Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah The Reformer

(Taken from the book Evolution of Fiqh p144 by Bilal Philips)

Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328CE) was the foremost among the reformers of this period. Because of his challenge of the status quo, many of his contemporaries declared him an apostate and had the authorities jail him repeatedly.

Ibn Taymiyah was, however, one of the greatest scholars of his time. Initially, he had studied fiqh according to the Hanbali madh-hab, but did not restrict himself to it.

He studied the sources of Islamic law in depth and mastered all the Islamic sciences which were known at that time. Furthermore, he examined the writings of various sects which had broken off from Islam, studied the religious books of the Christians, the Jews and their various sects and wrote extensive critiques on all of them.

Ibn Taymiyah also took part in the Jihad against the Mongols who had occupied the eastern and northern provinces of the Abbasid state and were at the time threatening Egypt and North Africa.

Ibn Taymiyah’s students were among the greatest Islamic scholars of their time and carried on to the next generation the banner of Ijtihad and a return to the pure sources of Islam which he had raised. Among them was Ibn Qayyim, a great scholar in the fields of Fiqh and hadith, adh-Ddhahabi, a master in the science of hadith criticism and Ibn Katheer, a master in Tafseer, history and hadith.

Unconditional Obedience

by Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah

(Translated by Abu ‘Abdis-Salam)

“Indeed the people of Truth and the Sunnah do not follow anyone [unconditionally] except the messenger of Allaah SAW, the one who does not speak from his desires – it is only revelation revealed to him.
Belief in all that he narrated is obligatory, as is his [unconditional] obedience in all that he commanded. This rank is not given to anyone other than him, [whether] from the Imaams [or other than them]. Rather, statements of every individual are taken and left, except the messenger of Allaah SAW [whose statements are always taken].

So whoever makes a person other than the messenger of Allaah SAW [a criterion] such that whoever loves him and stands by him becomes from Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and whoever opposes him becomes from the people of innovation and splitting – as that is found in the groups following the leaders of kalaam with regards to the religion – then he is from the people of innovation, misguidance and splitting!”