Monday, 24 December 2012

Maulana Abu Ala Maududi

Maulana Abu Ala Maududi was born on September 25, 1903 in Aurangabad, a well-known town in the former princely state of Hyderabad, Deccan. He was the direct descendant of Khwaja Qutubuddin Maudood Chishti, whose teachings reached Indo-Pakistan subcontinent through his well-known disciple Khwaja Moinuddin of Ajmer. Maududi’s father Syed Ahmad Hasan Maududi was an advocate by profession. He practiced in Meerut and then shifted to Hyderabad, Deccan. He was educated at Aligarh but in later life was much disgusted with the British Imperialism and western culture. He even gave up his legal profession since he found it contrary to his aim of life. Because of his abhorrence for the English way of life in stead of sending his child to the English schools employed tutors to teach him at home, among all classical subjects, the English language and literature, modern disciplines and Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages.
In 1920 his father passed away. The same year he joined the weekly Medinah of Bijnore (U.P.) and then became the editor of Taj of Jabalpore even before he completed his 17th year. Later he shifted to Delhi and joined the weekly Muslim and thereafter became the editor of the daily al-Jamiat, Delhi, which was an outspoken Muslim newspaper representing Islamic viewpoint and bitterly opposed to the British rule as well as Hindu domination. Under his editorship it became the leading newspaper of the Muslims of India. However, he left al-Jamiat when the organizer party behind it showed a preference for the viewpoint of the Indian National Congress. In 1932 he started his own Journal, Tarjuman al-Quran that soon became very popular among the Muslims of the subcontinent — guiding and inspiring them in every phase of their national existence. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal who was one of the earliest subscribers to Tarjuman al-Quran and held Maulana Maududi in highest esteem sought his cooperation in the task of reconstruction and development of Islamic jurisprudence. After an exchange of views, Dr. Iqbal also invited him to come over to Punjab.
Maududi has written over 120 books and pamphlets and made over 1000 speeches and press statements of, which about 700 are available on record. During 1920-28 he translated four books one from Arabic and the rest were from English. In 1930, his first major and monumental work was Al-Jihad fil Islam, which was highly appreciated by not less than a sage and poet-philosopher, Dr. Iqbal. Al-Jihad fil Islam is an excellent treatise on the Islamic law of war and peace. His discourses on Islam (Khutabat), Islam main Ibadat ka Tasawwur, Masla-e-Jabr-o-Qadr (The Problem of Free Will and Determination), Sunnat ki Aaeena Hasiyat, Tanqeehat were immensely applauded. His Tafhimat explains into rational way the concepts of Islam. Several editions of Purdah (veil), Haqooq-e-Zojain (Rights and Duties of Married Partners), have been published so far as these are highly popular works among the people. One of the most popular books he wrote is Towards Understanding Islam which is a concise and lucid introduction of Islam expounding the fundamentals of beliefs together with the logic and rationale of the path of Islam. However his main and memorable contribution is translation and commentary of the Holy Quran entitled as ‘Tafhim al-Quran’ in six volumes. He took almost 30 years to complete this work. This tafseer has made a tremendous and far-reaching impact on the contemporary Islamic thinking all over the world. His writings revealed his erudition and scholarship, a deep perception and profoundness of the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. His literature imbued with a critical analysis of the western thought and history has provided fresh avenues of thoughts, newer dimensions of moral excellence and dynamic concept of spiritualism. His books have been translated into the major languages of the world like Arabic, English, French, German, Turkish, Persian, Hindi, Swahili, Tamil, Bengali etc.
He criticized and showed the hollowness of various ideologies, which had begun to spoil the minds and hearts of the Muslims. Through his journal he appealed to the Muslim intelligentsia to ponder over the real call of Islam and if convinced, concentrate their energies on establishing the Islamic way of life not only in their personal life as individuals but also in their political, economic, social and cultural domains. For that purpose Maududi established an academic and research centre Dar al-Islam in collaboration with Allama Iqbal. The main task was to train competent scholars for producing works of outstanding quality on Islam, to launch a full-fledged movement on the pattern of the earliest Caliphate, and above all to carry out the reconstruction of Islamic thought.
Maulana Maududi started taking interest in politics around 1920 and took part in the Khilafat Movement and became associated with the tahrik-i-hijrat. In 1940 he launched a new organization under the name of Jamaat-i-Islami. He was elected First Ameer of Jamaat and retained this portfolio till 1972 which he left due to his deteriorating health. He was the greatest Muslim critic of the Congress. He wrote a series of articles, which were widely circulated and later incorporated in a book, Musalman aur maujooda siyasi kashmakash. He vehemently criticized and condemned all the schemes and programs of the Congress aimed to absorb the Muslims of the subcontinent into a common nationhood and lead them astray from the path of Islam. Maulana Maududi analyzed and showed the errors of judgement of Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, one of the topmost scholars of Deoband. The Quaid-i-Azam understood the position of the Jamaat and status of Abul Ala Maududi very well. When he was approached to join the Jamaat-e-Islami, he said that there was no conflict between the Jamaat and the League; the one was working for a higher ideal and the other to realize the pressing immediate which, if lost would make the work of the Jamaat impossible.
After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, there were a series of Maulana’s lectures on different systems of Islam, which were broadcast from Radio Pakistan, Lahore. These lectures commenced in January 1948 and continued up to July 6, 1948. From the outset he kept on reminding the leadership to fulfill the promises made to the nation for establishing an Islamic order, and for this purpose a declaration of the objectives of the state in the legal and constitutional form was of paramount importance. In short, he mobilized his efforts on the establishment of a truly Islamic State and society in the country. For that matter he opposed and criticized the policies pursued by the successive governments of Pakistan. As a result he was arrested time and again and put into jail for long periods. It was due to the efforts of Maulana Maududi and his Jamaat that the Objectives Resolution was passed on March 12, 1949. It was also in accord with the Jamaat’s demand that the Objectives Resolution was incorporated in the Constitution as Preamble.
