Chapter Seven – Ibn Taimiyah in the eyes of the Sunni Ulema


Whilst up till this point we have sought to condemn Ibn Taimiyah from his own pen, let us cite some Sunni opinions on the Shiekh ul Islam of the Salafis.

We read in Al-Fatawa al-Hadithya by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, pages 156-157:

ابن تيمية عبد خذله الله وأضله وأعماه وأصمه وأذله ، وبذلك صرح الأئمة الذين بينوا فساد أحواله وكذب أقواله ۔۔۔

IbnTamiyah is a person who has been made infamous, blind, deaf and contemptible and the very fact has also been endorsed by the Imams who have mentioned his being a Fasid and a lair. Whoever wants to know him, should peruse the literature of Imam Hassan bin Subki al-Mujtahid, on whose Imamate, glory, and rank touching the limits of Ijtihad, there is an agreement, and of his son Taj and Shaykh Imam Al-Azz bin Jama and of the scholars amongst the Shafiyees, Malikis and Hanafis of his era. Ibn Tamiyah did not restrict himself to objecting over the later Sufies but he also raised objections against Umar bin al-Khattab and Ali bin Abi Talib. The summary is, that there is no worth of his writing, in fact they should be thrown into a abyss and belief should be held about him that he was an innovator, deviated, ignorant and the one who did Ghlu and may Allah deal with him through His justice and may keep us away from his beliefs and acts, Ameen.
Al-Fatawa al-Hadithya by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, pages 156-157

We read in Al-Dura al-Mudhia, by Ali bin Abdulkafi al-Subki al-Shafiyee (d. 756 H), page 5:

أحدث ابن تيمية ما أحدث في أصول العقائد ونقض من دعائم الإسلام الأركان والمعاقد بعد أن كان مستترا بتبعية الكتاب والسنة مظهرا أنه داع إلى الحق هاد إلى الجنة فخرج عن الاتباع إلى الابتداع وشذ عن جماعة المسلمين بمخالفة الاجماع

“When Ibn Taimiyah caused what he caused in ideology and abolished the pillars of Islam after which he pretended to be an adherent of the Book and Sunnah, and pretended that he was an advocate for truth and guiding others to heaven, he went astray and (went) towards originating a heresy, and became odd by contradicting the Ijma of Muslims.”

We rean in a book Al-Tawfiq al-Rabani written by a group of Sunni scholars, page 32:

علمه أكثر من عقله فأداه اجتهاده إلى خرق الاجماع في مسائل كثيرة قيل انها تبلغ ستين مسألة فأخذته الألسنة بسبب ذلك وتطرق إليه اللوم وامتحن بهذا السبب وأسرع علماء عصره في الرد عليه وتخطئته وتبديعه ومات مسجونا بسبب ذلك.

Sheikh Iraqi said … his knowledge exceeded the capabilities of his brain, and he therefore contradicted the ‘Ijma’ of Muslims on many issues. They said on around 60 matters. They therefore criticized and blamed him, and he has been examined due to that. The scholars of his time refuted him, presented his mistakes, and deemed him a heretic. He was also imprisoned due to that.”

We read in Daf Shubah min Shabah by Abu Bakr bin Muhammad al-Hesni al-Dimashqi al-Shafiyee (d. 829 H), page 123:

وكان الشيخ زين الدين ابن رجب الحنبلي ممن يعتقد كفر ابن تيمية

“Sheikh Zainuddin ibn Rajab al-Hanbali was amongst those that believed that Ibn Taimiyah is a kafir”

On page 90 we read:

وكان الإمام العلامة شيخ الإسلام في زمانه أبو الحسن علي بن إسماعيل القونوي يصرح بأنه من الجهلة بحيث لا يعقل ما يقول. ويخبر أنه أخذ مسألة التفرقة عن شيخه الذي تلقاها عن أفراخ السامرة واليهود الذين أظهروا التشرف بالإسلام.

