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Ibn Taimiyyah

The Life, Struggles, Works and Impact of Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah


• The state of the Muslim world at Shaikh ul-Islam's time

• Family and Early Life, Teachers and Students
• His Popularity
• False Allegations, Trials and Imprisonment
• Ibn Taymiyyah remained high-spirited and focused even in times of
• Encounter with the Tartars
• Victory Lies in Tawheed
• Ibn Taymiyyah's Battle against Innovators and Deviant Sects
• Ibn Taymiyyah, the Mujtahid
• Ibn Taymiyyah’s Writings
• His Legacy Lives on: Impacts of Ibn Taymiyyah's Dawah on reformation in
Arabia and India
• A Word of Caution

References: 'Dawah Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-

Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad, Notes by Dr. Abdullah
al-Farsi (hafidhahullah) and Articles on the biography of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn
Taymiyyah by Abu Sufyan Farid Ibn Abdulwahid Ibn Haibatan, Aisha bint
Muhammad and Abu Rumaysah (May Allah reward them all)

‘This Ilm (Deen) will be carried by the trustworthy ones of each generation.
Negating from it the tahreef (alterations) of the ones going beyond bounds,
the false assumptions of the liars, and the ta'weel (false interpretations) of the
[Reported by al-Bayhaqee and authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Mishkat (no.

'Allah will raise for this community at the end of every hundred years
one who will revive His religion.'[Abu Dawood (3/4278), al-Hakim, at-
Tabaranee in al-Ausat. Authenticated by al-Albanee in as-Saheehah (2/150)]

Islamic history stands witness to a great number of scholars, reformers and callers
to the path of Allah; those who followed in the footsteps of the Salafus-Salih (the
pious-predecessors) in belief and action, in calling to Allah and in assigning
priorities of life; in valor and bravery, in perils and struggle and in devoting their
lives wholeheartedly towards the affairs that benefit in the Hereafter. Amongst
these outstanding and remarkable personalities is al-Allamah, al-Imam, Shaikhul-
Islam Taqi ud-Deen Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah . - whose memoirs adorn the pages of
Islamic history with their perpetual achievements and exceptional influences.

Ibn Taymiyyah was an outstanding scholar who mastered many fields of Islamic
learning and lived in an era of much political, social and religious upheaval. At his
time, the Muslim nation faced many threats; both from within and beyond - the
most crucial of which were:

1. The invasions of the crusaders from the west.

2. The treachery of the Fatimites in their alliance with the crusaders against the
Islamic state.

3. The Tartar oppression from the east, and their senseless massacres and

4. Corruption of kings and rulers, and their distance from Islam.

5. The spread of rigid blind-following of Madhhabs causing deep sectarian

6. Spread of heretical beliefs and sorcery amongst the Muslims due to the efforts
of the people of innovation and desires from amongst the Shiites, the Rafidah, the
Sufis and the Baatinis.

It was in this time of tribulations that Allah ordained for Ibn Taymiyyah to
confront these challenges and to defend the pure Deen against the tidal wave of
misconceptions, deviations, innovations and heresies.

Family and Early Life, Teachers and Students196

Ibn Taymiyyah was born in Harran (an old city between Sham and Iraq) on the
10th of Rabi al-Awwal 661H. His family was renowned for their knowledge and
excellence. When he was six years old, his family fled to Damascus under the
threat of an imminent Mongol attack on their hometown. In Damascus, his father
Shahabud-Din Abu al-Mahasin Abd al-Halim established himself as a respectable
scholar and later became the professor of Hadeeth and the khateeb of the great
Ummayyad mosque.

Education and Teachers

From an early age, Ibn Taymiyyah was noted for his memory, comprehension and
strict observance of time - qualities that would later cause the rest of his life to be
filled with actions such as teaching, commanding the good, forbidding the evil,
authoring books and refuting innovators. He memorized the Qur'aan and studied
Hadeeth with his father, who was a specialist in this field.

He learned the laws of Sharee'ah, Jurisprudence and studied the Hanbali system of
law under his own father. He had a particular liking for the Tafseer (explanation)
of the Qur'aan as Ibn Taymiyyah, himself mentions, 'Sometimes, I have gone
through as many as hundred commentaries of a single verse of the Qur'aan. After I
have dipped into these pages, I have supplicated to Allah to enlighten me about the
true content and significance of the verse. I pray to Allah thus on these occasions,
'You are the Exalted Teacher of Adam and Ibraheem. Favor me with the essence
of this verse.' [al-Uqood ad-Durriyah (p. 24)]

In addition, Ibn Taymiyyah also studied secular sciences of his time like history,
calligraphy, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, dialect, logic, philosophy and
different Islamic sects. These early intellectual pursuits contributed a great deal to
his future lectures and writings. Any subject, Ibn Taymiyyah tackled and wrote
about, left the reader under the impression that this was his specific field of
expertise. The total number of scholars from whom he took knowledge exceeds
two hundred including four female teachers.
Ibn Taymiyyah started issuing legal verdicts at the age of nineteen and after his
father's death assumed the respected teaching position formerly held by his father
in Dar al Hadeeth as-Sukriyyah at the age of 22.

Kamalud-Din al-Zamalkaani (d.727), whom Shaikhul-Islam debated a number of

times says accepting his merits, 'Whenever Shaikhul-Islam was asked any question
concerning any field of knowledge, he replied in a way which caused the audience
to conclude that he had no knowledge of any other field (i.e., he had spent his
whole life in learning that particular branch of knowledge) and acknowledged him
as the greatest authority on the subject. Scholars subscribing to different groups
attended his discourses and each one of them learnt something that he had not
known earlier. It never happened that he debated any point whereby the discussion
came to a standstill. Whatever be the subject he spoke about, whether religious or
discursive, he excelled all the authorities of that subject….' [Quoted from the
book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-
Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad]


Shaikhul-Islam had many direct students and multitudes were influenced by his
teachings. He nurtured a strong and educated generation that escorted him in good
times and in ordeals, whether it was in fighting the Tartars, or actions that
forwarded the correct teachings of the religion like, the authoring of beneficial
books, giving legal ruling and in commanding the good and forbidding evil. From
the most prominent of his students were; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah,
Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr (d. 751H), a close student of Shaikhul-Islam, who
authored monumental books like Madarij as-Salikeen, Zaad al-M'aad, A'laam al-
Mu'aqqieen, and others. Hafidh Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (d.852) the author of Fath al-
Baree says, 'If there was no other virtue of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah other
than his famous student Shaikh Shams ad-Deen Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah author
of beneficial books, from which have benefited friends and opponents - then it
would have been enough to establish his noble status…' [Ar-Radd al-Waafir (pg.

