by Dr. G.F. Haddad
Ahmad ibn `Abd al-Halim ibn `Abd Allah ibn Abi al-Qasim ibn Taymiyya, Taqi al-Din Abu al-`Abbas ibn Shihab al-Din ibn Majd al-Din al-Harrani al-Dimashqi al-Hanbali (661-728). The most influential scholar of the late Hanbali school, praised by the hadith master Salah al-Din al-`Ala'i as "Our shaykh, master, and imam between us and Allah Almighty, the master of verification, the wayfarer of the best path, the owner of the multifarious merits and overpowering proofs which all hosts agree are impossible to enumerate, the Shaykh, the Imam and faithful servant of his Lord, the doctor in the Religion, the Ocean, the light-giving Pole of spirituality, the leader of imams, the blessing of the Community, the sign-post of the people of knowledge, the inheritor of Prophets, the last of those capable of independent legal reasoning, the most unique of the scholars of the Religion, Shaykh al-Islam..."
A student of Ibn `Abd al-Da'im, al-Qasim al-Irbili, Ibn `Allan, Ibn Abi `Amr al-Fakhr, Ibn Taymiyya mostly read by himself until he achieved great learning. He taught, authored books, gave formal legal opinions, and generally distinguished himself for his quick wit and photographic memory. Among his most brilliant students were Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, al-Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, and Yusuf ibn `Abd al-Hadi. His opinions and manner created intense controversy both in his life and after his death, to the point that scholars were divided into those who loved him and those who did not. An illustration of this is the fact that the Shafi`i hadith master al-Mizzi did not call anyone else Shaykh al-Islam in his time besides Ibn Taymiyya; yet the Hanafi scholar `Ala' al-Din al-Bukhari issued a fatwa whereby anyone who called Ibn Taymiyya Shaykh al-Islam commited disbelief.1 In Bayan Zaghl al-`Ilm al-Dhahabi states: "Ibn Taymiyya was considered by his enemies to be a wicked Anti-Christ and disbeliever, while great numbers of the wise and the elite considered him an eminent, brilliant, and scholarly innovator (mubtadi` fadil muhaqqiq bari`)."2
First Incident of Tashbih
His first clash with the scholars occurred in 698 in Damascus when he was temporarily barred from teaching after he issued his Fatwa Hamawiyya. In this epistle he unambiguously attributes literal upward direction to Allah Almighty. He was refuted by his contemporary, the imam and mufti of Aleppo then Damascus Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi (d. 733), in a lengthy reply which Taj al-Din al-Subki reproduced in full in his Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra. Ibn Taymiyya then returned to his activities until he was summoned by the authorities again in 705 to answer for his `Aqida Wasitiyya. He spent the few following years in and out of jail or defending himself from various "abhorrent charges" according to Ibn Hajar. Because he officially repented, his life was spared, although at one point it was officially announced in Damascus that "Whoever follows the beliefs of Ibn Taymiyya, his life and property are licit for seizure." These events instigated great dissension among the scholars in Damascus and Cairo as detailed in Imam Taqi al-Din al-Husni's Daf` Shubah Man Shabbaha wa Tamarrad wa Nasaba Dhalika ila al-Sayyid al-Jalil al-Imam Ahmad ("Repelling the Sophistries of the Rebel who Likens Allah to Creation, Then Attributes This Doctrine to Imam Ahmad").3
Ibn Taymiyya at various times declared himself a follower of the Shafi`i school - as did many Hanbalis in Damascus - and an Ash`ari.
Ibn Hajar wrote in al-Durar al-Kamina:
An investigation [of his views] was conducted with several scholars [in Cairo] and a written statement was drawn in which he said: "I am Ash`ari." His handwriting is found with what he wrote verbatim, namely: "I believe that the Qur'an is a meaning which exists in Allah's Entity, and that it is an Attribute from the pre-eternal Attributes of His Entity, and that it is uncreated, and that it does not consist in the letter nor the voice, and that His saying: "The Merciful established Himself over the Throne" (20:4) is not taken according to its literal meaning (laysa `ala zahirihi), and I don't know in what consists its meaning, nay only Allah knows it, and one speaks of His 'descent' in the same way as one speaks of His 'establishment.'"
