Thursday, 4 December 2014

Not Much Attention was given to the Works of ibn Taymiyya & ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya




Not Much Attention
Was given to the
Works
of
ibn Taymiyya
&
 ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya



Bio-bibliographical sources provide yet further support for the view that Ibn Taymiyya’s influence in subsequent centuries can easily be exaggerated.

The Damascene scholar Najm al-Din al-Ghazzi wrote a biographical dictionary of Sunni scholars and notables who died in the tenth century of the Hijra (1492-1588), a work that incorporates material from biographical dictionaries by the :

Ottoman scholar: Ahmet Taskropuzade (d. 1568),
Aleppine scholar: Radi al-Din Ibn al-Hanbali (d. 1563),
Egyptian scholar:  ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani (d. 1565), and
Damascene scholar: Ibn Tulun (d. 1564).


Al-Ghazzi’s compilation has been edited and thoroughly indexed by Jibra’il Jabbur.
The index of titles mentioned by al-Ghazzi provides for an interesting contrast with the index to a contemporary introduction to Islamic religious history such as Berkey’s The Formation of Islam.

Al-Ghazzi’s text does not mention a single work by Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.

By contrast, the kalam works of
al-Taftazani are mentioned ten times; the semantic rhetorical works of al-Taftazani ten times; the kalam works of
al-Jurjani fourteen times; books on logic thirteen times;
Ibn ‘Arabi’s works seven times; the
Jam’ al-Jawami’ of al-Subki twenty-seven times (mostly along with the commentary of al-Mahalli); the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad ten times; and the
Mawahib of al-Qastallani four times. [1]

The more detailed obituaries of scholars in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti’s well-known chronicle of eighteenth-century Egypt also provides valuable information on the books studied by prominent Egyptian scholars.

Again, there are no references to the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, while the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Sanusi, and al-Laqani appear regularly, as does the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad and the Mawahib of al-Qastallani. [2]

The athbat
– ie. works listing the books one had a certificate to teach – by prominent seventeenth – and eighteenth-century scholars in the Hijaz tend to reinforce the impression obtained from biographical entries.

The thabat of the Meccan Shafi’i scholar Ahmad al-Nakhli (d. 1717), for example, does not mention any works by Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn Qayyim, but mentions the Sharh al-‘Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya of al-Taftazani and the Jawharat al-Tawhid of al-Laqani, as well as Ibn ‘Arabi’s Futuhat, al-Mahalli’s commentary on al-Subki’s Jam’ al-Jawami’, al-Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad, and al-Mawahib of al-Qastallani. [3]

The thabat of the Meccan scholarAbdallah ibn Salim al-Basri (d. 1722) likewise does not mention the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim, while mentioning the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Jurjani, al-Dawani, and al-Laqani, as well as the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad and the works of Ibn ‘Arabi.[4]

 Even the thabat of the Damascene Hanbali scholar Abu al-Mawahhib al-Hanbali (d. 1714) does not mention the works of Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn al-Qayyim, while mentioning the theological works of al-Taftazani, al-Sanusi and al-Laqani, as well as the Mawahib of al-Qastallani, the Shifa’ of al-Qadi ‘Iyad, and the works of Ibn ‘Arabi.[5]

To be sure, the evidence of the athbat is not conclusive, partly because they sometimes mention works under a general description, such as “all the works that he is certified to teach” or “the books of the jurists of the school, both earlier and later.”

It is thus not unlikely that some of the mentioned scholars were acquainted with the works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.

Yet, it is striking that Ibn ‘Arabi, whose ideas were supposedly dealt a decisive blow by Ibn Taymiyya, and philosophical theologians such as al-Taftazani and al-Jurjani, whose field was supposedly marginalized by the victory of traditional neo-Hanbalis, appear regularly in these athbat while Ibn Taymiyya does not.

The Ottoman scribe and polymath Katip Celebi, author of the well-known bibliographic compilation Kashf al-zunun ‘an asami al-kutub wa al-funun was obviously much better acquainted with the works of Ibn Taymiyya’s critics than with the works of Ibn Taymiyya himself.

For example, he mentioned Ibn Taymiyya’s Minhaj al-sunna, but did not give the incipit, presumably because he had not actually seen a copy of the work. Instead, he quoted Ibn Taymiyya’s critic Taqi al-Din al-Subki to the effect that it was a powerful response to a Shi’i polemical work by Ibn Mukhtar al-Hilli (d. 1326), but also expounded the heretical views that created things need not have a beginning in time, and that non-eternal attributes subsist in God.[6]

After mentioning Ibn Taymiyya’s Kitab al-‘arsh, Katip Celebi again did not give an incipit, but quoted the grammarian and Qur’an commentator Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi (d. 1344) as stating that he had seen this work, and that Ibn Taymiyya had written there that God is literally seated on the throne, and had left a place on it for the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to sit next to him. [7]

After mentioning Ibn Taymiyya’s work [Iqtida’] al-sirat al-mustaqim, Katip Celebi yet again did not give an incipit, and merely wrote that this was the work in which Ibn Taymiyya, according to Taqi al-Din al-Hisni, expressed the outrageous view that the venerable Companion and transmitter of Hadith Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiallahu ‘anh) was an unbeliever.[8]

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[1] – Al-Ghazzi, al-Kawakib al-sa’ira,, 3:314-316. Al-Ghazzi mentions one work by Ibn Taymiyya’s grandfather Majd al-Din ibn Taymiyya (d. 1254) – a handbook on Hanbali law entitled al-Muharrar.
[2] – ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, ‘Aja’ib al-athar fi al-tarajim wa al-khabar (Cairo: al-Matba’a al-‘Amira, 1297AH), 1:309-310, 2:25-26, 2:227-228, 4:185-186.
[3] – Ahmad al-Nakhli, Bughyat al-talibin al-mashayikh al-muhaqqiqin al-mu’tamadin (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyya, 1328AH).
[4] – Salim ibn ‘Abdallah al-Basri, al-Imdad bi ma’rifat ‘uluww al-isnad (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyya, 1328AH).
[5] – Abu al-Mawahib al-Hanbali, Mashyakha, ed. Muhammad Muti’ Hafiz (Damascus & Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1990).
[6] – Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun, 2:1872.
[7] – Ibid., 2:1438
[8] – Ibid., 2:1078


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Hidden for 400 Years!