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Portions of the biographical account provided by al-Dhāhabī are also quoted by Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī in al-Durar al-Kāminah. He quotes from al-Ḥāfidh al-Yaʿmarī as was done by al-Dhāhabī. Ibn Ḥajar wrote:
The Shaykh of our shaykhs, al-Hāfidh Abū al-Fatḥ al-Yaʾmarī (Ibn Sayyid al-Nās) said in the biography of Ibn Taymiyyah:
Al-Mizzī encouraged me express my view about Shaykh al-Islām Taqī al-Dīn. I found him to be amongst those who had acquired a fortune of knowledge and he fully and completely memorised the Sunan and the Āthār. If he spoke about tafsīr then he would be the carrier of its flag or if he gave a legal ruling in fiqh, he would know its extreme depths. And if he was to recall a hadīth he would possess all the knowledge related to it and would carry its flag (make the hadīth take precedence over all else). And if he was to talk about the various religions and factions, no one who was more vast in knowledge or greater in meticulousness could be seen. He surpassed his contemporaries in every science and my eyes have not seen the likes of him and nor have his eyes seen the likes of himself. He used to speak about tafsīr and a large number of people would attend with a substantial portion returning while having taken from his sweet, rich ocean (of knowledge). (And it continued thus), until the disease of envy crept into the hearts of the people of his city.
The theoreticians conspired together to pick out anything from his beliefs that could be rejected, and for this end they memorised certain of his statements. Then they undermined him by this ploy, and laid traps for him by (which to catch) him [and declare him an innovator]. They thought that he had strayed from their way and split from their sect. So they argued with him and he with them and some of them cut relations with him and he with them. Then he debated another group who ascribed to asceticism and to the ṭarīqah, those who thought they had the minute details of the inner reality and its bare truth (the Sūfīs). However, he exposed these orders. Then this reached the first group and they sought help from those who cut relations with him and harboured malice towards him. So they took the matter to the rulers, each of them having decided that he was an disbeliever. They prepared a meeting and inspired the ignorant masses to spread this word amongst the great scholars. They (also) took steps to take the matter to the king of Egypt. And he (Ibn Taymiyyah) was arrested and thrown in prison. (Secret) gatherings were held to conspire in the spilling of his blood, and for this purpose the people and students from the small mosques were called, along with those who would argue only for the sake of the people (to make them happy), those who would argue only to display their wit, and those that would pronounce takfīr and call for disassociation. But your Lord knows best what is (concealed) in their hearts and what they (openly) proclaim. The one who announced his disbelief was not better than the one who merely argued to make the people happy. The scorpions crept all around him, but Allāh made futile each of their plots and rescued him at the hands of those that He chose, and Allāh is the one who overcomes and reaches His affair. Then he continuously moved from one trial to another. In all of his life he did move except from trouble to trouble, until his affair was raised to some of the qādīs, and there occurred what occurred in the matter of his arrest (and imprisonment). He remained in prison until he died and to Allāh do all affairs return, and He knows the deception of the eyes and what the hearts do conceal. On the day of his funeral, the streets were crowded and the Muslims came from every roadway...
Refer to al-Durar al-Kāminah (ed. Dr. Sālim al-Almānī, Dar al-Jayl, Beirut, 1933) 1/156-158.
From the forthcoming publication, "The Creed of the Early Kullabi Ash'aris."
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