He opposed the Qadiani movement and in his book Qadiani problem he wrote that Qadianis are not Muslims and they have to be treated as a minority. In 1953 when he was sentenced to death by the martial law authorities on the charge of writing a seditious pamphlet on the Qadiani problem, he didn’t file any petition for mercy and cheerfully accepted the punishment. His firmness and faith in Allah astonished the government and his opponents and critics but due to foreign pressure and strong public strain and stress, government was forced to reduce it to life imprisonment and at length it was completely canceled.
Maulana Maududi toured a lot of countries during the years 1956-1974. These tours enabled the Muslims of those countries to become acquainted with him personally and appreciate his dynamic knowledge and qualities. He lectured in Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Makkah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Rebat, Istanbul, London, New York and Toronto. He also made study tours of Saudi Arabia, Jordon (including Jerusalem), Syria and Egypt in order to probe the geographical and historical phenomena of the places mentioned in the Holy Quran. Maulana was also the member of the Foundation Committee of the Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami, Makkah and the Academy of Research on Islamic Law, Madinah. Maulana Maududi was, indeed, a symbol of Islamic renaissance and an intellectual giant of the modern times. He participated in numerous Muslim international conferences, lectured in the principles cities of most of the Muslim countries and had contacts with Muslim leaders in all parts of the Muslim world.
In April 1979, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi had kidney problem, which worsened with the passage of time, and when he also suffered from heart disease, he had to leave for United States for treatment, where his son had also been practicing as a medical specialist. Following a few surgical operations he died on 22nd September 1979, at the age of 76. His funeral ceremony was held in Buffalo but later he was buried at his residence Ichhra in Lahore, When his dead body arrived at Lahore, the road was jam-packed with swarming people up to more than four miles.

Allama Iqbal

Allama Iqbal, great poet-philosopher and active political leader, was born at Sialkot, Punjab, in 1877. He descended from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins, who had embraced Islam about 300 years earlier.
Iqbal received his early education in the traditional maktab. Later he joined the Sialkot Mission School, from where he passed his matriculation examination. In 1897, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Government College, Lahore. Two years later, he secured his Masters Degree and was appointed in the Oriental College, Lahore, as a lecturer of history, philosophy and English. He later proceeded to Europe for higher studies. Having obtained a degree at Cambridge, he secured his doctorate at Munich and finally qualified as a barrister.
He returned to India in 1908. Besides teaching and practicing law, Iqbal continued to write poetry. He resigned from government service in 1911 and took up the task of propagating individual thinking among the Muslims through his poetry.
By 1928, his reputation as a great Muslim philosopher was solidly established and he was invited to deliver lectures at Hyderabad, Aligarh and Madras. These series of lectures were later published as a book “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. In 1932, Iqbal came to England as a Muslim delegate to the Third Round Table Conference.
In later years, when the Quaid had left India and was residing in England, Allama Iqbal wrote to him conveying to him his personal views on political problems and state of affairs of the Indian Muslims, and also persuading him to come back. These letters are dated from June 1936 to November 1937. This series of correspondence is now a part of important historic documents concerning Pakistan’s struggle for freedom.
On April 21, 1938, the great Muslim poet-philosopher and champion of the Muslim cause, passed away. He lies buried next to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.

Syed Jamal ud din afghani

One of the most influential Muslims with towering personality and sparkling ideology, Sayyed Jamaluddin Afghani was the harbinger of Muslim Renaissance in the 19th century. He was the principal figure in awakening Islamic political sentiments and social reforms in India, Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. He was an intellectual, a versatile genius, a wandering missionary, an impressive interpreter of the Holy Quran and an orator of the highest caliber who brought about a universal awakening throughout the world of Islam. He moved about in the capitals of Muslim countries — lecturing, discussing and writing about his mission, leaving behind him a band of zealous workers or his disciples who continued his work even after his death. Several movements of religious revival and social reform owe their origin to this singular personality.
Syed Jamaluddin was born in 1838. He was Afghani because of his place of birth at Asadabad in Afghanistan. He was Syed due to his family lineage that traced back to Imam Hussain. His father Syed Safdar, a descendent of Syed Ali Al-Tirmizi, had a command over wide range of subject, while his mother Sakina begum was a religious lady. Even at the early age of eight years, Jamaluddin exhibited extraordinary intelligence. Before he was 18, he was well versed in almost all the branches of Islamic learning in addition to philosophy, jurisprudence, history, metaphysics, mathematics, medicine, general sciences, mysticism, astronomy and astrology. His learning was encyclopedic and his genius was versatile. Journey proved to be his best coach. His ceaseless journey around the globe and revolutionary spirit enabled Jamaluddin Afghani to study the socio-political problems of the Muslims and ignite the spirit of Muslim fraternity and unity against the western domination.
