fittingly applied to God? Ibn Taymiyya answers this question from the tradition and with rational arguments about what human conception of divine perfection must entail.


1.4.1 Agnostic affirmation

of God's attributes in the revealed tradition

Ibn Taymiyya often asserts that God must be spoken of strictly as He has revealed Himself to be; apart from revelation, nothing can be said. This approach rests on the quranic verse, "There is nothing like Him, and He is all-Hearing, allSeeing" (Q. 42: 11). The shaykh understands this to entail both a literal negation of God's likeness to any creature and an affirmation that God has attributes called hearing and seeing. authoritative By extension, all other attributes that appear in the as they are, but always with the

sources must be affirmed

qualification that they are wholly unlike those in creatures. A typical statement of in Ibn Taymiyya's Tadmziriyya creed.98 this position occurs God is qualified by that with which He has qualified Himself and by that with which His messengers have qualified Him, negatively and positively. What God establishes for Himself is established and what He negates for Himself is negated. It is known that the way of the Salaf of the Community and its Imäms is establishment of the attributes (sfiut) that He establishes without [giving them] modality (takyif) or likening [them to something else] (tamthil) and without distorting [them] (tahrif) or stripping [them] away (ta'til). Likewise, they negate of Him what He negates of Himself.... Their way involves establishing His names and attributes, as well as negation of His likeness with creatures-establishing without assimilating [Him to creatures] (tashbih), declaring [Him] incomparable (tan: ih) without stripping away [His attributes]. As He-Exalted is He-said, "There is nothing like Him, and He is all-Hearing, all-Seeing (Q. 42: 11). In His statement, "There is nothing like Him, " is a rejection of assimilation and likening, and His statement, "He is all-Hearing, all-Seeing, " is a rejection of heresy (ilhäd) and stripping away. 99 Adhering to these guidelines, God must be mentioned only in the theological language of the Qur'an and the Sunna. The admonitions against takyff, tamihil,

tashbih, tahrif, and ta'til protect this languagefrom interpretation that ties God to
creatures in some fashion. Ibn Taymiyya supports his rejection of assimilation (tashbih) and likening (tamthil) with a literal reading of several quranic verses


indicating that God has no son, associate, or equal (Q. 2:22,2: 165,16: 74,19: 65, 25: 2,112: 3-4, etc.). He also provides numerous verses establishing that God has names and attributes and that God is the Creator of created things. For various example, God is Self-Subsistent (al-Qayyiim) and Living (Q. 2: 255), all-Knowing and all-Wise (Q. 4: 26). He created the heavens and the earth and then sat upon the Throne (Q. 57: 4). He loves (Q. 5:54) and gets angry (Q. 4: 93). He spoke to Moses (Q. 4: 164). He is Creator, and to Him belong the most Beautiful Names

(Q. 59:24).100
Ibn Taymiyya further explains that attempts by philosophers and Kaläm

theologians to understandthe detail of the revealed language about God begin
from alien conceptual frameworks and lead to error. Those who make God

analogous to creatures or liken God to them violate His incomparability and end up worshipping an idol. A philosophical via negaliva strips away God's positive attributes (ta'til) and leads to worship of a nonexistent. Moreover, those who

negate God's attributes only do so because they have first likened these attributes to those of creatures and found them unfit for God. `strippers' are `likeners'. In this way, even the

In sum, the language about God presented in the

revealed sources must be accepted as it is without it implying any likeness of God 101 to creatures whatsoever. The shaykh's agnosticism as to the actuality of the divine attributes becomes especially apparent when he argues that they remain unique to God even if He has identified Himself with names and attributes that are also employed with respect to creatures. The shaykh elaborates this with a philosophical nominalism that denies the existence of extramental universals. Wael I-Iallaq comments that Ibn


Taymiyya holds individuals in the extramental world to be "so distinct and
different from one another that they cannot allow for the formation of an external 102 The shaykh explains that God calls universal under which they are assumed." Himself Living, Knowing, Merciful, Hearing, Seeing, and so on, and that in the Qur'an He has used these names for creatures as well. However, God and

creatures share nothing in common but these names. Ibn Taymiyya observes that the mind recognizes shared qualities and connotations when these names are from their particular and concrete manifestations. This is as when we abstracted that both snow and ivory share something in common with each other recognize that we call whiteness even though the whiteness of snow is much more intense than the whiteness of ivory. Despite observed similarities, the shaykh asserts that the abstract universal of whiteness or any other name has no existence outside the Applying this nominalism in the realm of theological language, there is no mind. longer any similarity between the referents of identical names apart from the names themselves when they are particularized in the Creator and the creature. The shaykh suggests that this is plain, for example, in the attribute of knowledge. The knowledge of creatures is accidental, originated, and acquired whereas that of the Creator is not. The concrete realities to which the names of the unseen God refer are unknowable because they are completely unlike referents given the same in the created world. 103 names One advantage of a rigorously agnostic approach is that all the revealed names and attributes of God can be affirmed without fear of anthropomorphism because all of them are equally unlike their counterparts in created things. sample of Ibn Taymiyya's dialectic against the Kahm A

theologians from


Tadmuriyya illustrates how this works. He takes particular issue with the Kalium
theologians' interpretation of God's love, good pleasure, anger, and hate as metaphors for either God's will or the blessing and punishment of human beings. For the sake of argument, he explains that if the Ka11m theologians understand God's will to be like that of creatures, then there should be no offense in making God like creatures in other attributes as well, such as love and anger. Conversely, they might take God to have a will uniquely befitting Him just as creatures have uniquely befitting them and different from God's. wills In this case, however,

there should be no reasonnot to affirm love and angerof God in a senseuniquely
befitting Him as well. Moreover, if the Kaläm theologians take `anger' literally as "the boiling of the blood of the heart from seeking vengeance" and then say that this cannot be applied to God, it can be countered that `will' means literally "the inclination of the soul to obtain profit or repel harm" which also cannot be applied to God. `Anger' and `will' in the human senses of these definitions are equally inapplicable to God because neither God's `anger' nor God's `will' relationship to the human senses of `anger' or `will'. bear any

Rather, Ibn Taymiyya

God has an `anger' and a `will' that uniquely befit Him. 104 argues, The shaykh also notes that the Kaläm theologians establish some of God's attributes by rational proofs and imply that those attributes not proven rationally must be reinterpreted. The theologians argue that a temporally originated act These attributes necessarily

that God has power, will, and knowledge. proves

imply life, and that which is living must be hearing, seeing, and speaking. Then, other attributes like love and anger, which are not proven rationally, may not be predicated of God except as metaphors for the rationally proven attributes. Ibn


Taymiyya retorts that absence of proof does not necessarily imply that something does not exist. Furthermore, rational proofs of a similar kind could be marshaled in support of God's other attributes. For example, God's beneficence to humans His punishment of unbelievers points to His hate; and so on. 105 proves His mercy; Ibn Taymiyya's hermeneutic presupposition throughout these arguments is a literal reading of "There is nothing like Him" (Q. 42: 11), which lie complements with a rigorous philosophical nominalism that completely denies the existence of extramental universals. On the basis of the divine unlikeness, the shaykh portrays the Kaläm theologians as inconsistent in their attempt to set apart some divine attributes as metaphorical and in need of reinterpretation (ta'ivil) while taking other attributes literally in senses common to creatures. Ibn Taymiyya What

understands God's names and attributes neither literally nor metaphorically.

is literal is that the names and attributes refer to realities wholly beyond human

While God's attributes may connotecertain things in the human comprehension.
these thoughts do not correspond to anything in the reality of God Himself. mind,

1.4.2 The meanings of the revealed attributes in human language The absolute unlikeness between God and creatures presents difficulties for the religious life insofar as the language about God does not connect to anything in human experience. 106 Sherman Jackson argues that Ibn Taymiyya's concrete view of God's names and attributes does, however, represent an advance over the earlier Hanbali Ibn Qudäma. Ibn Qudama sets out his position as follows: is HeWe have no need to know the meaning of what God-Exalted intended by His attributes-He is Great and Almighty. No deed is intended by them. No obligation is linked to them except belief in them. Belief in


them is possible without knowing their meaning. ignorance is correct. '07

Indeed, belief with

Whereas Ibn Quddma rejects any attempt to link the divine attributes to the referential world of ordinary human language, Ibn Taymiyya acknowledges that God's attributes do connote certain qualities in the mind although not in the external world. In the following quote, Jackson suggests that these mental

give more tangibility to religious language than does the full associations
of Ibn Qudäma. agnosticism On this approach, a hadith such as the one asserting God's descent to the lower heavens to offer forgiveness to repentent [sic] sinners is transformed from an abstract mystery into a concrete promise of immanent grace. For, is understood by `descent' is now informed by its meaning in the case what of created entities, without this entailing, meanwhile, the belief that God descends like anything created. 1° actually While the associations that the divine attributes and acts evoke in the mind may bring blessing and comfort of a kind, what Jackson calls a `concrete promise of immanent grace' does not appear in fact to be concrete because it does not to anything humans experience in concrete reality. Nonetheless, Ibn correspond

Taymiyya does differ from Ibn Qudäma in taking these connotations very seriously and giving considerableattention to the meaningsof the words that are
used for God's attributes. He delineates these meanings by reference to the

authoritative tradition of the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Salaf, the early Qur'an exegetes, and the conventions of the Arabic language, as well as by rational
considerations. 109

Ibn Taymiyya's discussion of God's attribute of `sitting' on the Throne (e.g. Q. 20: 5,25: 59), especially as it appears in his Hanzawiyya creed, provides an interesting example of how this works. To make sense of this, it is helpful to


clarify the distinctions Ibn Taymiyya draws between three different types of 110 First is the ta'wi1 ta'wil. of the Kaläm theologians and others who turn away from the probable meaning and adopt the less probable meaning on account of some proof for this. In the case of God's sitting, the shaykh in Hamait'iyya

castigates the Multazi1is for reinterpreting God's `sitting' (islawü) as `possessing' (istawlü) in order to reconcile it with the quranic affirmation, "[God] is with you (Q. 57:4). 111The shaykh also criticizes Kaläm theologians for wherever you are" applying the verse "No one knows its ta'tivil except God" (Q. 3: 7) to God's `descending', `sitting', and so forth. He says that this makes the prophets and the Salaf out not to have known what they were talking about when they mentioned these attributes. The second meaning of ta'ii'il is the taftir (interpretation or

Mujäihid 68/687), 112 explanation) of early Qur'an exegetes such as Ibn CAbbis (d. 113 (d. 310/923). 14 This is the tn'1i'il of the (d. ca. 100-4/718-722), and al-Tabari Salaf and "those firmly grounded in knowledge" (Q. 3: 7). The third meaning of ta'wil is the very reality of the thing referred to, as for example the existence of the various realities in Paradise. This is the ta'tivil that only God knows (Q. 3: 7).

Ibn Taymiyya puts God's attributes in this third category since only God knows
their reality. These latter two types of ta'tivil appear in Hanzawiyya as follows

with respect to God's `sitting':

The `sitting' is known. Its meaning (mctnü) is known; it is interpreted (yufassar), and it is translated into another language. This is part of the ta'wil that those firmly grounded in knowledge know. As for the modality (kayfiyya) of this sitting, this is the ta'wil that only God-Exalted is Heknows. 115


The level of ta'wil at which the shaykh works interpretively and theologically is
the second: tafsir and ascertaining the `meaning'. In Hamau, iyya, Ibn Taymiyya's insistence that God's sitting means `sitting', and not `possessing' as the Muctazilis would have it, involves him in interpretive reflection on the apparent contradiction between God's sitting on the Throne and, "He is with you wherever you are" (Q. 57:4). The shaykh affirms that, just as God is with His creatures in reality

(haqiqatan), He is on His Throne in reality, and in an analysis based on the of Arabic semantic conventions, he explains that God's `withness' authority (mafiyya) consists in watching over His creatures and knowing them. He suggests that this may be as when someone says that the moon or stars are with him when travelling. Similarly, a father sitting on a roof may say to a son crying below, "Do not be afraid! I am with you. " The father-son and moon/star images that Ibn

Taymiyya provides are simply suggestions as to how Q. 57:4 might be understood at the level of human language. However, interpretive maneuvers such as these were not well understood by Ibn Taymiyya's contemporaries and earned him the charge of anthropomorphism that led to his Damascene trials in 705/1306.116 In Hamawiyya Ibn Taymiyya also attempts to reconcile God's sitting on the Throne with the hadith, "If one of you stands to pray, God is in front of his face. So, let him not spit in front of his face" 117 Ibn Taymiyya explains that this is as when someone talks to the sky, sun, or moon: they are over him and also, simultaneously, in front of his face. In this case the shaykh finds precedent for his interpretive images in another hadith: bless him and give him peace-propounded The Prophet-God the similitude in this. "To God is the highest similitude (al-mathal al-d1ä)" (Q. 16:60). However, what is meant by drawing a similitude (tamthll) is


explanation of the permissibility (jawüz) of this and its possibility (imkün), not assimilation (tashbih) of the Creatorto the creature.
The Prophet-God bless him and give him peace-said, "There is not among you one but that he will see his Lord alone." Abis Razin al-(Ugayli said to him, "How is this, 0 Messenger of God, when He is only one and we are all together? " The Prophet-God bless him and give him peace-said, "I will inform you of the like (mithl) of this in the favors of God. This moon, each of you sees it alone, and this is a sign among the signs of God. God is greater"-or as the Prophet-God bless him and give him peace"8 He said, "You will see your Lord as you see the sun and the said. " 119 moon. He assimilated (shabbaha) the [one] vision to the [other] vision even if the [one] thing seen is not similar (mushübih) to the [other] thing seen. When the believers see their Lord on the Day of Resurrection and talk to Him, each one will see Him over him in front of his face just as he sees the There is no incompatibility fundamentally. 120 sun and the moon. On guard against anthropomorphism, Ibn Taymiyya prefaces his remarks in this by noting that the hadith supplies a `similitude' that does not assimilate quotation God to creatures. It only indicates what is permissible and possible with respect to God, but not what is necessarily actual. The shaykh provides similar `similitudes' interpretative images in his theodicean writings, especially in or

Minhäj, and these will be noted in Chapter Three (3.5).

In methodological

discussions examined in the following subsection, Ibn Taymiyya associates the

"To God is the highest similitude (al-mat/al al-ac/a)" (Q. 16:60), with a verse,
criterion for delineating the meanings of God's attributes and for deriving rational many of the attributes themselves.

1.4.3 The a fortiori

argument for rationally delineating God's attributes

Up to this point, we have seen Ibn Taymiyya defend and explain an agnostic traditionalism in God's attributes. However, he also believes that much of the

same information is known by reason. The shaykh's rational proofs for God's


be given toward the end of the following subsection. complete unlikeness will Here it is sufficient to note that they are founded on his rigorous denial of all extramental universals. justification The present subsection surveys his explanation and argument as a rational tool for deriving and The following subsection examines

of the a fortiori

discussing God's attributes of `perfection'.

the shaykh's traditional and rational proofs for God's perfection, details the divine perfections, and notes their function for religious life.

When discussingthe methodology of theological argument, Ibn Taymiyya
condemns both the use of analogy and categorical syllogism, and he explains that discussion of the divine attributes and acts must occur in a fortiori mode. The

shaykh is not adverse to analogy in legal matters. He traces the usage of legal back to the Salaf and criticizes the Zähiris for rejecting it. 121The juristic analogy analogy is invalid, however, if it contradicts what God has clearly legislated: "Wherever we know that the explicit text opposes an analogy, we know absolutely it is an invalid analogy. " 22 In matters of theological doctrine, Ibn Taymiyya that argues that the juristic analogy is always invalid because it brings God and

into a relationship of direct comparison. Even if God and an idol might creatures both happen to be objects of worship, and even if God and creatures share the fact of existence, these coincidences do not imply that God can be equated with created things in any other respect. Rather, God cannot be made analogous to any created thing because of His incomparability. Drawing an analogy from a

level and is tantamount to idolatry. 123 creature to God sets the two on the same Turning now to the categorical syllogism, Ibn Taymiyya is well known for his polemic against Aristotelian logic, especially as it is found in his major work


Kit ab al-radd cal



Wael Hallaq has provided a

translation of Jahd, the abridged version of Mantigiyyln, and in his introduction,
Hallaq shows that the shaykh's critique of the Aristotelian theory of definition and is extensive and incisive. 124 For our purposes, however, the categorical syllogism it is important to note only two points. First, Ibn Taymiyya accepts the formal validity of the categorical syllogism (giyds al-shzi niül). However, he rejects the this syllogism to give certain knowledge, and he denies that the premises power of that philosophers, Kaläm theologians, and theosophical Sufis introduce into it are real universals. Universals for Ibn Taymiyya exist only in the mind. Thus, he

believes, the elaborate metaphysical structures built up by Ibn Sin5i, Ibn cArabi, Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, and many others exist only in the mind and not in external 125 Second, in Jahd and elsewhere, the shaykh does not permit the use of reality. the syllogism with respect to God because, as with the juristic analogy, it places different syllogistic terms on the same level. 126 God and creatures as Although Ibn Taymiyya does not permit the univocal use of analogy and the categorical syllogism in theology, he does permit their use in a fortiori Like analogy, the a fortiori jurisprudence. mode.

argument plays an important role in Islamic

A common example of this argument concludes from the quranic

injunction, "Do not say to [parents] `Fie! "' (Q. 17:23), that hitting parents is a fortiori (i. e. all the more) prohibited because the disrespect shown to parents in

hitting is all the worthier of being prohibited than the disrespect shown in saying ' 127 When applied to God, this argument, in Ibn Taymiyya's view, maintains `Fie! the necessary unlikeness between God and creatures and, moreover, asserts that


God is all the worthier (awlä) of whatever judgement of perfection is applied to creatures than are the creatures themselves. He explains this as follows: Sometimes, the common degree (qadr mushlarak) in a rational argument is considered without consideration of priority (awwaliyya), and sometimes is considered in it. The a fortiori argument (giyas al-aºvlýi) is priority composed in this [latter] way. This [obtains] if it has been made a kind of categorical syllogism or analogy having a particular [characteristic] by it is distinguished from all [other] kinds, which is that the desired which judgement be worthier of being established than is the case mentioned in the proof proving it. Im5un Ahmad and This type is what the Salaf and the Imams-like with respect to rational proof in the others among the Salaf-followed matter of [God's] lordship, and it is what the Qur'an brought. This is is He-and another be because it is not admissible that God-Exalted included in a categorical syllogism whose terms are on the same level or in an analogy in which the judgement of the original case and that of the assimilated case are on the same level. Indeed, God-Exalted is I-Ie-there is nothing like Him neither in His essence (nafs) which is mentioned through His names nor in His attributes nor in His acts. However, the a fortiori argument is followed with respect to Him. As He said, "And to God is the highest similitude (al-niathal al-aclü)" (Q. 16:60). [Concerning] every perfection and attribute praiseworthy in itself and devoid of imperfection that belongs to some created, originated existents, it is known that the Lord, Creator, Self-Subsistent (Samacl), Everlasting (Qayyrüm), Eternal, and Necessary Existent in Himself is all the worthier of it. And [concerning] every imperfection and defect from which some originated, possible creatures must be exonerated, the Lord, Creator, Holy, Peace, Eternal, Necessary of Existence in Himself is all the worthier of being exonerated from it. 28 To sum up this passage, analogies and categorical syllogisms may not be employed univocally for God. Rather, the a fortiori argument which maintains

God's unlikeness must be used, and following the quranic verse, "For God is the highest similitude" `likeness' (mathal). (Q. 16:60), God must be given the highest `similitude' or

This entails attributing every creaturely perfection to God

and freeing Him from every creaturely imperfection because He is a fortiori worthy of being so qualified. Ibn Taymiyya asserts furthermore that the a fÜrliori


argument has a venerabletradition in the Qur'an and among the Salaf and other
important leaders of the Islamic community such as Ibn Hanbal.

I have not found the shaykhelaboratingon the use of the a fortiori argument
by the Salaf and Ibn Hanbal. 129 When it comes to the existence of the a fortiori argument in the Qur'an, however, Ibn Taymiyya does furnish some examples in Dar'. He gives two sets of arguments. First are quranic proofs for the

resurrection at the Last Day. Second are proofs for God's exoneration from
associates. 130

Concerning the resurrection, he begins by explaining that we know the in the extramental world either by its actual possibility of something existing

existence, by the existenceof something equivalent to it, or by the existence of
something greater. In the latter case, "The existence of something is a proof that below it is a fortiori something possible. "131 Moreover, the existence of any

possibility is contingent upon the Lord having power to make it occur. Ibn Taymiyya then cites quranic verses pointing to the original creation of the heavens and the earth, as well as of humans, to demonstrate aforliori God's

to raise humankind again. These include, "It is He who begins the creation, power and then brings it back again, and this is easier for Him. To Him is the highest similitude in the heavens and the earth" (Q. 30: 27), and, "Do they not see that God Who created the heavens and the earth is powerful to create the like of them" (Q. 17:99). However, the shaykh devotes the most attention to several verses in Surat Yä Sin: He set forth a similitude and forgot His creation. He said, "Who will give life to these bones when they are decayed?" Say, "He will give life to them Who brought them forth the first time! He is All-Knowing about every


creation. He who makes fire for you out of the green tree. Behold, from it you kindle. " Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth powerful to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the Supreme Creator, the AllKnowing (Q. 36: 78-81). The shaykh points out that "Who will give life to these bones when they are decayed?" is a rhetorical question inviting the response that no one can give life to decayed bones. However, God then underlines that this is indeed possible for Him by pointing to his original creation of life from dust: "He will give life to them Who brought them forth the first time. " Then, with "I-Ie who makes fire for you out of the green tree" God shows that He produces hot dry fire from what is cold and moist, something even more difficult than bringing life out of decayed
bones. Thus, the formation living of beings from decayed bones is a fortiori .

possible, and the God who can create fire from a green tree is a fortiori life from dust. 132 create The second set of a fortiori

able to

arguments Ibn Taymiyya cites from the Qur'an

in Dar' show God's freedom from associates.These argumentsare of two kinds.
The first kind points to the absurdity of the pre-Islamic idolaters' belief that God had daughters when they themselves disliked having daughters. If having

daughters is judged to be an imperfection in the human sphere, then God is all the worthier of being exonerated of having daughters. Following is one of the quranic that the shaykh uses to illustrate this argument: passages And they assign daughters to God-Glory be to Him-and to themselves what they desire. When one of them is given the news of a girl, his face becomes dark, and he chokes inwardly. He hides himself from the people because of the evil of the news that has been given him. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision. For those who do not believe in the hereafter is a similitude of evil, and for God is the highest similitude. And He is All-Mighty, All Wise... They assign to God what they hate, and their tongues assert the lie that better things will be


theirs. Without doubt, theirs will be the Fire, and they will be hastenedinto [it] (Q. 16:57-62).
Ibn Taymiyya concludes from this passage and two others (Q. 43: 16-9 and 53: 1923) that God has made it obvious that He is far worthier of being exonerated of imperfections than humans. It is not permissible for humans to attribute to God hate to attribute to themselves. 133 This is apparently so even when the what they value system sustaining the argument-dislike of daughters and female

infanticide-is denouncedin the processof argumentation.
The same point lies behind a second kind of quranic argument showing God's a fortiori freedom from associates. Ibn Taymiyya cites, "I-Ic set forth a

similitude for you from yourselves. Do you have, among what your right hands own, associates in what we have provided for you so that you are equal with regard to it, you fearing them as you fear each other?" (Q. 30: 28). According to the shaykh, God is here explaining that humans do not permit what they own, that

is, their slaves,to be associates with them in their property such that they would fear their slaveslike they fear their peers. Then, God is asking humanshow they
His slaves and His creatures associates with 1-lim. The implication is could make that God is a fortiori worthy of being exonerated of associates that humans do not

for themselves. 134 permit even With the above examples, Ibn Taymiyya argumentation found in the Qur'an is a fortiori establishes that the type of

argumentation, and this establishes

the permissibility of arguing in this mode in theological matters. In the shaykh's view, it preserves the unlikeness between God and creatures which univocal use of analogy and syllogism fails to respect. Moreover, the last two arguments cited above-God's a fortiori right not to have daughters and associates-illustrate the


principle that God must be given `the highest similitude'. That is, the theological fortiori a argument consists in transferring the judgements of creaturely

perfections to God and exonerating God of creaturely imperfections. This style of reasoning sets boundaries that guarantee that God is spoken well of without making Him like creatures.

1.4.4 God's attributes of perfection establish His right to worship Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God's `perfection' (kantül) is known by both 135 For his arguments from tradition we turn to the reason and revealed tradition. lengthy fatwa Akmaliyya, which provides a fairly complete overview of God's attributes of perfection. The philosophical term `perfection' is not used with

reference to God's attributes in the Qur'an, but the shaykh claims that the Qur'an indicates its meaning in mentioning God's praiseworthiness, in giving I-Iim "the highest similitude" (Q. 16:60), and in establishing His names. The shaykh also reports that the Qur'an exegete Ibn cAbbäs interpreted the divine name `SelfSubsistent' (al-Samad) found in Surat al-Ikhläs (Q. 112) to mean that God has the right to perfection. 136 Some of the shaykh's quranic support for God's perfection

has already been cited above as examplesof the a fortiori argument(Q. 16:57-62
and Q. 30: 28). A few more examples follow here. The verse, "Is then lie who creates as one who does not create? Do you not remember?" (Q. 16: 17), shows that creating is an attribute of perfection and that the Creator is better than the creature. Another verse is: "God propounded a similitude: a servant owned by another who has no power to do anything and one to whom We have provided a good provision from Us and who spends from it secretly and openly. Are they


Praise belongs to God, but most of them know not" (Q. 16:75). equal?


Taymiyya says that this illustrates that being an impotent slave is an attribute of imperfection that power, sovereignty, and beneficence are attributes of and

He also cites Abraham's question to his father, "0 my father! Why do perfection. that which does not hear, does not see, and cannot avail you you worship " (Q. 19:42), to show that hearing, seeing, and availing are perfection anything? illustrate that the Qur'an often describes idols as devoid of attributes of and to forth. 137 as speech, life, action, and so perfection such Qur'an, Ibn Taymiyya bases the attributes of perfection in In addition to the reason and the natural constitution. He says that it is known by the natural

God is more perfect than anything else just as it is constitution necessarily that He is the Creator. 138 Similarly, the shaykh argues that God's right to known that that are completely devoid of imperfection, as well as His right to perfections from all imperfection, is known by reason necessarily and in the bases of freedom intellects (ft bidäyat al-cuqül). principles. He grounds this in two separate but related A cause is known necessarily to be more

First is causal priority.

the Creator is more perfect than the creature; the Eternal is perfect than the effect; than the temporal; and the Necessary Existent is more perfect than more perfect that is susceptible to nonexistence. Second, God is the source of all the possible found in creatures. God is the Creator of every existent belonging to perfections the creatures derive (istafada) all of their perfections from their the creature, and Lord and Creator. An imperfect creature cannot create a perfect existent, and so must ultimately depend upon God. all perfection fortiori On both grounds, God is a

found in creatures. The Creator is all the worthy of any perfections


worthier of any perfection found in the creature becauseHe is more perfect than
the creature and because He is the very source of the creature's perfection. So far as Ibn Taymiyya is concerned, creatures are worthier of the imperfection of ' 39 nonexistence, possibility, and origination. Ibn Taymiyya uses disjunctive reasoning extensively to establish the various attributes of perfection rationally. In this line of argument, the respective

be attributed to God because the contraries would render Him attributes must imperfect. For example, the shaykh says that reason knows necessarily that

hearing and sight are attributes of perfection becausea living being who can see
hear is more perfect than one who cannot. Similarly, one who is living and and knowing is more perfect than one who is not. Moreover, God must be qualified as hearing and seeing lest He be imperfect and dependent upon another. If God were hearing and seeing, hearing and seeing creatures would be more not qualified with He is, and He would not be worthy of worship. '4° In another example perfect than the same logic applies to God's life. If God were not qualified with life, an

to which He has an essential right, he would be dead, and living creatures attribute be more perfect than He would be. 141 Following is an additional example would of this disjunctive line of thought: If [God] were not living, knowing, hearing, seeing, and speaking, it would follow that He is dead, ignorant, deaf, blind, and mute. He must necessarily be exonerated of these imperfections. Indeed, He-Glory be to Him-has created whoever is living, hearing, seeing, speaking, knowing, powerful, and moving. So, He is all the worthier to be like that. Indeed, every in a caused, created thing is from the perfection of the Creator. 142 perfection The inclusion of God's attribute of motion here contrasts with Kaliirr theologians who typically reinterpret the allegedly anthropomorphic statements about God's `descending' and `coming' that appear in the Qur'an and the Sunna. Ibn


Taymiyya argues that if God could not move he would be inferior even to inanimate objects. Such objects are at least subject to being moved by another. Moreover, if God could move but did not, then He would be inferior to objects
that do move on their own initiative. by itself. '43 Ibn Taymiyya provides a number of arguments to defend and explain the perfection of God's other seemingly anthropomorphic attributes. A few examples are given here. God is qualified with laughter to exclude crying, and joy to Rather, a living being is moving and active

exclude sadness. Crying and sadness entail weakness and impotence that are not fitting for God. 144 Joy also appears in another argument: one who loves, rejoices and is well pleased with attributes of perfection and who hates imperfection such as injustice and ignorance is more perfect than one who does not differentiate between perfection and imperfection. Thus, love, joy, good pleasure, and hate are God's attributes of perfection. One who has power to act by his hands is among more perfect than one who does not because the former can choose to act with his hands or through some other means whereas the latter does not have the option of using his hands. The implication is that God's hands are among His attributes of perfection. '45

Exonerating God of certain imperfections poses slightly more difficulty. Ibn Taymiyya says that it is true that living beings that eat and drink are more perfect than those that are sick and do not eat and drink. sustenance depends upon eating and drinking. are not completely free of imperfection. perfections that is, need for food and drink. need, This is because their

However, these creaturely Eating and drinking imply

Now, one who does not need to take


into himself and is not dependenton something outside himself is more anything
perfect than one whose perfection consists in eating and drinking. Thus, eating

drinking are not among God's attributes of perfection. 146 Ibn Taymiyya and argues that even the angels do not eat and drink, and so, God a forliori does not

eat and drink since God is all the worthier of whatever perfections are found in creatures. Moreover, the shaykh adds that God's not eating and drinking is

confirmed by the revealed tradition through God's name `Self-Subsistent' (alSamad). 147

Ibn Taymiyya also asserts that the perfection of God's attributes entails their
unlikeness to created things: "[God] is qualified by every attribute of perfection such that no one bears any likeness to Him in it. "148 Paradoxically, this means that God must be qualified with the highest conceivable perfection and that the of that perfection is to be completely unlike anything. perfection Tadmuriyya creed the shaykh provides a number of a fortiori In his

arguments to

the unlikeness of God's attributes of perfection, which are rooted in Ibn support
Taymiyya's thoroughgoing nominalism and rejection of real universals. In one of these, Ibn Taymiyya observes that the revealed sources describe numerous things in Paradise such as foods, clothes, dwellings, marriage, and so on. To this he adds a saying of Ibn cAbbäs, "There is nothing in this world that is in Paradise except the names."149 Ibn Taymiyya then argues that if there is such a great distinction between the realities of Paradise and the realities of this world that they share only the names given them, then the distinction between God such things must be even greater. ' 50 and created


In a secondargument,Ibn Taymiyya outlines the difficulty of pinning down what it means for the human spirit (rfch) to be powerful, hearing, ascendingat
death, and so on. Although we qualify the spirit with such attributes, we cannot investigate how it works because we cannot see it. Thus, the shaykh concludes, "If the spirit is qualified with these attributes, but without their likeness to what is seen of created things, then the Creator is all the worthier of His distinction from His creatures while being qualified with His names and attributes that He deserves."151 The argument may appear dubious since Ibn "I'aymiyya does not that, while the spirit is unseen, something positive can still be ascertained note the nature of its power and other attributes from its effects in the concerning visible world. precludes this. In a third argument from Tadmuriyya, Ibn Taymiyya states, "If the creature is exonerated of likeness to [another] creature despite concordance in name, then The same could be said for God, but the shaykh's nominalism

the Creator is all the worthier of being exoneratedfrom likenessto a creatureeven
if there is concordance in name."' 52 The fundamental presupposition of the argument that creatures bear no likeness (mumälhala) one to another except in name appears gratuitous, and it is not explained in its context in Tathnuriyya, but it fits with Ibn Taymiyya's thoroughgoing rejection of the extramental status of universals. '53

Although Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God's attributes of perfection are wholly unlike those of creatures, he nonetheless gives divine perfections the religiously vital function of evoking praise and worship. In Akmaliyya the shaykh explains that the Qur'an's aim in propounding the attributes of perfection is to


establish God's praiseworthiness. The attributes of perfection are not mentioned
in the Qur'an merely to counter those who strip them away (ahl al-tcttil). It also

enumerates them to demonstrate God's right to worship, especially against the associationists (mushrikün). "God-Glory be to Him-did not mention these Rather, He

texts only to establish the attributes of perfection for Him firmly.

mentioned them in order to make plain that He has the right to be worshipped from any other. " 154 The shaykh further notes that there are two kinds of apart praise (hamd) due to God. One is thanksgiving for His beneficence, and the other is "praise for that to which He has a right in Himself from the attributes of His perfection. ""' Moreover, the shaykh argues, anything praiseworthy found in

is from the Creator, and, thus, the Creator who is the source of all that is creatures has a greater right to praise. 156 praiseworthy Ibn Taymiyya also indicates the religious function of the divine attributes by claiming that a God without this or that attribute would not be negatively worthy of worship or praise. Mentioned in passing earlier in this subsection was Ibn Taymiyya's assertion that a God who could not see and hear would not be worthy of worship. The same applies to several other attributes. For example, he writes: It is firmly established in natural constitutions that that which does not hear, see, or speak is not a lord who is worshipped. Similarly, that which does not avail anything, does not guide, and does not possess any harm or benefit is lord who is worshipped. 157 not a The shaykh also argues that a God who does not love has no right to be worshipped, and in the theodicean text Hasana, he explains that a God who does is not worthy of praise. '58 not act with mercy and wise purpose


In sum, God's attributesof perfection consist in what Ibn Taymiyya believes
are the highest humanly conceivable perfections, which are then rendered all the more perfect by virtue of being completely unlike their counterparts in the creaturely sphere. As noted earlier (1.4.2), the doctrine of divine complete

unlikeness does not present a wholly satisfactory account of theological language for religious experience. However, Ibn Taymiyya does give human conception of the divine attributes, guided by tradition and reason, the religiously vital role of God's right to worship. establishing


Conclusion: Ibn Taymiyya establishing God's right to worship This chapter has shown that Ibn Taymiyya maintains that reason and the

constitution of humanity agree with prophecy and the revealed tradition in natural the religious knowledge that they provide. Reason and the natural constitution

afford knowledge of God's existence as Creator of all things through
cosmological arguments predicated on the metaphysical principle of efficient causality. These two sources, perfected by divine command and prophecy, also

human beings by means of an innate utilitarian ethic to give the highest guide regard to their own benefit, which is found in worship and love of God. The

shaykh is optimistic about human ability to find God. Evil and injustice would appear to draw this optimism into question. As we will see in the remainder of this study, however, the shaykh is also optimistic that God has good reasons for creating these. A further issue that has been treated in this chapter is knowledge of the divine attributes. Ibn Taymiyya maintains that these are known by revelation, and


he also arguesthat God's attributes of perfection, which include most if not all of the revealedattributes,are known by meansof reasonand the natural constitution.
However, the shaykh insists that both rational considerations of perfection and the quranic verse, "There is nothing like Him" (Q. 42: 11), dictate that God in His essence, attributes, and acts is wholly unlike creatures. Thus, Ibn Taymiyya is completely agnostic as to the actual modality of the divine attributes and acts, and he rejects univocal application of analogy and categorical syllogism in theological argument. This involves serious difficulties in the religious life in that apparent religious experience of the divine attributes is severed from the actuality of God Himself. Despite his agnosticism, Ibn Taymiyya ascribes to the divine attributes the burden of establishing God's right to worship and praise, and he devotes great energy to delineating the connotations that these ultimately unknowable attributes bring to mind. His guides in this interpretative process are the early Islamic

religious tradition and the rational principle of giving God the highest conceivable perfection. Ile also rejects what he believes are incorrect interpretations of the

divine attributes, and in the domain of theodicy, we will observe him censuring

both the Ashcansand the Multazilis for misconstruingGod's wisdom andjustice.
I suggest that the religious function that the shaykh gives to the divine attributes is central to explaining his interest in interpreting them. His concern to define the meanings of the divine attributes sterns from an apologetic aim identical to that which he ascribes to the attributes of perfection themselves. That is, Ibn Taymiyya's theological intention is to delineate what human beings should


understand at the mention of God's attributes so that they will deem God worthy

of praise and worship.
This concurs with Laoust's observation in Essai, which I noted at the end of the Introduction to this study, that the aim of the shaykh's theology is to provide a foundation for ethics and worship. Here we may go beyond Laoust and clarify as that Ibn Taymiyya's theology does not aim to provide knowledge of the well actuality of God-except that the modalities of the divine names and attributes and completely unlike those in creatures.

shared with creatures are literally

Rather,his theology might be called a discourseof `worship control' calculatedto
in the reader. '59 elicit pious responses The remaining chapters of this study show how Ibn Taymiyya employs a best-of-all-possible-worlds approach to problems of evil and the rationality of

God's will to serve this end. In the Conclusion, I note that the shaykh's utilitarian

has been surveyed in this chapter, plays an important role in his ethic, which
adoption of this particular theodicy. It will also be observed in the following

that Ibn Taymiyya's apologetic duty to speak well of God for the sake of chapters to hinder him at times from self-critical analysis of the evoking piety appears doctrines that he upholds. Apart from whether God's attributes are in fact wholly unknowable and whether this doctrine of divine unlikeness provides an adequate basis for spirituality, this gives rise to the question of whether avoiding mention of rational difficulty where it exists is indeed of true service to religious devotion.

Notes to Chapter


1Dar' 1:27-8; Nubuwwüi 58-9,214-5; Mafürij MF 19:155ff.


Notes to Chapter One continued
2 Majid Fakhry, A History of Islamic Philosophy, 2d ed. (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1983), 312-8. See also George Makdisi, "Ash'ari and the Ashcarites in Islamic Religious " Studia Islamica 17 (1962): 37-80 and 18 (1963): 19-39, reprint as Part I in Religion, Law History, Learning in Classical Islam (Hampshire, UK: Variorum, 1991). In these articles, Makdisi and includes Ibn Taymiyya in the camp of anti-rationalist traditionalism which he believes to have been the main theological current in medieval thought over against rationalist Ashlarism. In a later Makdisi softens his thoroughly anti-rationalist view of traditionalism somewhat by article, Ibn Taymiyya's theological arguments and views, "Ethics in Islamic recounting a number of Traditionalist Doctrine, " in Ethics in Islam, ed. Richard G. llovannisian (Malibu, CA: Undena, 1985), 47-63, reprint as Part IV in Religion, Law and Learning in Classical Islam. In "Vanitcs intellectuelles... L'impasse des rationalismes selon le Rejet de la contradiction d'Ibn Taymiyyah, " 599-601, Michot provides further discussion of Ibn Taymiyya's unjustified reputation as antagonistic to philosophical thinking. 3 Nubuwwdt 215,239-240,433; Jawdb 4: 395,401; Istiqama 1:23; Alinhaj 1:300-1/1: 82; MF 172; MF 6: 525; MF 6: 580; MF 7: 665; CAbd al-Qddir MF 10:475; MF 12:47; MF 12:80-1; MF 5: 12:229; 'Alaq MF 16:463; 'In: rdn MF 18:240. 4 See especially Dar' 1:4-8.

5 Muhammadb. Abmad b. Muhammadb. Rushd,Aba al-Walid.
6 In an earlier article in Arabic, CAbd al-Majid al-Saghir elaborates the similarity of Ibn Taymiyya Ibn Rushd, "Mawagif rushdiyya li-Tagi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya? Mul51)a7it awwaliyya, " in with Lc al-Habbihi (Rabat: ild al-mufakkir al-maghribi Muhammad `., Dirdsät maghribiyya muhdät n.p., 1985), 93-117,2d ed. (Rabat: n.p., 1987), 164-182. Binyamin Abrahamov, "Ibn Taymiyya on the Agreement of Reason with Tradition, " The Muslim (July-Oct. 1992): 256-273. See also, Nicholas Heer, "The Priority of Reason in the World 82: 3-4 Interpretation of Scripture: Ibn Taymiyah and the Mutakallimim, " in Literary Heritage of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Honor of James A. Bellamy, ed. Mustansir Mir Classical Islam: NJ: Darwin, 1993), 181-195. The primary value of Heer's article is extensive (Princeton, from both late AshWari sources and Ibn Taymiyya's Dar' on the relation between translation Heer comes to the same conclusion as Abrahamov's article but following revelation and reason. less incisive analysis. 8 Binyamin Abrahamov, Islamic Theology: Traditionalism and Rationalism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1998), 51. 9 Ismä97lb. 'Ali (al-Afdal) b. Muhmüd, Abºt al-Fidä' al-Malik al-Mu'ayyad'Irrad al-Din. 10Jean R. Michot, Ibn Taymiyya: Lettre ä Abet 1-Fidä' (Louvain-la-Neuve: Institut Orientaliste de I'Universite Catholique de Louvain, 1994), 18. Information on Abit al-Fid: P and the dating of the letter to the later years of Ibn Taymiyya's life may be found on pp. 15-6. 11"A Letter of Ibn Taymiyya to Abü 1-Fidä'" [Abis al-Fidd'] ed. Serajul Haque, in Documenta Islamica Inedita, ed. Johann W. Flick, 155-161 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1952), 159. Reprinted in Michot, Ibn Taymiyya: Lettre a Aba 1-Fidä', 83-7. References are to Michot's Arabic text following Haque's pagination. Cf. Michot's FT on pp. 57-8. 12Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Tarkhän, Abü Nasr al-Faräbi. 13 Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 15, notes that the faldsifa (philosophers) in Ibn Taymiyya's writings refer mainly to the Aristotelian Ncoplatonists al-Far: ibi Ibn Sinä and occasionally also to Ibn Rushd and Nair al-Din al-Tüsi. Michel also asserts that and (pseudo-philosophers) refers to al-Suhrawärdi and the lshraq-i school. Wael B. the term mutafalsifa Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians (Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1993), 4 n. I, argues that the terms faldsifa and mutafalsifa are in fact synonymous in referring to the wider tradition. The term mutafalsifa is not limited to the Ishr:igis. philosophical '° Abis al-Fidel' 160; Akmaliyya MF 6: 7 1; Ma'ärU MF 19: 160; Dar' 1:28; Jahd 9: 242/,1lantigiyyin 382. 15 Abf al-Fidü' 160.


Notes to Chapter One continued
A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 129, makes much the same observation in discussing the epistemology of Ibn Taymiyya's refutation of Christianity in Jmvdb al-Sahih: "[Ibn Taymiyya holds that] truth is unitary. Whatever has been truly revealed can never be contradicted by what is known through reason and sense perception, but can only be confirmed by such information. Similarly whatever is correctly known from intellectual knowledge or from accurate sense perception must be confirmed by revelation. " As Michel notes, the shaykh also holds sense perception to be a valid source of knowledge. 16 Michel,

" Ahmad b. Muhammadb. Hanbal, Abü'Abd Allah.

18lstigäma 2: 161-2; Bughya 31-40. The passage in Bughya gives a very detailed discussion of the On the semantic range of 'aql as intellect, rationality, reason, common sense, meaning of 'aql. mind, instinct, etc., see A. Kevin Reinhart, Before Revelation: The Boundaries of Muslim Moral Thought (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1995), 188,220-1. On 'aq! as a source of E12 1:341-2. knowledge independent of revelation in Kaläm theology, see F. Rahman,

19Qudra MF 8:9; Jawdb 4:391,396-7. 20Minhaj 2: 116/1:175-6. 21Nubuwwdt 266.
22Nubmvwät 260; Jahd MF 9: 141-2,1441Mantigi)yin 150,153-4. 23Tadmuriyya MF 3: 8-9; Minhäj 2: 116/1: 175-6. 24 For the details of these arguments, see Herbert A. Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 1987) 134-153. 25 Ibn Taymiyya, Dar' 8:348-358, and Fitra MRK 2: 346-7, notes that al-Juwayni, al-Gltazi li, alRäzi, and the IIanbalis Abü Yallä b. al-Farrü' and Ibn 11Agi1 first held to the obligation of nazar all Al-Juwayni begins his Kitüb al-irshdd with the and then later went back on its obligation. obligation to nazar. See Imam al-Haramayn 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Abd Allah al-Juwayni, Kitäb a! 1416/1995), 7. irshdd ilä gawäti' al-adilla ft us:il al-i'tigäd (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al lilmiyya, Genevieve Gobillot provides a FT of Ibn Taymiyya's Fitra in "L'Epitre du discours sur la Eifra de Tagi-l-Din Abmad Ibn Taymiya (661/1262-728/1328), " Annales (Risdla fz-l-kaldm'alü-l-frtra) Islamologiques 20 (1984): 29-53.

26Jahmb. Safwän,al-Samarqandi.

z' Nubuwwüt 59-63ff., and Dar' 7: 141-10: 318, which gives an extensive treatment of the Kaläm theologians' and philosophers' means of knowing God's existence. 28Dar' 10:317. 29Nubuwwdt 71-2,74. 30Tawba MF 11:682. 31Ihtýäj MF 8: 308-9; Mantigiyyin 422; Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:434-5; and Nubutit'ºrnt 139. There are also partial analyses of Ibn Taymiyya's theory of ethical value in Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 88-91; and Makdisi, "Ethics in Islamic Traditionalist Doctrine, " 47-63. 32Ihtydj MF 8: 310. Räzi's view is found in his Muhassal, 202. 33Ihtyäj MF 8: 3 10. 34Man/igiyyin 424. 's Ihtijäj MF 8: 309. 16Irdda MF 8:93-4; Hasana MF 14:268-9. Cf. Fntüha MF 14:20-1. In A/a'c rU MF 19: 169, Ibn Taymiyya connects good (khayr) directly to profit and benefit, "Good, happiness, perfection, and benefit (saldh) consist in two kinds: in profitable knowledge and beneficial deeds." 37Mantigiyyin 429; IhtUäj MF 8: 311. 38 Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:431-3; Tawba MF 11:675-7; Thulth MF 17: 198; and Afinhäj 3: 177-8/2: 334. Cf. Nubuwwät 139-142. See also Majid Fakhry, Ethical Theories in Islam, 31-5 and 46-52; George F. Hourani, Islamic Rationalism: The Ethics of'Abd al-Jabbeir (Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1971), 8-14; Richard M. Frank, "Moral Obligation in Classical Muslim Theology, " The Journal of Religious Ethics 11.2 (1983): 204-223; and Louis Gardet, Dieu et la destinee de l'homme (Paris: J.


Notes to Chapter One continued
Vrin, 1967), 81-3. The problem of whether good is good because God commands it or whether God commands something because it is good is given its classical presentation in Plato's dialogue Eu! hyphro. An ET may be found in Plato: Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett, 1997), 1-16. 39Man; igiyyin 422. 40Minhaj 3: 178/2: 34. 41Minhaj 3: 29/1: 270. 42Minhaj 3:29/1: 270. °' Tadmuriyya MF 3: 115; Irdda MF 8:90; Ihtyüj MF 8: 309; Man; igiyyin 422-3. 44'Abd al-Malik b. 'Abd Allah b. Yüsuf, Abü al-Malall al-Juwayni Imam al-Ilaramayn. 45cAbd al-Rähmän b. Rukn al-Din b. cAbd al-Ghaffar, 'Adüd al-Din al-Iji. 46 Al-Julaynid, Qadiyyat al-khayr wa al-sharrfi al-fikr al-islami, 252-8. See Gardet, Dieu et la destinee de 1'homme, 82-3, for much the same point in less detail. Sherman A. Jackson, Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihüb al-Din al-QaraJi (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 23-32, also argues that AshWaris such as al-Ghazal! and later theologians did not reject rational considerations of utility but only Muctazili objectivism. 47Minhaj 3: 29/1: 269. See also Aqwam MF 8:90 and Ihtyüj MF 8: 309 for the same argument. 48Tadmuriyya MF 3: 115. 49Man; igiyyin 237. so Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:434. S Minhaj 3: 84. 52This three-fold typology occurs in Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:434-6 and Thulth MF 17:201-3. 53Tahsin al-cagl MF 8:434-5.

54Minhaj 3: 178-9/2: 34. 55Tahsinal-'aql MF 8:435. 56Tawba MF 11:677-682.
57 Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:435; Tawba MF 11:680-1; MF 19:215; Nubmt'wrt 240. Despite Ibn Taymiyya's polemic, the later Multazili Qur'an commentator al-Zamakhsh: iri held an identical position. See al-Julaynid, Qaciiyyat al-khayr iva al-sharrfi al-ftkr al-islnmi, 247.

58Tawba MF 11:686-7. 59Thulth MF 17:201-2; Tahsinal-'aql MF 8:435-6.

60Thulth MF 17:203; Cf. Minhdj 3: 20/1: 267. Another example that Ibn Taymiyya cites is a hadith about a leper, a bald-headed man, and a blind man in the collection of Bukh: iri. In this hadith God sent an angel to restore the skin, hair, and sight of each of these men, respectively, and to grant them wealth. Then the angel appeared to them each as a needy traveler in their previous respective forms asking for help. Only the blind man responded. Then the angel told the blind man to keep his property because it was only a test. On this see Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:436; Thulth MF 17:203; Bukhäri 3205, Ahädith al-anbiyä', Hadith abras wa acmäwa agrac ft bani Isr:º'il. 61There is evidence that Ibn Taymiyya's utilitarian ethic of profit and harm extends more widely than treatments of the Kalam debate and may provide the philosophical framework for his spiritual or Sufi writings. Demonstrating this, however, would require a separate study. A good example of this is found in Tawhid MF 1:20-36. 62Nurcholish Madjid, "Ibn Taymiyya on Kali+m and Falsafa: A problem of Reason and Revelation in Islam, " (Ph. D. diss., University of Chicago, 1985), 85-7, argues that 'aql and frtra are synonymous in Ibn Taymiyya's thought, but he gives relatively little evidence for this. For an overview of fifra in various domains of Islamic thought, see Genevieve Gobillot, La fitra: la conception originelle: ses interpretations etfonctions ehe: les penseurs musrrbnans (Cairo: Institut francais d'archeologie orientate, 2000). 63Fitra MRK 2: 34 1; MF 6: 80; Ihtijdj MF 8:311-2; Jahd 9:242/Mantigiy yin 382. 64Nubuwwät 76.

65 Jawdb 4: 395.


Notes to Chapter One continued
66MF 12:229.

67 Jahd 9:242/Mantigiyyin 382. 68 Jawdb 4:397.
69 Furgan MF 13: 151; Fi Wujicb MF 1:45,47; Irada MF 8: 136; Dar' 8:348; Fitra MRK 2: 341, 344-5,348. 70Fitra MRK 2: 337. Ibn Taymiyya also claims in Hamaivi»'a, MF 5: 15, that it is known by the natural constitution that God is above the sky. 71 Wael B. Hallaq, "Ibn Taymiyya on the Existence of God, " Acta Orientalia 52 (1991): 49-69. On p. 55, Hallaq argues that Ibn Taymiyya reserves the term 'aql for the faculty conducting inferential operations. In view of the presentation of 'aql above, I do not believe that this is sustainable because the 'aql, like the frtra, includes innately held principles and beliefs.

72Fi Wujilb MF 1:48; Hallaq, "Ibn Taymiyya on the Existenceof God," 65.

73Bukhäri 1270 al-Janä'iz, Idhä aslama al-sabi fa-mata; Bukh iri 1296, al-Janii'iz, Mai qila fi awläd al-mushrikin; Muslim 4803-7. 74 Dar' 8:460-1; MF 4: 245-9. MF 4: 245,427 are translated alongside Amrd(l MF 10: 132-6 in Yahya M. Michot, "Pages spirituelles d'Ibn Taymiyya: IX. La finalite du coeur, " Action (Mauritius), July 2000,18-9,26. 75 Dar' 8:359-468. Hallaq used Muwäfagat sahih al-n: angtd li-sarili al-mcfgiül, ed. Muhammad Muhyi al-Din 'Abd al-Hamid and Muhammad Hamid al-Figqi (Cairo: Malbacat al-sunna almuhammadiyya, 1370/195 1), which corresponds to Dar' 1:2-3: 87 only. 76Dar' MF 8:461-4. In Mahabba 9,23, Ibn Taymiyya gives angels the role of bringing forth all the motion in the universe that lies outside the capability of humans, jinn, and animals.

77cAbdal-Qadir MF 10: 1. Similarly, 'Abd a! MF 10:465; Minhdj 3:64/2:5,3: 69/2:6. 48 -Qüdir

78Mantigiyyin 423. Cf. Mantigiyyin 429, "Souls are naturally disposed (majbilla) to love justice and its people and to hate injustice and its people. This love, which is in the natural constitution, is what it means for [justice] to be good. " 79Fitra MRK 2: 338; Dar' 8:464-8; Mantigiyyin 423; Mahabba 44-5; Fi I{':jüb MF 1:25-7; Amrärd MF 10: 135; 'Abd al-Qadir MF 10:474; Ijasana MF 14:296. The themes of worship and love for God are widespread and well developed in Ibn Taymiyya's writings. For further analysis, see Bell, Love Theory in Later Ijanbalite Islam, 82-91. See also Ibn Taymiyya's treatises 'Ubi-idijya MF 10: 149-236, Mahabba, and the exegesis of the quranic verse "I did not create the jinn and humankind except that they might worship" (Q. 51: 56) in Qudra MF 8:39-57. 'Ubiidiyya has been translated into English by James Pavlin, "The Concept of 'Ubüdiyyah in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyyah, " 185-365, and by Abu Safwan Farid Ibn Abdulwahid Ibn Haibatan, Ibn Taymiyya's Essay on Servitude (Birmingham, UK: AI-Hidaayah, 1420/1999). Portions of 'Ubüdiyya have been translated into French by Yahya M. Michot in the following numbers of his series "Textes Spirituels d'Ibn Taymiyya, " in Le Musulman (Paris): "I. L'extinction (and'), " 11 (1990): 6-9,29; "III. La servitude ('ubüdiyya): de 1'asservissement ä ('adoration de Dieu, " 14 (1991): 8-11; and "VII. La servitude d'adoration, ou la perfection dans la liberte du coeur, " 20 (1992): 10-5; and in his "Pages spirituelles d'Ibn Taymiyya: X. L'amour et la Voie (shari'a), " Action (Mauritius), August 2000,18-9. 80Muslim 5109, al-Janna wa sif it nagimihä, al-Sifat allati yucraf bih t fi al-dunyd ahl al janna...; Ahmad 16837. 81Dar' 8:455. 82Hasana MF 14:296-7. 83Amräd MF 10: 135. Rd MF 4: 247. 85Minhüj 5: 403/3: 101. 86Fitra MRK 2: 341.

87Fitra MRK 2:341,345. 88 Nubuwtivat62-73; Ma'ärU MF 19:172.


Notes to Chapter One continued
89Jahd 9: 242/Man1igiyyin 382.

90Minhäj 1:300-1/1:82; Mantiq MF 4:45; Jahd MF 9:242-3/Mantigi}yyin382; 'Abc! al-Qadir MF 10:466.
'' Nubuwwdt 430-I. Cf. Mahabba 62. 92Ihtyüj MF 8: 312. 93Amrüd MF 10: 135. 9' What I am calling the `principle of preponderance' is functionally equivalent to what Leibniz calls the `principle of sufficient reason' in which every fact requires an explanation necessitating its existence. On the `principle of sufficient reason', see William L. Rowe, "Cosmological arguments, " in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1997), 331-7. 95Tadmuriyya MF 3: 57. 96Mahabba 214. 97Isfahäniyya 9; Tadmuriyya MF 3:25; Jawüb 2: 164,4: 428; Minh«j 3: 151/2:27. 98 Other basic creedal statements of this kind include Hamaºviyya MF 5:26; lsfahnni}ya 9-10; fawvh 4: 384-411 is Wasitiyya MF 3: 129-130; Minhäj 2: 111/1: 174; Jaºvab 2: 163-4,4: 405. translated in Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 327-341. 99Tadmuriyya MF 3: 3-4. 10°Tadmuriyya MF 3: 4-7; Jawab 4: 405-8. A full list of quranic verses that negate God's likeness to creatures and affirm His many names and attributes is found in JVüsitiyya MF 3: 130-143. 101Tadmuriyya MF 3: 7ff.; Jawdb 4: 405-6; Hamawiyya MF 5: 27,59. Also, see especially Henri Laoust, "Quelques opinions sur la theodicee d'Ibn Taimiya, " Melanges Maspero, vol. 3, Orient Islamique, 431-8 (Cairo: Imprimerie de l'institute francais d'archcologic orientale, 1935-40). Laoust's article argues that Ibn Taymiyya is not the anthropomorphist that earlier western scholarship and a good part of the Islamic tradition had made him out to be. Sherman Jackson, "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," discusses the same matter briefly but with greater technical depth (especially pp. 53-6). Jackson also provides a translation of Ibn Taymiyya's "Munäzara fi al-lagida al-Wäsitiyya, " MF 3: 160-193, which deals with God's attributes and the attendant polemic at some length. Other discussions in the secondary literature include Laoust, Essai, 155-7; Makari, Ibn Taymiyyah's Ethics, 34-41; Haque, "Ihn Taymiyyah, " 799-803; and Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 1-3,5-23 passim, 41-4. In view of what is being said in the present section, Michel's comment that Ibn Taymiyya was trying to achieve tamthil without tashbih comes as a surprise (p. 3). Although Michel does not elaborate, this may not represent a misunderstanding on his part in that Ibn Taymiyya also speaks of giving God the highest similitude (al-mathal al-a'ld). On this, see the following two subsections of this chapter (1.4.2 and 1.4.3). 102 Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians, xxii. Hallaq's reference for this point leads to Dar', 1: 116, where Ibn Taymiyya argues for the complete unlikeness of all individual entities, including all human beings, from each other. The shaykh quotes the verse, "If you turn away, He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes (amtheil)" (Q. 47: 38). From this, he denies that humans bear a likeness (mumathala) one to another even though they may share in having bodies, moving, laughing, and so forth. By denying all likeness even between creatures, Ibn Taymiyya applies the same agnosticism that he holds with respect to the modality of God's attributes to the modality of human attributes. 103 Tadmuriyya MF 3: 10-6; Jawüb 4: 421-8; Minhdj 2: 112-120/1: 174-7; Jahd MF 9: 145/Mantigiyyin 154-5; Munüzara 3: 191. My discussion avoids the highly technical vocabulary Ibn Taymiyya uses because the main point is otherwise clear. The link between God's attributes and those of creatures is confined to the level of abstract universals in the mind. For preliminary discussion of the technical terms involved-tmvätu' (`connotation'), tashkik (`analogical predication'? ), and ishtirük ('denotation', `homonymity'? )-sec Jackson, "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," 54-5; Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians, 74-5; and the Arabic texts cited in this note.


Notes to Chapter One continued
104Tadmuriyya MF 3: 17-8. Bell, Love Theory in Later I-lanbalite Islam, 64-5, recounts similar arguments from Iklil MF 13:298-300. 105 Tadnturiyya MF 3: 18-9. 106 For a sociological analysis of this outlook not only in Ibn Taymiyya but among the Hanbalis in general, see Aziz Al-Azmeh, "Orthodoxy and Hanbalite Fideism, " Arabica 35 (1988): 253-266. Al-Azmeh, 257, observes that doctrinal language in this view is equivalent to a technical language that is "not native to the human understanding. " He argues further that this position was sustained through the rigorous transmission of texts claiming to preserve the original revelation and through the structures of Hanbali authority that included charismatic preaching and miraculous signs. In western philosophy of religion, John Stuart Mill (d. 1873) brings the issue of the of theological language into particularly sharp relief in a diatribe against the negative referentiality theologies of William Hamilton and Henry Longueville Mansel. According to Mill, Mansel maintains that God and the divine attributes are unknowable. Thus, we cannot know what divine goodness and justice mean, and we cannot fill these attributes with any meaning whatsoever based on our human experience. Mill retorts that a God whose goodness bears no relation to human notions of the concept is not worthy of worship. He continues, "I will call no being good, who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to my fellow-creatures; and if such a being can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go." Mill's comments underline the fact that theological language usually presupposes at least some measure of continuity between the human and divine attributes in question. See John Stuart Mill, An Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy, and of The Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in his Writings, ed. J. M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), 100-4, as excerpted and introduced in Larrimore, The Problem of Evil, A Reader, 271-6 (quote on p. 275). For theological language issues in three medieval thinkers, see David B. Burrell, Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1986). Burrell, 112, presents the `analogy' of Aquinas as "a species of ambiguity" that be chosen like an apt metaphor. The difference between language about God and language must about humans is thus not a matter of proportion but of something qualitatively other which cannot be specified exactly. Otherwise, the language would no longer be metaphorical. As will become in this and the next two subsections, Ibn Taymiyya is not speaking `analogically' in this clear because he has very definite criteria (i. e. tradition and notions of human perfection) by sense which to inform the meanings of his theological language. Also, it should be noted that the term `analogy' in this study is confined to the univocal transfer of one case to another as found in Islamic jurisprudence (i. e. giyds). 107Ibn Qudama, Tahrim al-nazar ft kutub al-kalüm, ed. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad Said Dimashqi, (Riyadh: Dar 151amal-kutub, 1990), 51-2, on Maktahat al-'aga'id iva al-milal [ACD], CD ROM, Version 1.5 (Amman: Markaz al-turäth li-abhäth al-h: isib al-:ili, 1420/1999); ET George Makdisi, Ibn Qudama's Censure of Speculative Theology (London: Luzac, 1962), 22. My translation differs somewhat from that of Makdisi, which Jackson quotes in "lbn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," 55. Note also that Makdisi includes the Arabic text handwritten. 108 Jackson, "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," 56. 109James Pavlin, in "The Concept of'Ubiüdiyyah in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyyah, " 55-108, provides a detailed analysis of Ibn Taymiyya's tradition oriented methodology for deriving the religion of Islam from the Qur'an, its early exegetes, the Hadith, the Salaf, and the Arabic language. Pavlin presents a one-sided view of Ibn Taymiyya, however, in that he does not give in God's attributes-found adequate attention to the innate knowledge of religion-including reason and the natural constitution. 110 The following discussion is based on Tadmuri}ya MF 3: 55-8; flamcnviyya MF 5:35-7; lklil MF 13:288ff.; Abic al-Fidel' 161; and Dar' 1: 12-6 (also found in FT in Michot, Ibn Taymiyya: Leitre ä Abü l-Fidä', 25-7). 111 Hamawiyya MF 5:20,96-7.

112 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Mullalib. 113 Mujähid b. Jabr, Abü al-Hajjäj al-Makki.