It was written by Ahmad ibn Taymiyya and they witnessed over him that he had repented of his own free will from all that contravened the above. This took place on the 25th of Rabi` al-Awwal 707 and it was witnessed by a huge array of scholars and others.4
The Hanbali scholar Najm al-Din Sulayman ibn `Abd al-Qawi al-Tufi said:5
He used to bring up in one hour from the Book, the Sunna, the Arabic language, and philosophical speculation, material which no-one could bring up even in many sessions, as if these sciences were before his very eyes and he was picking and choosing from them at will. A time came when his companions took to over-praising him and this drove him to be satisfied with himself until he became conceited before his fellow human beings. He became convinced that he was a scholar capable of independent reasoning (mujtahid). Henceforth he began to answer each and every scholar great and small, past and recent, until he went all the way back to `Umar (r) and faulted him in some matter. This reached the ears of the Shaykh Ibrahim al-Raqi who reprimanded him. Ibn Taymiyya went to see him, apologized, and asked for forgiveness. He also spoke against `Ali (r) and said: "He made mistakes in seventeen different matters."... Because of his fanatic support of the Hanbali school he would attack Ash'aris until he started to insult al-Ghazzali, at which point some people opposed him and would almost kill him.... They ascertained that he had blurted out certain words, concerning doctrine, which came out of his mouth in the context of his sermons and legal pronouncements, and they mentioned that he had cited the tradition of Allah's descent (to the nearest heaven), then climbed down two steps from the minbar and said: "Just like this descent of mine" and so was categorized as an anthropomorphist. They also cited his refutation of whoever uses the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- as a means or seeks help from him (aw istaghatha).... People were divided into parties because of him. Some considered him an anthropomorphist because of what he mentioned in al-`Aqida al-Hamawiyya and al-`Aqida al-Wasitiyya and other books of his, to the effect that the hand, foot, shin, and face are litteral attributes of Allah and that He is established upon the Throne with His Essence. It was said to him that were this the case He would necessarily be subject to spatial confinement (al-tahayyuz) and divisibility (al-inqisam). He replied: "I do not concede that spatial confinement and divisibility are (necessarily) properties of bodies," whereupon it was adduced against him (ulzima) that he held Allah's Essence to be subject to spatial confinement. Others considered him a heretic (zindiq) due to his saying that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- is not to be sought for help and the fact that this amounted to diminishing and impeding the establishing of the greatness of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- .... Others considered him a dissimulator (munafiq) because of what he said about `Ali:... namely, that he had been forsaken 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 the boy's Islam is not considered sound upon his mere word.... In sum he said ugly things such as these, and it was said against him that he was a hypocrite, in view of the Prophet's -- Allah bless and greet him -- saying (to `Ali): "None but a hypocrite has hatred for you."6
Another reason why Ibn Taymiyya was opposed was his criticism of Sufis, particularly Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi, although he described himself, in his letter to Abu al-Fath Nasr al-Munayji, as a former admirer of the Shaykh al-Akbar:
I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn `Arabi and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as what he said in many of his books, for example: al-Futuhat, al-Kanh, al-Muhkam al-Marbut, al-Durra al-Fakhira, Matali` al-Nujum, and other such works.7
According to Ibn `Abd al-Hadi, Ibn Taymiyya also declared himself a follower of several Sufi orders, among them the Qadiri path of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani.8 In al-Mas'ala al-Tabriziyya Ibn Taymiyya declares: "Labistu al-khirqa al-mubaraka li al-Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir wa bayni wa baynahu ithnan - I wore the blessed Sufi cloak of `Abd al-Qadir, there being between him and me two shaykhs."9
Further charges of heresy were brought against Ibn Taymiyya for his assertion that a divorce pronounced in innovative fashion does not take effect, against the consensus of the scholars which stipulated that it does, though innovative. After spending the years 719-721 in jail, he was jailed again in 726 until his death two years leater for declaring that one who travels to visit the Prophet commits innovation. His burial was attended by about 50,000 people.
His student al-Dhahabi praised him lavishly as "the brilliant shaykh, imam, erudite scholar, censor, jurist, mujtahid, and commentator of the Qur'an," but acknowledged that Ibn Taymiyya's disparaging manners alienated even his admirers. For example, the grammarian Abu Hayyan praised Ibn Taymiyya until he found out that he believed himself a greater expert in the Arabic language than Sibawayh, whereupon he disassociated himself from his previous praise. Other former admirers turned critics were the qadi al-Zamalkani and al-Dhahabi himself, in whose al-Nasiha al-Dhahabiyya he addresses Ibn Taymiyya with the words: "When will you stop criticizing the scholars and finding fault with the people?"
