Imam ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi calling ibn Taymiyya a Deviant? – Visiting the Grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)

The Taymiyyun love to quote Imam ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi (d.846AH) and his book al-Radd al-Wafir in defence of their Imam, ibn Taymiyya. However, the following is a clear cut example of how many of those who defended him weren’t truly aware of all the deviant positions held by him on various issues. Imam ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi falls into this category as is evident from the following, where he declares anyone who rejects the Hadiths in relation to the reward and virtue of visiting the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) a deviant. It is well known that ibn Taymiyya is the foremost proponent of the view that travelling out to visit the blessed grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is a reprehensible innovation – a view which he based on the rejection of the aforementioned narrations. Imam ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi mentions:

“Visiting the grave of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is a Sunnah of the Muslims, it is unanimously accepted as an act of reward and it is an act of virtue that is encouraged. The Hadiths on this topic have been accepted and practised upon, even though a few of these Hadiths have weakness. Only a deviant will reject them totally.”

(Jami’ al-Athar, vol.8 pg.141)

In addition, it is worth noting that Imam ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi has written extensively on this and has approved several Hadiths on this issue in the book of his which has been quoted from above (Jami’ al-Athar) – see vol.8 pgs. 129-141.

Quote taken from HERE

ibn Taymiyya Affirms Limits for Allah in the Six Physical Directions

The Tajsīm of Ibn Taymiyyah:
Ibn Taymiyyah’s Affirmation of Limits for Allah in the Six Physical Directions

In his Bayān Talbīs al-Jahmiyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah affirms that Allah has boundaries and limits (hadds/ghāyahs) in the six physical directions, namely: up, down, back, front, left and right.

He mentions this in the context of discussing Qādī Abū Ya‘lā’s discussion on ascribing hadd to Allah. Qādī Abū Ya‘lā is one of the notorious anthropomorphists taken to task by Hāfiz Ibn al-Jawzī in his Daf‘ Shubah al-Tashbīh.

First, Ibn Taymiyyah quotes Qādī Abū Ya‘lā relating two purported statements of Imām Ahmad:

1. The first that Allah has a hadd that only He knows

2. And the second that He does not have a hadd.

Then he quotes Qādī Abū Yalā’s attempt at reconciling these two purported statements:

فالموضع الذي قال (أحمد) إنه على العرش بحد معناه ما حاذى العرش من ذاته فهو حد له وجهة له والموضع الذي قال هو على العرش بغير حد معناه ما عدا الجهة المحاذية للعرش وهي الفوق والخلف والأمام والميمنة والميسرة

That is, Abu Ya‘la said: “The place in which Ahmad said that He is on the throne with a hadd, its meaning is [the part] of His essence that is in line with the ‘Arsh, so it (the ‘Arsh) is His hadd and His direction; and the place which he said He is over the throne without hadd, its meaning is what is besides the direction in line with the ‘Arsh – that is, above, behind, front, right and left.” (Bayān Talbīs al-Jahmiyyah, 3:735)

And he goes on to make it even more explicit. Abū Ya‘lā said:

“The difference between the downwards direction parallel to the ‘Arsh and other than it which we mentioned [i.e. the other five directions] is that:

The downward direction is in line with the ‘Arsh as established from evidence, and the ‘Arsh is limited (mahdūd) so it is possible to describe [the part] of the self [of Allah] that is in line with it and that it [the ‘Arsh] is a limit and direction. That is not so in other than it [i.e. other than the downward direction], because it is not in line with that which is limited, but it is traversing through the right and the left, up, front and behind, without a limit. This is why none of these [five directions] are described with Hadd or direction; whereas the direction of ‘Arsh is parallel to what opposes it from the direction of [Allah’s] self, but it is not in line with the whole [of Allah’s] self because it has no limit.”

