A Further Accusation Against Ibn Taymiyyah

by Abū Hudhayfa

Another distortion of ibn Taymiyyah's views, again repeated by Kabbani (p.96), is what ibn Batootah (d.779H) alleges in his Rihlah (1/110):

"I was present in Damascus on Friday where he (ibn Taymiyyah) was admonishing and reminding the people from the pulpit of the congregational mosque. During his speech he said: 'Indeed Allaah descends to the lowest heaven of the world just as I am descending now.' Then he descended one step of the pulpit..."

Again, the falsehood of this claim can be shown from a number of angles:

i. Ibn Taymiyyah was not the khateeb of the aforementioned masjid, rather it was Qaadee al-Qazwaynee. Ibn Batootah himself says in his Rihlah (1/107):

"At the time of my entering it (Damascus) their Imaam was Qaadee Jalaal ad-Deen Muhammad bin Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Qazwaynee from the great legal jurists, and he was the khateeb of the masjid."

ii. It is a clear contradiction of ibn Taymiyyah's way concerning the Attributes of Allaah. Ibn Taymiyyah clearly states the forbiddance of likening Allaah to His creation: "

It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for Himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation."

(at-Tadmuriyyah, p.20, of ibn Taymiyyah).

iii. Ibn Taymiyyah has also said:

"Whoever considers the Attributes of Allaah to be like the attributes of the creation, such that the Istawaa of Allaah is like the ascending of the creation, or His Descending (Nuzool) is like the descending of the creation or other than that, then he is a deviated innovator. "

(ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo' al-Fataawaa 5/262).

iv. Ibn Taymiyyah has a separate book concerning the hadeeth of Allaah's Descending - Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool - and in it there is no trace of the anthropomorphic beliefs which Kabbani and others have falsely accused him of.

v. It is not possible that ibn Batootah witnessed ibn Taymiyyah deliver this speech since ibn Batootah states in his Rihlah (1/102) that he entered Damascus on the 9th of Ramadhan in the year 728H. However, ibn Taymiyyah was in prison at this time as ibn Katheer states in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (14/135) that he was imprisoned on 6th Sha'baan 728H and remained there until his death on 20th Dhul-Qa'dah 728H.

vi. Ibn Batootah did not write the book Rihlah with his own hand, rather it was collected by Muhammad bin Jazee al-Kalbee who writes in the introduction: " I have quoted the meaning of the words of Shaykh Abu Abdullaah (ibn Batootah) with words that give the meaning of what he intended."

The author of the infamous Al-Albani Unveiled deemed it necessary to say (pp. 112-113):

"Even if one was to denounce Ibn Battuta's account as being a false and fabricated statement, one may wish to know that the greatest scholar of Hadith in his time, Shaykh al-Islam al-Hafiz Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Rahimahullah) has reported an incident in al-Durar al-kamina (1, 164) where again ibn Taymiyyah descended the steps of the minbar in order to illustrate his understanding of how Allah descends (nuzul) as early as the year 705/1305 AH (some 21 years before Ibn Battuta's account). Hafiz Ibn Hajar's source for this incident was one of Ibn Taymiyya's own disciples by the name of Sulayman Najm al-Din al-Tufi al-Hanbali (d.716/1316)."

These words of al-Tufi al-Hanbali are also repeated by Kabbani (p.96).

However, it is clear from what al-Tufi says (i.e. "... they mentioned that he had cited the hadith of Allah's descent...") that he is merely relaying what others have said, not that he is necessarily agreeing with the correctness of the accusation.

Incidentally, the author of Al-Albani Unveiled believes that the event referred to by al-Tufi took place 21 years before ibn Batootah's account whereas Kabbani seems to think that it is a report of one and the same event!

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