Wahhabism: Understanding the Roots and Role Models of Islamic Extremism

Zubair Qamar

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Ibn Taymiyah’’s “fatwa” of jihad against Muslims

What is also well-known about Ibn Taymiyah is that he lived in turbulent times when the Mongols had sacked Baghdad and conquered the Abassid Empire in 1258.  In 1303, he was ordered by the Mamluk Sultan to give a fatwa (religious edict) legalizing jihad against the Mongols. Waging a holy war on the Mongols for the purpose of eliminating any threat to Mamluk power was no easy matter.  The Mongol Khan Mahmoud Ghazan had converted to Islam in 1295.   Although they were Muslims who did not adhere to Islamic Law in practice, and also supported the Yasa Mongol of code of law, they were deemed apostates by the edict of Ibn Taymiyah.  To Ibn Taymiyah, Islamic Law was not only rejected by Mongols because of their lack of wholesale adherence, but the “infidel” Yasa code of law made them legal targets of extermination. The so-called jihad ensued and the Mongol threat to Syria was exterminated.  Wahhabis and other Salafis to this day brand the Mongol Mahmoud Ghazan as a kafir (disbeliever).  Orthodox Sunni Muslims, however, have praised Mahmoud Ghazan as a Muslim. Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani writes:

In fact, Ghazan Khan was a firm believer in Islam.  Al-Dhahabi relates that he became a Muslim at the hands of the Sufi shaykh Sadr al-Din Abu al-Majami’ Ibrahim al-Juwayni (d.720), one of Dhahabi’’s own shaykhs of hadith….During his rule he had a huge mosque built in Tabriz in addition to twelve Islamic schools (madrasa), numerous hostels (khaniqa), forts (ribat), a school for the secular sciences, and an observatory.  He supplied Mecca and Medina with many gifts.  He followed one of the schools (madhahib) of the Ahl al-Sunna [who are the orthodox Sunnis] and was respectful of religious scholars.  He had the descendants of the Prophet mentioned before the princes and princesses of his house in the state records, and he introduced the turban as the court headgear.[7]

Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhab would later follow Ibn Taymiyah’s footsteps and slaughter thousands of Muslims in Arabia.

Orthodox Sunni scholars who refuted Ibn Taymiyah’’s pseudo-Sunni positions

Ibn Taymiyah was imprisoned by a fatwa (religious edict) signed by four orthodox Sunni judges in the year 726 A.H for his deviant and unorthodox positions.  Note that each of the four judges represents the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence that Sunni Muslims belong to today. This illustrates that Ibn Taymiyah did not adhere to the authentic teachings of orthodox Sunni Islam as represented by the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence. There is no evidence to indicate that there was a “conspiracy” against Ibn Taymiyyah to condemn him, as Wahhabis and other Salafis purport in his defense. The names of the four judges are: Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Jama’ah, ash-Shafi’i, Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn al-Hariri, al-`Ansari, al-Hanafi, Qadi [Judge] Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr, al-Maliki, and Qadi [Judge] Ahmad Ibn `Umar, al-Maqdisi, al-Hanbali.

Some orthodox Sunni scholars who refuted Ibn Taymiyya for his deviances and opposition to the positions of orthodox Sunni Islam include: Taqiyy-ud-Din as-Subkiyy, Faqih Muhammad Ibn `Umar Ibn Makkiyy, Hafiz Salah-ud-Din al-`Ala’i, Qadi, Mufassir Badr-ud-Din Ibn Jama’ah, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Kilabi al-Halabi, Hafiz Ibn Daqiq al-`Id, Qadi Kamal-ud-Din az-Zamalkani, Qadi Safi-ud-Din al-Hindi, Faqih and Muhaddith `Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Baji ash-Shafi’i, the historian al-Fakhr Ibn al-Mu`allim al-Qurashi, Hafiz Dhahabi, Mufassir Abu Hayyan al-`Andalusi, and Faqih and voyager Ibn Batutah.

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  1. […] worship and reverence to God alone. The authentic carriers of Islam from the time of the Prophet (s)[1] until now.” Calling them Wahhabis implies that they learned ideas from a man – Muhammad ibn […]

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