He started his journey from Iran and came to India in 1856, at the age of eighteen. He spent a year in Delhi and felt the political surge of the subcontinent that was soon to erupt in the Sepoy Uprising of 1857 in which the Indians tried their utmost to throw off the alien yoke. From India, Syed Jamaluddin visited Arabia to perform Hajj and returned to Afghanistan in 1858. He was employed by Amir Dost Muhammed. His talents propelled him to the forefront of the Afghan hierarchy. After the death of Dost Muhammed when his brother Mohammed Azam became the Amir, he appointed Jamaluddin as his prime minister. In 1869, Jamaluddin fell out of favor with the Amir and left Kabul for India. In Delhi, he received the red carpet treatment from British officials, who were at the same time careful not to let him meet the principal Indian Muslim leaders. The same year he visited Cairo on his way to Istanbul where his fame had preceded him. He was elected to the Turkish Academy and got the membership of Danish Usmania organization. Since his speeches on the burning issue of that age and rational interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah were disapproved by the Turkish ulama, he was expelled from Istanbul in 1871. However, during his stay in Turkey, he remained very popular with many young Turks and intellectuals who came under his influence. From Turkey he reached Cairo where he came into contact with the professors and students of Al-Azhar, who were immensely impressed by his deep erudition and high scholarship. He left an abiding impression of his progressive ideas on the intelligentsia of Egypt which, later appeared in the person of Muhammad Abduh. Jamaluddin had a major role in the events that led to the overthrow of Khedive Ismail Pasha who had brought Egypt to its knees through his extravagance. European influence increased, and Jamaluddin was at the head of the Young Egyptian Movement and the nationalist uprising under Torabi Pasha (1881) that sought to expel the Europeans from Egypt. Due to suspicion of Britain and France the government of Egypt ordered him to leave Cairo immediately. After a stay of about eight years in Egypt, Jamaludin Afghani left Cairo in March, 1879, and arrived in Hyderabad Deccan (India). Here he wrote his famous treatise, “Refutation of the Materialists”, which created a stir in the materialistic world. He also started a magazine that propagated his anti-western thought but due to the war between Egypt and Britain, he was kept for the most time under house arrest. In India too he inspired so many young Indian Muslims like Sir Salar Jang Bahadur and Syed Hussain Bilgrami who wanted an end of British Raj in India. From India, Jamaluddin embarked on a journey through Europe and resided for many years in London, Paris and St. Petersburg. He met the English author and the political leader Wilfrid Scawen Blunt who became his lifelong friend. During In Paris he met his old friend Muhammed Abduh who had been exiled from Egypt. The two outstanding celebrities of the Muslim World started their famous Arabic Journal “Al Urwat-ul-Wuthqa”, from Paris, It was an anti-British organ, whose scathing criticism and fiery articles created a furore in the imperialist circles and its entry was banned in India. Its expositions of the imperialist designs in the Muslim east terrified the western imperialists who viewed with alarm its growing popularity in the Arabic speaking world. Through his friend Blunt he had talk with Randolph Churchill and did his best to influence him. In St. Petersburg, he met Shah Nasiruddin Qaisar, the ruler of Persia. A little later, the Shah met Jamaluddin Jamaluddin in Munich, Germany, for the second time. He was so much impressed with his dynamic personality that he offered him the exalted position of premiership of Persia. Jamaluddin hesitated, but yielded due to extreme persuasion of the Shah and arrived in Persia along with the Shah. But his growing esteem and popularity among the intelligentsia and Persian masses created apprehension and jealousy in the mind of the ruler. Being a sensitive person, Jamaluddin smelled this apprehension and sought permission to leave the country. But he was not allowed to do so. Now there was hardly any course left to him. He openly criticized Shah Nasiruddin Qaisar and his reign of terror. He was arrested and deported from Persia. But the fire, which he had kindled in Persia, culminated in the assassination of the Shah on May 1, 1895.
Later he came to Iran but was expelled from Iran. He went to Moscow, in the hope to get an alliance of the Czar against British Imperialism. It was through his influence that the Muslims in Russia were permitted to print the Holy Quran and other religious books, whose publication was earlier banned in Czarist Russia.
Then Syed arrived once again in Istanbul to fulfill his dreams of Pan Islamism. He was warmly received by Sultan Abdul Hamid II who also nourished the ideas of uniting Muslims of the world. But death visited him on March 8, 1897, and his dreams of independent united Muslim world did not come true in his life. The main goal of Syed Jamaluddin Afghani was to unite the Islamic world under a single caliph resident in Istanbul. Towards this end, he sought a rapprochement between the Ottoman Empire and Persia, working to have the Shah recognize the Ottoman Sultan as the Caliph of all Muslims, while the Caliph recognized the Shah as the sovereign of all Shi’as. He wrote to the leading theologians of Karbala, Tabriz and Tehran, passionately arguing his case and was partially successful in bringing them to his point of view. However, the rapprochement did not take place due to the political turbulence in Persia. Secondly, he sought to revive Islam to make it responsive, as he saw it, to the needs of the age.
As a man, Jamaluddin was humble, courteous, hard working and amicable. He slept little, working for more than 18 hours a day. He received those who came to visit him with great courtesy. About Jamaluddin, Edward G. Browne, author of the well known work, A Literary History of Persia writes: “the humblest as much as the most distinguished, but was very chary of paying visits, especially to persons of high ranks, In speech, he was eloquent, always expressing himself in choice language, and avoiding colloquial and vulgar idioms, but carefully adopting his words to the capacity of his hearers. As a public speaker he had hardly a rival in the east.” Regarding his other qualities Browne states: `He was abstemious in his life, caring little for the things of this world, bold and fearless in face of danger, frank and genial but hot tempered, affable towards all but independent in his dealings with the great. His intellectual powers and his quick insight and discernment were equally remarkable so that he seemed able to read men’s thoughts before they had spoken.’ About his versatility Browne writes: “His knowledge was extensive, and he was specially versed in ancient philosophy, the philosophy of history, the history and civilization of Islam. He learnt French in three months without a master, sufficiently well to read and translate…He knew the Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Afghani languages together with a little English and Russian. He was a voracious reader of Arabic and Persian books. He appears never to have married, and was indifferent to female charms.” “It was really wonderful”, writes Browne, “that a wandering scholar, with no material resources save only an eloquent tongue and a pen, literally made kings tremble on their thrones and defeated the well-laid plans of statesmen by setting in motion forces which he knew how to evoke and with which secular politicians, both European and Asiatic, had utterly failed to reckon.” Another great thinker of the East, Dr Iqbal, pays glowing tributes to Jamaluddin Afghani when he says: “A perfect master of nearly all the Muslim languages of the world and endowed with the most winning eloquence, his restless soul migrated from one Muslim country to another, influencing some of the most prominent men in Iran, Egypt and Turkey. Some of the greatest theologians of our time, such as Mufti Muhammad Abduh of Egypt, were his disciples. He wrote little, spoke much and thereby transformed into miniature Jamaluddins all those who came into contact with him…He never claimed to be a prophet or a renewer; yet no man in our time has stirred the soul of Islam more deeply than him. His spirit is still working in the world of Islam and no one knows where it will end.”

Shah Wali Ullah

Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddis Dehlvi was born on February 21, 1703 at Delhi, just when the reign of Aurangzeb was nearing its end. He was named Qutb-ud-Din, but is better known by his title of Wali Ullah, given to him by virtue of his goodness and piety. His father, Shah Abdul Rahim, was a sufi and theologian of great repute. He was the founding member and teacher of the Madrasa-i-Rahimiyah in Delhi. Shah Abdul Rahim was associated with the completion of the famous Islamic legal text, Fatawa-i-Alamgiri.
Shah Wali Ullah received his academic and spiritual education from his father. He memorized the Holy Quran and gained knowledge of Tafseer, Hadith, spiritualism, mysticism, metaphysics, logic, and Ilm-ul-Kalam while still in his boyhood. After mastering these subjects, he turned his attention to the Sahih Bukhari and Islamic Jurisprudence. He also studied medicine and tibb. After acquiring this knowledge, he taught at his father’s Madrasa for 12 years. He left for Arabia in 1730 for higher education. During his stay in Arabia, he was influenced by Sheikh Abu Tahir bin Ibrahim, a renowned scholar of the time. He studied in Medina for 14 years, where he obtained his Sanad in Hadith. It is believed that while Shah Wali Ullah was in Arabia, he was blessed with a vision of the Holy Prophet (SAW), and tidings that he would be influential in organizing the reform of Muslims in India.
By the time he returned to Delhi in July 1732, the decline in Mughal fortunes had started. The social, political, economic and religious conditions of the Muslims were very poor. On his return to India, he not only identified the causes for the decline of the Muslims, but also pointed out the remedies. Shah Wali Ullah believed that the various problems Muslims faced were due to their ignorance about Islam and the Holy Quran. He, therefore, personally trained a number of students who were entrusted with the task of spreading Islam. In order to promulgate the teachings of Islam and make the Holy Quran more accessible to the people, he translated the Quran to Persian, the main and common language of the people at that time. He also tried to reduce the various differences of many a sectarian group prevailing at that time.
Shah Wali Ullah was a prolific writer and wrote extensively on Fiqh and Hadith. He eventually wrote 51 books; 23 in Arabic and 28 in Persian. Among his famous works are the Hujjat-ullah-il-Balighah and Izalat-ul-Khifa.
Shah Wali Ullah also made efforts for the political uplift of Muslims of India. He wrote to Ahmad Shah Abdali to help the Muslims of India in crushing the Marhattas, who were a constant threat to the crumbling Mughal Empire. In 1761, Ahmad Shah Abdali, in response to Shah Wali Ullah’s call, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Marhattas at Panipat. Shah Wali Ullah was responsible for awakening in the community the desire to regain its moral fervor and maintain its purity. He was laid to rest in 1762. His sons and followers ably continued his work and noble mission.

Ibn Taymiyyah

As for the author, his calibre and prestige goes without saying. He is the great scholar, Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him. Scholars of Islam acknowledge his astonishing excellence in all fields of knowledge - and Allah favours whom He chooses.
His name is Ahmad ibn 'Abdul-Halim ibn 'Abdis-Salam. His kunyah is Abu'l-'Abbas and he is also referred to as Taqi ad-Din. As for his most common appellation: Ibn Taymiyyah, scholars give different accounts for why he was referred to by this term. Some say that one of his ancestors performed Hajj through the route of Tayma and he saw a maid (there) who had came out of a tent, when he returned (to his homeland) he found that his wife had given birth to a daughter and they raised her up to him, whereupon he said: "O Taymiyyah, O Taymiyyah" i.e., she resembled the maid he had seen at Tayma. It is also said that the mother of his grandfather Muhammad, was named Taymiyyah and thus he came to be ascribed to her1 . He was born in Harran, an old city within the Arabian Peninsula between Sham2 and Iraq, on the tenth or the twelfth of the month Rabi' al-Awwal in the year 661H. He later fled at a young age with his family to Damascus because of the terrible conditions of his homeland and those surrounding it as a result of the occupation by the Tartars.
His family was renowned for its knowledge and stature; both his father and grandfather were people of scholarly repute. Three of his brothers were also known for their knowledge and excellence: 'Abdur-Rahman, 'Abdullah and his half-brother, Muhammad.
His Early Life
Ibn Taymiyyah was brought up, cared for and nurtured by his father. He obtained knowledge from him and the other shayukh of his era. He did not confine himself to the knowledge of those around him but also directed his attention to the works of the scholars before his time by way of perusal and memorisation.
The following observations can be drawn from his early life:
1.      The strength of his memory and speed of his comprehension.3
2.      His strict observance of time from an early age4 , which later led the rest of his life to be filled with actions such as jihad, teaching, commanding the good, forbidding the evil, writing books and letters and refuting opponents.
