The Reason Al-‘Aqidah Al-Wasitiyah Was Written

Ibn Taimiyah said:

“A Shafi’ite judge from Wasit (in Iraq) whose name is Radiy ad-Din al-Wasiti, visited me on his way to Hajj (pilgrimage). This Sheikh was a man of goodness and faith. He complained to me of the people’s situation in that country (i.e., Iraq ) under the Tatars (Mongols) rule of ignorance, injustice, and loss of faith and knowledge.

He asked me to write him an ‘Aqeedah (creed) as a reference to him and his family. But I declined saying: Many creeds have been written. Refer to the scholars of the Sunnah. However, he persisted in his request, saying: I do not want any creed but one you write. So I wrote this one for him while I was sitting one afternoon.

(Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn Taimiyah, VIII, p.164)

Was Ibn Taymiyyah a anthropomorphist?

(note: Question & answer have been shortened, to read the full question & answer please see link at the bottom of article)

Q) I have read that he deviated from the correct aqeedah and was a anthropomorphist.

A)What is mentioned in the question about Shaykh al-Islam having deviated from sound ‘aqeedah and ascribed to Allaah, may He be exalted, the attributes of His creation, is an utter fabrication and a blatant lie against Shaykh al-Islam and his methodology and ‘aqeedah. Anyone who reads any of his major or minor books will realize that. Among these texts and rules which it would be too difficult to refer to all of them, let alone quote them, are his words:

The early generation of this ummah and its imams are unanimously agreed that there is nothing like unto Allaah, either in His essence or His attributes or His actions. One of the imams said: Whoever likens Allaah to His creation is a kaafir, and whoever denies that which Allaah has ascribed to Himself is a kaafir; there is nothing like unto that which Allaah has ascribed to Himself or His Messenger has ascribed to Him. End quote.

Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam (2/126).

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The comprehensive statement concerning all of this matter is that Allaah is to be described as He has described Himself or His Messenger has described Him, and as the early generation have described Him, and we are not to go beyond what the Qur’aan and hadeeth say.

Imam Ahmad (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Allaah is not to be described except as He has described Himself or His Messenger has described Him, and one is not to go beyond the Qur’aan and hadeeth.

The approach of the salaf was to describe Allaah as He described Himself and as His Messenger described Him, without distorting or denying, and without asking how or likening Him to His creation. We know that what Allaah has ascribed to Himself is true, and there is nothing mysterious or puzzling in it, rather its meaning is to be understood as the One Who said it meant it to be understood, especially when the one who said it is more knowledgeable of what he says than all other people and the most eloquent and most able to explain what he wanted to explain, and the most fluent in explaining, defining and guiding.

In addition to all of this, there is nothing like unto Allaah, either in His holy essence or His names and attributes or actions. We believe firmly that He has a real essence and that He has real actions, and real attributes. There is nothing like unto Him, in his essence, attributes or actions. If there is anything that implies shortcomings or that He has a beginning, He is far above that in a real sense, and He is to be thought of as perfect in such a way that there is no perfection above it. He has no beginning and He cannot have been created, because there was never a time when He did not exist. For anything to be created implies that there was a time when it did not exist, and that creation would require a creator, but He has always existed from eternity.

The view of the salaf is one of moderation, neither denying the divine attributes nor likening Allaah to His creation. They do not liken the attributes of Allaah to the attributes of His creation, as they do not liken His essence to the essence of His creation. They do not deny that which He ascribes to Himself or that His Messenger ascribes to Him, which leads to denying His beautiful names and sublime attributes, and to displacing words from (their) right places (cf. al-Nisa’ 4:46) and turning away from (Fussilat 41:40) the names and signs of Allaah.

Both those who deny Allaah’s attributes and those who liken Him to His creation are guilty of both errors. Those who deny His attributes failed to understand the names and attributes of Allaah except in a manner that is befitting to created beings, so they denied these concepts and thus they have combined both errors; first of all they likened Him to His creation, then they denied His attributes as a result. That is likening the names and attributes to what may be understood from the names and attributes of His creation, then they denied the attributes that He deserves to have that are befitting to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted.

Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam (5/26-27)

The texts of Shaykh al-Islam concerning this issue are very many, as we have indicated, but what we have quoted is sufficient, in sha Allaah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength.

click link to read the full question & answer