Notes to Chapter One continued
14 Muhammad b. Jarir b. Yazid, Abu Jaafar al-Tabari. 15 Hamawiyya MF 5: 36-7. Ibn Taymiyya's claim that the `sitting' of God is yufassar (interpreted) is directly opposed to Ibn Qudama's assertion that God's names and attributes are not yufassar in Tahrim al-nazar fi kutub al-kalänt, 38, on ACD. "6Hamawiyya MF 5: 103-4; and 'tfunüzara 3: 177-8. On the trials and Ibn Taymiyya's version of what happened, see Jackson, "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus," 41-85 (the translation of Vfundzara 3: 177-8 is found on pp. 71-2). , 117Abu Dawüd 410, al-Salat, Ft karahiyyat al-buzäq ti al-masjid. Similar hadiths are found in Bukhäri 391 and Muslim 852. 118 Ibn Taymiyya's reporting of this hadith indeed appears to be very loose since I could not locate anything that closely resembles it. However, similar affirmations of the vision of God are found in Bukhäri 521, Mawaqit al-salät, Fadl salät al casr; Ibn Mäjah 176, al-Mugaddima, Fimä ankarat alJahmiyya; and elsewhere. 19 The closest to what Ibn Taymiyya reports-but without mention of the sun-are al-Tirmidhi 2477, Sifät al janna'an rasül Allah, Minhu; and Ahmad 18394. 120 Hamawiyya MF 5: 107. 121 Isfahaniyya 79.

122 Qiyas MF 20:505. 123 Qiyas MF 20:541-2.
124 Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians. Jahd al-garilra fi tcjrid al-nasilla is found in MF 9: 82-254. The abridgement was carried out by Jaläl al-Din al-Suyiiti (d. 911/1505). 125Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians, xiv-xxxii. Hallaq, xiv, n. 17, notes that qiyas al-shumiil is a rare expression for `categorical syllogism' and may have been coined by Ibn Taymiyya himself. Hallaq, xl, also explains that logic is simply superfluous for Ibn Taymiyya. Whatever knowledge it might provide can be obtained through simpler means including the natural constitution (cf. Jahd MF 9: 187/Mantigiyyin 199-200; Jahd 217-81A1antigiyyin 293-8). In this regard, Ibn Taymiyya argues that the categorical syllogism differs only in form from the juristic and the two are in fact interchangeable because the middle term of the syllogism is analogy to the cause and shared attribute of the analogy. For example date wine (nabidh) has equivalent been prohibited by analogy to grape wine (khamr) whose assessment or rule (hukm) of prohibition has been set down in the authoritative sources of the Qur'an and the Sunna. Through a process of induction, the jurists determine that the cause (cilia) of this rule is intoxication even though it is not given in the texts. Now, since intoxication is a common attribute (wasf mushtarak) between grape wine and date wine, the rule of prohibition also applies to date wine. The prohibition of date wine may also be set out syllogistically as follows. All intoxicants are prohibited (major premise). Date wine is intoxicating (minor premise). Therefore, date wine is prohibited (conclusion). In this case, the middle term 'intoxicants' is equivalent to the cause and common attribute in the analogy. The rule of prohibition that attaches to intoxicants establishes both the major premise of the syllogism and the analogical transfer of the ruling from grape wine to all other intoxicants. On this, see Hallaq, xxxv-xxxix; Nubuwwdt 270-3; Kayldniyya MF 12:345-7; lsfahäni}ya 48; and Jahd MF 9: 197-206/Mantigiyyin 209-246. 'zb Jahd MF 9: 141-2/Mantigiyyin 150; Tadmuriyya MF 3: 30; Kayldnijya MF 12:347; /.fahaniyya 49. 127Wael B. Hallaq, A History of Islamic Legal Theories: An introduction to Sunni ujiil al-fiqh (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1997), 96-9. 128Isfahdniyya 49. For the same arguments see also Dar' 1:29-30, Tadmuriyya MF 3: 30; and Kayläniyya MF 12:347. 129Ibn Ilanbal does use the `highest similitude' argument in a passage from his al-Radel'alit alzanddiga wa al-Jahmiyya, which Ibn Taymiyya quotes for other purposes. In response to the Jahmi charge that the traditionalists deny God's unity by affirming His attributes, Ibn Hanbal compares God to a palm tree. The palm tree has a stump, leaves, and so on, but yet it is considered


Notes to Chapter One continued
all His attributes is one one in name; "So, likewise, God-for Him is the highest similitude-with God. " Immediately following this, Ibn Ijanbal gives a second example, this time from the Qur'an: "Leave Me [to deal] with him whom I have created one (wahid)" (Q. 74: 11). Ibn Hanbal takes the one created to be al-Walid b. al-Mughira al-Makhzümi who, despite being called `one', still had ears, eyes, and other body members. From this, Ibn Hanbal concludes, "So, likewise, God-for Him is the highest similitude-He, with all His attributes, is one God. " See Ahmad b. Hanbal, AlRadd 'ald zanddiga iva al-Jahmiyya, ed. Muhammad Uasan R;Ishid (Cairo: al-Matbaca alsalafiyya, 1393/1973-4), 37, on ACD. For an ET of this text, see Morris S. Seale, Muslim Theology: A Study of Origins with Reference to the Church Fathers (London: Luzac, 1964), 96125. I have departed from Seale's translations (pp. 116-7) of the given quotations. Ibn Taymiyya quotes this part of Ibn Hanbal's text in Minhäj 2:484-5/1: 234. 130 Dar' 1:31-7. Isfahdniyya, 86, includes a much briefer demonstration of the a fortiori argument in the Qur'an, citing only Q. 16:58-62 and 30: 28, which will figure also in the following discussion. 13' Dar' 1:32. 132 Dar' 1:31-5. 133 Dar' 1:35-7. 134 Dar' 1:37.

135 Akmaliyya MF 6:7 1; Jawdb 3:220.
136 For more on the meaning of al-Samad, see Ikhlus MF 17:214-221 and Iräda MF 8: 149-150. 137 Akmaliyya MF 6: 72-3,79-82. 138 Akntaliyya MF 6: 72-3; Isfahdniyya 87-8. 139 Dar' 1:29-30; Isfahäniyya 85-6; Aknraliyya MF 6: 75-7; Jawüb 3: 215-6. 140 Isfahdniyya 85,87-8.

141 Jawdb 3:208-9,211.
142 Qudra MF 8:21. For similar argumentation, see Jatiti'db3: 217. 143 Qudra MF 8:22-4. 144 Tadmuriyya MF 3: 86-7. 145 Akmaliyya MF 6: 92-3. "G Akmaliyya MF 6: 87. "' Tadmuriyya MF 3: 86. 148 Tadmuriyya MF 3: 74 149 Tadmuriyya MF 3:28. 150 Tadmuriyya MF 3:28. This argument also appears in Ikhlüs MF 17:325-6 and 1lammvijya MF 5: 115. I5' Tadinuriyya MF 3: 33. This argument also appears in 1janrawiyya MF 5: 115-6. 152 Tadmuriyya MF 3: 30. 153 this, see Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians, xxii. On 154 Akmaliyya MF 6: 83. '55Akmaliyya MF 6: 84. I56Akmaliyya MF 6: 84. 157 Isfahaniyya 87.

158'AlaqMF 16:296-7; ffasana MF 14:313.
159 owe the expression `worship control' to Pavlin, "The Concept of'Ubfidiyyah in the Theology I of Ibn Taymiyyah, " 94, who uses it only in the context of discussing the role of Arabic language conventions in Ibn Taymiyya's exegetical methodology. Pavlin takes his inspiration for this expression from the title of M. G. Carter, "Language Control as People Control in Medieval Islam: The Aims of the Grammarians in their Cultural Context, " Al-Abhath 31 (1983): 65-84. Carter's article itself is limited to discussing how the early Arab grammarians ensured themselves a role of power in Islamic society by asserting the importance of their discipline for Islamic Law.




Kaläm theology's objections to wise purpose/causality

in the will of God

This chapter and those that follow bear out that in Ibn Taymiyya's vision of God's perfection God's will is governed by wise purpose (hiknza)' understood in a and utilitarian sense. The present chapter examines how the shaykh, in causal Minhaj and Irdda, overcomes metaphysical hurdles erected especially by the

Ashcan Kaläm theologians to preclude theodicies. His defenseof rationality in
the divine will draws him into metaphysical questions of considerable controversy in the medieval Islamic tradition, including the debate over whether the world is in time (i. e. created ex nihilo). 2 eternal or originated To motivate the issues involved in this chapter, it is helpful first to examine some observations that Arthur Lovejoy makes in The Great Chain of Being on two conflicting senses of God's goodness that are at work in Plato, Neoplatonism, and medieval Christian theology. Lovejoy explains that the goodness of God

following from the Platonic `Idea of the Good' consists in being absolutely selfsufficient, timeless, and wholly unlike the world. A God who is good in this sense has no need for the universe, and the universe adds nothing to Him. If the world had never existed, God would have been no less God. Contrary to this, God's goodness in a second sense consists in His generous productivity, a concept

brought to full fruition in the Neoplatonic One that overflows by the necessity of Its nature and eternally emanates the world in all its plenitude. For an essentially


productive God, the world is a necessary consequence of His nature, and He be God without it. 3 would not Both senses of divine goodness identified by Lovejoy sit together

in the Islamic tradition. uncomfortably

The Kaläm theologians seek to give the

upper hand to God's absolute self-sufficiency and lack of need for the world by asserting the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. This guarantees that God was no less God before He created the universe. However, Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Sind give the productive view of God stronger consideration by conceiving divine creation in terms of eternal emanation; the perfection of a productive God implies the existence of the world. 4 Shams Inati's recently published necessarily exploration of problems of evil in Ibn Sinä illustrates how God's goodness as selfsufficiency and the correlative concept of divine libertarian freedom can be played God's goodness as essential productivity. off against Inati charges that eternal

the world introduces a natural necessity into Ibn Sin-5's view of God emanation of that contradicts and annuls the import of his assertion that God providentially wills and intends good in the creation of the universe. In defense of Ibn Sinä, it could be said that he propounds a divine `compatibilism' in which natural

necessity is paradoxically compatible with and constitutes the substance of God's providential will. anything. However, Inati denies that Ibn Sind's God could will or intend

In her view, God cannot be held responsible for evil in the world

because, "God, like everything else, is an instrument in the hands of necessity."5 Inati's deterministic and necessitarian reading of Ibn Sing echoes that of alGhazäli who censured the philosopher and his ilk for denying that God was truly the free Artisan of the world. b


As Inati's and al-Ghazäli's critiques of Ibn Sind illustrate, the conflict between God's goodness as self-sufficiency and God's goodness as productivity involves the nature of the divine will. The idea that God must be wholly self-

Ashlari tradition of rejecting purposive activity in God's sufficient underlies an


that extends from al-Ashcari (d. 324/936)7 through al-Bzgillini


8 9 403/1013), al-Juwayni, al-Ghazäli, al-Shahrastäni(d. 548/1153), al-Räzi, al(d. 631/1233), 10 and on to al-Jurjäni (d. 816/1413). " Amid! If God acts for a

purpose, a key AshWariargument proceeds, God would acquire perfection through

what He previously lacked. God, however, is self-sufficient and lacking in
Contrary to the AshWaris, Muctazi1is affirm that God acts for purposes the nothing. lest He be aimless and foolish. However, they also try to uphold God's complete lack of need by clarifying that the sole beneficiaries in purposive divine acts are creatures. God created human beings to profit them, and He subjected them to in order that they might gain reward. God does not act in self-interest obligation because He has no need.12 As the following analysis will show, Ibn Taymiyya adopts neither the

Ashcari nor the Muctazili views. He argues that not only does God act for a wise purpose but also that God acts in the utilitarian self-interest of establishing His perfection and right to praise. The divine perfection, moreover, requires that God be perpetually active and creative. The shaykh thus gives the productive view of divine goodness the upper hand over the view that God in His self-sufficiency has no need for the world. Ibn Taymiyya discusses metaphysical issues related to God's willing for a wise purpose for over 300 pages in the first volume of Minhüj, and he offers


these matters at the beginning and end of Ii"üda that compact argumentation on includes some material not found in Minhäj. i3 The shaykh also deals with the issues in several other briefer passages that will not be discussed here same because they offer nothing substantially different. '4 The arguments from Minhüj Irdda will be examined in succession below. and In view of the length and

prolixity of the discussion in Minhaj, only its main arguments will be highlighted. The penultimate section of this chapter corrects Joseph Bell's analysis of Ibn Taymiyya's preference for hikma over the Multazili purpose in the will of God. term ghara(! to designate


Ibn Taymiyya's

defense of divine wise purpose in Minlrüj

2.2.1 Preparing to refute the Ashcari denial of causality in the acts of God In the first volume of Minhdj, Ibn Taymiyya notes that the Islamic tradition is agreed that God is endowed with wisdom (hikma), but he points out that there is no agreement on what God's wisdom implies. One position denies causality

(ta'1i1) in the acts of God and equates God's wisdom with His knowledge of human acts. Ibn Taymiyya identifies this as the teaching of Jahm b. Safwln and the Ashcan Kaläm theologians. The shaykh claims, however, that most Sunnis causality in God's acts and believe that God has a wise purpose in His uphold creation and His command. God does not act arbitrarily in His sheer will. The

shaykh adds that not only the Muctazilis and ShlIs following Multazili theology

but also Sufis, hadith scholars,the Karrämis,15as well as followers adhereto this
each of the four Sunni schools of law. Among the Shäfilis, he names AM 'All of


b. Abü Hurayra (d. 345/956) 16and Abü Bakr al-Qaffal (d. 365/975-6). 17 Among Hanbalis he lists Abü al-Hasan al-Tamimi (d. 371/982), 18and he mentions that the Abü Yadlä sometimes upholds one position and sometimes the other, while Ibn (Agil upholds causality and wise purpose in God's acts. 19 The shaykh follows this listing of positions with an account of the major Ashcari arguments against causality and wise purpose in God's acts. The first Ashcan argument is that if God's act is precipitated by a cause ('lila) then that is originated (häditha) and requires a cause, and so on ad inJinitwn. If God cause acts or originates on account of a cause or wise purpose, this entails an endless chain or infinite regress (tasalsul) of causes, which the Ashlaris deem

impossible. 20 The second Ashcari argument against causality, already noted above, is that it implies need in God. Ibn Taymiyya relates the Ashcan argument follows: "Whoever acts for a cause is perfected by it, because if the occurrence as

of the causewere not better than its nonexistence,it would not be a cause. One
who is perfected by another is imperfect in himself. This is impossible for

God. "21 The impossibility of an infinite regress is an important argument in the Kaläm arsenal for defending creation ex nihilo and refuting the eternity of the world thesis held by philosophers like Ibn Sind. Both creation ex nihilo and the Ashcari concern to deny need in God are rooted in their belief that God's acts are

completely free and unbound by any necessity. A God who acts for a wise
be acting out of prior lack and imperfection. " purpose must A third Ashcan argument is directed specifically account of purpose in God's acts. the Muctazili against

Ibn Taymiyya reports that the Muctazills


maintain that God acts for a cause that is disjoined (rnunfasil) from His essence. The Ashcaris counter that this cause must have some impact on God. Otherwise, it would not be a cause. If then it is disjoined from God, His acting for its sake implies that the cause-which is something outside of 1-limself-perfects Him.

Conversely, if the cause is "subsisting in Him" (qü'ima bihi), the AshWarisargue, "it necessarily follows that He is a substrate (malzall) for originated events (hawjdith). "23 In other words, God becomes subject to temporal origination. As

Ibn Taymiyya notes, however, the Muctazilis do not believe that the cause has any impact on God. God is indifferent in Himself to whether the cause brings

something into existence or not. To Ibn Taymiyya, the Mu'tazili idea that God acts for a cause disjoined from Himself is irrational, and as we will see below (2.2.4), he himself has no qualms about positing originated events in the essence God. 24 Moreover, this enables him to speak of God acting for the sake of of in which His perfection and praiseworthiness are at stake. The following causes subsections explore how Ibn Taymiyya responds in Minhüj to the three major Ashcari objections to causality in God's acts.

2.2.2 God has been acting, creating, and willing in time from eternity 2.2.2. a An endless chain of causes into the future and into the past In Minhäj Ibn Taymiyya first deals with the Ashcari objection to an endless chain by arguing briefly that the sequence of divine wise purposes constitutes an endless chain of originated events into the future rather than into the past. He states, "When [God] performs an act for a wise purpose (Ii-hiknra), the wise


purpose occurs after the act. When from this wise purpose another wise purpose is sought after it, this is an endless chain in the future. "25 In this argument, the `wise purpose' the sense of the fully realized objective or final cause shaykh gives for which acts are carried out, and he momentarily bypasses the fact that the wise purpose had a prior existence as an intention in the mind of God. After this, however, Ibn Taymiyya devotes considerable attention to the question of an endless chain into the past. His primary argument is that created and temporally originated events cannot arise without a temporally originated cause. Therefore, there must be temporal activity within God that corresponds to the temporal aspects of created existence. Moreover, this activity extends back in time to pre-eternity (al-azal)26 as an endless chain of originated and created events. The following subsections examine how Ibn Taymiyya articulates this in dialogue with the major medieval Kalium and philosophical perspective arguments dealing with the character of God's relationship to the world. We

begin with the shaykh's response to arguments of the philosophers for the eternity of the world.

2.2.2. b An eternal complete cause implies that nothing originates in time The first of the philosophers' arguments that Ibn Taymiyya addresses in Minhüj is a positive proof for the eternity of the world from the perfection or completeness of the Creator. In this argument, the Creator is a complete cause ('illa tämma)27 necessitating in His essence and necessarily entailing His effect

(ma'lül), that is, the world, without a delay in time. Thus, the world is the eternal
God, who is the eternal complete cause.28 According to the following effect of


refutation by Ibn Taymiyya, this argument does not fit with human experience of temporal origination because an eternal complete cause completely precludes any kind of origination in time. 29 Originated events (hawädith) are observed in the world. If the Artisan were necessitating by His essence [and] a complete cause necessarily entailing its effect, not one originated event would originate in existence since it is impossible for an originated event to emanate from a pre-eternal (azali), complete cause. If the world had been eternal, its Creator would have been a complete cause. Nothing of the effect of a complete cause comes after it. So, it follows necessarily from this that nothing originates in the world. Therefore, the origination of events is a proof that their Agent is not a complete cause in pre-eternity, and when the complete cause in pre-eternity is disproved, holding to the eternity of part of the world is vain. 30 For Ibn Taymiyya, temporally originated can arise from something nothing

eternal, and he expends much effort showing that the philosophers' attempts to arrive at temporal origination by way of intermediaries fails. He explains that the philosophers themselves do not say that events arise out of a pre-eternal complete cause. All agree that a complete cause necessarily entails its effect without any delay between the cause and the effect and that the cause of an originated event becomes complete or decisive at the very instant that the event comes into only existence. Rather, the philosophers-here he mentions Ibn Sin-5 explicitly-

explain that God is the pre-eternal complete cause of the eternal elements of the world such as the celestial spheres (aflak). The eternal motion of the spheres is

then the source of the change that occurs in the world by functioning as the cause of receptacles (gawübil) and dispositions (isii'düdüt) that regulate the perpetual First Cause.31 However, Ibn Taymiyya is not sympathetic to emanation of the such explanations of how change and motion arise in the world. He maintains that it is incongruous for any originated events whatsoever to arise from an eternal


complete cause, whether directly or indirectly.

When originated events such as

the receptacles are traced to God, it implies that He is not an eternal complete cause for them. Conversely, if God is the eternal complete cause for any so-called originated events, these events must be either eternal or nonexistent. The logic of God as an eternal complete cause ultimately "implies the nonexistence of originated events or the eternity of originated events, and both of them oppose visual perception."32 The shaykh concludes that the philosophers posit motion arising out of nothing. Since the motion of the celestial spheres, which is the

cause of all other motion, cannot arise from a pre-eternal complete cause, the spheres must be moving of their own accord. Ibn Taymiyya rejects this as

inadequate, and he assertsthat there must be something above the celestial spheres 33 In this regard, he mentions the unmoved mover necessitating their motion. Aristotle: "That the One moves the celestial sphere as the beloved solution of moves its lover, that the celestial sphere moves to imitate It, and that It is thereby "34 The shaykh notes that the aim of this formulation is to the cause of the causes. establish the One as the final cause of the motion of the celestial sphere, but he adds that it fails to establish the efficient cause of the spheres. This is

unacceptable to Ibn Taymiyya because it removes God from being the originator in the world. 35 of motion and events

2.2.2. c Temporal


requires a temporally



In MinhJj, a second proof for the eternity of the world that Ibn Taymiyya attributes to the philosophers, and to Ibn Sind in particular, consists in polemic


aimed at the Kaläm view that God created the world

36 The shaykh ex nihilo.

presents the proof as follows: The philosophers' support for the eternity of the world is their view that the [temporal] origination of originated events without an originated cause (sabab hädith) is impossible. Positing an essence stripped (mucattal) of acting that was not acting [but] then acted without an originated cause is impossible. 37 Ibn Taymiyya denies that this argument proves the eternity of the world: "This view does not prove the eternity of any individual thing belonging to the world,

the celestial spheresand otherwise. It proves only that [God] has been acting
from eternity. "38 Elsewhere in Minhdj, he explains further: "All of what you [philosophers] and those like you mention proves only the perpetuity (dawüm) of action, not the perpetuity of an individual act and not of an individual enacted thing. "39 In sum, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God has been acting from eternity, but he denies against the philosophers that this implies the eternity of any particular part of the world. The shaykh also points out that the philosophers'

argument for the eternity of the world from an eternal complete cause falls afoul of the very principle of origination that they use in the present proof against the Kaläm theologians. As noted in the previous subsection, the shaykh argues that the philosophers cannot adequately explain the origin of motion in the celestial 40 spheres unless they permit the origination of events without an originated cause. Beyond this, Ibn Taymiyya does agree with the philosophers that their proof refutes the Kaläm doctrine of creation ex nihilo. The shaykh attributes the denial

of God's perpetual activity to the MuMazilis, the Ashcans, the Karri-imis, and the Shcis, and he traces the foundation of this Ka1im position to Jahm b. Safw5ºnand Abu al-Hudhayl (d. ca. 226-235/840-850), 41 who presuppose that al-cA11äf


originated eventswithout a beginning are impossible and that the genusof events
have had a beginning. must Ibn Taymiyya argues that positing a necessary

beginning to the genus of temporally originated events renders the origination of any events prior to the emergence of the whole genus impossible. Since events as a genus must have a beginning, no origination of events could have occurred prior to this beginning, and this raises the question of how the genus of originated

becamepossible after having been impossible. Ibn Taymiyya follows the events philosophers in asserting that such a transformation (ingiläb) was impossible
unless a cause emerged to provoke the transformation. However, this poses the

problem of how a cause could originate before origination was possible. For the shaykh, all of this ends in absurdities, and he concludes that origination must have been possible from eternity. There could not have been an origination of the

42 The shaykh presents the same argument in terms of possibility of origination. the principle of preponderance. Every possibility requires a complete

preponderator (murajjih lamm) that tips the scales in favor of its existence over its

in refutation of the Kaläm doctrine of creation ex nihilo, God nonexistence,and
cannot change from the impossibility of acting to the possibility of acting without 43 a preponderator.

2.2.2. d The temporality

of God's will

As the philosophers and Ibn Taymiyya see it, the difficulty with the Kaläm is that the world originates in time without a cause preponderating its outlook

Al-Ghazäli in his Tahüfut al falüsifa respondsto this problem by origination.
giving the function of preponderance to the eternal divine will. He argues that it


is in the very nature of God's eternal will to designate the time at which the world The world did not come into existence until the point at which God in originated. His eternal will had set, and He had not willed its creation to be prior to that.44 Ibn Taymiyya rejects this, and in the first volume of Minhüj he asserts that alGhazal! erred in adopting this Kaläm position, that is, the idea that "one who is powerful and choosing preponderates one of his two possibilities over the other without a preponderator. "45 Ibn Taymiyya origination, denies that an eternal will can give rise to temporal a concrete

and he asserts that it is impossible for God to will

individual in eternity. 46 The shaykh argues that if God had an eternal will that applied in general to all things, then everything would be eternal and nothing could originate. This denies the origination and motion that we actually see, such as the motions of the sun, moon, celestial bodies, wind, clouds, living beings, and Rather, God's willing of something to happen occurs at the time that it plants. happens.47 The temporal nature of the divine will becomes clearer in Ibn Taymiyya's Abu al-Barakät (d. ca. 560/1165). 48 The shaykh criticism of the philosopher reports that Abü al-Barakät in his Mu'tabar maintains a doctrine of two divine wills: an eternal will to will what is eternal-the celestial sphere-and successive

wills or generating willings (irädät mutajaddida) subsisting in the essence of God 49 The to will successive originated events. shaykh first notes that an object of will is necessarily originated in time: "Something being willed necessarily entails its origination. "50 What is eternal cannot be an object of God's will. Furthermore,

Ibn Taymiyya believes that it is completely unnecessary to posit an eternal divine


because everything other than God, including the celestial sphere, is will
51 Originated things may be originated. adequately accounted for with successive willings: "If it is permissible that He has successive willings perpetual in species, it is not impossible that everything other than Him is originated by these willings. "52 The shaykh elaborates a bit more elsewhere in the first volume of Minhüj on

the operation of God's will and power using the conceptual framework of
complete causality. His fundamental presupposition is that someone who wills

decisively to do something that he is able to do will produce the act. Applied to God, "Whatever God wills is, and whatever He does not will is not. Truly, He is powerful over what He wills. With complete power (al-qudra al-iümrna) and

decisive will (al-mashi'a al fazima), the existence of the act is necessary. ,53 God is `Necessitating in His Essence' (al-mi jib bi-l-dhüt), not in the philosophers' sense of being an eternal complete cause, but as "necessitating what He originates by His will and His power. "54

Ibn Taymiyya's notion of God's decisive and necessitating willing as a
cause faces philosophical difficulties. complete By implication of Ibn Taymiyya's

adherence to the principle of preponderance, each temporally originated `decisive willing' must be activated by a prior originated cause that makes its existence

The shaykh may say that what God wills is and that what God does preponderate.

not will is not, but there still must be a complete causeprecipitating each act of
willing. If we posit an infinite regress of these decisive divine wills and complete

causeswhose effects are immediately necessary, may inquire into the ground we
of this whole infinite regress. Is the series as a whole self-preponderating, just as


Ibn Taymiyya

believes the eternal motions of the spheres to be for the

Or does it go back to a First Cause that preponderates the existence philosophers? If it does go back to a First Cause which is eternal and complete, it of the series? that the chain of temporal complete causes and decisive wills must would seem `lock up' into a timeless series under the eternal complete First Cause, which the world. The shaykh tries to avoid this conclusion by would yield the eternity of insisting continually that things come into existence in time after they did not exist (see 2.2.2. f below). It appears that Ibn Taymiyya cannot evade the difficulty of explaining how temporal origination arises without violating the principles of preponderance and that he employs polemically against his adversaries. He only originated causality relocates the problem. The philosophers bridge the gap between eternity and

temporal origination with the eternal motion of the celestial spheres, and alGhazäli achieves the same end with an eternal divine will whose nature it is to in time. Likewise, Ibn Taymiyya is challenged to find a functionally preponderate the eternal God to explain the infinite regression of equivalent cause within divine willings. originated of Minhjj. volume The shaykh does not address this problem in the first

üt However, in a text from Nubtams, that will be examined at

Chapter Three (3.5.3), he links eternity and time within God by making the end of God's eternal love the final cause toward which all of God's activity strives. The in essence, presses the unmoved mover that Aristotle uses to explain shaykh, in the world into the service of explaining origination within God. It origination (2.2.2. b) that Ibn Taymiyya finds the final causality of the was noted above Aristotelian unmoved mover insufficient to explain origination in the world


becauseit fails to make God the efficient cause and originator of events in the
It could just as well be asked whether final causality alone is sufficient to world. explain activity within God Himself.

2.2.2. e God in His perfection acts, wills, and creates perpetually

To this point, the arguments surveyed have been largely negative. Ibn
Taymiyya maintains that the eternal divine will of the Kal5m theologians and the eternal complete cause of the philosophers cannot explain the emergence of originated events. Every such argument founders on the shoal of the principles of preponderance and originated causality. The alternative set forth by Ibn

Taymiyya is that God has been willing and acting from eternity, with `eternity' here carrying the sense of time without beginning. In the first volume of AvIinhüj, the shaykh also proves his position positively perfection. Invoking rational considerations of divine perfection that we have met above in Chapter One (1.4.3-4), Ibn Taymiyya first explains that "in theological proofs" (li' al-adilla al-ilahiyya) the Creator has a greater right to perfections from the necessity of divine

found in creatures than do the creatures themselves because creatures derive their perfections from the Creator. Likewise, God has an even greater right to be

imperfections from which creatures exonerate themselves.55 With exonerated of these principles in place, the shaykh argues that activity is not neutral with respect to perfection because creating, which he takes here to be synonymous with acting, is better than not creating. Moreover, in an obvious stab at the philosophers, Ibn


Taymiyya arguesthat one who performs successiveacts is better than one who
has something conjoined to him from eternity: [People from the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religious communities]56 also that acting is an attribute of perfection. They reply to the Kalim say theologians who say that it is neither an attribute of perfection nor imperfection: He-Exalted is He-has said, "Is then He Who creates as one does not create? Will you not then remember?" (Q. 16: 17). This being who the case, it is reasonable that the agent who acts by his power and his will is than one having no power and no will. The powerful, freely more perfect choosing (mukhtär) agent who performs acts one after the other is more perfect than one the product of whose act is necessarily concomitant with him [and who] is not powerful to originate anything or to change anything from one state to another. 57 Ibn Taymiyya also casts the latter part of the quoted argument in terns of the whole species of acting and an individual eternal act. First, he says that the

eternity of the species of enacted things in the world is more perfect than the eternity of one individual. Then, he argues that agency over a species of things

is more perfect than agency over an individual thing. He occurring successively that the perpetuity of agency over an individual thing is an unknown concept adds and that the perpetuity of agency does not entail the perpetuity of an individual. What it does entail is the origination of the individuals of the species.58 In sum, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God's perfection requires that He has been acting and creating the species of originated things from eternity.

2.2.2. f The temporally originated world Having given consideration to the Creator in His willing and originating, this subsection turns to the nature of the originated creation and the pre-eternity of the species of originated events. Ibn Taymiyya claims in ivlinhdj that God's

does not mean that any one thing in the world is eternal. God is perpetual activity


"perpetual of agency" (da-im al fa'iliyya), but, "It does not follow necessarily
from the perpetuity of His being an agent that there is an individual, eternal enacted thing with Him. "59 Rather, originated events come into being after they were not, and all things other than God are originated and created, "Everything except God is created [and came into] being after it was not. "60 With the phrase, "being after it was not" (kü'in ba'd an lam yakun), the shaykh denies the eternity of any individual thing apart from God and also

distinguisheshimself from Ibn Sind and others who speakof the world as `eternal'
but `originated' and `possible'. possibility and causal priority. The issue turns on Ibn Sind's understanding of The philosopher maintains that the world can be

but yet possible (mumkin) in the sense that it is not self-sufficient and eternal
might not have been. Considered in itself, the world is possible. It only becomes necessary through another, namely, God who is the eternal efficient cause of the b' In the Ibn Taymiyya's summary of this idea, the world. words of existence of "The world is an effect (mafliil) of [God's]. He is necessitating it and emanating

it. He is prior to it in honor, causality, and nature. He is not prior to it in time. "62 Moreover, according to the shaykh, Ibn Sind calls the world `originated'

(muhdath) in the sense of its being the effect of an eternal cause.63 Against Ibn Sind, Ibn Taymiyya marshals the support of Aristotle and Ibn Rusted to show that the `possible' is originated in time and that something originated and possible be preceded by nonexistence in time. 64 The shaykh writes, "Aristotle and must the ancients among his followers along with the rest of the people of reason say that the possible whose existence or nonexistence is possible is only originated, being after it was not. "65 For Ibn Taymiyya, it is not possible that something


have been nonexistent, and it is not possible that something possible eternal could be eternal. 66 Ibn Taymiyya asserts in Minhaj that everything except God is originated in the world. 67 by nonexistence and that there is nothing eternal and preceded However, he also maintains that there have always been originated events of one sort or another in the universe. Moreover, the perpetuity of God's creative

While there is no one thing in the universe that is eternal, activity requires this. events is eternal. 68 The shaykh gives a number the species or genus of originated tease out the difference between an eternal species and its of examples to originated individuals. qualified. In some cases, individuals and species are similarly

When, for example, all of the individuals of a species are qualified as

then the species itself must also be so qualified. existent, possible, or nonexistent, if every Negro is black, then the whole group of Negroes The shaykh notes that (zanj) must be black. However, the individuals of a species do not necessarily

have to share the same attributes as the species itself as when individuals are by origination and passing away (janj') qualified the species is perpetual. while

As an example of this distinction, Ibn Taymiyya cites quranic verses on the Paradise, "Its food is eternal, and its shade" (Q. 13:35), and, "Truly, provision of this is our provision which has no end" (Q. 38: 54). The shaykh points out that is perpetual here are the species of provision and not the individual units that what No one piece of food is perpetual. The shaykh probes this go out of existence. distinction further by observing that the attributes of individual parts of something the whole and vice versa. Certain parts of a house, a human may not qualify being, or a tree may be long or wide, but this does not necessarily mean that every


part is long or wide. If one says this day or that prayer is long, it does not mean that all parts of this day or that prayer are long. Similarly, the origination and

away of individual units does not necessarily entail the origination or passing 69 passing away of the whole species of originated events. The perpetuity and eternity of the species of originated events raises the question of what Ibn Taymiyya thinks existed prior to this present world. He

in time,70and lie does not rule out assertsthat the celestial spherewas originated
7' lie the possibility that there were other celestial spheres prior to this one. also indicates that this present world was created out of pre-existing matter. He

explains that Aristotle was the first to claim that the celestial sphere was eternal, but he notes that the philosophers before Aristotle believed "that this world was in its form (süra) only or in its form and matter (nOdda). And originated, either them maintain the priority of the matter of this world over its form. "72 most of

For Ibn Taymiyya the revealed tradition also indicates that other things
before the creation of this world and that this world was created out of preexisted existing matter. To show this, he cites the following quranic verses: "[God]

the heavens and the earth in six days, and His Throne was on the water" created (Q. 11:7), and, "He rose toward heaven when it was smoke, and He said to it and to the earth, `Come under coercion or obediently'. obediently"' They both said, `We come

(Q. 41: 11). In this regard, he also notes two hadiths: "Truly, God

determined the determinations of created things before He created the heavens and the earth by fifty thousand years, and His Throne was on the water, "73 and, "God was, and there was nothing before Him. And His throne was on the water. And He wrote everything in a Reminder. Then He created the heavens and the


"74 The shaykh says that traditions from the Companions and the Followers earth. affirming God's creation of the heavens from water vapor, that is, smoke, are (mutawätir). 75 abundantly transmitted In explaining these texts, Ibn Taymiyya notes that there is debate over the first thing that God created was the Pen-as in the hadith, "The first whether God created was the Pen, ,76-or the Throne. The shaykh explains that the thing

Throne was most likely the first thing createdand that the Pen was then the first thing created of this world for the purpose of writing down the determinations
fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth. He adds that there must have been time prior to the creation of this world so that God would had some measure by which to say that He had created it in six days.77 Ibn have Taymiyya also notes that the Torah says much the same thing: the earth was

with water and the wind was blowing over it before God created the covered heavensand the earth in severaldays' time. He then cites someunnamedscholars
among the People of the Book to the effect that this means that God created from in time. 78 matter and The shaykh does not discuss whether the Throne itself, as the first created thing, was also created from pre-existing matter. The logic of God's perfection would appear to entail that there has always been one created thing or another, before the Throne. Yet, the shaykh does imply that there was in some sense even a first created thing by asserting that it is in God's perfection that He is prior to all in every respect.79 Although he does not offer the following model, it is others perhaps possible to imagine that the infinite regression of originated events that Ibn Taymiyya posits approaches God's eternity asymptotically. The regression


grows ever closer to pre-eternity but never touches it, and, so, it could still be said that God is prior to every originated thing in time.

2.2.2. g Refutation of Kaläm arguments against an infinite regress Although most of Ibn Taymiyya's polemic in the first volume of Minhüj uses the principles of preponderance and originated causality to show that the

Kaläm position of creation ex nihilo leads to absurdities, lie also seeks to the Kaläm argumentsagainst the eternity of the world. Refutation of undermine
these proofs is especially important to Ibn Taymiyya in order to maintain the possibility of an infinite regress of causes or wise purposes in the divine will. The are based on two arguments for the impossibility of an actual infinite main proofs from the sixth-century philosopher John Philoponus (d. ca. 570). 80 The stemming Kaläm theologians conclude that since any actual infinite is impossible, the world must have a 81 beginning.

One of John Philoponus's arguments asserts that the passing of time increases the number of past events. However, infinites cannot be increased. So, be infinite. 82 From the notion that an infinite cannot be past events cannot increased, Ibn Sinä, with precedents in the philosopher al-Kind! (d. ca. 252/866), 83 developed the `application' (tatbiq) argument to show that magnitudes must be finite. The argument may be summarized as follows. Suppose that a magnitude

A is finite in one end and infinite in another. Some length is added to the finite end of A yielding a new magnitude B. The finite end of B is then `applied' to the finite end of A, and it is noted that the two infinite ends no longer match. This is absurd and disproves the possibility of infinite magnitudes.


Ibn Sind does not use this argument against an infinite regression of causes but Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi does.84 Al-R, izi's form of the argument is and effects, what Ibn Taymiyya refutes in Minhäj. follows. Ibn Taymiyya presents the argument as

If the series of originated events from the time of the Hijra to infinity is

compared with the series of originated events from the time of the Flood of Noah to infinity, the one series will be longer than the other by the difference between the Flood and the Hijra. Since disparity between two infinites is impossible, an

is impossible. 85 For Ibn Taymiyya, such a infinite series of originated events disparity is not impossible. From the Flood to future infinity is greater than from the Hijra to future infinity. Likewise, what is between the Hijra and past infinity

is greater than what is between the Flood and past infinity even though both lack a beginning. The disparity, however, occurs only between the two finite ends, in

this casebetween the Flood and the Hijra; it does not occur in the infinite ends.
Infinity itself is not subject to specific measurement such that one infinite may be said to be commensurate to, greater than, or less than another infinite. illustrate his point Ibn Taymiyya compares the concept of `infinity' To to


The numbers 1,10,100,1000,

etc. all share in multiplicity, but this

does not mean that they all have the same value. Likewise, infinites may entail diverse values from one perspective, yet all share in infinity from another. 86 Ibn Taymiyya also recounts Ibn Sind's refutation of the Kallim use of the application 87 In Ibn Sind's view, the application argument against an infinite argument. regress of causes and effects is just a mental exercise. It does not correspond to anything in actuality because everything in the past no longer exists and


in the future does not yet exist. The application argument against an everything
infinite is only valid for what actually exists. 88 actual The second argument from John Philoponus exploited by the Kalium tradition maintains that an infinite cannot be traversed. This being the case,

in the present cannot be preceded by an infinite regression of events.89 something In Minhüj Ibn Taymiyya refutes the defense that al-Juwayni gives for this Al-Juwayni argues that positing an originated

argument in his Kitcib al-irshäd.

event preceded by originated events without beginning is like saying to someone, "I will not give you a dirham unless I give you a dinar before it, and I will not give you a dinar unless I give you a dirham before it. " Under these conditions, alJuwayni concludes that no dirham or dinar will ever be given. He argues that the

that this statementcan be turned into a valid condition is to say, "I will only way
dinar unless I give you a dirham after it. "90 not give you a Rephrasing al-Juwayni's formulas slightly, Ibn Taymiyya agrees that it is possible to say, "I will not give you a dirham unless I give you a dirham after it. " However, he believes that it is wrong-headed and impossible to say, "I will not give you a dirham until I give you a dirham before it, " because this negates that something will happen in the future until the same thing happens in the future. The argument as stated is invalid, and does not deal with an infinite regress in the past. The shaykh believes that the statement should instead read, "I have not given you a dirham unless I have given you a dirham before it. " This is a

negation of a past event until another past event has occurred prior to it, and this is possible. 91 So, by correcting al-Juwayni's formulation to make it properly

applicable to an infinite regress in the past, Ibn Taymiyya believes lie has


any difficulty that al-Juwayni's argument might pose for an infinite eliminated
92 regress of events. By refuting the Kaläm arguments against an actual infinite, Ibn Taymiyya clears the way for the possibility of an infinite regression, and, as we have seen, he upholds an endless chain of originated events into the past and into the future. However, he clarifies in Minhaj that he admits only an infinite regress of effects (dthdr), not an infinite regress of causes, creators, agents, and originators. Causes in an infinite regress are all possible, originated, and nonexistent in and agents

themselvesand must be given existenceby another. In fact, lie notes, the longer
the chain of these agents becomes, the greater is its need for an agent who is "only existent in Himself, necessarily existent, not admitting nonexistence, eternal, and not originated. "93 Yet, Ibn Taymiyya does not explain how this eternal and necessary First Cause can give rise to a regress of temporally originated events. He must either violate his own principle of originated causality or admit an infinite regress of effects locked up into a timeless series tinder the eternal First Cause.

2.2.2. h Wrap-up on God's perpetual acting, creating, and willing To sum up the discussion of this subsection, Ibn Taymiyya in iVIinhüj agrees with the Ash(aris that wise purpose and causality in the will of God lead to an infinite regress, but he denies that this constitutes sufficient grounds to reject divine rationality. The shaykh refutes the AshWariarguments for the impossibility

infinite, which they use to disprove the eternity of the world, and he of an actual maintains that the perfection of God requires that lie be creating and willing


originated events from eternity.

On the basis of the principles of preponderance

and originated causality, he razes the cosmologiesof the Kahm theologians and
philosophers such as Ibn Sind. He argues against the philosophers that originated events in the world cannot arise from an eternal complete cause and against the Kaläm theologians that events cannot originate from an eternal divine will. Rather, he maintains that there is an infinite regress of originated divine willings corresponding to the originated events that God creates in the world, but he does not explain how this regress of divine willings arises from the eternal essence of

God without violating his own principle of originated causality.

2.2.3 God needs no help in perfecting Himself through His creation The second major argument that the Ashcaris present against God's acting for a wise purpose is that it posits need in God: if God acts for a wise purpose, He is perfected by His act and was thus needy beforehand. In Minhäj, Ibn Taymiyya responds to this only very briefly, affirming that creatures have no impact on the God who is the Creator of everything they do: When He is powerful over, [and] the agent of, everything, Ile does not need another in any respect. Rather, the causes enacted are objects of His power God-Exalted is He-inspires His servants to invocation and He and will. answers them. He inspires them to repentance, and He rejoices at their repentance when they repent. He inspires them to deeds and rewards them when they perform deeds. It is not said that the creature impacts (aththara) the Creator or makes Him an agent of the answer, the reward, and the rejoicing at their repentance. He-Glory be to Him-is the Creator of all of 94 this. Ibn Taymiyya's main point in this passage is that no one impacts God in His

creative activity.

Divine creation is wholly unilateral. However, the shaykh

evades the nub of the Ashlari objection. The Ash<aris posit creation as an utterly


free and arbitrary divine act that could just as well not have beenwithout any loss
to God being God. If God acts or creates for a purpose, this detracts from His freedom by making the act necessary for His perfection. Ibn Taymiyya, however, maintains that God's creative activity is not free in the libertarian sense intended by the AshWaris. Instead, as noted above (2.2.2. e), perpetual creativity is necessary to God's perfection. What would detract from God's perfection is limited to

someone else controlling or helping God in what He creates. Ibn Taymiyya
more extensive argumentation for this point in Irücla, which will be provides

surveyedlater in this chapter(2.3.3).

2.2.4 God's temporally

originated wise purposes subsist in His essence

The third major Ashcan objection to divine purposive action is that it makes God a substrate for temporally originated events. From the above discussion, it is already clear that Ibn Taymiyya simply adopts the very position that the Ash'aris reject, and in the first volume of Minhcij, he also explicitly condemns the Kalzm for denying that acts subsist in the essence of God.95 He traces the theologians root of this problem to the Jahmis, who argue that originated events can only subsist in originated bodies; God is not an originated body, so God's attributes Him. 6 Ibn Taymiyya notes that Ibn Sin: suffers much the same subsist outside of when He disallows change (mutaghayyir) in God's essence. When God problem the Agent remains in one state, there is no way to explain the difference and origination that arises in the world. There are enacted things (maf ülät) but no act SCI) to bring them into existence. Rooting himself in the authority of not only the prophets and the Salaf, but also in unnamed pre-Aristotelian philosophers, Ibn


Taymiyya argues that there must be voluntary acts (al-af dl a1-ikliydriyya) in God's essence in order for change to arise in the world. 97 To deny acts subsisting in the Lord is to deny that He is acting and originating. " Him-is "lie-Glory be to

Creator of everything among concrete entities, their attributes and their

acts by voluntary attributes subsisting in Himself. "99 In Minhäj Ibn Taymiyya also provides lists of those affirming or denying in God's essence.'°° The Multazilis deny that either attributes or originated events

in God's essence. Ibn Kulläb (d. ca. 241/855)101 affirms that eternal acts subsist subsist in God's essence,but not originated events. Those attributes attributes
which are eternal are not linked to God's will and power, and whatever is linked to God's power is created and disjoined from Him. The shaykh says that Ibn

Kulläb was followed in this by Abü al-Hasan al-Tamlmi, al-13 gilläni, al-Juwayni, Ibn 'Agil, Ibn al-Zäghüni (d. 527/1132) 102and others from the four Abü Yal1ä, Sunni law schools. The shaykh states that the later Multazili Abü al-llusayn alBari (d. 436/1044), 103 and the early Shia theologian I-lishdm b. Hakam (d.

179/795-6) 104 affirm originated events in God. Among others holding this view, he mentions the Karrämis, the philosopher Abis al-Barakät, and the preAristotelian philosophers. In what may be something of an overstatement, Ibn

Taymiyya claims that the great majority of the Sunnismaintain this doctrine, or at least its sensesince some of them prefer not to speakof God in terms other than
those revealed. Among those in the latter category, he mentions al-Bukh5iri (d.

105 hadith fame, al-Därimi (d. 280/894),106 (d. 311/923),107 256/870) of al-Khalliil
latter's disciple Abü Bakr b. cAbd al cAziz (d. 363/974). 108 Significantly, and the


Ibn Taymiyya's listing does not include Fakhr al-Din al-Rizi.

Yasin Ceylan, in

his study of al-Räzi's theology, notes that the Ashcari theologian Evasinconsistent on this question. Al-Räzi condemns the Karrämis for permitting origination in

God's essencebut employs similar ideas himself in other places.109This, along
with Ibn Taymiyya's own list of precedents, indicates that even though the idea of temporal origination in the essence of God was rejected by the mainstream Kalium tradition, it was nonetheless part of the wider pool of viable ideas in the intellectual world of that day.


Ibn Taymiyya's

defense of divine wise purpose in Iräda

2.3.1 Four views on causality and wise purpose in the divine will Ibn Taymiyya defends the same metaphysical position in the compactly

fatwa Iräda that he upholds in the first volume of Minhnj. After having written the argumentsfrom Minhäj in the previous section, there is, for the most surveyed to rehearsethe same argumentsfrom h"nda. However, Iräda does part, no need
fuller argumentation against the Multazili view of divine purpose and the provide Ash(arl charge that purpose in God implies divine need. This will be examined in the following two subsections. The inquiry prompting the fatwa centers on

whether God acts on account of a cause and outlines the metaphysical options clearly and concisely: is Concerning the goodness (husn) of the will (iräda) of God-Exalted He-in creating creatures and bringing forth the human race. Does he for a cause (villa) or for other than a cause? If it was said, "not for a create " He would be aimless-Exalted is God above that. If it was said, cause, "For a cause," and if you said that it was pre-eternal (lanz ta_al), it would follow necessarily that the effect was pre-eternal. And if you said that it


it would necessarily follow that it had a cause, but an was originated, is absurd. ' ° endless chain Early in Iräda, Ibn Taymiyya identifies the Ashcaris and the 7-5hiris, particularly Ibn Hazm (d. 456/1064), 11) as those who deny that God wills on account of a cause. His presentation of this position includes the major Ash'ari arguments against God acting for an originated cause or wise purpose just noted from Minhäj: an endless chain, imperfection in God, and originated events in God's essence. The shaykh attributes the eternal cause/eternal effect position mentioned in the inquiry above to the philosophers who argue for the eternity of the world. The shaykh then divides those who teach that God acts for an originated cause into two groups. First are the Muctazilis who maintain that the cause or wise purpose is disjoined from God and that He is indifferent to it. Second are those who disagree with the Muctazilis on this point: jurists, hadith scholars, Suffs, Karrämis, and the philosopher Abü al-Barakät. This latter position maintains that judgment (hukm) from God's act returns to Him for which He is praiseworthy a He does what He does "for a wise purpose that I-Ic knows. "1 12 and that

2.3.2 Purposive activity yields a judgement for which God is praiseworthy When discussing the Multazilis' position in Irdda, Ibn Taymiyya alleges

that they end up in contradiction when they say that God acts for a wise purpose is disjoined from Him and that benefits creatures but not Himself 113 The that . shaykh notes that the Muctazilis and their followers among the Shi9is maintain that doing good to others is rationally praiseworthy and that God created and

commanded creatures for the wise purpose of showing them beneficence and


giving those who are legally obligated their reward. However, the Muctazilis also claim that no judgement (hukm) accrues to God for His beneficence. They make God indifferent to His own acts by asserting that His acts do not subsist in His essence. Ibn Taymiyya counters this view with an appeal to what be believes to be commonsense utilitarian self-interest. The people said to [the Muctazilis], "You are contradictory in this view because beneficence to another is praiseworthy by virtue of the fact that a judgement from it returns to its agent on account of which he is praised. [This is] either because [he is] perfecting himself through this, because he is pursuing praise and reward through this, because of gentleness and pain that he finds in himself-he drives this pain away through beneficence-or because of his pleasure, his gladness and his joy in beneficence. For the generous soul rejoices, is glad, and takes pleasure in the good that proceeds from it to another. Beneficence to another is praiseworthy by virtue of the fact that a judgement comes back to the beneficent from his act on account of which he is praised. If it were supposed that the existence of beneficence and its nonexistence relative to the agent were equal, he would not know that the likes of this act would be good coming from him. Moreover, the likes of this would be considered aimless in the minds of people endowed with Anyone who commits an act in which there is no pleasure, benefit, reason. or profit for himself in any respect, sooner or later, is aimless and not worthy of praise for this. You [Multazilis] have ascribed causes to His acts in order to flee from aimlessness, and thus, you have fallen into aimlessness. For aimlessness is an act in which no benefit, profit, or advantage returns to "' 14 the agent. For Ibn Taymiyya, it is irrational that any agent should do good to others without some judgement (hukm), profit, or praise accruing to the agent himself. Someone to whom praise and beneficence is ultimately indifferent-as of God-is in the Muctazili view

acting aimlessly, which, ironically in the shaykh's view, is precisely seek to avoid by attributing purpose to God's will. Ibn

what the Multazilis

Taymiyya shifts the meaning of what constitutes rational and praiseworthy action

from the Muctazili view of disinterestedbeneficenceto an ethic of' self-interested
utilitarianism. In parallel with his utilitarian ethic on the human plane, which was

in Chapter One (1.3.2), the shaykh implies that only a God who acts surveyed according to utilitarian criteria and in His own self interest is rational and worthy of praise. God acts for the sake of that which will make Him praiseworthy.

2.3.3 God acts for wise purposes to establish His perfection Ibn Taymiyya's utilitarian divine ethic underlying his argument against the Multazi1is prompts the Ash'an question of whether God acts out of prior lack and

need. The shaykh respondsto this Ashcariobjection towards the end of Ir da. As
in the first volume of Minhaj, Ibn Taymiyya argues that God is self-sufficient and does not need others. When, for example, God is well pleased with the early Muslim predecessors (al-sabiq n al-awtivali n), or when Ile rejoices in the

repentance of the repentant, this does not mean that He is perfected by human responses to Him. Rather, He is the Creator of their responses. He creates and

them to do what He loves. He does all according to His will and power, guides and in His acts is a wise purpose that He loves and with which I-Ic is well pleased. 115

The shaykh then sets out five rational arguments in response to the Ashcari charge that God's acting for a wise purpose "entails that He is perfected by imperfect prior to that. " 116 In the first, the shaykh simply another, and, so, was turns the objection on its head, and says, "In visible perception we do not deem an agent to be rational unless perfected by His act." The second argument states that God would have been imperfect if He had not been able to create with a wise purpose from eternity. The third remakes the point that God is the sole Creator help. Here the shaykh adds that affirming that God is perfected by who needs no


His act is no different from affirming that God is perfected by His attributes of essence, an obvious reference to the Kulläbi/Ashcari belief in God's eternal and essential ' 17 attributes.

In his fourth argument, Ibn Taymiyya explains that it is in God's perfection that His wise purpose dictate that certain things exist at certain tinges and not at others. God has a perfect place and time for everything, and what exists at any given time is perfection. "The nonexistence of something at the time at which

does not demand its existence is a perfection just as its existence at wise purpose demands its existence is a perfection. "' 18 The the time at which wise purpose shaykh extends the argument by drawing a parallel with God's attributes. God is with both positive and negative attributes involving His perfection, and qualified the negative attributes involve perfection just as much as what is affirmed of Him.

The shaykh explains that the same logic applies to God's acts, that is, they are
the dictates of wisdom and perfection, and more of something is not always under better. Even in human affairs, he adds, something may be considered an

imperfection at one time and a perfection at another. The fifth argument in 1r"üda asserts that it is known intuitively that someone who acts for a wise purpose is more perfect than one who does not. "When we posit someone who is powerful to originate events for a wise purpose and someone who is not powerful to do that, it is known by intuitive reason (badihat al-'aql) that the one powerful to do that is
more perfect. " 119

To summarize these arguments in Iräda, Ibn Taymiyya claims that God is perfected by His acts. Yet, this does not mean that God is imperfect prior to His acts because His acts take place in the time and way dictated by His perfection


and wise purpose. The implication is that if God acted in some other way, it would entail imperfection not only in the universe but also in God. Ultimately, all that happens is necessary to the perfection of God, and the world as it is in each moment is perfect. For Ibn Taymiyya, this world is a demonstration of the divine

God's worthinessof praise. that establishes perfection and wise purpose


On hikma as Ibn Taymiyya's preferred term for divine purpose Before summing up this chapter, Joseph Bell's claim in Love Theory that Ibn

Taymiyya uses the term hikma to avoid the idea of purpose in God's acts requires correction in light of the foregoing discussion. I am indebted to Bell for the

translation of hikma as `wise purpose'. He adopts this translation explaining that hikma to give the divine activity moral significance. 120 However, the shaykh uses Bell also argues that Ibn Taymiyya uses hikma and rejects gharad, a common Muctazili term for `purpose', in order to bypass the Ashcan objection that gharad implies need in God. According to Bell, the shaykh believes that God wills and creates for a "cause, reason or end" but yet that "God is definitely not moved by a
`purpose'. " 121

Contrary to what Bell claims, Ibn Taymiyya's God is indeed moved by His purposes, and the shaykh finds it necessary to defend hikina against the same objections that the Ashcaris level against gharad-that it implies need and

origination in God, as well as an infinite regress. This is sufficient to correct Bell's analysis. However, closer examination of the matter yields further insight into Ibn Taymiyya's theological priorities.


Bell errs by reading too much metaphysical import into Ibn Taymiyya's rejection of gharad. In Minhäj, from which Bell derives his argument, the shaykh the two terms to have identical senses, but he prefers to carry out his understands discussion in terms of hikma instead of gharad. In response to Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli's claim that the Sunni's believe that "God has no gharad in his acts", Ibn

Taymiyya first shifts the discussion to hikma: "the gharad which is the hikma, " "for a gharad, that is, a hikma. "122 Then, he notes that the rejection of and, purpose, whether under the name of gharad or hiknra, is limited to only a few Sunnis such as al-Ashcari and his followers. purpose (hikma) in the acts of God-Exalted benefit of His servants."123 and Ibn Taymiyya's reason for preferring hikma to gharad becomes apparent elsewhere in Minhäj. He notes that while the Muctazilis and some other Sunnis He explains that the Rather, "Most Sunnis establish wise is He-and that He acts to the profit

use gharad, many Sunnis affirm hikma but reject gharad.

latter do not use gharad with respect to God because it may connote injustice and need in common usage. The shaykh continues, "When people say, `So-and-so did that for a gharad' and `So-and-so has a gharad toward someone', they often mean by this some blameworthy intention such as injustice, abomination, etc."124 Thus, the shaykh does not use hikma to avoid purpose in God's acts but only to avoid the negative connotations gharad may carry in ordinary speech. The logic here is identical to what Bell observes in Ibn Taymiyya's rejection of the term 'ishq (passionate love). Bell explains that the shaykh believes that 'ishq

could be applied to divine love but should not be because it may carry


connotations of excessive passion and earthly pleasure. Also, 'i. shq need not be because it is not found in revelation. 125 Ibn Taymiyya's rejection of both used gharad and 'ishq provide further evidence to support the argument made at the

of Chapter One that the shaykh's theology is directed toward shaping the end
connotations brought to mind by theological language so as to promote proper regard for God.



In seeking to uphold divine timelessnessand self-sufficiency, the Ashcari
tradition poses three major objections to rationality in the divine will: it implies temporal origination in God's essence, an infinite regress of causes in the divine will, and need and imperfection in God. Ibn Taymiyya responds to these charges by first demolishing the cosmologies of the Kaläm theologians and the

philosophers with his principles of preponderance and originated causality. Neither the self-preponderating divine will of Kaläm theology nor the

philosophers' eternally moving celestial spheres, which purport to link God to the world of temporal origination, can adequately explain how originated events in the world arise from an eternal, timeless God. As noted above (2.2.2. d), Ibn

Taymiyya does not mention that he also fails to bridge this gap between eternity and time in a way that satisfies his own principle of originated causality. Instead, he gains the polemical upper hand by moving the gap from the boundary between God and the world into the being of God Himself. Contrary to AshWariKaläm, the eternal God is a substrate for temporal origination, and originated causes or wise purposes form an infinite regress within the divine being. Moreover, divine


perfection dictates that the eternal God has been perpetually active, willing, and creating originated objects in the world. Concerning the apparent need and

imperfection that wise purpose implies in God, Ibn Taymiyya subverts the charge by changing the senses of `need' and `perfection'. He argues that it is a greater

`perfection' for God to act on account of wise purposes than not to do so, and he implies in Iräda that it is of God's perfection to be guided by utilitarian

consideration for establishing His right to praise. The shaykh denies that this involves `need' in God insofar as God does not need anyone or anything to help
Him create and attain His perfection. It is clear, however, that Ibn Tayiniyya's

God `needs' a world of originated events as the effects of his perpetual creativity in order to be fully divine. Productivity and temporal willing are essential to the divine perfection. The portrayal of God that emerges out of Ibn Taymiyya's response to the Ashcan objections to rationality in the divine will is that of a perpetually dynamic being who is wisely creating everything just as it should be from eternity for the sake of establishing His perfection. God creates the optimal world at every point in time. By introducing temporal origination into the being of God, the shaykh can reject the Ashcan interpretation of divine `wisdom' (hikma) as merely divine knowledge, and he can give this wisdom temporal, causal, teleological, and utilitarian senses. In the mind of Ibn Taymiyya, the notion of divine wisdom that best corresponds to rational notions of perfection entails a causally rational and perpetually creative God who is wisely pursuing aims that garner Him praise. This God experiences time and thus more closely resembles the God involved in the vicissitudes of history that is depicted in a literal reading of the Qur'an.


However, Ibn Taymiyya's failure to mention that he himself does not bridge the gap between eternity and time in a way that escapes the razor of his polemical principle of originated causality impairs the integrity and persuasive power of his discourse.

Notes to Chapter Two
owe to Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 69, the translation of hikma as `wise However, see further on in this chapter (2.4) for correction of Bell's purpose' instead of'wisdom'. argument. Apart from Bell's evidence, the translation of hikma as 'wise purpose' is also supported by the fact that Ibn Taymiyya occasionally equates it with the philosophical term 'i/la ghd'i}ya (final cause) denoting purpose and aim. See the synonymous usage of hikma and 'i/la gha'iyya at Irdda MF 8: 88 and Hasana MF 14:299. 2 Ibn Taymiyya also wrote extensively on the debate over the eternity of the world versus its temporal origination in other texts. However, these sources are not consulted here because they do not fall within discussions of God's wise purpose. See for example'Intrdn MF 18:210-243; Dar' passim; Nubuwwät 71-92; and Safadiyya, passim. On a first reading, these texts do not reveal anything substantially different from what is found in Minhüj and lydda. 3 Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea, 39-66,82-98, 156-163,315-6. ° For discussion of proofs for the eternity of the world from the nature of God in Islamic thought, as well as their critique, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 49-85. For the Ashcari and Mu'tazili proofs for creation ex nihilo, see Davidson, 117-212. For al-Mäturidi on creation, see Ceric, Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam, 108-139. 5 Inati, The Problem of Evil: Ibn Sind's Theodicy, 127-173 (quote on p. 147). 6 Al-Ghazäli, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Ar. ed. of Tahcrfirt al fala. sifa and ET by Michael E. Marmura (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1997), 56-78 (Third Question). See L. E. Goodman, Avicenna (London: Routledge, 1992), 83-96, for a spirited defense of Ibn Sinai against the charges of necessitarianism and determinism leveled against him by al-Ghazäli and the philosopher's modern interpreters (among whom Inati may now be included). 'Ali b. Ismalil b. Ishäq, Abü al-Masan al-AshWari. s Muhammad b. al-Tayyib b. Muhammad, Abo Bakr al-Bägilläni. 9 Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Karim b. Ahmad, AbO al-Fath al-Shahrastäni. 10'Ali b. Muhammad (Abo `Ali) b. Salim, Abo al-Masan Sayf al-Din al-Amidi. "'Ali b. Muhammad b. 'All, al-Sharif al-Jurjäni. 12On the AshWariand Mu'tazili views, see al-Julaynid, Qadiyyat a/-kha}r wa al-sharrfi al-fikr alislümi, 182-7,190-200; Gardet, Dieu et la destinee de 1'homme, 92-4; Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325), 104-8; al-Shahrastani, Kitäb nihnyatu11-igdanifi'ilmi'l-kalrtm, 397-404 (Ar. ) and 126-9 (ET); al-Räzi, Arba'in, 350-4; al-Riizi, Afnhas.sal, 205-7. Al-Julaynid, 198-9, states that al-Ghaz:ili departs from the Ashcari tradition and affirms that God acts for a cause ('ilia) in comments on the divine names "The Merciful, The Compassionate" (al-Rahmün al-Rahim) in al-Magsad al-asnd fi` sharp mcfdni asmn' Allah al-husnä, cd. Fadlou A. Shehadi (Beirut: Dar el-Machreq, 1982), 65-70. However, a careful reading of al-GhazZili's text reveals that while purpose and causality indeed seem to pervade the discussion, the key term 'ilia does not appear, and the text could be interpreted to exclude causality in God's will. Also, alGhazäli near the beginning of the discussion explains that, while mercy involves pain and tenderness from the merciful, this does not apply to God whose perfection does not involve feeling 'I


Notes to Chapter Two continued
pain for one in need. This fits well with the traditional Ashlari understanding of God. Additionally, Frank, Creation and the Cosmic System: AI-Ghazc li and Avicenna, 16, points out that al-Ghazäli explicitly denies that God acts for a purpose (ghara(l) or for compensations ('iwa(l) in a later passage from al-Magsad al-asna, 87-8, which discusses the divine name al-11'ahl0b. 14Minhdj 2: 313-5/1: 215; Qudra MF 8: 37-9; MF 8:378-381; MF 14: 183-4; and Nubmnwüt 131142. is See C. E. Bosworth, "Karramiyya, " E12 4: 667-9. The founder of this sect is Abü 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. Karräm (d. 255/869), known as Ibn Karräm. 16Al-Hasan b. al-Husayn b. Abü Hurayra, Abü'Ali, a jurist who died in Baghdad. 17Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Ism51ll, Abü Bakr al-Qaffal al-Sh1si. 18'Abd al `Aziz b. al-Härith b. Asad, Abü al-Hasan al-Tamimi, a jurist. '9 Minhaj 1: 141-4/1: 34-5.

13 Minhaj 1:141-446/1: 34-124; and Irada MF 8:81,83-93, and 145-158.

20Minhaj 1:145/1: 35. 21Minhdj 1:145/1: 35.
22 On both of these arguments in Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, see Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, 126-7. For details of the infinite regress argument, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 117-127.

23Minhaj 1:145/1: 35.
24 Minhüj 1: 145/1: 35. Ibn Taymiyya is aware that the Multazilis say that God's wise purpose consists in God's profiting humans and His beneficence to them rather than to Himself. See Qudra MF 8: 38. 25Minhaj 1: 146/1: 35-6. 26 In this study, the following conventions have been adopted for translating terms dealing with eternity: azal (pre-eternity), azali (pre-eternal), abad (post-eternity), abadi (post-eternal), gidam (eternity), qadim (eternal), lam yazal (pre-eternal, [existing] from eternity. The literal meaning of lain yazal is `has not ceased [existing]'. However, this translation yields very cumbersome and nearly incomprehensible sentences in English. The terms `pre-eternity' and `post-eternity' are less than ideal, but I have judged it important to use them as economic means of distinguishing the Arabic azal and abad from qidam. Cumbersome but more descriptive translations of a: al and abad would be `retrospective eternity' and `prospective eternity', respectively. 27 The origin of Ibn Taymiyya's term 'illa tümma is obscure. In Dar', 9: 233-5, he quotes the essence of this argument from Ibn Sind, Al-Ishürät wa al-tanbihät, ed. Sulayman Dunyä (Cairo: Dar ihyä' al-kutub al carabiyya, 1366-7/1947-8), 3: 110-1. Ibn Sind does not use 'i/la lamina in this text, but Ibn Taymiyya immediately employs the term in his subsequent comment. 28 Minhdj 1: 148/1: 36; Irirda MF 8:85. The basic argument goes back to the fifth century neoPlatonist Proclus who argued that creation would involve change or prior imperfection in the cause of the world. See Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 56-67, for proofs of this kind from Proclus to Aquinas. For Ibn Sind, an unperfected being cannot be necessarily existent and God. For this argument see Ibn Sind, al-Najüh, (Cairo: Matbacat al-saläda, 1331/1913), 411-2. 29Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi cites the same argument in Arbafin, 78. 30Minhaj 1: 148/1:36. 31Minhäj 1:336-8/1: 92-3; also Minhäj 1: 182-7/1: 45-7. 32Minhaj 1:344/1: 95. 33 Minhäj 1:343-6/1: 94-5. For similar arguments see Minhdj 1: 150-5/1: 37-8,1: 218/1: 56,1: 323334/1: 88-91; and Iräda MF 8: 86-7. " Minhäj 1:346/1: 95. For Aristotle's unmoved mover argument, see Aristotle's Metaphysics, ed. trans. John Warrington (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1956), 345 (Book A, Chapter VII). and 35Minhäj 1:346/1: 95. Cf. Minhäj 3:283-5/2: 60-1.


Notes to Chapter Two continued
'' Minhaj 1: 154/1: 38. For this argument in Ibn Sind, see al-Najnh, 412-422. For its history, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 51-6. 37Minhäj 1: 148/1: 36. 38Minhaj 1: 148-9/1: 36. 39Minhäj 1:351/1: 97. aoMinhaj 1: 177/1: 44. 41 Muhammad b. al-Hudhayl b. CUbayd Allah, Abü Hudhayl al-'All if, one of the first Multazilis, from Basra.

12Minhaj 1:155-161/1: 38-40. 43Minhaj 1:161-2/1: 49. 40,1: 195-6/1:
°° Al-Ghazäli, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, 15-26. 45Minhaj 1:356/1: 99. 46Minhaj 1: 165/1:41,1: 75/1: 43. 47Minhäj 1:296-8/1: 80-1. Ibn Taymiyya elaborates this point in Minhrj 1:234-5/1: 61: "When it is is the doctrine of said that the Agent of the world is powerful and freely choosing (muklitär)-as the Muslims, the rest of the religious communities, and the columns (asdtin) of the philosophers Agent and Creator must inevitably be willing the things lie enacts who were before Aristotle-the at the time He does them. As He-Exalted is He-said, `Our statement to a thing when We will it is only that We say to it, Be! And it is' (Q. 16:40). The existence of an eternal will encompassing all generating things without the generation of the will of this individual originated event is not sufficient because, in this position, the permission of events originating without an originated cause follows necessarily. We are speaking about the other position, which is the impossibility of their origination without an originated cause. When, according to this position, it must inevitably be established that the will is with the existence of the thing willed, and there must inevitably be a conjoined to the thing willed and entailing it necessarily, [then] it is impossible that there be in will pre-eternity a will conjoined to its object.. ..The object of the will is the object of the Lord's act, and this will is the will to act. It is known that the thing that the agent wills to do cannot be an eternal, pre-eternal thing [existing] from eternity and remaining still. Instead, it is only originated after it was not. " 48 Hibat Allah b. 'Ali b. Malka, Abü al-Barakat al-Baghdädi Awhad al-Zam: in. AbCO al-Barakat's major philosophical work is Kitab al-m: Ftabar fi al-hikma, 3 vols. (Hyderabad: Jamciyyat dPirat al-maCarif al-luthmäniyya, 1357-8/1938-9). The major scholarship on AbO al-Barakat has been done by Shlomo Pines and may be found in The Collected Works of Shlomo Pines, vol. 1, Studies in Abu'l-Barakut al-Baghdddt: Physics and Metaphysics (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1979). 49Minhäj 1: 178/1:44,1: 219-220/1: 57,1: 338/1: 93. soMinhäj 1: 179/1:44. 51Minhaj 1: 178-9/1: 44-5,1: 219-220/1: 57. 52Minhaj 1: 179/1:44-5. 53Minhaj 1:405/1: 113.

54Minhaj 1:164/1: 41. Seealso Minhaj 1:404/1:113.

55Minhaj 1:371/1: 103. See also Minhaj 1:417-8/1: 116. 56The antecedent of the third person plural pronoun hum beginning this sentence is found a few pages earlier in Minhäj, 1:367/1: 102, at the beginning of a series of proofs against those who believe in the eternity of the world.

57Minhaj 1:371-2/1:103. Seealso similar argumentsat Minhrrj 1:384/1:107. 58Minhdj 1:387/1:108. 59Minhäj 1:336/1:92.
60Minhaj 1:359/1: 100. See also Minhaj 1:298/1: 81. 61Goodman, Avicenna, 61-83. 62Minhäj 1: 149/1:36. 63Minhäj 1:200-1/1: 51.


Notes to Chapter Two continued
6' Minhüj 1: 199/1: 51,1: 235-6/1: 61-2,1: 374-380/1: 103-4. 65Minhäj 1:236/1: 62. 66 Minhaj 1: 197-9/1: 50,1: 276-7/1: 74. In Minhaj 1:239-296/1: 63-80, Ibn Taymiyya provides a lengthy treatment of Ibn Sind's idea that an act need not be preceded by nonexistence by refuting the ten proofs for it found in Fakhr al-Din al-R1zi's Kitäh al-mabillüith al-mashrigiyya (Hyderabad: Matbacat majlis dä'irat al-malärif al-ni? ämiyya, 1343/1924), 1:485-492.

67 Minhdj 1:301-3/1:82-3,1: 384/1:107. 68Minhäj 1:232-3/1:60-1.
69Minhaj 1:426431/1: 118-9. 70Minhaj 1:220/1: 57. 71Minhaj 1:385/1: 107. 72 Minhäj 1:360/1: 100. Ibn Taymiyya does not provide any names of pre-Aristotelian philosophers. Possibly, he has in mind philosophers like Thales, the Ionian, who held that the world arose out of water. On Thales, see Karsten Fri is Johansen, A History of Ancient Philosophy fron: the Beginnings to Augustine, ET Henrik Rosenmeier (London: Routledge, 1998), 22-3. 73Muslim, 4797, al-Qadar, Hijäj Adam wa Müsä. 74Bukhäri 6868, al-Tawhid, Wa käna larshuhu calä al-mä'.... The hadith as I have translated it is not exactly what Ibn Taymiyya cites. At the end of the report, he reads, "And Ile created the heavens and the earth," and he gives, "Then He created the heavens and the earth," as a variant reading. This variant reading is found in Bukh iri, 2953, Bad' al-khalq, M5 j; i'a fi qawl Alläh tacälä..., but following a slightly different text in the main body of the report. Possibly, Ibn Taymiyya conflated the two reports from Bukhäri. 'S Minhaj 1:360-1/1: 100. Ibn Taymiyya's intepretation of the quranic verses listed here resembles that of Ibn Rushd in Kitab fasl al-magal, ed. George F. Hourani (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1959), 19-21; ET Averroes, On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy, trans. George F. I lourani, (London: Luzac, 1961), 55-7.

76Abü Däwüd 4078, Al-sunna, Fi al-qadar;Al-Tirmidhi 2081, Al-qadar an Rasiil Allah, Midjä'a fi al-rids bi-l-gadä'.

77Minhaj 1:361-2/1: 100. On the matter of time before the creation, see also Minhnj 1: 172-3/1: 43. 78 In conclusion to this discussion, Ibn Taymiyya writes in hfinhdj 1:363-4/1: 100-1, "There is is He-has informed in the Qur'an and elsewhere that [says that] nothing in what God-Exalted He created the heavens and the earth without matter. Nor that He created humankind, the jinn, and the angels without matter. Instead, He informs that He created these from matter even if the matter was created from other matter as in the creation of humankind from Adam and the creation of Adam from clay. In Muslim's Sahih, `The angels were created from light. The jinn were created from a smokeless flame of fire. Adam was created from what has been described to you. ' The point here is that what has been transmitted from the columns of the ancient philosophers does not oppose that about which the prophets inform of the creation of this world from matter. Moreover, what is transmitted from them is that this world is originated, being after it was not. " The hadith reference is Muslim 5314, al-zuhd wa al-ragä'iq, Fl ahädith mutafarriga. 79Minhaj 1:419/1: 117. 80 On John Philoponus and his arguments, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 86-94; and Christian Wildberg, "Philoponus, " in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig (London: Routledge, 1998), 7: 371-8. 81For the adoption of Philoponus's arguments against an actual infinite into the Kal; im tradition, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 117-127, and Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Kalam (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1976), 410-434. 82 Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 88-9. 83Yacqüb b. lshäq b. al-Sabah, Abü Yüsuf al-Kindi.


Notes to Chapter Two continued
" Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 125-7; al-Räzi, Arbalin, 34. On the origins of the application argument, see Husäm Muhi Eldin al-Alousi, The Problem of Creation in Islamic Thought: Qur'an, Hadith, also Commentaries, and Kalam (Baghdad: The National Printing and Publishing Co., 1965), 304-313.

85Minhaj 1:432/1:120.
86 Minhdj

1:432-4/1: 120. The concept that Ibn Taymiyya employs here is common in modem mathematics: any number added to infinity equals infinity. 87 For the attribution of this to Ibn Sind, see Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 128-9. 88 Minhaj 1:434-5/1: 120-1. Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, 89,122, also separates out a third argument from John Philoponus that carried over into the Kalam tradition even though it is merely a variation of the Rather than assume that an infinite cannot be added to, it assumes that an infinite cannot second. be multiplied. The Kaläm theologians argued that the revolutions of the planets could not be infinite because it was known the planets revolved at different speeds. If the planets had revolved from eternity, each planet would have revolved an infinite number of times proportionally different from the other planets. This was rejected as absurd. Ibn Taymiyya does not treat this argument nor does he need to since he permits incommensurate infinites.
89 Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Jewish Philosophy, 87-8,119-120. Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and

90 Al-Juwayni, Kitäb al-irshüd ilü gawüti' al-adillafi up-il al-i'tigcid, 16. This is also quoted by Ibn Taymiyya in Dar' 9: 186. 91Minhaj 1:435-6/1: 121. 92 Ibn Taymiyya gives al-Juwayni's argument a fuller treatment in Data, 9: 186-8, and concludes that al-Räzi and al-Amidi had already detected the weakness of al-Juwayni's argument.

93Minhaj 1:436-8/1:121. The quote is from p. 437. 94Minhüj 1:421/1:117.
95Minhaj 96 Vfinhdj 97Minhüj 98Minhaj 99Minhaj 1:299/1: 8 1. 1:311/1: 85. 1:334-6/1: 91-2. 1:352-3/1: 97. 1:327/1: 89,1: 336/1: 92. Ibn Taymiyya also provides arguments involving origination in God's essence in Minhaj 3: 191-6/2: 37-8. He asserts that anyone who denies that "voluntary matters" (umirr ikhtiyäriyya) subsist in the essence of God ends up in contradictions. He observes that the Multazilis say that God acts for a purpose but then make God indifferent to l-lis*purpose by saying that it does not subsist in His essence. The Ashcaris, or Jahmi Mujbiris as he calls them here, take stock of the Multazili conundrum and conclude that God must love and be well pleased with everything because it is impossible that He love one created thing and not another. 10°Minhaj 1:421-5/1: 117-8. 101 cAbd Allah b. Said b. Muhammad, Ibn Kullsb al-Qattän al-Basri. 102 b. al-Zäghlini, Abis al-Hasan, a Hanbali jurist from Baghdad. cAli b. Ubayd Allah b. Nasr ... 103 Muhammad b. 'Ali b. al-Tayyib, Abo al-Husayn al-Basri, a student of the Multazili theologian, 'Abd al-Jabbär (d. 415/1025). For his views, see Schmidtke, The Theology of al-'Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325), passim; D. Gimaret, "Abu'I-Hosayn al-Basri, " Encyclopaedia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yarshater (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985-), 1:322-4; and W. Madelung, "Abu 'I-Husayn al-Basri, " E12 Supplement, Fascicules 1-2:25-6. These sources should be supplemented with the later work on Abu al-Husayn by Wilferd Madelung, "The Late Multazila and Determinism: The Philosopher's Trap, " in Ydd-ndma in memoria di Alessandro Bausani, ed., Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti and Lucia Rostagno, vol. 1, Islamistica (Rome: Bardi, 1991), 245-257; and Ileemskerk, Suffering in Mu`tazilite Theology: 'Abd al-Jabber's Teaching on Pain and Divine Justice, 57-59. ... Hishäm b. al-Hakam, AbO Muhammad al-Shaybäni. X05 Muhammad b. Ismail b. Ibrahim, al-Bukhäri.


Notes to Chapter Two continued
106'Uthmän b. Said b. Khälid, Abü Sadid al-D rimi al-Sijistäni, a hadith expert. 107 Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Härün, Abü Bakr al-Khalläl, a Iianbali jurist. '0' CAbd al cAziz b. Jacfar b. Abmad, Abu Bakr Ghuläm al-Khalläl, a Hanbali hadith specialist. 109 Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi, 92-3. 110 Irada MF 8: 81. 111 'Ali b. Ahmad b. Said, Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazm. 112 Irada MF 8: 83-93. Quotation from p. 93. '" The discussion is found in Irüda 8: 89-90. ... Irüda Mf 8: 89-90. 115 Irada MF 8: 145. 116 Irüda MF 8: 146. 117 Iräda MF 8: 145-6. 118 Irada MF 8: 146. 120 Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 67-9. 121 Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 69. On the same page Bell reiterates his point: "It must be understood that the term hikma was used by Ibn Taymiya specifically to avoid the idea of purpose. " 122 Al-Hilli's comment is as quoted in Minhäj 3: 7/1: 264-5. The two cases in which Ibn Taymiyya shifts from gharacl to hikma are found in Minhaj 3: 14/1:266.

119 Iräda MF 8: 146-7(quote on p. 147).

123 30 Minhüj 3: 14/1: 266. Al-11illi himself, as quoted in Minhüj, 1:125/1: and 1:454/1: 126, uses hikma as a synonym for gharad, as does Ibn Taymiyya in Nubuwwtwat 143.
124 Minhüj 2: 314/1: 215. The same point is also made in Minhcy 1:455/1: 126. 125 Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 81. Cf. Mahabba 52ff.




The problem of creation and command in Ibn Taymiyya's thought

Most of the remainderof this study surveysthe numerousways in which Ibn
Taymiyya brings his theology of a God who creates everything for a wise purpose to bear upon various rational difficulties in the relationship between divine and human agency. One of these problems is the apparent contradiction between

God's command to believe and obey and God's creation of all existents, most disobedience. The bulk of the present chapter is devoted peculiarly, unbelief and to expositing passagesin which Ibn Taymiyya affirms both creation and command Kaläm theologians and Sufis whom he believes fail in this and contends against

regard. The shaykh's critique of Sufism growing out of his concern to give due is extensive and rangesvery widely. ' The creation and command eachtheir
discussion is limited to indicating some major directions this takes. More present detailed treatment of Ibn Taymiyya's criticism of various aspects of Sufism may be found elsewhere.2

Apart from polemical labeling and argument, this chapter surveys the
diverse terminologies into which Ibn Taymiyya casts the basic dichotomy

between creation and command. On the creation side, the shaykh speaks also of God's lordship, inspiration, determination, decree, and generative will. side of God's legislation of command and prohibition, divinity, On the

he discusses God's

love, good pleasure, hate, anger, legislative will, and the distinction Ibn Taymiyya softens, but does not eliminate,

between Godfear and immorality.


the logical contradiction between God's commandto obey and God's creation of
disobedience by attributing wise purpose, justice, and mercy to God's creation. The purposive or teleological character of God's love also becomes apparent in some places. This, as well as the shaykh's suggestions as to how it might be possible that God wisely commands one thing and creates its opposite, will be noted at the end of the chapter. character of God's love for Himself. The chapter closes with an excursus on the

3.2. 3.2.1

Ibn Taymiyya's

classification of errors in creation and command

A typology of errors In several theodicean texts, Ibn Taymiyya sets out a four-fold typology on

his polemical opponents.3 This section creation and command that classifies the shaykh reports concerning the basic identities and positions of examines what these figures. Although not complete, the following passage translated from

Tadmuriyya is fairly typical. appellations `Majüsis',

The four major positions are identified with the `Iblisis', and `People of Guidance and


Success'. Following the translation, the first three positions will be clarified and augmented from the shaykh's other instances of the typology and related polemic. It is well known that it is obligatory to believe in God's creation (khal(l) and His command (amr), His decree (gadü') and His legislation (shay'). The misguided people who delve into determination (gadar) have divided into three sects: Majüsis, Mushrikis, and Iblisis. The Majüsis are those who gave the lie to the determination of God even if they believed in His command and His prohibition. The extremists them denied the [fore-] knowledge [of God] and the Book. The among them denied the generality of His will ('nashPa), His moderates among creation, and His power (qudra). These are the Multazilis and those who agree with them.


The second sect is the Mushrikis who acknowledged decree and determination and denied command and prohibition. He-Exalted is Hesaid, "Those who gave associates [to God] will say, `If God had willed, we have given associates, nor would have our fathers, and we would would not not have forbidden anything [against His will]" (Q. 6: 148). Whoever argues for stripping away the command and prohibition with determination is one these. This has become frequent among those Sufis who claim [to have of experienced] reality. The third sect is the Iblisis who acknowledged the two elements, but be to Him, Exalted they regarded them as contradictory in the Lord-Glory is He-and they discredited His wise purpose (jiikina) and His justice (cad!), just as this is mentioned concerning Iblis, their predecessor, according to what the experts in sectarian teachings (ahl al-niaqülüt) transmitted and what is transmitted from the People of the Book. The point is that [the above] is what the people who go astray say. As for the People of Guidance and Success, they believe in both. They believe that God is Creator, Lord, and Sovereign of everything. What lie wills is, He does not will is not. He is powerful over everything, and His and what knowledge encompasses everything.... And it is necessary to believe in legislation. This is belief in the command and the prohibition and the the threat, as God raised up His messengers with this and sent promise and down His books. 4 As noted under the fourth position, `People of Guidance and Success', Ibn Taymiyya includes `the promise and the threat' on the side of divine command 5 This involves the of reward for good deeds and the promise and prohibition. threat of punishment for bad deeds. Under command he elsewhere includes `the

the judgements' (al-asmä' wa al-ahküm) which deal with whether one namesand
6 These is a believer or unbeliever. matters fall on the side of command rather than creation because they involve questions of human accountability. In other texts, Ibn Taymiyya identifies all of the first three positions cited above as `Qadari'. This yields the Majüsi Qadaris, the Mushriki Qadaris, and the Iblisi Qadaris. 7 These are polemical labels rather than names of actual groups. The sense of `Qadari' in these appellations is that of anyone who goes astray on the doctrine of determination (qadar), and the adjectives `Majiisi', `Mushriki', and


`Iblisi' denote three different ways of erring.

Ibn Taymiyya occasionally uses

forms with Qadari such as Mujbiri Qadaris,8 Jabri Qadarls,9 and other adjectival Murji'i Qadaris. 10 For Ibn Taymiyya, the Mujbiris or Jabris deny that humans are the agents of their acts, and the Murjilis, who did constitute an actual movement in early Islamic history, understand faith (imän) as assent and knowledge without deeds." The shaykh places both groups under the category of Mushriki Qadaris

because of their perceived weakness in upholding human accountability.

3.2.2 Qadaris and Muctazilis: Compromising


The terms `Mushriki Qadari' and `Iblisi Qadari' do not appear often in Ibn Taymiyya's writings, 12 and he most commonly reserves the term `Qadari' for

those who follow the precedentof the historical Qadari trend in early Islam and deny that God creates human acts.13 He states, for example, "Not one of the
Qadaris affirms that God is Creator of the acts of servants."" Ibn Taymiyya also

calls Qadaris `Deniers' (nach) because they deny that God can make someone disobedient. 15 In light of this, the shaykh often uses the term either obedient or `Qadari' to denote the Muctazilis. 16 He cites the Muctazili Abis al-IIusayn al-Basri as a prominent proponent of the Qadari view and credits him with being "the foremost of the later Muctazilis. "17 He also uses the term Qadari for later Shills, Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli, who adopt Muctazili theology. '8 In general, Ibn such as Taymiyya explains in the creation and command typologies only that the

Muctazilis reject God's creation of human acts in order to maintain His justice, but


he does give the Muctazili rationale closer attention in other contexts (see 3.3 and 6.2.1). The term `Majüsi', which appears in the quotation from Tadmuriyya above, comes from `Majüs', the Arabic word denoting the followers of the dualist, Persian religion Zoroastrianism, also called Mazdaism. 19 The Majt s were known to Ibn Taymiyya as believing in an agent of evil other than God. Ile adds that they were a community which paid the jizya to the Muslims and whose women 20 He equates the Majüs with the some scholars said Muslims could marry. 21 Persians, and he explains that they fell into dualism (thanativiyya) by inquiring into the cause of evil. 22 The shaykh links the Qadaris to the Majüs on the basis of a hadith in which the Prophet is said to have called the Qadaris "the Majüs of this ,23 He also notes that the Qadaris resemble the Majüs inasmuch as community. both "affirm [someone] other than God who produces evil things apart from His will, His power, and His creation. "24 The point in comparing the Qadaris to the Majüs is to accuse the former of a dualism of creators when they posit human beings as the creators of their acts. The quotation from Tadmuriyya above also distinguishes between

`extremist' Majüsis who deny God's foreknowledge and `moderate' Multazi1is who do not. In Jabr, Ibn Taymiyya reports that Malbad al-Juhani (d. 83/703)25 promulgated the extremist Qadari teaching first in Basra to counter the Umayyads but was opposed by the Companions of the Prophet.26 Elsewhere, the shaykh notes that deniers of foreknowledge argue that it would be bad of a prince to command someone to do something when he knows that the person will not obey,


God.27 Apart from such occasionalmentions, denial of God's and so also with foreknowledge is not a major concern for Ibn Taymiyya, and he saysthat almost denied it in his time.28 no one

3.2.3 Sufi antinomians, Jabris, and AshWaris: Compromising


Turning now to the `Mushriki Qadaris', or more simply the `Mushrikis', the crux of the problem shifts from a denial of God's creation of human acts to the nullification of God's command. The term mushrik means `idolater' or, more For Ibn Taymiyya,

literally, `one who associates partners (ashraka) with God'.

`Mushriki' is a term of aspersionrather than the name of a historical group. The
shaykh's primary concern in the Tadmuriyya quotation above is the argument of the Arab associationists found in the Qur'an that divine determination prevented them from pure worship of God. He notes that this argument is widespread He alleges that the Sufi antinomians

among Sufis gnostics in his time.

(mubdhiyya) are worse than the Arab associationists because he believes that the latter at least still had some laws, whereas the Sufis annul the Law completely. 29 Ibn Taymiyya writes extensively against this `determination argument' (alihtijdj bi-l-gadar) 3° His main complaint is that it simply does not hold up against human rationality. argument. 31 He Reason and the natural constitution know it to be a vain

explains that no one will accept divine determination as an excuse

for injustice, violation of his wife, and murder of his son. Nor will anyone who excuses his own misdeeds with determination accept it as an excuse from someone who acts against him. Everyone is subject to the same divine

determination, and so it cannot serve as an argument for anyone. The shaykh


assertsthat if all could do as they pleasedwithout censure,the world would be 32 destroyed. In view of this, Ibn Taymiyya takesa pragmaticattitude. If someone
is warned of an approaching enemy, he does not wait for God to create `fleeing' in him; he strives to flee and then God helps him flee.33 Someone who truly wills to believe and obey God and has the power to do so will do it. If he does not do it, it is because he did not will it. 34 Whoever defends his sins with determination is following his caprice and does not have knowledge. 35 For Ibn Taymiyya simply

the proper attitude is patiencewith the afflictions that God has determined. In sins
the response should be repentance and asking forgiveness. One should also

God's determinationin acts of obedienceto avoid pride.36 confess
The shaykh identifies two different foundations of Sufi antinomianism, one 37 The occurs when the individual Sufi in particular particular and one general. (Tana') erroneously believes that he no longer has a will of his ecstatic annihilation own but passes away into the will of the Real. In this witnessing (mushühada), difference between good and evil does not apply to the gnostic, and the Law any is no longer relevant. Ibn Taymiyya cites the Hanbali Sufi Abü Ismä9il al-Ansiri (d. 481/1089) 38as an example of this line of thinking. In response Ibn Taymiyya

appeals to the teaching of the early Sufi master al-Junayd (d. 298/910)39 that even in witnessing the universal will of God one must also witness command and 40 He also asserts that cAbd al-Qädir al-Jilzni (d. 561/1166)4', the prohibition. eponym of the Qädiri Sufi order, prohibits arguing from determination. 42

Ultimately, the shaykh asserts, the Sufi gnostic cannot escape the fact that he still draws distinctions between what profits and harms him, and this is in fact what the

Law was sentto clarify. 43


According to Ibn Taymiyya, a general basis for antinomianism is found in doctrine of Ibn 'Arab! 44 and his followers whom the shaykh calls the `People the

the Onenessof Existence' (ahl wahdat al-wujfid)'45 or the `Unificationists' of
(ittihddis). 46 The shaykh interprets their teaching as a monism that collapses the distinction between God and His creatures and makes God identical to proper creation. This leads to the repulsive notion that God punishes Himself and is

identical to idols, Satans,pigs, and unbelievers. 47 Ibn Taymiyya alleges that Ibn Arabi and his followers thus accept any kind of worship: "They agree with every form of associationism in the world, equate God with every created thing, and permit worship of everything. "48 Furthermore, the shaykh charges the falling into explicit


poet al-Tilimsäni

(d. 690/1291)49 with

making all forbidden things lawful, even marriage to one's mother antinomianism, daughter. 5° or Although Ibn Taymiyya does not mention the Jahmis, Jabris, and Ashcaris in the above typology from Tadmuriyya, he includes them in similar discussions elsewhere. He accuses them of overemphasizing determination at the expense of divine command, and he sometimes links them to Sufi antinomianism. 51 He usually sees the early Muslim theologian Jahm b. Safwan as the initial source of He maintains that Jahm upheld God's determination in the extreme. 52 Ibn error. Taymiyya describes Jahm and his followers, Jahmis,53 as Jabris and the

Mujbiris, 54 and he calls Jahm himself "the Imim of the Mujbiris. "55 The shaykh also frequently compounds the names Jahmi and Mujbiri Jahmis'. 56 The labels `Jabri' and `Mujbiri' to yield `Mujbirl

both derive from the word jabr


(compulsion), which denotes the idea that God, as the sole Actor in the universe, human act. In earlier Islamic history, these terms did not denote a `compels' the but were used by the Multazilis to cast aspersion upon their particular group 57 Ibn Taymiyya asserts that the Jahmis were the first to deny that opponents. humans were truly the agents (fä'il) of their acts, and he reports that it was said believed that "The servant is compelled (inajbiu"), and he has no act that they fundamentally. "58 Moreover, Jahm saw no real difference between good and evil deeds.59 Ibn Taymiyya that Jahm and his followers claims bear a strong 60

to the people of India (ahl al-Hind), but he does not explain why. resemblance

The Muslims knew the Brahmans (Barähima) of India primarily as deniers of 61 Possibly, Ibn Taymiyya linked an extreme emphasis on compulsion prophecy. to a denial of the need for prophecy. Under the rubric of the Jabris, Ibn Taymiyya 62 He writes, "[Al-Räzi] theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi. the Ashlar-1 mentions openly proclaimed that

he taught jabr, "63 and he calls al-Räzi a "pure Jabri. "64 As we will see in the next did in fact call himself a Jabri, and the well-known chapter, al-Räzi Ashlari

doctrine of acquisition (kasb) in human acts is of no consequence to either al-Räzi Ibn Taymiyya. Beyond this, Ibn Taymiyya is convinced that al-MIzi's doctrine or jabr annuls ethical distinctions, "[Al-Räzi] of firmly believes... that the servant is

(majbisr) [to do] his act and that the act of one compelled is not bad. compelled bad 65 Ibn Taymiyya believes that al-Ashlari is Thus, no acts of servants are .,, better in this regard since he affirms that the difference between command and is real for creatures if not for God. 66 prohibition


Ibn Taymiyya also traces the denial of God's wise purpose, justice, and

mercy to Jahm b. Safwän who he claims denies that God createsand commands for a causeor reason: "He used to deny that God was the Most Merciful of the
merciful. Merciful He used to go out to the lepers, look at them, and say, `The Most of the merciful has done the likes of this with them. "'G7 For Ibn

Taymiyya, Jahm is the ultimate source of much error in the Islamic tradition. 68 It is something of a oddity that the two major groups that Ibn Taymiyya brings together under this one type-the Sufis and the Ashcans-differ The Sufis typically adopt

fundamentally in their approach to problems of evil.

kind of optimism that God has good reasonsfor what He does, while the some
voluntarism of the Ashcaris completely rejects rationality in the divine will. What

the two groups share,however, is belief in divine determinismof all existents,and
Ibn Taymiyya's primary concern in this type is with those who shirk the divine command because they take determinism to be incompatible responsibility. with human

3.2.4 Free-thinkers

and poets: Impugning God's wise purpose and justice Ibn

The Iblisis constitute the third group in the Tadnzuriyya typology.

Taymiyya explains that the Iblisis take their name from their forerunner His and accuse God of injustice and foolishness in what He creates and commands. Elsewhere, Ibn Taymiyya identifies this as the view of "the fools among the poets and such like among the free-thinkers (zanadiqa), " and he cites the poet Abts alAl? (äal-Macarri (d. 449/1058) as an example. 69 Curiously, Ibn Taymiyya does not

identify the voluntarist Jahmis and Ashcans explicitly with the Iblis! position even


though their problems are similar: both deny rationality in God's all-determining

Possibly the difference is that the shaykh regardsthe Ash'aris as seekingto will.
maintain a semblance of piety in practice while the Iblisi position is that of explicit skepticism, disbelief, and rebellion. The Qur'an does not speak of Iblis's denial of God's wisdom and justice. It only mentions that he grew proud and refused to bow before Adam at God's 70 However, command. as noted in the typology from Tadmuriyya above, Ibn Taymiyya indicates that experts in sectarian teachings and the People of the Book have transmitted an account of Iblis's defamation of God's wisdom and justice. 7' He probably has in mind the story of Iblis's seven objections to God's wisdom found at the beginning of the Kitäb al-milal Iva ni zal of al-Shahrastiini. 72 A similar passage in Iräda makes explicit reference to al-Shahrastini's account and the fact that al-Shahrastäni traces it to the People of the Book. Ibn Taymiyya

casts doubt on the authenticity of the story by noting that it lacks a proper chain of he goes on to argue that it is probably a Mu'tazili forgery. 73 transmission, and In Iräda, the shaykh also explains why the Multazilis would have interest in forging such a story: "Their intention in this is to refute those who affirm determination. They say that God's case against His creatures can only be

brought forward by denying determination. "74 In Ibn Taymiyya's view, the story of Iblis defaming God's wisdom and justice serves the Muctazili polemical purpose of undermining belief in God's all-encompassing creation and

determination. If God's creation of all human acts can be shown to entail foolish and unjust behavior of God, then this view must be wrong. This is in fact the


strategy taken by the ShiII scholar al-Hilli in his Minhaj al-karüma, the Multazili inspired polemic against Sunnism that Ibn Taymiyya in turn refutes in Minhüj. Al-Hi11i's basic charges against an all-determining God have already been noted in the description of Minhaj found in the Introduction to this study. In setting out the four-fold typology of positions on creation and command, Ibn Taymiyya does not always highlight Iblisi skepticism. Instead, one version

laxity with a quote from the IIanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi (d. confronts ethical
75"You 597/1201), are a Qadari in obedience, and you are a Jabri in disobedience,

which is to say, whatever school of thought suits your caprice is the one you
"76 Ibn Taymiyya says that people holding this view take credit for their adopt. good deeds but blame their acts of disobedience on divine decree, and he notes that this is not a particular school of thought but the attitude of those unconcerned with the Law. In other places dealing with creation and command, the shaykh

in conjunction with Sufi antinomianism. 77 cites Ibn al-Jawzi's quote To sum up the creation and command typology, Ibn Taymiyya charges that the Sufis and the Ashlaris emphasize divine determination at the expense of divine command and drift towards a monism that collapses the human sphere entirely. He castigates the Muctazilis for dualism in denying that God creates human acts, and he censures those who impiously reject God's creation and command on the grounds that they are irrational and unjust. Ibn Taymiyya himself tries to

maintain the reality of both the human responsibility involved in divine command the all-encompassing character of divine creation without favoring one at the and expense of the other. This attitude does not provide a satisfying rational solution

to the problem of creation and command, but it does ward off what the shaykh


perceives to be theological and ethical shortcomings entailed in the various attemptsto dissolve the difficulty.


Ibn Taymiyya: Analogy is the cause of error in creation and command Ibn Taymiyya's commentary on Surat al-Shams (Q. 91) [hereafter Shanzsl78

provides a colorful analysis of the causes of his three types of error in creation and command noted above. The shaykh here traces the roots of the problem to a

Qadari and Jabalpresuppositionin the realm of ethical value and to an common Iblis drew from himself to God. These samepoints are made elsewhere, analogy
but Shams appears to be unique in the degree to which it draws them together and fills them out into a story of what went wrong. Ibn Taymiyya opens Shams with brief comment on the sura's first eight 79 Then he devotes the bulk verses. of his energy to polemic involving the eighth verse, "[God] inspired [the soul] to its immorality (fzj, -a")and its Godfear (tagwü)" (Q. 91: 8). This one verse, he claims, simultaneously exposes the error in both the Majüsi Qadari and the Jabri/Mushriki/Sufi 8° Ibn antinornian currents of thought.

Taymiyya explains that the verb `inspire' (ilhüm) carries the meaning of `create'. Thus, God is Creator of both Godfear and immorality. This invalidates a Qadari

interpretation of `inspired' that excludes God's creation of human acts even if it both divine foreknowledge and divine determination of every thing else.8' affirms The shaykh then contends that the verse also establishes divine legislation because the phrase "its immorality and its Godfcar" distinguishes between the Godfear that is commanded and the evil of immorality that is prohibited. good of If the verse had read only, "He inspired it to its acts," the indication of command


would not have been present. "There would be no distinction and prohibition between the good and the evil, the loved and the hated, and the commanded and

the prohibited."82 As it stands, however, the verse "is a proof against the
Mushrikis, such as the antinomians and Jabris, who do away with command and

prohibition, and good and bad.1583
In sum, the verse, "He inspired [the soul] to its immorality and its Godfear, " involves an affirmation Taymiyya of both God's creation and God's command. Ibn

also finds both together in other verses such as "He misguides

whomever He wills, and He guides whomever He wills" (Q. 16:93). In this verse, God's `will' involves creation of all things, while guidance and misguidance between good and evil found in His command and

involve the distinction 84 prohibition.

Following a discussion of the human act in Shams, Ibn Taymiyya locates the ultimate source of Qadari and Jabrt difficulties in the shared presupposition that judgement of ethical value is incompatible with divine creation of human rational acts. He argues that both the Qadaris and the Jabris agree that something created by God cannot be subject to judgments of moral value by virtue of some inherent quality. "They say, `If [God] is the Creator of an act, it is impossible for the act to be inherently good and deserving of reward, or bad and deserving of

punishment'. "85 The Jabris then conclude that acts cannot be inherently good or bad since God creates everything. Good and bad only arise from the command

and prohibition of the God who has the right to "command what He wills without any quality [inhering] in it and prohibit what He wills without respect to any quality [inhering] in it. "86 On the other hand, the Qadaris conclude that God does


not create human acts because acts are indeed inherently good or bad. If God inherently bad acts, He Himself would be bad.87 created In Shams Ibn Taymiyya does not defend himself against what appears to be the inevitable conclusion of his polemic: that God creates inherently bad acts. Instead, he continues his diatribe against the Qadaris and the Jabris, showing his preference for the Qadaris and the Muctazi1is over the Jabris because the former divine command and prohibition. " give stronger emphasis to Following this, the

shaykh turns to the Iblisis. He explains that they acknowledge God's command as well as His determination. They err, however, in claiming that, in the

of these two, God is ignorant and foolish and that God is unjust to contradiction for what He created in him. 89 Ibn Taymiyya then traces the punish someone Iblis's error to the analogy he drew from himself to God in his rebellion: source of [Iblis] said, "Because You misled me, I will indeed adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and I will mislead them all" (Q. 15:39). He confessed that God misled him. Then he deemed that to be a motive making it necessary for him to mislead Adam's progeny. Iblis was the first to show enmity toward God, exceed the proper bounds of His creation and command, and oppose what was appointed with an analogy (qiyas). Because of this, one of the Salaf said, "The first to draw an analogy was Iblis. " God commanded him to prostrate before Adam, but he opposed that command with, "I am better than him" (Q. 7: 12), and he refused to prostrate. He was the first to show enmity toward God. He is ignorant and unjust-ignorant of the wise purpose in the command of God and unjust by virtue of his pride in which he combined disregard for the Real (al-Hagq) and contempt for humanity. Then his statement to his Lord, "Because You misled me, I will surely do [such and such], " made God's act-which is His misleading him-into his argument and motive for misleading humankind. This was his discrediting of God's act and His command, and his allegation that it was bad. So [he said], "I will do bad also." lie drew an analogy from himself to his Lord and likened himself to his Lord. Thus, he was imitating [God] in lordship 90


In this passage Iblis's first error is to draw an analogy between himself and Adam and then to conclude that God's command was without wise purpose. Moreover, Iblis accuses God of having committed a bad act in misleading him. This is also based on an analogical projection of his own sense of good and bad onto God, which in Ibn Taymiyya's judgement is tantamount to claiming the prerogative of lordship. In Shams the shaykh does not directly accuse the Qadaris/Multazilis of

holding God analogically to human standards of good and bad, but it is implicit in his analysis of why they maintain that God cannot create bad acts. If we say that God cannot do acts that we know to be inherently bad, then we are holding God to human standards of bad. As we will see later (6.2.1), Ibn Taymiyya argues this against the Muctazilis in his discussions of God's justice. In discussing explicitly God's creation and command, the shaykh also does not accuse the Jabris/Ashcans falling into the analogy trap. Yet, this as well is implicit in his analysis here in of Shams when he argues that the Jabris share with the Qadaris the common that God could not create inherently bad deeds. Thus, the Jabri presupposition viewpoint also rests on a human analogical judgement about what is impossible for God. This common presupposition of the Qadaris and the Jabris comes out clearly in Ibn Taymiyya's narrative description of their failure to defeat Iblis: The Qadarls intended to exonerate God of foolishness. Their intention was because He-Glory be to Him-is much too holy for what the unjust good among Iblis and his forces say. [He is] a wise arbiter and just. However, [the Qadaris] were not up to the task, and a sort of ignorance overtook them. With this, they firmly believed that this exoneration could only be completed by stripping Him of His power over the acts of servants, His They of them, and His all-encompassing will of everything. creation disputed with Iblis and his party in one thing, but Iblis got the better of them


from another angle. This is one of the greatest banes of debating in religion knowledge or without truth. This is the talk (kalünz) that the Salaf without blamed. One who does this refutes vanity with vanity and innovation with innovation. Then groups from the People of Affirmation [of determination] came disputed with [the Qadaris] in order to establish firmly that God is and Creator of everything, that what God wills is and what He does not will is that He is powerful over everything. However, their strength and not, and knowledge were not up to the task. For they firmly believed that this could be completed unless we deny God's love, good pleasure, and the good not that set one act apart from another and we deny His wise and evil attributes His mercy. Thus, every act is admissible for Him, and He is purpose and 91 from injustice nor any other act. exonerated neither According to Ibn Taymiyya, the Qadaris maintain God's wisdom and justice at the expense of God's power, creation, and will. Jabris) maintain God's creation, will, The `People of Affirmation' (i. e.

and power against the Qadaris at the

God's love and good pleasure and His wise purpose, justice, and expense of In the Jabri outlook, God can do anything, and good and evil are totally mercy. subjective. It must be said, of course, that the historical figures lying behind the

labels `Qadaris' and `Jabris' do not deny the divine attributes in polemical
Rather, they interpret them in sensesnot to Ibn Taymiyya's liking. Yet, question. the coherence of the shaykh's polemic in Shams. On this raises questions about the one hand, he rejects analogical extension of human concepts onto God. On the other, he has definite ideas about what the divine attributes mean-obviously based on some kind of analogical relation to human language-and he criticizes

differ with his interpretations. However, the shaykh does not explain in those who Shams how he himself escapesthe analogy trap, and his polemic taken in isolation itself as completely contradictory. Sense can only be made of it from the presents the interpretive principles surveyed in Chapter One in which the point of view of


shaykh explains that the God who bears no analogy to creatures must nonetheless be spoken well of in accord with considerations of tradition and reason.


Modes of expressing creation and command in Ibn Taymiyya's thought

3.4.1 Creation and command in the Wäsitiyya creed The previous two sections have outlined Ibn Taymiyya's polemic against those whom he believes fail to uphold creation and command. The commentary

in Shamshas shown also how the shaykh reads creation and command into the quranic term `inspiration' (ilham) and the contrast between Godfear and immorality, respectively. The present section examines the diverse modes of
that fall under this rubric more directly, beginning with the basic expression confession of creation and command found in the segment on divine

92 The determination in Ibn Taymiyya's well-known catechismal creed ii'üsitiyya. shaykh opens this segment by affirming that the People of the Sunna believe in "determination, the good of it and the evil of it. " He then proceeds to note that belief in determination has two stages. The first stage (daraja) is belief in God's knowledge of all human acts from eternity and in God's writing down all that He determined to be in general and in detail. The second stage of belief in

determination sets out God's creation and command: As for the second stage, it is the operational will of God (mash7'at Allah alHis all-inclusive power (qudra). It is belief that what God nüfidha) and wills is and that what He does not will is not. And that there is no motion and rest in the heavens and the earth except by the will of God-Glory be to Him. There is nothing in His sovereignty except what He wills. And that He-Glory be to Him, and Exalted is He-is powerful over everything There is no created thing in the earth or among existents and nonexistents. in heaven but that God is its Creator-Glory be to Him. There is no creator other than Him, and no lord except Him.


Along with this, He has commanded His servants to obey Him and His messengers, and He has prohibited them from disobeying Him. obey be to Him-loves He-Glory the Godfearing, the beneficent, and the fair, He is well pleased with those who believe and perform righteous deeds. and He does not love the unbelievers, and He is not well pleased with iniquitous people. He does not command abomination, and He is not well pleased with in His servants. He does not love corruption. unbelief Servants are agents in reality (hagiqalan), and God is the Creator of their acts. The servant is the believer and the unbeliever, the righteous and the immoral, the one praying and the one fasting. His servants have power to do their acts, and they have a will. God is their Creator and the Creator of their power and their will, as He-Exalted is I-le-said, "To whosoever among you wills to go straight. You will not unless God, Lord of the worlds, so wills" (Q. 81:28-9). The vast majority of the Qadarls denounce this level of determination lies-those who the Prophet-God bless him and give him peace-called as A group from among the people who the Majüs of this community. [God's attributes and determination] are extreme in it to the point establish that they strip the servant of his power and choice, and they exclude wise (hikam) 93and benefits from God's acts and judgments. " purposes The first paragraph of this passageestablishes that God's attributes of will, power, lordship, and creation encompass everything. He is the Creator of all sovereignty, things. The third paragraph treats the special instance of God's creation of human acts. Ibn Taymiyya is here concerned to maintain that human acts are real and that humans are in fact the agents of their acts despite God's will and creation of them. The human act will receive special consideration in Chapter Four. The second paragraph links God's command to His attributes of love (ma{,abba) and good pleasure (ridd). God loves and is well pleased with belief and obedience, The fourth

and He does not love unbelief, disobedience, and corruption.

paragraph denies the Qadari position on determination and mentions those who deny God acts for wise purposes and benefits.


3.4.2 Lordship and divinity

Parallel to the creation/command distinction in Ibn Taymiyya's thought is a
further distinction between God's lordship and divinity. God's lordship

(rrubübiyya) deals with His creation of all things.

His divinity

(uliühiyya or

ilähiyya) is linked to His command and to worship of 1-lim. These terms usually appear in strongly ethical discussions, and they often include an appeal to confess God as the sole divinity or sole worthy object of worship (laiiwhlcl al-ulfihiyya or the only Lord who can be called upon for help (talvhid al-tawhid al-ilähi) and as al-rubisbiyya or al-tativhid al-rabbdni). 95 appears in Fl

A full treatment of the meanings of lordship and divinity Fitsits, an apologetic text directed toward Sufis.

In discussing lordship in Fi

Fusiss, Ibn Taymiyya affirms that God is the Lord, Creator, and Sovereign of all things. He created the heavens and the earth. The heart of every servant is If He wills to set them

"between two fingers of the fingers of the All-Merciful.

He sets them aright. If He wills to turn them aside, He turns them aside. ,96 aright, The Lord makes people laugh, and He makes people cry. He sends the wind and the rain. He guides and misguides. He knows all things and has power over

97 After these them. affirmations, the shaykh complements God's overwhelming power, lordship, and governance with His goodness, wise purpose, and mercy. Everything that God has created is good, perfect, and wise. His mercy extends far found in the Hadith, "Indeed, God is more merciful toward His and wide, and, as

"98 servantsthan this mother toward her son.
Ibn Taymiyya summarizes the discussion thus far in Fl Ftrsrlts in two

principles: 1) the universality of God's creation and lordship, and, 2) the


universality of His beneficence (ihsdn) and wise purpose. God's attributes of lordship and sovereignty are not unbridled but subject to the control of God's God creates all, and all that God creates is good and wise. 99 goodness and mercy. The shaykh then goes on to argue that everything that God creates manifests His names and attributes. In working with creatures, God's lordship, knowledge, will, wisdom, and mercy leave traces which humans can discern. Through these led to praise and worship God. 1°° God's lordship and wisdom signs they are His right to praise and worship. This brings Ibn Taymiyya in r establish Futsi7

to a discussion of God's divinity: "Just as one witnesses His lordship and His governance of the whole world and His wise purpose and His mercy, likewise, one witnesses His general divinity (ilähiyya). "101 God's divinity is manifest in the fact that the whole creation glorifies Him.

To illustrate this, the shaykhquotesseveralversesincluding, "The sevenheavens,
the earth, and that which is in them glorify Him. There is not one thing that does in praise to Him, but you do not understand their glorification" not glorify (Q.

17:44), and "Do they seek other than the religion of God when all in the heavens and the earth have submitted to Him obediently or under coercion and to Him they " (Q. 3: 83). 102This praise and submission are "among the meanings are returning? of His divinity (ulühiyya). " All creatures are in need of God; they are nothing in themselves, and there is no lord and no creator but God. Thus, worship (cibäda) be devoted solely to God, and creatures should make God a god (ta'alluh), should is, an object of worship. 103 The word ta'alhrh conies from the same Arabic that root ('-1-h) as god (ilüh), God (Allah), and divinity (ulühiyya), all of which carry a base sense of worship. Elsewhere, Ibn Taymiyya explains that God has a right to


be worshipped, to be the sole ma'lüh (object of worship). 104In Ei Fufilq he puts it this way: To Him is the destiny [of beings] and their return, and He is their object of worship and their God. It is not good that any [being] be worshipped except Him, just as no one created them but Him, because of that to which He has a right (mustahiqq) in Himself and of that which fie alone possesses of the divinity. 105 attributes of Ibn Taymiyya then discusses how God's divinity and lordship appear in humans. The traces of divinity and the rulings of the law manifest themselves only in those who serve God, take Him as a friend, and agree with God in what 1-Ieloves and is well pleased with and in what He commands and prohibits. God manifests traces His lordship and the rulings of His power in both believers and unbelievers as of He gives them provision, property, beauty, knowledge, and religious experiences. The manifestation of lordship apart from divinity is especially clear in Pharaoh, the Mongol conqueror Ghengis Khan, and the one-eyed Dajjäil. The manifestation of divinity and lordship together occurs in angels, prophets, and friends of God as in the Prophet and the Messiah, son of Mary. 106 Following this, Ibn Taymiyya notes that lordship corresponds to the judgments of the `generative words' and

divinity to judgments of the `religious words', and he gives an extensive list of 'words'. 107Thesetwo kinds of words correspondto creation and command, such
respectively, and they will be examined in the following different text. To sum up this discussion of Fi Fusil s, Ibn Taymiyya believes that God's lordship reveals His goodness, mercy, and wise purpose. The all-encompassing then shows that this good and wise lordship constitutes the grounds for shaykh creatures to worship Him as their divinity. For Ibn Taymiyya, `divinity' connotes subsection from a


God's right to be worshipped, and as such, God's divinity

establishes an The

obligation upon creatures to worship Him that parallels His command.

function of establishing God's right to worship that Ibn Taymiyya gives to the divine lordship is identical to that which he gives to the attributes of perfection in texts examined earlier (1.4.4). The shaykh's account of lordship and divinity thus provides further evidence of the ethical and religious import of God's attributes in his theology.

3.4.3 Generation and legislation Ibn Taymiyya also qualifies matters linked to God's determination and creation with the term `generative' (kaivni), and things related to God's command `religious' (dint) and `legislative' (shar'i). 108 The and prohibition with the terms for example, of the "generative, determinative, and lordly shaykh speaks, realities" (al-hagä'iq al-kawniyya al-qadariyya al-rubrübiyya), which apply to all things, and the "religious, legislative, divine realities" (al-haqü'iq al-dini)ya alGod's command. '09 shar'iyya al-ilähiyya), which extend only to those who obey Other similar ways of speaking include God's "address of generation" (khitüb altakwin) and God's "address of obligation" (khitüb al-takliJ), 110 and "His

generative creation" (khalquhu al-kawni), and "His religious command" (amruhu I11 Ibn Taymiyya takes a number of quranic terms to have a generative al-dFni). meaning in some contexts and a legislative meaning in others. Among these are God's will (irada), decree (gadä'), judgement (h: rkrn), authorization (i(Ihn), and


command (amr).

The shaykh sets these out in list form with example quranic

hadiths in a number of texts.112 versesand
One such list, which is typical of the rest, is translated below with its introduction. This passage falls within Taraddud, a short fatwa on the meaning of God's `hesitation' (taraddud) found in the Hadith of Supererogatory Works (hadith al-nativäfil). The last portion of the hadith reads, "I do not hesitate over anything like I hesitate over taking the soul of My believing servant. He hates death, and I hate to torment him. "113 Ibn Taymiyya notes that God loves His servants who draw close to Him through supererogatory works, and so He hates to

take their lives. Yet, God has decreeddeath. God's `hesitation' meansthat God
decrees death despite the fact that He hates it. There is thus a conflict of interest between God's love and God's decree. To resolve this, Ibn Taymiyya concludes that God has a wise purpose (hikma) in everything that He determines and decrees.114 In the middle of the fatwa, Ibn Taymiyya notes that a similar conflict between God's moral attributes and His generative attributes exists in His willing disobedience, and this leads him into a listing of parallel of unbelief and

generativeand religious terms:
[Concerning] the unbelief, iniquity, and disobedience that occur in is Ile-loathes that, displays wrath against it, existence. God-Exalted be to Him-has determined it, hates it and prohibits it. And He-Glory decreed it, and willed it with His generative will (al-irüda eil-kawniyya), even if He did not will it with a religious will (irdda diniyya). This is the the matter (Jasl al-khitdb) about which the people dispute: Does crux of He-Glory be to Him-command what He does not will? The general belief among the Kaläm theologians who establish [determination] and those who agree with them from among the jurists is that He commands what He does not will. The Qadaris, the Multazilis, and others say that He only commands what He wills. The truth of the matter is that will (irüda) in the Book of God is of two kinds: a religious, legislative will and a generative, determinative (qadari)


The first is like His statement-Exalted is He-"God wills ease for will. He does not will difficulty for you" (Q. 2: 185), and His statementyou. Exalted is He-"He to purify you" (Q. 5: 6). And His statementwills Exalted is He-"God wills to make obvious to you and to guide you in the those before you, " to His statement, "and God wills to repent ways of toward you" (Q. 4: 26-7). `Will' here has the meaning of love and good this is the religious will. The indicator of this is His statement, pleasure, and "I did not create the jinn and humankind except that they might worship" (Q. 51: 56). As for the generative, determinative will, this is like His statementGod wills to guide, He opens his breast to Exalted is He-"Whomever Islam. Whomever He wills to misguide, He makes his breast narrow and tight as if he were climbing up to the sky" (Q. 6: 125). And like the saying the Muslims, "What God wills is, and what God does not will is not. " All of beings are encompassed in this will (irdda) and necessitating will (ishü'a). Good and evil, right and wrong do not deviate from it. This will and the include what the legislative command does not include. necessitating will The religious will corresponds to the legislative command. They do not differ. This division appearing in the term `will' appears likewise in the terms command (amr), words (kalimdt), judgement (hukm), decree (qa i '), (kitäb), raising up (barth), sending (irsül), and their like. All of this writing is divided into the generative, determinative and the religious, legislative. The generative words are those from which neither a righteous person immoral person deviates. These are those with which the Prophetnor an God bless him and give him peace-asked for help in his statement, "I take in the complete words of God that no righteous or immoral person refuge "115 God-Exalted is He-said, "His command when lie wills oversteps. is only that He says to it, `Be! ' and it is" (Q. 36: 82). As for the something [words], these are the books sent down about which the Prophet religious "Whoever fights so that the word of God is exalted is on the path of said, God. "' 16 And He-Exalted is He-said, "She judged the words of her Lord His books to be true" (Q. 66: 12). and

is HeAlso, the religious command is like His statement-Exalted "Truly, God commands you to deliver trusts back to their owners" (Q. 4: 58?. (Q. 36: 82). 1 And the generative, "His command when He wills something" is He who is He-It The religious raising up is like His statement-Exalted from among the unlearned a Messenger from among them" (Q. raised up 62: 2). And the generative raising up, "We raised up against you servants of (Q. 17: 5). The religious sending is like his statement, "He it is who ours" His messenger with guidance and the religion of truth" (Q. 9: 33). And sent the generative, "Do you not see that We sent satans against the unbelievers (Q. 19: 83). h18 to incite them"

Behind some of these terms lie polemical debates and distinctions. The first part the difficulties of Kalium theologians with `will', of the quotation mentions and

' be treated in the next subsection.19 A further examplecomes from Ibn thesewill


Taymiyya's polemic against Ibn cArabi's interpretation of `decree' (ga(lü'). In the verse, "Your Lord has decreed that you serve none but Him" (17: 23), Ibn 'Arab! understands `decree' (gadd') to mean that no one in the universe worships anyone but God, no matter what his immediate object of worship might be. In the story of Aaron, Moses, and the calf, for example, Ibn cArabi says that Moses knew that those worshipping the calf were in fact worshipping God because this is what God decreed.120 In Ibn Taymiyya's view, Ibn cArabi incorrectly reads `decree' in Q.

17:23 in an originative sense,while the context of the verse dictates that `decree' 'command'. 121 means

3.4.4 Generative

will and legislative


Several times in his writings, Ibn Taymiyya sets out the two types of will (iräda) found in the list from Taraddud above along with more or less the same illustrative verses.122 The two types receive a number of different names. For

the shaykh calls them the "commanding will" (al-irüda al-amriyya) and example, "123 On the side of creation are also the "creative will" (al-irüda a1-khalgiyya).
"the generative, determinative" (qadariyya) will, 124 and "the generative, all-

inclusive (shamila) will. "125 Other ways of drawing the distinction include "the will of decree (gadä') and determination (taqdir)" versus "the will of command and legislation (tashri'), "126and "the will of generation (takwvin)" versus "the will Law, love, good pleasure, and religion. " 127 of command, Ibn Taymiyya outlines the four possible combinations of generative will and legislative will in a brief treatise called Marütib al-iräda. First, the two wills


in the generation of righteous deeds. Second, righteous deeds that do not coexist occur are linked to the legislative will, but not to the generative. Third, acts of

disobedienceand permitted acts (mubähät)that occur, but are not commanded,are
linked to the generative will, but not the legislative. Fourth, neither the legislative the generative will are linked to permitted acts and acts of disobedience will nor do not occur. 128 Ibn Taymiyya makes similar notes on the combinations of that the two wills elsewhere. For example, he defines the happy person as the one in whom God's will of determination and will of command concur and the unhappy

in whom they do not.129Also, God wills belief and obedience person as the one from those who believe and obey both in command and creation, and He helps
them and makes them do that. On the other hand, God commands unbelievers to believe and obey in His legislative, religious will, but He does not will to create their obedience in His generative will. This is for a wise purpose and benefit that

have been attained in creating obedience. 130 overrides whatever benefit may The shaykh furthermore links the generative will to God's mashi'a (will) legislative will to His love and good pleasure.13' For Ibn Taymiyya the and the fields of mashPa and iräda are not identical, and this presents a problem semantic in translation. For lack of better alternatives, I usually translate both terms as

`will' and transliterate the Arabic when necessary.' 32 Ibn Taymiyya uses mashi'a only for God's generative activity as when he says that the irdcla "linked to the is the mashi'a and is the generative, determinative irüda. "133 The term creation iräda, however, carries either a generative or a legislative sense depending on the context.


The distinction between iräda and mashi'a also becomes apparent in Ibn Taymiyya's discussion of oath taking. If someone swears an oath that he will do such and such if God wills (shä'a) and does not do it even when he has no excuse, he has not broken his oath. A person cannot be held accountable for not

conforming to God's mashi'a. If, however, he swearsan oath by God's love, and he does not do it, then he has broken his oath. He is liable to do what God loves commands. If he swearsby God's iräda and doesnot do it, he has broken his and
if he intended the irada of love. ' 35 oath only Ibn Taymiyya's primary polemical targets when discussing the two types of iräda are Kaläm theologians who make the semantic fields of divine will, love, and good pleasure identical. This has different results for the Muctazilis and the Ashcaris, respectively. The shaykh reports that the Mu(tazilis equate love, good pleasure, and will-both irada and mashi'a-solely with God's command. In this

case, things exist which God does not will (yashü'), and God wills things that do 136 Ibn Taymiyya reports that al-Juwayni not exist. said that al-Ashcari was the first to equate divine love, good pleasure, and will (both irüda and mashPa) wholly with God's creation of all that exists, and in this he was followed by Abü Yallä, al-Juwayni himself, and others. The shaykh says that this ultimately goes back to Jahm b. Safwan, although he also accuses the latter of denying the divine 137 In this Ashcan attributes completely. view, God loves and is well pleased with everything, including iniquity, unbelief, and disobedience. God loves, wills, and is well pleased with all that exists. He does not love and will what does not exist, and He is not well pleased with it. Ibn Taymiyya notes that the Ashcaris


"God does not love corruption" (Q. 2: 205) and "God is reinterpret such verses as in His servants" (Q. 39: 7) to mean that God does not well pleased with unbelief love and will corruption and unbelief in those in whom they do not exist or not that God does not love and will these things religiously in the sense that He does not will to reward the corrupt and ' 38 the unbeliever.

Ibn Taymiyya also reports that al-Ashcari held a second view, which is that of the majority among those who believe in only one type of irüda. This is that the irada is God's mashi'a alone whereas God's love and good pleasure are linked His command. 139 The shaykh attributes this view to most of the Kaläm to theologians, the Karrämis, and the Ilanbalis Abü Bakr cAbd al-cAziz, and Ibn alJawzi. 140 Ibn Taymiyya argues that the majority of Sunnis up to the time of alAshWari,as well as subsequently, distinguish God's irüda of all things from His love and good pleasure linked to His command. However, it is not always clear whether the shaykh also attributes a two-irada view to this majority or simply a separation between a single iräda on the one hand and love and good pleasure on the other. 141

For the sake of independent historical perspective, Gimaret and Bell have shown that the complete identification of love and good pleasure with all that God wills to exist is not found in Ashcan theology until al-Juwayni. It also appears

followed him in this thereafter. 142 Bell cites the later Ashlaris althat no Ashcan Ghazal! and al-Räzi as maintaining a distinction between good pleasure and love hand and will on the other. 143Also, Roger Arnaldez has shown that alon the one Räzi sets out a scheme of two wills-one pertaining to creation and one to


144 Additionally, the Sufi Abu Taub command. al-Makki (d. 386/996)14' identifies iräda with mashPa and love with God's command, and then after this he distinguishes two types of irüda, one pertaining to generation and one to '46 In Ibn Taymiyya is not saying anything new with his doctrine command. sum of two wills and the separation of love and good pleasure from God's generative will. However, he singles out al-Juwayni's view that God loves all that exists and He may have believed that this is what

makes it a frequent focus of polemic.

Ash'arism truly reduces to, or possibly this doctrine enabled him to make the link

he perceivedto exist betweenAshari theology and antinomian Sufism.'47 that


Ibn Taymiyya on possible resolution of creation and command In most instances of creation/command discourse surveyed for this chapter,

Ibn Taymiyya does not attempt to go beyond affirming that God has a wise in His creation. purpose Given the perplexing relationship between divine

creation and divine command, the shaykh could conclude that this constitutes a

He comesvery close to doing this in one brief fatwa by comparing the paradox.
two divine wills to seeing with two eyes. About the divine will of determination and the divine will of the Law, he writes, "Judgment (al-hzikin) goes according to these two wills. Whoever looks at deeds with these two eyes sees. Whoever

looks at determination without the Law or the Law without determination is one" 148 However, Ibn Taymiyya is usually not comfortable acknowledging eyed. paradox, and in a few other passages, particularly in Minhüj, he tries to ward off the thought that divine creation and divine command are contradictory. Following

the method examined in Chapter One (1.4.2-3) of suggestingpossible, but not


necessary, interpretations in line with giving God the `highest similitude',


thought experiments to show how it might be good for shaykh offers a number of God's generative and legislative wills not to coincide. The overriding theme is that of divine teleology. God acts for His own benefit and, in some texts, for the

in love of His wise purpose. The end of this section looks at a passage Nubuwtivüt
to God's love as the eternal final cause of His acts. pointing

3.5.1 God may be acting for His own benefit in not helping others obey Him

In one strategy to render the noncoincidence of God's generative and
legislative wills plausible, Ibn Taymiyya differentiates between willing something oneself (generative) and willing (legislative). to do

that someone else do something

A full instance of this occurs in Minhaj. 149 The shaykh sets out

from human affairs. He explains that someone may advise an several examples advisee what will profit the advisee. However, this advisor may not help the advisee carry out what he commands because it would not be to his own benefit. This is like someone who advises another to marry a certain woman but does not her himself 150Additionally, Ibn Taymiyya notes that someone may choose marry not to help another do what he commands because it would entail harm to himself. As an example, he cites the quranic story of the one who came running to warn Moses to flee. "He told Moses, `A crowd is conspiring to kill you. Leave! I am an advisor to you' (Q. 28: 20). It was to his benefit to command Moses to leave but not to help him in that. Indeed, if he had helped him, his people would have harmed him. "151 In another example, someone-apparently shaykh does not specify-may a king, although the

that it would be to the benefit of one of his realize


subjects to learn the ways of power. Furthermore, this king might command him to do what would benefit the latter. However, the king himself will not help his lest he rise up as an enemy against the king's son. 152 subject Conversely, one issuing commands will also help in cases that are to his benefit. Ibn Taymiyya gives several examples: "The king's command to his army to do whatever upholds his sovereignty, the master's command to his servant to do whatever benefits his property, and a person's command to his associate to do whatever benefits their shared affair, etc."153 Someone may also be motivated by interest in gaining reward from God for commanding another to do right and an helping that other person obey. '54 then All of these examples fail to convince because they are premised on the one commanded having libertarian freedom. This is, of course, not the case for Ibn Taymiyya because he maintains that things only exist by virtue of God's creation

generation. It is thus well that the shaykh explains that his examplesfrom the and
realm of creatures are not necessarily applicable to God but that they serve to show what might possibly be the case. He argues that if it is possible that wise for the benefit of another but do not help out of consideration creatures command for their own benefit and wise purpose, then this is a fortiori for God. '55 possible

God commands unbelievers what would benefit them if they did it, but He does help them obey on account of His wise purpose in not creating that. '56 not always Through His command and prohibition, God informed Pharaoh and AbCüLahab what would profit and benefit them, but He chose not to help them perform those acts because it would have been detrimental to His own wise purpose and


benefit. 157 Ibn Taymiyya does not suggest how this might have been detrimental to God. In the passage from Minhäj just summarized, the benefit of God clearly overrides the benefit of particular creatures. Ibn Taymiyya affirms that God has the right to praise in everything that He creates and commands even though some harm through what He creates in His wise purpose. 158 Although the people suffer shaykh says very little in Minhäj about the benefit that God is seeking, he does give some indication of God's wise purposes in creating harm, and these are of benefit to properly responding human beings as well. The illness and oppression that God creates lead to invocation of God, humility, repentance from sins,

expiation of offenses, softening of the heart, and the removal of pride and enmity. These things are not gained through justice even though justice is also of benefit to humans. Ibn Taymiyya ends this remark in Minhüj by saying that it is not humans to know the details of God's wise purposes.159 given to A similar example of Ibn Taymiyya's distinction between will as

commanding another and will as helping another occurs several pages later in Minhüj. Here the focus is on God's freedom from foolishness rather than on His The Shi9i theologian al-Hilli charges that someone (i. e. the

personal benefit.

Sunni God) who commands what he does not will and wills what he prohibits is foolish. Ibn Taymiyya says that this is not so. A doctor who commands a sick

person to take medicine does not have to help his patient take it, and advisors in matters of business and agriculture do not have to follow their own advice. Conversely, an advisor may tell an advisee not to do what the advisor himself is doing because it would be harmful to the advisee. Here, the shaykh notes that a


handler is not foolish to prohibit his son from handling a snake. Likewise, a snake tells someone who cannot swim not to swim, and a king who goes out to swimmer fight prohibits women from going out with him. Upon mentioning these

Ibn Taymiyya immediately notes that it is not possible to find an examples, example or similitude that is applicable to God in every respect since there is nothing like Him. Rather, the point is to show that it is within the realm of

possibility that God commands what He does not will, whereas the Multazilis be necessarily foolish. 160 think this to

3.5.2 God may create things He hates for a wise purpose that He loves Another way that Ibn Taymiyya tries to make sense of God's creation of things that He does not love is by interpreting them to be a means to what He does love. The shaykh notes that humans may will things that they hate, such as taking Conversely, they may will not to have things that they love as when a medicine. person does not eat something that would harm him. Similar logic applies to sick someone fasting who does not eat even though he loves food or does not drink though he is thirsty. Likewise for someone who loves to follow his appetites even but does not do so because he hates them from the perspective of his reason and religion. The shaykh reasons that if these distinctions are possible with respect to creatures, then there is no reason that they might not be possible for God. Ibn Taymiyya extends this thinking into a distinction between what is willed and loved in itself and what is willed accidentally as a means (it'asila) to something that is loved in itself. For example, a sick person may take medicine as a means to the health that he loves and wills. Thus, the shaykh concludes, there are two kinds


(iräda): the will for what is loved in itself and the will for something hated of will but willed for the sake of something else that is loved in itself. 161 In defense of God's creation of hateful things as a means to things He loves, Ibn Taymiyya observes the need to choose between contrary alternatives. At the human level, we understand that one cannot enjoy everything at once. The

(ladhdha) of eating precludesthe pleasureof drinking at the same time. pleasure
Listening to one thing prevents listening to another. One cannot simultaneously go on hajj and fight in jihad. Similarly, Everything has its necessary concomitants. cannot create

even though God is powerful over all things, lie

in one place, and He cannot create a son before his contraries simultaneously
father. God is bound to follow the rules of logic. Thus, if He creates obedience in but not in others, it is for some wise purpose that could not have been some achieved through some other means. 162

In some places, the shaykh also defines God's wise purpose itself as that is willed and loved. He asserts, "[God] created creatures according to His which 163 Moreover, God that He loves." creates things that He hates and wise purpose loathes "for the sake of a wise purpose that He loves and is well pleased with. " 164 These things are created with respect to their end (ghüya) and not for

165 This explains God's creation of satans and other detestable themselves. 166Also, God could have created everyone to be a believer, but He has not things. in His wisdom. He may know that that would have led to some end that He would have hated. 167 Ibn Taymiyya does not tell us what that hateful end might have been. The point is rather to suggest how it might be thought that God loves the purpose in what He creates. wise


In treatments of creation and command, lordship and divinity,


generation and legislation, Ibn Taymiyya does not speculate on God's wise

beyond what has been noted above. However, lie does venture a bit purposes
further when discussing evil in Hasana, which will be examined in Chapter Five


3.5.3 Excursus on God's eternal love as the final cause of His acts In the relatively few contexts where Ibn Taymiyya says that God loves His the meaning of divine love has obviously shifted from being an wise purpose,

immediate love for obedience to love of a wise purpose for which creation of
disobedience is a means. Beyond this the shaykh does not explain, but it is clear that divine love for the divine wise purpose gives love itself a strongly teleological hue. Joseph Bell, in his investigation of Ibn Taymiyya's thought on love, has that the shaykh asserts against the Kaläm theologians that God does love shown in fact loves Himself. '68 We here turn to a key text and can be loved and that God that Bell identifies from Nubuwwüt, which articulates God's self-love. This text is not concerned specifically with matters of theodicy. Our purpose is simply to

show how, in one text, Ibn Taymiyya understands love in fully teleological terms.

In the segment from Nubuwwüt under consideration, the shaykh maintains that everything to which divine will and power is linked is temporally originated, coming into being after it was not. This principle, applied to the Kalium equation of God's love with His will, leads to denying that God can love already existent things. If will and love can only be directed toward objects not yet existent, then


humans cannot love the eternally existent God, and God cannot love human good 170 To resolve this dilemma, Ibn Taymiyya deeds that have already come to pass. between the will to do something on the one hand and love for draws a distinction the thing on the other. Willing something only obtains at the the very essence of Love, however, can be linked to the existent and the eternal. It is, time of the act. in fact, for the sake of this existent, which is the final cause, that the will brings forth acts. Without this final cause existent in the mind, there can be no act. The wants a house. The house is the object shaykh gives the example of someone who final aim. Without this aim, the person would not will to engage in willed as the '71 In the following the act of building that is the means (tivasila) to this objective. located by Bell, Ibn Taymiyya applies the same model to love for God and text then discusses God's love for Himself. for the will and the love linked to the Eternal, this is not a will to have an As influence on Him (irädat fi'! frhi). Rather, it is a love for His essence. Every will and love must inevitably lead to an object loved for its essence. for everyone who acts by will, his will necessarily implies a general love As (mahabba'ämma) for the sake of which it acts. Love is a foundation (as! ) is Me-loves The Lord-Exalted of the existence of every existent. Himself, and among the necessary concomitants of His love for I-Iimself172 is that [His self] loves and wills what He wills to do. What He wills to do, He wills for an objective that He loves. Love is the final cause (al-'ilia al173 for the sake of which everything exists. ghä'iyya) The text is not straightforward, but it seems apparent that Ibn Taymiyya is saying there must be `a general love' that serves as the final that as a matter of principle acts of love and will. cause or objective motivating Love is the `foundation' or

`final cause' of every existent. Furthermore, God in His essence as the Eternal is `general love' that motivates His own acts of will and love. the `final cause' or for the sake of which He loves and wills is His very essence. It is in The objective this sense that God loves Himself. If this line of interpretation is correct, God's


essence is eternal unchanging love, and this love is the final cause of all God's activity. The parallel of Ibn Taymiyya's unmoved mover is striking. divine love to Aristotle's concept of

As noted in Chapter Two (2.2.2. b. and d), Ibn

Taymiyya is familiar with Aristotle's concept that God is the final cause of motion in the universe by being an object of love, but he criticizes it as inadequate to explain the origin of motion in the world. He asserts that God must be the

efficient cause of originated events in the world and not merely a final cause. Here, however, it is evident that the shaykh does find final causality adequateto God Himself. The causeof God's activity of willing and explain motion within
loving is the `final cause' of eternal love that is His essence. In this text from Nubuwivüt, Ibn Taymiyya does not ask whether God's acts also need an efficient cause or how the eternal final cause preponderates one act over another. The problem of bridging from the eternal to the temporal remains, unless the shaykh causality within final causality. admits an element of efficient If he does this,

however, he cannot then consistently deny this solution to Aristotle and his


Conclusion This chapter has shown how Ibn Taymiyya polemicizes against attempts to

resolve the contradiction between divine creation and divine command. On the one hand, he castigates the Qadaris and the Multazilis for denying God's all-

falling into dualism by asserting that human beings are encompassing creation and

the creators of their own acts. On the other, he chargesthe Jahmis, the Ashcans,


and the Sufis with using God's creation and determination of human acts as an excuse to weaken adherence to the Law. Moreover, the shaykh alleges that Ibn cArabi and his followers not only annul human responsibility but also collapse the distinction between Creator and creature into a metaphysical monism that makes judgements meaninglessness because everything is divine. value In the treatise

Shams, Ibn Taymiyya accusesboth the Muctazilis and the AshWaris having of
fallen afoul of the belief that divine creation of human acts is incompatible with rational judgement of the ethical value of those same acts. The Multazilis

maintain that reason distinguishes good and bad human acts and that this precludes divine creation of these acts. For the Ashcans, divine creation of human acts precludes rational discernment of the ethical value that God attaches to these acts. Ibn Taymiyya also censures a third group consisting of poets, free-thinkers,

and the ethically lax, and he charges these with following Iblis in making God's creation and command out to be contradictory and in impugning God's wise purpose and justice. Beyond polemics, Ibn Taymiyya brings the substance of creation and command to bear upon diverse vocabularies found in the Qur'an. terms for expressing God's creation of all things include divine determination, will Equivalent lordship,

(mash7'a), inspiration, power, and the generative words.

Terms used on the level of command and prohibition include divinity, love, good pleasure, hate, the religious and legislative words, and the distinction between Godfear and immorality. Moreover, Ibn Taymiyya identifies a number of

`words', such as `will' (irada), that appear in the Qur'an in a generative sense at

some points and in a legislative senseat others. These various sets of terms


indicate two distinct realms, that of the divine determination of all things and that of human responsibility to obey God. In discussing lordship and divinity, Ibn of lordship governed by

Taymiyya states that the role of the first realm-that divine wise purpose-is

to establish God's divinity, which is His right to worship.

The function of God's lordship thus parallels the role that the shaykh gives to the

attributes of perfection in establishing God's right to praise and worship. It also
lends further support to the idea introduced at the end of the Introduction to this study and expanded at the end of Chapter One that Ibn Taymiyya explicates the divine attributes and acts in order to motivate religious devotion (see 1.4.4 and

The shaykh himself does not resolve the contradiction between God's allencompassing creation and God's command by curtailing the scope of one or the other. Apparently out of regard for upholding God's perfection, he also does not admit explicitly that creation and command involve rational difficulties. The

he gets to elucidating a paradoxical relation between the two is his closest assertion that deeds must be viewed with the two eyes of divine determination and

the Law and that focusing on one apart from the other is being one-eyed.
Otherwise, he limits himself to ameliorating the severity of divine determination by asserting that God has a wise purpose in all that He creates, and, in a few places, he adds that God may create things that He hates for a wise purpose that He loves. In Minhäj, he also suggests that God might command one thing and wisely create the opposite for the sake of some benefit to Himself or even to creatures. However, his examples of how this might work fall short because they assume agents with libertarian freedom as the recipient of the command, a


doctrine that he precludes with God's creation of all things. Apparently sensing this difficulty, Ibn Taymiyya clarifies that he is simply suggesting what might be the case for God by a fortiori human perfections; he is not claiming projection of attributes and acts exist in God Himself.

to know how the unknowable Nonetheless, Ibn Taymiyya's

deterministic conception of divine creation still

entails rational difficulties for human response to the divine command, and these will be evaluated further at the end of the next chapter on the human act.

Notes to Chapter Three
'Much of Ibn Taymiyya's thinking on Sufi matters is found in volumes 1,2,10, and II of MF, and in 1qä(1ä', Isliqüma, and Mahabba. There is also a great deal of material scattered throughout his other writings. 2 For references, see Endnote 27 to the Introduction. 3 lbtdl MF 2: 300-4; FF Fusiis MF 2:409-411; Tadmuriyya, MF 3: 111-2; Qadarij)'a MF 8:256-261; Ta'a MF 8:444-6. Cf. Minhäj 3: 82/2: 9-10. The following discuss the same ideas although not in the form of a tidy typology: Wüsitiyya MF 3: 148-150; Irnda 8: 97-117; Scfäda MF 288-9; Ihtuýj MF 8: 303-370; Jabr MF 8:449-478; Furgän MF 13:211-229; Hasana MF 14:347-359; Shams MF 16:230-248; Minhnj 3: 75-8/2: 7-8. 4 Tadmuriyya, MF 3: 111-3. 5 The connection between command and prohibition, or related notions, and promise and threat also occurs in Jabr MF 8:452; and Shams MF 16:230,235. 6FurqünMF 13:211. 7 For these three types of Qadaris, see Fi Fusfis MF 2: 409-411; Qadarijya MF 8:256-261; MF 10:718; Shams MF 16:230,232,235,238,239. 8 Furgdn MF 13:212,225; Hasana MF 14:247. In Irýada MF 8: 105, he also notes that some early scholars in Islam called those who believed in God's `compulsion' (fahr) of human acts `Qadaris'. ' Nubuwwüt 96. '° Irdda MF 8: 105. " For Ibn Taymiyya's views on the Jabris see below (3.2.3). For his views of the Murji'is, see Iman I, MF 7: 190ff., and the English translation of this work, Kitab. 41-iman: Book of Faith, trans. Salman Hassan Al-Ani and Shadia Ahmad Tel (Bloomington, IN: Iman Publishing House, 1999), 200ff. See also Shams MF 16:241-3. For historical considerations on the Murji'is, see W. Madelung, "Murdji'a, " E12 7: 605-7. 12A search of MFCD located five occurrences of `Iblisi Qadaris' in MF: Fi Fusirs MF 2: 400,411; Qadariyya MF 8:260; MF 10:718; and Shams MF 16:232. " On the Qadari movement in early Islam, see W. Montgomery Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1973), 82-118. 14Shams MF 16:232. Cf. Fl Fusfis, MF 2:400, where Ibn Taymiyya includes with the Qadaris the `naturalists' (al-tabFa) who he says attribute acts to bodies, natures, celestial spheres, or souls rather than God. 'S Furgän MF 13:225-6. Cf. Hasana MF 14:347.

'6 See,for example,Shams16:239 and Minhdj 3: 18/2: 267.


Notes to Chapter Three continued
17 Shams MF 16:236. Concerning Abºi al-Husayn, Ibn Taymiyya continues, "lie had more intelligence and erudition than most of his peers, but he had little acquaintance with the traditions (al-sunan), the meanings of the Qur'an, and the path of the Salaf. " ISFor example, see Minhäj, 3: 181/2:34, where ShiNisare subsumed under the Qadaris, and Minhaj, 3: 190/2: 37, where Ibn Taymiyya calls his opponent al-I;Jilli a Qadari. Afinhaj, 1: 127-8/1: 31, describes how later ShiNis adopted Muctazili doctrine. For the assimilation of the Multazilis to the Qadaris in early Kaläm theology, see Daniel Gimaret, La doctrine d'al-A. shWari(Paris: Cerf, 1990), 396-8. '° On Zoroastrianism and its relationship to the Islamic tradition, see M. Morony, "MaJiis, " E12 5: 1110-8; Guy Monnot, Penseurs musulmans et religions iraniennes: <Abd al-Jabber et ses Guy Monnot, devanciers (Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 1974), 77-81,88-91,137-142; Islam et religions (Paris: Editions Maisonneuve et Larose, 1986), 129-156 (on al-Mlituridi), 157170 (on the AshWarial-Bägilläni); and Christoph J. Bargel, "Zoroastrianism as Viewed in Medieval Islamic Sources," in Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey, ed. Jacques Waardenburg (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 1999), 202-212. For the view that Zoroastrianism Mazdaism are synonymous, see Gherardo Gnoli, "Zoroastrianism, " in The Encyclopedia of and Religion, ed., Mircea Eliade (New York: MacMillian, 1987), 15:579-591. On the dualism of both Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism in relation to Islam, see G. Monnot, "Thanawiyya, " E12 10:439441. Also of interest on Islamic responses to dualism is G. Vajda, "Le Tcmoignage d'al-M: ituridi la doctrine des Manichdens, des Daysänites et des Marcionites, " Arahica 13 (1966): 1-38, sur 113-128. 20Irdda MF 8: 100. 21Shams MF 16:239. 22Ta'iyya MF 8:248 (reading'illat al-sharr instead of <illat al-sirr). 23 Wüsitiyya MF 3: 150; Abo Däwtod 4071, al-Sunna, Fi al-qadar. Sarah Stroumsa and Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa cite this hadith as evidence that debate over divine determination in Islam emerged in by Zoroastrian, as well as Manichaean, dualism, in "Aspects of the context of the challenge posed Anti-Manichaean Polemics in Late Antiquity and under Early Islam, " Harvard Theological Review 81: 1 (1988): 37-58 (especially 54-5). 24Jabr MF 8:452. 25Malbad b. 'Abd Allah b. cUkaym, al-Juhani. 26Jabr MF 8: 450. Cf. Scfada MF 8:288. According to Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought, 85,87, Malbad was involved in political opposition to the Umayyads and denied that God had determined their misdeeds. J. van Ess underlines the politically charged and thus the sources for knowledge of this figure in "Macbad b. 'Abd Allah b. cUkayin uncertain nature of al-ljuhani, " E12 935-6. 27Shams MF 16:233. 28 Wdsftiyya MF 3: 148-9. Divine foreknowledge is discussed briefly in Talr.sin al-<aql MF 8:429430 and Shams MF 16:233-4. A full defense consisting mostly of quranic quotations occurs in Jabr MF 8:490-7. 29Jabr MF 8:457-8. 30 The following give extended attention to the qadar argument: 111tuajMF 8: 303-370; Atinhdj 3: 54-86/2: 2-11; Qadä' MF 8:262-271; 'Ubiidiyya MF 10: 157-172; and Ihrol MF 2: 300-3,323-330. 31Minhüj 3: 56/2: 3,3: 60/2: 4,3: 65/2: 5. 32 Td'a MF 8: 263; Tä'iyya MF 8:248-251; Jabr MF 8:453-5; Minhüj 3: 56-7/2: 3; 'Ubüdi}yea MF 10: 164-5; Ibtül MF 2: 300-2; Iräda MF 8: 114. 33Minhäj 3: 67/2: 5. Cf. Minhaj 3: 65/2: 5. 34Minhaj 3: 69-70/2: 6.

35Minhäj 3:65/2:5; 'Ubiidiyya MF 10:165. 36 IhtUäj MF 8:327-8,331; Minhäj 3:78/2:8; 'Ubiüdiyya MF 10:159-160; Ibtdl MF 2:301-2; TadmuriyyaMF 3: 122; MF 8:76-7; MF 8:237.


Notes to Chapter Three continued
37Fit Fusfis, MF 2: 364-370, outlines the two perspectives. 38'Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. 'Ali, Abu Ismd'Il al-Ansäri al-l-Iarawi. 39Al-Junayd b. Muhammad b. al-Junayd, Abu al-Qäsim a]-Baghdad!.

40 Hasana MF 14:354-5. Cf. Ihtycj MF 8:317-8,346,369; 3: 168/2: 1; Furtiq MF 8:228-9. 3

Awliyä' MF 11:245; Minhüj

41 'Abd al-Qadir b. Musa b. 'Abd Allah, AbO Muhammad Muhyi al-Din al-Jil ini, a Hanbali preacher. 421htUüj MF 8: 306,369. Ibn Taymiyya devotes the treatise 'Abd al-Qädir MF 10:455-548 to'Abd al-Qädir's Futüh al-ghayb. For this latter work in English translation, see 'Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani, Revelations of the Unseen (Futfih al-Ghaib), ET Muhtar Holland (Houston, TX: Al-Baz, 1992). °' Tadnturiyya MF 3: 116-7; Ihtiydj MF 8: 308-311,346-7. 44On Ibn cArabi's followers, see William C. Chittick, "Tasawwuf: 2. Ibn al cArabi and after in the Arabic and Persian lands and beyond, " E12 10:317-324.

'35 Fusils MF 2:367. Cf. Ibtäl MF 2:294ff. Fi 46Ittihcdiyyin MF 2: 134,140-1.
4' Ittihädiyyin, MF 2: 142,173; Fi Fusils MF 2: 364-5; /btül MF 2: 331,355-6. 48Ittihadiyyin, MF 2: 255.

49Sulaymänb. cAli b. 'Abd Allah, cAfif al-Din al-Kümi al-Tilims.ini.

so Manbyi, MF 2: 472; Fi Fusiis MF 2: 364-7. In Ibfäl, MF 2: 342, Ibn Taymiyya reports that alTilimsäni said that even a dead, scabby dog was part of God's essence. 51Tü'a MF 8:444-5; IhtUdj MF 8: 352-3; Hasana MF 14:346-359. Cf. Shams MF 16:235.

52Hasana MF 14:346-358. In Fi Fusiüs,MF 2:367, Ibn Taymiyya says that the Ittil1iidis have realized the Jahmi position better than anyoneelse.
53On the Jahmis, see W. M. Watt, "pjahmiyya, " E12 2: 388. 54Kasb MF 8: 394. ss Minhüj 3: 75/2: 7. In Thulth, MF 17: 177, Ibn Taymiyya calls Jahm "the Imam of the extremist Mujbiris". 56Jabr MF 8:497; Minhaj 3: 75/2: 7,3: 193-6/2: 38; Hasana MF 14:3 10. 57Watt, The Formative Period of /slamic Thought, 118. 58Jabr MF 8:460. 59Jabr MF 8:466; Hasana MF 14:346-358. 60Shams MF 16:239.

6' F. Rahman,"Barähima," E12 1:1031.
62Shams MF 16:236; and Istitila MF 8:375. 6' Minhüj 3: 267/2: 56. 64Ihtýüj MF 8: 307. 65Shams MF 16:246. 66Hasana MF 14:355; Shams MF 16:246-7. 67Jabr MF 8:460. This story is also found in Nubu what 353; Minhäj 3: 32/1: 270; and Thulth MF 17: 102. 68Hasana MF 14:346-358. In this passage Ibn Taymiyya accuses Jahm of two innovations: denial of the divine attributes and excess in divine determination. Specifically, the Multazilis fell into the first error and the Ashcaris the second. Cf. lhtyaj MF 8: 347,352ff. 69Qadariyya MF 8:260. Abmad b. 'Abd Allah b. Sulayman, Abu al cA1ä' al-Macarri, a rebel in his day who spoke frankly of his doubts in religious matters. See'A'ishah'Abd al-Rahman ("Bins alShatil"), "Abu 1lAla, al-Malarri, " in The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: 'Abbasid Belles-Leitres, ed. Julia Ashtiany, et al. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1990), 328-338. I have not found Ibn Taymiyya naming any particular free-thinkers on the question of divine justice. One of the better known is Ibn al-Rawandi (Abu al-IIusayn Alimad b. Yal,iy, i b. lshäq, 4th/10th century) who voiced the basic Iblisi complaints mentioned here in a book called Kitäb a! -


Notes to Chapter Three continued
See the notice of this book in Abü al-Husayn'Abd al-Rahm: in b. Muliammad ta<dil wa al-tajwir. b. 'Uthmän al-Khayyät, Kitüb al-Intisär, ed. H. S. Nyberg with FT by Albert N. Nader (Beirut: Les lettres orientates, 1957), 12 (FT 2); and Sarah Stroumsa, Freethinkers in medieval Islam: Ibn alRäwandi, Abit Bakr al-Rüzi and their impact on Islamic thought (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 131-2, which includes an English translation of al-Khayyät's notice. 70 The story of Iblis is found in the Q. 2: 34,7: 11-8,15: 28-42,17: 61-5,18: 50,20: 116-120, and 38: 71-85. On the reception of this story in Sufism see Peter J. Awn, Satan's Tragedy and Redemption: Iblis in Sufi Psychology (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1983). " Tadmuriyya MF 3: 111. In Minhäj, 3: 82/2: 9, Ibn Taymiyya also mentions that a disputation by Iblis was related, but he does not indicate by whom. 72 Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Karim al-Shahrastäni, Al-Milal wa al-nihal, cd. Alhmad Fahmi Muhammad (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al cilmiyya, n. d.), 7-9. For an ET of this account, see Muslim Sects and Divisions: The Section on Muslim Sects in Kitäb al-Milal wa'I-Nihal, ET A. K. Kazi and J.G. Flynn (London: Kegan Paul, 1984), 12-5. For the story in French, see Shahrastani, Livres des des sectes, FT Daniel Gimaret and Guy Monnot (Louvain: Peeters, 1986), 1: 115-9. religions et For an overview of al-Shahrastani's works and thought, see G. Monnot, "al-Shahrast: ni, " E12 9: 214-6. 73 Irdda MF 8: 114-5. Sarah Stroumsa, Freethinkers in medieval Islam, 130-1, sees the ethical Manichaean and Zoroastrian dualists presented to monotheists behind this story. In challenge "Aspects of Anti-Manichaean Polemics in Late Antiquity and under Early Islam, " 51-8, Stroumsa Stroumsa argue that Multazilis such as'Abd al-Jabbär sought to refute the dualist challenge by and the foolish and unjust God of the Manichaean caricature of monotheism. This Muctazili rejecting then found a target closer home in their Mujbiri co-religionists whose belief in God's polemic also determination seemed to bear a strong resemblance to the Manichaean caricature. These absolute do not, of course, prove that al-Shahrastäni's story of Iblis was a Multazili forgery, observations but they do indicate the sort of milieu in which it may have arisen. The above comments also help in Fi Fusºüs MF 2: 400, Ibn Taymiyya lists the Majüsis not with those who deny explain why, God's creation of human acts but with the Iblisis. He may have been thinking of the Zoroastrian polemic against the goodness of a monotheistic God.

74Irüda MF 8: 115.
75'Abd al-Rabman b. 'Ali b. Muhammad, AbO al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi, a Hanbali jurist and preacher in Baghdad. 76 Tü'a MF 8:446.

77Ibtal MF 2:301; and ShamsMF 16:248. The quote is also found in MF 8:241; 'Ubüdiyya MF 10:165;Abi1Dharr MF 18:204.
'ß Shams MF 16:226-250. The text gives no indication of its date. At MF 16:237, Ibn Taymiyya once mentions having elaborated something elsewhere but without specifying the location. 79Shams MF 16:226-30. 80Shams MF 16:230 81Shams MF 16:230-4. 82Shams MF 16:235. 83Shams MF 16:235. 84Shams MF 16:235. 85Shams MF 16:237-8. "Shams MF 16:23 8. 87Shams MF 16:238. Ibn Taymiyya notes this same point elsewhere. In'Ubfid: jya, MF 10: 166, he indicates that neither Sufi antinomians nor the Muctazilis can imagine someone being to do the opposite of what has been determined for him. commanded 88Shams MF 16:238-9. 89Shams MF 16:239.

90 ShamsMF 16:239-240. 91ShamsMF 16:241.


Notes to Chapter Three continued
" MF 3: 129-159; MRK 1:387-406; Ar. and FT Henri Laoust, La a1-wäsitiyya, ) defoi d'Ibn Taymiyya; ET Merlin Swartz, "A seventh-century (A. 11. Sunni creed: The profession 1 (1973): 91-131; German trans., , Agida Wäsitiya of Ibn Taymiya, " Humaniora Islainica Wein, Die Islamische Glaubenslehre (Agida) des Ibn Taimiya (Bonn: n.p., 1973). This Clemens became very well known in Ibn Taymiyya's day and has had widespread appeal down to the creed On this see Swartz's introduction to the English translation, 102-3. For affirmations present. found here in Wdsitiyya, see MF 8:235-8; Tä'i}rya MF 8:246-7; and Jabr MF similar to those 8:449-450,452,459,466. 93 In the French translation of this in La profession defoi d'Ibn Taymi}ya, 73, Henri Laoust may have read hikam as hukm because he renders the Arabic as `sens' ('sense' or `meaning'). The form hikam of the singular hikma ('wisdom' or `wise purpose') flows better with the Arabic plural it lies in parallel with the clearly plural masäli/t ('benefits'). style of the sentence since 92 "A1 cAgida

94WdsitiyyaMF 3: 149-150.
95Shirk MF 1:89-90; Manb ji, MF 2: 455-9; Tadmuriyya MF 3: 98-109; 'Ubiidiyya MF 10: 156-8; Fätiha, MF 14:5-15,31-6; Hasana MF 14:376-380; Malrabba 24-5; Talbis 2: 454; and Minhnj 3: 276-336/2: 59-74. For a FT of Shirk MF 1:88-94, see Yahya M. Michot, "Textes Spirituels d'lbn Taymiyya: IV. Entre la divinit6 et la seigneurialit6, le polymorphisme de l'associationnism (shirk), " Le A'Iusulman (Paris) 16 (1991): 8-13. 96Fi Fusi1s MF 2: 398-9. 97FI Fusiüs MF 2: 398-9. 98Fi Fusüs MF 2: 399-400. This hadith is found in Bukhäri 5540, al-Adab, Ral)mat al-walad wa Muslim 4947; Ibn M ijah 4287. taqbiluhu wa mu'änagatuhu; 99Fi Fusüs MF 2: 400. 10°Fi Fu cFMF 2: 400-1 101 Fusfts MF 2: 404. Fi 102 Fusfis MF 2: 404. Fi 103 Fusits MF 2: 405-6. Fi 104 Tadmuriyya MF 3: 101. See also the entry 'alaha in E. W. Lane, Arabic English Lexicon. 105 Fusüs MF 2: 406. FT

106 Fusºüs 2:407-8. MF Fi 107 Fusi4sMF 2:408,411-3. Fi
108In rendering kawni as `generative', I have departed from previous practice in Ibn Taymiyya In La profession defoi d'Ibn Taymiyya, 70, n. 191, Laoust translates kaii'ni as `creatrice' studies. (creative). Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 66, translates it as `existential', and Michot uses `ontologique' ('ontological') in "Textes Spirituels d'Ibn Taymiyya: II. L'etre (kativn) la religion (din), " Le Musulman (Paris) 13 (1990-1): 7-10,28.1 reserve `creation' for Arabic et jfid and wi, iüd7 respectively. I like khalq and ibdä' and `existence' and `existential' for we words `generative' over `ontological' because the latter term does not adequately convey the prefer dynamic sense that Ibn Taymiyya gives to God's creation and willing of what comes into It should be noted, however, that I also use `generation' for tajaddud. Furthermore, my existence. translation ofshar'i as `legislative' does not follow Laoust ('normative') or Bell ('prescriptive'). 109 Fütiha MF 14: 15; 'Ubfidiyya MF 10: 156-7. 110 Marätib MF 8: 182-6. 1 Fi Fusiüs MF 2: 409. 112 The fullest list I have located is Awliyü' MF 11:265-271. This has been translated into French by Yahya M. Michot, "Textes Spirituels d'Ibn Taymiyya: II. L'etre (ka%in) et In religion (din). " It is also found in the poor English translation of Awliyä', where the introduction to the list has been inexplicably omitted: The Criterion between the Allies of the Merciful and the Allies of the Devil (Birmingham, UK: Idara lhya-us-Sunnah, 1993), 130-7. Similar lists are found in Fi Fusir;r MF 2: 411-3; Tuhfa MF 10:23-8; and MF 8: 58-61.


Notes to Chapter Three continued
113 This is the last part of the hadith al-nawüfil found in Sahih al-Bukhdri 6021, Kittb al-rigiq, Bäb al-tawiiduc. See Graham, Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam, 173-4, for a brief discussion of the transmission and content of this hadith. 114 TaraddudMF 18: 129-135. 115 Alimad 14914, Musnad al-makkiyyin, Hadith'Abd ºn b. Khanbash. 116 Bukhäri 120, al -111m,Man sa'ala wa huwa gä'im cäliman j, ilisan; Bukh5ari 2599; Muslim 3525; etc. '" Ibn Taymiyya only quotes the first part of this verse having already quoted it in full above. 1" Taraddud MF 18: 131-3. 119 See also the discussion of the two types of `authorization' (idhn) to act found in llasana, MF 14:383ff., in the context of treating God's authorization of intercession in Q. 2: 255 (cf. Qawl'Ali MF 8: 168), and the two types of `command' (amr) in Ibtül, MF 2: 289,320-330. 120See Muhyi al-Din Ibn 'Arabi, Fusi4s al-hikan:, ed. and commentary by Abis al 'A1ä' 'Afifi (Beirut: Dar al-kitäb al'arabi, n.d.), 72 and 191-2. Both passages from Fitsits al-hikam are quoted by Ibn Taymiyya in Ittihädiyyin MF 2: 251-2. 121 Ittihädiyyin MF 2: 264.

122 29,5: 412-3/3:103; Irada MF 8: 131,140; MF 8: 159; MF 266-7,3: 156-7/2: Minhäj 3: 16-7/1: 8: 197-8; MF 8:201-2; TücaMF 8:440-1; Jabr MF 8:476.
123 Minhäj 5:413/3: 103. 124 Minhüj 3: 156/2:29. 125 Iräda MF 8: 131. 126 MF 8: 197. 127 MF 8:201-2. 128Mardtib al-irdda MF 8: 188-9. This passage is translated by Meier, "The Cleanest about Predestination, " 328-9. See also the diagram in Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 67, illustrating the various combinations of will. 129 MF 8: 198. 130 Minhüj 5:414. See also Minhüj 3: 162-3 and 182-3; MF 8: 199. 131 Minhdj 3: 233/2: 47-8; MF 8: 159. 132 The traditional options for translating irdda have been `will' and `desire. ' `Will' is typically for both irada and mashi'a in works on Islamic theology. W. Montgomery Watt follows this used Watt in Islamic Creeds: A Selection (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1994). practice `volition' for mashi'a, but `volition' unfortunately has no corresponding verbal occasionally uses form. French writing on Islamic theology also usually translates both ird'da and mashi'a as `volonte' as in Louis Gardet, Dieu et la destinee de l'homme. When translating Ibn Taymiyya's Wdsitiyya creed, Laoust, La profession defoi d'Ibn Taymi}ya, renders irnda `volontc' and mashi'a `volonte souveraine, ' but he falls back to using only `vouloir' when mashi'a appears as a verb. The verbal noun irüda does not actually occur in the Qur'än. However, Arberry usually translates the verb form arada as `to desire' or occasionally `to intend. ' Also, iriida is often translated `desire' in the context of Sufism as in William C. Chittick's major works on lbn 'Arabi, The S:f Path of Knowledge, and The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-'Arabi's Cosmology (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1998). 1 have chosen to reserve `desire' for words like bughya, raghba, and tamannd. Thus, I use `will' for iräda. 133 Minhüj 3: 156/2:29. 134 Joseph Bell's brief discussion of mashi'a and irüda in Love Theory in Later 1-lanbalite Islam, 65-6, is not sufficiently precise and can be read to mean that both mashi'a and irada may carry As noted here, however, lbn Taymiyya uses mashi'a only in the generative and religious senses. generative sense. "s Minhäj 3: 16/1:266,3: 19/1:267,3: 155-6/2: 28,3: 188/2:36; Jabr MF 8:475. 3:258/2: 54. Cf. Alinhaj


Notes to Chapter Three continued
136 266,3: 158/2: Minhüj 3: 14-5/1: 29,3: 196/2: Ihtydj MF 8:340; Jabr MF 8:474,476-7. 39; 137 353; Thulth MF 17:101-2. 266,5: 412/3:102-3;Jabr MF 8:475; Hasana MF 14: Minh, j 3: 15/1: 138 266,3: 158-9/2: 29,3: 196/2: Minhdj 3: 14-5/1: 39-40; Irnda MF 8:98; Ihtýüj MF 8:340-5; Jabr MF 8:476-7; Thulth MF 17:101. 139 34. Minhdj 3: 181/2:
140 Minhüj 5: 411-2/3: 102-3.

's' Minhäj 3: 15/1: 29; 266,3: 17-8/1: 267,3: 159/2: Jabr MF 8:475-6.
142Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 56-60. D. Gimaret, "Un probleme de thcologie musulmane: Dieu veut-il les actes mauvais? Theses et arguments, " Studio Islamica 40 (1974): 573 and 41(1975): 63-92 (at 40: 17-23). See al-Juwayni, Kitüb al-irshäd ild gawüti' al-adilla fi uc ül al-i'tigdd, 99 (in the middle of `Bab al-qawl fi al-istil5la wa hukmihii"), for the identification of will, love, and good pleasure. In this text, however, al-Juwayni does not identify this view as that of al-Ashcari explicitly but only as that of those Ashcaris who are right (man hagqaqa min Gimaret locates the direct attribution to al-Ashlari only in non-Ashlar! texts a'immatinä). including the Mäturidi theologian al-Pazdawi (d. 593/1099). Gimaret also notes that he could find no grounds in a1-Ashcari's texts for attributing the view to the master himself. 143Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 233 n. 5. For further historical background, see especially Gimaret, "Un probleme de theologie musulmane: Dieu veut-il les actes mauvais? Theses et arguments, " 40: 17-23; and al-Julaynid, Qadijyat al-khayr wa al-.sparr ft al-f, kr alislü, ni, 42-51 (includes Mu<tazili views). See also, Gardet, Dieu et la destince dc 1'I,omme, 120-1; and Meier, "The Cleanest about Predestination, " 321-2. 14 Roger Arnaldez, "Apories sur la predestination et le libre arbitre dans Ic commentaire de Razi, " Melanges de 1'institut dominicain d'etudes orientales 6 (1959-1961): 123-136 (at 135-6). 145Muhammad b. 'Ali (Abü al-Hasan) b. 'Atiyya, Abü Tdlib al-Makki, an ascetic from Iraq, thought to represent the teaching of the Salimis. On this see L. Massignon and B. Radtke, "Sälimiyya, " E12 8:993-4. '16 Abo Nib al-Makki, Qi, t al-qulilb (n. pl.: n.p., n.d.), 1:127-8 (i. e. toward the end of Section 30 in Vol. 1). Al-Makki distinguishes between God's command which attaches only to religious obligations and God's love which attaches to both religious obligations and supererogatory works. For this reference, I am indebted to Awn, Satan's Tragedy and Redemption, 102-3. See Awn's discussion of the conflict between God's will (Wida) and command (amr) in Sufism on pp. general 101-9. 147Ibn Taymiyya makes the link clearly between the Ashlari equation of will and love and Sufi antinomianism in Iht(J'äj MF 8:337-370 and liasana MF 14:346-359. On this, see also Bell, Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 90-1.

148 8: 198. MF
149Minhaj 8:477-8. 'so Minhüj 's' Minhüj 152 Minhüj 153 Minhilj 154 Minhüj 155 Mlinhüj 1%Minhäj 157 Minhäj 158 Minhüj 159 Minhüj 3: 168-177/2: 31-4. This distinction is also made in Alinhäj 3: 18/1:267 and Jabr MF 3: 168-9/2: 31. 3: 172/2:32. 3: 174/2:32-3. 3: 171/2: 32. 3: 171/2: 32. 3: 169-170/2: 31,173/2: 32,176/2: 33. 3: 174/2: 32. 3: 170/2:32. 3: 175/2: 33. 3: 176-7/2: 33.

160 Minhäj 3: 188-190/2: 36-7. '61Minhaj 3: 163-4/2: 30,3: 182/2: 35,3: 207/2:41,5: 414/3:103;Ilititji, j MF 8:362-3;.1abr MF 8:478.


Notes to Chapter Three continued
162 Minhüj 3: 183-6/2: 35-6,5: 415-6/3: 103-4. Cf. Jabr MF 8: 512-3. 163 Minhäj 5: 408/3: 102. See also Minhaj 5:401/3: 100.

'o' Minhüj 5:411/3:102. Cf. Thulth MF 17:99.
16sIhtydj MF 8: 363. In this text Ibn Taymiyya notes that the correct attitude of the Sufi gnostic ('ürij) is to hate the unbelief and disobedience that God creates just as God hates it but to love God's wise purpose in creating these things just as God loves His wise purpose. 166 Jabr MF 8:478.

167 35. Minhüj 3: 183/2:
168 Bell, Love Theory in Later I anbalite Islam, 69-91. On pp. 70-3, Bell tries to understand how Ibn Taymiyya reconciles God's action for a wise purpose "with the orthodox Muslim conception of God's self-sufficiency" and explains that the shaykh solves the problem with God's self love. Bell's conclusion at the end of these pages is correct. For Ibn Taymiyya, creation is a natural outworking of the attributes of the perfect and self-sufficient God (p. 73). However, Bell's analysis is stilted and momentarily sidetracked by the faulty presupposition that lbn Taymiyya holds an `orthodox' (i. e. Ashlari) view of God's self-sufficiency. See above 2.4 for further analysis of Bell's error. See also Minhüj 3: 165-8/2: 30-1 and Ircnla MF 8: 144-5 on God's love. Bell's treatment of human love in Ibn Taymiyya's thought could be significantly augmented from Mahabba, a treatise to which he did not have access.

169 Bell discusses text in Love Theory in Later IIanbalite Islam, 77-80. this 170 Nubuwwüt 96-7,109-110.
"1 Nubuwivüt 110. 172 Reading hubbihi li-nafsihi instead of hubbihi nafsihi. 173 Nubuwwät 111. Bell, Love Theory in Later Ijanbalite Islam, 80, translates only the latter part of this passage, but in much the same way: "And among the accompaniments (Ialyd inm)of his love for himself is that it [his self] loves and wills that which he wills to do. And what he wills to do, he wills for an end (ghaya) which he loves. Thus, love Chubb) is the final cause for the sake of which all things have come into being. "




Prior research on Ibn Taymiyya's view of the human act This chapter continues the task of the last chapter, that of probing the

various ways in which Ibn Taymiyya adheres to the all-encompassing divine creation and to full human accountability to the Law. The focus on the human side shifts from divine legislation in the last chapter to the operation of the human act itself in this chapter. Yet, the underlying structure of the discussion is the same. From below, both the command and the act are parts of a creaturely world `secondary causes' (asbab) in which human choice, power, will, and obligation of play their respective roles. From above, God is the direct source of both the

the human act. commandand Severalscholarshave discussedIbn Taymiyya's doctrine of the human act.
Henri Laoust observes in his Essai that the shaykh sometimes admits secondary causality and criticizes the Ashcari doctrine of `acquisition' maintains full divine omnipotence. but that he also

Laoust adds in a footnote that the shaykh

often contradicts himself by affirming God's omnipotence and human freedom ' As will be seen in this chapter, the shaykh does struggle to relate simultaneously. the human and divine spheres rationally. By way of contrast, Victor Makari finds Ibn Taymiyya "inescapably convincing" in his view of the human act without 2 Makari also that Ibn Taymiyya was influenced explaining clearly why. suggests by causal chain theories of human action attributed to the AshWaritheologian alJuwayni and the philosopher Ibn Rushd.3 As will become clear below, the more


likely source of the shaykh's ideas is Fakhr al-Din al-Rizi.

Moreover, Ibn

Taymiyya maintains that God creates all existents directly; human acts are not links in a causal chain headed by a First Cause. Thomas Michel does not attempt Ibn Taymiyya's doctrine of the human act in detail. However, he does to analyze demonstrate the historically significant point that the shaykh's critique of the Ashcan doctrine of divine determination for undercutting human responsibility dimension to the traditionalist Hanbali censure of Kal3m theology. adds a new had not criticized the Ashcaris for this. 4 Earlier Hanbali polemicists Makari (1983) and Michel (1984) unfortunately do not take note of the far more thorough work of Daniel Gimaret on Ibn Taymiyya. Gimaret earlier and devotes a section to the shaykh's views in Minhüj and Irüda in his 1977 article on 5 Among the features of the shaykh's doctrine the human act in Hanbali thought. that Gimaret highlights are mediation between the AshWarisand the Multazilis, the Ashcari doctrine of `acquisition' (kasb), assertion that human polemic against is both real and created by God, and affirmation agency of some kind of

Gimaret also briefly mentions the two kinds of divine willsecondary causality. generative and legislative-that were treated in the previous chapter of this study.

In general, Gimaret is impressed with Ibn Taymiyya's ingenuity and originalityat least within Hanbalism-and 6 to human agency. Gimaret briefly qualifies his earlier appraisal of Ibn Taymiyya in a 1980 book on the human act in Sunnism as a whole. He justifies his exclusion of the Hanbalis, including Ibn Taymiyya, from the book by stating that they did not with the degree to which the shaykh gives a role


contribution to this doctrine in the Sunni tradition. make an original

In a short

footnote, Gimaret also mentions that he had not been aware when writing his IIanbalism of the extent to which Ibn Taymiyya was inspired by the article on Ashcari theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi. However, Gimaret does not demonstrate this linkage.? The present chapter examines Ibn Taymiyya's views afresh, going beyond

the work of Gimaret by drawing from a wider rangeof the shaykh's texts, making
the shaykh's debt to al-Räzi explicit, and showing that the shaykh is less

determinism and paradox than is al-R5zi. The next section of comfortable with this chapter provides background on the human act in Ka11m theology from Gimaret's 1980 book and the work of other scholars. Following this is Ibn

Taymiyya's view of the human act, his understanding of secondary causality, and his treatment of some terms and expressions that are controversial in Kalam discussions of the human act.


The human act in Kaläm theology According to Jahm b. Safwän, God is the sole Agent who creates human

K in a metaphorical sense. In the view traditionally acts, and humans act only to al-Ashcari by later Ashcans, God is likewise both the Creator and the ascribed Agent of the human act, but the human also acquires the act by a power originated by God in the person. However, there is no causal connection between the power (kasb) of the act, and this power does not determine the and the acquisition it. Gimaret points out that al-Ashcan may not in act/acquisition or any aspect of


9 fact reject secondary causality between the human power and the acquired act. Also, the Ashcan theologian Bägilläni maintains that the human power determines of the act. Yet, other Ashlaris, such as al-Juwayni in his Jrshäd, and an attribute later al-Amidi and Iji, deny the human power any efficacy in the act, and this is determinism that Ibn Taymiyya criticizes. 10 the strict Ashlari Another stream of AshWarithought on the human act is couched in causal terms. In al-Juwayni's later work al-CAgida a1-nizumiyya, the human power is by God to serve as an intermediate or secondary cause for His creation of created

the human act. Al-Shahrastäniseesin this the philosophers' doctrine of a chain of
leading back to the First Cause, God. Gimaret hesitates to interpret alcauses Juwayni's secondary causality along Neoplatonic lines of this kind because alJuwayni explicitly states that God creates the causes producing the human act directly. ' 1 In accord with strict Ashcarism, al-Ghazlli rejects the efficacy of

human power in his Iglisäd and is well known for his denial of efficacious
in the Tahäfut al falasifa. 12 However, recent research has secondary causality

that al-Ghazäli's views are complex and inconsistent. shown


Abrahamov and Richard Frank both argue that al-Ghazni ultimately, but not to a chain of natural cause and effect for which God is the First explicitly, adheres but in which God cannot intervene. 13 To make sense of the Cause and Sustainer, inconsistencies in al-Ghazäli's writings, Frank argues that al-Ghaz-i11is Ashlari in teaching but adheres to various Neoplatonic notions in his outward allegiance and belief. 14 It goes beyond the scope of this study to evaluate Frank's thesis. private


It will suffice to note here that Ibn Taymiyya in his view of the human act does adopt a Neoplatonic chain of causes in which God cannot intervene. not As suggested by Gimaret, a central background figure for Ibn Tayniiyya is Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi. Al-Räzi is inspired by the Muctazilis in his approach to the

involved in the human act, but he reduces Multazili libertarian causal relations freedom to either compatibilist freedom or compulsion. Gimaret notes that alRäzi either does not speak about the traditional AshWarinotion of `acquisition' or it as a word without meaning. Moreover, al-Räzi does not believe simply rejects that proofs from the Qur'an can give certain knowledge on the question of the human act because the sacred text may be used to prove either the Qadari or the decisive. 15 Al-R<<zi's primary rational proof Jabri theses; only rational proofs are is the preponderator (murajjih) have already seen Ibn argument, which we

Taymiyya use to prove the existence of God and refute the arguments of the the Kaläm theologians on the origin of the world (1.3.3 and philosophers and 2.2.2). Gimaret credits al-Räzi with having invented this argument even though the terms murajjih, rujhün (preponderance), and so forth, go back to Ibn Sind and Muctazi1i theologian cAbd al-Jabbär (d. 415/1025). 16 To begin the argument, the the Multazilis that God creates the human power by al-Räzi presupposes with which the human acts. In the Muctazili conception, this power is a power to its contrary. AI-Räzi argues that there is nothing to `tip perform either an act or the balance' for this human power in favor of one of the two equally possible acts; the human power cannot preponderate out of itself. It requires a preponderator

that makes one act preponderate(rajih) over the other. So, al-R1zi maintains,


God must supply this preponderator. Thus, the human act comes into existence by God creates.17 means of a human power and a preponderator, both of which Gimaret suggests that al-Räzi devises the preponderator argument to the Muctazilis by drawing out what he believes to be their implicit embarrass

determinism. The Jubbä'i Muctazilis, among them 'Abd al-Jabbärand his student Abü al-Husayn al-Basri, maintain that voluntary human acts arise not only from humanpower but also from a motive (dä'i). Like al-Räzi, Gimaret claims that this
Muctazili doctrine leads inevitably to determinism since the motive that God

determines the act.18 Richard Frank and Wilferd Madelung have both creates
argued that Gimaret is wrong in the case of'Abd al-Jabbir, for whom, they say,

does not necessitate the act. 19 Frank does not speak to the case of Abü the motive but Madelung contends that Abts al-Husayn, albeit with difficulty, al-Husayn, retains the non-necessitating character of motives and factors of preponderance in bringing about the human act. For Abt al-Husayn, it is human choice that decides 20 These the act. clarifications aside, it remains that al-Räzi imputes to Abü alHusayn the doctrine that the motive is necessitating, and, as Gimaret explains, he draws out the logical conclusion of compulsion (jabr). The motive necessarily

brings the act into existence. Otherwise, the act would require another motive prior to it, and so on ad infinitum. The stark choice is thus between compulsion

and determinism on the one hand and denying the Creator on the other. Al-Räzi
the Creator, and, unlike his AshWaripredecessors, he does chooses compulsion and hesitate to call himself a Jabri. 21 not


Apart from anti-Mu'tazili

conceives the operation of the polemic, al-Räzi

human act in compatibilist terms with parallels in the Muctazili psychology of voluntary action. The human is the agent of his act, but God creates and

determines the act. When the motive combines with the power that is equally

for an act and its contrary, then the act becomesnecessary. Gimaret powerful that al-Räzi sometimes calls the motive an `intention' (gasd) or a `will' notes (irada or mashPa),and he speaksof the "decisive will" (al-mashi'a al /izima) that
brings the act into existence necessarily. The human being thus acts by his will, but God creates this will. one who acts voluntarily. The human being acts involuntarily, but in the form of 22

In addition to this compatibilism, a passage in al-R1zi's Tafsir finds him 23 Al-Rizº the paradoxical character of human agency. underlining his sets out

interpreting the verse: "God has sealed the hearts [of the comments when their hearing" (Q. 2: 6). unbelievers] and After concluding that the quranic

divine determination of human acts versus human free choice falls evidence on into the realm of contradiction (hayyiz al-tdüi"ud), al-R;izi turns to the rational the Ashcaris, whom he calls Sunnis, and the Muctazilis. arguments of notes that Abü al-Qäsim al-Ansäri He first

(d. 512/1118)24 argues that neither the

Muctazilis nor the Sunnis (i. e. Ashcans) should be called unbelievers on this because both exalt God. Al-R5zi explains that the Sunnis emphasize God's matter that God must be the sole Creator (mi"jid) while the Muctazilis greatness and say God's wisdom (hikma) and say that it is unbefitting of God's sublimity to stress commit bad deeds (gabü'ih). After this, al-R zi goes on to a second `mystery'


(sirr), this time dealing with the cause of the human act. On the one hand, he writes, "Establishing the Divinity leads necessarily to the view of compulsion

(jabr). " On the other, "Establishing the Messenger leads necessarily to the view of [human] power. " In the latter view, that of the Multazilis, God's guidance

through the Messenger Muhammad implies human accountability and human to commit acts. Al-R521 proves the contrary `compulsion' position with his power Acts that are merely contingent or possible (mumkin) preponderator argument. determinative preponderator (murajjih) to bring them into existence. For require a God must create this preponderator. So, denying that human acts require al-Räzi, a preponderator is tantamount to denying the Creator, but affirming a

preponderator entails compulsion

and determinism

in human acts, and is

tantamount to denying the Messenger. In his Tafsir, al-R1zi then outlines a third mystery. We intuitively for a preponderator to determine sense a need

or nonexistence, but, following the logic of the previous something's existence this insight leads to compulsion in human acts. Conversely, we know mystery, intuitively that there is a difference between voluntary and involuntary acts,

between the good of praise and the bad of blame, and between command and prohibition. This entails the doctrine of the Multazilis. Al-R, izi concludes that it

though the dictates of reason and the exaltation of God's power and seems as lead into the realm of contradiction, and he closes his discussion by wisdom God to lead us to truth and to good ends. In this text, al-R,izl pits Muctazili asking libertarian freedom against compulsion and makes no attempt to render the two perspectives compatible.


Three slightly different outlooks may be detected in the above review of alRäzi's thought on the human act. First, he boldly upholds compulsion (jabr) in human acts while reducing Abü al-IIusayn al-Basri's libertarianism to compulsion he calls himself a Jabri. Second, he articulates a compatibilism by as well, and that God creates the human being to act involuntarily in the form of maintaining

Third, al-Räzi in his Tafsir highlights the contradiction one who acts voluntarily. between libertarian freedom and compulsion and makes no attempt to find a compatibilist solution.
As the following sections will bear out, Ibn Taymiyya's discussion of the human act bears many similarities to al-RLzi's. However, Ibn Taymiyya is

to admit any contradiction or paradox between divine creation of human reticent human agency and responsibility. He also appeals to God's wise purpose acts and in the creation of all things to soften the severity of divine determination, and he label `Jabri' to denote his position due to negative connotations linked rejects the to the term. In short, the shaykh holds fast to the compatibility of human agency

divine preponderance human acts. This, as well as the polemic against of and
Ashcarism, explains why Ibn Taymiyya may look-in strict Gimaret's words-

"much more anti-AshWari than anti-Muctazili, "25 even though the underlying metaphysic is fully deterministic.

4.3 4.3.1

Ibn Taymiyya on the compatibility God is the Creator, Originator,

divine creation and human action of and Preponderator the human act of

Ibn Taymiyya supportsthe view that God is the Creator of human acts with ] "[Abraham and Ishmael said, `Our Lord! Make (ijfalnü) such as, quranic verses


You and of our progeny a nation submissive to You"' (Q. 2: 128), us submissive to (jafalnä) leaders from among them guiding under our command" (Q. "We made 32: 24), and "Surely, the human being was created (khuliqa) fretful, when evil 19-21).26 For touches him, anxious, when good touches him, grudging" (Q. 70: that God is the Creator of the human act, Ibn Taymiyya turns to alrational proof Räzi's `preponderator argument' and a similar `originator argument'. The shaykh these extensively in Minhäj to counter the Muctazilism of al-Hilli. uses One full and clear version of the originator argument proceeds as follows. Ibn Taymiyya first notes that the human will or act originates after not existing. Now, he argues, an originated event either has an originator, or it does not. If it does not, then we have origination without an originator. If the act has an

it must be either the human, or God, or someone else. If it is the originator, human, then the act's originator itself requires a prior originator and so on ad infinitum. This is impossible because an infinite regress of originated events

in humans who are themselves originated. If the originator of the cannot subsist is someone else, the same difficulty of an infinite regress recurs as when the act is the human himself. originator Therefore, God must be the Creator and

human act and will. 27 Originator of the The preponderator argument has already been presented from al-Räzi above, its details need not be repeated here. For Ibn Taymiyya it yields the same and 28 The shaykh occasionally even interchanges result as the originator argument. the terms `origination' and `preponderance' in the course of the same argument. 29

The upshot of the preponderator and originator arguments is that God creates,


preponderates, originates human acts directly by supplying the complete cause or
that makes the respective act necessary. For Ibn Taymiyya, there is also no essential difference between voluntary and involuntary human acts from the perspective of divine creation. He explains that God creates human acts "through the intermediary of His creation of the servant's will and his power just as He creates the effects by their secondary causes (asbäb). He creates clouds through wind, rain through clouds, and plants ,30 More will be said about secondary causality later in this chapter through rain. (4.4). Here it suffices to note that modes of divine creation in the moral and

natural spheres are identical, the only difference being that human will and power are the relevant intermediaries in the moral realm. Moreover, all human activities are contingent upon God's will to create them. In support of this, Ibn Taymiyya frequently cites the verse, "To whomsoever among you wills to go straight. You (Q. 81:28-9). 31 He explains will not unless God, the Lord of the worlds, so wills" that this verse affirms against the Jabris that humans have a will and against the is dependent upon the will of God. 32 He also notes that Qadaris that this will belief in the human will is vital for belief in command, prohibition, promise and belief in the divine will is central to belief in determination. 33 threat, while Nonetheless, he maintains that human will and power are totally dependent upon divine creation for their operation. 34 Ibn Taymiyya discusses human power and will often, although not always precisely. The following two sections analyze this discourse further.



