ibn Rajab al-Hanbali Left Issuing Fatawa in Accordance to ibn Taymiyya and was Loathed by the Taymiyyun

The student of ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (who in turn was the student of ibn Taymiyya) – al-Imam al-Hafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d.795AH), stopped issuing fatawa in accordance to the views of ibn Taymiyya and was loathed by the Taymiyyun because of it:

al-Hafidh Zayn al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Rajab al-Hanbali al-Baghdadi – then al-Dimashqi. The son of Rajab, born in Baghdad in the year 736 (AH).

In Egypt he heard from al-Maydumi, in Cairo from ibn al-Muluk, in Damascus from ibn al-Khubbaz, as well as the addition of numerous others. He kept the company of our Shaykh, Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi in hearing (from him) a great deal. He was proficient in the disciplines of hadith – the names (asma’), the narrators (rijal), hidden defects (‘ilal), the different routes/chains (turuq), and insight in explaining (itla’) their meanings.

He authored “Sharh al-Tirmidhi” in around twenty volumes, regarding which he achieved excellent results, (he also authored) a commentary of a major portion of (Sahih) “al-Bukhari”, as well as a commentary of “al-Arba’in li al-Nawawi” (Imam al-Nawawi’s collection of fourty ahadith) in one volume. He worked on “Wadha’if al-Ayyam” (the recommended actions of each specific day) which he named “al-Lata’if”, and also worked on “Tabaqat al-Hanabila” (the ranks of the Hanbali scholars) as a follow up of “Tabaqat Abi Ya’la”.

He was a man devoted to worship and tahajjud. He was resented because of his deliverance of religious legal edicts (ifta’) based on the sayings of ibn Taymiyya. He then proclaimed retraction from that and the Taymiyyun loathed him, so he was neither (aligned) with this group, not that group. In the end, he abandoned issuing religious legal edicts (ifta’).

Ibn Hajji said: “He mastered the science (of hadith and it’s branches) and became the most recognised of the people of his time in the field of hidden defects (‘ilal) and the pursuit of the different chains of transmission (tatabbu’ al-turuq). He would not intermingle with anyone and would also rarely visit anyone.”

He passed away during the month of Ramadhan, may Allah have mercy upon him. Most of our Hanbali companions were trained/educated by him in Damascus.

[ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Inba al-Ghumr bi Anba al-‘Umr, ed. al-Majlis al-A’la li al-Shu’un al-Islamiyya 1969:1998, pt. 1, pg. 460-461]

عبد الرحمن بن أحمد بن رجب البغدادي ثم الدمشقي الحنبلي، الحافظ زين الدين بن رجب. وُلد ببغداد سنة ستٍ وثلاثين وسبعمائة، وسمع بمصر من الميدومي وبالقاهرة من ابن الملوك وبدمشق من ابن الخباز وجمع جمٍّ، ورافق شيخنا زين الدين العراقي في السماع كثيرًا، ومهر في فنون الحديث أَسماءً ورجالًا وعِللًا وطرقا واطلاعًا على معانيه.
صنَّف “شرح الترمذي” فأَجاد فيه في نحو عشرين مجلدة، وشرح قطعة كبيرة من “البخاري” وشرح “الأَربعين للنووي” في مجلدة، وعمل “وظائف الأَيام” سمَّاه “اللطائف” وعمل “طبقات الحنابلة” ذيلًا على “طبقات أبي يعلى”.
وكان صاحبَ عبادَةٍ وتهجد، ونُقِم عليه إِفتاؤه بمقالات ابن تيمية ثم أَظهر الرجوع عن ذلك فنافره التيميون فلم يكن مع هؤلاءِ ولا مع هؤلاءِ، وكان قد ترك الإِفتاءَ بآخره.
قال ابن حجي: “أَتْقَنَ الفنَّ وصار أَعرف أَهل عصره بالعلل وتتبُّع الطرق، وكان لا يخالط أَحدًا ولا يتردد إِلى أَحد”. مات في رمضان رحمه اللّٰه، [و]تخرج به غالب أَصحابنا الحنابلة بدمشق.

– ابن حجر العسقلاني في كتابه “إنباء الغمر بأنباء العمر”، المجلس الأعلى للشئون الإسلامية ١٩٩٨:١٩٦٩، الجزء الاول، ص. ٤٦٠-٤٦١