3.      The scope and strength of his effect and arguments. A Jew accepted Islam at his hands whilst he was still very young.5
4.      He started issuing legal verdicts at the age of nineteen6 and started teaching in Dar al-Hadith as-Sukriyyah when he was approximately 22 years of age.7
5.      His initial sources of knowledge centered around diverse sciences like: Tafsir; Sciences of the Qur'an; the Sunnah; the Six books; Musnad Imam Ahmad; Sunan ad-Darimi; Mu'jam at-Tabarani; Sciences of Hadith and narrators; Fiqh and it's Usul; Usul ad-Din and sects; language; writing; mathematics; history and other subjects like astronomy, medicine and engineering. This is quite evident from examining the works he later authored; any topic he tackled and wrote about leaves the reader thinking that Ibn Taymiyyah was a specialist in that particular field.
His Teachers
He took his knowledge from a great number of scholars8 and he himself mentioned a number of them as related by Adh-Dhahabi directly from him.9 This particular chronicle of shayukh includes forty male scholars and four female scholars. The total number of scholars whom he took knowledge from exceeds two hundred.10
The following is a selection of some of his teachers:
·         Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad ibn 'Abd ad-Da'im al-Maqdasi
·         Abu Nasr 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn 'Abdul-Mun'im
·         Abu Muhammad Isma'il ibn Ibrahim at-Tanukhi
·         Al-Manja ibn 'Uthman at-Tanukhi ad-Dimashqi
·         Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mu'ammil ibn Muhammad al-Balisi
·         Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Sulayman al-'Amiri
·         Abu'l-Faraj 'Abdur-Rahman ibn Sulayman al-Baghdadi
·         Sharaf ad-Din al-Maqdasi, Ahmad ibn Ahmad ash-Shafi'i
·         Muhammad ibn 'Abdul-Qawi al-Maqdasi
·         Taqi ad-Din al-Wasiti, Ibrahim ibn 'Ali as-Salihi al-Hanbali
·         His paternal aunt, Sitt ad-Dar bint 'Abdus-Salam ibn Taymiyyah
The Jihad and Actions of Ibn Taymiyyah
The life of Ibn Taymiyyah was distinguished with the tremendous qualities of ordering the good, forbidding the evil and performing Jihad for the cause of Allah, He combined his roles of teaching, issuing legal verdicts and writing with actions of the highest magnitude. His whole life was in fact filled with jihad. With a very brief examination of his life in this area we can point out at a number of incidents:
Ordering the Good and Forbidding the Evil
1.      His destruction of idols and places11 that were worshipped besides Allah and prevention of people from visiting such places:12 This practical aspect was preceded by two stages: the first, by explaining the reality of these shrines in that many of them were fabricated and that many of the graves that were glorified and journeyed to were in fact not even those of whom they were attributed to.13 The second, by way of intellectual discourse through direct debates, books and letters and explaining the shirk and innovations connected to such acts and also through presenting the opinions of opponents and refuting their arguments.
2.      His stance against the Christians: He wrote a letter to the then Christian King of Cyprus inviting him to Islam and exposing the lies and corruption being committed by the priests and monks whilst they knew fully well that they were upon falsehood. After mentioning the devoutness of the King, his love for knowledge and good conduct towards the people, Ibn Taymiyyah then invited him to embrace Islam and adopt the correct belief. He did this in a gentle and exemplary manner addressing his intellect, and entrusted him to behave benevolently towards the Muslims in Cyprus, not to strive to change the religion of a single one of them.14 He also engaged in debates with Christians, some of which he himself referred to in his book Al-Jawab as-Sahih.15
3.      He took many stances against the Sufiyyah. A famous one was against the Bata 'Ihiyyah.16 He refuted them and exposed their satanic behaviour such as entering into fire and emerging unharmed and claiming that this was an indication of their miraculous nature. He explained that even if they did this or flew in the air it would not be an evidence that could be used to declare their violations of the Shari'ah to be correct.17 He challenged them by proposing to also enter into the fire with them on the condition that they first wash themselves with vinegar and hot water. Ultimately, they were exposed and defeated and they agreed to a complete adherence to the Book and Sunnah.18
4.      In the year 699H, he and a number of his companions rose against some taverns; they broke their utensils, spilt their wine and chastised a number of them, which caused the people to come out and rejoice at this.19 ,20
5.      As for his stances against the rulers, they were famous. One of the well-known ones was his stance against Qazan, the ruler of the Tartars. At a time when the Tartars commanded awe and authority, he spoke to the ruler with strong words concerning their actions, spread of corruption and infringement of the sanctities of the Muslims whilst they themselves claimed to be Muslims.21 Likewise, his strong words with Sultan an-Nasir, convinced the Sultan to refrain from pursuing a course of action which was impermissible.22
6.      Ibn Taymiyyah also had an effect in causing the rulers to assume their role of commanding the good and forbidding the evil. An example of this is when bribery became widespread and became an influencing factor in holding offices and even in abolishing capital punishment in the year 712H, na official decree was sent to Damascus, from the Sultan, citing that no one should be granted a post or office through money or bribery and that the killer is to be punished by the law of the Shari'ah; this decree emanated through the advice and consultation of Ibn Taymiyyah.23
These are some examples that demonstrate the efforts of Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, in ordering the good and forbidding the evil.
One also notices when reading his biography that Ibn Taymiyyah had the assistance of a number of companions in carrying out such tasks.
His Jihad Against the Tartars
Ibn Taymiyyah played a great role in establishing jihad against the Tartars. He clarified the reality of their condition and showed that it was an obligation to fight them, firstly, because of the consensus of the scholars on the obligation of fighting any group that openly rejects and resists the laws of Islam and secondly, explaining that this ruling is applicable to the Tartars because of their condition.
He elucidated the causes for victory and explained that it was not impossible or difficult to achieve victory over them if the Muslims adopted the causes that achieve victory such as judging by the Shari'ah, putting an end to oppression, spreading justice and being sincere in one's intention when performing jihad in Allah's cause.