Human determining power and legislative power Ibn Taymiyya uses several terms to indicate human power: `power' (grrdra),




(täga), and `strength' or `potency' (quwtiva). All four of these Arabic terms the

`Power' and `capability' occur most commonly.

four pages in Minhij. 35 In Dar, are used synonymously in the course of

his 'ability' 06 that the `capability' of the human "is his `power' and shaykh says ., Ibn Taymiyya speaks of two kinds of human power. On the one hand is "the

legislative power that is the factor of [bodily] soundness (mtrsalilzi{i) for the act which is the crux of command and prohibition" 37 or "the power that is the

fi al-laklij). 38 On the for imposing obligation" (al-qudra al-mashrirta condition hand is "the determining power necessitating the act which is conjoined to other is not posterior to it. "39 The shaykh also calls the latter the thing empowered and that makes the act follow necessarily (mustalzim). The power that is a the power factor of soundness is both before and with the act, and it is a condition (s/jar! ) for the act to take place. The necessitating power is at the very time of the act and not it. 40 `Capability' falls into the same two types as noted in this passage prior to from the brief fatwa Istitä'a: Capability is of two kinds: anterior and effectual for two opposites, and the act. [The first] is the soundness factor for the conjoined and only with ja%t' wiza) for it. [The second] is the the admissibility factor (mu act and factor for the act and the realization factor (nnihagqiqa) for necessitating it. 41 In a number of texts, the shaykh uses the same quranic verses and hadith to illustrate the soundness factor senses of both `capability' and `power'. He quotes, for example, "It is the duty of people to God to take the Pilgrimage (hcjj) to the House, whoever is capable of making his way there" (Q. 3: 97). He argues that if


this were the capability conjoined to the act, then the obligation of the Pilgrimage would fall only on those actually taking the Pilgrimage. In this case those with

requisite means for the Pilgrimage would not be disobeying if they did not take it. 42 He also quotes the hadith in which the Prophet says, "When I have

"43 This you with a command, do of it what you are capable. commanded
capability is not conjoined to the act. Otherwise, the hadith would mean that they do only what they did. 44 As examples of the conjoined and were commanded to

the shaykh cites, "They were not capableof hearing, and necessitatingcapability,
they were not seeing" (Q. 11:20), and "Those whose eyes were covered from My hearing" (Q. 18: 101).45 Remembrance, and they were not capable of Ibn

Taymiyya adds in Istitü'a that the first type of capability is legislative and the second generative, and he ties these to the commanding, legislative words and the creative, generative words, respectively, which we observed in Chapter Three (3.4.3). 46 The shaykh's two senses of capability thus correspond to God's command and creation, respectively. Ibn Taymiyya attributes his doctrine of the two senses of power and

capability to "those who graspthe full truth among the Kalüimtheologians,jurists,
hadith specialists and Sufis. "47 He reports that the Muctazilis and their followers among the Shi9is affirm only the soundness factor type of human power while the Ashcaris and others grant only the necessitating power. The former group insists that humans could do other than what they do. The human power is effectual for either an act or its opposite. However, the shaykh says that this violates the

The latter group says that humans can do only what principle of preponderance. they actually do. Human power is only effectual for and conjoined to the act it


creates. Ibn Taymiyya notes, however, that some from this latter group uphold jurisprudence. 4s the former type of capability when working in the realm of

4.3.3 Imprecision

in the human will

In view of the fact that Ibn Taymiyya conceives the conjoined power or capability to be immediately effectual in producing the human act, the place of the human will is not apparent. Further investigation shows that the shaykh's

human action becomes imprecise when pressed beyond the basic psychology of

distinction betweenhuman power as the bodily soundness perform an act and to
the complete cause that brings the act into existence. We begin first with several passagessolely from Minhüj to demonstrate Ibn Taymiyya's variety of expression. One passage sets out human will and power in equivalent terms. Without giving names, the shaykh notes that people dispute is his will before the act, conjoined al-mukhtür):

over the `choosing agent' (al feil

to the act, or both? Likewise, is power prior to the act, conjoined to the act, or both? The shaykh then gives what he believes to be the correct view: "The

decisive will (al-iräda al fäzima) with the complete power (al-quc-a al-tümma) the act follow necessarily and are conjoined with it. The act does not come make to be by an unconjoined prior power only or an unconjoined prior will only. "49 Ibn Taymiyya observes that before the act there may be power but not will, or will but not power. There may also be resolve (ca-7m). Then he writes, "When the time for the act comes, the resolve strengthens and becomes an intention (gasd . The will at the time of the act is more perfect than it was before it, and likewise, the power at the time of the act is more perfect than it was before it. "50 Although


this discussion holds will and power in perfect symmetry, there is no attempt to explain how the two are related or whether they are identical. A second passage in Minhäj eliminates power as a necessitating factor in the act and gives this role solely to will. After noting that some say that the power is

before the act and others say that it is conjoined to it, Ibn Taymiyya articulateshis
own view: The power is the factor of soundness only, and it is with it and before it. As for [the factor] making it follow necessarily, it only occurs upon the the will with the power, not by the very thing that is called existence of power. The will is not part of what is called the power. This view is the one agreeing with the language of the Qur'an and, moreover, the language of the It is the most correct of the views. 51 rest of the nations. At a later point in Minhäj, the shaykh distinguishes will from power in similar terms. Power is the condition for imposing obligation, but will is not. Rather, the

is the condition for the existenceof the act.52 A fourth passage two pages just will
earlier in Minhdj gives less prominence to the will. After explaining the two

views that power is either before the act or at the time of the act, Ibn Taymiyya claims that there is both a power prior to and extending up to the time of the act and a second power necessitating the act. The power existing prior to the act is not sufficient to make someone believe or disbelieve. God must single out the

believer with special blessing and produce his `will' to believe. This `will' is part of "the entirety of the power conjoined with the act."53 I-Icre, the will has been subsumed under the power that is complete and produced directly by God. In a fifth passage from Minhaj, Ibn Taymiyya says that the human act follows

alnecessarily when the decisive will and the complete potency (al-gtn>>titwa tümma) combine (Utama'). He then explains that what brings an act into existence


is the complete cause (al-'ilia al-tamma) which is necessarily conjoined to the act and not prior. 54 there are a number of other texts presenting similar

Beyond Minhäj,

diversity. A discussion of necessitating capability in Dar' construes capability as will. Ibn Taymiyya notes that the Salaf interpret the verse, "They were not

capable of hearing, and they were not seeing" (Q. 11:20), to mean that

something-in this casehearing and seeing-is not possible not on account of a
lack of power but due to a lack of will. The shaykh writes, "Their souls were not

capable of willing it, even though they had the power to do it if they had so willed. This is the state of one whose caprice or corrupt opinion diverted him from listening to the books of God sent down and following them. "55 Elsewhere Ibn Taymiyya says that a decisive will is needed to make an act necessary, but he also that this will falls under the ensemble of factors constituting the conjoined allows 56 A brief passage in Kasb subsumes not only will but also every other capability. cause that may be involved in the production of an act under the conjoined power: "Power here is absolutely nothing but an expression of that from which the act [comes] with respect to intention, will, soundness of [body] members, created potency in the limbs, etc. Therefore, it must be conjoined with the act."57 In sum, Ibn Taymiyya maintains one power that is the soundness of the human body for performing acts that is the condition for divine imposition of obligation. He also upholds a second power-variously called will, power,

capability, or some combination thereof-that

the human act and is generates

directly by God. Beyond this, nothing more precise may be said about created how the shaykh conceives the psychology of human action.


4.3.4 Reconciling the Jabris and the Qadaris with compatibilist Ibn Taymiyya occasionally articulates

freedom of human

the compatibility

accountability with divine creation of human will and power by reconciling the Ashcari Fakhr al-Din a1-R5zi with the Muctazili Abo al-Iiusayn al-Basri. In

Minhüj, the shaykh quotes a passage from al-Räzi's Arha in in which the Ashcari theologian accuses Abü al-Husayn of contradiction. On the one hand, al-Räzi

argues, Abü al-Husayn goes to the extreme in Muctazilism by asserting that it is knowledge that humans bring their acts into existence (äd). necessary On the

Abü al-Husayn falls into extreme Jabrism because he holds that the other, -izi occurrence of the act is dependent on a motive (dü'i), which al-R;, understands 58 Ibn Taymiyya accuses the as necessary to preponderate the existence of the act. Shidis Nasir al-Din al-Tüsi (d. 672/1274)59 and Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hill! of the finds in Abü al-Ilusayn. 60 same contradiction that al-Räzi Despite this accusation, Ibn Taymiyya goes on to use al-R, izi's deterministic

reading of Abü al-Husayn's motive theory to argue, sophistically it will appear,
for the compatibility of the Muctazili and AshWariviewpoints. He maintains that

Abü al-Iiusayn's theory is equivalent to the teaching of the majority of Sunnis, he claims that al-Juwayni, Abü Khäzim b. Abo Yadli (d. 527/1133), 61and the and Karrämis come close to this position. 62 The existence of human power alone is inadequate for an act to become preponderate. A motive, that is, a complete preponderator, must be conjoined to this power for the existence of the act to become necessary.63 According to the shaykh, the Muctazilis err only when they 64 Ibn Taymiyya claim that the motive arises apart from God's will and power.


also uses the deterministic interpretation of Abü al-Husayn al-Basri to reconcile two data of necessary knowledge that appear to be contradictory. As in the

passage translated below from Istitäca, the shaykh affirms first that it is necessary knowledge that voluntary acts are attributed to the human who is their agent and

originator (muhdith). Second, he contends that it is necessaryknowledge that humanwill and action require an originator or preponderatorfrom God. Thus, Ibn
Taymiyya maintains that both the Qadaris and the Jabris have part of the truth on the human act. The human act truly exists, and it is fully dependent upon God for its existence. Moreover, he claims that the necessary knowledge of voluntary human agency is not incompatible with the necessary knowledge of the need of the human act for a preponderator, and he sees no contradiction in this. '' The Qadaris and the Jabris separate into two contradictory sides. Each of them is correct in what it establishes but not in what it denies. Abü alIIusayn al-Basri and whoever follows him among the Qadaris claim that the knowledge that the servant originates (yuhdith) his acts and his actions is necessary knowledge and that denying that is sophistry. Ibn al-Khatib [Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi] and his like among the Jabris claim that the knowledge that preponderating the servant's act over his not acting requires a preponderator apart from the servant is necessary. [This is] because one of the two positions of something which is possible and has two equal positions will not become preponderant over the other except with a preponderator. Both of these views are correct. However, the claim that the necessary implication of one of them is to deny the other is not correct. The servant is originating his acts [and] acquiring (kdsib) them, and this origination is in need of an originator. The servant is acting, fabricating (sünic), and originating, and his being acting, fabricating, and originating after he was not [thus] must inevitably have [another] agent. As He said, "To whomsoever among you wills to go straight"-When he wills to go straight, he begins going straight. Then, He said-"You will not, unless God, Lord of the worlds, so wills" (Q. 81: 28-9). All of what is known necessarily, and what traditional (samdi) and rational ('ag1F)proofs demonstrate is true. Therefore, there is neither might nor power except by God. The servant needs God. [I-le has] an essential for Him in his essence,his attributes, and his acts. Nonetheless, he still need has an essence,attributes, and acts.66


It is apparent that Ibn Taymiyya effects his reconciliation of Fakhr al-Din al-Räz! and Abü al-IHusayn al-Basri in this passage by reading the term `originate' (yuhdith) in a much different sense from the usual Muctazili sense of `create'. In Istitäfa, from which this passage is taken, the shaykh does not elaborate how humans may be said to `originate' their acts, but he does broach this question in Minhäj. There he explains that God's origination (ihdüth) of acts means that He

them disjoined from Himself and subsisting in humans whereas human creates

origination (ihdäth) of acts meansthat acts originate (hadatha) from humans by 67 God creates. Thus, human `origination' of acts does their will and power that
involve human `creation' of acts for Ibn Taymiyya as it would for the not Multazilis. The shaykh follows al-Räzi in insisting on divine preponderance of of this with human

the human act, and he maintains the compatibility

by replacing a libertarian account of human agency with the simple accountability existence of a human agency willed and created by God. In order to uphold

human voluntary action, it suffices for Ibn Taymiyya that human beings have acts that exist in reality just as they have essencesand attributes that are real. If human beings may be said to have choice and freedom in the shaykh's thought, it is only in a compatibilist sense.

4.3.5 The substrate principle: Humans are the agents of their acts in reality In a number of texts, and especially in Minhüj, Ibn Taymiyya distinguishes between God who creates the human act (fic!) and the human who is its agent (fü'il) by limiting attribution of the act to the substrate (malia11)(i. e. the human) in


it subsists. The shaykh draws this distinction to counter the Multazili which 68 God that a God who creates acts of disobedience is bad and unjust. objection be called to account for creating bad acts because 1-le creates them in a cannot than Himself, namely, human beings, and He is not qualified by substrate other them. By virtue of this `substrate principle', only the substrate is qualified by the in it. 69 acts subsisting The shaykh explains that God's creation of acts in humans is like God's their attributes. God creates some black and some white, some tall and creation of

So also, He createssomebelieving and some disbelieving, some short, and so on.
In all of these cases, it is not God but humans some unjust and some oppressed. by what He creates. God is not black or white, tall or short, or who are qualified in whom He creates these things. 70 believing or unbelieving but only the humans From the human perspective, humans are the agents of their acts in reality (hagiqatan)-not as Jahm b. Safwln would have it-by metaphorically virtue of

God has created to subsist in them. Humans act by their will, power, and what (ikhtiyär), and judgments for their acts revert back to them and not to choice God. 7' Ibn Taymiyya suggests that if things that cannot choose may even be said to come from a certain place-as particular plot of ground-then fruit from a certain tree or a crop from a attributed to those with choice,

acts are a fortiori

God is their Creator. 72 As the shaykh puts it in one discussion of the even though human act, "The Qur'an has informed that servants believe, disbelieve, act, deeds, acquire, obey, disobey, pray, give alms, undertake the Hajj, commit the cUmra, kill, commit adultery, steal, tell the truth, lie, cat, drink, undertake fight, and wage war. ,73 Thus, both acts of obedience and disobedience are


to humans, and humans thereby become worthy attributed

of reward and

blame.74 commendationor punishmentand
Passagesemploying the substrate principle often include polemic against the ideas that God's creation (khalq) and act (ft'1) are identical to the thing created

75 Ibn Taymiyya attributes (makhlüq) and the thing enacted(maf ill), respectively. these views to Jahm b. Safwän, al-AshWari, their followers in the four Sunni and
Ibn cAgil and Ibn al-Jawzi. 76 Ile explains schools of law including the Hanbalis that their intention is to avoid saying that the human act has two agents (i. e. God human). 77 He counters that one must distinguish an act from the thing and the from the thing created. Thus, the human act is the act of the enacted and creating human in reality and a thing created and enacted by God. God creates the act, but He does not commit the act. If it is said that the act (fid!) is His, it means that it is (maf iii) by Him in another. The shaykh attributes this view to Sunnis enacted (d. 510/1117), 78to Sufis on the report of algenerally on the report of al-Baghawi

79 384/994), and to a number of I;Ianbalis. He also tells Kaläbädhi (d. 380/990 or that it was the last of two positions held by Abü Yalla, and he attributes it to the us
Hanafi law school, possibly having in mind the M ituridi school of theology that IIanafis. 8° was prominent among the Gimaret notes that Ibn Taymiyya's

distinction between the act and the thing enacted corresponds to the Mäturid! theological position, and he suggests that Ibn Taymiyya or an earlier Ijanbali,

idea from the Maturidis.81 Abü Yad1ä, may have borrowed this such as
In view of the substrate principle, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God is not unjust in what He creates. As for why God would create unbelief and


has wise purposes in this. 82 In disobedience, Ibn Taymiyya asserts that God Minhij the shaykh also provides a fortiori to defend God's retributive arguments

justice further. He argues that if a human is not unjust to punish his servant for injustice that God creates, then God Himself is a fortiori not unjust to punish

injustice that He creates. Likewise, if someone is not considered unjust to chastise that is necessary to gain a certain benefit, then God Himself is a another when fortiori do the same.83 In a similar argument two pages later in not unjust to

Minhäj, Ibn Taymiyya explains that this is in keeping with the God who is not like but Who, in His right to perfection, is given the highest similitude. 84 anything, These arguments and the substrate principle that lay behind them may not have struck Ibn Taymiyya as especially convincing. In Nascma, which will be

in the next chapter, he goes beyond the substrate principle and attempts examined to absolve God of responsibility for creating bad deeds by locating the ultimate human disobedience in nonexistence. cause of


Ibn Taymiyya's view of divine creation by means of secondary causes

4.4.1 An overview of secondary causality In a previous subsection (4.3.1), it was noted that Ibn Taymiyya says that God creates the human act by means of human will and power just as He creates in the natural world through secondary causes like clouds and rain. Yet, plants what exactly is meant by `secondary causality'? In Tadmuriyya the shaykh gives an overview of his views on this that is translated below. This will serve as the basis for exploration of this question in other texts, especially in Kasb, which contains much illustrative material. In Tadmuriyya, Ibn Taymiyya affirms that


God is Creator, Lord, and Sovereign of all things and that He is powerful over all things and knows all things. Nothing occurs apart from His will (mushi'a). Then the shaykh continues: Along with this, [the People of Guidance and Prosperity] do not deny what God creates of secondary causes (asbüb) by which He creates effects is 1-le-said, "Till when [the (musabbabät). For example, He-Exalted have carried a heavy-laden cloud, We drive it to a land that is dead. winds] Then We send down rain to it, and thereby We bring forth every kind of fruit" (Q. 7: 57). He-Exalted is He-said, "By [the Book] God guides follows His good pleasure to ways of peace" (Q. 5: 16). Hewhomever Exalted is He-said, "By [this parable], He leads many astray, and by it He many" (Q. 2: 26). Thus, He informed that He acts by means of guides secondary causes. Whoever [i. e. a strict Ashcan] says that He acts with them (cindahü) by means of them (bihü) opposes what the Qur'an has brought and and not denies what God has created of potencies (qutis, and natures (tabü'ic). This d) is similar to denying what God created of potencies that are in living beings by which living beings act, like the power of the servant. Likewise, [i. e. a Muctazili] makes them the creators of that has given whoever to God and attributed His act to another. associates That is because there is no cause among the causes but that needs for its effect to occur, and there must inevitably be an another cause impediment (mani') impeding what is entailed by it (nurgta(Iähu) when God does not repel [the impediment] from the [cause]. There is not one thing in does anything independently when it wills, except God alone. existence that He-Exalted is He-said, "And of everything We have created pairs, that (Q. 51: 49), that is, that you may know that the you might remember" Creator of the pairs is one. Therefore, whoever [i. e. Ibn Sind] says that from God only one [thing] from one but one is ignorant. 85 Indeed, emanates because nothing emanates there is no one thing in existence from which emanates anything aloneneither one [in number] nor two-except God who created all the pairs the earth makes to grow, their souls, and what they do not among what know. Burning does not occur except by the fire in which God created heat in a substrate receptive to burning. When [fire] falls on a phoenix, and like, it does not burn them, and a body may be coated sapphire, and such that prevents it from burning. As for the sun from which with something rays come, there must inevitably be a body that receives the reflection of the it. When there is an obstacle such as a cloud or a roof, the rays do rays upon below it. 86 not pass


In other texts Ibn Taymiyya gives numerous examples of God's creation through God may create market price rises by means of (hi-sabab) secondary causality. beneficence. 87 God may human injustice and price drops by means of human humans their provision by the usual means of human endeavor or by the grant jinn. 88 God may make an eclipse or a strong cold wind rarer means of angels and 89 God may make the celestial bodies (kmi'«kib), the a cause of chastisement. blowing of the wind, and the light of the sun and the moon secondary causes of in the earth.90 Also, invocation and intercession are among the originated events brings to pass what Ile decrees.`' causes by which God secondary Marriage and

intercourse are the divinely established customary causes of begetting sexual 92 God has made deeds causes of reward and punishment just as Ile has children. illness and illness a cause of death.93 made poison a cause of

4.4.2 Polemic on secondary causality The Tadmuriyya passage translated above includes polemic, first, against that God creates only `with' or `at' (rind) the instance of the causes, those who say but not `by' (bi) them, and, second, against those who give human power the to create acts. The former charge is leveled against the tradition of strict ability Ashcarism in which whatever appears to be causally connected is simply a matter God creating things conjoined at the same place and time. The human act does of human power, but only `with' it. 94 The latter charge is not occur by means of directed against the Muctazilis who argue that humans must create their own acts in order to be held properly accountable for them and also to free God from deeds. For Ibn Taymiyya, however, this is tantamount to giving God creating evil


(shirk) in His creative enterprise, and it must be rejected because God an associate is the sole Creator. A discussion of secondary causality in Irüda adds a third

95 While deny causes as the means by which God creates, others some charge. disregard causes that God has commanded such as invoking God and performing deeds. The latter think that whatever God determines will happen righteous they do what God has commanded. The shaykh counters this with whether or not

found in the traditions: two exchanges
"[Some asked the Prophet], `Should we not leave deeds and trust completely has been written? ' He said, `No! Perform deeds! Each is on what It was said, "`0 facilitated into that for which has he was created. 9,96 .... Messenger of God! Have you seen medicine by which we may be cured, by which we may invoke [God], and Godfear by which we may fear charms [God]? Do they ward off anything of God's determination? ' I-Ie said, `They are part of God's determination. "' Ibn Taymiyya adds, furthermore, that God makes one thing a cause of another that what God has determined has been determined to happen by means of and secondary causes. In summing up these positions in Irüda, Ibn Taymiyya cites a he elsewhere attributes to al-Ghazzli and Ibn al-Jawzi in their saying, which (tawakkiul): 98 writings on complete trust Turning to the causes (asbäb) is giving associates in [violation of God's] (shirkfi al-tawhid). Obliterating the causes by denying that they uniqueness are causes is an aberration with respect to reason. Abandoning the causes is defamation of the Law. 99 entirely In the context of this dictum in Iräda, it appears that the Multazilis are those `turning to the causes' in their attribution of the creation of acts to humans. The Ashcaris `obliterate' the causes, and those who fail to do what God has strict because of determination `abandon' the causes. The shaykh also commanded this aphorism in other places with minor changes of wording, but its mentions


interpretation is not always apparent. '°°

In one text, however, he gives an "Turning to the For Ibn

discussion that clarifies what he thinks it means. extended

" is depending upon them and putting one's hope in them. causes,

Taymiyya, there is no cause worthy of this because all causes depend upon God for their origination. Nothing originates itself. Here he criticizes the philosophers the astrologers at length for believing that the motions of the nine celestial and 101He also identifies the naturalists spheres are the causes of all originated events. the Muctazilis with this first part of the aphorism. Moving to its second part, and he notes that obliterating the causes is not only an imperfection in reason but also defames the Law, and he identifies this position with many of the Kal5m Ashcaris. 102Regarding the third part, the shaykh says theologians, presumably the that abandoning the causes entirely is not only defamation of the Law but also irrational, and he censures those who think their deeds play no role in what will divine determination. 103 For Ibn Taymiyya, the first happen to them because of of the aphorism negates God's creation and the second two parts undercut the part Law.

4.4.3 Secondary causality from the divine perspective is instrumental A key point in the Tadmuriyya quotation above is that the secondary causes by which God creates do not in themselves have the ability to entail their effects. No secondary cause can act alone. Examples from Kash clearly illustrate that the thus purely instrumental from the divine perspective. Ibn Taymiyya causes are that God punishes via human effort: "Fight against them; God will chastise notes them by your hands" (Q. 9: 14). Then, he explains that "our hands are the


secondary causes, the instruments (ülät), the intermediaries (aivsat), and the tools " 104 In Kasb he also illustrates the (adawät) in bringing the chastisement to them. (ta'thir) of human power on the human act with the images of a pen efficacy hewing, and a stick striking. 105 The pen, for example, is not writing, an adz (sharik) in the act of writing. considered an associate The implication is that God

has no associates in creating the human act. Nevertheless, the shaykh maintains (athar) of the pen cannot be ignored, and it is said that the act is that the effect `by' or `with' (bi) it. Here the shaykh adds in passing that God is given performed highest similitude. '06 Apparently, He is alerting the reader that he is not the describing the very modality of God's action but simply trying to necessarily it in accord with the principle of giving God the highest human speak well of I have described in Chapter One (1.4.2-3). perfection, which Following through

two pages later in Kasb, Ibn Taymiyya fields the on the pen and stick similes that no one has seen a writer's objection pen rewarded or a striker's stick

The images obviously fail him at this point, and he does no more than punished. divert attention from the divine perspective to the human. He asserts that humans in reality and do indeed have a will. are agents He adds that every reasonable

knows intuitively that there is a difference between someone praying or person committing from fever, that is, there is a adultery and someone shivering

involuntary (i(ftirüri) acts.107 distinction between voluntary (ikhtiyäri) and The shaykh's integration of God's guidance into the scheme of secondary causes also illustrates their instrumentality. The Tadmuriyya quote provides an

"By [the Book] God guides whomever follows His good pleasure to example: (Q. 5: 16). The Book, that is, the Qur'an, is a means by which God ways of peace"



In Kasb Ibn Taymiyya explains further that God's command is a It is part of the

distinguishing obedience from disobedience. secondary cause

ensemble of causes that brings God's determination of human destinies to fruition in happiness or punishment. The command in itself does not necessitate an

obedient act, but it is the instrument that determineswhether an act is an act of
disobedience. 108 obedience or In other texts, Ibn Taymiyya gives additional discussion on the dependence the secondary causes on other causes and of these on the will of God. He notes of that fire cannot bum, food cannot fill the stomach, and drink cannot quench thirst

by themselves. Thesethings require at least one other secondarycause. Heat, for
example, requires two causes. It requires the agent fire, and it requires a

body that is receptive to heat and burning. 109 Rain receptacle (gäbil), such as a cannot make plants grow without air, soil, and other such things, and anyone who help is depending on a great number of other causes beyond his own provides "° According to the shaykh, there is ultimately no secondary cause and no power. created thing that can be a complete cause (villa lümma or sabab trimm) entailing its effect necessarily. Everything is totally dependent on the will of God. It is God who perfects the combination of causes and conditions (shuriit) and removes impediments (mawäni') so that something comes into being. "" "If God does not

make the causes perfect and repel the impediments, what is intended will not happen. What He-Glory be to Him-wills is, even if people do not will it, and

is not unless God wills. "1 12 It is not sufficient, for example, that what people will a couple has sexual intercourse in order to bear a child; God must also will to


make the woman pregnant. Likewise, good deeds are a cause, but not a sufficient happiness; God must also grant His mercy and pardon. 113 cause, of

4.4.4 Secondary causality from the human perspective is natural Even though the secondary causes appear to be purely instrumental and cannot bring effects into existence apart from God's will, Ibn Taymiyya still presents them as having certain and predictable effects once activated by that will.

As noted in the Tadmuriyya quotation above, fire burns whatever is receptive to
burning, and roofs and clouds necessarily block the rays of the sun. 114 Also, the

line, "There must inevitably be an impediment impeding what is entailed by [the
cause]," strongly suggests that causes automatically entail effects apart from impediments. The implication appears to be that once God removes impediments the causes are free to exercise their efficacy in a natural causal fashion, at least from the human perspective. Once the cloud is removed (by God's will), it would seem that the sun's rays will naturally heat the earth. Here God's direct willing of

every event begins to recedefrom the picture. In Kasb the shaykhpresentshuman
deeds and recompense in a similarly naturalistic fashion. After discussing the

divine side of the human act at some length in this fatwa, Ibn Taymiyya turns to the human basis of reward and punishment. Know that God-Exalted is He-created the act of the servant to be a cause entailing praiseworthy or blameworthy effects (üthür). A righteous deed like prayer... is followed immediately by light in [the servant's] heart, gladdening in his chest, tranquility in his soul, increase in his knowledge, confirmation in his certainty, strength in his reason, and other than that. [This includes] the strength of his body, the splendor of his face, his renouncing abomination and wrong, fostering love for him in human hearts, repulsion of trials from him, and other things that he knows and we do not know. Furthermore, these effects of light, knowledge, certainty and otherwise, which occur to him, are secondary causes leading to other effects


the same kind, of another kind higher than these, and so on. Therefore, it of has been said that from the reward of a good deed is a good deed after it and that from the punishment of an evil deed is an evil deed after it. One who deed like lying, for example, is punished immediately by commits an evil darkness in the heart, hardness and tightness in his chest, hypocrisy, forgetting what he has learned, blocking of the door to restlessness, knowledge he was seeking, a decrease in his certainty and reason, disgrace, hatred of him in human hearts, boldness in other sin of the same kind or of a God sets him right by His mercy. ' 15 different kind, and so on, unless This naturalistic account of reward and punishment shifts the focus from God's to the responsibility of humans for their destiny. all-pervasive will Yet, its

involves a kind of inevitability in the results of acts, and this shifts the naturalism focus back to God who set up this cause and effect world. The shaykh goes on in Kasb to explain that God has bound certain causes to certain effects with a `firm bond' (rabt muhkam) such that, from the perspective of creatures, the operation of the secondary causes is that of natural causality. Someone who eats gets full.

Someone who drinks quenches his thirst. God could break these causal bonds if He willed. He could take the potency out of food or place an impediment in the

He could even make people full and quench their thirst by some other stomach. means if He so willed. However, humanity cannot violate the causal bonds that

God has arranged. No one can eat without getting full or drink without satisfying his thirst. 116 Following this in Kasb, Ibn Taymiyya attributes everything to God's wise purpose. God has a wise purpose in sending His messengers, and He has a wise purpose in creating the secondary causes and effects. Yet, the shaykh in

Kasb also relates everything back to God's vanquishing power, operational will, and even pre-eternal knowledge. God's determination is a mystery (sirr); it is ' 17 All-Wise, and All-Merciful.

enough to know that God is "All-Knowing,


4.4.5 Conclusion on secondary causality To sum up this overview of secondary causality in Ibn Taymiyya's thought, the divine perspective appears to be that of a real but inert world of tools and raw materials that is wholly dependent upon God's will for its every movement. God

creates by means of these instruments in accord with His wise purpose. The
human perspective is that of a world of naturalistic cause and effect and reward and punishment. The language of secondary causality does not resolve the

rational difficulty that God's all-encompassing will poses for free human agency and moral accountability. The shaykh's comparison of human agency to the

models instrumental causality from the divine writing of a pen successfully
perspective, but it fails to make sense of voluntary human agency. When Ibn Taymiyya is faced with the injustice of an instrument like a pen being punished for what it writes, he can do no more than switch from the divine to the human In the course of his argument, he simply stops trying to explain how perspective. God creates human agency, and he appeals instead to rational intuition of the

differenceson the human level betweenacts that are good and bad, and voluntary
and involuntary. Despite such rational difficulties, Ibn 'Faymiyya's notion of

secondary causality provides him with a powerful rhetorical tool for speaking of the compatibility the divine and human spheres and for identifying error in of

those he believes falter in one of the two spheres.



Ibn Taymiyya on controversial terms relating to human agency

4.5.1 No Ashcari acquisition (kasb) and no independent efficacy (ta'tlrir) It remains in this chapter to examine what Ibn Taymiyya writes about certain controversial terms and issues in the Kaläm tradition, namely, human `efficacy' in acts, human `acquisition' of acts, divine obligation of what humans

are not able to do (taklif ma lä yutäq), and `compulsion' (jabr).
Gimaret have both noted that Ibn Taymiyya

Laoust and

rejects the AshWari view

`acquisition' (kasb), and this will be reviewed below. ' 18 However, they do not mention that the shaykh still employs the term to refer to the act itself, as in "T he
is the acquisition. "' 19 Ibn Taymiyya act also suggests that `acquiring' does not

differ from saying that someone "acts, brings into existence, originates, fabricates, performs deeds, etc."120 For the shaykh, the term also indicates that human acts have results. The act that God creates in the person is "an acquisition by which

[the person] attracts profit to himself and by which he repels harm from
himself. " 121 In Kasb Ibn Taymiyya links acquisition to the quranic verse, "What

[the soul] has acquired is accountedto it, and what it has acquired is held against
it" (Q. 2: 286). Thereafter, he observes that the acquisition appears as the act

through which human beings gain what they need to develop from deficiency to perfection. 122

Ibn Taymiyya disparages the strict Ashcan concept of human acquisition

with the aphorism, "There are three things having no truth: the `leap' of alNazzäm, the `states' of Abü Häshim, and the `acquisition' of al-Ashlari. "123 The

God is the Creator of the human voluntary act, shaykh reports that for al-AshWari
the human then acquires conjoined to his temporally originated power in which


the same substrate. The existence of the originated power distinguishes voluntary from involuntary acts. However, this power has no efficacy in bringing the act into existence, and the human being is not the agent of his act. The shaykh

believes that this is irrational, and he explains that this comes very close to the denial of human power set forth by Jahm b. Safwzn. 124 In Minhüj, he complete writes, As for the Jabris such as Jahm and his followers, according to them, the servant has no power at all. Al-Ashcari agrees with them in meaning. He says that the servant does not have an efficacious power (qudra mu'aththira). He maintains something he calls a power, and he makes its like its nonexistence. Similarly for the acquisition that he existence 125 maintains.
Ibn Taymiyya asserts that merely conjoining the power to the acquisition without

positing any efficacious link erases any distinction between the powerful and the impotent or between power and any other human attributes, such as life, knowledge, or Will. 126 Moreover, there is then no difference between voluntary involuntary acts.127 and It was noted in the discussion of secondary causality above (4.4) that the efficacy (ta'thir) that Ibn Taymiyya himself posits between human power and the act itself is not of the kind that produces effects independently. causal efficacy is solely God's prerogative. Independent

Human power is rather a condition

and a secondary cause for God's creation of the act. It is thus apparent that Ibn Taymiyya can criticize al-Ashcari for no more than failing to maintain that human power is among the secondary causes by which God creates the act. In this

the shaykh also rejects a third sense of efficacy proposed by al-ßagilläni in regard, which the human power is efficacious in determining an attribute or state of the


act, but not the act itself. only an attribute-that

The shaykh says that this posits something-even


falls outside the domain of God's creation. He argues that

there is no difference between giving efficacy to a speck or an elephant apart from God. Both equally involve giving God an associate (shirk). 128 Ibn Taymiyya has no difficulty employing the terms `efficacy' and

`acquisition' according to his own senses despite the fact that he believes Ashcari theologians have stripped them of meaning. However, the shaykh is much more to say that God obligates humans to do what they are not able or that God reticent them to act. As the next two subsections show, Ibn Taymiyya believes compels that these two ways of speaking, even if given correct senses, should not be used because they too easily suggest ideas that are inappropriate for God.

4.5.2 No divine `obligation of what one is not able' (takff frai /ä yutüq) Closely connected to the issue of human power is that of the `obligation of is not able' (taklif mä la yutäq). what one On a number of occasions, Ibn

Taymiyya notes that two different kinds of obligation come under this label. The first kind is obligating people to do what they have no power to do, as in obligating humans to fly, the blind to vocalize copies of the Qur'an, the

chronically ill to walk, or the sitting simultaneously to stand. The shaykh asserts that most Sunnis, including most Ashcans, deny that this kind of obligation is found in the Law. The second kind is obligating people to do that for which they are capable in the sense of being sound of body and limb. However, the obligated does not commit the act because he lacks the will to do it and is preoccupied with


something else. For example, an unbeliever could believe but does not do so because he is preoccupied by unbelief.

According to Ibn Taymiyya, the first kind of `obligation of what one is not
able' does not occur, but the second kind does. However, he does not believe that

the secondkind should be given this label even though the Ash'ari theologian alBägilläni, the Hanbali Abü Yallä, and many others do identify it as such. He explains that calling the secondkind `obligation of what one is not able' is based
on the Ashcan principle that the human power or capability to act is present only at the time of the act and is only for the act that actually takes place. Thus, all imposition of obligation prior to an act itself is obligating beyond human

129Presupposing his doctrine abiIity. of two capabilities, Ibn Taymiyya argues that this is not in keeping with the teachings of the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the Salaf

becausethe Qur'an explicitly statesthat God has obligated acts of which one is This includes things like Pilgrimage and fasting (cf. Q. 3:97, etc.) 130 capable.
Ibn Taymiyya also addressesa more extreme version of `obligation of what is not able', that of al-Räzi. 131 The following is based on the full discussion one

of this found in Jabr. For al-Räzi, this doctrine is not just a matter of obligating
something of someone who lacks potency, as in commanding the blind to see. Rather, God obligates what is rationally impossible, as in combining two

contradictories. Moreover, al-Räzi believes that this is found in revelation. The prime example is when God obligated the Prophet's uncle Abu Lahab to believe

while knowing and revealing that he would not do so.

Since God's

foreknowledge could not have been contradictedlest He becomeignorant, it was
inherently impossible that Abü Lahab believed. Additionally, obligation of


from God's knowledge of what will happen is `obligation of what anything apart is not able'. '32 one Ibn Taymiyya can only evade Räzi's conclusions by switching from the divine perspective adopted by al-Räzi's argument to the human historical eternal from the necessitating divine knowledge to the secondary causal perspective, and human power. Ibn Taymiyya explains that God commanded Abü Lahab sense of to believe and that God did not put Abu Lahab in the predicament of having also to believe that he would not believe. God did not tell the Prophet to share the "[Ab[i Lahab] will burn in a fire of blazing flames" (Q. 111:3), with quranic verse, Abü Lahab himself. The shaykh also cites the parallel example of Noah and his God told Noah that no more of his people would believe (cf. Q. 11:36), people. but God did not tell Noah to convey this messageto his people. Furthermore, Ibn Taymiyya argues, human disobedience occurs for lack of it would occur. 133 human will, not for lack of power, and not because God knew A discussion of `impossibility' (al-mumtani') later in Jabr clarifies the shaykh's

He says that it is correct that what is contrary to God's foreknowledge will point. happen and that if it did happen it would turn God's knowledge to ignorance. not However, this does not mean that someone obligated to do what God knows will not happen is unable to carry out the respective obligation. It could be that the

is able but has no will to do it. "Then, " the shaykh concludes, "he is one obligated to do only what he is able to do despite the knowledge of the Lord that it obligated be." 134 will not Ibn Taymiyya advances his argument further by evoking a parallel with the operation of God's will. God knows that what He does not will, will not exist.


However, this does not mean that God could not will it. What He knows will not exist is only impossible by virtue of His not willing it, not because it is inherently impossible or because He is unable to do it. The shaykh supports this with a

number of quranic verses including, "If your Lord had willed, He would have made you one nation" (Q. 5:48). but not will to do it. 135 something This bit of polemic only works for Ibn Taymiyya because lie has diverted the reader's attention from the perspective of unchanging eternity to that of Likewise, then, humans may be able to do

temporality and history, both in the human power and the divine will.

It would

be fairer for him to argue that the human act is contingent from the probably
perspective of human power and necessary from that of divine knowledge. However, to conclude from this that humans are obligated beyond what they are able would not fit his interpretation of the Qur'an and would probably offend his sense of what befits God's perfection.

4.5.3 No divine compulsion (jabr) In a number of texts, Ibn Taymiyya devotes attention to the term

`compulsion' (jabr), which Jahm b. Safwän and al-Räzi employ to describe the human act. In Dar' the shaykh draws directly from a discussion of the early

Jabri/Qadari controversy in Abü Bakr al-Kha1111'sal-Sunna, which appears to be longer extant. '36 Following al-Khalläl, Ibn Taymiyya reports that the early no hadith specialist al-Zubaydi (d. 149/766) 137 completely denies that God compels. This is because the generally accepted meaning of the term is coercing (ilzdm) someone against his good pleasure (ri(Igy), as when jurists say that a woman is


to be married apart from her choice and good pleasure. The shaykh compelled explains that God does not compel someone in this sense because God has the power to make someone chose and be well pleased to do what he does and to make someone hate what he does not do. Someone who chooses his acts is not

138 compelled.
Ibn Taymiyya reports a second view, that of the early jurist al-Awzä1i (d. 157/774), 139who prohibits speaking about compulsion since the term does not in the Qur'an and the Sunna.140 The shaykh explains that al-Awzäli's appear discussing the term `compulsion' is better than al-Zubaydi's prohibition against denial of divine compulsion. The reason is related to the fact that one of complete the divine names, which does appear in the Qur'an, is `Compeller' (al-Jabbür) (cf. Q. 59: 23), a name with the same Arabic root as compulsion. In this regard, Ibn

Taymiyya notes that a certain Muhammad b. Kalb (d. 118/736)14' said, "[God] is

called `Compeller' becauseHe compels creaturesto [do] what He wills. " only
The shaykh takes this to be a correct usage of `compulsion'. Thus, al-Zubaydi's

may deny somethingthat is true in the processof denying what is false, position
does not run this risk. '42 In iVlinhüj, Ibn whereas the position of al-Awzädi Taymiyya also attributes al-Awzä9i's position to Sufyäm al-Thawri (d. 161/778) 143 Ahmad b. Hanbal. '44 and In Jabr Ibn Taymiyya elaborates his views more extensively. He explains that, in ordinary language contexts, the term `compulsion' means coercion (ikrüh) of others against their wills. He notes, "It is said, `The father compelled his

daughter to marry, and the judge compelled the man to sell what he had to pay his debt' 145 The shaykh also distinguishes right coercion from wrong coercion. .,,


Coercion is justified to make a warring unbeliever accept Islam or pay the jizya, to return an apostate to Islam, and to make Muslims perform their religious duties,

their debts as they are able, and so on. However, it is wrong to coerce pay disbelieve or disobey as in rape and coercing someoneto drink. 146 someoneto
Whether right or wrong, "Servants commit this compulsion, which is coercion, with each other because they cannot originate will and choice in [each others'] hearts or make them commit their acts."147 Humans cannot compel others to will, love, and hate. The most they can do to get others to follow their wills is arouse desire or strike terror. Coercion consists in terrorizing someone else to the point that the other commits an act he would not otherwise will and choose. Apart from cases in which the one coerced has no power to resist-the an example-the shaykh gives rape as

victim does in fact will and choose to commit the act. However,

he wills his act only secondarily. His primary intention is to avoid the greater evil befall him for noncompliance. '48 that might In contrast to human compulsion, which is necessarily coercive, Ibn

Taymiyya assertsin Jabr that God's compulsion is not coercive, becauseHe has the power to create the will and the choice by which humans commit their acts.
God makes humans will and love what they do. He can even make humans will something that they hate: "He is able to make [the servant] do something despite his hatred of it. He wills it to the point that he does it despite his loathing of it. For example, an ill person may drink medicine despite his hatred of it. "149 The

shaykh adds that, moreover, God createsthis hatred (karüha). He illustrates this
two quranic verses, "To God prostrates whosoever is in the heavens and the with earth obediently or with hatred (karhan)" (Q. 13: 15), and, "To I-Iim has submitted


hatred" (Q. 3: 83). 150 whosoever is in the heavens and the earth obediently or with Speaking of God's name `Compeller', Ibn Taymiyya explains that it is "from His His subjugation, and His power that lie makes servants willing to do compulsion, He wills from them. "151 He also clarifies that all that God does is wise and what just, while the compulsion that creatures commit may be unjust, ignorant, and

foolish. 152
Despite denying coercion on the part of God in the above discussion, Ibn

Taymiyya addsconfusion in Jabr by also attributing right `coercion' to God when he asserts,"God-Exalted is He-does not coerce anyone except in truth."' 53

This inconsistency aside, the shaykh's primary concern is to underline that God's `compulsion', if the term be permitted, consists in creating human choice and will directly with wise purpose in a way that is impossible for humans to create in each Even with this clarification, Ibn Taymiyya is reticent to use the word. In other. Kasb, for example, he argues against direct divine compulsion of human acts on

the basis of an intuitive difference betweeninvoluntary and voluntary acts. There is a rational and intuitive difference betweenthe shivering of the feverish on one
hand and sitting, praying, or stealing on the other. In the latter case, human beings are willing, choosing and able to commit their acts while in the former they are Ibn Taymiyya maintains that it is still God who creates the human will that not. necessitates human acts, and he admits that this is "compulsion by means of will" (jabr bi-tawassut al-iräda). 154 Yet, he will not break with tradition and call himself a `Jabri' as did al-Räzi who holds essentially the same view. He argues

that it is better not to speak of compulsion lest it be confused with that which humans impose on each other. ' 55 As with `purpose' (ghara(1) and `passionate


love' ('ishq), which were discussed in Chapter Two of this study (2.4), it is a matter of the human meaning of `compulsion' for use in theological discourse. connotations suffering too many negative


Conclusion This chapter has shown that Ibn Taymiyya uses several different terms to set

divine creation of human agency that is essentially that of Fakhr alout a view of Din al-Räzi in its metaphysical structure. This confirms Gimaret's observation concerning the shaykh's indebtedness to al-R; izi. Ibn Taymiyya speaks of the

with which God creates all human acts directly using complete necessitating cause terms such as origination, preponderance, decisive human will, complete human power and potency, determining power, and conjoined capability. In order to

basis for human accountability to divine command, the shaykh identifies provide a legislative power that denotes the bodily soundness of the human an anterior and for undertaking acts. Ibn Taymiyya also discusses the created world and agent human agency in terms of secondary causes, which are the instruments and raw God creates, and which, from the human perspective, form a materials with which and effect. Among the secondary causes that are relevant world of natural cause to human voluntary action, and which God uses to originate human acts, are human power and will and the divine command. Ibn Taymiyya insists on both divine creation of human acts and human in his Tafsir, the shaykh does not admit rational responsibility, and, unlike al-Räzi difficulty in upholding the two simultaneously. He maintains that human agency is real insofar as it is something that God creates but that there is no human


freedom in the libertarian sense. The shaykh argues that God is just to reward and punish deeds that He creates because He creates them in a substrate that is separate from Himself, that is, in the human being. By virtue of this `substrate principle', God is not qualified with the human acts that he createsjust as he is not qualified with their attributes, such as blackness or tallness. Ibn Taymiyya's view of divinely created human agency may be compared to a marionette show in which God is wisely directing the performance in all its detail in order to tell a good story. God cannot be charged with injustice in creating this or that misdeed

of a particular marionette because it is necessary to the wise purpose of forwarding the narrative plot. The marionettes perceive themselvesto be free
involved in a drama of obedience and disobedience to the divine command agents that God has interjected into the story, but God is Author and Creator of the drama While this view of reality gives full scope to God's power and will, it as a whole. does not provide a rationally satisfying account of the human experience of free choice. It also can breed cynicism-as it does in the example of Iblis-at God's

manipulation of His creatures in the interest of His own exaltation. When faced directly with the contradiction between God the Determiner of human acts with human free choice and responsibility, Ibn Taymiyya sometimes resorts to switching from the divine perspective to the human. This occurs in his use of the image of an author writing with a pen to illustrate how God creates acts in the human. When faced with the absurdity of pens being punished for what they write, the shaykh evades the problem by dropping the pen image and asserting that human beings do have a will and are agents in reality. appeals to intuitive knowledge of the difference He then and

between voluntary



to complete his switch to the plane of human rationality. acts

Something similar happens when Ibn Taymiyya broaches Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi's claim that Abü Lahab could never have believed because God's eternal

foreknowledge made his belief impossible. Without notice, the shaykh shifts from the divine perspective on which this claim is made to the historical human

that Abü Lahab was never put in the predicament of perspective and explains
having to believe the revelation of God's foreknowledge that lie would not believe. Ibn Taymiyya does admit that his theology involves divine compulsion (jabr) of human acts by the intermediaries of human will and power. AI-Räzi

holds essentially the same view, but, unlike al-Räzi, the shaykh does not allow this position to be called `compulsion' lest it be confused with direct divine connotations concerning God. This, along with compulsion and evoke negative his insistence on human responsibility and his unannounced perspective switching to avoid mentioning contradiction in the divine economy, probably reflects a to speak well of God for the sake of promoting worship. concern He does not

to believe that open admission of contradiction would advance his appear apologetic aim. Yet, it is not necessarily apparent that Ibn Taymiyya's obfuscation of the between the divine and human spheres in his doctrine promotes contradiction for God. In skirting the difficulty, his discourse loses integrity and positive regard By way of contrast, al-Räzi's Tafsir" on Q. 2: 6 shows clearly persuasive power. Muctazili libertarian freedom and `Sunni' (i. e. Ashcan/Jabrº) compulsion both that God and follow rational proofs, but that they nonetheless end in seek to exalt


mutual contradiction.

This approach shows plainly that certain theological

benefits can only be gained at the expense of others, and it quells the temptation to the doctrines in question are more coherent than they are. That, it claim that deeper respect to the limits of human reason and is thus of would seem, grants greater service to piety.

Notes to Chapter Four
' Laoust, Essai, 166-7 and n. 4 on p. 167. See further Christian van Nispen, Activitc 1/11171aine et Agir de Dieu, 264-5, for a similar assessment that Ibn Taymiyya appears ambiguous on divine creation of the human act. 2 Makari, Ibn Taymiyyah's Ethics: The Social Factor, 80. 3 Makari, Ibn Taymiyyah's Ethics: The Social Factor, 76-7. Although Makari provides useful to some of Ibn Taymiyya's ideas, his treatment of human agency is marked generally by a access lack of clarity (pp. 65-81). For example, Makari does not grasp Ibn Taymiyya's doctrine of God's legislative will. At one point, he draws a contrast between God's "active or positive, desiring will" God's love (mahabba) and God's "negative, permissive will" aligned with God's aligned with (ri(lä) (p. 80). This fails to recognize that love and good pleasure both correspond good pleasure to the divine command in Ibn Taymiyya's thought. Also, Makari incorrectly suggests positively that, in the view of the shaykh, God in His will of command and legislation somehow wills evil "in it to occur" (p. 208 n. 64). The divine legislative will for Ibn a negative sense of merely permitting Taymiyya does not involve a function that could be described as `permissive'. 4 Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity, 44-55. SGimaret, "Theories de Pacte humain dans 1'r cole 1, lanbalite, " 165-178. 6 Also, following Gimaret's earlier work, George Makdisi, "Ethics in Islamic Traditionalist Doctrine, " 51-6, provides brief exposition from Minhüj, showing that for Ibn Taymiyya God is the Creator while the human is the agent of the human act. This differs from the earlier Ashcari doctrine that God is both its Creator and Agent. Gimaret, Theories de Pacte humain en theologie musubnane, x and x n.3. 8 Gimaret, Theories de Pacte humain en theologie musulmane, 65-6, indicates that this view of Jahm's doctrine may need to be qualified from al-Ash'ari's A/agirlirt, which indicates that Jahm humans a power and a will in a sense resembling that of the Ashcari doctrine of also gives acquisition (kasb). 9 That al-Ashlari upheld secondary causality has been argued by Richard M. Frank, "The structure to al-AýIari. An analysis of the Kitäb al-Lunial, pars. 82-164, " of created causality according Studia Islamica 25 (1966): 13-75. Binyamin Abrahamov refutes Frank's thesis in "A retheory of kasb according to Kitäb al-luma ," Journal of the Royal examination of al-Ash<ari's Asiatic Society 1989 ii: 210-221. Gimaret detects weakness in Frank's thesis, but he also notes for the possibility of secondary causality in al-Ashcari in Theories de Pacte humain en evidence 79-92. See also the survey by M. Schwarz, "`Acquisition' (Kasb) in early theologie musubnane, Kalüm, " in Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition: Essays presented by his friends and Richard Walzer on his seventieth birthday, ed. S. M. Stern, Albert Hourani, and Vivian pupils to Brown (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 1973), 355-387. 10Gimaret, Theories del 'ade humain en theologie musulmane, 79-118,154-6,160-1. " Gimaret, Theories de Pacte humain en theologie musulmane, 120-8. 12Gimaret, Theories de 1'acte humain en theologie musulmane, 128-9. In the opening line of the in the Tahäfut, al-Ghazzli writes, "The conjunction between what is seventeenth question believed to be a cause (sabab) and what is believed to be an effect (mnsabbab) is not customarily


Notes to Chapter Four continued
" See the text in al-Ghazäli, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, 170. necessary according to us. Note that I have not followed the editor Marmura in translating this text. 13Binyamin Abrahamov, "Al-Ghazäli's Theory of Causality, " Studio Islamiccr 67 (1988): 75-98, Richard M. Frank, Al-Ghazali and the Asltarite School (Durham, NC: Duke University, and 1994), especially 4,20-1, and 36-9. Frank explains that al-Ghazi li never clearly states that God intervene in the operation of the secondary causes. Yet, Frank believes that this is implied cannot in a1-Ghazäli's statements that there is nothing in possibility better than the universe as it is and that much greater evil would result if any evil element from the universe's present order were Frank further substantiates his thesis by noting that al-Ghaz: ili sometimes refers to removed. (asbab) as conditions that must be fulfilled for God to create a particular effect. Thus, God causes in His custom cannot interrupt the "lawful operation of secondary causes" (20-1). Frank gives detailed support for this conclusion in his Creation and the Cosmic System: Al-Ghaznli and Relying on a narrower range of texts than does Frank or Abrahamov, Gimaret Avicenna. in Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musuhnane, 128-132, that al-Ghaz: ili denies concludes but gives a role to causes as conditions. God directly creates each cause in the causal efficacy and there is no efficient causality between them. Rather, the chain of causes and effects, is that of dependence upon a prior condition (shart). In order for God to create the relationship human will, there must be prior knowledge. For knowledge there must be prior life. For life there body, and so on. Ibn Taymiyya's view of secondary causality (see 4.4) is very close must a prior Gimaret's interpretation of al-Ghazili, but we cannot pronounce on similarities and differences to between the two figures until greater consensus is reached on what al-Ghaz: ili's view actually is. 14Frank, AI-Ghazäli and the Ash'arite School, 86-101. 15Gimaret, Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musuhnane, 134-140. 16'Abd al-Jabbär b. Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Jabbär, al-Hamadhäni al-Asabädi. 17 Gimaret, Theories de 1'acte humain en theologie musulmane, 140-I. Gimaret, 141-2, also God creates unbelief as follows. Either someone has equal power to relates al-RSzi's proof that its contrary, or he does not. In the latter case, God creates the power to commit an act or disbelieve directly, and so He creates unbelief. In the former case, either the power depends on a the act, or it does not. If it does not depend on a preponderator, then preponderator to produce into existence without a cause. This is unacceptable because it leads to something possible comes denying the Maker. If, on the other hand, unbelief does depend on a preponderator, then the be either an act of God, an act of the human, or neither. It cannot be neither preponderator must because that would mean the preponderator comes into existence without a cause. If the depends on the human, this preponderator must depend on a prior preponderator, preponderator infinitum. This being unacceptable, the preponderator bringing about unbelief must and so on ad be an act of God. When God creates the preponderator, the human act is immediately necessary. Prior to this it was impossible. 18Gimaret, Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musuhnane, 39-60. For a detailed history of the followers of AbO 'Ali al-Jubbä'i and especially those of his son Abis Ilashim (the Bahshamiyya), which include 'Abd al-Jabbsr and Abo al-Husayn al-Basri, see lleemskerk, Suffering in Mu<tazilite Theology: 'Abd al-Jabbür's Teaching on fain and Divine Justice, 13-71. 19Madelung, "The Late Multazila and Determinism: The Philosopher's Trap, " 245-257; and R. M. Frank, "The Autonomy of the Iluman Agent in the Teaching of'Abd al-Gabbar, " Le 1hiseon 95 (1982): 323-355. Frank points out that the "psychological determinism" that Gimaret imputes to the Jubbä'is runs counter to the fundamental Multazili concern for justice. See also al-Julaynid, Qadiyyat al-khayr iva al-sharr fl al-fikr al-islüml, 185-6, for an exposition of'Abd al-Jabbär's thought on motives that corresponds to the analyses of Frank and Madelung. 20Madelung, "The Late Muctazila and Determinism: The Philosopher's Trap, " 249-256. 21Gimaret, Theories de 1'acte humain en theologie musulmane, 142-5. Gimaret, 149-152, explains that lie uses in that al-Räzi also considers the problem of applying the preponderator argument human acts to God's will. Al-Räzi observes that when a motive or divine willing for a divine act into existence, God's act becomes necessary. Apart from this willing, God's act is comes God no longer a free agent. Moreover, if, as Sunnis say, God's will is impossible. This makes


Notes to Chapter Four continued
then the principle of preponderance implies that God's act must proceed necessarily from eternal, His will from eternity. This makes God inherently necessitating (mfi4ib bi-l-(lhnt) an eternal universe. Al-Räzi replies that this difficulty is not as bad as Qadari preponderance without a for this leads to the denial of the Creator. He also evades the problem by asserting preponderator, that God's will is different from the human will. The human will comes into existence and thus by God. However, God wills by an eternal will that by virtue needs a preponderator, a will created being eternal does not need another will. With this, al-R izi returns to the traditional Kalam of divine will whose very nature it is to preponderate in time. view of an eternal In Minhaj, 3: 119-120/2: 19-20 and 3:238/2: 49 (cf. Minhaj 1:409/1: 114), Ibn Taymiyya takes to task for inconsistently using the preponderator argument against the Mu<tazilis in human al-Räz7 acts while failing to apply it to God's creation of the world. He explains that, according to al-R-azi, God preponderates the world via His eternal will. The shaykh rejoins that the relation of an eternal will to all possibilities is equal. This being the case, an eternal will cannot preponderate one of two likes over the other, and al-Razi ends up with preponderance of an originated world without a Ibn Taymiyya adds that this difficulty causes al-R3zi to hesitate between the preponderator. philosophers' eternity of the world thesis and the Kaldm view of the temporal origination of the What the shaykh calls `hesitation' (taraddud) may be an uncharitable description of alworld. Räzi's reluctance to take sides on this question. Muammer Iskenderoglu, "Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi Thomas Aquinas on the Question of the Eternity of the World" (Ph. D. thesis, University of and Birmingham, 2001), 167, has shown that al-Räzi does not in fact defend either one of the two in his last major Kalam work al-Matülib al-'aliyya min al-'ibn a/-iliý/ri, 9 parts in 5 vols. views (Beirut: Dar al-kitäb al carabi, 1407/1987). The primary fact for al-Razi is that the world is fully dependent upon God for its existence. The temporal origination of the world and its eternity are then two possible and alternative theories for expressing this dependence, between which al-Räzi to choose. On this, see also Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Ma/or Works of seems reluctant Fakhr al-Din al-Rüzi, 74. 22Gimaret, Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musubnane, 145-9. 23Al-Tafsir al-kabir li-1-Imäm al-Fakhr al-Rcui [Tafsir], 3d ed. (Cairo: Mu'assasat al-matblildt alislämi, n. d), 2: 52-3. Gimaret, Theories de l'acte hunzain en theologie nnusidmane, 152-3, provides a partial translation of al-Räzi's passage. 24Sulayman b. Näsir b. clmrän, Abo al-Qäsim al-Ansäri, a Shäfi, i jurist. 25Gimaret, "Theories de l'acte humain dans l'ecole Hanbalite, " 166. 26 Minhaj 3: 110/2: 17,3: 153/2:28,3: 237/2: 48,3: 258ff/2: 54ff.; Ibtnl MF 2: 322; MF 8: 78-9; Dar' 1:68-9.

27Minhaj 3:236/2:48. 28Minhüj 3: 118-9/2:19,3:236/2:49,3: 268-9/2:57-8. 29Minhaj 3:30-1/1:270,3: 116-8/2:18-9.
30Minhaj 3: 146/2:26. 31Wüsitiyya MF 3: 150; Irada MF 8: 118; MF 8:238; Qa(/a' MF 8:268; Istitä'a MF 8:374; Kasb MF 8: 393; Jabr MF 8:459,488; Minhaj 3: 111/2: 17,3: 236/2: 48. 32Jabr MF 8:488. " MF 8: 240. 34 The following passage in Minhüj, 3: 269/2: 57, illustrates Ibn Taymiyya's view of divine in the creation of human acts: "Since the act of the servant does not occur complete causality is Ile-and by a preponderator from God-Exalted upon the existence of this except preponderator the existence of the act is necessary, his act is like the rest of the originated events The existence of that originate by means of secondary causes that God-Exalted is Ile-creates. the originated event is necessary with them. This is what it means for the Lord-Blessed is He, is He-to be Creator of the act of the servant. The meaning of that is that Godand exalted Exalted is He-creates the complete power and the decisive will in the servant. Upon their the existence of the act is necessary because this is the complete cause for the act. existence, When the complete cause exists, the existence of the effect is necessary."


Notes to Chapter Four continued
35 Minhij 3:47-50/2: 274-5. See also the interchangeable usage of quudra and istita' in Iräda MF 8: 129; Istitäfa MF 8: 371; and Tä'a MF 8:441-2.

36Dar' 1:60. 37Irada MF 8: 129.
38Minhaj 3: 103/2: 15. 31' Irada MF 8: 129. 40Minhdj 3: 50/1: 275,3: 71/2: 6,3: 103/2: 15. Cf. Minhaj 3: 47/1: 274. ' Istitü'a MF 8: 372. Cf. Minhdj 3:48-50/1: 274-5; Dar' 1:60-1; Srfada 8:290-1; Abi? Dharr MF 18: 172-3.

02Irada MF 8: 129; lstitü'a MF 8:372; hfinhdj 1:407-8/1:114.
43Bukhäri 6744, al-htisäm bi-l-kitäb wa al-sunna, al-Igtid i' bi-sunan rasul Allall; Ahmad 9158. '14 Iräda MF 8: 129; Istitü'a MF 8:372-3. °SIstitüfa MF 8: 373; Dar' 1:61. 46Istitä'a MF 8: 373. Cf. Iräda MF 8: 129-13 1. 47Dar' 1:60. 48 Istitäca MF 8: 371; Abis Dharr MF 18: 173; Sa<cda MF 8:290,292; Dar' 1:60; Minhcrj 1:4089/1: 114. The note on jurists adhering to an anterior capability in jurisprudence but not in theology is found in Irada MF 8: 130. 49Minhaj 1:407/1: 113. 50Minhaj 1:407/1: 113-4. 51Winhdj 3: 71-2/2: 6. 52Minhaj 3: 106/2: 16. 53Minhüj 3: 104. S' Minhäj 3: 50/1: 275. 55Dar' 1:61. 56Td-'a MF 8:441-2. 57Kasb MF 8:390.

58Al-Räzi, Arbacin, 1:319, quoted in Minhnj 3:251/2:52.

59Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Hasan, Abo Jalfar Nair al-Din al-'Nisi, an influential medieval Sh19iphilosopher and scientist. 60Minhdj 3: 247-250/2: 51-2,3: 276/2: 58-9. Ibn Taymiyya, Minhnj 3:273/2: 58, also mentions that, Abo al- Iusayn, the Multazili al-Zamakhshäri does not adhere to the necessitating quality of unlike the preponderator. 61 Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. al-FarrS', Abo al-Khäzim b. al-Q: idi Abo Ya'lä, a Hanbali traditionalist and jurist. 62Minhaj 3: 239/2: 49,3: 251/2: 52,3: 268/2: 56. 63Minhnj 3: 31/1: 270,3: 74/2: 7,3: 239/2: 49,3: 267-8/2: 56. 64Minhäj 3: 75/2: 7. Cf. Minhdj 3: 248/2: 52. 65See similar discussions in Shams MF 16:235-7; and Minhilj 3:235-240/2: 48-9. 66Istitü'a MF 8: 375. 67Minhdj 3: 239-240/2: 49. 69See for example Minhaj 1:455-460/1: 126-7,2: 294-5/1: 213,3: 137-154/2: 24-8; Ird(la MF 8: 1227; and Abis Dharr MF 18: 151-5. Cf. Jabr MF 8:468-9. 69 Minhüj 1:455-7/1: 126,3: 110/2: 17,3: 146/2:26,3: 148/2:26; Iräda MF 8: 119-127; Jabr MF 8:483-4. Cf. Gimaret, "Theories de l'acte humain dans I'ecole Hanbalite, " 176-7. 70 Jabr MF 8:483-4; Kasb MF 8:403; Abis Dharr MF 18: 155; Alinheij 1:455-7/1: 126,2: 2945/1: 213. Cf. Minhäj 3: 217-220/2: 43-4. 71 Minhäj 3: 12/1:265,3: 109/2: 17,3: 145/2:26,3: 148-9/2: 26,3: 257/2: 54; fi'äsiti)yya M` 3: 150; Irada MF 8: 118,123; Jabr MF 8:459,482-3; Abi1 Dharr MF 18: 151-5. 72Minhaj 3: 145-6/2: 26.


Notes to Chapter Four continued
73Jabr MF 8:459. See also Wäsitiyya MF 3: 150; Irüda MF 8: 120; MF 8:237-8; ,t/inhýtj 3: 1112/2: 17. See Minhäj, 3: 256-265/2: 53-6,3: 336-9/74-5, for an extended listing and discussion of quranic texts indicating both that humans commit acts and that God creates them. 74Minhaj 3: 153-4/2: 28. 'S Irüda MF 8: 118ff; Jabr MF 8:468; Minhäj 1:458-460/1: 127,2: 296ff/1: 213ff., 3: 13/1:266, 3: 112/2: 17,3: 240-1/2: 49-50,5: 426-7/3: 107. 76Minhüj 1:457/1: 127,2: 296-7/1: 213-4,3: 112/2: 17; Jabr MF 8:428. Ibn Taymiyya also reports in Minhüj, 2: 296/1: 213,3: 240/2: 59, that the Ashcari theologian Abü IslJ5q al-Isfarayini (d. 418/1027, Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Ibrahim) taught that the single act had two agents (i. e. God and the human).