Ibn Katheer, Imad al-Din Ismaa'eel (d. 774), who is considered one of the
greatest historians and is the author of the renowned book, al-Bidayah wan-
Nihayah, and the famous most-authentic Tafseer of the Qur'aan; Tafseer Ibn

Adh-Dhahabee, Muhammad Ibn Ahmad, (d.748H) he was a master in the

science of Hadeeth and a great historian. He authored nearly a hundred works,
some of them of considerable size, like his twenty-three volume Siyar a`lam an-
nubula (The Lives of Noble Figures), his thirty-six volume Tareekh al-Islam al-
kabir (Major History of Islam).

Intelligence, Vastness and Commitment to Knowledge

Al-Hafidh Ibn Katheer says about Ibn Taymiyyah, 'It was rare for him to hear
something and not memorize it and he occupied himself with the sciences. He was
intelligent, had committed much to memory, and thus, became an Imam in Tafseer
and what pertained to it. He had (comprehensive) knowledge of Fiqh, it was said
that he had more knowledge of Fiqh of the madhhabs than the followers of those
very same madhhabs in his time and other times. He was fully aware of the
different opinions of scholars. He was a scholar in Usool, the branches of the
religion, grammar and language and other textual and intellectual sciences. He was
never overcome in a sitting and no noble (scholar) would speak to him on a
particular science except that he thought that this science was the specialty of Ibn
Taymiyyah and he would see him as being well versed in it and having perfected
it… As for hadeeth, then he was the carrier of its flag, a Hafidh in hadeeth and
able to distinguish the weak from the strong, fully acquainted with the narrators
and being proficient in this…' [See, Bidayah wan-Nihayah (14/157)]
Al-Hafidh Badr ad-Deen al-Aynee al-Hanafee said, 'He is the Imam, the noble, the
masterful, the pious, the pure, the devout, the proficient in the two sciences of
Hadeeth and Tafseer, Fiqh and the two fundamentals (i.e., the Book and the
Sunnah) with determination and precision. He is the sharp sword against the
innovators, the authority, who established the matters of the religion and the great
commander of the good and forbidder of evil. He possessed (noble) concern,
bravery and embarked upon that which frightened and deterred. He was of much
remembrance, fasting, prayer and worship.' [Ar-Radd al-Waafir, (pg. 159)]
Al-Hafidh al-Bazzaar said, ‘I have not seen him mention any of the pleasures and
attractions of this world, he did not delve into worldly conversations and he never
asked for any of its livelihood. Instead, he directed his attentions and
conversations to seeking the Hereafter and what could get him closer to Allah.’
[Al-A'laam al-Uliyyah (pg.52) of al-Bazzaar]


Ibn Taymiyyah's comprehensive knowledge and the strength of his argument, won
him the respect of the scholars and the common folk alike. Whenever he gave a
lecture, delivered a sermon, gave a legal ruling, wrote a letter or authored a book
in any field, he would produce a level of knowledge that far excelled the other
scholars of his time. This is why Ibn Taymiyyah became a reference point among
the people, and many of his writings are in fact, responses to people's questions
from far and near.Al-Aqeedah al-Wasitiyyah was a response to Qadi Radiuddin al-
Wasiti ash-Shafiee, who asked the Shaikh to write down the Aqeedah that would
be best for him and his family. [Majmoo al-Fatawa Shaikhul-Islam (3/129)] Ar-
Risaalah al-Hamawiyyah was for the people of Hamat. [Majmoo al-Fatawa
Shaikhul-Islam (5/5)] As-Safdiyyah was a reply to a letter from the city of Safad
in PalestineAl-Marakishiyyah to the people of Morocco and Al-Balbakiyah to the
people of Balbak.The love and respect, which Shaikhul-Islam received from the
people was due to his efforts towards that which was advantageous for the people.
Ibn Rajab said, 'The scholars and righteous, soldiers and rulers, business men and
the common masses loved him because he exerted efforts night and day with his
tongue and actions for their benefit.' [Shadharat adh-Dhaha, (6/47)]

Amongst his notable accomplishments in this regard was his saving the people of
Damascus from the imminent attack of the Tatars, whose trait was to unleash a
reign of massacres and destruction on the city they captured, without any
constraint towards the killing of women, children or the elderly.
At times, Ibn Taymiyyah had good relations with the rulers and he exhorted them
towards establishing the good in the society and forbidding the evil. An example
of this is when bribery became widespread and an influencing factor in holding
offices and even in abolishing capital punishment in the year 712H. An official
decree was sent to Damascus, from the Sultan, citing that no one should be granted
a post through money or bribery and that the killer is to be punished by the law of
the Sharee'ah; this decree emanated through advice and consultation of Ibn
Taymiyyah. [See, al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (14/66)]

False Allegations, Trials and Imprisonment

Ibn Taymiyyah's popularity caused him to be a target of envy from various jurist
and scholars who could not reach his level in knowledge, nor could they equal the
love and respect that Ibn Taymiyyah enjoyed with the common masses. In
addition to this, his bold stances against various innovative and heretical practices
put him in direct conflict with many innovators, who repeatedly devised plots
against him. The enviers and deviants found common cause in spreading lies or
misinterpreting the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah.Ibn Katheer writes, 'A group of the
theologians was jealous of Shaikh Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah because of his
position in the court of the governor and also for his acting as a public censor who
had taken upon himself the responsibility of enforcing what was lawful and
preventing what was prohibited. They were envious of his growing popularity and
of the love and respect accorded to him as well as of his learning and zeal for
religion.' [Ibn Katheer, p. 37] Al-Hafidh al-Bazzaar said depicting the opponents
of Ibn Taymiyyah, 'You would not see a scholar opposing him (Ibn Taymiyyah),
dissuading from him, filled with hatred for him, except that he was the most
greedy of them in gathering the worldly goods, the most cunning of them in
acquiring them, the most ostentatious of them, the most desirous for
reputation…and the most prolific of them in having lies on his tongue.' [Al-
A`laam al-Uliyyah (pg. 82)]Some false beliefs that were attributed to Ibn
Taymiyyah were those that he, himself refuted in his books. His fatawa and
Ijtihads were misinterpreted and given conclusions that were far away from the
truth. Ibn Taymiyyah's enemies also succeeded occasionally in inciting the rulers
against him, leading to his imprisonment several times between 693H-728H and
he passed away while in prison in the year 728H.

Ibn Taymiyyah was first arrested after he took a stance against a Christian who
cursed the Prophet (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and violated his honor. Ibn
Taymiyyah's enemies accused him with disturbing the peace, and complained to
the sultan. This incident shows the extent of their aversion for Ibn Taymiyyah, that
they gave priority to harming him over defending the right and honor of Allah's
Messenger. It was in response to this incident that Ibn Taymiyyah wrote his book,
'Al-Saarim al-Maslool 'ala Shaatim al-Rasool' [see. Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah
14/335] Among the other charges fabricated or exaggerated against Ibn
Taymiyyah were the following;

Accusation 1: Tajseem/Tashbih: The allegation that Ibn Taymiyyah's writings

approved of Allah having a body with parts. In truth, Ibn Taymiyyah's writings
show the contrary, as he says, ‘Indeed the term al-Jism (body), al-Arad (organs),
al-Mutahayyiz (extent) are newly invented terminologies. We have mentioned
many a time before that the Salaf and the Imaams have not spoken about such
things - neither by way of negation, nor by way of affirmation. Rather they
declared those who spoke about such matter to be innovators, and went to great
lengths to censure them.’ [See, Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool (pg. 69-76), Majmoo al-
Fatawa Shaikhul-Islam (3/306-310, 13/304-305), Minhaj as-Sunnah an-
Nabawiyyah (2/134-135, 192, 198-200, 527)]In 'Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool',
Shaikhul-Islam said that ascribing Allah with the term jism (meaning body) is, ‘an
innovation in the Sharee'ah, a corruption of the language, and a contradiction to
the [sound] intellect. Rather, it is repudiated by the Sharee'ah, the language and the
[sound] intellect.’Shaikhul-Islam's belief concerning the Names and Attributes of
Allah is the same as that of the Salafus-Saleh as he writes in Al-Aqeedatil-
Waastiyyah, p. 3, 'From Eeman in Allah is Eeman in what He has described
Himself with and what His Messenger Muhammad (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam)
has described Him with without alteration/distortions (in words/meaning) and
denial, and without description and comparison…’

It is an obligation to believe in the Names and Attributes of Allah according to

their literal meaning and to affirm their reality for Allah in a manner that suits
Him, and that is for two reasons:(i) Changing its literal meaning would be in
contradiction to the way of the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam)
and his companions.(ii) Changing it to a figurative meaning would be speaking
about Allah without knowledge and that is prohibited. [Notes on Aqeedah al-
Wasitiyah by Allamah Ibn Uthaimeen (eng. trans. pg.63)]For example, Allah says
in the Qur'aan, '(Allah) said, 'O Iblees! What prevents you from prostrating
yourself to one whom I have created with both My Hands? Are you too proud (to
fall prostrate to Adam) or are you one of the highly exalted?' [Soorah Saad (38):
This verse mentions the 'Hands of Allah', so we must believe in and affirm 'Hands'
for Allah without describing them or comparing them with the Hands of the
creation or doing Taweel (i.e. giving them a meaning other than their apparent
meaning like saying that the 'Hands' mean 'Power'). Affirming Hands for Allah
does not amount to Tashbeeh (resembling Allah to His creation). Those who
levied the charge of anthropomorphism on Ibn Taymiyyah did so because they
found him opposed to their innovative way of Taweel in understanding the
Attributes of Allah. Whereas, the soundness of Ibn Taymiyyah's views and their
conformity with Ahlus-Sunnah were well established even during his life-time.
Ibn Katheer mentioned that when the scholars of his time gathered for a sitting
with Ibn Taymiyyah to discuss his work 'Aqeedah al-Hamawiyyah' (in 698H) that
his replies to their accusations could not be rebutted. [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah'
(14/5)] The council concluded that al-Hamawiyyah contained nothing contrary to
the Qur’aan or the Sunnah and therefore, vindicated him of any wrongdoing. [See.
The Political Thought of Ibn Taymiyyah by Qamar-ud-deen Khan, p.3-4]
Similarly Ibn Katheer mentioned that when the scholars sat to argue with him with
regards to his Aqeedah al-Wasitiyyah (in 705H) the argument ended with them
accepting all that was contained in the book. [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (vol. 14
under the heading 'Aqd al-Majaalis ath-Thalaatha)]

Yet, despite being vindicated, Ibn Taymiyyah was summoned again, but this time
by the authorities in Egypt. A council, headed by one of the fiercest opponents of
Ibn Taymiyyah, Qadhi Ibn Mukhluk Maliki, met him and Ibn Taymiyyah was not
allowed to defend himself. A decree issued by the council resulted in his
imprisonment (705H). Many pleaded incessantly for his release until, after a year
had passed and he was offered to be set free if he renounced his creed. The offer
was made to him as many as six times, but he always refused saying, 'The prison is
dearer to me than what I am asked to affirm.' [Ibn Katheer, (14/42)]

Accusation 2: Ibn Taymiyyah forbids visiting the Prophet's Grave. The reality of
this accusation is that Shaikhul-Islam held the view that one should not travel
specifically to visit a certain place or grave intending worship with it. This opinion
of Ibn Taymiyyah was based upon the Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger, 'Do not
travel except to three Masjids, al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Mecca), the Prophet's
(salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) Masjid and Masjid al-Aqsa.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee
(Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.157, no.281, Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.699,
no.3218), Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.540, no.2028, Sunan at-
Tirmidhee, Sunan an-Nisaee and Sunan Ibn Majah]
Ibn Taymiyyah writes, 'Whoever travels to al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah), al-
Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), or the Messenger's masjid and at Masjid Qiba
(close to Medina) and visits grave in that vincity will be performing righteous acts
that conform to established the Prophetic Sunnah… As for whosoever travels for
the sole purpose of visiting the Prophet's grave, not for the purpose of praying at
his Masjid… so he visits the grave and then goes back home, then he is a deviant
Mubtadi (innovator) who stands in defiance of the Prophet's Sunnah and the
consensus of his companions and the scholars of this Ummah (Muslim nation)…
This action was rejected by Imam Malik and other Imams and it is not
recommended by any scholar… When the companions traveled to the Prophet's
Masjid (after his death), they used to pray in it and meet the Prophet's successors,
Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and then Ali. They recited the Salaam (Islamic
greeting) and the Salaat (invoking Allah to honor and bless his Prophet) on the
Prophet in the prayer (during the Tashahhud sitting) and upon entering and leaving
the Masjid (as the Sunnah legislates); but they did not go near his grave. This
practice is so widely reported from them that nothing to the contrary was reported
of any of them.' [Majmoo al-Fatawa, vol.27, pg. 343]