Dr. al-Buti pointed out that although Ibn Taymiyya blamed al-Ghazzali and other Ash`ari scholars for involving themselves in philosophical or dialectical disputations, yet he went much further than most into kalam and philosophy. This is shown by his books in kalam and philosophy, most notably by his positions in al-Radd `ala al-Mantiqiyyin ("Against the Logicians") on the "generic beginninglessness" of created matters and Aristotelian causality (al-`illa al-aristiyya).10 Al-Dhahabi alluded to this in his epistle to Ibn Taymiyya: "When will you stop investigating the poisoned minutiae of philosophical disbelief, so that we have to refute them with our minds? You have swallowed the poisons of the philosophers and their treatises, not once, but several times!"11
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami on Ibn Taymiyya
Al-Haytami wrote in his Fatawa Hadithiyya:
Ibn Taymiyya is a servant which Allah forsook, misguided, blinded, deafened, and debased. That is the declaration of the imams who have exposed the corruption of his positions and the mendacity of his sayings. Whoever wishes to pursue this must read the words of the mujtahid imam Abu al-Hasan (Taqi al-Din) al-Subki, of his son Taj al-Din Subki, of the Imam al-`Izz ibn Jama`a and others of the Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanafi shaykhs... It must be considered that he is a misguided and misguiding innovator (mubtadi` dall mudill) and an ignorant who brought evil (jahilun ghalun) whom Allah treated with His justice. May He protect us from the likes of his path, doctrine, and actions!... Know that he has differed from people on questions about which Taj al-Din Ibn al-Subki and others warned us. Among the things Ibn Taymiyya said which violate the scholarly consensus are:
Some said: "Whoever looks at his books does not attribute to him most of these positions, except that whereby he holds the view that Allah has a direction, and that he authored a book to establish this, and forces the proof upon the people who follow this school of thought that they are believers in Allah's corporeality (jismiyya), dimensionality (muhadhat), and settledness (istiqrar)." That is, it may be that at times he used to assert these proofs and that they were consequently attributed to him in particular. But whoever attributed this to him from among the imams of Islam upon whose greatness, leadership, religion, trustworthiness, fairness, acceptance, insight, and meticulousness there is agreement - then they do not say anything except what has been duly established with added precautions and repeated inquiry. This is especially true when a Muslim is attributed a view which necessitates his disbelief, apostasy, misguidance, and execution. Therefore if it is true of him that he is a disbeliever and an innovator, then Allah will deal with him with His justice, and other than that He will forgive us and him.
Imam al-Kawthari on Ibn Taymiyya
Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari stated in strong terms that Ibn Taymiyya's position on Allah's attributes is tantamount to disbelief and apostasy because it reduces Allah to a corporeal body. He states in his Maqalat:
In al-Ta'sis fi Radd Asas al-Taqdis ("The Laying of the Foundation: A Refutation of al-Razi's "The Foundation of Allah's Sanctification") Ibn Taymiyya says: "Al-`arsh (the throne) in language means al-sarir (elevated seat or couch), so named with respect to what is on top of it, just as the roof is so named with respect to what is under it. Therefore, if the Qur'an attributes a throne to Allah, it is then known that this throne is, with respect to Allah, like the elevated seat is with respect to other than Allah. This makes it necessarily true that He is on top of the throne." So then the throne is, for Ibn Taymiyya, Allah's seat (maq`ad)- Exalted is He from such a notion!
He also says: "It is well-known that the Book, the Sunna, and the Consensus nowhere say that all bodies (ajsam) are created, and nowhere say that Allah Himself is not a body. None of the imams of the Muslims ever said such a thing. Therefore if I also choose not to say it, it does not expel me from religion nor from Shari`a." These words are complete impudence. What did he do with all the verses declaring Allah to be far removed from anything like unto Him? Does he expect that the idiocy that every single idiot can come up with be addressed with a specific text? Is it not enough that Allah the Exalted said: "There is nothing whatsoever like Him" (42:11)? Or does he consider it permissible for someone to say: Allah eats this, chews that, and tastes the other thing, just because no text mentions the opposite? This is disbelief laid bare and pure anthropomorphism.