77 Jabr MF 8:428.
78Al-Ilusayn b. Massüd b. Muhammad, Abo Muhammad al-Fart' al-Baghawi, a Sh:ifi9i jurist. 79 Muhammad b. Ishäq, Abü Bakr al-Kaläb idhi, an important source for early Sufism. See especially P. Nwyia, "Al-Kaläbädhi, " E12 4: 467. 80Minhaj 1:457-8/1: 127. Cf. Minhaj 2: 298-301/1: 214,3: 112/2: 17,3: 149/2: 27. In Tit'a MF 8:438, Ibn Taymiyya identifies AbLI Mansur al-M:ituridi as a Kaläm theologian among the Hanafis. On the link between the HanaB law school and Maturidi theology, see Madelung, "Mäturidiyya, " E12 847-8 and Mustafa Ceric, Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam: A Study of the TheoloQ' of Abri In Irada MF 8: 120-3, Ibn Taymiyya gives a Mansur al-Müturidi (d. 333/944), 31-5,227-230. detailed account of the act (fi'l)/thing enacted (mahl) distinction, but the early part of this passage is confusing and may be textually corrupt. Two lines that appear in MF 8: 121 (mid-line 4 to midline 6) are lacking in the MRM and MRKI versions of the text. Moreover, the two lines in include the key term musammd al-ntasdar, which appears to be used inconsistently in the question wider context (pp. 121-2). $1Gimaret, "Theories de faste humain dans l'ecole Iianbalite, " 177-8. 82Abitt Dharr MF 18: 155; Minhüj 3: 148/2:27; Irüda MF 8: 123; MF 8:238. 83Minhaj 3: 148/2:26. 84Minhaj 3: 150-1/2: 27. ß5 Ibn Sind upholds the principle that only unity could flow from the One (i. e. God) so as to Instead, the utter simplicity of the One. The One could not be the source of multiplicity. preserve from the First Intellect, which emanates from the One. For further discussion, multiplicity arises see Ian Richard Netton, Allah Transcendent (Surrey, UK: Curzon, 1989), 162-7. Ibn Taymiyya in Irdda, MF 8: 134, that this One is devoid of attributes and ultimately has no existence argues outside the mind.

86Tadmuriyya MF 3: 112-3. 87MF 8:520.

88Tawakkul MF 8: 534. 89MF 35: 176. The fatwa on astrology in MF 35: 166-190 has been translated by Yahya J. Michot, "Ibn Taymiyya on Astrology: Annotated Translation of Three Fatwas," .Journal of Islamic Studies 11.2 (2000): 147-208. Cf. Qaw1 "Ali MF 8: 172. 90Mantigiyyin 270 and MF 25: 198-9, both of which are translated into French in Yahya Michot, "Pages spirituelles d'Ibn Taymiyya: XIII. Contre l'astrologie, " Action (Mauritius), January 2001, 10-1,26 (the passage from Mantigiyyin is at p. 10 n. 4). 91 Wdsita MF 1: 137. Wdsita, MF 1: 121-138, is translated into French in full by Yahya J. Michot, "Ibn Taymiyya: Les intermddiaires entre Dieu et l'homme (Risälat al-wasila bayna I-khalq wa Ihagq), " Le Musulman (Paris) Special Issue (1996). Cf. MF 8: 192-3. 92Safüda MF 8: 276; MF 8:68. 93 Qadü' MF 8:268. Cf. Sdada MF 8:278-9. See also the listings of quranic verses indicating secondary causality in Minhäj 3: 113-4/2: 18; and Irüda MF 8: 137-8.

94For this seealso Minhdj 3:239/2:49; Irdda MF 8: 136-7; Bughya 35; and Michot, "Ibn Taymiyya on Astrology," 155-6and n. 34, for translationsof MF 35: 168and MF 9:287-8, respectively. 95Iräda MF 8: 138-9.


Notes to Chapter Four continued
96Bukhäri 4568, Tafsir al-Qur'än, Fa-sa-nuyassiruhu li-1lusr<i.

97Irada MF 8: 138. The hadith is found in Ibn Mäjah 3428, al-Tibb, M1 anzalaAllah dä'an ilia anzalalahu shifa'.

`'' The attribution to al-Ghazäli and Ibn al-Jawzi is found in Bughya 35. 99Irada MF 8: 138-9. 100Wüsita MF 1: 131; Tuhfa MF 10:35; MF 8: 70; Qativl'Ali MF 8: 169; Tcnvakkul MF 8: 528; MF 10:256; and 13ughya35. I am indebted to Michot, "Ibn Taymiyya: Les intermediaires entre Dieu et I'homme, " 8 (including n. 12), for the first two references.

101 Qawl'Ali MF 8: 169-173. 102 Qawl'AlF MF 8: 175.
103 Qawl'Ali MF 8: 175-8. 104 Kasb MF 8: 390. 105 See also Irdda, MF 8: 134, where Ibn Taymiyya explains that the efficacy of the human power is that of secondary causality and condition (shart); similarly, Minhdj 3: 114-5/2: 18. Al-Ghazäli the image of the pen esoterically in his Ihyü''uliu» al-din to point beyond humanity to employs God as the sole agent in the universe. See the section on tmvhid and tawakkul in /hyn''ulfim aldin, 4: 247-252. Ibn Taymiyya is using the pen image both to point to God's agency and to retain some role for human agency and obligation to the Law. 106 Kasb MF 8: 391. Cf. Kasb MF 8:392. In Nubuwwüt, 81 ff., Ibn Taymiyya elaborates on God's by means of other things and on how something created from matter is greater in creation from nothing (especially bottom of p. 89). lbn Taymiyya's belief servitude than something created in perpetual creation from pre-existing matter has been noted in Chapter 2.2.2. f. 107 Kasb MF 8:393-4. 108Kasb MF 8:402. Ibn Sinä explains the causality of commands and prohibitions in much the in his Risala fi sirr al-qadar, Arabic text (p. 29) and ET (p. 32) in George F. Hourani, same way "Ibn Sind's `Essay on the Secret of Destiny, "' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 29 (1966): 25-48. For a less deterministic reading of Ibn Sind's text than that provided by Hourani, see Alfred L. Ivry, "Destiny Revisited: Avicenna's Concept of Determinism, " in Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Ilourani, ed. Michael E. Marmura (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1984), 160-171.

1091räda 8: 133. MF
10 Qawl'Ali MF 8: 167. 111MF 8:70; Iräda MF 8: 133; Jabr MF 8:486-7; Mahabba 24; Qawl 'AlF MF 8: 167-8; Minhnj is He-is 3: 115/2: 18; Abis Dharr MF 18: 179. Note also from Minhýäj 3: 13/1:266: "God-Exalted Creator of the cause and the effect. Although He is the Creator of the cause, it must inevitably the have another cause sharing with it, and it must inevitably have an obstacle impeding it. Its effect is not complete-even though God created it-unless God creates another cause and removes the impediments. " 112 Wüsita MF 1: 137. 113 MF 8: 70. 114 Minhäj 3: 270/2: 57, where Ibn Taymiyya notes that when God creates fire in a garment there Cf. will be burning thereafter. 115 Kasb MF 8: 396. Cf. Minhüj 3: 27-8/1: 269 for similar notions of the natural effects of good and evil deeds. 116 Kasb MF 8: 397. Cf. Sa'äda MF 8:284. 1" Kasb MF 8: 398-9. ... Laoust, Essai, 166; Gimaret, "Theories de l'acte humain dans l'ecole Hanbalite, " 166; 119 Minhäj 3: 210/2: 42. 120 Irdda MF 8: 119. Cf. Iräda MF 8: 124 and Istita'a MF 8:375. 121 Minhäj 3: 146/2: 26. 122 The passage from Kasb, MF 8:387, reads, "The acquisition is the act that brings profit or harm He-Exalted is He-said, `What [the soul] has acquired is accounted to it, its agent ('il), to as


Notes to Chapter Four continued
it has acquired is held against it' (Q. 2: 286). He-Glory be to llim-has made obvious and what that the soul's acquisition is for it or against it. People say, `So-and-so acquired property or praise or eminence. ' Similarly, he profited from that. When servants are perfected by their acts and benefit from them-when they were created deficient at the beginning of creation-establishing the secondary cause (sabab) is correct. Indeed, their perfection and their benefit comes from their be to Him and exalted is He-and His handiwork come from His acts. The act of God-Glory perfection and His greatness. His acts come from His names and His attributes and are derived from them. " 123 Irüda MF 8: 128 and Dar' 3:444. A similar saying appears in Minhdj 1:459/1: 127,2: 297/1: 214. For discussion of al-NaZZam's theory of the `leap' (tafra) in causal operations and Abü Hdshim alJubbä'i's doctrine of states (ahwün in the divine attributes, see Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Kalam, 167-205 (Abü Häshim) and 514-7 (al-Na?? äm); and Gimaret, La doctrine d'al-Aslfari, 548 (al-NaZZam), and 169-170 and passim (Abü Häshim). 124 Minhaj 3: 75/2: 7,3: 109/2: 16-7,3: 209/2: 41-2; Irada MF 8: 118-9; Jabr MF 8: 467. 125 Minhäj 1:397-8/1: 111.

129 For a detailed discussion of al-AshWari's views on this, see Gimaret, La doctrine d'al-Ash'ari, 437-9. 130 Jabr 8:469-470; Dar' 1:60-3; Minhdj 3: 52-3/1: 276,3: 102-7/2: 15-6. There is also considerable discussion of taklif nod la yutaq in Sa'dda MF 8: 293-302, and numerous scholars are attached to the various positions identified. However, I have not relied on this text because its structure is be corrupt. This should entail no loss since its basic ideas are found in the other confused and may texts employed. 131 Jabr MF 8:471-4,498-500; Minhäj 3: 107/2: 16; Sa'dda MF 8: 302; Td'a MF 8:437-8; and Dar' 1:62-4. See Gimaret, Theories de 1'acte h: mrain en theologie musulmane, 151-2, and Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Rrci, 159-161, for discussions of Räzi's doctrine of taklif mu Id yutdq. 132 See also Tara MF 8:438ff. 133 Jabr MF 8:471-4.

126 Minhüj 3: 113/2:17-8. '27Jabr MF 8:467; Minhdj 3:209-210/2: 42. 128 Kasb MF 8:389; Minhüj 3: 113/2:18. Cf. Minhüj 3:268/2:56. For detail on al-B,igilllni's view, seeGimaret, Theoriesde l'acte humain en theologie musubnanc,92ff.

134 Jabr MF 8:498-9.
135 Jabr MF 8:498-500. In Dar', 1:62, the shaykh also observes that those who deny God's power to do anything but what He knows share a fundamental presupposition with the extremist Qadaris who deny divine foreknowledge: "Both sects agree that the opposite of what is known is not possible (mumkin) or within the realm of possibility (magdür'alayhi). " 136Dar' 1:65-72. Similar but briefer and less precise discussions are also found in Afinhäj 3: 36/1: 271,3: 245-8/2: 51; Irada MF 8: 131-2; Kasb MF 8: 395; Sdüda MF 8:294; Jabr MF 8:3612; A'lü MF 16: 141-2; Shams MF 16:237. See H. Laoust, "al-Khalläl, " E12 4: 989-990, for a discussion of al-Khalläl's works. 137Muhammad b. al-Walid b. cAmir, Abü al-Hudhayl al-Zubaydi, a judge and hadith transmitter from Syria. 138 Dar' 1:66-7. 139'Abd al-Rahmän b. 'Amr b. Yuhmid, Abü'Amr al-Awzäci, a jurist in Syria. 140Dar' 1:66-7. Still drawing on al-Khalläl, the shaykh notes that Sufyän al-Thawri also denies that God `naturally disposes' (jabala) people. In response, a certain Abü compulsion and says Bakr al-Marwazi (d. 292/905) supposes that al-Thawri had in mind the following hadith: "[The Prophet said to Ashajj 'Abd al-Qays], `In you are two characteristics that God loves: gentleness and deliberateness. ' He said, `Two characteristics that I have affected or two characteristics to [The Prophet said], `Of course, two I have been naturally disposed (jubiltu)? ' which to which you have been naturally disposed. ' He said, `Praise be to God who has characteristics


Notes to Chapter Four continued
disposed me with two characteristics God loves. "' This is as quoted in Dal-', 1:68, where naturally it is traced to the collection of Muslim. However, very little of this hadith appears in Muslim 24, bi-l-iman bi-Allah, tacälä.... Closer, but not exact, versions appear in Abü 25, al-Iman, al-Amr Däwüd 4548, al-Adab, Fi qublat al-rijl; and Ahmad 17160, Musnad al-sh5miyyin, Uadith wafd Ibn Taymiyya often quotes this hadith, as in dfinhäj 3:247/2: 51; Jabr cAbd al-Qays'an al-Nabs. A'ld MF 16: 142. Ahmad b. 'Ali b. Said, AbO Bakr al-Marwazi, was a hadith MF 8:462; and specialist and judge in Syria. 141Muhammad b. Kalb b. Salim, Abü Hamza al-Qurazi, from the generation following the Prophet. Ibn Taymiyya in Kasb, MF 8: 395, says that Muhammad b. Kalb was companions of the the most excellent of the second generation in Medina. among 142 Dar' 1:69. 143 Sufyän b. Said b. Masrüq, al-Thawri, a hadith specialist from Kufa.

144 Minhäj 3:242/2:51. 145 Jabr MF 8:462-3.
'46Jabr MF 8:464,502-4. '47Jabr MF 8:463-4. 148 Jabr MF 8:501-2. 149 Jabr MF 8:464. 150 Jabr MF 8:464. 151 Jabr MF 8:465. '52Jabr MF 8:465. 153 Jabr MF 8: 505. 154 Kasb MF 8:394. iss Kasb MF 8: 395.





on the explanation of evil in Islamic theodicies

The present chapter turns to Ibn Taymiyya's texts in which he deals directly with evil (sharr). The shaykh's doctrinal framework in these texts remains the

that observedin the previous two chapters:God is the wise Creator of all sameas
things, and human beings are responsible for their acts. What is new in this the additional ways in which the shaykh articulates these two chapter are fundamental doctrines and deeper probing into the purposes and origin of evil, especially in the treatise Hasana. Before examining Ibn Taymiyya's thought on evil, it will be helpful first to background on explanations for the goodness and necessity of evil give some found in the Islamic tradition. It has already been noted in the Introduction that

for the theologian al-Mäturidi is a tool of divine wisdom to lead humankind to evil knowledge of God and that Sufis often regard evil as an instrument of divine

discipline on the spiritual path.

The notion that evil is disciplinary and

educational is also found in the free will theodicy of the Multazili CAbd al-Jabbär that God inflicts pain not only as punishment for sins but also for who maintains the purposes of testing, warning, and deterring.

In best-of-all-possible-worldstheodicies, evil is necessaryto the perfection
the created order. Ibn Sind explains in his treatment of providence in al-Shifu' of

that evil, which he understands metaphysically as imperfection (wags) and
Cadam-a term that I will translate variously as `nonexistence', `privation', or



necessary to some things for them to be what they are. By way of

example, he argues that burning is necessary to the perfection of fire even if fire occasionally bums someone. If such things did not involve evil, they would in fact be something else, but they must exist as they are for the maintenance of the universal order. Ibn Sind does not explain why particular evils are necessary to

the universal order, at least not in the section on providence in al-Shifü'. Instead, he is more interestedin showing that the quantity of evil in the universe is small
2 compared to the great amount of good. Other parts of the Islamic tradition of optimism do speculate about why evil is necessary for the best possible order. In Ihyü''ulüin al-din, al-Ghazäli roots the

necessity of evil in the principle that things cannot be known except by their opposites. Health is not enjoyed without illness; the blessed in Paradise would not know their blessedness without Hell; and perfection is not known without

imperfection.3 Ibn 'Arabi provides a different reason for the necessity of evil,
is grounded in the very nature of God. According to the Sufi theosophist, which

God bestows existence on the cosmos for the great good of making Himself known. Evil and imperfection, which are paradoxically no more than privation
and `otherness' from the sole reality of God and yet real in that they thwart divine Law and human purposes, are necessary in order to afford God the opportunity to manifest the infinite diversity of His names. Everything in existence reflects a

divine name such as All-Merciful, Giver of Life, Giver of Death, Honorer,
Humiliator, and so forth. These names extend in number beyond the traditional ninety-nine to infinity. Nonetheless, Ibn cArabi maintains that, out of courtesy for


God, we should address Him only with names that I-Ie has revealed. We should for example, call God `Liar' or 'Ignorant '. 4 not, Except for al-Ghazali's principle that things are known only by their

opposites, most of these ideas just surveyed come into play in Ibn Taymiyya's thought on evil, although not always explicitly or fully. The first section below

examines the shaykh's three-fold typology for attributing evil.

This includes

discussion of his views on the divine names. The second section investigates the degree to which he believes God's wise purposes may be known and his few suggestions as to what they are. The third section shows how Ibn Taymiyya

employs the metaphysicalconcept of evil as nonexistencefor moral and religious
ends in Hasana and Fätiha.


Ibn Taymiyya's evil attribution


5.2.1 Attributing

evil to the generality, secondary cause, or elided agent

In Minhaj, Irüda, Kasb, Jabr, Hasana, and a few other texts in which Ibn Taymiyya discusses evil, he asserts that evil must not be attributed directly to God but rather in one of three ways. 5 These three ways form a three-fold `evil

attribution typology' or three different perspectives from which evil may be
regarded. In the first type of this typology, evil "falls within the compass of the generality ('umfim) of created things, " or "falls within the compass of the In the

generality, " or, more tersely, is attributed "by way of the generality. "

second type, evil is attributed to its secondary cause (sabab), its agent cause (alsabab al fa'il), the creature (makhliaq). In the third type, evil is mentioned or This three-fold typology of causes occurs in

without reference to its agent.


diverse contexts with varying degrees of fullness. In a few places, it appears as a hermeneutic grid comprehending the ways that evil is attributed in the Qur'an or in both the Qur'an and the Sunna.6 Most often, however, Ibn Taymiyya cites it as how evil is attributed. The following discussion focuses a general statement of first on the typology itself and then branches out to issues raised in the contexts in it appears. which

5.2.2 The attribution

illustrated from the Qur'an of evil

Although Ibn Taymiyya gives very little direct explanation of the three in the evil attribution typology, he usually supplies examples of each from types the Qur'an. As an example of the first type in which evil is attributed to the

`generality', the shaykh customarily cites, "God is the Creator of everything" (Q. 13: 16,39: 62), or, "He has created everything" (Q. 25: 2). These verses do not what it means for evil to fall "within the compass of the generality" except explain to direct attention away from God's creation of evil specifically and to His things in general. More will be said about the interpretation of this creation of all type in the next subsection. The attribution of evil to its secondary cause among creatures is more Ibn Taymiyya often cites, "Say, `I seek refuge with obvious, and as an example the Lord of the daybreak from the evil of what He has created" (Q. 113: 1-2), that is, from the evil instigated by God's creatures. The shaykh's standard example of the third type is the quranic statement about the jinn: "We do not know whether is willed for those in the earth or whether their Lord wills rectitude for them" evil


(Q. 72: 10). Here, the agent willing evil, presumably God, has been elided and the verb `to will' put in the passive voice. In the two instances of the typology in Minhüj, Ibn Taymiyya observes that three types are found in the first chapter of the Qur'an: "Guide us in the all Straight Path, the path of those whom You have blessed, not those upon whom is

(Q. 1:6-7).7 In these verses, God is the anger, and not those who went astray"
agent (fad!) of blessing (first type). The agent of anger has been elided (third 8 type), type). and the evil of going astray is attributed to creatures themselves (second The shaykh also gives this illustration in Jabr, but presents the earlier

"Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds" (Q. 1:2), as the example of the first verse, 9 Ibn Taymiyya provides no additional quranic examples of the first and type. third types. Moreover, the third type receives no further discussion at all. Elision of the agent of evil is no more than a rhetorical device or form of courtesy that the finds the Qur'an using to avoid attributing evil to God. shaykh The shaykh gives several more quranic examples of attributing evil to secondary causes in some versions of the typology. The following verses quoted in Irdda attribute evil to human causes: "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves" (Q. 7: 23), "When an affliction comes to you, even after having dealt one out twice as great, you say, `From where does this come?' Say, `It is from yourselves"' (Q. 3: 165), and "Any good thing that comes to you is from God, and any evil thing that comes to you is from yourself' (Q. 4: 79). 10 Another example is the

declaration of Abraham in which he attributes illness to himself but the cure to God: "And when I am ill, He cures me" (Q. 26: 80). 11 Ibn Taymiyya also illustrates the attribution of evil to its secondary cause with brief quotations from


the quranic story of the guide who led Moses through three ordeals (Q. 18:6082). 12 When explaining the reasons for his puzzling actions, the guide, whom the shaykh takes to be the mythical Khidr, attributes his prima facie evil acts of sinking a boat and killing a boy to himself but attributes his good act of

straightening a leaning wall to God. These verses concerning Abraham and Khidr show not only that evil is attributed to creatures but also that good comes from God. The human agent gets sick, sinks a boat, and kills, but God rights a leaning wall and cures the ill. Furthermore, Q. 4: 79 indicates that good comes exclusively from God, a point that Ibn Taymiyya does not elaborate within the evil attribution typology itself but which he gives central importance in Ilasana. interpretation of this verse will be discussed later (see 5.4.1). The shaykh's

5.2.3 Evil is good in the divine wise purpose and only evil for creatures As noted above, Ibn Taymiyya does not clearly specify what it means in the first type of the evil attribution typology for evil to fall "within the compass of the

" 13 However, the contextsof thesetypologies suggest generality of createdthings.
two ways in which this may be understood. One is that, from the human

perspective, the generality of good is far greater in quantity than evil. The other is that, from the divine perspective, the generality of what God creates is wholly good. Evil only exists from the perspective of creatures. In the contexts of the evil attribution typologies, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that what creatures regard as evil is good by virtue of the divine wise purpose. The following affirmation from Minhaj is typical: "If God-Exalted is He-is

creating everything, He createsgood (khayr) and evil (share) on account of the


that He has in that by virtue of which His act is good (hasan) and wise purpose perfect (mutgin). "14 A passage from the same context in Minhüj extends this to the most unseemly things: "God is Creator of illnesses, aches, hateful odors, ugly forms, and noxious bodies like snakes and human excrement on account of a profound wise purpose in them. "15 In Hasana, the shaykh underscores that what makes all God's deeds good is wise purpose while what makes human evil deeds

16 is a lack of wise purpose. evil
Ibn Taymiyya supports his doctrine of wise purpose from texts in the Qur'an

showing that all God's creative acts are good and true. Most commonly, he cites,
"The handiwork of God who perfected everything" (Q. 27: 88), and, "Who made '7 In Fütiha, he adds to these, "We did not good everything He created" (Q. 32: 7). the heavens and the earth and what is between them except with truth" (Q. create 15:85), and, "[Those who] reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], `Our Lord! You have not created this in vain"' (Q. 3: 191). '8 These last two verses and several others denying aimlessness and vanity in God's creative work are also given in a commentary on Surat al-Ikhliis (Q. 112), which I entitle Thulth. 19 In several places, the shaykh also quotes the hadith, "Good is in Your hands, and evil is not [attributed] to You, " to affirm the goodness of all that God does.20 In view of the complete goodness of the evil that God creates, Ibn Taymiyya in the contexts of the evil attribution typology in Irada, Jahr, I asana, and notes Fütiha that God does not create evil that is absolute (nni laq), general total (kulli), or pure (mahd). Rather, the evil that God creates is relative (i(lüfi), (ntugayyac!. 21 particular (khdg), partial (juz'i), accidental ('ark! ), or restricted


Such evil is evil only relative to those who commit it or stiffer its harm, but it is good by virtue of God's wise purpose. The following passage from Hasana gives concise expression to these ideas using several of the aforementioned terms: [God] does not create pure evil. Rather, in everything that He creates is a wise purpose by virtue of which it is good. However, there may be some evil in it for some people, and this is partial, relative evil. As for total evil is exonerated of that.22 or absolute evil, the Lord

In Fätiha, the shaykh employs the relativity of evil to interpret exhortations found
in hadith reports to believe in both the good and evil of God's determination. lie

for example, a hadith transmitted by Abü Däwüd, "If you had disbursed relates, [in alms] a whole earth full of gold, [God] would not have acceptedit from you
until you had believed in determination, its good and its evil. "23 Ibn Taymiyya explains that the evil mentioned here is only evil for the person who suffers pain under it, and what is evil for one may be in fact a blessing for another. "When the servant, the heart of his enemy is glad. It is good for the one and evil afflicts

for the other. There is no good and no evil with respectto one who has no evil
friend and no enemy."24 In this view, evil is associated with individual, whereas from God's pain and

disadvantage to a particular


everything is good. Moreover, the shaykh argues further in FCWhathat even from the human perspective, evil is minimal next to the great amount of good that God

In the things that God creates there is nothing that always inflicts pain on all creatures, and there is nothing that always inflicts pain on most of them. On the contrary, the things that He creates bless them, or most of them, most of the time, like the sun and health. Therefore, there is nothing in the existents that God creates that is evil absolutely [and] generally. It is known that is restricted, particular evil. There is another aspect by created, existent evil which it is good and a good thing and which is the preponderant of the two 25 aspects.


This kind of quantitative analysis of the evil on the creaturely plane is also found in Irüda. Here, Ibn Taymiyya enters into a discussion of evil by first affirming

that God has a wise purpose in the generality of what He creates. "The general things that [God] does are for a general wise purpose and general mercy, as, for example, the sending of Muhammad-God bless him and give him peace."26 The

shaykh then broaches a peculiar problem of evil involving the Messenger, and lie provides two quantitative responses: When someone says, `A group of people like those from among the associationists and the People of the Book who considered [the Messenger] liar were harmed by his message,' there are two answers to this. 27 a The first of them is that he profited them to the extent possible. He [What would have their evil that they were committing. weakened happened] had it not been for the message with the manifestation of arguments and signs that made what was in their hearts tremor and with jihad and the poll tax that frightened them and humiliated them until their evil decreased? Whoever among them that he killed died before his life long in unbelief and his unbelief became greater. Thus, this was a grew reduction of his evil. The messengers-God bless them-were raised up to obtain benefits and perfect them and to strip away detriments and reduce them to the extent possible. The second answer is that whatever harm occurred is a miniscule thing beside whatever profit occurred. An example is the rain whose profit is if some houses are destroyed by it and some travelers and general even laborers like the fullers and their like are held up by it. Something whose benefit is general is an intended good and beloved mercy even if profit and some people are harmed by it. Certain groups of the Muslims, the Kaläm theologians, the jurists and others among the Hanafis, the IIanbalis, and others, and among the Karrämis and the Sufis give this answer, and it is the 28 answer of many of the philosophers. Ibn Taymiyya's first answer in this passage argues that the Prophet reduced evil to

the extent possible and even cut short the lives of unbelieversfor their own good.
The shaykh argues similarly in Hasana that the great good and happiness rendered by Muhammad's message bear no relation to the limited misery and partial evil 29 suffered by the Arab associationists and the unbelieving People of the Book.


The second answer in Irada above explains that the evil incurred by rain is a small to pay for the much greater good obtained through it. Both answers make a price appeal on the plane of human affairs. quantitative Immediately following these

two arguments, however, Ibn Taymiyya shifts in Ireida to the divine level and notes that the sundry groups that he has mentioned at the end of this quote affirm that God does not create absolute evil but originates all harms for a wise 30 purpose. In Jabr Ibn Taymiyya broaches the question of why the divine wise purpose have been achieved apart from any evil whatsoever on the plane of could not human affairs. The shaykh explains that the question reveals a lack of knowledge into the reality and interconnectedness (irtibüt) of things. God is bound by logical constraints: "When God creates something, He must inevitably create its

"31 God cannot join two contraries at one time, and He necessary concomitants. cannot create what is impossible. God cannot, for example, make someone

believer and an unbeliever, even if He can join together a simultaneously a belief and hypocrisy in the same person. Ibn Taymiyya then explains measure of that God's attributes of knowledge, power, wisdom, and mercy are of the utmost in perfection and that such perfection is necessary for the Lord. 32 The shaykh here implies that this world with its relative evil is the best possible in the divine that evil is necessary to the achievement of the divine purpose. Ibn perfection and Taymiyya affirms that this is the best possible world explicitly in'Adil, which will be discussed in Chapter Six (6.3-4). In the context of the evil attribution typology in Hasanu, Ibn Taymiyya that two groups go astray on this matter. The first group denies that complains


God wills all things and creates human acts in order to protect Him from doing bad deeds, while the second group asserts that God may create evil without a wise 33 Although unnamed, the two groups are obviously the Muctazilis and purpose. the Ashlar-is, respectively. Ibn Taymiyya bemoans that both groups of Ka1äm

theologians do not adequately distinguish particular evil from general evil or
relative evil from absolute evil. They conceive evil solely in an absolute sense

that applies equally to creatures and the Creator, whereas the shaykh clarifies that the evil that God creates is only evil relative to creatures while it is good with to God. He further illustrates that God does not create general evil with respect the issue of lying prophets. In His wise purpose, God may lead some people

but His wise purpose precludes confirming lying prophets with miracles astray, because that would show God to be weak and unable to differentiate truth-tellers from liars. 34 For God to support a lying Prophet with the same miracles with be a general evil. 35 which He supports truth-telling prophets would In Nasana Ibn Taymiyya also sets out a two-fold scheme for attributing evil that corresponds to the first two types of the three-fold typology and further illustrates how the shaykh situates evil within the context of the general divine good. He describes the two-fold scheme as follows: "[Evil] is He-[but is not attributed

simply to God-Exalted

it is attributed] in two respects: in respect to

its final cause (al-'ilia al-ghä'iyya) and in respect to its secondary cause (sabab) and agent cause (al-'illy al faciliyya). s36 Ibn Taymiyya then equates the

term `final cause' with `wise purpose', and he asserts that God does philosophical not create pure evil in which there is no wise purpose or mercy. The shaykh

divine activity must always be explains that mentioning evil with respect to the


done in the proper context of the more general divine wise purpose. For example, he argues that it is wrong merely to say, "Muhammad and his nation spill blood in the earth," because this is subjecting them to blame. and spread corruption Rather, one should say, "They undertake jihad in the way of God in order that the God be highest and all religion be for God, and they kill whoever word of them from that. "37 Likewise, it is erroneous to say that God creates evil obstructs

that is of no profit to anyone. Instead,one should affirm that God in His wisdom
has created everything good and that "He has in what I-Ie creates of pain or blameworthy deeds in living beings a great wise purpose and a momentous blessing. "38 By placing the focus on God's goodness and wise purpose first, any evil finds its place as evil relative only to particular creatures. accompanying Moreover, this relative evil is wholly good by virtue of God's wise purpose in it.

5.2.4 The relation of the divine names to evil An illustrative component accompanying several occurrences of the evil typology is a consideration of the divine names. Following the pattern attribution the second type, Ibn Taymiyya, in some passages, completely excludes evil of from the divine names themselves and locates it in created things. What the

in Iräda is typical: "There is no name among the most beautiful shaykh says God that entails evil. Evil is only mentioned in the things that He enacts names of (maf i7lätihi). "39 The shaykh then supports this point with several quranic verses in which the evils of punishment and chastisement are clearly distinguished from God's names: "Tell My servants that I am the Forgiving, the Compassionate and My chastisement is the painful chastisement" (Q. 15:49-50); "Your Lord is that


in punishment, and He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate" (Q. 6: 165); swift "Know that God is severe in punishment that God is Forgiving, and

Compassionate" (Q. 5: 98); "Truly, the grip of your Lord is severe. Truly, He it is 40 In Who begins and returns, and He is the Forgiving, the Loving" (Q. 85: 12-4). Thulth, Ibn Taymiyya provides additional interpretation of these verses. [God] regarded forgiveness and mercy to be among the meanings of His beautiful names with which He names Himself... As for the punishment that to servants, this is a creation of His, and it is this which is painful. connects He did not say, "Truly, I am the `Chastiser'. "4' In subsequent discussion in both Irada and Thulth, Ibn Taymiyya takes up the `Avenger' (al-Muntaqim) because it contradicts his claim that the divine name involve no mention of evil. Although this name appears in the Qur'an, Ibn names Taymiyya explains that it is qualified (mugayyacd)by something in the immediate "From the criminals We are avenging (munlagimzin)" (Q. 32: 22), quranic context:

(dhi ifrtiqüm)" (Q. 3:4).4Z The of and "God is All-Mighty, possessor vengeance
does not clarify what these qualifying elements are, but the reader is left to shaykh assume that God's vengeance is limited to criminals in the first example and is subsumed under His name `All-Mighty' in the second. Ibn Taymiyya also argues

that `Avenger' is not one of the established beautiful names of God and that the hadith in the collection of al-Tirmidh43 listing `Avenger' as an independent and does not come from the Prophet himself. 44 unqualified name of God Despite Ibn Taymiyya's complete exclusion of evil from the divine names in the texts discussed above, he says in other passagesthat evil is suggested in the mention of some of the names, but he also explains that such names are conjoined with other names having positive significance. Ibn Taymiyya usually takes up the


`conjoined names' under the rubric of the first type in the evil attribution typology. An excerpt from Minhäj the shaykh's fuller provides one of

explanations of this: If [God] is mentioned by His particular (khüss) name, it is conjoined with He says in His most beautiful names: the I-larmer/the Profiter the good, as (al-Därr al-Näfic), the Giver/the Impeder (al-Mucli al-Nlüni'), the Abaser/the Exalter (al-Khüfrd al-Rüfi'), and the Honorer/the 1-lumiliator (al-Mucizz alHe combines the two names because of the generality and Mudhill). indicates His unity. 45 inclusiveness in this, which In this passage, Ibn Taymiyya does not explicitly identify any of the names with evil. It appears that he is reticent to implicate Harmer, Impeder, Abaser, and

Humiliator directly with evil and so instead labels them `particular names'. These then conjoined to Profiter, Giver, Exalter, and Honorer to mitigate their are God. A brief severity and point to the general and all-inclusive creative work of in Irüda concurs with this interpretation: explanation of the conjoined names "Neither the name Impeder is isolated from its conjoint nor Harmer from its indicates the generality. " 6 conjoint because their conjunction In Ibn Taymiyya's thought on the conjoined names, there is tension between affirming God in His various names relates to everything in existence, that

including evil, and maintaining that all of God's names imply only good. This in accompanying discussions of God's grace and justice in comes out clearly Irüda, Minhij, 47 Here we will examine only the fullest treatment, that and Thulth. Ibn Taymiyya argues in Thulth that one part of God's Word,

found in Thulth.

Surat al-Ikhläs (Q. 112), which is said to be equivalent to one-third of the namely, Qur'an, can be better than another. To support his point, the shaykh notes that God's attributes are also preferable to others, and as one of his examples, some of


he cites the divine saying, "My mercy precedes My anger."48 Ibn Taymiyya then to God's hands. While there are hadiths which extends the principle of preference "Both of His hands are right [hands], "49 because `left' implies deficiency and say, is no deficiency in the hands of God, there is another hadith which indicates there that one of God's hands is preferable to the other: The right hand of God is full, and spending liberally day and night would diminish it. Have you not seen what He has spent since the creation of not the heaven and the earth? What is in His right hand has not diminished. In 50 His other hand is justice; He abasesand exalts. Ibn Taymiyya understands this to mean that grace is in God's right hand and justice is in His other, and he adds that it is known that grace is preferable to justice. Yet, in the event that God's justice should suggest that God commits evil, the shaykh quickly shifts from the divine perspective to the creaturely perspective "Evil does not appear in His names. It appears only in the things that and adds, He enacts," and he then sets out the evil attribution typology, "[Evil] is not

to Him except by way of the generality, by its attribution to the created attributed by the elision of its agent.i51 cause, or

In sum, Ibn Taymiyya fluctuates betweenthe first and secondtypes of evil
discussing the divine names. Sometimes, he treats the divine attribution when to the first type, allowing that some of the names imply evil and names according that these must be conjoined to, that is, subsumed under the generality of asserting At other times, he takes the route of the names carrying positive connotations. type. He completely denies any implication of evil in the divine names, second to what God creates in creatures. As just noted from and attributes evil solely Thulth, he also easily switches from the first to the second type for the sake of propriety in speaking only of God's goodness. rhetorical


Although Ibn Taymiyya resembles Ibn CArabi in presupposing that God's the diversity of the divine names, the shaykh's ideas are far less creation reflects developed, and, more importantly, he does not revel in the paradoxical character divine reality as does the Sufi theosophist. Ibn 'Arabi and his followers employ of the image of God's two hands, for example, to illustrate and elaborate a dialectical 52 Ibn Taymiyya makes a or yin/yang relationship between God and creation. between the divine names on the one hand and good and evil in similar connection the other, but he does not state that this relationship is created reality on paradoxical. This appears to be precluded by an apologetic need to portray the However, the shaykh does admit

divine economy with creation as rational.

implicitly by setting forth his typology for speaking about the one reality paradox The divine perspective of the generality and wise purpose does not negate of evil. that evil is still evil relative to creatures, and the evil perpetrated and experienced by creatures at the level of secondary causes does not nullify the goodness of God. The one perspective cannot be reduced to the other. The following two sections how Ibn Taymiyya fills out these two perspectives, first, by articulating examine God's wise purposes in creation, and, second, by investigating the causes of evil in humans.


Ibn Taymiyya on God's wise purposes in the creation of evil Ibn Taymiyya consistently argues that God has wise purposes in all that He

but he does not often inquire into what those purposes are, and he creates, little hope that human beings can discover them at all. sometimes presents In

Kasb he indicates that God has a well-guarded secret in His determination; it is


know that God is knowing, wise and mercifiul. '3 enough to

In Irüda Ibn

Taymiyya says that it is sufficient for people to know in general (nein haythtu jumla) that God has a great wise purpose in both His creation and His command, but he also holds out a promise of deeper insight for those who grow in faith. The function of this insight is to confirm God's revelation and God's reality: Each time [the servant] increases in knowledge and faith, some of God's His mercy will appear to him that will dazzle his intellect. This wisdom and will make obvious to him to count as true that about which God has informed in His Book, "We will show them Our signs on the horizons and in themselves until it becomes plain to them that He is the Real" (Q. 53). 54 41:

In Minhäj the shaykh's attitude varies from exhortation against asking questions
to suggesting reasons for God's creation of illness and oppression. At one point, he says that it is not for us to ask God, "Why? " and he quotes the verse, "God is He does, but they are questioned" (Q. 21: 23). 55 At not questioned as to what another place in Minhüj, he states without further comment that some people may 56 A third know the wise purposes while others may not. passage in Minhüj illumines the human relationship to God's wisdom by comparing our knowledge of God's wise purpose to the ordinary person's awareness of a specialist's knowledge. A non-specialist can recognize that someone is an expert in grammar, mathematics, jurisprudence, or medicine without being able to understand

everything that the expert says. Likewise, God's wisdom and mercy can dazzle minds and lead human beings to accept that God is wise and merciful without God's wise purpose.57 Despite this, another passage from their understanding Minhüj already noted in Chapter Three (3.5.1) reveals more. Ibn Taymiyya says that one cannot know the detail of God's wise purpose, but he does note that,


generally speaking, God's creation of illness and oppression leads to humility, from sins, and other religious virtues that cannot be attained except by repentance way of difficulty.
otherwise exist. 58

These evils are preconditions to greater goods that could not

In Jabr, when leading into the evil attribution typology, the shaykh asserts, "`[God] is not questioned as to what He does' (Q. 38:27). [This is] because of the His wise purpose, His mercy, and His justice, not merely because of perfection of His subjugation and His power as Jahm and his followers say."59 The exhortation not to question God would appear to bar any knowledge of the divine purpose. Two pages later, however, Ibn Taymiyya opens the door to some knowledge of God's wise purposes for some people: Some servants may know some of [God's] wise purpose, and what is hidden it may be hidden from them. People are favored over others in of knowledge of His wise purpose, His mercy, and His justice. Each time the increases in knowledge of the realities of things, he increases in servant 60 knowledge of God's wise purpose, His justice, His mercy, and His power. Ibn Taymiyya then explains that what the servant comes to understand is that even

though God createsand determinesall things and that his good deedscome from
God, his evil deeds still come from the imperfection and ignorance of his soul (nafs), and God is just in punishing him. It is not immediately clear how this

existential knowledge of one's place before God represents knowledge of His wise purpose except possibly that God's wise purpose is that one comes to this particular understanding. In Jabr the shaykh goes on to note that most people are unable to know the detail of God's wise purpose. He adds that even the angels could not discover God's purpose in creating human beings who would shed belief. 61 blood (Q. 2: 30); the angels had to be content with general knowledge and


The shaykh says much the same thing about angelic knowledge of human in Vasana. In God's great wise purpose and mercy, He created evil an nature inevitable constituent of humanity. Reminiscent of Ibn Sind's assertion that fire

be fire without burning, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that human beings would not have been human beings if God had created them differently and that would not God's wise purpose would not have been realized. Yet, not even the angels, much is so.62 Despite the shaykh's agnosticism less human beings, know why this God's wise purpose in this particular passage from Hasana, he concerning indications in this treatise than I have found elsewhere as to what provides more he believes God's wise purposes in the creation of evil are. He also tells his in Hasana that he has expounded the wise purpose and mercy in God's readers Iblis and Hell in another place, but I have not been able to locate this creation of in the shaykh's works. 63 In Hasana Ibn Taymiyya gives relative evil an educational function as deterrence and guidance away from the wrong path. God's destruction of Pharaoh his people was evil relative to them, but it served the universal good as a and lesson from which future generations might profit. Here, the shaykh quotes the

dealing with Pharaoh and his people, "So, when they angered Us, quranic verses We took vengeance on them, and We drowned them all together. We set them as to later generations" (Q. 43: 55-6), and, "Truly, in this a precedent and an example is a lesson for those who fear" (Q. 79:26). 64 Other quranic stories also promote human benefit in that they provide lessons upon which we may reflect and recognize in ourselves something of the disbelief that plagued earlier

65 Likewise, human in general serves as a lesson to others by generations. sin


guidance, and belief. evoking reflection,

However, the shaykh adds that we

lesson of this kind. 66 ask God not to make us into an object should Ibn Taymiyya also notes that God sends both prosperity and adversity, as (sg. zilzäl), to test believers and purify them from evil, expiate well as earthquakes their sins, and increase their reward through patience. The blessing of prosperity 67 In support of these notions, he may in fact be a greater trial than adversity. following texts among others: "That God might try what was in your quotes the in your hearts" (Q. 3: 154);68"It may be breasts and that He might purify what was hate something that is good for you, and it may be that you love that you but you do not know" (Q. 2: 216); 69 that is evil for you. God knows, something the hadith, "I seek refuge in You from the trial of poverty and the evil of the and trial of wealth. "70 Also, when discussing God's use of an unjust ruler to ward off injustice, Ibn Taymiyya notes that this injustice expiates the sins of even greater those afflicted [afflictions], repentance."7' In Hasana, Ibn Taymiyya argues, as he does in Minhüj, that evil deeds are a to the virtues of humility and repentance. He makes this point when precondition hadith, "God did not decree anything for the believer except what is taking up the for him. "72 In addressing the question of how God's decree of evil deeds good inducing punishment could be good for the believer, the shaykh first asserts that the hadith appears to be referring to blessings and afflictions and to prosperity and but not to human deeds. However, he then considers the possibility that adversity, the hadith encompasses God's decree of human sins as well. He explains that this by it and increases their reward. He adds, moreover, "In

they return to God, ask His forgiveness, and turn to Him in


is good for the believer because it leads to the further good of repentance that occur. In this view, the believer is not one who avoids sins could not otherwise but one who does not persist in them and repents to his own greater good: entirely, The believer is he who does not persist in a sin but repents from it. Thus, it becomes a good deed He does not cease repenting from it until he enters .... Paradise by means of his repentance from it. A sin necessitates a servant's humility, his subjection, invocation of God, his asking Him for forgiveness, his bearing witness to his poverty and to his need for Him and that no and forgive sins except Him. Because of the sin, good things happen to one can the believer that would not have happened without this. Therefore, this is good for him. 73 decree This quotation focuses on how God's decree of sin and the subsequent good of is good for human beings specifically. repentance In the other brief notes on the

from Hasana and Minhüj, the good in question is good of evil examined above human education and religious benefit. The shaykh also maintains that similarly God benefits from all that He creates in that it establishes His right to praise, but I have not found the shaykh meditating upon how God profits from evil in particular. He does not, for example, follow in the footsteps of Ibn cArabi and

that the creation of evil is necessary to the expression of God's argue explicitly Yet, this is implied, and Ibn Taymiyya's close disciple Ibn names and attributes. Qayyim al-Jawziyya states explicitly that sins and disobedience are necessary in for God to demonstrate His mercy and forgiveness and that God's joy in order is contingent upon there being something from which human beings repentance 74 Even though Ibn Taymiyya does not examine how evil enables God to repent. demonstrate His attributes, he does maintain in Hasana that all that God creates is blessing to His servants revealing His wisdom, mercy, and power and that God a deserves praise and thanksgiving for this: "He has in [everything He creates] a


wise purpose returning to Him, on account of which He has a right to be praised has a right in His essence.,75 with a praise to which He In Ilasana Ibn Taymiyya criticizes the Qadaris (i. e. Muctazi1is) for asserting that God creates with wise purpose to the profit of creatures, but without return to Himself. The shaykh claims that such a God is not wise because He gains nothing

from His supposedlywise act. Rather, such a God is foolish (scilh) and deserves
God is only thanked for the profit that He provides to others.76 Ibn no praise; this

Taymiyya also condemnsthe Jahmis (i. e. Ash'aris) for failing to uphold God's wise purpose and justice. The shaykh arguesthat a God who creates pure evil
devoid of wise purpose, profit, and mercy is worthy of blame and has no right to love. 77 This argument that God's wise activity makes Him praiseworthy praise or has already been noted from Iräda in Chapter Two (2.3.2-3). It also correlates

the shaykh's assertion, explained in Chapter One (1.4.4), that God's with His right to praise and worship and with the claim in perfection establishes Hasana and elsewhere that God created humankind and sent messengers to them

Him.78 We may safely conclude, then, that so that they might worship and thank to Ibn Taymiyya's mind, God's intention in creating even evil is to establish His
right to praise and to receive that praise from His creatures. To sum up, the above discussion of divine wise purpose shows that Ibn Taymiyya is often reticent to speculate on God's wise purpose in creating evil and that it is not extensive when he does. He believes God is working in His world to

for Himself and that evil is a necessaryinstrument in achieving this elicit praise
divine objective. Since this is sufficiently obvious to the shaykh, discovering

for evil on the human plane is not always a pressing matter. However, reasons


brief notices in Minhäj and Hasana do point to educational and religious benefits The evil deeds of others provide warnings against taking the wrong path. of evil. Afflictions of various kinds function as purifying tests, and they expiate sins and

for earning reward through patience. Personal sins afford provide opportunity occasions to develop religious virtues such as humility, repentance, and

invocation of God. From this, it may be concluded that Ibn Taymiyya believes that God's general purpose in creating evil is promoting religious devotion among His creatures. This bears strong affinities to the interpretations of evil as

discipline found in Muctazilism and Sufismn. education and spiritual


Ibn Taymiyya's

location of the origin of evil in nonexistence ('adanr) deems the

In texts examined in Chapter Four (4.3.5), Ibn Taymiyya

`substrate principle' a sufficient defense of God's justice in creating and punishing human bad deeds. God is not qualified with the bad deeds that He creates and He is just to punish these acts because He creates them in a substrate other than Himself. In two major theodicean texts-Hasana and Fütiha-Ibn Taymiyya

beyond the substrate defense of God's justice and attempts to free God goes entirely from creating gratuitous evil The following deeds by locating their origin in


two sections examine how the shaykh employs

to deal with the origin of evil in Hasana and Fdtihn, respectively. nonexistence Rooting evil in nonexistence likely represents a development in Ibn Taymiyya's thought. However, as noted in the Introduction to this study, this developmental thesis unfortunately cannot be more firmly due to difficulty grounded in

establishing a precise chronology for Ibn Tayrniyya's theodiccan writings.


5.4.1 Exclusive divine goodness and the origin of evil deeds in Hasana 5.4.1. a Interpreting Q. 4: 78-9: everything is from God; evil is from the soul

Precedents for the notion of evil as privation or nonexistence ("ada,n) are in the Islamic tradition in Ibn Sind and Ibn'Arab!. 79 Whereas these thinkers found draw on the concept of privation for metaphysical or theosophical reasons, Ibn Taymiyya employs it in Hasana to address a more typically respectively, Muctazili concern, that of upholding the order of divine retribution and absolving God of being the ultimate source of moral evil. Material from Hasana has already been examined in this and previous chapters, but the central problem of the treatise-the origin of evil-has yet to be addressed. Much of the text wrestles

by two verses (Q. 4: 78-9), which occur in a with an apparent contradiction posed jihad and blaming those who shirk it (Q. 4: 65quranic passage commanding 104).80 Ibn Taymiyya presents the problem as follows: One group thought that there was in the verses an ambiguity or contradiction in the outward sense (fl al-zühir) where [God] says, "Everything is from God" (4: 78), and then differentiates between good things (hasanüt) and evil things (sayyi'ät). He said, "Any good thing that comes to you is from God thing that comes to you is from yourself " (Q. 4: 79). This is and any evil due to their insufficient understanding and their not meditating on the in the verses.81 verses. There is no contradiction Ibn Taymiyya does not specify the group that he has in mind at the beginning of this quote, but he does mention earlier Kalam interpretations designed to resolve the contradiction between God as the source of all things and humans as the The shaykh cites a Muctazili proposal that argues that Q. source of evil things. 4: 79 refers to God's command. On this reading, all good comes from God only in the sense that He commands it. He does not necessarily create it. The nrfs, which

I will translatevariously as `self', `soul', or `person', createsdisobedience, well as


as obedience, and is thus the source of evil things.

Ibn Taymiyya rejects this

interpretation because he believes that the verse, "Everything is from God" (Q. 4: 78), precludes human beings creating their own acts.82 Towards the end of Hasana, the shaykh also notes an interpretation that he b. Fürak (d. 406/1015). S3 In this view, traces to the Ashcan theologian Abtt Bakr

the final part of Q. 4:79 should be read as an interrogative, "Any evil thing that
to you, is it from yourself? " which must be answered in the negative comes because all things come from God. Ibn Taymiyya discards Ibn Fürak's

interpretation as grammatically untenable. 94 He argues instead that the verse depreciation of the human role in acts because it indicates that at least refutes any deeds come from the person himself. 85 some In a brief discussion of these same verses in b"äda, Ibn Taymiyya interprets `good things' and `evil things' as strictly blessings and afflictions. affliction The evils of

from the person in the sense that God sends them as are only

for sins that God also creates. The shaykh states clearly that `good punishment things' and `evil things' are not acts of obedience and acts of disobedience, that it could be said that God creates the former but not the respectively, such latter. 86 In Hasana, however, he gives a lengthy survey of the views of early Qur'an commentators and then locates the ultimate source of disobedient acts more firmly in the human. As in Iräda, he explains that fiasanüt and sayyi'dt, which I have been translating `good things' and `evil things' respectively, refer to the blessings and afflictions that come upon humankind, but then he also argues that these may be said to include obedience and disobedience. It is for this reason that I will sometimes also translate hasandt and sayyi'«t as `good deeds' and `evil


deeds'. In this light, the shaykh reads Q. 4: 79 to mean that obedience is a blessing that comes to a person from God while disobedience is an affliction that comes to he himself, in some sense, does it. 87 him because The shaykh solidifies this interpretation of 4: 79 in Hasana by drawing a distinction between a deed and its recompense (jazz') of punishment or reward. God may punish a first act of disobedience with a second act of disobedience, and He may reward a first good deed with a second good deed. The shaykh illustrates this notion from the Qur'an at length. Three of his quotations will suffice here: "By [the Book], God guides whomever follows His good-pleasure in the ways of (Q. 5: 16);88 "Then the unbeliever was confounded. God does not guide peace" (Q. 2:258); 89 and, "We shall turn their hearts and their people who are unjust" they did not believe in it the first time, and We shall leave them in their eyes, as insolence to wander blindly" (Q. 6: 110). From this evidence that God rewards deeds with other deeds similar in kind, the shaykh concludes that the and punishes key phrase at the end of Q. 4: 79, "from yourself, " encompasses both sins

God's creation of evil deeds as punishment. As for gratuitously perpetrated and deeds, however, God creates both the acts and their recompense in keeping good with "Any good thing that comes to you is from God. "90 Having established that evil things come only from the afflicted person himself, Ibn Taymiyya refutes a charge that the Prophet and his message are sources of evils and afflictions. This accusation arises in Q. 4: 78: "If a good thing

to them, they say, `This is from God', and if an evil thing comes to them, comes they say, `This is from you [Muhammad]'. Say, `Everything is from God. "' The

blaming the Prophet for bringing down afflictions on the Muslims has problem of


its roots in the Muslim setback at the battle of Uhud in 3/625. The shaykh makes reference in Hasana to this battle and places the blame for its afflictions not on the Prophet but on the sins of the Muslims. 91

5.4.1. b All good comes from God's unmerited blessing Even though Ibn Taymiyya imbues "Any evil thing that comes to you is from yourself" with a strong sense of retributive punishment, it is difficult to see how this fits with his conviction that both good and evil deeds are created and by God. What is the sense in which human beings are the sources predetermined of their evil deeds? The shaykh himself presents the problem clearly: If acts of obedience and acts of disobedience are predetermined (mrugaddar), and blessings and afflictions are predetermined, then what is the difference between good things, which are blessings, and evil things, which are to deem the one from God and the other from the human afflictions, so as 92 soul?

Following this statementin Hasana, Ibn Taymiyya elaboratesa series of eight
`differences' (furiüg) between good things and evil things. 93 The fourth and eighth

`differences' do not concernus directly here. The fourth elaborates notion that the
evil is relative and discusses a version of the three-fold evil attribution typology in this chapter.94 The eighth `difference' says simply that examined earlier
disgusting circumstances are appropriate for those who do disgusting things

(khabü'ith) and that it is not fitting for such people to reside in the Agreeable Paradise (al-janna al-tayyiba). Paradise is only appropriate for those who have

been purified from their sins.95 This eighth difference does not explore why some people do disgusting things.


In the first three `differences', as well as in the seventh, Ibn Taymiyya God's great beneficence. God distributes blessings (sg. nidina) and underscores (fadl), such as health, guidance, belief, and good deeds, apart from grace human worthiness, and God brings people into Paradise out of consideration of to their deeds. With respect to evil deeds, moreover, pure grace without respect 96 The following God limits His punishment strictly to what retribution requires.

from the `seconddifference' epitomizesthis perspective. passage
All that intelligent beings enjoy of the two goods of this world and the hereafter is pure blessing from Him without a preceding cause making it They have neither might nor strength from themselves except their right. through Him. He is Creator of their souls, Creator of their righteous deeds, Creator of recompense. So, His statement, "Any good thing that comes and to you is from God" (Q. 4: 79), is true in every respect, in the outward sense the inward sense (bätinan), according to the doctrine of the Sunnis. As and for an evil thing, it is only from the sin of the servant, and the sin is from himself. [God] did not say, "Truly, I did not predetermine this, and I did not human beings what profits them. 97 it. " Instead, He mentioned to create The profitable thing that Ibn Taymiyya believes that God has mentioned is the latter part of Q. 4: 79, "Any evil thing that comes to you is from yourself. " "From yourself' benefits humankind by prompting and entreaty for repentance

forgiveness of sins. With this in mind, the shaykh interprets Q. 4: 78-9 as follows. The first verse, which includes "Everything is from God, " clarifies that blessings, and disobedience are all from God. Then, the afflictions, and acts of obedience verse differentiates between blessings and evil in order to motivate second God for the former and seeking forgiveness from Him for the thanksgiving to latter. 98 This reading of Q. 4: 78-9 involves a shift from a retributive scheme of

for good deedsto a logic of pure grace and blessing in which God is the reward
The `substrate principle' noted in Chapter Four (4.3.5) of sole source of all good.


this study no longer applies to good deeds. Good deeds are not attributed to the human in whom God creates them to subsist, and humans therefore have no basis upon which to merit reward. All deeds come from God's unmerited good

blessing, and retribution is left to operate strictly on the level of evil deeds. While

this interpretation of Q. 4:78-9 may nurture a reverent attitude toward the
goodness of God, it does not clearly explain how the logic of pure grace in good deeds coexists with retribution in evil deeds.

5.4.1. c The source of evil deeds is ignorance, which is a nonexistent

Ibn Taymiyya grapples with the logic of reward and punishment more
extensively in the fifth and sixth `differences' in Yasana, vacillating at first between retributive based and blessing based approaches to reward before

concentrating on a retributive scheme in punishment. The shaykh begins his fifth `difference' by noting that all good deeds with which God blesses human beings are `existing things' (umirr wujfidiyya). Furthermore, he explains that omission

(lark) of what is prohibited is just as existent as obedience to a command. An omission of a prohibited act is existent because it involves a person's "knowledge that it is a bad sin and that it is a cause of chastisement, his loathing, and his hatred of it, and his restraint of himself from it when he desires it, craves it, and seeks it. "99 After this, Ibn Taymiyya speaks retributively, noting that human

beings are only rewarded for good deeds if they undertake them with explicit intention and love for God. Similarly, they are only rewarded for omitting evil deeds if they omit them out of hatred of them and loathing for worship of any apart from God. Moreover, there is no reward for omitting a forbidden deed that


one never thought to commit, and there is no punishment for omitting to do what is commanded unless there is a perverse refusal to obey. Reward and punishment apply only to the `existent', or `intentional', commission of good deeds and evil deeds, respectively. There is neither reward nor punishment for someone who Such a person is in a state of

does not know that his deeds are good or evil.

unaccountability similar to that of children and the insane. Ibn Taymiyya closes out this part of his discussion by returning from the retributive perspective to that of unmerited divine blessing. All rewarded good deeds are existent and a blessing

from God: "It is He who makes belief beloved to the believers and adorns it in their hearts,and [it is He] who makesdisbelief, iniquity, and disobediencehateful
"' 00 to them. Ibn Taymiyya returns to retribution in the `fifth difference' in Hasana by tracing evil deeds variously to injustice, heedlessness(ghcJa), craving (sha{nva), caprice (hawä), Satan, and the soul's hatred for what is obligatory. roots evil deeds ultimately in ignorance or the lack of knowledge. However, he The shaykh

explains that God has created humans in their natural constitution Up-a) to love knowledge and to gain what profits them and gives them pleasure. Moreover, God has given His guidance: "God-Exalted is He-has guided humanity with

general guidance by the knowledge and the means of knowledge that He put in the by the books He sent down to them and the messengers natural constitution, and He sent to them. "101 Ibn Taymiyya also maintains that guidance and knowledge will restrain one from evil. Human beings will decide to perform good deeds and deeds if they are adequately aware of the profit entailed in doing so. avoid evil "The root of what makes people fall into evil deeds is ignorance and not knowing


that they will harm them with preponderant harm, or thinking that they will profit " 102 The shaykh argues that a thief will not steal if them with preponderant profit. if certain of being sure of getting caught and an adulterer will not commit adultery Wine drinkers, however, present a more difficult problem. Ibn Taymiyya stoned. that punishment does not necessarily stop them from observes drinking.

However, he does not explore why this is so; instead, he notes that the death drinker. ' 03 The shaykh sees but does may be necessary for the inveterate penalty fathom the problem of addiction. not It is difficult to reconcile Ibn Taymiyya's view of ignorance as the source of his notion that only perverse and `existent' disobedience is punished evil with retributively. On the one hand, and as noted in the preceding paragraph, he argues

human beings given proper guidance will necessarily do what they should that be the course of action most profitable for them. He believes that since this will they will never perversely disobey God in full awareness of the consequences, and he does not allow the empirical observation of incorrigible wine drinkers to

disturb this conviction. No one will disobey knowing full well that it will lead to his own ruin. Perversity is therefore impossible. On the other hand, Ibn

Taymiyya explains that punishment is due only for the `existent' omission of deeds, that is, for disobedience that is perverse and intentional. obligatory the difficulty Now

is this: if a knowledgeable person will not disobey, and if a person

disobeys does so only for lack of knowledge and proper guidance, then there who will be no justly administered retributive because no act of punishment

disobedience is truly perverse. The disobedient is always ignorant and therefore The notion that lack of knowledge is the fundamental root of evil unaccountable.


deeds renders a retributive scheme that punishes only existent or perverse deeds superfluous. Punishment, however, may be administered for other than retributive as deterrence and education, which make evil deeds and their reasons, such consequences known for what they are: harmful to the human soul. That Ibn

Taymiyya doesindeed supply thesekinds of reasonsfor affliction and punishment in this chapter(5.3).10' in Hasana has beenobservedearlier
Ibn Taymiyya's motivation for locating evil deeds in ignorance and the lack knowledge in the `fifth difference' in yasana is to clear God of being the of He argues that nonexistence is nothing at all; it has no agent and source of evil. therefore cannot be attributed to God. God is the source only of existent things, ignorance. '05 The shaykh explains in the same context that God creates the not of soul constantly willing and moving. When it does not turn toward God in its

ignorance, it necessarily turns away from Him and worships something else.
Then, the person suffers recompense through not "living the profitable life for

he was created." 106 Yet, it remains unclear how the God who creates all which human acts can hold human beings responsible for their ignorance, and it is not human beings lack adequate knowledge in the first place. apparent why Ibn

Taymiyya closes out the `fifth difference' in Hasana with the discussion of the
attribution of evil to its final and agent causes that was noted above (at the end of 5.2.3). With this, the shaykh shifts his primary focus away from the origin of evil to assert that there is a divine wise purpose in all created things.