There is a difference between visiting a grave and journeying to them. The first
one is allowed, while the latter is prohibited. Ibn Taymiyyah's treatise regarding
the visiting of graves was misinterpreted and led to his imprisonment in Shabaan

Accusation 3: Disrespect for the Prophets and the righteous. He was accused as
such because he did not agree with the views of those who allowed tawassul by
the person and status of the Prophets and the righteous. If a person takes the dead
righteous people as intercessors between him and Allah, calling upon them to gain
Allah's favor, then he has mimicked the way of Abu Jahl and Abu Lahb and his
action is major kufr (disbelief). If one calls upon Allah directly and asks Allah 'by
the right of so and so,' then this is an innovation. [Refer to The Rulings and
Manners of Visiting the Prophet's Mosque by Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz
(rahimahullah) published in As-Sunnah Issue no. 2 with explanatory footnotes]

Accusation 4: Making one's own Ijtihad instead of adhering to one particular

Madhhab. In opposition to the general practice, Ibn Taymiyyah did not show
prejudice towards a particular Madhhab and believed in the permissibility of
Ijtihad when necessary. His Ijtihad on considering any number of divorce
pronounced in one sitting to be counted as one, put him at odds with the position
of all the four Madhhabs. He was imprisoned on account of this Ijtihad towards
the end of his life.
Ibn Taymiyyah remained high-spirited and focused even in times of

Ibnul-Qayyim says, ‘He (Ibn Taymiyyah) said to me once,

'The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from
Allah and the captivated one is the one whose desires have enslaved him.'
[Al-Wabil as-Sayyib, p.61]

Prison was never a hurdle for Shaikhul-Islam, who always continued writing and
calling to the good even in confinement. Ibn Katheer mentions that whilst Ibn
Taymiyyah was in prison in Cairo, 'difficult legal questions used to be sent to him
from governors and specific people, which the Jurists could not deal with, and he
would respond from the Book and the Sunnah in a way that would bewilder the
minds. [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (14/46)]

While in prison, he wrote several books and treatises. He completed a 40-volume

Tafseer called al-Bahr al-Muheet. He wrote in total over five hundred books
according to Imam adh-Dhahabi, most of them in prison. When the authorities
confiscated paper and writing materials from him, he wrote with charcoal on any
loose sheets of paper he could find. While his enemies succeeded in containing his
person, they could not contain his mind, wisdom and scholarship and while they
thought that they were harming him, he had a different perception. He writes in a
letter, 'Thanks to Allah that we are now engaged in a fight in the Way of Allah.
The battle we are fighting here is not a bit lower in order than our previous warfare
against Qazaan, the heretics of the hills and the propagators of pantheistic monism
(Wahdat al-Wajood). This is undoubtedly a blessing of Allah on us, although most
of the people are unaware of it.'[Ibn Taymiyyah: Hayatuh wa Usuruhu wa Arauhu
wa Fiqhuhu, Abu Zahrah] Injustices suffered in the cause of defending the truth,
did not cause Ibn Taymiyyah to be vengeful and bitter, rather he truly forgave his
enemies while he had the opportunity to take revenge. In a letter, sent to Syria
soon after his release, he says,

'...I do not want that anyone should be avenged for my suffering or for leveling
false allegations against me, for I have already forgiven every one of them. I desire
the well-being of every Muslim -- the same as I desire for myself. All those
persons who discredited me or deposed false evidence against me or caused
trouble to me are not the least accountable so far as I am concerned; no
responsibility lies upon them on my score.' [Abu Zahrah, Ibn Taymiyyah: Hayatuh
wa Usuruhu wa Arauhu wa Fiqhuhu, p.62] This was only the first of the many
times he was imprisoned and in every case, he forgave the perpetrators of the
injustice against him and was patient with his fate. One of his opponents, Ibn al-
Makhloof, the Maliki judge, said, 'We did not see the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah; we
incited against him but were not able to overpower him, when he was able to over-
power us, he instead pardoned us and pleaded on out behalf.'His reliance upon
Allah caused him to focus upon his goal, and to leave retribution to Allah from
those who unjustly harmed him, as he said, 'Allah is the Accomplisher of His
Promises in secret and in open and He takes revenge from the party of Shaytaan
on behalf of the slaves of Allah. However, His Wisdom necessitates and it has
been His Sunnah with regards to tests and trials that He purifies through it the
people of truth and Eeman from the people of hypocrisy and falsehood. His Book
(the Qur'aan) highlights that every caller to Eeman will surely face trials and for
every person with evil and oppression is punishment. Allah says, 'Do people think
that they will be left alone because they say, 'We believe,' and will not be tested.
And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make
(it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known
(the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before
putting them to test). Or those who do evil deeds think that they can outstrip Us
(i.e. escape Our Punishment)? Evil is that which they judge!' [Soorah al-Ankabut
(29): 1-4]' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (3/212). Quoted from the book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-
Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by
Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad]Ibn Taymiyyah responded to those who believed
they could intimidate him by the loss of possessions, saying: '… do I have
anything to fear about? If I were to be killed, I would be from the best of the
martyrs! And upon me will be mercy and pleasure (of Allah) on the Day of
Judgment! And upon him who kills me will be everlasting curse in this world and
punishment in the Hereafter! And let everyone who believes in Allah and His
Messenger know, that if I were to be killed for the Deen of Allah, and if I were to
be imprisoned then the imprisonment will be a blessing of Allah for me. And by
Allah, I will always thank Allah for his blessing on me for this imprisonment, and
I do not have anything to fear for from the people! Not my feudatory! Not my
institution! Nor my wealth, nor my estate, nor my prestige. Verily the fear is for
you, if what you have from the estate and wealth, and the corruption in your
religion from which you seek the happiness of this world and the Hereafter may be
lost.’ [Majmoo al-Fatawa (3/215-216) Quoted from the book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-
Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by
Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad]

Allah's Messenger said, 'Those who are afflicted the most among the people are
the Prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with
(the strength of) his Deen (faith). If his Deen (faith) is firm, his affliction is hard,
and if his Deen (faith) is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so
much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sin.'
[(Saheeh) by Shaikh al- Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee (993) Musnad Ahmad and at-
Encounter with the Tartars196

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (radiallahuanhu), 'The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-

sallam) said, 'The Hour will not be established till you fight a nation wearing hairy
shoes, and till you fight the Turks, who will have small eyes, red faces and flat
noses; and their faces will be like flat shields…' [Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol.4,
p.508, no.787] This prophesy came true, and the Muslim nation found itself in
battle with the fierce and barbaric Mongols and Tartars, collectively referred to as
Turks. The Tartars committed great massacres and plundered Baghdad, which was
one of the greatest centers of learning of its time. In the year 699H, when the
Tartar ruler, Qazaan, was about to attack Damascus, Ibn Taymiyyah boldly
confronted him while others trembled in his presence. He reminded Qazaan of the
Tartar infringements on the sanctities of the Muslims and was able to convince
him not to attack the city, he said, 'You claim to be a Muslim. I have been told that
you have with you a Qadhi and an Imam, a Shaikh and a mu'adhdhin; yet, you
have deemed it proper to march upon Muslims. Your fore-fathers were heathens,
but they always abstained from breaking the promise once made by them. They
redeemed the pledges they made, but you violate the word of honor given by you.
You trample underfoot your solemn declarations in order to lay a hand on the
servants of Allah!' [Al-Kawakib ud-Durriyah, p. 25, also see, al-Bidayah wan-
Nihayah (14/122-123)] Ibn Taymiyyah's courage impressed Qazaan who left
Damascus unharmed and freed those whom he held captive.Though some of the
Tartar rulers claimed to be Muslims, they had little regard for following the
religion of Islam or for the sanctity of life. Ibn Katheer says, 'during the time of
Jahiliyah, the people used to abide by the misguidance and ignorance that they
invented by sheer opinion and lusts. The Tatar (Mongols) abided by the law that
they inherited from their king Genghis Khan who wrote al-Yasiq, for them. This
book contains some rulings that were derived from various religions, such as
Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many of these rulings were derived from his own
opinion and desires. Later on, these rulings became the followed law among his
children, preferring them to the Law of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His
Messenger. Therefore, whoever does this, he is a disbeliever who deserves to be
fought against, until he reverts to Allah's and His Messenger's decisions, so that no
law, minor or major, is referred to except by His Law.’

In the year, 702H, the Tartars attacked again and this time they found Shaikhul-
Islam in the ranks of the soldiers. Since it was Ramadaan, Ibn Taymiyyah issued a
fatawa for the breaking of the fasts for the soldiers. His presence in the battlefield
had a great influence in defeating the Tartars and conquering Shaqaab, and this
was the last ever battle between the Tartars and Muslims. Shaikhul-Islam says,
'This was a magnificent victory, the like of which the Muslims had not seen [in
that age]: the imposing edifice of the Tatar kingdom, that had humiliated the
people of Islam, was never routed or defeated the way it was defeated at the gate
of Damascus in the great battle [of Shaqaab] during which Allah showered upon
us so many of His Favors that we cannot enumerate them, neither generally nor
specifically.' [Manaqib ash-Sham wa-Ahlih (Virtues of al-Sham and Its People)]

Victory Lies in Tawheed

Ibn Taymiyyah said, 'They do it (i.e., call upon the dead) at many occasions as a
habit and self-imposed hardship until when an enemy outside of the Muslim
Sharee'ah approached Damascus - they went out invoking the dead near the
graves, whom they anticipated to dispel their hardships and some of the poets said,
'O you, who fear the Tartars, seek refuge with the grave of Abu Umar.' Or he said,
'Seek refuge with the grave of Abu Umar, he will relieve you from harms.' I told
them, 'These whom you invoke for help, even if they were with you in fighting,
they would be defeated, just like those who were defeated in the battle of Uhud
for, it had been decreed that the army would loose because of the reasons that lead
to the defeat and due to the Wisdom of Allah in it. Therefore, the people of
religion and understanding did not fight at that time because it was not a legal
fighting legislated by Allah and His Messenger.

And when there results evil and corruption and the absence of the desired type of
victory from the fighting, then there is neither any reward of the world nor of the
Hereafter for the one who knows this. (However) Many of those who deemed that
this was a legislated fighting will be rewarded for their intention.

It was after this that we began ordering the people with sincerity of the Religion
for Allah and invoking Him alone and not invoking a near Angel or a Prophet that
was sent. Allah said on the Day of Badr, 'When you sought aid from your Lord
and He responded to you.' And Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)
used to say on the Day of Badr, 'O Eternal (Hayy), O Maintainer (Qayyoom), there
is none worthy of worship except You, I invoke you by your Mercy' and in another
words, '…rectify my affair, all of it, and do not leave me to depend upon myself
for even the blinking of an eye, and nor to depend upon anyone from your
So, when the people's affairs were corrected and they were truthful in their seeking
victory over the enemy from their Lord, then the Tartars were never defeated in
such a matter before that. So when the Tawheed of Allah and obedience to His
Messenger is established, Allah gives victory to His Messenger and the believers
in the worldly life and on the Day when the witnesses wills stand (i.e. the Day of
Judgment)…' [Ar-Rad ala al-Bakri]
Ibn Taymiyyah's Battle against Innovators and Deviant Sects

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah dedicated a lot of effort towards refuting various

innovative sects. He even physically challenged some individuals from the
heretical Sufi sect, known as the Bataa'ihiyyah that indulged in feats like walking
over fire to amaze the common masses. He proposed that he would walk on fire
with them on the condition that they wash themselves first with vinegar and hot
water. Their refusal exposed their folly, and Ibn Taymiyyah thus exposed the
charlatans of the Bataa'ihiyyah sect. [See, Majmoo al-Fatawa (11/456-457) and al-
Bidayah wan-Nihayah (14/36)] He also refuted Muhiyyuddin Ibn Arabi and the
heresy of Wahdat al-Wajood. Ibn Hajr said, '… From the astonishing qualities of
this man (i.e. Ibn Taymiyyah) was that he was the strongest amongst men against
the people of innovation, the Rawaafidah, the Hululiyyah, and the Ittihaadiyyah,
and his works on this are many and famous, and his fatawa on them cannot be
counted… It is obligatory upon the one, who has donned the robe of knowledge
and possesses intelligence that he consider the words of a man based upon his
well-known books or from the tongues of those who are trusted to accurately
convey his words - then to isolate from all of this what is rejected and warn from
them with the intention of giving sincere advice and to praise him for his excellent
qualities and for what he was correct in as is the way of the scholars. If there were
no virtues of Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen except for his famous student Shaykh Shams
ad-Deen ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, writer of many works, from which both his
opponents and supporters benefited from then this would be a sufficient indication
of his (ibn Taymiyyah's) great position. And how could it be otherwise when the
Shafa'ee Imams and others, not to speak of the Hanbalees, of his time testified to
his prominence in the (Islamic) sciences…' [From Ibn Hajr's endorsement of 'Radd
al-Waafir' contained at the end]With regards refuting the people of innovation and
the danger they pose to the Muslims Ibn Taymiyyah said, 'When some people
asked Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal that they felt uneasy about criticizing people, he
replied, 'If I were to remain silent, how would the ignorant masses know the truth
from falsehood?' Those who introduce heretical writings which oppose the
Qur'aan and the Sunnah and those who innovate in matters of worship, then it is
obligatory that they be exposed and that the Muslims be warned against them - by
unanimous agreement of the Muslims scholars. In fact, when Imam Ahmad bin
Hanbal was asked about a person who fasted, prayed and secluded himself in the
mosque for worship; if he was dearer to him than a person who spoke out against
the innovators? He replied, 'When he fasts and prays and secludes himself, then he
does so for the benefit of his own self. However, when he speaks out against the
innovators, he does so for the benefit of the Muslims in general, and this is more

