Islamic Studies

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah: Man of God

Part I | Part II

By Dr. Ahmad al-Raysoni | Translated by Suhaib Webb

Ibn Taymiyyah was well known as a unique scholar; abundant in knowledge, magnanimous in his understanding, strong in proofs and a shining light. Most people are unaware that he was the possessor of lofty religious stations, pure spiritual states and sincere saintly experiences. Abu al-Hasan al-Nawdawi wrote, “From what Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in Madarij al-Salikin concerning him from his words and different anecdotes; and what the great scholar of hadith al-Dhahabi mentioned, as well as others wrote regarding his character, his experiences, his habits, his nature, his pursuits and his actions, it becomes abundantly clear that the Sheikh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah is entitled, with every right, to be considered from those conversant with the Divine and from the men of Allah from the Muslim nation.”

In what follows, we plan to shed some light on this aspect from the life of Ibn Taymiyyah which many neglected.

His Worship:

Ibn ‘Abdul al-Hadi said, “The circumstances in which Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah lived bear witness that he was adorned with sincere faith, and that he witnessed [internally] the following experiences with the Divine: impoverishment, reliance, servitude and repentance.

It is related from him that if he encountered a problematic issue, or he had difficulty in understanding a verse of Qur’an, he would take refuge in a large mosque in a desolate area, place his forehead on the ground [in prostration] and repeat, “Oh teacher of Ibrahim! Grant me understanding.”

Imam al-Dhahabi states, “I never saw anyone like him in supplications, in imploring Allah for His assistance, and in turning to and reliance on Allah.”

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Indeed, if I encountered a perplexing issue, or I was overcome by some problem, I would seek Allah’s forgiveness 1000 times, more or less, until my chest was opened and the problem that distressed me was removed.”

This was Ibn Taymiyyah’s state whether in the market place, the streets, teaching in the schools or dealing with the people. He states that if he was in any of these places that they “Would not prevent me from remembering Allah and seeking His forgiveness.”

He acquired a special taste for worship, seeking Allah’s pleasure and being alone with Him. It was said about him, “During the night he was isolated from everyone; alone with his Lord, pleading with Him for guidance, consistent in his reading of Qur’an, unvarying in his nightly and daily acts of worship. When he started to pray the fear and awe [of Allah] became apparent upon him until he would lean to the right and left.

When he prayed the dawn prayer he would sit until the sun was very high in the sky [remembering Allah] saying [after he finished]: “That was my breakfast. If I fail to nourish myself with this, my strength will leave me.” Al-Dahabi said, “He had a certain prescription [related to Allah’s remembrance] which he would observe with constancy engaging it with all his might.”

End of part one

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