We find Ibn Taymiyyah ordering the people in the battle of Shaqhab, which took place in the month of Ramadhan, to break fast in emulation of the guidance of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Again, when Ibn Taymiyyah encouraged the Sultan to perform jihad, the Sultan asked him to take position by his side to which Ibn Taymiyyah replied: "The Sunnah is for each man to stand behind the flag of his people and we are from Sham so we will only stand with them."24
After performing jihad against the Tartars and defeating them, we see Ibn Taymiyyah analysing the battles, expounding upon the beneficial lessons that can be derived from them and illustrating the areas of similarity between these battles against the Tartars and the battles of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam.25
His Jihad Against the Christians and Rafidah
The majority of references do not make mention of Ibn Taymiyyah's role in jihad against the Christians before their final expulsion from Sham. Al-Bazzar however, does mention the following when discussing the bravery and strength of heart of Ibn Taymiyyah: "They relate that they saw of him at the conquest of 'Akkah, such a display of bravery that was beyond description. They say that he was a reason behind it's seizure by the Muslims because of his deeds, advice and sharp perception."26
As for the Rafidah, they fortified themselves in the mountains of Al-Jard and Al-Kasrawaniyyin. Ibn Taymiyyah headed for them in the year 704H with a group of his companions and requested a number of them to repent and they enjoined the laws of Islam upon them. In the beginning of the year 705H, Ibn Taymiyyah went to battle with a brigade and the deputy Sultan of Sham and Allah aided them over the Rafidah.27
These are examples of the jihad of Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, and his unification of knowledge with action.
The Status and Rank of Ibn Taymiyyah
Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah held a lofty status amongst the scholars of his time. This was for a number of reasons, such as his ability to clarify matters that were vague to the other scholars of his time, such as the issue of fighting the Tartars and the issue of the wealth obtained from some of the sects of the Rafidah.28 Ibn Taymiyyah expounded upon these matters and clarified them to the people.
In the year 701H, a Jew came from Khaybar alleging that he had a letter from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, which abrogated the Jizyah that the Jews had to pay to the Muslims. Ibn Taymiyyah exposed his lies and critically scrutinised and invalidated the letter from a hadith point of view and relying upon historical knowledge.29
Whilst Ibn Taymiyyah was in prison in Cairo, Ibn Kathir mentions: "Difficult legal questions used to be sent to him from governors and specific people, which the Jurists could not deal with, and he would respond from the Book and Sunnah in a way that would bewilder the minds."30
Another reason was his role in jihad; he was not only a brave soldier but also an instructor and leader. He was sought after for advice and military strategy.
Most importantly, one of the greatest causes behind his exalted rank amidst the scholars and common folk alike was his comprehensive knowledge. When he gave a lecture; delivered a sermon; gave a legal ruling; wrote a letter or authored a book in any field, he would produce a level of knowledge that far excelled the other scholars of his time. This is why Ibn Taymiyyah became a reference point amongst the people. Whenever two people fell into dispute over a matter - and they could be from the people of knowledge and students alike as noticed from some questions - his opinion would be the deciding factor.
The Praise of the Scholars for Ibn Taymiyyah
Al-Hafidh Adh-Dhahabi said: "He is far greater than the likes of me to inform on his qualities. If I were made to swear (by Allah) by the corner (of the Ka'bah) and the place (of Ibrahim), I would swear that I have not seen with my two eyes the like of him and by Allah, he himself has not seen his own like in knowledge."31
Al-Hafidh Al-Mizzi said: "I have not seen the like of him and nor have seen the like of himself. I have not seen one more knowledgeable of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and more compliant to it than him."32
Al-Imam Ibn Daqiq al-'Eid said: "When I met Ibn Taymiyyah, I saw a person who had all the types of knowledge between his eyes: he would take of it what he desired and leave of it what he desired."33
Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned in the context of refuting the one who opposed that Ibn Taymiyyah be termed 'Shaykh ul-Islam': "The acclaim of Taqi ad-Din is more renown than that of the Sun and titling him Shaykh ul-Islam of his era remains until our time upon the virtuous tongues. It will continue tomorrow just as it was yesterday. No one refutes this but a person who is ignorant of his prestige or one who turns away from equity."34
Shaykh Kamal ad-Din Ibn az-Zamlakani, who debated with Ibn Taymiyyah on more than one occasion, said: "Whenever he was questioned on a particular field of knowledge, the one who witnessed and heard (the answer) concluded that he had no knowledge of any other field and that no one possessed such as his knowledge. The jurists of all groups, whenever they sat with him, they would benefit from him regarding their own schools of thought in areas they previously were unaware of. It is not known that he debated anyone whereby the discussion carne to a standstill or that whenever he spoke on about a particular field of knowledge - whether it be related to the sciences of the Shari'ah or else - that he would not then excel the specialists of that field and those who are affiliated to it."35
He also said: "The prerequisites of ijtihad were combined within him in the way they should be he was very proficient in authoring very well and in excelling in expression, arrangement, classification and explanation."36
Al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir said " ... It was rare for him to he hear something and not memorise it and he occupied himself with the sciences. He was intelligent and had committed much to memory and thus, became an Imam in tafsir and what pertained to it. He had (comprehensive) knowledge of fiqh; it was said that he had more knowledgeable of the fiqh of the madhahib then the followers of those very same madhahib in his time and other times. He was fully aware of the different opinions of the scholars. He was a scholar in Usul, the branches of the religion, grammar, the language and other textual and intellectual sciences. He was never overcome in a sitting and no noble (scholar) would speak to him on a particular science except that he thought that this science was the specialty of Ibn Taymiyyah and he would see him as being well-versed in it and having perfected it ... As for hadith then he was the carrier of its flag, a hafidh in hadith, and able to distinguish the weak from the strong, fully acquainted with the narrators and being proficient in this ... "37
Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi said: "By Allah, my two eyes have never seen the like of Ibn Taymiyyah."38
Al-Hafidh Badr ad-Din al-'Ayni al-Hanafi said: "He is the Imam, the noble, the masterful, the pious, the pure, the devout, the proficient in the two sciences of hadith and tafsir, fiqh and the two fundamentals (i.e., the Book and Sunnah) with determination and precision. He is the sharp sword against the innovators, the authority, who established the matters of the religion and the great commander of the good and forbidder of evil. He possessed (noble) concern, bravery and embarked upon that which frightened and deterred. He was of much remembrance, fasting, prayer and worship."39
The Ordeals and Imprisonment of Ibn Taymiyyah
Ibn Taymiyyah was put through many trials throughout his life and it is extremely difficult to deal with them and present them properly in this brief discussion on him so I will merely list the more famous ones.