“The Imam, the Allamah Sheikh al-Islam of his time Abu al-Hassan Ali bin Ismail al-Qunuwi declared that he was ignorant and didn’t realize what he said. He (Sheikh Qunuwi) stated that he (Ibn Taimiyah) took the belief of ‘Tafriqa’ from his Sheikh who took it from Samirites and Jews, those who pretend to be Muslims.”

On page 125 we read:

قاله بعض الأئمة عنه من أنه زنديق مطلق

“Some scholars deemed him to be an absolute atheist (Zindeeq)”

On page 189 we read:

فنسأل الله تعالى العافية مما يرتكبه هذا الزائغ الفاجر الكذاب.

“We ask Allah to preserve us of what this abhorrent, immoral, liar performs.”

We also read:

ولقد أسفرت هذه القضية عن زندقته بتجرئه على الإفك على العلماء وعلى أنه لا يعتقد حرمة الكذب

“The result of the case was the atheism of him (Ibn Taimiyah) because he dares to attribute lies to the scholars and did not ascribe to any prohibition on telling lies.”

We read in Tathir al-Fuad by Sheikh Muhammad Bekhit al-Mut’aei al-Hanafi (d. 1350 H), page 9:

ومن الفريق الثاني الذي طمس الله على قلبه وطبع عليه أهل البدع في العقائد والأعمال الذين خالفوا الكتاب والسنة والاجماع فضلوا واضلوا كثيرا قاتلهم الله انى يؤفكون ومأواهم جهنم وساءت مصيرا وقد ابتلى المسلمون بكثير من هذا الفريق سلفا وخلفا فكانوا وصمة وثلمة في المسلمين وعضوا فاسدا يجب قطعه حتى لا يعدي الباقي فهو المجذوم الذي يجب الفرار منه ومنهم ابن تيمية.

From the second group are those whose hearts Allah (swt) darkened, and the people of heresy seal up their hearts in beliefs that contradict the book, sunnah and ‘ijma’. They therefore went astray and misguided many people, may Allah’s curse be on them: how deluded are they from the truth! Their ultimate abode shall be hell, a hapless journey’s end.

Verily the Muslims were tested considerably by this group, they are a mark of disgrace for the Muslims and the infected part must be removed to prevent others from being harmed, verily it is like a lesprosy from which one must away, and ibn Taimiyah is one of them.”

We read in Shawahed al-Haq by Shakyh Yusuf al-Nabhani, page 191:

فقد ثبت وتحقق وظهر ظهور الشمس في رابعة النهار أن علماء المذاهب الاربعة قد اتفقوا على رد بدعة ابن تيمية ومنهم من طعنوا بصحة نقله كما طعنوا بكمال عقله

“Its proven (as clear) as the midday sun in the sky that the Ulema of the four (Sunni) schools agreed on rejecting the heresies of Ibn Taimiyah, and some of them criticized his honesty in narrating. They also criticized the stability of his brain”

We read in Furqan al-Quran by Salamah al-Azami al-Qadaei al-Shafiyee (d. 1376 H), page 132:

ومن عجيب أمر هذا الرجل أنه إذا ابتدع شيئا حكى عليه إجماع الأوليين والآخرين كذبا وزورا وربما تجد تناقضه في الصفحة الواحدة

“The strange thing about this man is that whenever he produced a heresy, he lied and claimed that there is ‘Ijma’ on this from the previous and modern (scholars); and you might find him contradicting himself on the same page.”

We read in Sayf al-Jabar al-Maslool by Shah Fadhl al-Qadri al-Hindi, page 42:

الشقي ابن تيمية أجمع علماء عصره على ضلاله

“The wretched ibn Taimiyah. There is an ‘ijma’ by the scholars of his time on his deviation from the right path”

We read in Fadhl al-Dhakerin by Abdulghani Hamada, page 23:

ان شيخهم ابن تيمية قال عنه علامة زمانه علاء الدين البخاري : ان ابن تيمية كافر

The Allamah of his time Alauddin al-Bukhari said about their Sheikh Ibn Taimiyah: ‘Ibn Taimiyah is a kafir’.