5.4.1. d Punishment is for the lack of the deeds for which one was created In the `sixth difference', the shaykh returns to the problem of evil's ultimate

his final and clearestattempt in Hasana to explain how God is sourceand makes
just to punish human sins retributively. Substantial portions of his discussion are

translatedbelow. At the beginning of the `sixth difference', Ibn Tayrniyya states, "The existent sins (al-dhunitb al-wujüdiyya) by which the servantis tried-even if
they are a creation of God-are his punishment for his not doing what God The

created him to do and what He constituted him naturally to do. "107

fundamental problem is the failure of human beings to commit the good deeds for they were created and the deeds that humans should know to do through the which guidance of their natural constitutions. In order to free God from responsibility

for having created this failure and to render Him just in punishing it retributively,

Ibn Taymiyya calls it a nonexistentthat God does not create. This nonexistent is
the complete punishment of the Fire, but it is punished by not punished with God's creation of evil deeds.108The shaykh explains that this is a middle position between complete punishment for a pure lack of good deeds, a view he attributes Muctazili Abi! Häshim al-Jubba i (d. 321/933), 109 to the and complete punishment `existing' evil deeds such as the intentional omission of good deeds.' 10 He of only elaborates his view as follows: What has been mentioned in this respect is a middle position (amr ti>>asat). That is, [God] punishes [the servant] for this lack [of good deeds] with his commission of evil deeds, not with the [complete] punishment of them. He does not punish him for them until He sends His messenger. When he disobeys the messenger, at that moment he deserves the complete At first, he is only punished by that from whose evil he can be punishment. by repenting from it or by not being held accountable. He is like a saved boy who does not occupy himself with what profits him but with what is a cause of his harm. However, the pen of sinful things will not write anything against him until he reaches the age of accountability. When he reaches the


age of accountability, he will be punished. Then, the evil deeds to which he has grown accustomed may be a cause of his disobedience after reaching the He has not been punished except for his sin, but he age of accountability. only deserves the conventional punishment after being made accountable. As for his preoccupation with evil deeds, this is punishment for his not committing good deeds. Hence, evil is not [attributed] to God in any respect. Even if God is the Creator of the servants' acts-His creation of obedient acts is blessing and mercy, and He has a wise purpose and mercy in His creation of evil deeds-this is, nonetheless, just of Him. He is not unjust to humans at all, but humans are unjust to themselves. Their injustice to themselves is of two kinds: their not committing good deeds-this is not attributed to Him-and their commission of evil deeds-He creates them as their punishment for omitting to commit the good deeds for which He created them and which He commanded them. Every blessing from Him is grace, and every vengeance from Him is just. It will become clear to whomever meditates on the Qur'an that, God makes whatever He mentions in the way of creating unbelief generally, and acts of disobedient a recompense for these deeds. [This is] as in His God wills to guide, He opens his statement-Exalted is He-"Whomever breast to Islam. Whomever He wills to misguide, He makes his breast narrow and tight as if he were climbing up to the sky. In this way, God makes an atrocity for those who do not believe" (Q. 6: 125). And HeExalted is He-says, "So, when they turned away, God turned their hearts (Q. 61: 5). And He-Exalted is He-says, "As for him who is a away" belies goodness, We will ease his way into miser and self-sufficient and hardship" (Q. 92: 8-10). In this and similar examples, they executed deeds by which He punished them for committing what was forbidden and omitting what was commanded. These things were only from them and in them because they did not do that for which they were created. created They must inevitably have motion and a will. When they were not active with good deeds, they were active with evil deeds out of God's justice since He put this in its place, in its substrate, which is susceptible to it, namely, the heart, which is not [existent] except [as] committing deeds. If it does not commit a good deed, it will be employed in committing an evil deed. As it "As for your soul, if you do not occupy it, it will occupy you. "' 11 was said, Following this passage, Ibn Taymiyya briefly notes that the Jabris assert that God could punish unbelief and disobedience that He creates without wise purpose and that the Qadaris maintain that humans create their own acts. He also mentions that many Qadaris allow that God creates sins in recompense but do not permit

it. ] 12 God to createthe first sin that a personcommits lest God be unjust to punish Ibn Taymiyya himself also excludes the `first sin' from the realm of divine


creation, but he does not attribute its creation to the human. He maintains that it is not created by anyone because it is not an existent. Rather, it is the nonexistence

of the good deedsfor which the human was created. The first sin in the life of
each individual human being might be understood as a passive failure to cooperate God's intention for him. It is a privation of what God meant human beings with to be, and this privation has neither a divine nor a human agent. After elaborating this in the following passage from the `sixth difference', the shaykh briefly takes

the matter of why humans do not do that for which they were created in the up first place:
What we have mentioned necessitates that God is Creator of everything. Nothing originates except by His will and power. Nevertheless, the first of the existing sins is the [one] created, and this is a punishment for the servant's not doing that for which he has been created and that which he is supposed to do. It is not permissible to attribute this lack to God. It is not that it would enter into our statement, "God is the Creator of anything so everything. " The first of the existent sins that He originates is a punishment the servant for this lack. The rest [of the sins] may either be a of the servant for what exists or they may be a punishment for punishment of his continuation in [this] lack. As long as he does not consecrate deeds to God, he is still an associator, and Satan still has authority over him. be to Him-of Then, His specification (takhris)-Glory whom He him from the beginning in that for which he was created guides-to employ and not so to employ another-is a specification of His by His grace and mercy. Therefore, God says, "And God chooses whomever He wills for his mercy. God is the owner of abounding grace" (Q. 2: 105). In this is wise purpose and mercy about which He knows better, as when He specifies some bodies (abdän) to have strengths not found in others. Because of the lack of strength, [a body] might suffer diseases that are existent and other than that in His wise purpose. By verifying this, [this] wards off the God knows better what is correct. 13 obscurities of this subject, and Locating the origin of evil in the nonexistent failure of human beings to do that for they were created may succeed in granting some semblance of libertarian which freedom and establishing a basis upon which to mete out retributive punishment. However, making `nonexistence' in some way the cause or origin of this failure


does not explain convincingly why human beings fall passively into their initial sins. In the passage above, the shaykh appears to sense these problems, and he turns away from his retributive argument and back to God's grace and wise purpose. Ultimately, there is no explanation for human weakness but God's wise purpose and mercy. Ibn Taymiyya's attempt to find a basis for retributive

judgement in nonexistencestill has its further grounding in God's wise purpose
for having set up the creation as He has and for having created some human beings to dissipate their energies in unprofitable deeds.

5.4.1. e Worship God alone because He is the sole source of good To sum up the previous subsections, Ibn Taymiyya's dominant viewpoint on divine recompense in Hasana differs substantially from that of the substrate

in which the good and bad deedsthat God createsare both attributed to principle
human beings. With the substrate principle, retributive justice operates in both good and bad deeds from the human perspective, while God from the divine perspective creates all according to His wise purpose. In Vasana, however, the shaykh often maintains that humans should take the perspective of divine allcomprehensive goodness in blessings and good deeds but the human retributive in evil deeds and afflictions. perspective Good things point to God alone, not to

human achievement, while evil things always point to lack and failure in the individual afflicted. Neither God nor human beings create this failure; it is devoid of an agent. Yet, human beings are responsible for allowing this failure to occur to them, and they suffer the punishment of God creating evil deeds in them as retribution.


The shift from the substrate principle to God as the unique source of all human good deeds also carries ethical and spiritual import for Ibn Taymiyya in Hasana. Noted above was his claim that Q. 4: 79 indicates what is profitable for human beings: the conviction that all blessings come from God evokes

knowledge that evil deedscome only from the soul promotes thanksgiving, while 114 In the latter parts of Hasana, he also contends that no seeking forgiveness.
intercession (shaf-ca) should be sought except from those to whom God gives to intercede before Him, and he criticizes beliefs and practices that he authority believes violate the divine Law and detract from worshipping God alone. He

God should be the sole object of obedience, complete trust, hope, argues that invocation because God alone is the source of all good praise, and 115 things.

5.4.2 The origin of evil in human imperfection

and lack in Fätiha

The treatise Fätiha gives a more strongly philosophical account of the idea just reviewed from Hasana that God is the source of all good and that humans are deeds. Ibn Taymiyya begins the part of Fätiha in which he the sole origins of evil discusses evil by affirming God as Creator of all existent things. The human soul which is nothing at all and requires no agent. The contributes only nonexistence, then notes that the nonexistence of something may be due to the lack of an shaykh äni'). factor (mugta4i) or the existence of an impediment (m entailing God's will (mashi'a) However,

is always decisive in necessitating the existence of With its

"The will of [God] is the perfect cause (al-sahab al-kinnil). something:

is no impediment, and with its nonexistence there is no entailing existence there


factor. " 116 With these metaphysical bases in place, the shaykh explains that all from the Soul.117 good comes from God and that no good comes Ibn Taymiyya then identifies two kinds of evil: the nonexistent and the 118 He explains that a nonexistent evil may be the nonexistence of an existent. the privation of an attribute of perfection such as life, knowledge, speech, essence, the like, or a lack of good deeds such as loving and turning to God. The and things is good, and their privation is evil. existence of such However, this

has no agent or creator. Thus, it is not attributed to God but to the soul privation the way God created it. In other words, evil, imperfection, as a concomitant of elements of human nature: and privation are essential [This privation] is only from the necessary concomitants of the soul, which is the reality of the human being, before it is created and after it has been Before it is created, it is nonexistent, which makes this privation created. follow necessarily. After it has been created-It having been created weak is imperfection, weakness, and impotence in it, and imperfect-there and these things are nonexistent. They have been attributed to the soul as the the effect to the nonexistence of its attribution of the nonexistence of 119 cause. Following this, the shaykh again notes that the nonexistence of something may be due either to the lack of its agent or to an impediment, and as before, he mentions that no impediment can impede God's will. However, he adds that God may

to be a secondary cause (sabab), another thing an entailing factor, create one thing and yet another thing an impediment. In this case the impediment impedes the

God makes the cause complete (tümrn). With this in view, the shaykh cause until "These nonexistent evil deeds are only attributed to the servant, explains, due to the lack of a cause from him, and at other times due to the sometimes impediment from him. " 120The lack of a cause consists in servants existence of an


having no strength and good in themselves, and impediments include impotence better deeds.121 deeds that logically preclude other and preoccupation with Some discussion of the second kind of evil in Fütiha-existent evil-has

been given earlier in this chapter (5.2.3). This evil is not absolute, and already from the divine perspective it is wholly good by virtue of God's wise purpose. Following the three-fold evil attribution typology, however, it is also attributed to its secondary cause. Ibn Taymiyya explains, "The secondary cause of this As

is either nonexistent or existent. "122 existent, particular, restricted evil

`nonexistent' type, he notes the lack of a condition or the lack of examples of the This is as when a cause of pleasure and good is fully present, but part of a cause. is lacking, which causes pain. More concretely, the lack of hearing the condition deafness; the lack of health causes pain and illness; and so on. causes the pain of The shaykh clarifies furthermore that the servant commits forbidden acts and their harm only out of ignorance and need which arise out of nonexistence, suffers the nonexistence of knowledge and the nonexistence of sufficiency specifically, (ghinä), respectively. As examples of `existent' causes of existent evil, Ibn

Taymiyya cites commission of forbidden deeds leading to punishment and blame, harmful foods, and forceful movements inducing pain. These existents are eating imperfect because they do not cause pure good, and the shaykh traces them back lacks such as the lack of complete examination and listening, which to other back to either pure nonexistence or the impediments of pride and themselves go Pride results from a vain imagination that arises out of the soul's lack of envy. in the Real, and envy originates in a lack of the level of blessing that sufficiency bring the envious on a par with the envied. Similarly, murder and adultery would


occur because the person cannot fulfill his need in some other way, and the source is nonexistence. 123 The distinction between nonexistent and existent of this need causes of existent evil dissolves in the final analysis to nonexistence because the existent causes of evil are always imperfect, and imperfection itself is rooted in nonexistence.

Following this, Ibn Taymiyya elaborates further in Fätiha that pure and that existence is not a cause of nonexistence cannot cause existence,
because nonexistence does not need an existent cause. He again nonexistence notes that pure existence is completely good, and he then divides evil into pain on the one hand and causes of pain on the other. As an example of a cause of pain, he notes evil deeds leading to chastisement. Pain results from a privation, as in the separation of something that should be connected. Sins that cause pain arise initially from not meeting obligations, which opens the door to committing

forbidden acts. The shaykh closes out the section on evil in Fütiha by explaining that human beings should seek refuge in God from both the evil deeds they commit and the pain and punishment that these deeds bring. In the remainder of the treatise, he expands on the human need to love and rely totally on the God from whom all blessing and help comes.124 The presentation of evil as nonexistence in Fütilia is much more formal and philosophically detailed than that of Nasana. It also contributes to the wider

concern of the treatise to demonstrate that human beings should worship and trust God alone because they are totally in need of Him and are nothing in themselves. Ibn Taymiyya's primary concern in Fütiha is not to respond to a rational problem


of evil, as it was in Hasana, but to accentuate human weakness, imperfection, and lack for the religious aim of promoting exclusive trust in God.


Conclusion In the evil attribution typology presented at the beginning of this chapter,

Ibn Taymiyya identifies three ways of speaking about evil.

Reviewing these in

reverse order, the third type consists in eliding the agent of evil, presumably God, and giving the respective verb in the passive voice. This is a rhetorical courtesy, which the shaykh does not elaborate further except to cite a few examples from the Qur'an. The second type diverts attention from the Creator and attributes evil solely to its secondary cause, that is, to the creature that commits it. The first type to the generality of what God creates. This may be interpreted in attributes evil two ways. From the divine perspective, evil is a necessary concomitant of God's creative work, and it is wholly good by virtue of God's wise purpose in creating it. From the human perspective, evil consists in harm only to particular persons that is to the general advantage of the whole, and evil is miniscule compared to the great quantity of good. Ibn Taymiyya does not explain how God benefits from His wise purposes in the creation of evil, and he does not usually explain how evil benefits humans either. He sometimes notes that it is sufficient to believe that God has a wise

purpose in all that He does. In a few places, however, and especially in Hasana, the shaykh gives evil the educational function of deterring others from bad deeds and the religious functions of purifying through testing, expiating sins, providing opportunity to earn reward, and developing virtues such as repentance, humility


devotion to God. In assigning evil these instrumental roles, the shaykh adopts and a mix of approaches found also among the Sufis and Multazilis. The first two types in the evil attribution typology formalize a dichotomy between the divine and human perspectives. However, the shaykh does not

this paradoxically in the spirit of Ibn 'Arabi. Instead, he attempts to explicate
mention of rational difficulty. evade His interpretation of Q. 4: 78-9 in Hasana

provides a prime example of this.

Ibn Taymiyya denies that there is a

in these verses' claims that all is from God and that every evil thing contradiction is from the individual person afflicted. He resolves this most fully by locating the in the nonexistence or lack of the good deeds for which ultimate source of evil God created human beings. This lack cannot be attributed to the creative activity

God becausea nonexistenthasno agent,but God punishespeople in whom this of
lack is found by creating evil deeds that preoccupy them from doing good deeds. However, there remains the question of why some people fall into a lack of good deeds. Here the shaykh implicitly acknowledges difficulty by switching back to

the divine perspective and explaining that God chooses to employ some, but not in good deeds according to His mercy and wise purpose, just as He creates others, to be stronger than others. Despite Ibn Taymiyya's denial of contradiction some in Q. 4: 78-9, apparently out of theological propriety, his interpretation does not the contradiction in his doctrine between retribution and divine mercy eliminate between the human and the divine. and wise purpose, or more generally, A similar problem arises in Ibn Taymiyya's discussion of the basis for

in Hasana. At some points, he bases reward retributively in good deeds, reward but at other points, he shifts this basis to God's unmerited grace in creating only


blessings and good deeds. He then argues that God is the sole source of good and therefore the only worthy object of worship and trust. The upshot is that piety demands taking the perspective of divine grace in good deeds and the perspective human accountability and retribution in evil deeds. These same basic ideas are of

presentedmore philosophically in Fätiha. Ibn Taymiyya's vision of God, the human being, and evil in Hasana and
Fütiha may promote positive humility, gratitude, and piety in some. However, he

is reticent to acknowledge that this involves a measureof incoherencebetween
in the spiritual life. It is also difficult to see how consigning retribution and grace the ultimate cause of evil to nonexistence, despite its venerable heritage in Ibn Sind and Ibn cArabi, can make adequate sense of evil's very real and powerful in human experience. In Ibn Taymiyya's highly moral rendering, the presence burden to the downtrodden by making each individual concept also risks adding

for all the evil that he or sheexperiences. personresponsible

Notes to Chapter Five
Heemskerk, Justice, 151-6. Suffering in Mu'tazilite Theology: 'Abd al-Jabbin-'s Teaching on Pain and Divine

2 Ibn Sind, Al-ShJ': Al-Ildhiyydt (2), 414-422. For a full analysis of metaphysical evil in the thought of Ibn Sin i, see Inati, The Problem of Evil: Ibn Sind's Theodicy, 65-101. 3 Abo Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihyd' `uliüm al-din, 4: 258-9 (at the end of "Kitab al-tawl3id wa alSee also the translation and analysis of this text in Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic tawakkul"). Thought, 40 and 64-9. The idea that things are known through their opposites also is found in the Sufi martyr al-IIallaj and others, especially in reflection on the fate of Iblis. On this, see Awn, Satan's Tragedy and Redemption, 122-150. ° Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination, 33-44,289297. For briefer treatment of these themes, see William C. Chittick, Imaginal ll'orlds: Ibn a! 'Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1994), especially Chapters 2,3, and 8. 5 Irüda MF 8: 93-7; Kasb MF 8:400-1; Tä'a MF 8:446-7; Jabr MF 8: 511-2; Fütilra MF 14:21; Hasana MF 14:265-6; Thulth MF 17:94-6,99; Minhiij 3: 142-5/2: 25-6 and 5:408-411/3: 102. 9 In the Qur'an in Tä'a MF 8:447, and in both the Qur'an the Sunna in Iräda MF 8: 94 and Jabr and 8: 511. 7 Minhäj 3: 143/2:25 and 5:410/3: 102.


Notes to Chapter Five continued
8 The English translations of ghayr al-maghýrcb 'alayhim as "not (the way) of those who have Your Anger" (Hiläli and Khan), "not of those against whom Thou art wrathful" (Arberry), earned or "Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger" (Pickthall) do not accurately translate the Arabic by obscuring the fact that no agent of anger is mentioned in the text. 9 Jabr MF 8: 511. Ibn Taymiyya also mentions in Hasana, MF 14:272, that the threefold evil typology is found in the first chapter of the Qur'an, but lie does not explain beyond the attribution first type.

10 Irüda MF 8:95. 11 25 Jabr MF 8:511; Kasb MF 8:401; Minhdj 3: 143/2: and 5:410/3: 102. 12 Jabr MF 8:512; and Iräda MF 8:95.
" Irüda MF 8: 94. 14Minhdj 3: 142/2: 25. 13 Minhäj 3: 144/2: 25.

In Minhäj, 3: 144-5/2: 25, Ibn Taymiyya clarifies that these things, like else God creates, come neither from God's essence nor from His command. In the everything the shaykh tersely explains that everything that God creates is good, "according to same passage, the two doctrines of `delegation' and `causality' ('ald gawlay al-tafivi(l wa al-tcflil). " I understand this to mean that God's creation of evil is not evil on His part because of His `delegation' of it to a by virtue of the final causality in His will, that is, His wise creature or secondary cause and purpose in creating it. '6 The text in Hasana, MF 14:275, reads: "[God] created [an evil deed] only for a wise purpose. It is not attributed to Him in respect to its being an evil deed (sayyi'a). Rather, it is attributed to the (nafs) who commits evil (sharr) by it without wise purpose. She deserves to have evil and person thing attributed to her. In what she commits of sins, she does not aim at a good on behalf an evil committing it is preponderant. On the contrary, what is like this is in the category of of which things. Therefore, the act of God is good (hasan). He never does a bad thing (gabili) or an good evil deed." 17Minhaj 3: 142/2: 25 and 5:409/3: 102; Iräda MF 8:94;. Iabr MF 8:512; Fätiha MF 14:21. 18Fütiha MF 14:21.

19Thulth MF 17:95-6,99. The additional referencesare Q. 6:73,15: 85-6,21: 16-7,23: 115,38:27, 44:39, and 75:36.

20 Kasb MF 8:400; Jabr MF 8: 511; Fütiha MF 14: 18; Hasana MF 14:266; Thultlr MF 17:94; Minhüj 5:409/3: 102. The hadith is found in Muslim 1290, Salat al-mus; ifirin wa gasruhýi, al-Du'iP fi salät al-layl wa giyamihi. Ibn Taymiyya notes in Minhdj, 5: 409/3: 102, that the latter part of this saying, wa al-sharr laysa ilayk, is subject to more than one interpretation. It has been understood to mean either that one cannot draw close to God with evil deeds or that evil is not attributed to God. In Thulth, MF 17:94, he also adds the possibility that it means "evil is nonexistence ('adam) or among the concomitants of nonexistence. " The shaykh does not rule out any of these interpretations, but I have chosen to translate the saying as denying evil's attribution to God because that befits the context. 21Irada MF 8: 94; Jabr MF 8: 512; Hasana MF 14:266,270; Fntiha MF 14:20-1. 22Hasana MF 14:266. Cf. I asana MF 14:268. In Jabr, MF 8: 512, the shaykh makes the same follows: "The created thing is good and wise by virtue of the wise purpose for which it point as was created even if there is evil in it in another respect. This is something accidental and partial that is not pure evil. Rather, evil through which preponderant good is intended is good coming from the Wise Agent, even if it is evil for the one in whom it subsists." In Fätilza, MF 14:21, lbn Taymiyya explains: "God did not create anything except for a wise purpose. This wise purpose is its aspect of goodness (husn) and good (khayr). In created things, there is no pure evil in which there is no good and in which there is no advantage in any respect." Z' Fütiha MF 14:20. The hadith is found in approximately this form in AbO Ddwüd 4077, alSunna, Fi al-gadar. 24Fätiha MF 14:21. 25Fütilzd MF 14:21.


Notes to Chapter Five continued
26 Ibn Taymiyya backs this up with several quranic references: "We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds" (Q. 21: 107) and Q. 3: 144,3: 164,6: 53, and 14:28. 27Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi also takes up this question in his Tafsir, 22: 230-1, on Q. 21: 107. 28Irada MF 8: 93-4. See also Hasana, MF 14:268, for the claims that rain and the sending of a messenger are general goods. 2911asanaMF 14:276-7. 30Irada MF 9: 94. 31Jabr MF 8:512. 32Jabr MF 8: 512-3. 33Hasana MF 14:266-7. 34Hasana MF 14:270-1. 35Hasana MF 14:268. 36 Hasana MF 14:299. Ibn Taymiyya structures a major portion of Ilasana around these two causes. MF 14:299-315 is headed by discussion of the final cause, and MF 14:315-331 begins with the agent or secondary cause. However, the text meanders, and the shaykh does not confine himself to direct exposition of these two causes in the course of these pages. 37Ilasana MF 14:300. 38Hasana MF 14:300.

39Irüda MF 8:96. Cf. Td a MF 8:447; Thulth MF 17:94; and Minhnj 3: 143/25: 2. 40Iräda MF 8:96. 41Thulth MF 17:94-5.
42Ibn Taymiyya also mentions that `Avenger' is a qualified name in Ilasana MF 14:276. 43Tirmidhi 3429, al-Dacawät'an rasül Allah, Mä j3'a fi cagd al-tasbih bi-I-yad. 44 Irüda MF 8: 96-7 and Thulth MF 17:95. Ibn Taymiyya also adds in Irelda, MF 8: 97, that the only other hadith listing the ninety-nine names of God, that of Ibn Mäjah, 3851, al-Dula', Asm. i' Allah lazza wa jalla, has a weak chain of transmission. Elsewhere, in MF 22: 481-6, the shaykh explains that `ninety-nine' is simply a large number and does not actually indicate the exact number of God's names. In his view, the Qur'an and the Sunna supply more names than those listed in the two hadiths transmitted by Tirmidhi and Ibn Mäjah. 45Minhij 5: 410/3: 102. Three of these pairs of conjoined names are also mentioned in Ilasan a MF 14:276.

46Iräda MF 8:95. 4' Irdda MF 8:95; Minhäj 5:410-1; Thulth 17:91-4.
48 Bukhäri 6998, al-Tawhid, Qawl Allah Wald bat huwa Qur'an majid fT lawh mahfiih; Muslim 4940. 49Muslim 3406, al-Iman, Fadilat al-imam al adil wa cuqubät al jfi'ir...; Ahmad 6204. 50Muslim 1659, al-Zakäh; al-Hathth laid nafaqa... (The text is not identical); Bukhiri, 6869. Cf. Q. 5: 64. 51Thulth MF 17:91-4. 52On the dialectical or yin/yang interplay of God's two hands in Ibn 'Arabi and his disciples, see Sachiko Murata, The Tao of Islam (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1992), 88-I 14. 53Kasb MF 8:399. 54Irada MF 8:97. 55Minhaj 3: 67-8/2: 5. 56Minhäj 1: 146/1: 35. 57Minhüj 5: 416/3: 104. 38Minhäj 3: 176-7/2: 33. 59Jabr MF 8:511. 60Jabr MF 8:513. 61Jabr MF 8:513-4. 62Hasana MF 14:315.


Notes to Chapter Five continued
63Hasana MF 14:300-1.1 have found no promising leads to such a discussion in Ibn Taymiyya's published works or among manuscripts listed in Brockelmann, Geschichte cler arabischen Litteratur. 6' Hasana MF 14:276. 65Hasana MF 14:321-2. 66Hasana MF 14:307. 67Hasana MF 14:254-5 and 304-5. 68Hasana MF 14:255.

69 Hasana MF 14: 304.
70Bukhdri 5899, al-Da'awät, al-Istilddha min fitnat al-ghini. In Hasana MF 14:305. 71Hasana MF 14:269. 72Ahmad 12439, Bägi musnad al-mukaththirin, Musnad Anas b. Millik. 7311asana MF 14:318-9. This focus on the goodness of sin with repentance in 11asana correlates with the findings of Shahab Ahmed concerning Ibn Taymiyya's view of prophetic protection ('isma) and the exemplary repentance of the prophets in "Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic verses," 86-7 and 90-100. Ahmed shows that the shaykh regards prophetic 'fsma not as complete protection from committing sins (the common Sunni belief in medieval and modern times), but protection from persisting in sins already committed. In Ibn Taymiyya's view, the prophets, including Muhammad, sinned, but they immediately repented from their sins and did not remain in them. Through sin and repentance, the prophets attained greater perfection (kamnl) than they could otherwise have attained. This pattern of immediate repentance from sins then serves as an example for all believers to follow, and it nurtures the devotional virtues of repentance and asking for forgiveness. It might be thought that lbn Taymiyya encourages sinning in order to gain the greater good of repentance. Ahmed, 93 n. 64, highlights, but does not translate, a text in which Ibn Taymiyya cautions against this in Minhäj 2: 400/1: 227. The passage reads, "There is no doubt that evil deeds are not commanded, and it is not for the servant to commit them in order thereby to repent from [This is] like someone who wants to eat poison and then drink the antidote. This is them .... ignorance. " 74Ibn al-Qayyim, Shy' al-'alil fi masdil al-ga(lä' wa al-qadar wa al-hiknra tica al-ta'lil, 486 and passim. 75Nasana MF 14:301-315 (quote on p. 302). 76Hasana MF 14:309-310. 77Hasana MF 14:309-313. 79Hasana MF 14:326. For additional references, see 1.3.3 of this study. 79For references, see the comments on Ibn Sind and Ibn 'Arabi in 5.1 above. Fakhr al-Din al-R,;-Izi also elaborates on evil as nonexistence in one of his works, his philosophical al-A11abihih almashrigiyya, 2: 519-523. On aI-Räzi's departure from Ashcari tradition with these ideas, see alJulaynid, Qaciiyyat al-khayr wa al-sharr fi al-fikr al-islümi, 161-4. 80Ibn Taymiyya surveys the quranic context of these verses in Hasana MF 14:229-233. 81Hasana MF 14:248-9. 82Hasana MF 14:246-7,258-9. Gimaret surveys this and other interpretations of 4: 78-9 found in the classical Kaläm and tafsir literature in Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musrrlmane, 347-352. 83 Muhammad b. al-Uasan b. Fürak, Abü Bakr al-Ansiiri al-Isbahiini. The same interpretation is found in al-Razi, Tafsir, 10: 192. B4 Hasana MF 14:421-4. 85Hasana MF 14:247. 86Irüda MF 8: 114-7. 87Hasana MF 14:234-9. Similar interpretations of 4: 78-9 may be found in the commentaries of al-Tabari, "Tafsir al-Tabari, " on The Holy Qur'an, CD ROM, Version 7.0 (Cairo: Global Islamic


Notes to Chapter Five continued
Software, 1997), and Abu al-Qäsim J5r Allah al-Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshrif (Beirut: Dir al-kutub al cilmiyya, 1415/1995), 4: 527. 88Hasana MF 14:240. 89Uasana MF 14:242. 90Hasana MF 14:239-247. 91Hasana MF 14:248-254,342. Cf. Hasana MF 14:373-5. 92Uasana MF 14:259. 93 These eight `differences' vary in length from one paragraph to fifty-four pages. The onediscussions are the first, MF 14:260, and the third, MF 14:265. The fifth is the longest, paragraph MF 14:277-33 1. The eight discussions together take up just under half of 11asana, specifically 87 out of 197 pages, MF 14:259-346. °a Hasana MF 14:266-277. 95Hasana MF 14:343-6. 96Hasana MF 14:260-5 and 339-342. 97Hasana MF 14:261. 9S Hasana MF 14:261-5. A similar argument is made in Hasana MF 14:3 19-320. 99Uasana MF 14:278.
10°Ilasana MF 14: 277-287 101Hasana MF 14: 296. (quote on p. 287).

102 Hasana MF 14:290.

103 Hasana MF 14:287-294.
104 Aspects of the problem outlined here are not unique to Ibn Taymiyya. The Multazili theologian 'Abd al-Jabbär argues that humans will not do bad deeds if they know both that such deeds are evil that there is no advantage to be gained in doing them. On this see liourani, Islamic and Rationalism: The Ethics of'Abd al-Jabbar, 92-7. The notion that properly informed persons will do the right thing also exists in Greek philosophy. On Socrates' belief that knowledge necessarily leads to virtue and the impossibility of incontinence, see Johansen, A History of Ancient Philosophy from the Beginnings to Augustine, 129. For Aristotle's more sophisticated, but Socratic, treatment of incontinence, see Johansen, 383-4; and Roger Crisp, ET, ultimately The Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 2000), xxvii-xxix. question of whether punishment should be grounded retributively or teleologically (i. e. to serve the ends of deterrence and education) is also of interest in modern discussions of penal theory. For a survey, see R. A. Duff, "Penal Communications: Recent Work in the Philosophy of Punishment, " Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 20 (1996): 1-97. 105 Hasana MF 14:294. Hasana 106 MF 14:297. 107 Hasana MF 14:331. 108 Hasana MF 14:333. 109'Abd al-Saläm b. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Wahhüb, AbO Il ishim al-Jubba'i. 110 Hasana MF 14:333. See also Hasana, MF 14:281-2, where Ibn Taymiyya takes an explicit position against the Multazili theologian Abo Häshim al-Jubbä'i who says that failure to fulfill an obligation is not an act at all. Abo Häshim's father Abo 'Ali took the opposite position (i. e. that adopted by Ibn Taymiyya), saying that omission of a duty is in itself a real act. Both father and son agree, however, that God punishes failure to fulfill duties. For a brief description of the controversy, see McDermott, The Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mfufid (d. 413/1022), 157-9. 111 Hasana MF 14:333-5. 112 Uasana MF 14:335-6. 113 Hasana MF 14:336-7. 11' See above 5.4.1. b. 115 Hasana MF 14:314-5,341,359-421. 116 Fütiha MF 14: 15-7 (quote on p. 17). 117 Fatiha MF 14: 17.


Notes to Chapter Five continued
118 Fütiha 119 Fütiha 120 FJtiha 121 Fütiha 122 Fütiha 123 Fätiha 124 Fütiha MF MF MF MF MF MF MF 14: 18-24. 14: 18. 14: 19. 14: 19-20. 14:22. 14:23-4. 14:24-8.






Introduction Questions of divine justice in rewarding and punishing humanity permeate

the theodicean texts analyzed in the previous three chapters of this study even though 'adl, the Arabic term for `justice', appears infrequently. I-Iowcvcr, Ibn

Taymiyya does comment explicitly on the meaning of cadl and its opposite zulm (injustice) in a number of places, especially in Minhüj, Abis Dharr, and cAdil. l These `justice' passages vary widely in completeness and length. At times, the shaykh focuses more on polemic against the Muctazilis or the Ashlaris, and, at other times, he devotes more attention to explaining his own point of view. There is no one passage that sufficiently comprehends what is found in the others to serve as a basis for exposition. However, the views presented in the various texts are consistent, and this justifies a composite account for the sake of avoiding
excessive repetition.

Ibn Taymiyya maintains on a number of occasions that all Muslims and people of other faiths agree that God is just and exonerated of injustice, but he have different understandings of these terms.Z The first major notes that people section of this chapter outlines the shaykh's justice typology of Muctazili

retributive justice, Ashcari voluntaristic divine justice, and his own definition of divine justice as putting things in their places. This section also treats a further


concern of Ibn Taymiyya's just.

in his justice passages: God's self-obligation to be

He contrasts this with what he perceives to be God's complete lack of

in Ashcan thought on the one hand and the Multazili obligation of God reliability to act according to human standards on the other. His point is to assert that God injustice but has obligated Himself not to. This is an attempt to could commit

preserveGod's power to do more than He in fact does.
The second major section of this chapter examines Ibn Taymiyya's in 'Adil that God does and creates only what is good and the best. The argument third section assessesthe shaykh's few comments on al-Ghazz-li's statement that there is nothing in possibility more wonderful than this world. In what is probably the latest of these comments, which is found in 'Adil, Ibn Taymiyya affirms that this is the best of all possible worlds.


Ibn Taymiyya's

three-fold typology of views of God's justice ('ad/) justice

6.2.1 Muctazilis: God's obligation to retributive

Ibn Taymiyya mentionsfew namesof individual Multazilis in the context of
discussing divine justice, and he frequently calls them simply Qadaris.3 However, he does speak in Minhdj of the "modems (muta'akhkhirün) of the Imý-Imis"4who follow the Muctazilis in theology. Also, the Twelver Shc! al-Hilli, who wrote the tract that Ibn Taymiyya refutes in Minhüj, falls under this label. anti-Sunni The shaykh reports many of the basic views of the Muctazi1is on justice. He notes that they believe that God does not will or create human acts of

disobedience and unbelief. God's will is equivalent to His command, and He does


not will iniquity and unbelief.

Because of this, God is just to punish those who

disobey His command. 5 If God were to create injustice directly in humans, He would be unjust, and if God were to chastise sins that He created, that would be harm. 6 Moreover, God must provide all possible help to unjust and undeserved His servants for carrying out His commands, and He must help everyone equally. 7

If God singled out one person over anotherfor His mercy and bounty (fa(fl), that
be unjust. 8 Ibn Taymiyya notes the Multazili view that God must do what would is best (aslah) for His servants, at least in matters of religion (Barran Multazilis), in worldly matters as well (Baghdad! Multazilis). 9 Beyond this, the shaykh or mentions the Muctazili doctrine that God's reason for creating human beings was benefit them and subject them to the possibility of earning reward. 1° The main to gap in Ibn Taymiyya's reports on the Muctazilis is their doctrine that God must provide compensations ('iwad) to all creatures who suffer unjustly. Ibn Taymiyya rejects the Muctazi1is' view that humans create their own acts because it denies God's creation of all things. 12 Much of the remainder of his their concept of divine justice focuses on how they not only polemic against obligate God to follow human standards of justice but also make God foolish. He that the Muctazilis base the issue of divine justice in the rational observes discernment of moral value. In the Multazili deontological ethic, reason knows acts to be objectively good or bad by virtue of attributes inherent in the acts. Thus, God must be exonerated of committing objectively bad acts. Against this, the shaykh argues that reason does not dictate that creatures and the Creator are bad. 13 alike to the point of being subject to the same standards of good and


In the justice passages, the shaykh then accuses the Muctazilis of likening (tarnthil) and assimilating (tashbih) God's acts to human acts and drawing an analogy from human acts to God's acts. In effect, he claims, the Muctazilis set down a law for God, obligating Him to adhere to human standards of justice and forbidding Him from human notions of injustice, which, according to Ibn

Taymiyya, violates God's complete unlikeness. '4 He explains that the Multazilis and like-minded Shicis, such as al-Hilli, apply their `law' polemically to the God of the Ashcans who is by definition outside the sphere of human morality. The

Ashcan God does not meet the Muctazili standard of justice, and so, the Muctazilis conclude, this God commits bad deeds and fails to fulfil 15 Ibn obligations.

Taymiyya complains that the Muctazilis "propounded similitudes (nmthül) for God but did not give Him the highest similitude. "16 It is not just a matter of the

Multazilis likening God to creatures. It is also that when they do, the shaykh
believes that they arrive at an inadequate view of God. To explain further how he believes analogy and assimilation fail the

Muctazilis, Ibn Taymiyya juxtaposes the Muslim obligation to command the right and forbid the wrong with the Multazili view of libertarian freedom. '? In Jabr he gives the following argument: if someone were able to stop others from being unjust to one another but did not prevent them, he himself would be unjust.

Implied here is that God should stop injustice if indeed He is subject to human
standards. In reply, the Muctazilis assert that God gives humans free choice. God provides people opportunity for reward if they obey and punishment if they do not. If God were to force someone not to do something, the obligation providing


opportunity for reward would fall away. Ibn Taymiyya responds that most people say that someone who acts like this, knowing full well that his servants will not obey his command, is neither wise nor just. This would be praiseworthy only if the person did not know what was going to happen or could not prevent it, but God is all-powerful and knows future events. Someone who can prevent injustice

do so by force (iljä'). '8 In Minhäj the shaykh mocks the Multazili view as must implying that God createspower in humans by which they can lie and commit
iniquity and injustice knowing full well that they will commit such acts. This necessarily implies that God is helping them to commit these deeds. Ibn

Taymiyya compares this to one person giving another a sword to fight unbelievers knowing he will misuse it to kill a prophet. The shaykh says that this is foolish on the human level and that God as well is exonerated of this. He adds that God's acts are judged differently from ours and that He has a wise purpose in what He 19 creates. In Minhäj Ibn Taymiyya cites the famous Ashcari story of the three brothers to show that the Multazilis' doctrine of the best (aslah) falls into contradiction

because it is based on assimilation of God to creatures. Rosalind Gwynne has shown that Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi was probably the first to link this story to alAshcari-'s break with his Muctazili master Abü cA1i al-Jubba i (d. 303/916). 20 Ibn Taymiyya simply accepts the account as historical: [A1-Ashcan] said to [al-Jubbä'i]: When God created three brothers, one of them died young, and the other two reached the age of accountability. One the [latter] two believed, and the other disbelieved. [God] brought the of believer into Paradise and raised his rank. He brought the young one into Paradise and made his level below [the other brother]. The young one said to Him, "0 Lord! Raise me to the rank of my brother. " He said, "You are not like him. He believed and committed righteous deeds. You are young,


and you did not commit the deeds he did. " He said, "0 Lord! You made me die. If you had kept me [alive], I would have done the like of his deeds." He said, "I did what was to your benefit (maslaha) because I knew that if had reached the age of accountability you would have disbelieved. you Therefore, I carried you away to death." Then, the third [brother] cried out from the depths of the Fire, and he said, "0 Lord! Why did you not carry me away to death before reaching the age of accountability as you carried brother away to death? For this would have been of benefit to me my young also." It is said that when this was brought against [al-Jubbä'i], he stopped. This is because [the Muctazilis] obligate Him to be just between two likes and to do what is best (aslah) to each one of them. Here, He did what was best according to them to one of the two but not to the other. This is not the place to elaborate on this. If the matter is like this, their assimilation of God His creatures is vain. 21 to In addition to showing the absurdity to which he believes the Muctazili sense of God's rigorous fairness leads, Ibn Taymiyya in Minhüj also explains his own view that God is not unjust to single out some for special blessings over others. God bestows the special grace of guidance upon some people so that they believe while upon others He does not. Likewise, He gives some more knowledge, health,

strength, and beauty than others. To support his point, the shaykh quotes the quranic verse: "Is it they who divide out the mercy of your Lord? It is We who divide out between them their livelihood in this world, and We have raised some of them above others in ranks so that some may take others into subjection" (Q. 32:43).22
In Minhäj Muctazilism the shaykh argues that an odious consequence of al-Hilli's

is that God cannot be thanked because He is doing nothing more than

fulfilling His obligations. This argument rests on the presupposition that gratitude is due only for blessings that exceed obligations. According to Ibn Taymiyya, God in al-Hilli's is obligated to provide both worldly view and religious

blessings.23 Moreover, God cannot make someone a believer, and, so, He cannot


be thanked for that either. God's blessings in the hereafter consist in obligatory recompense just as an employer must pay an employee his wage or a debtor must pay off his debt. Thus, all is obligation for God, and He is not worthy of thanks for anything. Ibn Taymiyya also understands al-Hilli to imply that humans are not worthy of praise, thanks, or blame if God makes them do good or evil. Conversely, one

that God is blessing or testing when human authorities act justly or cannot say
unjustly, respectively, because God is not making them behave in this manner. As the shaykh sees it, this undermines the proper attitude of thankfulness both to God and to other people that befits believers in all circumstances. To counter this, the shaykh asserts that human beings have been naturally constituted to praise someone who does good and to blame one who does evil even if these acts are determined and created by God. God makes one person deserving of praise and reward and another deserving of punishment and blame according to His wise 24 purpose. In sum, Ibn Taymiyya is unsympathetic to the sober Multazili free will

theodicy in which God treats human beings with rigorous equality as they freely choose their response to the divine obligation and earn their just deserts. Using the above arguments developed by the Ashcari tradition, he attacks the Multazilis both for obligating God to act according to a retributive ethic and for

misconceiving the divine economy in such a way that makes God look foolish and Him. 25 undermines thankfulness to


6.2.2 Ashcaris: God's voluntaristic


Ibn Taymiyya attributes a justice of divine voluntarism to the Jahmis, the followers of Jahm b. Safwän, al-Ash'ari and the Ashcaris, including al-Bgqillqn! and al-Juwayni, the Hanbalis Abü Yac1ä, Ibn al-Zaghüni, and Ibn al-Jawzi, the Malik! AND al-Walid al-Bäji (d. 474/1081)26 and other members of all four of the Sunni schools of law. 27 He also attributes it to the "moderns (n la'akhkhirim) of the Jahmis"28 and "the moderns among the Kahm theologians who establish determination. "29 Both of these appellations probably refer to Fakhr al-Din alRäzi and possibly al-Amidi. The shaykh reports that, in the Ashcan view, injustice is inherently

impossible for God in the same way that it is impossible to combine two contradictories or put one body in two places at once. God would be just to do anything imaginable whose existence is possible. He is not under any kind of external obligation. God would not be unjust to chastise the obedient or reward

the disobedient. He may punish the children of unbelievers and the insane even if they have not sinned. He would not be unjust to punish someone even for his color or height. Ibn Taymiyya cites two AshWariarguments for their position. First, injustice
means acting freely in someone else's property. His property, so, by definition, it is impossible In the case of God, everything for Him to be unjust. is


injustice means opposing a command that must be obeyed, but God is not subject 30 Ibn Taymiyya to the command of any other. that a dictum from Iyds b. suggests

had a role in making the definition of injustice as the Muläwiyya (d. 122/740)31


common, a definition to which he is not sympathetic. use of another's property Iyäs is reported to have said, "I have not disputed with anyone with my whole the Qadaris. I said to them, `What is injustice? ' They said, `That mind except you take what is not yours', or `That you act freely in what is not yours'. I said,

`To God belongs everything'. "32 In defense of Iyäs, Ibn Taymiyya says that the debater's intention was merely to show that the Qadaris were wrong and to early into further details. 33 avoid going The AshWari position is offensive to Ibn Taymiyya, because he, like the believes that it portrays God acting like a fool and one who is insane.34 Multazilis, Also, he judges inadequate the definitions of injustice as freely acting in someone being subject to commands. He argues, "A human being may else's property or act freely in the property of another and not be unjust, and he may wrongly rightly act freely in his [own] property and be unjust. Injustice of the servant against

himself is frequent in the Qur'an. "35 As for being subject to commands, the that even God has subjected Himself to His own 'writing' shaykh explains `forbidding': "God-Glory be to Him-has written mercy for Himself and and

forbidden injustice to Himself.

He does not act in opposition to what He has

written, and He does not do what He has forbidden. "36 More will be said about God's self-obligation in the next subsection. The shaykh also reports the Ashcan view that God will not do everything that is permissible for Him because God has said that He will not and because this information corresponds to His knowledge of what He will do and not do. God in fact punish children without sin and bring unbelievers into Paradise will not even though it would not be unjust of Him to do so. In Ash'arism God has


37 Ibn Taymiyya Himself to sustain His promises given in revelation. obligated he finds this inadequate to guarantee God's does not always explain why 38 In Nubuwwät, however, he argues that a God who has arbitrary reliability. in possibility, if not in actuality, cannot be known to be reliable in the choice information that He gives. He retorts that the AshWarisallow that God could send with whatever message He wills, even someone who commits grave anyone 39 Ibn Taymiyya then turns the AshWaridenial of God's purposive activity sins. them to undermine their foundations for prophetic reliability. against He cites al-

Ashcan, Abü Bakr al-Bägilldni, Ibn Fürak, and the Hanbali Abis Yadla as arguing God who is powerful must confirm the truthfulness of His prophets and that that a be done only through miracles. The shaykh says that this contradicts the this can AshWari notion that God may do anything that He wills. Also, God cannot

the truthfulness of a messenger if He does not do establish a miracle as a sign of that is, if He does not act for purposes. Ibn one thing on account of another, Taymiyya reports as well that al-Juwayni adopted a different strategy. The

AshWaritheologian claims that knowledge of the truthfulness of prophets to whom God gives a miracle is necessary. The shaykh replies that this argument works if it is known that God is one who does things for wise purposes. Otherwise, only is no way of knowing that God has done something to indicate something there It must be known necessarily that God does things for wise purposes before else. necessarily that God confirms one can recognize miracles. 40 His messengers through

In Nubuwwät, Ibn Taymiyya himself establishes the reliability of prophets the basis of necessary knowledge that God acts for wise purposes. God's wise on


justice, and mercy are known by reason.41 Rational proof of God's wise purpose, is found in the dazzling divine wisdom that is evident in all created purpose body parts.42 God must act things, as for example in the perfect placement of the according to His wise purpose, and, "His wise purpose necessitates that He make

the prophetsobvious and support them."a3 the truthfulnessof
In effect, Ibn Taymiyya's critique of the Ashcans' view of justice reduces to

them for denying that divine justice entails some kind of rationality. A upbraiding
God who could so radically violate the order of retribution as to punish believers for their belief or make liars into prophets and still be called `just' cannot by His humankind based on promise and trust. very nature establish a relationship with

6.2.3 Ibn Taymiyya: God's self-obligation to put things in their places

Ibn Taymiyya's standarddefinition of injustice (?ulm) is putting something
in other than its place, and he traces this definition to the linguist Abis Bakr b. al-

44 He also attributes this to "many of the Sunnis, hadith Anbäri (328/940). of rational thought (ahl al-ni gar)."45 Beyond this he does scholars, and people
not give names, but al-Ghazäli, for example, defines justice as putting things in their places when outlining the wise placement of the body parts as a sign of the God's creation in his al-Magsad al-asnü. 46 The concept of justice orderliness of in their places is also found in al-M5turidi. 47 as putting thing In discussing justice, a major concern for Ibn Taymiyya is upholding God's to do other than He does in order to resist the necessitarianism implicit in power his doctrine. Ibn Taymiyya asserts, "[God] has put everything in its place despite His power to do the opposite of that. He-Glory be to Him-acts by His free


choice and His will.

He has a right to praise and laudation for being just and not

"48 Whereas the AsYaris say that injustice is inherently impossible for unjust. God, Ibn Taymiyya argues that divine injustice is possible (magdrür and mumkin). God could do injustice but chooses not to, and this makes Him praiseworthy because praise is due only to one who chooses not to do injustice, not to one for it is inherently impossible. 49 whom Along the same lines, the shaykh speaks of God's self-obligation commit injustice. not to

He bases this on a divine saying in the hadith collection of

Muslim, "0 My servants! I have forbidden injustice to Myself. "50 Ibn Taymiyya that the verse necessarily implies that injustice is possible for God. If explains God has forbidden something to Himself, it must have been possible beforehand. Otherwise, the hadith would mean, "I have informed about Myself that what is not is not from Me. "51 This is a useless interpretation in the shaykh's opinion possible does not elicit praise.52 and Ibn Taymiyya uses the notion of God's `self-obligation' to suggest a

divine freedom. God chose to follow some criteria of justice that semblance of exists independently of Him-or elsewhere within Him-in maybe order to be

However, the shaykh does not ask what it was that caused God to praiseworthy. impose this obligation on Himself in the first place. By not explaining the cause of divine self-obligation, he violates his principles of preponderance and

If he were to explain the cause of divine self-obligation, the originated causality. divine choice would become necessary. Ibn Taymiyya has thus gained no more than rhetorical resolution of the contradiction between the freedom of God's choice and the necessity of divine justice. Divine self-obligation be could


a metaphor for a fundamentally paradoxical set of doctrines, but the elucidated as does not do this. shaykh Ibn Taymiyya does not clearly define the rationality of divine justice. In a

dealing explicitly with Kalam views on justice, he characterizes God's context not justice as beneficence (ihsün) to human beings in such a way that everything God be praised. 53 This gives no content creates is beneficence giving Him the right to

to divine justice except that what is, is good and praiseworthy. In the justice
however, he often gives justice connotations of retribution. passages, is one of his more extended definitions, which comes from'Adil: Injustice is putting something in other than its place (tit'adý al-shay', Ji gha}r be to Justice is putting everything in its place. I-Ic-Glory mawdicihi). Him-is a wise arbiter and just, putting things in their places. I-Ic does not put anything except in its place, which corresponds to it and which wise justice require. He does not differentiate between two likes, purpose and He does not equate two different things. He punishes only whomever and deserves punishment and puts it in its place on account of the wise purpose justice in that. As for the people of righteousness and Godfcar, I-Ic does and 54 not punish them at all. Apart from the tautology of defining `justice' as putting something in its place as Following

" "wise purpose and justice require, the text carries an appeal to an intuitive sense
of retribution. Elsewhere, the shaykh claims that it is known by the natural

that it is not permissible for God in His justice, wisdom, and mercy to constitution do good works and raise the iniquitous to the highest rank. 55 punish those who Similarly, he quotes, "Whoever does deeds of righteousness and is a believer will fear injustice or curtailment (ha(lman)" (Q. 20: 112), and he explains that not `curtailment' is reducing one's good deeds, and `injustice' is making, one

for the evil deedsof another. Only those who sin will be punishedin responsible
56 Other verses he quotes the hereafter even though God may also pardon sonic.


along these lines include: "Indeed, God is not unjust to so much as the weight of (Q. 4: 40), "That no one burdened bear the burden of another, and that the an ant" human has only that for which he has made an effort" (Q. 53: 38-9), and "Whoever does good equal to the weight of a small ant will see it, and whoever does evil it (Q. 99: 7-8). '7 These last two verses equal to the weight of a small ant will see suggest a rigorous standard of retribution. However, Ibn Taymiyya adds that God

is also merciful to many people without regard to their deeds and that profit may to a person from God's grace and mercy as well as from the invocation and accrue deeds of others.58 The upshot of these comments is that justice for Ibn Taymiyya means putting reward and punishment in their proper places, where the `place' of is not clearly defined. For the most part, however, it appears that the something the righteous are not. Yet, retribution is not absolute wicked are punished while kind of divine mercy, sometimes comes into play and some other rationality, a
such that punishment Taymiyya for bad deeds does not always ensue. Even though Ibn conforms, he The

does not specify the rationality believes human beings will notion

to which divine justice recognize of justice

optimistically major problem places'

it when they sec it. as `putting things

in Ibn Taymiyya's

in their

is how some people become places fitting

for punishment

when God

creates all things just as they should be. broach this question, unspecified but he does attribute

The shaykh's justice God's creation

do not passages

of evil deeds to an typology in

divine wise purpose following

an instance of the justice section of this chapter.

cAdil. This will be treated in the following


Similar to what was observed in Shams in Chapter Three (3.3), Ibn Taymiyya's discourse on justice appears contradictory. On the one hand, he

the Muctazilis for applying analogical reasoning in theology. On the other, attacks he appears to fall into this very error by criticizing the Muctazili and Ashlar!

divine justice on the basis of his divine utilitarian ethic of putting concepts of things in their places. This contradiction may be resolved by reference to Ibn Taymiyya's theological method surveyed in Chapter One (1.4). On the one hand, God must be portrayed in human terms according to the highest imaginable here it is apparent that the shaykh believes that justice as putting things perfection: in their places is superior to retributivism and divine voluntarism. On the other,

God's perfection requires that He be wholly unlike creatures and subject to no to the Multazilis, the shaykh's concepts of God do not purport analogy: contrary to refer to anything in the actual modality of God Himself. However, Ibn

Taymiyya does not elaborate these principles in his justice passagesexcept to note fail to give God the highest similitude (see 6.2.1). 59 at one point that the Mu(tazilis


A passage from Ibn Taymiyya's'Adil:

God necessarily does the best

Ibn Taymiyya's "Adil opens with two consecutive versions of the justice typology that has just been outlined above. The treatise then moves into a defense God against the charge of doing bad and evil deeds, which will be discussed in of this section. 'Adil closes by considering al-Ghaz5li's claim that no better world than this is possible, and this will be taken up within the next section of this chapter. In warding off the charge that God commits bad deeds in 'Adi!, Ibn

Taymiyya's wordy argument focuses very little on the causes of evil. but extols


the goodness of what God does at length. Only the central points of this defense will be given here. To begin, Ibn Taymiyya explains that God makes humans commit evil and unjust acts for a wise purpose. He does not explain what this wise purpose is but

60 insteadthat this is a matter of God justly putting things in their places. observes The shaykh supportshis point by noting that human artisansdo the same thing in defective raw materials, but without asking how these raw properly placing
became defective in the first place: materials When the artisan takes a crooked board, a broken stone, and an imperfect brick, he puts them in a place befitting them and becoming of them. From him this is just, upright, and correct. He is praiseworthy even it' there is a crook and a fault in them by virtue of which they are blameworthy. Whoever takes disgusting things (khabü'ith) and puts them in the place that befits them, this is wise and just. Foolishness and injustice is only that he places them in other than their place. Whoever places a turban on the head sandals on the feet has placed each thing in its place. He has not been and to the sandals since this is their place becoming of them. 'I flus, Heunjust Glory be to Him-places a thing only in its place. This is only just, and I-le does only good. He is only beneficent, liberal, and merciful. M Following this affirmation of the justice of all that God does, Ibn Taymiyya states in cAdil that God in His religious, legislative will has commanded what He loves and what is best and most beneficial and that what God has created is better than what He has not created. God creates only good, which is defined as "that whose is better than its nonexistence. " 62 God does not will and create evil, existence which is "the existence of everything whose nonexistence is better than its existence."63 The shaykh explains that the terms good (klrcr}'r) and evil (.! narr) are used most commonly in their comparative senses: "Good is what is better than something else, and evil is what is more evil than something else. Good and evil are in degrees (darajät). "64 He then notes that the evil that God creates is good by


virtue of God's wise purpose and that its existence in general is better than its nonexistence. Created evil is only perceived to be evil when compared to

it is only harmful to some people. 65 something else, and Before claiming directly that all that God does is the best, Ibn Taymiyya first affirms at some length that God is just and wise in that He chastises and

punisheshuman beings strictly for the sins that they commit. The shaykh explains that God does not recompense,chastise, destroy, withdraw blessing, and take
vengeance except on account of sins and evil deeds. He adds, moreover, that the aim of God's chastisement in some cases, as in the verse "Indeed, We seized them but they did not abase themselves before their Lord, and they with chastisement, humble" (Q. 23: 76), is to bring about humility and repentance." were not The

shaykh leaves off this discussion of divine retribution without addressing the fundamentalreasonsfor human disobedience. Instead,he statesthat his objective
is to emphasize that God always does what is best: "i'he point here is that the existence of everything that the Lord does and creates is better than its It also is better than something else, that is, [better] than an existent nonexistence. other than it that could be supposed to be existent instead of it. 967 A few lines later in cAdil, Ibn Taymiyya further elaborates the necessity for God to do the best: To the Lord-Exalted is He-is the highest similitude (cf. Q. 16:60). He is higher than any other, having a greater right to praise and laudation than everything other than Him, most worthy of the attributes of perfection and the farthest from the attributes of imperfection. It is impossible that the creature be qualified with a perfection in which there is no imperfection. The Lord is qualified only with the perfection in which there is no imperfection. When He commands His servant to do the finest (a1-ahsan) and the best (al-khayr), it is impossible that He Himself do [anything] but the finest and the best. Doing the finest and the best is praised and is a in which there is no imperfection. I-Ie has a greater ri'ýlit to praise perfection and perfection in which there is no imperfection than any other. '


In this passage, Ibn Taymiyya roots God's creation of the best state of affairs in the quranic and rational necessities of ascribing to God the highest similitude and
the highest humanly conceivable perfection, respectively. These principles have

been elaborated earlier in this study in Chapter One (1.4.3-4). Moreover, lie
argues, God Himself must act in a manner at least as worthy of the wholly beneficial dictates of His own command that He has given Illlmanity. the philosophical exaltation of God in'Aclil quotation, and This

more generally, gives

further evidence of a link in Ibn Taymiyya's mind between God's perfection and God's right to praise. It also supports the idea argued in Chapter One that the aim

the shaykh's theology is to portray a God that will elicit praise. 'rlclil ends with of
further affirmation, discussed in the following section, that this world is the best a

that God could have created. possible


Ibn Taymiyya on al-Ghazäli's best of all possible worlds As we have seen in justice texts earlier in this chapter, the shaykh is

that God's justice should not entail a limitation of divine power. He concerned demonstrates this concern further in comments on the aphorism, "There is nothing

is (laysaj in possibility more wonderful than what
which has its roots in the theosophical "Kittb

al-i, nkCin ab(da'

" ininuna A-an),
of al-

al-tawhid wa al-tawakkul"

Ghazäli's Ihyü' Culüm al-din. 69 In Theodicy in Islamic Thought, Eric Ormsby provides a history and analysis of the controversy that ensued from this saying, of Ormsby's study is relevant to our purposes because Ibn Taymiyya and a survey briefly to this aphorism in three places.7° refers


After an examination of the origins of the aphorism in al-Ghaziili's writings, Ormsby's second chapter surveys various commentators from the time of alGhazäli down to the thirteenth/nineteenth century. The statement only became a subject of major debate in the ninth/fifteenth century, well after the time of Ibn Taymiyya. Most of those who commented on it earlier objected to it on the

grounds that, in addition to dabbling too much in Sufism and philosophy, alGhazäli had limited God's power. Ormsby cites only the Sufi theosophist Ibn
'Arabi as approving the statement in the early period. From the mid-

however, there is a marked shift toward eighth/fourteenth century onward,
accepting the aphorism. In the third through fifth chapters, Ormsby surveys the basic objections to al-Ghat i1i's statement-that it impinges on God's power to do anything that He

might wish, that it makes creation a natural necessity (the error of the that it obligates God to do the best (a.ylirh) (the error of the philosophers), and Multazilis)-and he explains how al-Ghazäli's defenders overcame these

-ili's defenders as follows: objections. Ormsby sums up the viewpoint of al-Ghaz,; the world is perfect and just at every moment of its existence, yet it is also contingent; things could be other than they are, but the divine wisdom determines what will and will not be. Ormsby points out that the challenge of theodicy "is to assert the necessary rightness of things as they are, but to do so in a way that they are seen as proceeding from God's will, wisdom, and power, and not From a necessity of His nature. "71 He concludes that in the Islamic theodicy oral-Glhazäli his defenders necessity finally rests in divine wisdom. 72 and


Ormsby's analysis focuses on the possibility that God can do other than He does, something Ibn Taymiyya also affirms in his discussions of justice.

However, al-Ghazali and his defenders do not appear to understand wisdom in the causal and purposive sense of Ibn Taymiyya, but rather as God's eternal

knowledge and decree.73 Ormsby does not address this question directly except to

note that a certain al-Ghazäli detractor al-Sijilmäsi al-Lamati (d. 116/1743)74 raises the problem of causality in wisdom, only to have it dismissed by alGhazäli's later defenders as unworthy of attention. 75

Ibn Taymiyya does not appear as a participant in Ormsby's account of the above debate, and the brevity of the shaykh's three comments on al-Ghazaill's aphorism indicates that it did not concern him greatly. However, what is probably the latest of three comments places him among the early supporters of alGhazäli's statement. In two mentions of al-Ghazäli's aphorism, Ihn Taymiyya does not refer to al-Ghazal! by name. One occurs in a context where he accuses Ibn cArabi of limiting God's power to the power to create only what actually exists. Here, Ibn Taymiyya notes in passing that most people deny the aphorism, and it is clear that his sympathy lies with the majority. 76 In the second mention, he rejects the statement as of a piece with the philosophers' ideas that the Creator is Both

in His essenceand that what exists is the only thing possible. " necessitating

of the shaykh's comments maintain that God has power to do more than He actually does. Ibn Taymiyya gives the matter closer attention at the end of 'Atli!, whose

mention of al-Ghazäli's dictum is probably the latest of the three becausethis


treatise dates from the last two years of his life. He explains that some reject the in order to protect God's power, and he agrees that God certainly has statement to create other than this world. However, Ibn Taymiyya notes that there is power

way to read the dictum: another
It could mean that no better (ahsan) than this [world] or no more perfect (akmaT than this is possible (yumkin). This is not a defamation of power. Rather, it has established His power [to do] other than what He has done. However, it says, "What He has done is better and more pcrfect than what be to I-Iim-generosity, He has not done. " This ascribes to Him-Glory be to Him-is liberality, and beneficence. He-Glory the most generous. No more generous (akram) [being] than He can be conceived. 78 Thus, Ibn Taymiyya accepts al-Ghazäli's statement on the condition that it is that God could have created other than lie did. However, what God understood did create is the best of all possible worlds because He is the most perfect and generous being imaginable. Ibn Taymiyya's affirmation that this is the best of all

possibleworlds is not basedmost fundamentallyon empirical considerationof the
actual world; it is rooted in a priori convictions about what the perfection of God necessitates.


Conclusion To conclude this chapter, Ibn Taymiyya, in passages dealing with justice

("adl), rejects the Muctazili scheme of divine obligation to strict retributive justice
because he believes that it subjects God to an external and unpralseworthy


The shaykh denounces the Ashcaris for rendering divine injustice Contrary to the

inherently impossible by freeing God from all constraint.

Ashcaris, Ibn Taymiyya maintains that God could commit injustice but has obligated Himself not to and that it is by virtue of this that He is praiseworthy.


Here Ibn Taymiyya suggests that God has chosen freely to be just. However, the this divine freedom by failing to inquire into the cause of God's shaykh only gains choice. If he held that the divine choice was truly free and without cause, he If he

would fail to uphold his principle of preponderance.

a prior

God's justice would become subject to some kind of prior necessity. The cause,

divine self-obligation could be seen as a metaphor for capturing a notion of
paradox between divine freedom and divine subjection to necessity, but Ibn Taymiyya does not spell this out. Ibn Taymiyya defines justice as `putting things in their places'. It is

that he believes that human beings should intuitively recognize that God apparent things in their places, but he does not clearly define the rationality always puts this justice in his justice passages. Although the shaykh does often governing divine justice retributively, as in God's locating punishment in someone speak of who disobeys, he rejects the strict retributivism of the Multazilis. justice to divine wise purpose, and, in'Adil, his notions of divine justice, I Ic links divine

Ibn Taymiyya takes the exigencies of to the

goodness, generosity, and perfection

conclusion that this is the best of all possible worlds.

In 'rlclil and in his other

justice passages, the shaykh concerns himself very little with the origin and of evil deeds, and the sphere of the human fades from view. In the final purpose divine justice for Ibn Taymiyya is most concerned with the exaltation of analysis, divine goodness without precise linkage to the human sphere, and it becomes another way of affirming God's good creation of all things.


Notes to Chapter Six
main passages are 'Adil JR 121-6,126-130; Minhdj 1: 134-141/1: 33-4,1: 451-4/1: 125-6, 2: 304-313/214-5,3: 20-3/267-8; Jabr MF 8: 505-510; Abic Dharr MF 18: 137-156; and Nubtnvtiwät 143-7. 2 'Adil JR 121,125; Minhaj 1: 133-4/1: 32-3,3: 151/2:27; and Jabr MF 8: 505. Cf. Minhiij 1: 134/1: 33 and 1:453/1: 125, where Ibn Taymiyya also says that no Sunni Muslim states that God does bad or fails to keep obligations. 3 Exceptions include Ibn Taymiyya's mention of the early Multazili al-Na ;im in 'Aril JR 129 and al-Jubbä'i in the story of the three brothers quoted below. 4 Minhäj 1: 134/1: 33. 5'Adil JR 123. 1 The

7Abfi Dharr MF 18: 138. 8 Irada MF 8: 92. 9 Minhaj 3: 198/2: 39; Irdda MF 8:92.

6Abis Dharr MF 18:138,152; 'Adil JR 127. See also Able Dharr, MF 18:145, for the definition of injustice as undeservedharm (idrdr ghayr mustahigq).