·         His ordeal because of his treatise Al-Hamawiyyah in the year 698H.
·         His ordeal and debates because of his treatise Al-Wasitiyyah in the year 705H.
·         His ordeal, summons to Egypt and imprisonment there in the year 705H for 18 months.
·         His ordeal with the Sufiyyah in Egypt after his release.
·         His deportation to Alexandria in the year 709H and imprisonment there for 8 months.
·         His ordeal because of specific verdicts related to divorce and resultant imprisonment in the year 720H, for five months.
·         His ordeal because of his legal verdict banning the undertaking of journeys specifically to visit graves and resultant imprisonment in the year 726H until he passed away, may Allah have mercy upon him, in the year 728H.
Ibn Taymiyyah's response to these ordeals was always a positive one which turned these trials and tribulations - by the favour of Allah - into great opportunities for increasing iman and reacting positively in knowledge and action. His summons to Egypt, for example, led him to debate and thoroughly deal with the innovators who had spread their beliefs throughout the region. His role in prison was another manifestation of this blessing, such as his efforts in educating the prisoners and nurturing them to the extent that the dissemination of knowledge and religion within the prison excelled certain institutions outside the prison. This happened in both Egypt and Alexandria. His decision to remain in Egypt after being released, was as he mentioned in a letter40 to his mother, because of matters necessary to religion and the world. This brought about much goodness in aiding the Sunnah and suppressing innovations. One of the greatest positive results was the books and papers he wrote and authored within prison. He also pardoned those who oppressed him, even when Ibn Taymiyyah had the opportunity to exact revenge. One of his opponents, Ibn al-Makhluf, the Maliki Judge said: "We did not see the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah; we incited against him but were not able to overpower him, when he was able to overpower us, he instead pardoned us and pleaded on our behalf."41
Another positive outcome was that these ordeals in themselves were a reason for the widespread circulation of Ibn Taymiyyah's works.42
His Students
He had many students43 and those that were affected by him are countless, some of his students were:
·         Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, (d. 751H)
·         Adh-Dhahabi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, (d. 748H)
·         Al-Mizzi, Yusuf ibn 'Abdur-Rahman, (d. 742H)
·         Ibn Kathir, Isma'il ibn 'Umar, (d. 774)
·         Ibn 'Abdil-Hadi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, (d. 744H)
·         Al-Bazzar, 'Umar ibn 'Ali, (d. 749)
·         Ibn Qadi al-Jabal, Ahmad ibn Hasan, (d. 771H)
·         Ibn Fadlillah al-'Amri, Ahmad ibn Yahya, (d. 749H)
·         Muhammad ibn al-Manja ibn 'Uthman at-Tanukhi, (d. 724H)
·         Yusuf ibn 'Abdul-Mahmud ibn 'Abdis-Salam al-Batti, (d. 728).
His Works
The existing works of Ibn Taymiyyah are great in number, despite the fact that a proportion of his works have perished.
He was a very quick writer. His brother 'Abdullah said: "Allah blessed him with the ability to write quickly and he used to write from memory without copying."44 Ibn Taymiyyah had a scribe who used to make copies of his work because of the fact that he used to write so fast. There was a person known as 'Abdullah ibn Rashiq al-Maghrabi who used to write the works of the Shaykh; Ibn Kathir says of him: "He could make out the handwriting of the Shaykh better than the Shaykh himself."45 He used to take a lot of time out to review his works as he did when he came out of prison because of the issue of divorce - in the year 721H.46 After his return to Sham in the year 712H, he dedicated a lot of time to authoring lengthy works.47 He would pay great attention to the writings that used to be attributed to him;48 it seems that the constant fabrication about him by his enemies and the twisting of his words was a reason for this.