So it is clear that openly opposing the innovators is of general benefit to the

Muslims and is considered one of the types of struggles in the path of Allah. Since
purifying the religion of Allah and defending it from their attacks is a collective
obligation - as is agreed upon by the scholars. For, Allah did not raise up some
people to oppose the innovators, then the religion would suffer harm, corruption
and deviation. Indeed, this type of corruption is even greater then the corruption
resulting from the disbelievers conquering the Muslims. Since when the
disbelievers conquer the Muslims, they do not corrupt their hearts, or their
religion, except after some time. Whereas, the innovators corrupt the hearts from
the very beginning.' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (28/231-232) Quoted from al-Istiqamah

Ibn Taymiyyah, the Mujtahid

'The scholars of this period (i.e. During Ibn Taymiyyah's era) left all forms of
Ijtihad and unanimously issued a legal ruling which was intended to close the door
of Ijtihad permanently. They reasoned that all possible issues had already been
raised and addressed, and there was therefore, no need for further Ijtihad. With
that step, a new concept of Madhhab arose, namely that one of the four Madhhabs
had to be followed for one's Islam to be valid. In time, this concept became firmly
embedded among the masses as well as the scholars of Fiqh. Thus, the religion of
Islam itself became restricted within the confines of the four existing Madhhabs;
Hanafee, Malikee, Shafa'ee and Hambalee. These schools of law came to be
considered as divinely ordained manifestations of Islam. All of them were
supposed to be completely correct, equal and representative of true Islam, yet there
were innumerable differences among them. In fact, there were scholars in this
period who interpreted some Ahadeeth in such a way as to prove that the Prophet
himself had predicted the appearance of the Imams and their Madhhabs.
Consequently, any attempt to go beyond these canonical Madhhabs was
considered heretical and anyone who refused to follow one of these Madhhabs was
classified as an apostate. The hyper-conservative scholars of this stage even went
so far as to rule that whoever was caught transferring from one Madhhab to
another was liable to punishment at the discretion of the local judge. A ruling was
also made in the Hanafee Madhhab prohibiting the marriage of a Hanafee to a
Shafa'ee. And even the second most important pillar of Islam, Salaat was not
spared the effects of Madhhab fanaticism. The followers of the various Madhhabs
began to refuse to pray behind the Imams from other Madhhabs.' [Evolution of
Fiqh by Bilal Philips, pg. 107]'The factors, which led to Taqleed, also caused
scholars to confine their creative activity to merely editing and revising previous
works. The Fiqh books of earlier scholars were condensed and abridgements of
them were made. These abridgements were later shortened in order to make them
easy to memorize, and many of them were actually put to rhyme. This process of
condensing continued until the summaries, which resulted became virtual riddles
to the students of the day. The following generation of scholars began to write
explanations of the summaries and poems. Later scholars wrote commentaries on
the explanations and other added footnotes to the commentaries.' [Evolution of
Fiqh by Dr. Bilal Philips, pg. 110]Therefore, in Shaikhul-Islam's time, a
degenerative trend resulted in abandoning all forms of Ijtihad, and Madhhabs of
Fiqh emerged as independent separate entities closely resembling sects. Though
Ibn Taymiyyah studied the Usool (principles) of the Hambali Fiqh, he did not
show prejudice towards a particular Madhhab. He explained, 'In all my life until
this hour, I have never called anyone ever in the principles of religion to the
Hanbali madhhab or any other madhhab, and I do not support it and I do not
mention it in my talk, I don't mention anything except what the Salaf and the
scholars of the Ummah have agreed upon. And I have told them more than once, I
give respite to him who disagreed with me for three years if he brings me one
word from the scholars of the first three generations that contradicts what I have
said then I will accept it. What I mention I quote from the first three generations
word-for-word and I quote their renowned Ijma.' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (3/229).
Quoted from the book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-
Harakat al-Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by Salahud-din Maqbool Ahmad]

Ibn Taymiyyah called for a return to the original state of affairs whereby the
common people took the knowledge of the Deen without prejudice towards
individuals of a specific Madhhab. He said, 'If what was destined befalls a
Muslim, then he should seek a verdict from someone whom he believes that he
will reply according to the Sharee'ah of Allah and His Messenger from whichever
Madhhab he may be, and it is not obligatory upon any Muslim to make Taqleed of
(blindly-follow) one specific person from the scholars in everything he says, and it
is not required from any Muslim to adhere to the madhhab of one specific person
in everything that he necessitates and informs about. Rather, every person's word
is taken and left except Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). One's
following a specific madhhab due to the excuse of his inability to know the
Sharee'ah except through it (i.e., the person), then such is permissible for him. It is
not from what is required from every person, even if he is able to know the
Sharee'ah through a different path, rather every person should fear Allah in
accordance with his ability, and seek knowledge of what Allah and His Messenger
has commanded, so he carries out the prescribed and leaves the forbidden.'
[Majmoo al-Fatawa (vol. 20)]

