Everyone is Misguided Except for Me – Ibn Taymiyya & Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab

Ibn Taymiyya brazenly claims that everyone including himself was upon misguidance until he somehow supposedly happened upon “true” guidance and was guided:

Ibn Taymiyya mentions in his Majmu’at al-Fatawa (6/258) regarding the issue of non-eternal attributes subsisting in Allah’s essence:

However, this issue, the issue of visitation [to the grave of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] and other issues besides these have emanated from the later scholars (muta’akh’khirun) and there is a lot of confusion therein. At first, even myself and others were upon the way of our forefathers in this – we used to advocate the doctrine of the innovators. Then when it became clear to us what the Messenger [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] has brought, the matter became one of either following what Allah has revealed or following what we found our forefathers upon, and what was necessary (wajib) is following the Messenger [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam].

قال ابن تيمية في مجموع الفتاوى (6/258) عن مسألة حلول الحوادث:

وَلَكِنْ هَذِهِ الْمَسْأَلَةُ وَمَسْأَلَةُ الزِّيَارَةِ وَغَيْرُهُمَا حَدَثَ مِنْ الْمُتَأَخِّرِينَ فِيهَا شُبَهٌ، وَأَنَا وَغَيْرِي كُنَّا عَلَى مَذْهَبِ الْآبَاءِ فِي ذَلِكَ نَقُولُ فِي الْأَصْلَيْنِ بِقَوْلِ أَهْلِ الْبِدَعِ؛ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَنَا مَا جَاءَ بِهِ الرَّسُولُ دَارَ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَ أَنْ نَتَّبِعَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ أَوْ نَتَّبِعَ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا، فَكَانَ الْوَاجِبُ هُوَ اتِّبَاعُ الرَّسُولِ.

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab followed his imam, Ibn Taymiyya, in this respect, while taking it a step further, and based on this perverse understanding, he actually had the audacity to make takfir upon his teachers and all the scholars around him – he basically even made takfir upon himself prior to having supposedly happened upon such “true” guidance:

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab mentions in his letter to the Qadi of al-Dir’iya, Shaykh ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Isa, (al-Durar al-Saniyya, 10/51):

At that time I did not know the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah, nor did I know the religion of Islam prior to this blessing which Allah has graciously bestowed. It was the exact same thing with my teachers, none of them had any such knowledge. Therefore any of the ‘ulama of ‘Arid, who claimed that he knew the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah or that he knew the meaning of Islam, has certainly lied, falsified, and deceived the people. If he claimed any of his teachers had any such knowledge, then he has certainly lied, falsified, and deceived the people while praising himself with something which he does not possess.

قال ابن عبد الوهاب في “الدرر السنية” (10/51) في رسالة إلى قاضي الدرعية الشيخ عبد الله ابن عيسى:

وأنا ذلك الوقت لا أعرف معنى “لا إله الا الله” ولا أعرف دين الاسلام قبل هذا الخير الذي مَنَّ الله به، وكذلك مشايخي ما منهم رجل عرف ذلك، فمن زعم من علماء العارض أنه عرف معنى “لا اله الا الله” أو عرف معنى الإسلام قبل هذا الوقت، أو زعم عن مشايخه أن أحداً عرف ذلك، فقد كذب وافترى ولبّس على الناس ومدح نفسه بما ليس فيه.

Imam Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri on ibn Taymiyya’s Anthropomorphism and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab

al-Imam al-Muhaddith Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri (d.1352AH) says in his book ‘Faydh al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari’, 4/447:

As for al-Hafidh ibn Taymiyya, then he studied them (the narrations on the attributes) externally (ie. from non-Islamic sources) until he approached anthropomorphism, just as I have heard regarding his affair – that he was sitting upon the pulpit and a questioner asked him regarding His (Allah’s) nuzul – exalted is He – so ibn Taymiyya descended to the second step and said “The nuzul is in this manner”. Thus he studied it externally and exaggerated in it until he was deluded by his anthropomorphic speech.[1]

يقول الإمام المحدث محمد أنور شاه الكشميري ( المتوفى سنة 1352 ه) في كتابه ” فيض الباري على صحيح البخاري ” 4/447 : ( وأما الحافظ ابن تيمية فحققها في الخارج حتى قارب التشبيه ، كما كنت سمعت من حاله أنه كان جالساً على المنبر فسأله سائل عن نزوله تعالى فنزل ابن تيمية إلى الدرجة الثانية فقال هكذا النزول ، فحققه في الخارج وبالغ فيه حتى أوهم كلامه التشبيه ) .

He also says in the same book, ‘Faydh al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari’, 1/171:

As for Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab al-Najdi, then indeed he was an idiotic man of little knowledge, thus he would be hasty in making takfir. Diving into this river (of takfir) is not appropriate except for the one who is cautious upon, proficient in, and well-acquainted with the existence of disbelief and it’s causes.[2]

ويقول ايضا في كتابه ( فيض الباري ، 1/171 ) : ( أما محمد بن عبدالوهاب النجدي فإنه كان رجلاً بليداً قليل العلم ، فكان يتسارع إلى الحكم بالكفر ، ولا ينبغي أن يقتحم في هذا الوادي إلا من يكون متيقظاً متقناً عارفاً بوجوه الكفر وأسبابه ).

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The above quotes can be found in the Maktaba Rashidiyya edition under the following references:

[1] 7/305
[2] 1/252