Abu al-Mahasin al-Dimashqi in his book Zayl Tazkirah tul Hufaz, page 316 and Shaykh Ahmed Raza Bijnawri in Anwar al-Bari, Volume 11 page 192 have recorded another statement of Shaykh Alauddin Bukhari al-Hanafi (d. 841 H) regarding Ibn Tamiyah that:

صار يصرح في مجلسه بأن من اطلق على ابن تيمية شيخ الاسلام يكفر

“He (Alauddin Bukhari) declared in his assembly that whoever deems Ibn Taymia to be ‘Sheikh ul Islam’ is kafir”.

We read in Takmilat al-Sayf al-Saqil by Muhammad Zahed bin Hassan al-Kawthari al-Hanafi (d. 1371 H), page 177:

فأصدر الشاميون فتيا في ابن تيمية وكتب عليها البرهان ابن الفركاح الفزاري نحو أربعين سطرا بأشياء إلى أن قال بتكفيره ووافقه على ذلك الشهاب بن جهبل

“The Syrian (scholars) issued a statement about ibn Taimiyah, and al-Burhan ibn al-Ferkah wrote on it forty lines wherein he declared that he (ibn Taimiyah) is a kafir, and al-Shehab bin Jabhal agreed with him”

We read in Al-Durar al-Kamina by ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Volume 1 page 46:

وعاد القاضي الشافعي إلى ولايته ونودي بدمشق من اعتقد عقيدة ابن تيمية حل دمه

“The Shafiyye judge returned back to his position and declared in Damascus that whoever ascribed to Ibn Taimiyah’s beliefs should have his blood shed”

We also read in Al-Durar al-Kamina, Volume 1 page 49:

“Ibn Taimiyah was released in Shaam. The people had different views of him. Some of them deemed him as one that considered the likeness of Allah to His creature, due to what he said in ‘Aqeeda al-Hamawiya’ and ‘Wasitiya’ and other (books), such as the hand, foot, leg and face are real attributes of Allah, and He is sitting on the throne by Himself. Then it was said to him (Ibn Taimiyah) that the necessities of these beliefs constitute ascribing to the limitation and partition (of Allah), he (Ibn Taimiyah) replied: ‘I don’t believe that limitation and partition is an attribute of a body.’

Others deemed him as one that concealed unbelief due to his saying that the Prophet is not to be sought for help (laa yustaghaathu bihi) and the fact that this amounted to diminishing and impeding the establishing of the greatness of the Prophet. Amongst the most rigid people against him was al-Noor al-Bakri, and he established a council due to that. Some of the members said: ‘We shall pardon him (Ibn Taimiya)’. He (al-Bakri) replied: ‘There is no meaning in that statement. If he was diminishing he must be killed. If he wasn’t diminishing he will not be pardoned’.

Others considered him a hypocrite because of what he said about Ali:… that he had been forsaken (makhdhoolan) everywhere he went, had repeatedly tried to acquire the Caliphate and never attained it, fought out of lust for power rather than religion, and said that “he loved authority while Uthman loved money.” He would say that Abu Bakr had declared Islam in his old age, fully aware of what he said, while Ali had declared Islam as a boy, and that a boy’s Islam is not considered sound upon his mere words. And due to his statement about the story of his proposing to the daughter of Abu Jahl and what he attributed the praises to…Also the story of Abi al-Aas bin al-Rabee and what can be concluded from its concept. In totality, he said derogatory things such as these, and it was said against him that he was a hypocrite, in view of the Prophet’s saying (to Ali): “Only a hypocrite would show you hatred.”

Others deemed him a power seeker due to his praising ibn Tumart and constant mention of him.”