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Writings196

The books of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah cover varied fields of learning. They
are an invaluable source of knowledge because of the strength of argument in
them in conveying the beliefs, explaining the principles and defending the way of
the pious predecessors. Ibn Taymiyyah's comprehensive knowledge of the
different opinions of various sects and scholars, and his enumerating of proofs
from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and the sayings of the Salaf as-Salih qualify his
books to be highly authoritative works. And despite the fact that a proportion of
his writings have perished, we find a great number of his writings still in
existence. Some of his works are: Dar Ta'aarud al-'Aql wa an-Naql (Repulsion of
the conflict of intellect and the text - a reply on the people of Kalaam) al-
lstiqaamah Iqtidaa' as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Li Mukhaalafah As-haab al-Jaheem
Naqd Maraatib al-ljmaa' as-Saarim al-Maslool 'alaa Shaatim ar-Rasool al-Jawaab
as-Saheeh li man baddala Deen al-Maseeh (an answer to the criticism against
Islaam by the Christians). ar-Raad 'alaa al-Mantiqiyyeen (a refutation of the
philosopher). ar-Raad 'alaa al-'Akhnan'ee Minhaaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah (a
refutation of Shiite beliefs written in response to Minhaj al-Karanmah of Ibn al-
Mutahhir al-Hillee). Ziyarah al-Quboor (a criticism of saint-workshop,
intercession, superstitious beliefs). an-Nuboowaat There are so many other works
that have been included in Majmoo al-Fataawa, which is a compilation of his
writings and verdicts put together by Ibn Qaasim and his son. These include:
Qaa'idah fee Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah al-Waasitah bayna al-Haqq wa al-Khalq
Qaa'idah Jaleelah fee at-Tawassul wa al-Waseelah ar-Radd al-Aqwan 'alaa maa fee
Fusoos al-Hikam ar-Risaalah at-Tadmuriyyah al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah al-
Wasiyyah al-Kubraa al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubraa Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool Kitaab
al-Eemaan Amraad al-Quloob wa Shifaa' uhaa al-'Uboodiyyah al-Wasiyyah as-
Sughraa al-Furqaan bayna Awliyaa' ar-Rahmaan wa Awliyaa' ash-Shaytaan al-
Furqaan bayna al-Haqq wa al-Baatil Muqaddimah fee Usool at-Tafseer Tafseer
Soorah al-Ikhlaas Raf' al-Malaam 'an al-A'immah al-A'laam al-Hisbah al-Amr bi
al-Ma'roof wa an-Nahy 'an al-Munkar Kitaab as-Siyaasah ash-Shar'iyyah (deals
with political theory and government in Islaam). al-Madhaalim al-Mushtarakah.
Ibn Taymiyyah's Books Translated to English 1. Sharah Al-Aqeedat il-Wasitiyah.
Commentary by Dr. Muhammed Khalil Harras. Published by Darussalaam
Publications. 2. Kitaab al-Iman (Book of Faith) - Translated by Salman Hassan al-
Ani and Shadia Ahmed Tel, Iman Publishng House, Indiana. 3. Ibn Taymeeyah's
Essay on the Jinn by Dr. Bilal Philips. (IIPH) 4. The Right Way. (A summarized
translation of Iqtidaa As-Siraat al-Mustaqeem) by Darussalaam 5. Ibn
Taymiyyah's Essay on Servitude (Al-Hidaayah Publications) 6. Prayer Behind the
Innovators - Questions and Answers from the Fatwas of Ibn Taymiyyah. 7.
Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-'Uthaymin's Notes on al-'Aqidah al-Wasitiyah.
Translated by Shakiel Humayun (PAD Publications) 8. The Criterion between the
allies of the Merciful and the allies of the devil (Idara Ihya us-Sunnah) 9.
Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil (Al- Firdous Publishing) 10. Diseases of the
Hearts and Their Cures (Compiled from the Fatwawa of Ibn Taymiyah) Al-
Hidaayah Publications 11. Kitaab al-Wasilah by sheikh ul-islam ibn taimeeyah
(translated under the guidance of Allama Ehsan Ilaahi Zaheer) Idarah Tarjuman
as-Sunnah 12. Al-Kalim al-Tayyib (The Goodly Word) By Ibn Taymiyah
(translation of Authentic Duaa) 13. Al-'Ubudiyyah: Being a True Slave to Allah :
Ibn Taymiyyah (Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab) Taha Publishers 14.
Answering Those Who Altered The Religion of Jesus. (abridged version published
by Umm Al-Qura, Al-Mansura, Egypt) 15. Fatwas of Muslim Women By Ibn
Taymyah [Dar Al-Manarah, egypt] 16. The Nature of Fasting By Ibn Taymiyyah,
Shaikhul-Islam [Darussalam Publications] 17. Ibn Taymiyyah's Letters from
Prison by Muhammad al-Abdah (published by Message of Islam) 18. Introduction
to the Principles of Tafseer. Translated by Muhammad Abdul Haq Ansari. Al-
Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution

Death and Funeral

Ibn Taymiyyah passed away while in prison in the year 728H. His funeral was one
of the rare funerals like that of Imam Ahmed Ibn Hambal, who used to say, 'Say to
the people of bidah, 'Between us and between you are the funerals.’
Al-Bazzar says, 'Once the people had heard of his death, not a single person in
Damascus who was able to attend the prayer and wanted to, remained until he
appeared and took time out for it. As a result, the markets in Damascus were
closed and all transactions of livelihood were stopped. Governors, heads, scholars,
jurists came out. They say that none of the majority of the people failed to turn up,
according to my knowledge - except three individuals; they were well known for
their enmity for Ibn Taymiyyah and thus, hid away from the people out of fear for
their lives.' [Al-A'lam al-'Aliyyah, p.82-83]

His Legacy Lives on: Impacts of Ibn Taymiyyah's Dawah on reformation in

Arabia and India196

Ibn Taymiyyah's efforts and reformist endeavors energized the call towards
returning to the pure religion, and the impact of his Dawah were seen much
beyond Egypt and Syria, where he resided. After his death, the value and
appreciation of his writings grew, while his opponents sank into oblivion. Ibn
Taymiyyah's legacy lives on in the Dawah of the scholars, movements and
institutions that forward the call to Tawheed and Ittiba. They benefited greatly
from Shaikhul-Islam's works and appreciated his wisdom and strong
comprehension of the religion. The essence of Ibn Taymiyyah's Dawah can be
seen in these scholars or institutions, in that they …1. Give priority to establishing
the pure worship of Allah, and warn against all manifestations of Shirk.2. They
promote the correct understanding of the Deen and clarify the doubts and
distortions of the innovative sects.3. They appreciate and refer to the teachings of
all the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah but refrain from bigoted partisanship towards
particular individuals thus opposing the destructive blind-following. 4. They call
for the practical implementation of Islamic teachings whether in one's personal
behavior, in transactions or in the society, and in taking Allah's Legislation to be
the most supreme.The most notable impact of Ibn Taymiyyah's teachings in the
modern era can be seen by the effect on the most prominent reformer of the
eighteenth century, Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab (rahimahullah). He
raised the banner of Tawheed in the Arabian Peninsula at a time when practices
like veneration and invoking graves, trees and stones for help, making vows to
them and believing that they can harm or benefit were rampant. Arabia was seen
largely as lawless and plunged in anarchy. The efforts of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn
Abdul Wahhab's dawah eradicated all the open forms of Shirk including the many
tombs that had become places of worship for other than Allah. It made Qur'aan
and Sunnah to be the law of the land. It became a stepping-stone for the Dawah of
Tawheed to spread to places far and wide like Sudan, Indonesia and most notably
to India. Like other parts of the Islamic world, during the sixteenth century, India
too was plagued by various heretical groups that spread deviant practices amongst
the people like saint worship, grave worship, innovations in worship, exaggeration
in the status of the Ahlul-Bayt and the righteous, superstitions and sorcery. In
addition to this, the people were away from the actual sources of Islam the Qur'aan
and the Sunnah. The curriculum that was used in Islamic institutions included over
40 books on subjects like, logic and philosophy that had little to do with the actual
religion. The study of Tafseer was limited to the starting two and half portions of
the Qur'aan, and al-Mishkaat was the only book used to study hadeeth and that too,
just for blessing and not for knowledge. It was well accepted amongst the scholars
that the conclusions of the Madhhabs of Fiqh took precedence over the hadeeth.
As the biography of many scholars shows, their contact with students of Sheikh
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab during Hajj and Umrah, was a reason for their
change in perspective and attitude towards the Hadeeth. Shah Waliullah
Muhaddith Dehelvi (1703-62) was from the first and most prominent scholars who
believed in the permissibility of Ijtihad when necessary and encouraged the study
of Hadeeth. He recognized the dangers and divisions caused by blind-adherence to
Madhhabs and called for greater understanding and openness between the
Madhhabs. He emphasized monotheism and called upon the deviation of Sufism to
be kept in bounds - though he did not shun Sufism entirely.Shah Waliullah's
successors continues with his reformation ideas, until his grandson Shah Ismael
Shaheed, openly called towards the way of the Salafus-Saleh and overtly called to
Tawheed, rejected Shirk (as seen in his book, 'Taqwiyatul-Eeman') and
vehemently opposed the fanatic blind-following of Madhhabs that results in giving
the ruling of a Madhhab authority over the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. Shah Ismaeel
strengthened the dawah that calls towards a return to the way of the Salaf and the
revival of the study of Tafseer and Hadeeth. As a result, the study of Hadeeth
flourished and the subsequent generation of Indian scholars contributed greatly to
the science of Hadeeth by authoring books on the explanation of hadeeth and
publishing Hadeeth compilations that were only found as manuscripts.

Amongst the most prominent Ahlul-Hadeeth scholars in India were Shaikh ul-Qul
Mia Syed Nazeer Hussain Dehelwi (1320H) - He taught hadeeth for over 60 years
and anyone related to the study of hadeeth in the India subcontinent was either his
student or the student of his students - Nawaab Siddiq Hassan Khan Kanoojee
(1307H), Imamul-Mufassireen Abul-Wafaa Thanaaullaah Amritsari (1367H),
Abdullaah Rauparee (1384H), Moulana Muhammad Junaghadi (1360H),
Ubaidullah Mubarakpuri, Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri (1353H) the author of
Tuhfatul Ahwazee the explanation of Sunan At-Tirmidhee, Shams ul-Haqq
Azeemabadi - (author of Aun al-Mabood, the explanation of Sunan Abu Dawood),
Muhammad Hussain Batalwee, Abdul-Azeez Rahimabadi (1320H), Moulana
Ismaeel Salafi, Allama Muhammed Daood Ghaznawi, Moulana Muhammad
Dawood Raaz, Shaikh Badee ud-Deen Shah Sindhi, Shaikh Muhammad Saadiq
Sialkoti, Allama Ehsan Ilaahi Zaheer, and many others.

A Word of Caution196

Many reform movements and thinkers were influenced by Shaikhul-Islam Ibn

Taymiyyah, and they praised and openly expressed appreciation for his works.
Many have in some ways attributed their understanding or the basis of their
movement to the reformation ideas set forth by Ibn Taymiyyah. Yet, they cannot
truly claim to be on the way of Shaikhul-Islam because even though, these
movements/thinkers find common cause with Shaikhul-Islam in some aspects of
his life and ways, they differ with him in his fundamental approach.The focus of
Ibn Taymiyyah's Dawah and efforts was towards the establishment of Tawheed
and negation of worship to other than Allah. While he wrote extensively on a large
array of subjects, all of this was secondary to establishing the worship of Allah.
Therefore, political movements of today that make the establishment of their
version of 'Islamic state' as the primary goal, while they consider the call to
establishing the pure worship of Allah as an hindrance can never claim affiliation
to the way of Ibn Taymiyyah.Ibn Taymiyyah did call for openness in reviewing
the positions of the Madhhahib and on the validity of resorting to Ijtihad where
needed. This was so that blind-following of madhhabs would not be an obstacle in
returning back to the original state of affairs and following that which is closest to
the proofs. His Dawah strives to refer back to the understanding of the Salaf, the
guided Muslims at a time when Islam was free of deviations and innovations. If a
new age thinker finds common cause with Ibn Taymiyyah in his opposition to the
blind-prejudice towards Madhhabs, but then wishes to replace this with something
worst like his own interpretations or modernist ideas or the like; then he cannot
claim affiliation to the way of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah whose fundamental
call was returning back to the understanding of the Salaf.Likewise, Shaikhul-Islam
followed the way of the Salaf in his approach to the Muslim rulers even if they
were sinful. When the Tartars attacked Shaam (Syria and neighboring areas), Ibn
Taymiyyah called upon the rulers of his time and the Muslims in general to rise to
the occasion and fight them. Even though the Tartars outwardly professed the
shahadah, Ibn Taymiyyah considered them disbelievers because of their complete
adherence to the laws of Genghis Khan al-Yasiq, and absolute disregard for both
the Islamic Sharee'ah and the sanctity of life.
If someone today draws parallels between the Tartars and some Muslim rulers
these days without taking into account the various factors and conditions and does
actions that cause corruption in the land and shedding of blood then such a person
acts contrary to the teachings of Shaikhul-Islam and cannot attribute his way to the
way of Ibn Taymiyyah.

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah rose the flag of belief and understanding of Ahlus-
Sunnah in his lifetime, in an era when innovation, misguidance, and corruption
was widespread and had the upper hand. His courage in face of adversity, his
standing up for the truth, his patience under trial and his positive outlook to the
end has a lot of lessons in it for every student of knowledge and caller to the way
of Allah. May Allah increase the rewards of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and
enter him into Jannah al-Firdaus and may He cause those who came after him to
benefit from his knowledge. Ameen