In brief, Qādī Abū Ya‘lā is saying that the self or essence of Allah is limited by the ‘Arsh in the downward direction (from the perspective of Allah’s self); but in the other directions, i.e. up, right, left, front and back, there are no limits, and Allah’s self is endless. That is, he believes Allah is a physical body but an infinitely large body. Hence, Abu Ya‘lā reconciles the two purported statements of Imam Ahmad as follows: the negation of hadd is for the five directions and the affirmation is for the downward direction.

Ibn Taymiyyah, however, does not agree with Qādī Abū Ya‘lā. According to Ibn Taymiyyah, the difference between the downward direction and the other directions is not that the first is limited and the others unlimited, but that the limit in the first is known while the limits in the other five directions are unknown. This is also how Ibn Taymiyyah reconciles the two purported statements of Imam Ahmad. He says the affirmation is affirmation of limits themselves (i.e. that Allah Himself has limits in all six directions), and the negation is negation of known limits in the five directions besides the downward direction. He says: “Where he [Ahmad] negated it, he negated a definer defining Him and his knowledge of His hadd, and where he affirmed it, he affirmed it in itself.” (حيث نفاه نفى تحديد الحاد له وعلمه بحده وحيث أثبته أثبته في نفسه).

Ibn Taymiyyah says: “As for what Qadi said of affirming hadd from the direction of ‘Arsh only (faqat)…it is the view of a group of the people that affirm (the attributes), and the majority hold the contrary view and that is correct.” (وأما ما ذكره القاضي في إثبات الحد من جهة العرش فقط فهذا قد اختلف فيه كلامه وهو قول طائفة من أهل الإثبات والجمهور على خلافه وهو الصواب)

What is the contrary view? It is the opposite of what Abū Ya‘lā said that Allah does not have a hadd above, behind, left, right and front. That is, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, Allah does have a hadd in all these directions, but it is just that we do not know what those hadds are.

He also says that the fact the hadd of Allah is not known (as mentioned in Imam Ahmad’s purported statement) shows that the hadd is not limited to the direction of ‘Arsh, as that is known to us! Hence there are hadds in the other directions which we do not know! (ولو كان مراد أحمد رحمه الله الحد من جهة العرش فقط لكان ذلك معلوما لعباده فإنهم قد عرفوا أن حده من هذه الجهة هو العرش فعلم أن الحد الذي لا يعلمونه مطلق لا يختص بجهة العرش)

Hence the clear meaning of Ibn Taymiyyah’s speech is that Allah has hadds from the six physical directions.

This is Ibn Taymiyyah’s view with respect to the self of Allah itself: that it is bounded by limits in the six physical directions (just like every single physical object). However, he does not believe the limited self is contained within creation (i.e. hulūl). The two issues should not be confused.

Scholars of lughah and other sciences, like Rāghib al-Asfahānī clearly defined “jism” as that which has length, breadth and depth. Imam al-Ghazāli defined jism in this way also:

أعني بالجسم عبارة عن مقدار له طول وعرض وعمق يمنع غيره من أن يوجد حيث هو إلا بأن يتنحى عن ذلك المكان

“By jism I mean [something with spatial] measurement of length, breadth and depth, which prevents something else from being present where it is, unless it moves from that place.”

Ibn Taymiyyah affirms that Allah’s self is bounded by limits in the six physical directions which is the very definition of jism. Hence, Ibn Taymiyyah was explicitly promoting tajsīm (corporealism) in this passage.

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

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 ).


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

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

Imam al-Dhahabi – No Consideration Should be Given to the Praise of ibn Taymiyya’s Closest Companions or ‘Fans’

Imam Adh Dhahabi (D. 748AH) describes the position of Ibn Taymiyyah’s closest companions and “fans” from the unique opinions that he has:

Dhayl Tareekhil Islam pg. 328 – 329

ولا ريب انه لا اعتبار بمدح خواصه والغلاة فيه فان الحب يحملهم على تغطية هناته بل قد يعدونها محاسن. أهـــ

“And without doubt, no consideration should be given to the praise of his closest companions or those who are extreme in their admiration for him. Their love for him will make them cover his mistakes, nay they may even count them to be from his good deeds.”

Courtesy of Shaykh Abdur Rahman Sondalaani: