Clarifying Some Doubts

Misconceptions and Allegations


Allegations of Anthropomorphism

Ibn Battah (d.779H) alleges in his Rihlah (1/110):
I was in present in Damascus on Friday where he (i.e. Ibn Taymiyyah) was admonishing and reminding the people from the pulpit of the congregational mosque During his speech he said: Indeed Allh descends to the lowest heaven of the world just as I am descending now. He then descended one step of the pulpit ...

The falsehood of this claim can be shown from a number of angles:- [1]

Firstly: This contradicts the madhhab (way) of Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah concerning the Sift (Attributes) of Allh - the Most High - which was the same madhhab as that of the Salafus-Slih (Pious Predecessors), being built upon the saying of Allh - the Most High -: There is no likeness unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. [Srah ash-Shr 42:11] So Allhs Attribute of an-Nuzl (Descending) is affirmed in a manner that befits His Majesty and Perfection, but it is not like the descending of any of His creation. Indeed, throughout his writings concerning Allhs Sift, Ibn Taymiyah ah clearly states the forbiddance of likening Allh to His creation.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in at-Tadmuriyyah (p.20): It is a must to affirm that which Allh affirms For Himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation ... Whosoever says: His knowledge is like my knowledge, His Power is like my power, or Love like my love, or Pleasure like my pleasure, or Hand like my hand, or Istaw (Ascending) like my ascending - then he has resembled and likened Allh to the creation. Rather, it is a must to affirm (Allhs Attributes) without any resemblance, and to negate (what Allh negates for Himself), without tatl (divesting Allh of any of His affirmed Attributes).

Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmul-Fatw (5/262); Whosoever considers the Attributes of Allh to be like the attributes of the creation - such that the Istaw (Ascending) of Allh is like the ascending of the creation, or His Nuzl (Descending) is like the descending of the creation, or other than that - then he is a deviated innovator.

Secondly: It is not possible that Ibn Battah witnessed Ibn Taymiyyah deliver this speech, since Ibn Battah clearly states in his Rihlah (1/102) that he entered Damascus on the 9th of Ramadhn in the year 728H. However, Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah was - before, during and after that time - in prison. Ibn Kathr states in al-Bidyah wan-Nihyah (14/135) that Ibn Taymiyyah was imprisoned on the 6th of Shabn in the year 728H and remained there until his death on the 20th of Dhul-Qadah 728H.

Thirdly. Ibn Taymiyyah - rahimahullh - has a separate book concerning the hadth of Allhs Descending, entitled Sharh Hadthin-Nazl. In it there is no trace whatsoever of the tashbh and tamthl (anthropomorphic beliefs) - that he has falsely been accused of.

Fourthly: Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah did not used to give admonitions to the people from the pulpit, rather he used to sit upon a chair. Al-Hfidh adh-Dhahab said: And he became very famous and well-known, and he started giving tafsr of the Mighty Book from his memory, on the days of Jumuah, sitting upon a chair.

Another Lie Against Ibn Taymiyyah

After previously quoting the words of Imm an-Nawaw concerning the kufr (disbelief) of one who ascribes to Allh a jism (body), Hasan as-Saqqf - apparently quoting the words of Ibn Taymiyyah - said in his footnotes to Daf Shubah at-Tashbh (pp.245-246):

Entering into this category is al-Harrn (Ibn Taymiyyah) ... who has affirmed tajsm (Allh having a jism) in many of his books. So from this is his saying in at-Tass (1/101): And there is not in the Book of Allh, nor in the Sunnah of His Messenger, nor a statement from any one of the Salaf of this Ummah and its Imms that He is not a jism (body), and that His Attributes are not bodily, consisting of organs ... I say: By Allh who originated the heavens and the earth - your saying is ignorance and misguidance. Is not Allh - the Most Highs -- saying: There is no likeness unto Him. [Srah ash-Shr 42:11] sufficient in negating tajsm and its reality, O al-Harrn?!! And what about the Imms of the Ummah and the Salaf - O al-Harrn - and their censure of tashbh ...

And this is from one of as-Saqqfs many deceptions - so beware!

Shaykh Mashr ibn Hasan - hafidhahallh - said: [2]
These words are from one who does not know what fairness is, who acts haphazardly in his rulings, and who falsely accuses the Scholars of wickedness. This becomes apparent in a number of ways:-

From them: That the previously mentioned words are not from the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah in which he is clarifying his own views, or even stating them rather, he is quoting the saying of the people of kalm (innovated spch and rhetoric). However, as-Saqqf has conveniently omitted the beginning of the quotation from Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah, where he clearly stated: Ql (they say)!!

From them: That as-Saqqf overlooks the words of Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah - rahimuhallh - concerning the overall use of this term in reference to Allh - the Mighty and Majestic - and he halted where he halted upon knowledge. However, justice is very rare - and there is no power or movement except with Allh.

Shaykhul-Islm said, in the course of this topic: Indeed, the term al-jism (body), al-arad (organs), al-mutuhayyiz (extent) and their like, are all newly- nvented terminologies. We have mentioned many a time before, that the Salaf and the Imms have not spoken about such things - neither by way of negation, nor by way of affirmation. Rather, they declared those who spoke about such matters to be innovators, and went to great lengths to censure them.

This is what has been repeatedly affirmed by Shaykhul-Islm - rahimahullh - in many of his books, such as: Sharh Hadthin-Nuzl (pp.69-76), Majmal-Fatw (3/306-310, 13/304-305), Minhj us-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah (2/134-135, 192, 198-200, 567). Indeed in Sharh Hadthin-Nuzl (p.71) - Shaykhul-Islm has labelled ascribing Allh with the term jism as being: An innovation in the Sharah, a corruption of the language and a contradiction to the [sound] intellect. Rather, it is repudiated by the Sharah, the language and the [sound] intellect.

And from them: That Shaykhul-Islm mentions the intended meaning of ascribing Allh with the term jism, by saying: Whosoever alleges that the Lord is composite - with the meaning that he accepts division, separation and partition (for Allh) - then he is the most disbelieving of people and the most ignorant. Indeed, his statement is more evil than the one who says that Allh has a son - with the meaning that a part of Him split and thus became His son.


Concerning the Tarwh Prayer

Muhammad Idrs al-Kndalw said in his book Ijtihd wa Taqld (p.88) that the Tarwh Prayer consists of twenty rakahs only, and: Imm Ab Hanfah, Imm Mlik, Imm ash-Shfi and Imm Ahmad bin Hanbal - rahimahumullh - all have ijm (consensus) upon this. [3]

Shaykh Badud-Dn as-Sind (d.1416H) - rahimahullh - said in Tanqd Sadd (pp.266-268):
This is an erroneous claim. This is what has been stated in the Hanaf books of Fiqh (jurisprudence), since we do not see any book that can be correctly ascribed to Ab Hanfah. Rather, what is apparent from looking into al-Muwatt of Imm Muhammad (one of the main students of Ab Hanfah) is that Ab Hanfahs madhhab was to pray eleven rakahs.

So Imm Muhammad includes a chapter in al-Muwatt (p. 110), stating: Chapter: Establishing the Night Prayer in the month of Ramadhn, and the virtues contained in it.

Under this chapter he relates four ahdth. The first, third and fourth narrations do not make mention of any specified number of rakahs for the Tarwh Prayer, rather they just mention the excellence of establishing Prayer in congregation and the excellence of the night Prayer in Ramadhn. However, in the second narration eleven rakt is mentioned. Then Imm Muhammad said (p.111): And we take all of this. ... Thus, he has shown that his madhhab is eleven rakahs, and this can only be the madhhab of Imm Abu Hanfah - rahmutallh alayhi - as well.

Imm ash-Shfi - rahmutallh alayhi - said: There is no limit to its maximum number, since it is an optional Prayer. Thus, if the standing is lengthened, whilst the number of prostrations shortened (i.e. the number of rakahs are fewer), then that is good and that is what is most beloved to me. However, if the numbers of prostrations and bowings are increased (i.e. the number of rakahs are increased), then this is also good. [4]

So it is affirmed that Imm ash-Shfi - rahimuhullh - does not advocate restricting the number of rakahs to twenty rather, he gives preference for there to be fewer rakahs and an increase in the length of standing.

Imm Ahmad bin Hanbal has approved of eleven rakahs as well as twenty, as Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah says in al-Ikhtiyrtul-Ilmiyyah (p.38) and Shah Walullh says in al-Misriyyah (1/174) and al-Musaf (1/177).

Imm Mlik - rahimahullh - also supports eleven rakahs, as Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned in al-Ikhtiyrt (p.38) and as Jallud-Dean as-Suyt mentions in al-Hw lil-Fatw (p.350), where he said: al-Jr of our companions said, from Mlik, that he said: That which Umar ibn al-Khattb gathered the people upon is more beloved to us, and that was eleven rakahs, and that was the prayer of Allhs Messenger sallallhu alayhi wa sallam. It was said to him: Eleven rakahs with the Witr? So he said: Yes, and thirteen is close. Then he said: I do not know from where they have introduced these numerous ruks (bowings).

Concerning Imm ash-Shfi

Al-Kawthar alleged in his Maqlt (p.381): Imm ash-Shfi used to seek tawassul (the means of nearness to Allh) through Ab Hanfah, as is mentioned at the beginning of at-Trkh of al-Khatb with a Sahh isnd (authentic chain of transmission) ...

Shaykh al-Albn - hafidhahallh - replied in ad-Dafah (1/31): This is not just a mistake, but this is from his many mistakes. Here he is indicating at what al-Khatb relates (1/123) by way of Umar ibn Ishq ibn Ibrhm, who said: We were informed by Al ibn Maymn, who said I heard ash-Shfi say: I seek tabarruk (blessings) through Ab Hanfah, and I go to visit his grave every day. Whenever I want a need to be fulfilled, I pray two rakahs and then go to his grave, where I ask Allh - the Most High - for my need. Not a long time passes before my need is fulfilled.

This narration is daf (weak), rather it is btil (futile), since Umar ibn Ishq ibn Ibrhm is unknown and nothing is mentioned about him in the books of rijl (biographies of narrators). It is possible, however, that this Umar could actually be Amr ibn Ishq ibn Ibrhm ibn Hamd ibn as-Sakan, Ab Muhammad at-Tnis. A biography is recorded about him by al-Khatb (12/226). He mentioned that he is from al-Bukhr, who in the year 341 Hijrah, travelled to Hajj and then came to Baghdd. However, there is no jarh nor tadl (information concerning his invalidity or validity as a narrator) about him, and his condition is unknown. However, it is not possible that it is him, since his Shaykh Al ibn Maymn - according to the saying of the majority - died in the year 247 Hijrah. So nearly one hundred years elapsed between the death of them both, and thus it is improbable that Amr ibn Ishq met Al ibn Maymn.

Whatever the case, this narration is weak and there is nothing to support it being authentic. Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned the meaning of this narration and then established that it is false. He said in Iqtid as-Sirtul-Mustaqm (p.165):

This is a lie, and its being a lie is self-evident to anyone who has knowledge about (historical) narratives. For when ash-Shfi arrived in Baghdd there was no specific grave that was frequented for making supplication. Indeed, this practice was not even known in the time of ash-Shfi. Moreover, ash-Shfi had seen in al-Hijz, Yemen, Syria, Irq and Egypt graves of the Prophets, the Companions and the Tbin. The inmates of such graves were to ash-Shfi - as well as to other Muslims - greater in merit than Ab Hanfah and the Scholars of his level. So how is it that he offered supplication only at the grave of Ab Hanfah?! Also, those of the students of Ab Hanfah who lived to see ash-Shfi - such as Ab Ysuf, Muhammad, Zafar, al-Hasan ibn Ziyd and others - did not used to offer supplication at the grave of Ab Hanfah, nor anyone elses grave. Furthermore, it is established from the books of ash-Shfi himself, that he hated the veneration of graves out of fear of it causing fitnah (corruption). Thus stories such as this are fabricated by those who lack both knowledge and Dn, or they are related by those who are unknown and obscure.


1.See Hayat Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyah (pp.47-48) of Shaykh Bahjatul-Baytr and at-Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah (p.69) Shaykh Al Hasan al- Halab.
2. From al-Aslah Magazine (no.4 pp.64-55).
3. Our purpose here for quoting the following discussion is not to establish whether the Tarwh Prayer should consist of eight rakahs or twenty. either, it is to show that the claim concerning there being an ijm upon twenty rakahs by the four well-known Imms is an incorrect claim.
4 . Quoted by Imm al-Marwaz in Qiymal-Layl (p.92).

Al-Ibaanah Issue No.3

Dhul-Qadah 1416H / April 1996

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