In another passage of the same book he says: "You [Ash`aris] say that He is neither a body, nor an atom (jawhar), nor spatially bounded (mutahayyiz), and that He has no direction, and that He cannot be pointed to as an object of sensory perception, and that nothing of Him can be considered distinct from Him. You have asserted this on the grounds that Allah is neither divisible nor made of parts and that He has neither limit (hadd) nor end (ghaya), with your view thereby to forbid one to say that He has any limit or measure (qadr), or that He even has a dimension that is unlimited. But how do you allow yourselves to do this without evidence from the Book and the Sunna?"16 The reader's intelligence suffices to comment on these heretical statements. Can you imagine for an apostate to be more brazen than this, right in the midst of a Muslim society?
In another place of the same book he says: "It is obligatorily known that Allah did not mean by the name of "the One" (al-Wahid) the negation of the Attributes." He is here alluding to all that entails His "coming" to a place and the like. He continues: "Nor did He mean by it the negation that He can be perceived with the senses, nor the denial of limit and dimension and all such interpretations which were innovated by the Jahmiyya and their followers. Negation or denial of the above is not found in the Book nor the Sunna." And this is on an equal footing with what came before with regard to pure anthropomorphism and plain apostasy.
In another book of his, Muwafaqa al-Ma`qul, which is in the margin of his Minhaj, Ibn Taymiyya asserts that things occur newly in relation to Allah and that He has a direction according to two kinds of conjecture.17 And you know, O reader, what the Imams say concerning him who deliberately and intently establishes that Allah has a direction, unless his saying such a thing is a slip of the tongue or a slip of the pen. Then there is his establishing that the concept of movement applies to Allah, along with all the others who establish such a thing; his denial that there is an eternal sojourn in hellfire has filled creation; and his doctrine of "generic beginninglessness" (al-qidam al-naw`i).18
Ibn Taymiyya's Two Tawhids
Also among Ibn Taymiyya's controversies in kalam was his division of tawhid into two types: tawhid al-rububiyya and tawhid al-uluhiyya, respectively, Oneness of Lordship and Oneness of Godhead.19 The first, he said, consisted in the acknowledgment of Allah as the Creator of all, a belief shared by believers and non-believers alike. The second was the affirmation of Allah as the one true deity and only object of worship, a belief exclusive to believers. His natural conclusion was that "whoever does not know tawhid al-uluhiyya, his knowledge of tawhid al-rububiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge." He then compared the scholars of kalam to the Arab idol-worshippers who accepted tawhid al-rububiyya but ignored tawhid al-uluhiyya. This dialectic was adopted by Ibn Abi al-`Izz in his commentary on al-Tahawi's `Aqida.20
Abu Hamid Ibn Marzuq wrote:
Tawhid al-rububiyya and tawhid al-uluhiyya were invented by Ibn Taymiyya who claimed that all Muslims among the mutakallimun worshipped other than Allah due to their ignorance of tawhid al-uluhiyya; he claimed that the only tawhid they knew was tawhid al-rububiyya. The latter consists in affirming that Allah is the Creator of all things, as, he says, the polytheists conceded. He then declared all Muslims to be unbelievers. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab imitated him in this, and others imitated Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. The late erudite scholar al-Sayyid Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304) looked into this matter in a small section of his treatise al-Durar al-Saniyya fi al-Radd `ala al-Wahhabiyya ("The Resplendent Pearls in Refuting the Wahhabis"). So did the savant al-Shaykh Ibrahim al-Samnudi al-Mansuri (d. 1314) who spoke excellently in his book Sa`ada al-Darayn fi al-Radd `ala al-Firqatayn al-Wahhabiyya wa al-Zahiriyya ("The Bliss of the Two Abodes in the Refutation of the Two Sects: Wahhabis and Zahiris"). The late erudite scholar al-Shaykh Salama al-`Azzami (d. 1376) also wrote valuable words about it in his book al-Barahin al-Sati`a fi Radd Ba`d al-Bida` al-Sha'i`a ("The Radiant Proofs in Refuting Some Widespread Innovations")...
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal... never said that tawhid consisted in two parts, one being tawhid al-rububiyya and the other tawhid al-uluhiyya. Nor did he ever say that "whoever does not know tawhid al-uluhiyya, his knowledge of tawhid al-rububiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge."... None of the followers of the Followers ... None of the Successors ... None of the Companions of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- ever said that tawhid consisted in two parts, one being tawhid al-rububiyya and the other tawhid al-uluhiyya, nor did any of them ever say that "whoever does not know tawhid al-uluhiyya, his knowledge of tawhid al-rububiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge."... Nowhere in the extensive Sunna of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- ... is it related that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- ever said or ever taught his Companions that tawhid consists in two parts, one being tawhid al-rububiyya and the other tawhid al-uluhiyya, nor that "whoever does not know tawhid al-uluhiyya, his knowledge of tawhid al-rububiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge." If mankind and jinn joined together to establish that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- ever said such a thing, even with an inauthentic chain of transmission, they would not succeed.
The books of the Sunna of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- overflow with the fact that the call of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- to the people unto Allah was in order that they witness that there is no God except Allah alone and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and in order that they repudiate idol-worship. One of the most famous illustrations of this is the narration of Mu`adh ibn Jabal when the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- sent him to Yemen and said to him: "Invite them to the testimony that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah...." And it is narrated in five of the six books of authentic traditions, and Ibn Hibban declared it sound, that a beduin Arab reported the sighting of the new moon to the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- and the latter ordered the people to fast without asking this man other than to confirm his testimony of faith. According to this drivel of Ibn Taymiyya, it would have been necessary for the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- to call all people to the tawhid al-uluhiyya of which they were ignorant - since tawhid al-rububiyya they knew already - and he should have said to Mu`adh: "Invite them to tawhid al-uluhiyya"; and he should have asked the beduin who had sighted the new moon of Ramadan: "Do you know tawhid al-uluhiyya?"
Finally, in His precious Book which falsehood cannot approach whether from the front or from the back, Allah never ordered tawhid al-uluhiyya to His servants, nor did He ever say that "whoever does not know this tawhid, his knowledge of tawhid al-rububiyya is not taken into account."21<
Ibn Taymiyya's method in debate was to provide a barrage of quotes and citations in support of his positions. In the process he often mentioned reports or stated positions which, upon closer examination, are dubious either from the viewpoint of transmission or from that of doctrine. For example:
The above statements corroborate Ibn Hajar's reports whereby he once climbed down the minbar in purported illustration of Allah's descent to the nearest heaven.
The writings and notoriety of Ibn Taymiyya were by and large forgotten until the "Salafi" movement revived them through the publishing efforts of the Wahabi Gulf states from the 1930s to our day.
al-Dhahabi, Tadhkira al-Huffaz 4:1496 #1177.
Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya 14:5, 14:42-48.
Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-Kamina 1:144-160 #409.
al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya.
1Cf. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun (1:838).
2Cited in al-Sakhawi, al-I`lan (p. 78).
3Published in Cairo at Dar Ihya' al-Kutub al-`Arabiyya, 1931.
4The names of the scholars who counter-signed Ibn Taymiyya's deposition are listed by al-Kawthari in his notes to Ibn al-Subki's al-Sayf al-Saqil (p. 95-96).
5In Ibn Hajar's al-Durar al-Kamina (1:153-155).
6Narrated from `Ali by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa'i, and Ahmad.
7Ibn Taymiyya, Tawhid al-Rububiyya in Majmu`a al-Fatawa (2:464-465).
8See George Makdisi, "L'isnad initiatique soufi de Muwaffaq ad-Din ibn Qudama," in Cahiers de l'Herne: Louis Massignon (Paris: Editions de l'Herne, 1970) p. 88-96; "Ibn Taimiya: A Sufi of the Qadiriya Order," in American Journal of Arabic Studies I (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974) p. 118-129; "The Hanbali School and Sufism," in Boletin de la Asociacion Espanola de Orientalistas 15 (Madrid, 1979) p. 115-126. Based on Ibn `Abd al-Hadi, Bad' al-`Ilqa bi Labs al-Khirqa, ms. al-Hadi, Princeton Library Arabic Collection, fos 154a, 169b, 171b-172a; and Damascus University, copy of original Arabic manuscript, 985H.; also mentioned in al-Talyani, manuscript Chester Beatty 3296 (8) in Dublin, fo 67a.
9Ms. Damascus, Zahiriyya #1186 H.
10Cf. al-Buti, al-Salafiyya (p. 164-175). See our translation of Ibn Khafif's `Aqida §41 ("Things do not act of their own nature...") and note.
11Al-Dhahabi, al-Nasiha al-Dhahabiyya, in the margin of his Bayan Zaghl al-`Ilm wa al-Talab, ed. al-Kawthari (Damascus: Qudsi, 1928-1929); also in Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya, Siratuhu wa Akhbaruhu `inda al-Mu'arrikhin, ed. Salah al-Din al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, 1976) p. 11-14. See n. 1715.
12This is mentioned about Ibn Taymiyya also by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:411). This doctrine was refuted by Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-San`ani in his Risala Sharifa fi ma Yata`allaqu bi Kam al-Baqi Min `Umr al-Dunya? (Precious Treatise Concerning the Remaining Age of the World") ed. al-Wasabi al-Mathani. (San`a': Maktaba Dar al-Quds, 1992).
13This doctrine was refuted by Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-San`ani in his Raf` al-Astar li-Ibtal Adilla al-Qa'ilin bi-Fana al-Nar ("Exposing the Nullity of the Proofs of Those Who Claim That the Fire Shall Pass Away"), ed. Albani (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1984).
14This is explicitly contradicted by the vast majority of scholars, including Ibn Taymiyya's own students Ibn al-Qayyim (cf. al-Nuniyya, section on tawassul) and al-Dhahabi, as well as al-Shawkani and countless others. See the volume on tawassul in Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine.
15Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari about Ibn Taymiyya's prohibition to travel in order to visit the Prophet: "This is one of the ugliest matters ever reported from Ibn Taymiyya." In his notes on Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 3:66) the late "Salafi" scholar Bin Baz comments: "This was not an ugly thing but a correct thing for Ibn Taymiyya to say."
16Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta'sis (1:101). Compare to Imam Malik's statement: "He is neither ascribed a limit nor likened with anything" (lâ yuhaddad wa lâ yushabbah). Ibn al-`Arabi said after citing it in Ahkam al-Qur'an (4:1740): "This is a pinnacle of tawhîd in which no Muslim preceded Malik."
17Ibn Taymiyya, Muwafaqa al-Ma`qul on the margins of Minhaj al-Sunna (2:75, 1:264, 2:13, 2:26). The Muwafaqa was republished under the title Dar' Ta`arud al-`Aqli wa al-Naql.
18Al-Kawthari, Maqalat (p. 350-353).
19In his Fatawa (1:219, 2:275); Minhaj al-Sunna (2: 62); Risala Ahl al-Suffa (p.34).
20But by no other commentator of the same text. See the commentaries on the Tahawiyya by Hasan al-Busnawi (d. 1024), al-Maydani, al-Bajuri, al-Saqqaf, and others. Al-Busnawi does follow Ibn Abi al-`Izz in other matters.
21Ibn Marzuq, Bara'a al-Ash`ariyyin Min `Aqa'id al-Mukhalifin (1:89, 1:94f.) Chapter reprinted in Ibn Marzuq, al-Tawassul bi al-Nabi (s) wa al-Salihin (Istanbul: Hakikat Kitabevi, 1993) p. 25-101. Cf. Shaykh Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf's al-Tandid bi man `Addada al-Tawhid ("Punishment of Him Who Counts Several Tawhîds").
22Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu`a al-Fatawa (5:376). Narrated with its chain by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (8:213, chapter of Bishr ibn al-Siriy).
23Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu`a al-Fatawa (5:376-377). Also narrated by al-Dhahabi with a sound chain according to al-Albani in Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 192 #235). However, al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma' wa al-Sifat (al-Asma' wa al-Sifat, ed. Kawthari p. 451-452; al-Asma' wa al-Sifat, Hashidi ed. 2:375-377 #950-953) narrates the reports of Ishaq's encounter with the Emir `Abd Allah ibn Tahir with five chains (three of them sound according to al-Hashidi), none of which mentioning the words "without the Throne being vacant of Him." This apparent interpolation is nevertheless the foundation of Ibn Taymiyya's position in Sharh Hadith al-Nuzul (p. 42-59) that Allah descends in person yet remains above the Throne in person. That position has been characterized by Imam Abu Zahra as a dual assertion of Allah's aboveness and belowness on the part of Ibn Taymiyya (see n. 456 and 711), although strenuously denied by Ibn Taymiyya himself in Minhaj al-Sunna (2:248) and by al-Albani who defends the latter against Abu Zahra's conclusion in his introduction to Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 40-41, 192-193).
25Al-Dhahabi, Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 264 #321). Al-Dhahabi criticizes these assertions: see our May 1999 post entitled "Allah is now as He ever was," toward the end.
26Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu`a al-Fatawa (5:199)
Allah's Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.