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.

ibn Rajab al-Hanbali says al-Subki is Excused for his Takfir on ibn Taymiyya

Imam Taqi al-Din al-Hisni al-Shafi’i (d.829AH) mentions some points regarding Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d.795AH) and some of his negative views concerning ibn Taymiyya:

al-Shaykh Zayn al-Din ibn Rajab al-Hanbali was from among those who firmly believed in ibn Taymiyya’s kufr (disbelief), and had (authored) refutations against him. He would say at the top of his voice during some gatherings:

“al-Subki is excused – meaning in regards to his takfir“.

[al-Hisni, Daf’ Shubah man Shabbaha wa Tamarrad, ed. Dar al-Mustafa, pg. 535]

وكان الشيخ زين الدين بن رجب الحنبلي ممن يعتقد كفر ابن تيمية وله عليه الرد. وكان يقول بأعلى صوته في بعض المجالس: معذور (173/أ) السبكي – يعني في تكفيره ([1]).
([1]) في ب: معذور السبكي في تكفيره
دفع شبه من شبه وتمرد، دار المصطفى، ص. ٥٣٥

Not Much Attention was Given to the Works of ibn Taymiyya and ibn al-Qayyim

Not much attention was given to the works of ibn Taymiyya and ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya:

QUOTE Article –

Changing Views of ibn Taymiyya by Khaled el-Rouayheb

Bio-bibliographical sources provide yet further support for the view that Ibn Taymiyya’s influence in subsequent centuries can easily be exaggerated. The Damascene scholar Najm al-Din al-Ghazzi wrote a biographical dictionary of Sunni scholars and notables who died in the tenth century of the Hijra (1492-1588), a work that incorporates material from biographical dictionaries by the Ottoman scholar Ahmet Taskropuzade (d. 1568), the Aleppine scholar Radi al-Din Ibn al-Hanbali (d. 1563), the Egyptian scholar ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani (d. 1565), and the Damascene scholar Ibn Tulun (d. 1564). Al-Ghazzi’s compilation has been edited and thoroughly indexed by Jibra’il Jabbur. The index of titles mentioned by al-Ghazzi provides for an interesting contrast with the index to a contemporary introduction to Islamic religious history such as Berkey’s The Formation of Islam. Al-Ghazzi’s text does not mention a single work by Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. By contrast, the kalam works of al-Taftazani are mentioned ten times; the semantic rhetorical works of al-Taftazani ten times; the kalam works of al-Jurjani fourteen times; books on logic thirteen times; Ibn ‘Arabi’s works seven times; the Jam’ al-Jawami’ of al-Subki twenty-seven times (mostly along with the commentary of al-Mahalli); the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad ten times; and the Mawahib of al-Qastallani four times.[1]
The more detailed obituaries of scholars in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti’s well-known chronicle of eighteenth-century Egypt also provides valuable information on the books studied by prominent Egyptian scholars. Again, there are no references to the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, while the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Sanusi, and al-Laqani appear regularly, as does the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad and the Mawahib of al-Qastallani.[2]
The athbat – ie. works listing the books one had a certificate to teach – by prominent seventeenth – and eighteenth-century scholars in the Hijaz tend to reinforce the impression obtained from biographical entries. The thabat of the Meccan Shafi’i scholar Ahmad al-Nakhli (d. 1717), for example, does not mention any works by Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn al-Qayyim, but mentions the Sharh al-‘Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya of al-Taftazani and the Jawharat al-Tawhid of al-Laqani, as well as Ibn ‘Arabi’s Futuhat, al-Mahalli’s commentary on al-Subki’s Jam’ al-Jawami’, al-Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad, and al-Mawahib of al-Qastallani.[3] The thabat of the Meccan scholar ‘Abdallah ibn Salim al-Basri (d. 1722) likewise does not mention the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim, while mentioning the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Jurjani, al-Dawani, and al-Laqani, as well as the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad and the works of Ibn ‘Arabi.[4] Even the thabat of the Damascene Hanbali scholar Abu al-Mawahhib al-Hanbali (d. 1714) does not mention the works of Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn al-Qayyim, while mentioning the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Sanusi and al-Laqani, as well as the Mawahib of al-Qastallani, the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad, and the works of Ibn ‘Arabi.[5] To be sure, the evidence of the athbat is not conclusive, partly because they sometimes mention works under a general description, such as “all the works that he is certified to teach” or “the books of the jurists of the school, both earlier and later.” It is thus not unlikely that some of the mentioned scholars were acquainted with the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. Yet, it is striking that Ibn ‘Arabi, whose ideas were supposedly dealt a decisive blow by Ibn Taymiyya, and philosophical theologians such as al-Taftazani and al-Jurjani, whose field was supposedly marginalized by the victory of traditional neo-Hanbalis, appear regularly in these athbat while Ibn Taymiyya does not.
The Ottoman scribe and polymath Katip Celebi, author of the well-known bibliographic compilation Kashf al-zunun ‘an asami al-kutub wa al-funun was obviously much better acquainted with the works of Ibn Taymiyya’s critics than with the works of Ibn Taymiyya himself. For example, he mentioned Ibn Taymiyya’s Minhaj al-sunna, but did not give the incipit, presumably because he had not actually seen a copy of the work. Instead, he quoted Ibn Taymiyya’s critic Taqi al-Din al-Subki to the effect that it was a powerful response to a Shi’i polemical work by Ibn Mukhtar al-Hilli (d. 1326), but also expounded the heretical views that created things need not have a beginning in time, and that non-eternal attributes subsist in God.[6] After mentioning Ibn Taymiyya’s Kitab al-‘arsh, Katip Celebi again did not give an incipit, but quoted the grammarian and Qur’an commentator Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi (d. 1344) as stating that he had seen this work, and that Ibn Taymiyya had written there that God is literally seated on the throne, and had left a place on it for the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to sit next to him.[7] After mentioning Ibn Taymiyya’s work [Iqtida’] al-sirat al-mustaqim, Katip Celebi yet again did not give an incipit, and merely wrote that this was the work in which Ibn Taymiyya, according to Taqi al-Din al-Hisni, expressed the outrageous view that the venerable Companion and transmitter of Hadith Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiallahu ‘anh) was an unbeliever.[8]

[1] – Al-Ghazzi, al-Kawakib al-sa’ira,, 3:314-316. Al-Ghazzi mentions one work by Ibn Taymiyya’s grandfather Majd al-Din ibn Taymiyya (d. 1254) – a handbook on Hanbali law entitled al-Muharrar.
[2] – ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, ‘Aja’ib al-athar fi al-tarajim wa al-khabar (Cairo: al-Matba’a al-‘Amira, 1297AH), 1:309-310, 2:25-26, 2:227-228, 4:185-186.
[3] – Ahmad al-Nakhli, Bughyat al-talibin al-mashayikh al-muhaqqiqin al-mu’tamadin (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyya, 1328AH).
[4] – Salim ibn ‘Abdallah al-Basri, al-Imdad bi ma’rifat ‘uluww al-isnad (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyya, 1328AH).
[5] – Abu al-Mawahib al-Hanbali, Mashyakha, ed. Muhammad Muti’ Hafiz (Damascus & Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1990).
[6] – Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, 2:1872.
[7] – Ibid., 2:1438
[8] – Ibid., 2:1078