The four sunni scholars of the four Sunni sects composed a decree to imprison ibn Taimiyah due to his straying from the right path. The four scholars were:

  1. Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Saadallah bin Jam’aa al-Shafiyye
  2. Sheikh Muhammad bin al-Hariri al-Ansari al-Hanafi
  3. Sheikh Muhammad bin Abi Bakr al-Maliki
  4. Sheikh Ahmad bin Umar al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali

Sunni References:
1. Takmilat al-Sayf al-Saqil, by Zahid al-Kawthari, page 177
2. Daf Shubah men Shabah, by al-Hesni al-Demashqi, page 97
3. Al-Tawfiq al-Rabani, by group of Sunni scholars, page 21
4. Al-Nabrah Sharah Sharah al-Aqaid page 114 Colmun 4 (published in Meerut)
5. Sharah Aqaid Jalali, page 80 (published in Afghanistan)

Shaykh Syed Ahmad Raza Bijnawri has recorded the statements of his teacher Imam Anwar Shah Kashmiri in a book ‘Anwar al-Bari Sharah Sahih Bukhari’ which has been published by Idara Talifiat Asharfiyah, Multan, Pakistan. On Volume 6 pages 221-222, there is a caption ‘The authentication of Hadith Rad al-Shams by Imam Tahawi and its criticism by Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah’ under which he stated:

“Ibn Taimiyah’s point of view represents Khariji tendencies”

In Volume 11 page 119 of Anwar al-Bari, we also read that eighteen scholars of Egypt having Qazi Taqiuddin Muhammad bin Abi Bakar Akhnai Maliki as the leader gave an edict of Kufr of Ibn Taimiyah on the basis that he (Ibn Taimiyah) used to forbid people from traveling for the pilgrimage of the graves of prophets particularly of Holy Prophet (s). The scholars deemed it an act of blasphemy against the prophets, which was equal to Kufr and hence its punishment was execution.

Imam of Ahle Sunnah Shah Abdul Aziz Muhadith Dehalwi stated:

“At times, the text of Ibn Tamiyah in books such as ‘Minhaaj as Sunnah’ and others has been very hideous, it has been very belittling particularly against Ahlulbayt, prohibits visiting the tomb of Rasulullah (s), rejects the Ghauth, Qutub and Abdaal and disgrace the Sufies… According to the views of Ahlul Sunnah, his text is cursed therefore AhlulSunnah can not be criticized because of his writings”.
Fatawa Azizi, Volume 2 page 79 (Published in Deoband)

Below is a list of those Sunni scholars that opposed ibn Taimiyah:

