As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 8


Ibn Taymiyyah remained high-spirited and focused even in times of tribulation

      Ibn Taymiyyah remained high-spirited and focused even in times of tribulation

Ibnul-Qayyim says, ‘He (Ibn Taymiyyah) 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.'

[Al-Wabil as-Sayyib, p.61]

Prison was never a hurdle for Shaikhul-Islam, who always continued writing and calling to the good even in confinement. Ibn Katheer mentions that whilst Ibn Taymiyyah was in prison in Cairo, '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 the Sunnah in a way that would bewilder the minds. [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (14/46)]
While in prison, he wrote several books and treatises. He completed a 40-volume Tafseer called al-Bahr al-Muheet. He wrote in total over five hundred books according to Imam adh-Dhahabi, most of them in prison. When the authorities confiscated paper and writing materials from him, he wrote with charcoal on any loose sheets of paper he could find. While his enemies succeeded in containing his person, they could not contain his mind, wisdom and scholarship and while they thought that they were harming him, he had a different perception. He writes in a letter, 'Thanks to Allah that we are now engaged in a fight in the Way of Allah. The battle we are fighting here is not a bit lower in order than our previous warfare against Qazaan, the heretics of the hills and the propagators of pantheistic monism (Wahdat al-Wajood). This is undoubtedly a blessing of Allah on us, although most of the people are unaware of it.'[Ibn Taymiyyah: Hayatuh wa Usuruhu wa Arauhu wa Fiqhuhu, Abu Zahrah]

Injustices suffered in the cause of defending the truth, did not cause Ibn Taymiyyah to be vengeful and bitter, rather he truly forgave his enemies while he had the opportunity to take revenge. In a letter, sent to Syria soon after his release, he says,
'...I do not want that anyone should be avenged for my suffering or for leveling false allegations against me, for I have already forgiven every one of them. I desire the well-being of every Muslim -- the same as I desire for myself. All those persons who discredited me or deposed false evidence against me or caused trouble to me are not the least accountable so far as I am concerned; no responsibility lies upon them on my score.' [Abu Zahrah, Ibn Taymiyyah: Hayatuh wa Usuruhu wa Arauhu wa Fiqhuhu, p.62] This was only the first of the many times he was imprisoned and in every case, he forgave the perpetrators of the injustice against him and was patient with his fate. One of his opponents, Ibn al-Makhloof, 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 over-power us, he instead pardoned us and pleaded on out behalf.'

His reliance upon Allah caused him to focus upon his goal, and to leave retribution to Allah from those who unjustly harmed him, as he said, 'Allah is the Accomplisher of His Promises in secret and in open and He takes revenge from the party of Shaytaan on behalf of the slaves of Allah. However, His Wisdom necessitates and it has been His Sunnah with regards to tests and trials that He purifies through it the people of truth and Eeman from the people of hypocrisy and falsehood. His Book (the Qur'aan) highlights that every caller to Eeman will surely face trials and for every person with evil and oppression is punishment. Allah says, 'Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, 'We believe,' and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test). Or those who do evil deeds think that they can outstrip Us (i.e. escape Our Punishment)? Evil is that which they judge!' [Soorah al-Ankabut (29): 1-4]' [Majmoo al-Fatawa (3/212). Quoted from the book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad]

Ibn Taymiyyah responded to those who believed they could intimidate him by the loss of possessions, saying: '… do I have anything to fear about? If I were to be killed, I would be from the best of the martyrs! And upon me will be mercy and pleasure (of Allah) on the Day of Judgment! And upon him who kills me will be everlasting curse in this world and punishment in the Hereafter! And let everyone who believes in Allah and His Messenger know, that if I were to be killed for the Deen of Allah, and if I were to be imprisoned then the imprisonment will be a blessing of Allah for me. And by Allah, I will always thank Allah for his blessing on me for this imprisonment, and I do not have anything to fear for from the people! Not my feudatory! Not my institution! Nor my wealth, nor my estate, nor my prestige. Verily the fear is for you, if what you have from the estate and wealth, and the corruption in your religion from which you seek the happiness of this world and the Hereafter may be lost.’ [Majmoo al-Fatawa (3/215-216) Quoted from the book, 'Dawah Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wa-Athruha fi al-Harakat al-Islamiyyah al-Mu'asirah' by Salahud-Din Maqbool Ahmad]

Allah's Messenger said, 'Those who are afflicted the most among the people are the Prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with (the strength of) his Deen (faith). If his Deen (faith) is firm, his affliction is hard, and if his Deen (faith) is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sin.' [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al- Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee (993) Musnad Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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