10', 4dil JR 128;Jabr MF 8:506; Minhaj 3: 152-3/2: 27-8.
For compensation in the thought of 'Abd al-Jabbdr, see 1-ieemskcrk, Sujjering in Ahr'ta_ilite Theology: IAbd al-Jabbär's Teaching on Pain and Divine Justice, 142-191. On compensation, see also Schmidtke, The Theology of al-CAllama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325), 117-124. 12 Abic Dharr MF 18: 138,148; 'Ädil JR 129. 13 Ahii Dharr MF 18: 147. 14 Minhaj 1:447-8/1: 124,3: 39-40/1: 272,3: 153/2:28; Jabr MF 8: 505-6; Dharr MF 18: 138, 'Ihü 147; Tahsin al-'aql MF 8:431-2; 'Ädil JR 128. For'Abd al-Jabbär's univocal use of analogy from the visible world to the invisible world (giyds al-gha'ib'alit al-shahid) in God's acts, see Daniel Gimaret, Theories de l'acte humain en theologie musulmane, 281-3; and I leemskerk, SuJjL'ring in Mu'tazilite Theology: 'Abd al-Jabbär's Teaching on Pain and Divine Justice, 112-3. 15Minhäj 1:453-4/1: 125-6. 16Abii Dharr MF 18: 138. 17 For an extensive discussion of this obligation in the Islamic tradition, see Michael Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 2000). 18 Jabr MF 8: 506. 19Minhdj 3:220-1/2: 44. For additional arguments of this sort, see ,%linh(-j 3: 151-3/2: 27-8: it would be foolish for a man to give his son money if he knew the son was going to use it to buy poison to eat; and'Ädil JR 128: it would be unjust for a master to let his slaves commit injustice if he could stop it. Cf. Minhaj 2: 312-3/1: 215. 20Rosalind W. Gwynne, "Al-Jubbä'i, al-Ashcari and the Three Brothers: The Uses of Fiction, " The Muslim World 75 (July-Oct. 1985): 132-161. Gwrynne argues that there is no evidence that this story was connected to al-Ashcari and al-Jubbä'i before al-R: izi. AI-Jubb; i'i's full name is Abl 'Ali Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Wahhäb b. Saläm. 2! Minhaj 3: 198-9/2: 39. 22Minhüj 1: 138/1: 34. 23 On this (d view in al-11illi's thought, see Schmidtke, The Theologtiy of al-'A Ilä,: sa al-Ililli 726/1325), 109-115.

24Minhaj 3: 131-7/2: 22-4.
25Most of the arguments above may also be found, for example, in the Ashlar! Kal: tin handbook of 397411 (Ar. ), 126-131 (ET). al-Shahrastäni, Kitab nihäyatu11-igddmfc'ilmi'1-kalnm, 26Abü al-Walid Sulaymän b. Khalaf b. Said al-Bsji, a Mäliki jurist from Andalusia. 27Minhäj 3:20/1: 267; 'Adil JR 122-3,127.

28 Jabr MF 8:506.

29Abii Dharr MF 18: 138.


Notes to Chapter Six continued
1: 134/1: 33,1: 452/1: 125,2: 305-6/1: 214-5,3: 20-2/1: 267-8,3: 40/1: 272; 'Adil JR 121, 125,127; Jabr MF 8: 506-7; Abit Dharr MF 18: 139,152; Nubutivtivirt 143-5. 31Iyäs b. Muldwiya b. Qurra, Abü W5thili, judge in Basra. a 32 The version of this dictum translated here is that found in Ahiü Dharr MF 18: 139. It is also found with slight variations in Minhaj 1:304-5/1: 214,3: 22/1: 268; and'Adil JR 122. " Abil Dharr MF 18: 139-140. '° Nubuwwät 144-5. 35Abis Dharr MF 18: 145. 36Abü Dharr MF 18: 145. 37 Abis Dharr MF 18: 148; Nub: nvwai 143; Minhaj 1:451-2/1: 125. The basics of this view are found in al-Ash<ari's Kitdb al-lumac. In response to the question, "Is it for God-Exalted is 1Leto inflict pain on children in the hereafter? " al-Ashlari writes, "it is for God [to do] that, and Ile would be just if He did that. Similarly, whenever He inflicts an infinite punishment for a finite crime, subjects some living beings to others, blesses some apart from others, and creates them knowing that they will disbelieve, all of this is justice on His part. It would not be bad on the part of God if He were to bring them forth in painful chastisement and make it perpetual. It would not be bad on His part to chastise the believers and bring the unbelievers into Paradise. We only say that He will not do that because He has informed us that He will punish the unbelievers, and it is not permissible for Him to lie in His informing. " This translation has been adapted from that of McCarthy in The Theology of al-Ash'ari, 71 (Ar. ) and 169 (ET). 38As inAbii Dharr MF 18: 148; and in Minhdj 1:451-2/1: 125. 39Nubuwwdt 145-6. aoNubuwwät 148-9,361-2,371-3. For more on these Ashcari difficulties in prophecy, see Gardet, Die:: et la destinee de 1'homme, 200-1. Ibn Taymiyya notes that al-Ghazäli saw the difficulties in traditional Ashcari views and turned to the view of the philosophers that prophecy is a species of dreams (manämät). Also in Nubuwwüt, 364-5, Ibn Taymiyya reports that al-R,-izi vacillates concerning prophecy between the Ashcaris and the philosophers. For al-11514's difficulties in prophecy, see also Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Major 11'orksof Fakhr al-Din al-Rr-r_i, 167172. 41Nubuwwät 349-353,361. 42Nubuwwät 356-7. 43Nubuwtivdt 349. For this point, see also Hasana MF 14:271; and ,lfin/uäj 3: 91-9/2: 12-4,3: 2268/2: 46. In Minhdj, 3: 97/2: 12, Ibn Taymiyya adds that it would be an attribute of imperfection for God to confirm a liar. as Minhaj 1: 139/1:34; Jabr MF 8:507; and Abir Dharr MF 18: 145. For the connection to Ibn alAnb5ri, see'Adil JF 124,129. Muhammad b. al-Qasim b. Muhammad, Abüi Bakr b. al-Anb: iri, a scholar of literature and language who died in Baghdad. 45Jabr MF 8: 507. °GSee the discussion of the divine name `Just' (al-'Ado in al-Ghaz: ili, A14fagsad al-asnci Ji sharp ma'dni asmd' Allah al-husnd, 105-9. For further analysis of al-Ghat ili's understanding of divine justice, see Frank, Creation and the Cosmic System: Al-Gha_dli and Avicenna, 64-6. 4' Pessagno, "The uses of Evil in Maturidian Thought, " 68-9, and al-Maturidi, Kitüh al-tativhid, 97. 48'Adil JR 129. 09Minhäj 1: 135/1: 33; Abis Dharr MF 18: 146. soThe hadith is found in Muslim 4674, al-Birr wa al-lila wa al-ýtd:ab,Tahrim al- ulnt. 51Abil Dharr MF 18: 144. 52Abii Dharr MF 18: 144; Minhaj 1: 135-7/1: 33,1: 451-3/1: 125; Jahr MF 8:509. 53Qudra MF 8:3 1. 54'Adil JR 123-4. ss Nubuwwüt 145. Cf. 'Adil JR 125,128; and Minhi j 1: 139/1:34. Note also ,Vuhuwwvr7t, "12-3, where Ibn Taymiyya explains that God grants recompense in this world in accord with wise 30 Minhüj


Notes to Chapter Six continued
purpose and benefit and that God punishes each disobedient people according to I lis wise purpose and what is fitting for them. S' 'Adil JR 126; Jabr MF 8: 507; Abü Dharr 18: 142; A-finhirj 1: 135-8/1: 33-4. These references include additional quranic verses of this kind. 5 'Ädil JR 126; Abi1 Dharr 18: 142-3. 59 Ibn Taymiyya mentions the Mu<tazilis' failure to give God the highest similitude in . lbi7 Dharr MF 18: 138.

scJabr MF 8:507; Abi Dharr MF 18:141-4,146; Nubutitwät 144.

60'Adil JR 130. 61'Adil JR 130. 62'Adil JR 130-1 (quote on 131). 63'Adil JR 131.
64'Adil 65'Adil 66'Adil 67'Adil 68'Adil JR 133. JR 134. JR 134-6. JR 136. JR 136. Following these rational arguments, the shaykh also supports his claim that God necessarily does what is best with several quranic references, including, "In Your hand is the good (khayr). Truly, You are Powerful over everything" (Q. 3: 26), "God has sent down the best discourse (ahsana al-hadith)" (Q. 39: 23), and "Who made good everything Ile created" (Q. 32: 7). 69 In Ihyd''u/itm 4: 258, al-Ghazäli writes, "There is nothing in possibility fundamentally al-din, better (ahsan) than [what God divides out], nor more complete, nor more perfect. " In Kitdb a/imlü' fi ishkd1dt al-Ihyd', a defense of the Ihyü' 'uh-lm al-din, he writes, "There is nothing in possibility more wonderful (abda') than the form of this world, nor better arranged, nor more perfectly (ikmal) made" (in Mulhaq al-Ihyä' printed with Ihydl 'uh-tin at-din, 5: 13-41, at p. 35). For detailed discussion of these texts, see Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought, 37-81. 70Ittihädiyyin MF 2: 213; Kasb MF 8: 399; and 'Adil JR 142. 71Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought, 264. 72Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought, 259-264. Norman Calder, in his review of this book in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 49 (1986): 211-2, criticizes Ormsby for attributing this theodicy to al-Ghazäli himself without failing to underline that al-Ghaz; ili is notoriously inconsistent and claims not to be telling everything that he believes. 73See, for example, the discussion of al-Ghat ili's use of `wisdom' in Ormsby, T/woclic}v in Islamic Thought, 197, which nonetheless cannot be pressed for an exact knowledge and wisdom identity. Conversely, Ormsby presents no evidence that would negate an identification of divine wisdom with divine knowledge for al-Ghazäli and his defenders. In passing Ormsby, Thcodict' in Islamic Thought, 47, mentions that Ibn Taymiyya took the Ashlaris to task for denying divine wisdom, but he does not examine the shaykh's critique. Ormsby makes reference to the shaykh's treatise Iräda and the work of Bell in Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, 69ff. 74Ahmad b. Mubärak b. Muhammad al-Sijilmäsi al-Lamali, a Maliki jurist. 75Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought, 204-7. 76Ittihädiyyrn MF 2: 213. " Kasb MF 8: 399. 78'Adil JR 142.



This study confirms and elaborates Henri Laoust's brief observation made in his Essai over sixty years ago that Ibn Taymiyya presents a theodicy of optimism I have also been calling a best-of-all-possible-worlds or what theodicy. In diffuse

the character of the divine will, human agency, and problems of evil writings on justice, the shaykh maintains that God creates all existents for a wise purpose and (hikma) or cause (villa), by virtue of which all things are good and, by necessity of God's perfection, the best possible. This conclusion summarizes the main points theodicean discourse, attempts to assesswhat he was doing and its of the shaykh's significance, and suggests further lines of research. As discussed in Chapter Two, AshWarivoluntarism rejects wise purpose in

God because it entails an infinite regress of causes, temporal the will of in the divine essence,and imperfection and need in God prior to His origination behalf of the respective cause. The divine will of' Ashcari Kaliirr is action on
by any necessity of reason. eternal and unfettered The Multazili free will

theodicy, in which God creates human beings for the purpose of giving them
opportunity to earn reward, also denies temporal origination and infinite

in God. To maintain God's self-sufficiency, the Muctazilis argue that regression the eternal God creates in time for a purpose disjoined from Himself whose effect has no impact on Him. The Ashcans counter that this is absurd: if God acts For a it must have an impact on Him. cause,

Ibn Taymiyya agreeswith the Ashcaricritique of the Multazili theodicy, but
he rejects the Kaläm view of divine timelessness and sell-sufficiency. Instead, he


posits a God governed by the utilitarian ethic of establishing His perfection and to praise through willing all existents on behalf of temporally originated wise right purposes, which form an infinite series in the divine being. Although the shaykh asserts that no part of the world is eternal, his God has always been willing and thing or another from eternity. To sustain this view, Ibn Taymiyya creating one the Kaläm arguments against an infinite regress, and he argues against the refutes

AshWaris that a God who acts for a wise purpose is more perfi ct and worthy of
than one who does not. He also claims that this God has no need, by which praise he means that God has no need for help in creating the world. However, this God

does need a world that is perfectly in accord with His wise purpose at every point in time to demonstrate His perfection as Creator. In polemic supporting his causal view of God's will, Ibn Taymiyya attacks the mode of God's creation in Ibn Sind and Kaläm theology with his principles of

preponderanceand originated causality. He argues that the Kaliinl view of an divine will whose nature it is to preponderate events in the world in time is eternal
impossible because it posits origination without an originated cause. Ibn

Taymiyya also rejects Ibn Sind's argument that the world is the eternal effect of the eternal and complete First Cause because it fails to explain how events originate in time. In the shaykh's polemic, something eternal cannot give rise to temporal origination, and every temporally originated event requires a temporally originated cause.
This polemic lacks integrity and awareness of its own limits inasmuch as

Ibn Taymiyya himself doesnot adequatelyexplain the causeot'the infinite regress
of divine willings in his own theology. He could consider either that the series of


divine willings as a whole lacks a preponderator and originated cause, which his polemical principles, or that the cause of the series is God's eternal violates Since Ibn Taymiyya maintains that an eternal complete cause entails an essence. divine willings in the latter case must lock up into a eternal effect, the series of timeless series under the eternal First Cause, which yields the eternity of the world. However, the shaykh does not explore this dilemma in his polemic. Ibn

Taymiyya also fails to face a similar problem in his passages on divine justice surveyed in Chapter Six. The shaykh interprets the divine saying, "I have

forbidden injustice to Myself, " to mean that God could have been unjust but chose not to be. Here the shaykh maintains a semblance of divine freedom by not If he had followed his polemical

inquiring into the cause of God's choice.

insisted on a preponderator for the divine choice, this choice would principles and longer have been free, but necessary. In sum, Ibn Taymiyya does not draw no to the fact that his principles of preponderance and originated causality attention be sustained fully when attempting to explain how acts of the divine will cannot in the created world originate in time from an eternal God. and events Ibn Taymiyya's views on causality in the divine will and the creation of the lines of further inquiry. world suggest several The shaykh's ideas on creation

in this study appear within the context of his treatments of wise purpose examined in Minhäj and Irjda. He deals with the creation of the world in its own right in

' Another question raised by this other texts, and these require additional research. I did not find the shaykh addressing, is how the plurality and material, which implicit in a God subject to temporal origination is to be reconciled with change the exigencies of divine unity. Laoust mentions that Ibn Taymiyya upholds an


`organic' notion of divine unity, but this should be investigated further since his divine attributes remain largely unexplored. ` extensive writings on the Beyond

the domain of research on Ibn Taymiyya alone, further investigation is needed to determine the relation of his notions of time and causality in God to predecessors the philosopher Abü al-Barakät and the Karrimi such as theologians who

apparently hold similar views. On the question of creation, it is already clear that

he adopts neither the traditional creation ex nihilo of Kamm theology nor the
Ibn Sinä.3 Preliminary work by 'Abd al-Majid aleternal emanation scheme of Saghir suggests fruitful comparison with Ibn Rushd's ideas on God's continuous from eternity. 4 Comparison with the creation theories of others adhering creation to some kind of optimism, such as Ibn cArabi, or Leibniz in the western tradition, important insights into the interdependence of the respective may also yield doctrines. Shifting now to the sphere of the human in Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean

his doctrine of God's creation of all existents prevents him from giving writings,

scopeto libertarian freedom. Consistentwith this, he censuresthe Multazili any
free will theodicy, which makes humans the creators of their own acts, for robbing God of his exclusive prerogative to create. Despite his doctrine of God's alland determination, the shaykh nonetheless maintains encompassing creation human responsibility to divine command, and lie expresses the basic elements of

both creation and command through a variety of quranic vocabularies and texts.
In polemic supporting divine command, Ibn Taymiyya argues against the Ash'aris and the antinomian and theosophic Sufis that it is irrational to excuse

disobedience to the Law by appeal to divine deternlination.

He also criticizes


fall into the impiety of Iblis by impugning those who

God's creation and

failing to confess God's justice and wise purpose command as contradictory and in all that He creates. In the doctrine of the human act itself, Ibn Taymiyya, like Fakhr al-Din alRäzi, maintains that human beings are the agents of their acts in reality while God is their Creator. The shaykh does not have a consistent view on the relationship between the human will and the human power. However, he does consistently

to the act, which establishes human accountability to speak of a power anterior divine command but cannot precipitate an act on its own, and a will or power to the act, which makes the act necessary and is originated and conjoined directly by God. preponderated Ibn Taymiyya also explains human agency in From the divine perspective, secondary

terms of secondary causes (asbab).

instruments and raw materials by means of which God creates all causes are the things. From the human perspective, they make up an order of natural cause and effect. The shaykh distinguishes a voluntary from an involuntary act with the

that God creates a voluntary act by means of the secondary causes of notion human will and power. However, this does not establish an independent human God is still its Creator just as He is the Creator of all other existents by will; Beyond this, Ibn Taymiyya seeks to mitigate the means of secondary causes. determinism by explaining that God creates human acts, including acts severity of disobedience, according to His wise purpose. of Ibn Taymiyya does not easily admit that his resolute adherence to both divine determination the one hand and divine on and human command

the other constitutes an aporia. As observed in Chapter Three, responsibility on


he comes closest to clarifying that these doctrines are at least paradoxical when the image of looking presenting determination and the Law. at deeds with the two lie eyes of divine of

Elsewhere, however,

is more wary

and makes efforts to avoid noting it explicitly, contradiction

apparently out of

to avoid Iblisi style impiety. Examples were noted in Chapter Four where concern Ibn Taymiyya evades the necessitarian implications of divine determination and

foreknowledge by switching without notice to the human intuition of voluntary
historical experience. As also seen in Chapter Four, he claims that agency and there is no incompatibility between the views of the Jabri Fakhr al-Din al-R-lz!

the Muctazili Abü al-IHusayn al-Basri on the human act. However, he can and this reconciliation by reading Abü al-Husayn's doctrine that humans only effect originate their acts deterministically. Ibn Taymiyya also has difficulty reconciling the divine and human spheres justice. when examining problems of evil and retributive Chapter Five of' this

study exposited the three-fold evil attribution typology, which the shaykh sets out on several occasions to classify evil (sharr). The first type is the attribution of

to the generality of God's creation. The second is ascription of evil to the evil creature or secondary cause. These two types formalize a dichotomy between the divine and human perspectives on evil, although Ibn Taymiyya does not

acknowledge this explicitly. evil-presumably God-and

The third type is the courtesy of eliding the agent of putting the relevant verb in the passive voice. The

shaykh limits his consideration of this type to quoting a few quranic examples. The shaykh's discussions of evil suggest two ways of interpreting its attribution to the `generality' of what God creates. First, from the divine


that God creates, both good and evil, is good by virtue of His wise perspective, all Ibn Taymiyya supports this with quranic verses such as, "Who made purpose. He created" (Q. 32: 7), and "We did not create the heavens and good everything the earth and what is between them except with truth" (Q. 15:85), and the hadith, "Good is in Your hands, and evil is not [attributed] to You. " In texts examined in Chapter Six, the shaykh also speaks of the goodness of all that God creates in terms of a divine justice ('ad! ) that puts everything in its place. Justice in this does not indicate pure retribution but divine wisdom and beneficence in sense creation. Second, on the human plane, attributing evil to the `generality' indicates that is quantitatively insignificant and consists in harm only to specific persons, evil which is to the greater benefit of the whole. The shaykh notes in Hasana, for

that the Messenger brought great profit even though some were killed in example, the course of his mission. In Jabr, Ibn Taymiyya explains more generally that

God is subject to logical constraints: God cannot create the impossible, and God in creating good must also create the evil that is necessarily concomitant to it. The shaykh then implies that God creates the best world that I-le can with an the necessary perfection of God's attributes of wisdom, power, and assertion of mercy. He makes this optimism explicit in cAdil, a text dealing with divine

justice, by rooting God's creation of the best possible world in the necessities of divine perfection and generosity and endorsing al-Ghazi-ili's aphorism, "'t'here is in possibility more wonderful than what is" (see 5.2.3 and 6.3-4). nothing At times, Ibn Taymiyya notes that God's wise purpose in the creation of evil be known and that it is only important to believe that God has a wise cannot


in all that He does. However, he does sometimes specify that evil has purpose or religious benefits for human beings, which echo similar particular educational in Multazilism and Sufism. The unbelief and destruction of Pharaoh, for notions lesson and a deterrent against tempting the same fate; illness example, serve as a

occasions for humble turning to God that would not be possible and sin provide otherwise; and oppression under an unjust ruler expiates sins and motivates
turning to God to ask forgiveness. The shaykh does not address the benefit to he does not His

God in creating evil, and unlike Ibn cArabi and Ibn al-Qayyim, speculate that creating disobedience gives God opportunity to mercy or to rejoice at the repentance of sinners. With respect to the attribution of evil to the creature-the


human agent-

Ibn Taymiyya establishesa basis for retribution in texts examined in Chapter Four the principle that acts are attributed not to their Creator but to the human with in which they are created. Thus, God is just to reward and punish substrates human deedsthat He creates. In Hasana, which contains Ibn Taymiyya's füllest
discussion of evil, he goes beyond the substrate principle nonexistence (cadam)-a to root evil in

notion employed also by Ibn Sind and Ibn 'Arabi for strengthen the foundations

metaphysical and theosophical ends, respectively-to or retributive punishment.

Ibn Taymiyya claims in Hasana that two affirmations in Q. 4: 78-9 are not contradictory: "Everything is from God, " and, "Any evil thing that conies to you is from yourself. " His ultimate attempt to resolve this contradiction absolves God the initial evil deed in each person by locating its origin in the of creating nonexistence or lack of the good deeds for which humans were created. The


shaykh explains that nonexistence has no agent, and so this evil deed cannot be to God. Nonetheless, the human agent in whom this nonexistence or attributed lack occurs is responsible for it and rightly punished with God's creation of further evil deeds. Although this explains how evil is from oneself while

is from God, there remains the question why humans fail to do the everything deeds for which they were created in the first place. Without acknowledging the explicitly, the shaykh switches from the human perspective back to the problem divine and explains that God chooses to guide some, but not others, into the deeds for which they were created according to His wise purpose and mercy. Thus, God

is still responsiblefor human evil deeds,and Ibn Taymiyya fails to eliminate the
contradiction between God, the wise and merciful source of all things, and

humans,the sourceof evil.
That Ibn Taymiyya is enmeshed in a contradiction between retribution and divine mercy becomes especially apparent at other points in Hasana and in the Fätiha where he upholds retributive punishment for evil deeds more philosophical but drops retributive reward for good deeds. He asserts that the blessings oi' good deeds, their rewards, and entry into Paradise have no basis in
human merit,


occur strictly by the grace of God. God is the only source of all good and
therefore has the sole right to worship. In this case, piety calls for acknowledging divine grace for all good while maintaining full human responsibility for all evil, which arises ultimately from nonexistence. While this may commend itself to

some as a worthy approach to religious devotion, Ibn Taymiyya's explication of it from reticence to admit that it involves at least a paradoxical relationship suffers between the divine and human spheres.


This summary of Ibn Taymiyya's

theodicy has noted his reluctance to

acknowledge rational difficulties at a number of points, and it remains to account for this reserve and to explain his optimism more generally. The shaykh does not clearly articulate his theological intentions within his theodicean texts. What he does say, however, fits with his clearer comments on method in texts that were examined as background in Chapter One. There I showed that Ibn Taymiyya

maintains that God's attributes bear no likeness to their counterparts in creatures
except the names. This entails severe difficulties for the religious life in that it

from its alleged source. Nonetheless, the completely severs religious experience shaykh gives the unknowable divine attributes the function of establishing God's right to praise and worship. I suggested, moreover, that this clarifies why Ibn

Taymiyya takes it upon himself to delineate the meanings of these attributes in

human languageby reference to the authoritative religious tradition and rational
notions of perfection. That is, his theology is a kind of apologetic `worship

control' that aims to elicit religious devotion by speaking well of the unknowable

Ibn Taymiyya's theodicean texts provide evidence to confirm this

theological agenda, some of which has already been observed above. In /-las"ana and Fätiha, for example, discussions of divine goodness and the human origins of evil establish bases upon which the shaykh launches appeals to worship and trust God alone. Also, he seeks to speak well of God when dealing with the Arabic terms gharad (purpose) and jabr (compulsion). He allows that these terms could

be applied to God in certain senses, but he prefers not to use them to avoid associating other negative connotations that these words might comve)ywith God.


His concern for God's praiseworthiness is also found in his polemic against the
Muctazili and the Ashlýari notions of divine wisdom and justice, and it is seen most

fundamentally in his conviction that only a God who acts for %visepurposes is perfect and has the right to praise.

It is probably also this desire to speak well of God that explains Ibn
Taymiyya's aversion to exploring and elucidating the contradictions inherent in his best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy. However, it is not necessarily obvious It may in fact he of

that obfuscation is the best way to avoid Iblisi style impiety.

greater service to piety to acknowledge the limits of reason and explicate the contradictory relationship between the human and the divine as a kind of'paradox. Al-Räzi provides an example of how this may be done in his on Q. 2: 6

where he notes that the respective rational proofs of the i\'1u1tazilis and the Sunni Jabris/Ashcaris contradict one another even while both groups seek to exalt God. There is the further question why Ibn Tayrniyya believes that a best-of-all-

possible-worldstheodicy best portrays God's perfection and servesthe interestsof'
religious devotion, especially since this theodicy suffiers certain inherent


Optimism in general and Ibn Taymiyya's theodicyy in particular

tend to grant reality only to the divine sphere of grace and wise purpose, minimize the force and irrationality of evil, and ultimately deny its very existence.

Overextending the claims of reason in elucidating a best-ot-all-possible-%%worids theodicy risks precipitating an Iblisi response of disgust at God's manipulation

and abuseof His creatures,especiallyof those who suftcr. It would seem !hirer to humanexperienceto let evil standunexplained,at least partially, than
to insist that


God has a reason for creating every particular


or attributing



A Muctazili style free will theodicy would appear to serve Ibn "Caymiyya's vocation as a religious reformer and his focus on human responsibility better.

However, this option may not have been politically viable within the Sunni Mamlük sultanate. As noted in the case of Ibn al-Mutahhar al-i,lilli. Nlultazili theology was closely linked at that time to Twelver Shicism,which not only was a bitter religious rival to Sunnism but was also temporarily the religion oC the
Mongol Ilkhänid empire of Iraq and Persia. It is likely, however, that Ihn

Taymiyya rejected Muctazili theology for theological as much as political reasons. Despite his high regard for the Muctazili emphasis on human agency, he was
probably too deeply rooted in Sunni traditionalist belief in God's all-

encompassing creation to give a free will theodicy serious consideration. Ibn Taymiyya's reasons for rejecting Ash"ari voluntarism are not as

apparent. His focus on human responsibility is not necessarily better served by optimism than voluntarism, and the peculiar Ashcari determinism of aI-R izi does not preclude, but rather informs, the shaykh's compatibilist view of human agency that is the basis of some of his polemic against Sufi antinomianism. I'vlorcovcr.

AshWari voluntarism's exaltation of divine freedom, power, and self-sufficiency
may elicit the fullest reverence and obedience. As is clear from this study,

however, the Ashcan vision of God does not evoke these sentiments in the shaykh, and he denounces the absence of rationality in this God's activity.


It may be that Ibn Taymiyya rejected voluntarism for optimism because he was simply a personality attracted to a philosophical vision of God and the world. However, it is more likely that the shaykh's ethical utilitarianism and its

prevalence in his context among the dominant Ashcans themselves decided him in favor of a utilitarian vision of God's will (see 1.3.2). Since Ibn Tavmiv}"a

conceivedrational human action in utilitarian, rather than Muctazili deontological,
terms, it made sense to him that God's perfection should consist in seeking the benefit of praise and worship from His creatures, and he makes this connection explicitly in Iräda (see 2.3.2). Moreover, Ibn Taymiyya's social location in

traditionalist Hanbalism, outside Ashcan circles, meant that, unlike al-Ghaz-li, he did not have to show deference to Ashcari voluntarism, and he was tree to uphold a best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy with consistency. In conclusion then, Ihn

Taymiyya's theodicean discourse appears to be part of a wider attempt to evoke devotion by appeal to considerations of both reason and revealed religious tradition, and he adopts a best-of-all-possible-worlds approach to achieve this end

becauseit portrays God's all-comprehensivecreation in terms of' the utilitarian
ethic widespread in his day. Further research is needed to assess Ibn Taymi)yya's place in medieval Islamic optimism with respect to its aims, content, and originality, indications may be ventured here. preliminary but a few

In terms of sophistication and

fullness of exposition, Ibn Sind, al-Ghazäli, and Ibn cArabi tower over the 1; lanbali
shaykh. However, Ibn Taymiyya is notable for the consistency oC his position-

especially in comparisonto al-Ghazäli-his specifically apologetic as opposedto
theosophical or metaphysical intention, and the degree to which lie supports and


his optimism with passages from the Qur'an and the lladith. weaves

I lis best-of-

all-possible-worlds theodicy is worthy of inclusion in future studies of theodicy and problems of evil in Islam and monotheistic thought more generally, and his positive philosophical contribution is sufficiently rich to warrant hint more than mention as an anti-rationalist polemist in general treatments of medieval Islamic 5 The in his thought between grace and theology. contradiction philosophy and be compared with profit to similar problems in Christian retribution might also 6 theology. As indicated in the Introduction, the primary significance of' bn 'l'aymiyya's
theodicy is probably ample theodicean al-Jawziyya its impact on the subsequent Islamic tradition. in the writings of his immediate disciple I lo%vever, the Ibn Qa)'yim of


is still unexplored,

and the scope, exact content, and explanation

Ibn Taymiyya's especially

influence in the modem period require a great deal more research, What may be provisionally for Sunni Muslims suggested is

to his theology. with respect attraction

that part of Ibn Taymiyya's and rationalism combined with of modernity

täcing the humanism

lies in his strong emphasis on human responsibility Sunni belief in divine determination and his

the traditional

rationalization of God's all-encompassing creation with a best-of-all-possibleworlds theodicy.

Notes to the Conclusion
º See Chapter Two, n. 2 for references. 2 Laoust, Essai, 160, explains that for Ibn Taymiyya God is one in essence and multiple in attributes, but it is not clear how or whether the shaykh tries to relate the multiplicity of the


Notes to the Conclusion continued
attributes to the unity of the divine essence. Seealso Makari, Ibn Tar,nitivah's Ethics: The Social Factor, 40-1, which follows Laoust. Much relating to the divine attributes is found in Tathis, Dar', the fifth and sixth volumes of MF, the first two volumes of, llin/u j, and else%%here.

3 Laoust's view in Essai, 174, that Ibn Taymiyya's polemic against the philosophers on creation is nothing more than a `rdddition' of al-Ghazäli requires correction. ° 'Abd al-Majid al-Saghir, "Mawaqif rushdiyya li-Tagi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya? " For a detailed analysis of Ibn Rushd's views on creation, see Zaynab Mahmiid al-Khudayri, : Ichar /bit RushJfi falsafat al-'usiir al-wusta (Cairo: Maktabat al-anglü a1-misriyya, 1995), 218-239. 5 As noted in Chapter One (1.2), Majid Fakhry, A History of Islamic Philoso1, hr, 312-8, paints Ihn Serajul Haque's article "Ibn Taymiyyah: A Lille and Taymiyya as thoroughly anti-rationalist. Works" in A History of Muslim Philosophy (1966) presents him largely as a traditionalist polemist. There is no article on Ibn Taymiyya in Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman, /li. etor ' of Islamic Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1996). 6 See Jonathan L. Kvanvig, "Heaven and Hell, " in A Companion to Philosophy of'Relit'ion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1997), 562-8. for sui incisive discussion of the contradiction in traditional Christian thought between hell as retributive punishment and heaven as an unmerited gift of God.


Ibn Taymiyya's writings

1. JR

Collected works with abbreviations Jämic al-rasä'il li-Ibn Taymiyya. Ed. Muhammad RasIi id Sälim. Vol. 1. Cairo: Matba'at al-madani, 1389/1969. Mu'allafät al-shaykh iva tilnüdhihi Ihn al-Oqºyim. CD ROM. u, Version 1.0. Amman: Markaz al-tur ith li-abhýith a1-h1sib 11al-< This CD contains most of Ibn Taymiyyya's 1420/1999. published works.



Majmüc fatäwä shaykh al-Islam Ahmad h. Tatwiina'a. Ed. 'Abd b. Muhammad b. Qäsim and Muhammad h. 'r\bd alal-Rahmän Rahmän b. Muhammad. 37 vols. Cairo: Dir al-Rah ma, n.d. Henri Laoust gives the publication dates of the original Riyadh MF as 1381-6/1961-7 in La pro/cssion clr /i, i d'/bn edition of Taymiyya: Texte, traduction et commcntaire (le la lVäsitüava (Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1986), 91. Note that MF includes all items found in 1v1RMbelow. Majmü' fatäwä Ibn Taymiyya. CD ROM. Version 1.0. Cairo: Sharikat Harf li-taqniyyat al-maclümät, 1999. This is MF on CD ROM. Citations are made strictly from the print version. Majmücat al-rasä'il al-kubrä. Vol. 1. Cairo: Al-NIalbala alcämira al-sharafiyya, 1323/1905. Majmü'at al-rasä'il al-kubrd. Vol. 2. Beirut: Dearihva' al-turath carabi, 1392/1972. a1 Ed. Muhammad Rashid Majmücat al-rasä'il wa al-masä'il. Ridä. 5 parts. Cairo: Matbacat al-man< r, 1341-9/1922-1930. All items in MRM have been integrated into MF.






Ibn Taymiyya's

treatises bearing a short title

in this study are alphabetized here by their writings used titles, which in many cases are those used by Laoust in Lu respective short defoi d'lbn Taymiyya, 89-93. For treatises appearing in more than one profession in this study is made to the first mentioned work only, published work, citation Ibn Taymiyya's


for Minhäj, in which case the reference is also followed by a slash and the except equivalent location in MinhäjB. Some shorter writings have not been given a title and are only cited in the study by their location in the respective short collection. Works not given a short title are listed in Section 3 below. cAbd al-Qädir " 'Ti shark kalimät li cAbd al-Qädir fi kitab Frutidr al-g/hmvh. MF 10:455-548. "Shark badith anni harramtu al-zulm Iala nat'si," or "<An maIn<< " hadith Abi Dharr... yä cibädi anni harramtu al- ulm GalaHat's!. MF 18: 136-209. "A Letter of Ibn Taymiyya to Abis l-Fid<P." Ed. Serajul l laque. In Documenta Islamica Inedita, ed. Johann W. Fuck. 155-161. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1952. Reprinted in Jean R. Michot. Ibn Taymiyya: Lehre ä Aft Wield', 83-7. Louvain-la-Neuve: Institut Orientaliste de 1'Universite Catholique dc Louvain, 1994. References are to Michot following I laque's pagination. "Qä'ida fi macna kawn al-Rabb 15dilan wa tº tanazuhihi CanalJR 121-142. zulm wall ithbät Cadlihi wa'ihslnihi. "Al-risäla al-akmaliyya. " MF 6: 68-140. " "Tafsir sürat a1-Ad1ä. MF 16:82-216. "Tafsir sürat a1 cA1aq. " MF 16:251-476. "Al-Amr bi-l-ma'rüf wa al-nahy an al-munkar. " 178. Also in Isligäma 2: 198-311. 28: 121IN1F

Ahü Dharr

Abic al-Fidä'


Akmaliyya A'lä cAlaq Amr


IVMF 10:91-137. ET Abu "Amräd al-qulüb wa shifä'uhä. " Rumaysah. The Diseases of the 1-/earls and their Cures. Birmingham, UK: Al-Hidaayah, 1998. "Al-Furgän bayn awliyä' al-Rahm5n wa awliyi-i' al-Shad tan. " MF 11: 156-310. ET The Criterion between the Allies of'the Merciful and the Allies of the Devil. Birmitwh: un. UK: kiara Ihya-us-Sunnah, 1993. Kitäb bughyat al-murtad Ji al-rcukl 'ulcc a! -cnuiafiu1si/ir ii-11a! Also called rl! -Sabalinivu. Ed. wa al-bdtiniyya. garämita Cairo: Malbacat alFaraj Alläh Zak! al-Kurdi al-Azhari. kurdistän a1 cilmiyya, 1329/1911. 'Ti darajät al-yaqin. " MF 10:645-652 and MRK 2: 157-164.






Dar' ta'ärud al-'aql wa al-nagl. Ed. Muhammad Rashid Salim. 11 vols. n. pl.: n. p., n. d. Dar' 1:3-4: 295 corresponds to hatän li-sa :i: muwafaqat carih al-ma'gicl al-mangrcl previously Dar' 1:2-3: 57 corresponds published on the margin of itlinhdjß. li-sarih to Muwafaqat Ed. cahhh al-mangicl ccl-n:a'gicl. Muhammad Muhyi al-Din CAbd al-Hamid and N-luhammad Hamid al-Figqi. Cairo: Matbacat al-sunny al-mul an1l11; ya, 1(Il\ 1370/1951. Information concerning this latter edition is based on Sälim's notes in the introduction to Dar', 1:66-70, since it was not available to me directly.


"Ammä hadith f-atihat al-kitäb... " MF 14:4-36. MF 14:5-36 is also in Kitäb al-Tcnvhid. Ed. Muhammad al-Savvid al-Julavnid, 37-68. Cairo: Dar al-fikr al-hadith 1973. "Al-Radd al-agwam calä mä fi Fusiy al-hikum. " M(F ?: 62-451. 'Ti wujüb ikhtisä 1:37-63. al-khäliq bi-1lib<<da wa al-t: ºýý: ýkkul." MF

Fi Fusüs F7 wujitb


"Risäla fi kaläm la1ä al-fitra. " MRK Gobillot. "L'Epitre du discours stir de Tag-1-1-Din Abmad 'alä-l-fitra) 728/1328). " Annales Islamologiques.

2: 333-349. FT Genrvi& la. itra (Riscilu /r-l-kaläns Ibn Taymiya (661/1262120 (1984): 29-53.


"Risälat al-furqan bayn al-hagq wa al-b, <til." MMF13:6-229 and MRK 1: 1-179.


"Al cAgidah al-hamawiyya al-kubr: " i. 1:414-469.

NIF 5:5-120 and MRK


"Al-Hasana wa al-sayyi'a. " MF 14:229-425. Also, a! -Haswu: wa al-sayyi'a. Beirut: Dar al-kutub al lilmiyya. n.d. Also in a! Tafsir al-Kabir. Ed. 'Abd al-Rahm-in 'Amira. Beirut: Dir alkutub al cilmiyya, 1408/1988.3: 257-456. Also, a! -Hasaiw wit al-sayyi'a. Ed. Muhammad Jamil Gh5zº. Cairo: Malba<at almadani, n.d. on MCD. Also, a! -Hasana ira a! -san'i'u. Ed. and introduction Muhammad Jamil Ahmad Gh<izi. Beirut: 1);ir al-jil, 1410/1990. An unnamed fatwa in i\IF 8: 204-234 abridges Hasana MF 14:294-361. "Ibtäl walldat al-wujüd. " MF 2: 286-361 and ß"1R\1 1.61-120.




"Risäla fi al-ihtij ij bi-l-qadar. " MF 8: 303-370 and MRK 2: 97155. Tafsir surat al-Ikhläs. MF 17:214-503. Also, Ta/sir surat ulIkhläs. Bombay: Där al-salafiyya, 1408/1987. "Fast fi a1-sifät al-ikhtiyäriyya. " MF 6: 217-267. "Risälat al-iklil fi al-mutashäbih wa al-ta'wi1. " MF 13:270-313 and MRK 2: 3-36. Al-Iman. MF 7: 4-460. Also, AI-InOn. Cairo: Dir 15lim almacrifa, 1413/1993. ET Ibn Taymiyyah. Kitah .41-lman: Book Faith. Trans. Salman Hassan Al-Ani and Shadia Allnlad Tel. of Bloomington, IN: Iman Publishing House, 1999. "Kitäb al-iman al-awsat. " MF 7:461-640. "Shark hadith cImrän b. Husayn. " MF 18:210-243 and i%MMRM 5: 172-195. Igtidä' al-sirät al-mustaqim mukhalafat as : r7h al jal: inr. Ed. Ahmad Hamdi Imäm. Jedda: Dar al-Madani, 1406/1986. ET Muhammad Umar Memon. Ibn Taimi}'a 's Struggle against Popular Religion. The Hague: Mouton, 1976. Also E1' Ae Right Way: A Summarized Translation. Riyadh: Darussalam, 1417/1996. "Aqwam ma qua fi al-gadä' wa al-qadar wa al-I ikma wa al" tal1i1. MF 8: 81-158 and MRM 5: 113-170. Same as "AI-Ir<<da wa al-amr" in MRK 1:318-386. Sharh al-"agida al-Isfahäniyya. Ed. Ilasanayn M'luh, uiimad Makhlü£ Cairo: Dar al-kutub al-ishimiyya, n.d. AI-Istigäma. Ed. Muhammad Rashýtd Salim. 2 parts. Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 1420/2000. "Qad takallama al-näs min ash,; ibina . va ghayClhllll f'1istlfalat atcabd... " MF 8:371-6. "Hagiqat madhhab al-ittihädiyyin 2: 134-285 and MRM 4: 1-101. wa wahdat al-wwjºid. " `-1F


Ikhtiyjriyya Ikill

Iman I

Iman II clmrän

Igti J'







"Su'ila Shaykh al-Islam... fa-qila: yid ayyuh: i al-habr alladhi " ... or "Su'ila can abyät fi al-jabr. " MF 8:448-51 5.



"Jahd al-gariha fi tajrid al-nasil a." Jal-51 al-Din al-Suyü41's of Ibn Taymiyya's iIlantigiy}'in. i\'IF 9: 82-254. ET abridgement Wael B. Hallaq. Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993. Al-Jawäb al-sahib li-man baddala din al-Alasih. lid. CAli h. Hasan b. Näsir, -CAbd -ýAziz b. Ibrähim al 'Astrar, and l lamd5n al b. Muhammad al-Hamdän. 7 vols. Second printing. RiyacL:D5 r al anima li-l-nashr wa al-tawz c, 1419/1999. Partial Ei"T'homas F. Michel. A Muslim Theologian's Response to C'hristianitV. Delmar, NY: Caravan, 1984. "Ma qawl ahl al-kaläm... fa-hagiqat kasb al cabd, m:ahiya? " \1F 8: 386-405.




"Al-Kayläniyya. " MF 12:323-501.
"Su'i1a hal yajüz al-khawd fCmä takallarna al-ii.-is filli min usül al-din... " MF 3: 293-326 (missing response to last masä'il Ibn Taymiyya copied the füll question in opening inquiry). text into Dar' 1:25-78. original Kitdb ma'ärij al-wusül ila malrifcit anna usicl al-ctn uu /iu ciýcrlrtc MF 19: 155-202. bayyanaha al-rasiii. Also, rd. qad Muhammad Badr al-Din AbO Farris al-Nass: ini al-l. lalahi. Cairo: Al-Matbala al lämira al-sharatiyya. 1323/1905-6. Q'ida ft al-mahabba. Ed. Muhammad Rashid Salim. Maktabat al-turäth al-islami, n.d. "Fi risälatihi ilä Nasr al-Manbiji. " 1.161-182. Cairo:




MF 2: 452-479 and \MRM


Naqd al-Mantiq. MF 4: 1-190 and continued in \IF t): 5-$ I. This is equivalent to pp. 1-155 and 155-210, respectively, in NOijil ulmantiq. Ed. Muhammad b. CAbd al-Razz iq l.lamza, et al. Cairo: Maktabat al-sunna al-muhammadiyya, n.d. Kitdb al-radd'ala al-mantigiyyin. Ed. cAbd al-Samad Sharat alDin al-Kutubi. Bombay: Al-Matbaca al-clayyima, 1368/1041). "Marätib al-iräda. " MF 8: 181-196. There is a longer version in MRK 2: 69-85.





Minhäj al-sunna al-nabmviyya jii nagd kaldin al-,S'hica a! Qadariyya. Ed. Muhammad Rashid S51im. 9 vols. Riyadh: Jämicat al-Imäm Muhammad b. Sulüd al-Isl<<mivva, 1406/1986. Citations in this study are given first to this edition and secondly to the equivalent pages in Minhdjß. Minhäj al-sunna al-nabawiyya ji naqd kah7m a1-S'hica a! Qadariyya. Ed. Muhammad Rashäd Salim. 2 vols. Cairo: Matbffat al-madani, 1962. This two volume critical edition of Salim only reaches Vol. 1, p. 264 of 111inhcij13 and was never completed. These two volumes were revised when published later as Minhäj. Minhäj al-sunna al-nabawiyya fi naq(I ku/uni ul-,tihica wu a! Qadariyya. Beirut: Dar al-kutub al cilmiyyya. n.d. 4 vols. Reprint of 1321/1903-4 Cairo (BRl5q) edition. See llinhcij and , MinhäjA for critical editions of this work. Secstlinhcij tier note , on citation. "Munäzara fi a1 lagida al-Waasiliyya. " NIF 3. Sherman Jackson. "Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus." Journal of Semitic Studies. 39 (Spring 1994): 41-55. Kitäb al-nubuwwdt. Beirut: Dar al-galam, n. d.




Nubuwwät Mir

"Tafsir sürat al-Nür. " MF 15:280-359.


"Fl al-gadä' wa al-qadar. MF 8:262-271. Also in \IRK 97-95 " with slight differences.
"Qad dhakartu fi ghayr mawdil anna al-cjadariyya thal:ºthat asnäf." MF 8: 256-261. "CAn qawl cAli radiya Alläh rabbahu... " MF 8: 161-180. canhu: Lei yarjüna ahoi ill<<


Qawl cAli


"Risäla fi macnä al-giyäs. " MF 20: 504-583 and MRK 2: 235291. FT in Henri Laoust, Contribution ci une cetuclech" / methodologie canonique d'Ibn Tuv,nirvu, 11.1-216. Cairo: Institut francais d'archeologie orientale. 1939. "Fi qudrat al-Rabb cazzawa jalla. " NMll- 7-57. 8: "GAmma dhakara al-ustadh al-Qushayri Ili '1351)al-ritti' Shaykh Abü Sulayman... " MF 10:6713-720 lall ul-

Qudra Ridd


Sa'äda Safadiyya

"cAn gawm qad khussiübi-l-sa'üda... " MF 5: 272-302. Kitäb al-safadiyya. 2 parts. Ed. Muliammad Rashid Siºlim. Mansura, Egypt: Dar al-hudä al-nabawiyya, 1421/2000. "Tafsir sürat al-Shams. " MF 16:226-250. "hlam, rahimaka Alläh, anna shirk bi-AU. ih a< am dhanh... " MF 1:88-96. "Qäla Allah tacälä: ihdinä al-sirät... " MF 1:64-77. "Risäla fi al-süfiyya wa al-fugarz'. " NIF 11:5-24. Ei Th. E. Homerin. "Ibn Taimiya's AI-SufIy a wu-al-Jiigarä'. " :I ruhica 32 (1985): 219-244.

Shams Shirk

Sirät $ufiyya

Tadmuriyya Tahsin al-cagl TC'1yya

"CAnalcabd: hal yaqdir an yafzal al-t5wa... MF 8:437-447. "
"Al cAgida al-Tadmuriyya. " MF 3: 1-128. "Ammä mas'alat tahsin a1 cagl wa tagbTliihi... " \lF 8:42 -4 6. "Al-Ta'iyya. " MF 8:245-255. Ar. and English summary in Serajul Haque. "A Poem of Irn5m Ibn Thvmiyva on Predestination. " Journal of the Asiatic Sockivv (Pakistan) I (1956): 1-17. Bayän talbis al-jahmiyya fr ta'sis bicladihim al-kahitn iia. or Nagd ta'sis al-jahmiyya. 2 vols. Ed. Muhammad h. Abd alRahmän b. Qäsim. Mu'assasat qurluba. n.d. "Su'ila can qawlihi mä taraddadtu can shay'... " \IF 18: 129- 15. "CAn mä gälahu Abü Hamid al-Ghazz; ili tawakkul... " MF 8: 524-539. li kitäbihi... ti al-


Taraddud Tawakkul

Tawassul Tawba

"AI-Qa'ida fi al-tawassul wa al-wasila. " ß-1FI : 142-368. 'Ti anna al-tawba wa al-istightar yakün min tark al-w ýjih:ýt wa fill al-muharramät. " MF 11:670-695. "Qäcida fi tawbid al-ilähiyya. " MF 1:20-36. Also in Ki1,ib iiiTawhid. Ed. Muhammad al-Sayyid al-Julaynid, 19-6. Cairo: Där al-fikr al-badith 1i-l-tibaca wa al-nashr, 1973.




"Jawäb ahl al film wa al-imän anna `qul huwa Alldh tacdilu thulth al-Qur'än. " MF 17:5-205.


Tuhfa 'Ubisdiyya

"Al-tubfa al cirägiyya fi a1-acma1 al-galbiyya. " MF 10:5-90. "Risälat a1 cubüdiyya. " MF 10: 149-236. ET in "The Concept of 'Ubüdiyyah in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyyah: the Relationship between Faith, Love and Actions in the Perfection of \W'orship." James Pavlin, 185-365. Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1998. ET Abu Safwan Farid Ibn Abdulwahid Ibn I laibatan. Ihn Birmingham, UK: AlTaymiyya's Essay on Servitude. Hidaayah, 1420/1999. "Al-Wasita bayn al-khalq wa al-liagq. " MF 1: 121-138. Also, Ed. Muhammad Darwish Mustafa al-Miny. 7iwi. Cairo: Maktabat n.d. FT Yahya J. klichot. "Ibn wa matbacat al-ittihäd al-akhawi, Taymiyya: Les intermediaires entre Dieu et I'homme (Ris: lat albayna 1-khalq wa 1-hagq)." Le j1hisuInuin (Paris) Special wäsita Issue (1996). "Al'Agida al-wäsitiyya. " MF 3: 129-159 and KIRK 1:387-406. Also, Ar. and FT Henri Laoust. La profi ssion ele/oi (ihn Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Taymiyya: La Wäsitiyya. Geuthner, 1986. ET Merlin Swartz. "A seventh-century (A. 11.) Sunni creed: The cAgida Wäsitiya of Ibn Taymiya. " lhuntanioru Islamica. 1 (1973): 91-13 1. German trans. Clemens Wein. Die Islamische Glaubenslehre rAgicla) ties Ihn 7aimira. Bonn: n.p., 1973. "Al-wasiyya al-kubrä. " MF 3: 363-430 and MRK 1:262-317.



Wasiyya kubrä

Wariyya sughrä "Al-Wasiyya al-sughrä. " MF 10:653-665. ET Farhat <Ahbaats Usama Hasan. The Concise Legacy. Ipswich. UK: Jam'iat and Iyhaa' Minhaaj al-Sunnah, 1415/1994.


Other works by Ibn Taymiyya

Kitdb al-Tawhid. Ed. Muhammad al-Sayyid al-Julaynid. Cairo: L) r aI-tikr albadith 1i-l-tibäla wa al-nashr, 1973. Consists of Tenvlid and Fatilw. "Munäzarat Ibn Taymiyya li-dajäjilat a1-batä'ihiyya. " MF 11:445-475 and MRM1 1: 121-146.


"Al-Risäla al-qubrusiyya: Ilä malik Qubrus al-Nasränl. " In MF 28: 601-630. FFl' Jean R. Michot. Ibn Taymiyya: Lettre a tin rot croisc (A1-Riscilat a! Qubrusiyya). Louvain-la-Neuve, Bruylant-Academia, 1995. Ei' in Ihn Taymeeyah's Letters from Prison, ed. Muhammad al-Abdah and trans. Abu Ammar, 37-55. Middlesex, UK: Message of Islam, 1419/1998. Al-Scrim al-maslttl calä shätim al-rasitl. Ed. Khilid 'Abd al-Latif al-Sah, alCAlami. Beirut: Där al-kitäb al carabi, 1416/1996. Al-Siyäsa al-shar--iyya fi isläh al-rra' i wa al-ra'iyya. Beirut: Dir al-jil, 1313/1993. Also in MF 28: 244-397. ET Omar A. Farrukh. Ibn Taimitya on Public and Private Law in Islam. Beirut: Khayat, 1966. FT Henri Laoust. Le traits de droit public d'Ibn Taymiyya. Damascus: Institut francais dc Damas. 1948.


Works of others found in Ibn Taymiyya's

collected works

"Hikäyat al-Shaykh cA1am al-Din li-l-munäzara fi al-Wisitiyya. " Account by Syrian historian Warn al-Din al-Birzäli. MF 3: 194-201. Also in MIRK 1:407-413. "Kataba cAbd Allah b. Taymiyya li-akhihi Zayn al-Din can l il al-mun<«ari U almajlis al-thäni. " Letter of Ibn Taymiyya's brother, Shand' al-Din c.\hd Allah. MF 3: 202-210.

Other Arabic and Western Language Sources A few items have been given short titles, which are enclosed in brackets following the respective entries. Note that the abbreviation ACD refers to the CD ROM Maktabat al-'agä'id wa al-milal, version 1.5 (Amman: Markaz al-turith li-ahh ith al-basib al-ä1l, 1420/1999). cAbd al-Rahman, cA'ishah ("Bint al-Shäti'). "Abü 'l 'lAI P al-Nlacarri. " In The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: 'Abbasicl Belles-Leitres, cd. Julia Ashtiany, T. M. Johnstone, J. D. Latham, R. B. Sergeant, and G. Rex Smith, 328-338 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1990). Abrahamov, Binyamin. "Al-Ghazäli's (1988): 75-98. Theory of Causality. " Snitha Islamicu 67 .

Abrahamov, Binyamin. "Ibn Taymiyya on the Agreement of Reason with Tradition. " The Muslim World 82: 3-4 (July-Oct. 1992): 256-273.


Islamic Theology: Traditionalism Abrahamov, Binyamin. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1998. Abrahamov,


"A re-examination of al-Ashcan's theory of kash Binyamin. according to Kitäb al-luma'. " Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1989 ii: 210-221.

Abü al-Barakät, Hibat Allah b. cAli b. Malkä al-Baghdtidi. Kitc7h al-mrftabar r 3 vols. Hyderabad: Jamciyyat dä'irat al-macirif al cuthm: Iniyyyya, al-hikma. 1357-8/1938-9. Adams, Marilyn McCord. Horrendous Evils and the Goothwss (f'God. NY: Cornell University, 1999. Ithaca,

Ahmed, Shahab. "Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic verses." Slrulia Lslamica 87 (1998): 67-124. Alousi (al-), Husäm Muhi Eldin. The Problem of Creation in Islamic Thought: Baghdad: The National Qur'an, Hadith, Commentaries, and Kalam. Printing and Publishing Co., 1965. Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. Sufism and Shari'ah: A Study of ShurA-h: lhnuId Sirhindi's Effort to Reform Sufism. Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation. 1406/1986. Antes, Peter. "The First Ag'arites' Conception of Evil and the Devil. " In Melanges offerts ä Henry Corbin. Ed. Seyyed I-Iossein Nasr. 177-189. Tehran: McGill University, Montreal Canada, Institute of Islamic Studies, Tehran Branch, 1977. Arberry, Arthur J. The Koran Interpreted. London: Oxford University. 1064. Aristotle. Aristotle's Metaphysics. Ed. and ET John Warrington. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1956. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. University, 2000. Arnaldez, Roger. ET Roger Crisp. London: J. M.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge

"Apories sur la predestination et le libre arbitre daps le de Razi. " Melanges de I 'institut clominicuin cl 'Jttules commentaire orientales 6 (1959-1961): 123-136.

Ashcan (al-), Abü al-Hasan 'Ali b. Ismd(Il. Kitdb al-lu, na'. In Richard J. McCarthy, The Theology of al-Ash'ari, 5-83 (Ar. ) and 5-116 (EI'). Reirttt: Imprimerie Catholique, 1953.


AshWari(al-), Abü al-Hasan Ali b. Ismä(il. Risäla fi istihsün al-khawcl fi 'ilm alkaläm. In Richard J. McCarthy, The Theology of al-AshWar"F, 85-97 (Ar. ) and 117-134 (ET). Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1953. Ashqar (al-), cUmar Sulaymän. 'Alam al jinn IIikma, 1413/1992. tiva al-shayyätin. Cairo: Bayt al-

Ashqar (al-), Umar Sulaiman. The World of the Jinn and Devils. Din M. Zarabozo. Boulder, CO: Al-Basheer, 1998.

ET Jamaal al-

Austin, `Umar. "Suffering in Muslim Religious Thought. " The Islamic Quarterly 26.1 (1982): 27-39. Awn, Peter J. Satan's Tragedy and Redemption: Ibis Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1983. in Srtfi Psvchology.

Azmeh (Al-), Aziz. "Orthodoxy and Hanbalite Fideism." 'lrabica 35 (1988): 253-266.
Bell, Joseph Normant. Love Theory in Later Ilanbalite Islam. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1979. Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Bin Ramli, Rushdi. "The Qur'änic Method of Man's Relationship with God with Special Reference to the Thought of Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328 C. E. )" Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham, UK, 1999. Bowker, John. Problems of Suffering in Religions of the 11, orld. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1970. Brockelmann, Carl. Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur. Revised cd. 2 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill 1943-9. Supplement. 3 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 19371942. Brockelmann, Carl. Tärikh al-adab al-carabi. Trans. Mahmüd Fahml l;lijizi. Cairo: Al-Hay's al-misriyya al cämma li-l-kitäb, 1995. Arabic translation of Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, revised ed., and supplement combined. Brunschvig, "Devoir et pouvoir: Histoire d'un problcme dc theologie musulmane. " Studia Islamica 20 (1964): 5-46. R.

Brunschvig, Robert. "Muctazilisme et Optimum (al-aslah). " Sizuliu Island ca 39 (1974): 5-23.


Bürgel, J. Christoph. "Zoroastrianism as Viewed in Medieval Islamic Sources." In Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. Ed. Jacques Waardenburg, 202-212. Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 1999. Burrell, David B. Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions. University of Notre Dame, 1993. Notre Dame, IN:

Burrell, David B. Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maiinonides, Aquinas. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1986. Calder, Norman. Review of Theodicy in Islamic Thought: The Dispute over alGhazali's "Best of all Possible Worlds ", by Eric L. Orsrby. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 49 (1986): 211-2. Carter, M. G. "Language Control as People Control in Medieval Islam: The Aims of the Grammarians in their Cultural Context. " A1-Abhath 31 (1983): 6584. Ceri6, Mustafa. Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam: A Study cif the Theology of Kuala Lumpur: International Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333/944). Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1995. Ceylan, Yasin. Theology and Tafsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Räzi. Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1996. Chittick, William C. Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-'Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1994. Chittick, William C. The Self-Disclosure of God. Principles of Ihn al-CAIahi's Cosmology. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1998. Chittick, William C. The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al- `Arabi 's Metaphysics of Imagination. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989. Cook, Michael. Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 2000. Cooke, Francis T. "Ibn al-Qaiyim's (1935): 129-144. Kitäb a1-Rü ." The Moslem World 25

Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy. Vol. 2. Medieval Philosophy: From Augustine to Duns Scotus. 1950. Reprint, New York, NY: Doubleday, 1962.


Davidson, Herbert A. Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 1987. De Vlieger, A. Kitäb al qadr: Materiaux pour servir a1 'etude de la doctrine dc la predestination dans la theologie musulmane. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1903. Duff, R. A. "Penal Communications: Recent Work in the Philosophy of Punishment. " Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 20 (1996): 1-97.

Fakhry, Majid. Ethical Theoriesin Islam. 2d ed. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994.
Fakhry, Majid. A History of Islamic Philosophy. Columbia University Press, 1983. 2d ed. New York, NY:

In A Companion to Flint, Thomas P. "Providence and predestination. " Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro, 569-576. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1997. Frank, Richard M. "The Autonomy of the Human Agent in the Teaching of cAbd al-Gabbar. " Le Museon 95 (1982): 323-355. Frank, Richard M. Creation and the Cosmic System: AI-Ghat "li and Avicenna. Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1992. Frank, Richard M. Al-Ghazdli and the Ashcarite School. University, 1994. Durham, NC: Duke

Frank, Richard M. "Moral Obligation in Classical Muslim Theology. " Journal of Religious Ethics 11.2 (1983): 204-223.


Frank, Richard M. "The structure of created causality according to al-Aslari. An analysis of the Kitäb al-Luma', pars. 82-164. " Stuclia Islanzica 25 (1966): 13-75. Gardet, Louis. Dieu et la destinee de 1'homme. Paris: J. Vrin, 1967. Ghazäli (al-). The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Ar. ed. of Tali fist al-falüsifa and ET Michael E. Marmura. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1997. Ghazäli (al-). Al-Magsad al-asna ft shark ma'üni asmü' Allah al-Ims, ra. Fadlou A. Shehadi. Beirut: Dar el-Machreq, 1982. Ed.

Ghazal! (al-), Abü Hämid. Ihyä' culiim al-din. 5 vols. Beirut: Dir a1-malrifa,n.d.
Ghazal! (al-), Abü Hämid. Kitäb al-imlä' fi ishkülüt al-iiryü'. In Alu1 iaq al-16yä' of Ihyä' culilm al-din, 5: 13-41. Beirut: Dar al-malrifa, n.d.


Gimaret, D.

"Un probleme de theologie musulmane: Dieu vcut-il les actes mauvais? Theses et arguments." Studia I.slamica 40 (1974): 5-73 and 41(1975): 63-92.

Gimaret, Daniel. La doctrine dal-AshWari. Paris: Cerf, 1990. Gimaret, Daniel. "Theories de l'acte humain dans l'ecole Ilanbalite. " d'etudes orientales 29 (1977): 156-178. Bulletin

Gimaret, Daniel. Theories de 1'acte humain en theologie musulmane. Paris: J. Vrin, 1980. Gobillot, Genevieve. "L'Epitre du discours sur la fitra (Risüla ji-l-kalýam 'ala-1fitra) de Taqi-l-Din Alimad Ibn Taymiya (661/1262-728/1328). " Annales Islamologiques 20 (1984): 29-53. Gobillot, Genevieve. La fitra: la conception originelle: ses interpretations et Cairo: Institut francais fonctions chez les penseurs musulmans. d'archeologie orientale, 2000. Goodman, Lenn E. Avicenna. London: Routledge, 1992. Graham, William A. Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam. Hague: Mouton, 1977. The

Gwynne, Rosalind W. "Al-Jubbä'i, al-Ashcari and the Three Brothers: The Uses of Fiction. " The Muslim World 75 (July-Oct. 1985): 132-161. Hallaq, Wael B. A History of Islamic Legal Theories: An introduction to Sunni usül al-frgh. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1997. Hallaq, Wael B. Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians. Clarendon, 1993. Oxford, UK:

Hallaq, Wael B. "Ibn Taymiyya on the Existence of God. " i1cla Orientalia 52 (1991): 49-69. Haque, Serajul. "Ibn Taymiyyah: A Life and Works. " In A History of Muslim Philosophy. Ed. M. M. Sharif, 2: 796-819. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrossowitz, 1966. Haque, Serajul. Imam Ibn Taimiya and his projects of reform. Foundation, 1982. Dhaka: Islamic

Haque, Serajul. "A Poem of Imäm Ibn Taymiyya on Predestination. " Journal of the Asiatic Society (Pakistan) 1 (1956): 1-17.


Haque, Serajul. "Su'al li Ibn Taymiyya. " (Pakistan) 2(1957): 154-173.

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