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Ibn Ḥajar quotes the statements of al-Dhahabī and others in al-Durar al-Kāminah:
Al-Dhahabī said, in giving a biographical account for him, "He read the Qurʾān, [studied] fiqh, debated and sought evidence and he had not reached [the age of] maturity, and he became skilled in knowledge, tafsīr, and he gave fatwā and gave lessons and he was less than twenty years old. He authored works and became from the senior scholars in the life of his own shaykhs. His works number around four thousand books and more." And he [al-Dhahabī] said in another place, "As for his citation of fiqh and the views of the Companions and Tābiʿīn, let alone the four madhhabs, then he has none to match him in that." And in another place he [al-Dhahabī] said, "And he has a mighty reach in knowing the sayings of the Salaf, rarely would a matter be mentioned except that he would mention the opinions of the Scholars, and he would opposes the four Imāms in a number of issues in which he wrote about and brought proof for them from the Book and the Sunnah..." And he [al-Dhahabī] said in another place, "He was insightful into the way of the Salaf, and he argued in its favour with evidences and with matters in which no one else preceded him, and he used certain expressions which others shied away from, until a porition of the Scholars in Egypt stood against him, they declared him an innovator and debated him, yet he was firm, did not compromise nor fear, rather he spoke the truth when his ijtihād and the sharpness of his mind, and his great expanse (in understanding) led him to it. As a result war-like encounters took place and incidents in both Shām and Egypt, and they assaulted him all from a single arch (bow). Then Allāh, the Exalted, delivered him, and he was constantly in prayer, making much istighāthah (seeking deliverance from Allāh), strong in reliance, constantly alert, and he had regular remembrances which he would be devoted to." And al-Dhahabī wrote to al-Subkī, rebuking him for his speech against Ibn Taymiyyah, and he [al-Subkī] replied to him and from his response was:
As for the saying of my teacher [al-Dhahabī] regarding the Shaykh, then I am convinced of his great rank, his ocean-like exuberance, the vastness of his knowledge of the legislative and intellectual sciences, his excessive intelligence and ijtihād and his reaching [a level] in all of that which surpasses description. I have always held this opinion. His status in my eyes is greater and loftier than that, alongside what Allāh gathered for him of asceticism, piety, religiosity, his aiding of the truth and remaining firm upon it for the sake of Allāh alone, his traversing the ways of the Salaf and his great dependence upon all of that, and the strangeness of his likes in this time, rather, since many times [that have passed by].
And I read in the writing of al-Ḥāfidh Ṣalāh al-Dīn al-ʿAlā'ī regarding the trustworthiness of the shaykh of our shaykhs, al-Ḥāfidh Bahā' al-Dīn ʿAbd Allāh bin Muḥammad bin Khalīl, whose text is - and the Bahā al-Dīn just mentioned heard over the two shaykhs -: Our shaykh, our chief and imām in that which is between us and Allāh, the Exalted, the shaykh of verification, the one traversing [the way] of the one whom he followed, the one of great many virtues, and powerful, compelling evidences which all of the nations have affirmed that their concerns in trying to enumerate them all are decifient, and may Allāh delight us by his magnificent sciences and benefit us in this world and the hereafter and he is the shaykh, the rabbānī scholar, the ocean-like sage, the pole of light, imām of the scholars, the blessing of the ummah, the signpost of the scholars, inheritors of the prophets, the last of the mujtahidīn, the unique ones amongst the scholars, the shaykh of Islām, the proof of the notables, the example for the creation, the evidence for the students, the subduer of the innovators, the sword of the debators, the ocean of sciences, the beneficial treasure, the explainer of the Qurʾān, and amazing prodigy of the era, the unique of the age, and verily, Taqī al-Dīn is the imām of the Muslims, the proof of Allāh over the creation, associated with the righteous, resembling those who have passed, the muftī of the various factions, the aider of the truth, the signpost of guidance, the support for the Ḥuffādh, the knight of meanings and words, the pillar of the Sharīʿah, possessor of marvellous sciences, Abū al-ʿAbbās Ibn Taymiyyah.
Refer to al-Durar al-Kāminah (ed. Dr. Sālim al-Almānī, Dar al-Jayl, Beirut, 1933) 1/158-160.
From the forthcoming publication, "The Creed of the Early Kullabi Ash'aris."
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