Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah (RA).

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Birth and Childhood: 

Born on Monday 10th of Rabiul-Awwal 661 A.H. Ahmed Taqi-uddin Ibn Taymiyah (R) came from a reputed family of theologians belonging to Harran near Edessa (Roha) known as Orfa, the town is now in Turkey the north of Iraq. His father’s name was Abul Haleem Ibn Taymiyah (died 682A.H) and his grandfather’s name was Abul Barkăt Majddin Ibn Taymiyah (died 652A.H), both were men of Knowledge. This was the time when entire Muslim world trembled with fear under the terrible blows dealt by the Tartar hordes: but the lands of Iraq and Jazirah were at the moment special targets of their horrid depredations (persecution).

Ibn Taymiyah (R) was seven years old when the Tartar attacked Harran. His family left all their belongings, except the books which they carried on carts without horses and headed towards Damascus. He had a prodigious memory. Even as a child, he was an industrious student who never took an interest in games or sports. He gleaned knowledge of the secular and religious sciences of his time. When his father died he was only twenty-two. Within less than a year. He was asked to take his father’s place at the Umayyad Mosque.

The Struggle of Ibn Taymiyah (R):

The Tartar made various attempts to conquer Syria. Ibn Taymiyah (R) had always been a main pillar in negotiating with them to liberate people and to moderate their actions. On the 2nd of Ramadhăn 702 A.H Muslims of forces of Egypt and Syria went into battle with the Tartars. Ibn Taymiyah (R) struggled against innovations and abuses of the Deen. There were many heretical practises which originated from Christian and Jewish cults. He made Jihăd against them in 705 A.H. he faced the Rafaiyah.

His Opposition to Muhiyuddin Ibn Arabi: 

He was also against Muhiyuddin Ibn Arabi (died 638 A.H), who was regarded as the most respected mentor (counsellor) and undisputed teacher of mystic thought (Tasawwuf). Ibn Taymiyah (R) openly rejected his teachings which contained a rapturous (enthusiastic) discussion of the existence of Allah in created beings and the identification of man with Allah. The pantheistic monism (definition: the doctrine of Allah being in everything and everything being in Allah) of Ibn Arabi attempted to square the existence of a transcendental (abstract) Allah with Allah indwelling in the world and in all created material objects (these were to him sheer manifestation of Allah anyway). The writing of Ibn Taymiyah (R) show that he had clearly studied the works of ibn Arabi and reached the conclusion that the pantheistic monism of Ibn Arabi would in no way be deemed compatible with the teachings of the Qur’ăn or the Sunnah.

Due to his dynamic personality and vision he had to advice Politicians and jurists. He was jailed in Egypt and even there he preached and reformed the prisoners.

Dauntless courage:
The Turk and military generals were amazed to see the dauntless valour of Ibn Taymiyah (R) which he had shown against the Mongols in the battlefield. “Seated on horseback” says Hăfiz Sirăjuddin. “He assumed his station in the frontline like a brave soldier, and flew at the enemy ranks as if he had no fear”.

Literary achievements:

The total of his works total 621 and they include treatises, monographs and books some of which cover only twenty pages, run into several volumes. Of these the writing of Exegesis (Tafseer) No: 102, on traditions 41, jurisprudence and discussion of juristic issues 166, dialectics and matters pertaining to creed 126, moral mysticism (Tasawwuf) 78, criticism of philosophy and logic 17, letters expounding theological issues 7 and on other miscellaneous subjects 84. Some of his books have been lost and are not available now.

“Whenever he started lecturing on any subject the providence unveiled before his eyes the treasure-house of knowledge, reconcile truths and hidden meanings precepts and principles enunciated by masters of yore and all similitude’s and illustrations of the subject found in Arabic poetics and it seemed that a headstream of knowledge was surging like a swift torrent,” says Hafiz Abu Hafs al-Bazar, his disciple.

One of the contemporary scholars and a noted debater Shaykh Safiuddin a! Hindi, once remarked Ibn Taymiyah (R), “You are like a breezy bird, whenever I try to catch hold of you at one point, you swiftly move onto another”.

His erudition led him to jail and whenever the link and pen were taken away, he used to write with charcoal on loose sheets of paper such as he could lay his hands on.

The last days:

Zainuddin Abdurrahman relates that after completing eighty recitals of the Qur’an, Ibn Taymiyah (R) started again with him. However, when he reached the closing verses of Surah al Qamar “Lo! The righteous will dwell among gardens and rivers firmly established in favour of a mighty King” he expressed his desire to continue the recital further with Abdullah Ibn Muhib and his brother Abdullah az Zara’ee. Both these brothers were pious and pure of heart and their recitals were very much liked by Ibn Taymiyah (R). But he had not completed this recital of the Qur’an when the knell summoning him to heaven was sounded. He was sick for twenty-two days and in the night of the Zil Qadah 728A.H. He left this world at the age of 67. The funeral was led by his younger brother Zainuddin Abdurrahman.

Ibn Taymiyah (R) was laid to rest in Maqbartus-Sufiyah (in an open space before the hall of the university of Syria and the hospital). It is estimated that a train of sixty thousand to a hundred thousand persons of which at least fifteen thousand were women joined the funeral procession. In many countries funeral services were held in absentia for Ibn Taymiyah (R). Like in Yemen and China.

“The funeral services of an expositor of the Qur’an will now be held” was the announcement made after Friday prayers in a far off city according to the travellers from China.

Article taken (with Thanks) from I.T.A


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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .