Ibn Taymiyya the Sufi Shaikh

[found in "Al-Hadi" manuscript in Princeton Library, Collection fol. 154a, 169b, 171b-172a and Damascus University, copy of original Arabic manuscript, 985H.; also mentioned in "at-Talyani", manuscript Chester Beatty 3296 (8) in Dublin, fol. 67a.]

Additional evidence of Ibn Taymiyya’s connection to the Qadiri silsila (lineage) is found in his lengthy commentary on the seminal Sufi work by his grand-shaikh, ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, entitled “Futuh al-Ghayb.” [this is found in a Princeton manuscript, uncataloged, also in Leipzig University Library, Arabic manuscript #223, and Istanbul University, Turkish translation, "Futuh ul-Gayb Hakkinda Yorum"]

The essence of his commentary on “Futuh al-Ghaib” is to show that Sufism, when orthodox, is completely in consonance with the Qur’an and hadith and the consensus of the community [ijma'a]. A Tasawwuf not based on the revealed law is heretical. In his commentary, Ibn Taymiyya upholds ilham, or Sufi inspiration, as evidence stronger than weak analogy [qiyas], or a weak tradition [hadith,] or istis-hab cited by those who are immersed in fiqh, or divergences of the law [khilaf], or the principles and sources of the law [usul al-fiqh]. He places inspiration [ilham] on the level of legally valid evidence on which to base a preference for one action as against another when all other sources fail.

Perfection of the soul, says Ibn Taymiyya, does not consist in mere knowledge. On the contraray, along with the knowledge concerning Allah, there must necessarily be love [mahabba] of Allah, worship of Allah, and the turning back to Him in repentance. Real tawhid consists in worshipping no one but Allah, and worship calls for perfect love [kamal al-hubb], perfect veneration [kamal at-ta'zim], perfect hope, fear, reverence, and respect [kamal ar-raja' wal-khishya wal-ijlal wal-ikram].

We intend to publish a translation of that lengthy commentary by Ibn Taymiyya on Futuh al-Ghaib in the future.

Ibn Taymiyya’s Discussion of Tasawwuf in His Majmu’a Fatawa

What Ibn Taymiyya Says About the Term `Tasawwuf’

Here we will mention what Imam Ibn Taymiyya, mentioned about the definition of Tasawwuf, from Volume 11,”At-Tawassuf” of “Majmu’a Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra,” Dar ar-Rahmah, Cairo,

    “Alhamdulillah, the pronunciation of the word


    has been thoroughly discussed. From those who spoke about


    were not just the the Imams and Shaikhs, but also included were Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abi Sulayman ad-Daarani, As-Sirr as-Saqati, al-Junayd al-Baghdadi, Hasan al-Basri, Ma’aruf al-Karkhi, Abdul Qadir Jilani, Bayazid al-Bistami [one of the grandshaikhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqat] and many others. This is a term that was given to those who were dealing with that kind of science [

tazkiyyat an-nafs and Ihsan


Imam Ibn Taymiyya says:

    “Tassawuf has realities and states of experience which they talk about in their science. Some of it is that the Sufi is that one who purifies himself from anything which distracts him from the remembrance of Allah and who will be so filled up with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind to the point that the value of gold and stones will be the same to him. And


    is safeguarding the precious meanings and leaving behind the call to fame and vanity in order to reach the state of Truthfulness, because the best of humans after the prophets are the Siddiqeen, as Allah mentioned them in the verse:
    ‘(And all who obey God and the Apostle) are in the company of those on whom is the grace of Allah: of the prophets, the sincere lovers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous; Ah! what a beautiful fellowship.’” (an-Nisa’, 69,70)

Ibn Taymiyya continues:

as-Sufi hua fil-haqiqa naw’un min as-siddiqeen. Fahua as-siddiq alladhee ikhtassa bil-zuhadiwal-’ibada.”

which translates:

“And the Sufi is in reality a kind of Siddiq (Truthful One), that Siddiq who specialized in zuhd and worship.”

He continues about the Sufis,

    “some people criticised Sufiyya and


    and they said they were innovators, out of the Sunnah, but the truth is they are striving in Allah’s obedience[

mujtahidin fi ta'at-illahi

    ], as others of Allah’s People strove in Allah’s obedience. So from them you will find the Foremost in Nearness by virtue of his striving [

as-saabiq ul-muqarrab bi hasab ijtihadihi

    ]. And some of them are from the People of the Right hand [

Ahl al-Yameen

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