  1. Sheikh Saleh bin Abdullah al-Betahi (707 H)
  2. Sheikh Kamal al-deen Muhammad bin Abi al-Hassan Ali al-Saraj al-Shafiyye
  3. Sheikh Ahmad bin Ibrahim al-Seroji al-Hanafi (710 H)
  4. Sheikh Ali bin Makhloof al-Maliki (718 H)
  5. Sheikh Ali bin Yaqoub al-Bakri (724 H)
  6. Sheikh Shams al-deen Muhammad bin Adlan al-Shafiyye (749 H)
  7. Sheikh Taqi al-deen al-Subki al-Shafiyye (756 H)
  8. Sheikh Muhammad bin Umar bin Maki al-Shafiyye (716 H)
  9. Hafiz Abu Saeed Salah al-Deen al-Alaay (761 H)
  10. Qazi Abu Abdillah Muhammad bin Muslim al-Hanbali (726 H)
  11. Sheikh Ahmad bin Yahya al-Kalabi al-Halabi (73 3H)
  12. Qazi Kamal al-deen al-Zamalkani (727 H)
  13. Qazi Safi al-deen al-Hindi (715 H)
  14. Sheikh Ali bin Muhammad al-Baji (714 H)
  15. Sheikh Al-Fakhr bin al-Mu’alem al-Qurashi (725 H)
  16. Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali al-Dahan al-Mazeni al-Demashqi
  17. Sheikh Abu al-Qasim Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Shirazi (733 H)
  18. Sheikh Jalal al-deen Muhammad al-Qazwini al-Shafiyye (739 H)
  19. Sheikh Abu Hayan al-Andlusi (745 H)
  20. Sheikh Afif al-deen Abdullah al-Y’afee (768 H)
  21. Sheikh Taj al-deen al-Subky al-Shafiyye (771 H)
  22. Sheikh ibn Shakir al-Katabi (764 H)
  23. Sheikh Umar al-Fakehi al-Maliki (734 H)
  24. Qazi Muhammad Saadi al-Akhnaei (755 H)
  25. Sheikh Isa Zawawi al-Maliki (743 H)
  26. Sheikh Ahmad bin Uthman al-Jawzajani al-Hanafi (744 H)
  27. Sheikh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (795 H)
  28. Hafiz wali al-deen al-Iraqi (826 H)
  29. Sheikh ibn Qazi Shuhbah al-Shafiyye (851 H)
  30. Sheikh Abu bakr al-Hesni (829 H)
  31. Sheikh Abu Abdillah bin Arafa al-Tunisi al-Maliki(853 H)
  32. Sheikh Ala al-deen al-Bukhari al-Hanafi (841 H)
  33. Sheikh Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Ferghani al-Hanafi (867 H)
  34. Sheikh Ahmad Zeroq al-Fasi al-Maliki (899 H)
  35. Sheikh Ahmad ibn Abdulsalam al-Masry (931 H)
  36. Sheikh Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Khawarezmi al-Demashqi (968 H)
  37. Qazi Bayadh al-Hanafi (1908H)
  38. Sheikh Ahmad bin Mahmoud al-Wateri (980 H)
  39. Sheikh ibn Hajar al-Haytami (974 H)
  40. Sheikh Jalal al-deen al-dwani (928 H)
  41. Sheikh Abdulnafee bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Araq al-Demashqi (926 H)
  42. Qazi Abu Abdullah al-Muqri
  43. Sheikh Mula Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi (1014 H)
  44. Sheikh Abdulraoof al-Manawy al-Shafiyye (1031 H)
  45. Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali bin Alaan al-Sidiqi (1057 H)
  46. Sheikh Ahmad al-Khafaji al-Hanafi (1019 H)
  47. Sheikh Muhammad al-Zarqani al-Maliki (1122 H)
  48. Sheikh Abdulghani al-Nabulsi (1143 H)
  49. Sheikh Saleh al-Kawash al-Tunsi al-Maliki (1248 H)
  50. Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi al-Sayadi (1287 H)
  51. Sheikh Muhammad Abu al-Huda al-Sayadi (1328 H)
  52. Sheikh Mustafa bin Ahmad al-Sheti al-Hanbali (1348 H)
  53. Sheikh Mahmood Khatab al-Subki (1352 H)
  54. Sheikh Muhammad al-Khizr al-Shanqiti (1353 H)
  55. Sheikh Salama al-Azami al-Shafiyye (1376 H)
  56. Sheikh Muhammad Bakhit al-Mutaei (1354 H)
  57. Sheikh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari (1371 H)
  58. Sheikh Ibrahim bin Uthman al-Semnodi (modern)
  59. Sheikh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Taban (1395 H)
  60. Sheikh Mansour Muhammad Uwais (modern)
  61. Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghemari al-Maliki (1380 H)
  62. Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Ghemari al-Maliki (1314 H)
  63. Sheikh Mustafa al-Hemami (1368 H)
  64. Sheikh Mukhtar bin Ahmad al-Mu’ayed al-Azmi (1340 H)
  65. Sheikh Seraj al-deen Abbas al-Endonisi (1403 H)
  66. Sheikh Mahmood Subaih (modern)
  67. Sheikh Muhammad Madhi Abu al-Azaem (1356 H)
  68. Sheikh Mahmood Saeed Mamdoh (modern)
  69. Sheikh Abdullah al-Habashi (modern)
  70. Sheikh Muhammad al-Zamzami al-Maliki (1407 H)
  71. Sheikh Nizar bin Rashid al-Halabi al-Shafiyye (1416 H) killed by Wahabis
  72. Sheikh al-Habib Ali al-Jefri (modern)
  73. Sheikh Dawoud al-Baghdadi al-Hanafi
  74. Sheikh Barakat al-Ahmadi al-Shafiyee
  75. Sheikh Ahmad bin Ali al-Qabani al-Shafyyie
  76. Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman bin Afaleq al-Hanbali
  77. Sheikh Afif al-deen Abdullah bin Dawoud al-Hanbali
  78. Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdullatif al-Shafyyie
  79. Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed al-Sarhandi

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