The Sources of Ibn Taymiyya’s Ideas Part 2 of 3

“The Creator, Glorified and Exalted is He, is above the world and His being above is literal, not in the sense of dignity or rank.”5 We quote this passage in full below, in the section on Ibn Taymiyya’s conception of Allah’s “descent.” It is enough for now to show his remoteness from the position of Ahl al-Sunna in this respect. As Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani stated in Fath al-Bari:Al-Kirmani (d. 786) said: “The external meaning of “in the heaven”(fi al-sama‘) is not meant (in the Prophet’s hadith: “Do you not trust me who am trusted by the One in the heaven?”), for Allah is transcendent above incarnation in a place; but because the direction of elevation is nobler than any other direction, Allah predicated it to Himself to indicate the loftiness of His Essence and Attributes.” Others than Kirmani addressed in similar terms the expressions that came down concerning elevation and similar topics.6p. 121: “We do not concede that all actions are created. We have agreed by consensus that the movement, the descent, the walking, the running (al-harwala), and the establishment on the Throne and to the heaven are eternal without beginning (qadim).”The consensus of scholars says the exact reverse, and Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri (d. 456) explicitly states in his al-Fasl fi al-milal wa al-ahwa’ wa al-nihal:

“If the establishment on the Throne is eternal without beginning, then the Throne is eternal without beginning, and this is disbelief.”7 It is not only the false reference to consensus that is unsettling in these statements, or their utter lack of foundation in the Qur’an and the Sunna. Rather, the author should have begun by questioning the logic of attributing eternity without beginning to the establishment on the Throne and to the heaven, when the Throne and the heaven themselves are not eternal without beginning! This has been pointed out by Kawthari and others.

1 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sis fi al-radd `ala asas al-taqdis 1:568.

2 Ibn al-Jawzi, Daf` shubah al-tashbih p. 268.

3 Aqrabu ma yakunu al-`abdu min rabbihi wa huwa sajidun fa akthiru fihi al-du`a’, related by Muslim, Salat #482, Abu Dawud, Salat #875, al-Nisa’i 2:226, and Ahmad in the Musnad 2:421.

4 Da`watu dhi al-nuni idha da`a rabbahu wa huwa fi batni al-hut… lam yad`u biha rajulun muslimun fi shay’in qattu illa istajaba allahu lah, related by Tirmidhi (#3500), al-Nisa’i in `Amal al-yawmi wa al-layla (#656), al-Hakim 1:505 and 2:383. The latter declared it sound (sahih) and Dhahabi confirmed him.

5 Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta’sis al-radd `ala asas al-taqdis 1:111.

6 Fath al-Bari 13:412.

7 Ibn Hazm, al-Fasl fi al-milal wa al-ahwa’ wa al-nihal 2:124.

Reproduced with permission from Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani’s The Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations (Kazi, 1996) p. 86-89.


Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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