Alleging that Ibn Taymiyyah is an anthropomorphist

Q: I am almost 16 years old, everybody is impressed with my personality, because of my profuse knowledge of religion and sciences. I was very religious, until I joined a Sufi group led by a shaykh called, Muhammad `Eid Al-Husayny. In few months, I was one of his students, I would rather say one of his servants for I used to wipe my face with his hands, kiss them, and help him wear his shoes. I even used to race with others to help the shaykh wear his shoes. At the same time, I read books written by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, for I used to hear the shaykh insulting him, declaring him as a Kafir (disbeliever), and one of Al-Mushabihah (anthropomorphist: those who liken Allah’s Attributes to those of His creation). When reading his books I found contradiction between what is mentioned in them and what the shaykh was saying. However, I tried to convince myself that these books were fabricated as the shaykh says. He also says that Wahhabism is a dissident Islamic group just like Al-Mushabbihah Al-Khawarij and Al-Mu`tazilah. I also used to debate with a Salafi group (those following the way of the righteous predecessors) and support my views with the Hadiths which the shaykh narrates to us, but then I would discover that they are Hadith Mawdu`(fabricated). They used to tell me that I would soon abandon this shaykh, if Allah guides me to the truth. (Part No. 3; Page No. 225) I stayed with this shaykh for about six months leading a Sufi life replete with acts of Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). Every lesson, the Shaykh narrates to us the miracles of his masters, the 'Awliya' (pious people) and his own such as the knowledge of Al Ghayb (the unseen) which he speaks of indirectly but a word to a wise man is enough. I used to believe everything he said. My friends used to bring Sahih Hadiths (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish) that contradict his views. However, I used to tell them that the shaykh must be more knowledgeable than them.On the 15 Sha`ban, 1401, the shaykh said that everyone who trusted him should imitate him without objection. He said that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) used to obey the orders of Allah and His Messenger and used to say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)." When he said this, I felt relieved even though I was sweating badly that night from heat. Since then, I started doubting him. After two days I traveled to Al-Madinah and then to Makkah Al-Mukarramah to perform `Umrah. There, I met a Saudi man called `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Salih Al-Tawiyan from Buraydah. I informed him about my story. He brought me books refuting Sufism in addition to books written by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. My doubts increased, therefore I left him after he had made me deviate from the Straight Path, may Allah keep him in misguidance - May Allah forgive him. Taking into consideration that when (Part No. 3; Page No. 226) I talked to some of his followers, they accused me of being mad. Now, a debate is taking place between me and one of the shaykh's followers without his knowledge. I want to refute the claims of a dear friend who is at the same time a follower of the shaykh, which are as follows:1- Please, explain the Prophet's saying, Whenever someone greets me, Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting. 2- The follower of the shaykh accused Ibn Taymiyyah of being an anthropomorphist. Please, clarify this point.3- The last point is regarding the Awliya'. Thanks to Allah, I have knowledge regarding these matters but it is limited in comparison to yours. May Allah keep you to protect Islam and Muslims!


A: The claims of this person that Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him) was an anthropomorphist is false. The shaykh believed in Allah, His Names, and Attributes which is the same `Aqidah (creed) of the Salaf (Righteous Predecessors). He described Allah in the same manner which Allah describes Himself or what His Messenger (peace be upon him) describes Him with without Tahrif (distortion of the meaning), Ta`til (denial of Allah's Attributes), Takyif (descriptive designation of Allah's Attributes), or Tamthil (likening Allah's Attributes to those of His Creation). This is clear in his books such as Al-`Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah and Al-Risalah Al-Tadmuriyah, etc. However, those who follow Bid`ah (innovation in religion) such as Al-Jahmiyyah, and Al-Mu`tazilah accuse whoever ascribes the Attributes to Allah in a manner that befits Him of being an anthropomorphist. Also, Al-Asha`irah (Part No. 3; Page No. 227) accuse whoever contradict their view of the interpretation of Allah's Attributes, of being an anthropomorphist. There are no texts that negate or affirm anthropomorphism, and therefore, a Muslim should not negate or affirm it, because the Attributes are Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion.)As for the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) and related by Abu Dawud: Whenever someone greets me, Allah returns my soul (to my body in the grave) and I return his greeting, we have previously issued Fatwa no. 4383 regarding this Hadith, as follows: Q: Is the Prophet (peace be upon him) alive in his grave in the worldly sense after his soul is restored to his body? Or is he alive in his grave in the sense of the life of Al- Barzakh (period between death and the Resurrection) during which he is not held legally accountable for his actions? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said when he had the fatal illness: O Allah, join me with the highest company. Does this indicate that his body is placed now in the grave without his soul while his soul is placed in the highest part of `Illiyyun and it will join his body on the Day of Resurrection? Allah (Exalted be He) says: And when the souls are joined with their bodies, (the good with the good and the bad with the bad). A: Our Prophet (peace be upon him) is alive in his grave in the sense of the life of Al-Barzakh, so he enjoys the blessings that Allah has prepared for him as a reward for his great deeds that he did in this world. However, his soul does not join his body in the grave as it was in this world as life in the grave is not like the life of this world, or the life in the Hereafter. (Part No. 3; Page No. 228) Rather, it is the life of Al-Barzakh which comes in between his life in this world and his life in the Hereafter. Hence we know that he died as other Prophets and other people before him died. Allah (Exalted be He) says, And We granted not to any human being immortality before you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): then if you die, would they live forever? , Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will remain forever. And Verily you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will die, and verily they (too) will die. There are other Ayahs indicating that Allah caused him to die. Moreover, the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet - may Allah be pleased with them all) washed and shrouded his body, offered the funeral prayer and buried him. If he had been alive in the worldly sense, they would not have done the same things that are done with other people who die. Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) asked for her inheritance from her father (peace be upon him) because she was convinced that he had died, and no one among the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) differed with her concerning that. Rather, Abu Bakr responded to her request by saying that nothing could be inherited from the prophets. The Sahabah unanimously agreed to choose a caliph for the Muslims to succeed the Prophet (peace be upon him). That is why Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was appointed as caliph. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been alive in a worldly sense, they would not have done that. These are all indications that there was a consensus among them that he (peace be upon him) died.During the sedition and the turmoil during the caliphate of `Uthman and `Aly (Part No. 3; Page No. 229) (may Allah be pleased with them both), they did not go to his grave to consult him or ask him for a way out of their problems, seditions, or the way to solve them. Likewise, they did not go to him before that or after it. If he (peace be upon him) had been alive in a worldly sense, they would not have overlooked consulting him when they were in such great need of someone to save them from the trials that surrounded them.With regard to the soul of the Prophet (peace be upon him), it is in the highest part of `Illiyyun, because he is the best of creation, and because Allah has given him Al-Wasilah which is the most superior degree in Paradise.

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