Saturday, May 12, 2012


SHAIKHUL·ISLAM IMAM AHMAD IBN TAYMIVYAHRevivalist of Islam (661-728 A,H,) We are a people who love goodness for everyone. We like to see Allah bringing you the best of this world and that of the Hereafter. For the best way to worship Allah is by giving counsel and advice to his creatures. This was the purpose of all the Prophets and Messengers from Allah. And there is nothing better than advice in matters of the relation between man and his Creator. Man is certainly destined to meet with his Lord, and he is going to be questioned about his duties. All the Christians know that when He talked to the Tartars concerning the captives in their lands, Ghazan and Katloushah released them. I talked to the king about those captives, and he allowed the release of the Muslims only and said to me. We have some Christians that we captured in Jerusalem, These we are not going to release.' I told him, 'But you release all the Jewish and Christian captives because they are under the protection of Islam. And we will leave no captive be he a Muslim or Christian.' Thus, we caused the release of many Christians from captivity. This Ibn Taymmiyah did only for the sake of Allah whose rewards everyone seek. "Besides, everyone knows about the Christian captives in our hands and how kindly and charitably we treat them in accordance with the teachings of the last of the Prophets (Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The above mentioned words are quotations from a letter written by Ibn Taymiwah, to King $irjwan of Cyprus in which he tried to explain the basic tenets of the Islamic Faith to a Christian ruler. But who was Ibn Taymiyyah? Ibn Taymiyyah, who is known by the title of Sheikh Ul Islam ('The eminent Scholar of Islam') is one of the leading thinkers of Islam and a revivalist of its pristine teachings at a time when the Muslim world was going through one of its darkest times, being under attack by the ruthless Mongol Tartars from the East (who destroyed everything and everyone who stood in their torrential flow from Central Asia) and the fierce Crusaders from the West. Hundreds of thousands of books were thrown by the Tartars into the Rivers of Tigris and Euphrates until the waters of these rivers became black with the ink in those books. On the cultural scene many Muslim scholars were busy summarizing and explaining the works of their predecessors with hardly any worthwhile contribution . In religion, again many unorthodox ideas had crept in from un-Islamic philosophies and foreign thoughts. The theologians were plagued by the ideas of the Mu'tazilites and other misguided sects. The jurists were at a standstill in the understanding and application of the legal spirit of Islam, blindly imitating the opinions of their predecessors. The masses were thus left in total darkness, misguided by agnostic Sufism and their practices, such as exaggeration in revering tombs of the pious and the Saints to the extent of almost worshipping them besides Allah. It was in those circumstances that Ibn Taymiyyah was born. Ibn Taymiyyah was born in 661 A.H . (1263 G.) in Harran (near Damascus). His family was a people of learning and teaching, both its male and female members being well known for their contribution to religious education. Since his childhood Ibn Taymiyyah was known for his great intelligence, strong memory and insatiable thirst for learning. No wonder then that he started research and writing at the age of nineteen. At the age of 21 his father died, and he replaced him in the post of teaching Fiqh (Islamic law or jurisprudence) and Tafseer (Quranic exegesis or commentaries). When he announced in 696 A.H. his views on certain theological issues, some theologians (whose understanding was contaminated by foreign philosophical ideas) started annoying him. Ibn Taymiyyah's views on the Divine Attributes enraged Some theologians who had him called to court in Egypt and imprisoned there. It seems that his courage and frankness in attacking unorthodox interpretations of Islamic teachings in areas of theology, jurisprudence and spirituality caused many problems for him. For Ibn Taymiyyah made it his job to correct the wrong views prevalent at his time despite the fierce resistance he met with from many religious scholars. He felt it his duty to unify the Muslims around orthodox and pristine Islamic teachings, of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah by fighting against polytheists and innovations in religion (bid'ah) and purifying the religion from interpretations and practices alien to it, taking only the Qur'an and Sunnah or Prophetic traditions as the only infallible sources. Ibn Taymiyyah suffered a great deal because of this, but he never hesitated or faltered. History tells us that the enemies of Ibn Taymmiyah not only caused the authorities to imprison him on many occasions but also they even tried to have him killed by reporting to Sultan an-Nasser faking that Ibn Taymiyyah was using the masses' love and admiration for him to usurp the throne. An-Nasser Lideeni-Liah ordered that he be brought to him. He told him, "I have been told that people listen to you, and that you are seeking my kingdom. Ibn Taymmiyyah answered. "I do that? By Allah your kingdom and the kingdoms of all the Moguls are not worth a single penny to me." The Sultan was impressed by our hero's answer and was convinced of the falsehood of the allegation. But intelligence, Knowledge, courage and frankness were not the only things for which he known. He was also known for his otherworldliness and unlimited generous to the extent that he would give the clothes he had on to a needy person. Ibn Taymiyyah was not only an active teacher, but he was also a prolific writer of encyclopedic knowledge as well. So when he died in 728 A.H. (at the age of 67). He left scores of volumes of writings on various topics including comparative religion. One of his masterpieces is well known, namely "Fatawa·lbn Taymiyyah, (The religious Rulings and verdicts of Ibn Taymiyyah) which has been published in 36 volumes, several times. Ibn Tamiyyah is reported to have said, 'The (real) prisoner is the one whose heart has been kept away from remembering his Lord, and the (real) captive is the one who has been captivated by his whims and desires." His disciple Ibnul·Oayyim, reports (that he (i.e. Ibn Taymiyyahl used to say, when he was imprisoned in AI Qalah Prison in Damascus, "What on earth can my enemies do to me? My Paradise is in my heart and accompanies me wherever I go. My imprisonment is (in fact) seclusion (which helps me worship Allah better) my killing is (in fact) martyrdom and my deportation from my country is (in fact) seeing (the world.”

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