ibn Taymiyya’s Belief that Allah is Sitting on the Kursi and has Left Space to Seat the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) Next to Him

al-Imam al-Mufassir Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi (D. 754AH) on ibn Taymiyya’s Belief that:

Allah Most High is sitting (yajlisu) on the Kursi but has left a place of it unoccupied, in which to seat the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)

Excerpt from the article – ‘Reforming Classical Texts’ by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller:

…the two-volume Qur’anic exegesis of Abu Hayyan al-Nahwi (d. 754/1353), Tafsir al-nahr al-madd [The exegesis of the far-stretching river] condensed mainly from his own previous eight-volume exegesis al-Bahr al-muhit [The encompassing sea], arguably the finest tafsir ever written based primarily on Arabic grammar. Abu Hayyan, of Andalusion origin, settled in Damascus, knew Ibn Taymiya personally, and held him in great esteem, until the day that Barinbari (d. 717/1317) brought him a work by Ibn Taymiya called Kitab al-‘arsh [The book of the Throne]. There they found, in Ibn Taymiya’s own handwriting (which was familiar to Abu Hayyan), anthropomorphic suggestions about the Deity that made Abu Hayyan curse Ibn Taymiya until the day he died. This was mentioned by the hadith master (hafiz) Taqi al-Din Subki in his al-Sayf al-saqil (85). Abu Hayyan, in his own Qur’anic exegesis of Ayat al-Kursi (Qur’an 2:258) in surat al-Baqara, recorded something of what so completely changed his mind:

I have read in the book of Ahmad ibn Taymiya, this individual whom we are the contemporary of, and the book is in his own handwriting, and he has named it Kitab al-‘arsh [The book of the Throne], that “Allah Most High is sitting (yajlisu) on the Kursi but has left a place of it unoccupied, in which to seat the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)” [italics mine]. Al-Taj Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Haqq Barinbari fooled him [Ibn Taymiya] by pretending to be a supporter of his so that he could get it from him, and this is what we read in it (al-Nahwi, Tafsir al-nahr al-madd, 1.254).

This is of interest not only because it documents (at the pen of one of Islam’s greatest scholars) that Ibn Taymiya had a “double ‘aqida,” one for the public, and a separate anthropomorphic one for an inner circle of initiates…

Read full article here:


[Note: The author of Kashf al-Zunun has also reported this, vol. 2, pg. 1438]

Also from the above article by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller:

“When Abu Hayyan’s work was first printed on the margin of his longer exegesis al-Bahr al-muhit in Cairo by Matba‘a al-Sa‘ada in 1910, the whole passage was deleted—intentionally, as the guilty party later confessed to Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, who quotes the above passage in a footnote to al-Sayf al-Saqil and then says:

This sentence is not in the printed exegesis al-Bahr [al-muhit], for the copy editor at Matba‘a al-Sa‘ada told me he found it so extremely revolting that he deemed it too enormous to ascribe to a Muslim, so he deleted it, so it would not be exploited by the enemies of the religion. He asked me to record that here by way of making up for what he had done, and as a counsel (nasiha) to Muslims (al-Sayf al-saqil, 85).