He would not delay in answering questions that came to him and he authored and wrote from his memory while in prison.49
Some of his works are:
·         Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah
·         Dar Ta'arud al-'Aql wa'n-Naql
·         Al-Istiqamah
·         Iqtida' as-Sirat al-Mustaqim li Mukhalafah Ashab al-Jahim
·         Naqd Maratib al-Ijma'
·         As-Sarim al-Maslul 'ala Shatim ar-Rasul
·         Al-Jawab as-Sahih li man baddala Din al-Masih
·         Ar-Rad 'ala al-Mantiqiyyin
·         Ar-Rad 'ala al-'Akhnan'i
·         Naqd at-Ta'sis
·         An-Nubuwat
There are so many other works that have been included in Majmu' al-Fatawa, which is a compilation of his writings and verdicts put together by Ibn Qasim and his son. These include:
·         Qa'idah fi Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah
·         Al-Wasitah bayn al-Haqq wa'l-Khalq
·         Qa'idah Jalilah fi't-Tawassul wa'l-Wasilah
·         Ar-Radd al-Aqwan 'ala ma fi Fusus al-Hikam
·         Ar-Risalah at-Tadmuriyyah
·         Al-'Aqidah al-Wasitiyyah
·         Al-Wasiyyah al-Kubra
·         Al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubra
·         Sharh Hadith an-Nuzul
·         Kitab al-Iman
·         Amrad al-Qulub wa Shifa'uha
·         Al-'Ubudiyyah50
·         Al-Wasiyyah as-Sughra
·         Al-Furqan bayna Awliya' ar-Rahman wa Awliya' ash-Shaytan
·         Al-Furqan bayna al-Haqq wa'l-Batil
·         Muqaddimah fi Usul at-Tafsir
·         Tafsir Surah al-Ikhlas
·         Raf' al-Malam 'an al-A'immah al-A'lam
·         Al-Hisbah
·         Al-Amr bi'l-Ma'ruf wa'n-Nahy 'an al-Munkar
·         As-Siyasah ash-Shar'iyyah
·         Al-Madhalim al-Mushtarakah
A Discussion on His Personal State and Worship of His Lord
It is appropriate here to discuss this aspect of Ibn Taymiyyah's life, mainly to exhibit that the discussion he presents in his book does not emanate from one who is void of enacting such descriptions found within this discourse and that it does not merely derive from his academic knowledge and excellence.
In fact, one who reads his biography will realise that Ibn Taymiyyah had a great attachment to his Lord which manifested in his worship and strong reliance on Him, this is how we deem him to be and we do not put anyone's commendation in front of Allah's.
Those who wrote his biography discussed the worship, ascetism, piety, selflessness, humility and generosity he was famous for.51
Ibn al-Qayyim says of Ibn Taymiyyah's remembrance of his Lord: "I heard Shaykul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah sanctify his soul, say, 'Remembrance to the heart is like water to fish. What will be the state of the fish if it becomes seperated from the water?' ... I once attended fajr prayer with Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, he then sat and remembered Allah until it was nearly midday. He then turned around and said to me, 'This is my early morning meal, if I do not take this breakfast, my strength will drop.' "52
A great manifestation of his worship was in his genuine reliance upon his Lord and his belief in the decree of Allah. At times when he was subjected to the severest forms of treatment, he had the greatest reliance upon his Lord. When the news of his expulsion to Alexandria came to him and it was said to him: "They are plotting to kill you, expel or imprison you." He replied: "If they kill me it will be a shahadah for me. If they expel me, it will be a hijrah for me; if they expel me to Cyprus, I will call its people to Allah so that they answer me. If they imprison me, it will be a place of worship for me."53
Ibn al-Qayyim also says: "He used to say frequently in prostration when imprisoned, 'O Allah, assist me to remember you, to be grateful to you and to worship your properly.' and he said to me once, 'The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from Allah and the captivated one is the one whose desires have enslaved him.' "54
His Death, May Allah Have Mercy Upon Him
When he was ultimately banned from having any books, papers and pens during the latter stage of his final imprisonment, Ibn Taymiyyah devoted all of his time to worship and reciting the Qur'an. He remained in this state for a short period of time until he passed away on the twentieth of Dhul-Qa'dah of the year 728H. He fell sick for the few days that led to his death.
This came as an enormous shock to the people and they turned out in enormous numbers.
Historians regards this as one of those rare funerals and they compare it to the funeral of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah have mercy upon him.
Ibn Taymiyyah died at a time when he was imprisoned, with resentment from the Sultan and when may of the jurists and Sufiyyah were mentioning many things about him. However, despite that, his funeral was one witnessed by many and was famous.
Al-Bazzar says: "Once the people had heard of his death, not a single person wanted to be in Damascus who was able to attend the prayer and wanted to, remained until he appeared and took time out for it. As a result, the markets in Damascus were closed and all transactions of livelihood were stopped. Governors, heads, scholars, jurists came out. They say that none of the majority of the people failed to turn up, according to my knowledge - except three individuals; they were well known for their enmity for Ibn Taymiyyah and thus, hid away from the people out of fear for their lives."55
Ibn Kathir mentions that the deputy Sultan was absent and the State was perplexed as to what it should do. Then the deputy of the prison came to give his condolences and sat by Ibn Taymiyyah. He opened the entrance for those of his close companions and beloved people to enter upon him. They sat by him, cried and praised him.56 "Then they started to wash the Shaykh ... they only let those who helped in the washing to remain by him. Amongst them was our Shaykh al-Hafidh Al-Mizzee and a group of senior righteous and good people; people of knowledge and iman ... then they proceeded with him to Jami' al-Umawi. There was so many people in front of his janazah, behind it, to it's right and to it's left. None but Allah could enumerate them, then one shouted out, 'This is how the janazah of the Imams of the Sunnah are to be!' At that, the people, started to cry... when the adhan of dhuhr was given they prayed after it straight away against the usual norm. Once they finished prayer, the deputy khatib came out - as the main khatib was absent and in Egypt - and he led the prayer over Ibn Taymiyyah ... Then the people poured out from everywhere and all the doors of the Jam'i ... and they assembled at Al-Khayl market."57
On open land, his janazah was placed down and his brother, 'Abdur-Rahman, led prayer over him. Then his janazah was taken to his grave and he was buried in the Sufiyah graveyard by the side of his brother, 'Abdullah, may Allah have mercy upon them all.
People then arrived praying over him at his grave, those who had not yet managed to pray previously. Whenever news of his death reached a region, the people would gather in the main mosques and prayer over him, especially in Sham, Egypt, Iraq, Tibreez and Basra.58
May Allah reward Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah with goodness and grant him Al-Firdaws al-A'la and may He cause those after him to benefit from his knowledge.