Why the First Four Caliphs of Islam Called the ‘Rightly Guided’

four caliphs

The ‘rightly guided’ period is the 30 year reign of the first four caliphs of Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These four caliphs were some of the closest companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and his strongest adherents. Each one of them had particular special merits which distinguished him from the others. They were not just great leaders of the Islamic state but also righteous worshiping slaves of Allah.

The term ‘rightly guided caliphs’ was coined by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself during his lifetime. It is reported by one of his companions that one day the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised the Muslims saying, “I admonish you to fear Allah, to listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is appointed as your leader. Because whosoever among you shall live after me, will see much discord. So hold fast to my Sunnah and the examples of the Rightly- Guided Caliphs who will come after me. Adhere to them and hold to it fast” (Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi).
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Yusha Ibn Nun: The Only Human for Whom the Sun Was Stopped

Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem

His Name

The name Yusha (يوشع) is the Arabic form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua (يهوشواع). It means Yahweh (God) is salvation.” This name was given to him by Prophet Musa (Moses) because his original name was Hoshe’a (شواع) but Prophet Musa added the first part and made it Yehoshua (يهوشواع). The name is shortened to Yeshua (يشوع) in the Old Testament. In the English world, he is known as Joshua in the Bible.

His Lineage

His full name was Yusha son of Nun, son of Ephraim, son of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), son of Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob), son of Prophet Ishaaq (Isaac), son of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). So Yusha is the great-grandson of Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) and out of six of his forefathers, four were prophets.
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Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Source: Taken from Bilal Phillips’s footnotes on the “Radiance of Faith” book by Ibn Qudaama al-Maqdisee P. 125-126.

The wives of the Prophet (r) in this life will be his wives in the next life and they are known respectfully as “the Mothers of the Believers”. They deserve honor and admiration befitting wives of the Seal of the Prophets (r). They are from his household, pure and purfied, good and made good, innocent and made innocent of all evil accusations that dishonor them. Allaah was pleased with all of them:

1. Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid was the mother of all of the Prophet’s children, except for Ibraaheem. She proposed marriage to the Prophet (r) after the death of her two previous husbands, ‘Ateeq ibn ‘Aabid and Aboo Haalah at-Tameemee. She was 15 years older than the Prophet (r) who was only 25 at the time of their marriage. The Prophet (r) did not marry anyone else until she died in the 10th year of his prophethood prior to his ascencion into the heavens (al-Mi‘raaj.)

2. ‘Aa’ishah bint Abee Bakr as-Siddeeq. She was shown to the Prophet (r) in a dream two or three times and he was told: “This is your woman.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 42, no. 57 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, pp. 1298-9, no. 5977.) He married her in Makkah when she was six years old and consummated the marriage in Madeenah when she had reached puberty at the age of nine. She was the only virgin whom he married. ‘Aa’ishah was the fourth most prolific narrator of hadeeths (2,210 narrations) among the Prophet’s Companions. The Prophet (r) died as he lay his head on her lap (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1301, no. 5986) and she died in the year 58AH (676 CE) at the age of 65.

3. Sawdah bint Zum‘ah al-‘Aamiriyyah. He married her after her Muslim husband, as-Sakraan ibn ‘Amr, died. She died at the end of ‘Umar’s caliphate or in the year 54AH.

4. Hafsah bint ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab. He married her after her Muslim husband, al-Khunays ibn Huthaafah, was killed in the Battle of Uhud. She died in the year 41AH.

5. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah al-Hilaaliyyah, known as Umm al-Masaakeen. He married her after her husband, ‘Abdullaah ibn Jahsh, was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. She died in the year 4AH, after being married for only a short while.

6. Umm Salamah, Hind bint Abee Umayyah al-Makhzoomiyyah. He married her after the death of her husband, Aboo Salamah ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abdil-Asad, from wounds inflicted during the Battle of Uhud. Umm Salamah was the first female migrant to al-Madeenah. She was among the top fifteen hadeeth narrators among the Companions (she had 378 narrations), and the second most prolific of the female narrators. Umm Salamah was the last of the Mothers of the Believers to die. She died in 61AH (679 CE) during the reign of Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah.

7. Zaynab bint Jahsh al-Asadiyyah, a cousin of the Prophet (r). He married her after her divorce from his former adopted son and freed slave, Zayd ibn al-Haarithah, in 5AH, and she died in 20AH.

8. Juwayriyyah bint al-Haarith al-Khuzaa‘iyyah. He married her after her husband, Musaafi‘ ibn Safwaan or Maalik ibn Safwaan in 6AH and died in 56AH.

9. Umm Habeebah, Ramlah bint Abee Sufyaan. He married her after her husband, ‘Ubaydullaah ibn Jahsh, accepted Islaam then converted to Christianity. She died in Madeenah in the year 44AH during the caliphate of her brother, Mu‘aawiyah.

10. Safiyyah bint Huyay ibn Akhtab from the Nadeer Clan. The Prophet (r) freed her and made her freedom her mahr, after two husbands, Sallaam ibn Mashkam and Kinaanah ibn al-Haqeeq, after the conquest of Khaybar in the year 6AH. She died in the year 50AH.

11. Maymoonah bint al-Haarith al-Hilaaliyyah. He married her in 7AH during the Make-up ‘Umrah, after two husbands, Ibn ‘Abd Yaaleel and Aboo Haram ibn ‘Abdil-‘Uzzaa. She died in the year 51AH.

These are the wives who were separated from him by his death. Two of them died before him; Khadeejah and Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, and the remaining nine were separated from him by his death. There remain two wives whom he married and divorced without consummating their marriages. Consequently, the rules and merits of the others do not apply to them.

12. Asmaa bint an-Nu‘maan al-Kindiyyah. He divorced her because of a patch of white skin on her back about which he was not informed, according to Ibn Is’haaq. She was later married to al-Muhaajir ibn Abee Umayyah.

13. Umayyah bint an-Nu‘maan ibn Sharaaheel al-Juwayniyyah. He divorced her because she was tricked into saying “I seek refuge in Allaah from you,” by the other wives. (Sharh Lum‘atul-I‘tiqaad, pp. 152-4.)

Why Ibn Taymiyyah Focused on Principles of Islam

Source: The Lofty Virtues of Ibn Taymiyyah by Imam Abu Hafs Umar bin Ali al-Bazzar p. 13-15

Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be Pleased with him) wrote a lot about the principles of Islam as opposed to the branches of it. I asked him about this, and requested that he write a Fiqh book compiling all of his chosen and preferred opinions to be a main reference for issuing verdicts. So, he said:

“The branches of the Religion are easy to understand, and it is allowed for whoever follows one of the scholars to simply act on his fatwa as long as there is nothing to make him believe the fatwa to be incorrect. As for the principles, I see the people of innovation and misguidance – the philosophers, the Batinis, the heretics, those who believe that Allah is everywhere, the Dahris, the Qadaris, the Nusayris, the Jahmis, the deniers of Allah’s Names and Attributes, those who say He has a physical body, the Mushabbihah, Rawindis, the Kullabis, the Sulaymis, and other innovated groups – creating a crisis with their misguidance, and it is clear to me that their intent in this is to destroy the holy Shari’ah of Muhammad which dominates over all religions, and that most of them dragged the people into doubts regarding the principles of the Religion. Because of this, I rarely see someone turning away from the Qur’an and Sunnah and going for their opinions except that he becomes a heretic, and falls into doubt of his own religion and beliefs.

When I saw all of this, it became clear to me that whoever is able to repel their doubts and fabrications is to focus all of his efforts in exposing them and responding to their false beliefs in defense of the pure Religion and lofty, authentic Sunnah, and I never saw anyone write regarding this subject who claimed himself to be knowledgeable except that he actually helped demolish the foundations of Islam with his words. This is because of their aversion to the clear truth, their turning away from what the noble Messengers brought from the Lord of the worlds, and their following the path of the philosophers in using their terminology and referring to them as ‘wisdoms and logic,’ while they are in reality ‘stupidity and misguidance.’ They stick with this and turn away from everything else until it completely takes over their intellects, and it confuses them until they are no longer able to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Allah is too generous with His slaves to not provide them with minds that accept the truth and reject falsehood. However, lack of guidance and abundance of desires cause one to fall into misguidance.

Allah – the Exalted – made the intellect to be a scale for the slave to filter out falsehood from truth, and He did not send the Messengers except to those with intellect, and none are tasked with any obligations except those with intellect and logic, such that he stops and says: ‘This contradicts what the noble Messengers conveyed from Allah. This is falsehood that anyone with intellect sees,’ and whoever is not granted light from Allah will have no light.

So, this is why I focused all of my attention to writing about the principles of the Religion, and this is what caused me to collect all of their statements and reply to them with what Allah has blessed me of textual and logical arguments.”

I say that in everything he has written, he clarified the truth from falsehood, and Allah helped him to respond to their innovations, misguided opinions, deceptions, and desires with textual proofs and in a logical manner. He did this to the point that he answered each and every doubt of theirs with such clarity that anyone with a sound mind would understand and agree to his correctness. So, praise be to Allah who blessed us with the chance to see and befriend him, as Allah has made him a proof upon the people of his era, most of whom were busy with the worldly pleasures in exclusion to the matters of the Hereafter, and there is no might nor power except with Allah. However, Allah – the Mighty and Powerful – guaranteed the preservation of this Religion until the end of time, and made it dominate over all other religions. So, praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Definitions:

Batinis: A group that emerged in the 3rd century during the era of al-Ma’mun. They believed that the Qur’an was merely a commentary from the Prophet (peace be upon him), that it has hidden meanings that are known only to a few, and that homosexuality and incest are permissible. Those who inherited their beliefs include the Qaramitah and Isma’iliyyah in earlier times, and the Qadiyanis and Baha’is in later times. They caused great harm to the Muslims until they were wiped out by the ‘Abbasid leader al-Muktafi in 300 H. See ‘al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq’ (p.
382).

Dahris: A group who believe that there is no afterlife, and that the cycle of existence repeats every 36,000 years, and they say that nothing can destroy them except time (ad-dahr). See Ibn Kathir’s ‘Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim’ (4/190).

Qadaris: The ones who claim that the slave creates his own actions, and that Allah has no control over the Creation. The first who called to this was Ma’bad al-Juhani, and it was also said that it was Ghaylan ad-Dimashqi or Sawsan an-Nasrani. This innovation first emerged in the later part of the first century, and some of the Qadaris denied Allah’s Knowledge of events before their occurrence. However, they have died out, as an-Nawawi said. See al-Lalika’i’s ‘Sharh Usul al-I’tiqad’ (1/23 and 3/534 onwards) and ‘Sharh Sahih Muslim’ (1/153-154).

Nusayris: The followers of Muhammad bin Nusayr al-Basri, a slave of Bani Numayr who was originally from Persia. The sect was founded in the third century. They prefer to be called ‘Alawis, attributing themselves to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. This name was given to them by the French during the time of their colonial occupation of Syria in 1920 to hide the sect from the other Muslims who declared them disbelievers. They believe that ‘Ali was the incarnation of Allah, that the Islamic texts have a hidden meaning, and in reincarnation. They were declared to be disbelievers by Ibn Taymiyyah in ‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’ (35/149), Ibn al-Qayyim in ‘Ighathat al-Lahfan’ (2/247-249), Ibn Hazm in ‘al-Muhalla’ (13/139), ad-Daylami in ‘Bayan Madhhab al-Batiniyyah wa Butlalanuh’ (p. 71), and al-Ghazzali in ‘Fada’ih al-Batiniyyah’ (p. 37).

Jahmis: The followers of Jahm bin Safwan Abi Muhriz as-Samarqandi at-Tirmidhi, who was killed 128 H. He took his innovated beliefs of denying Allah’s Attributes from al-Ja’d bin Dirham and added to it the belief that Allah compels the slaves in their actions, that faith is simply knowledge, and that Paradise and Hell are not eternal. They are further divided into eight sects. See ‘Sharh Usul al-I’tiqad’ (1/30-31).

Mushabbihah: Those who go to extremes in confirming Allah’s Attributes, to the point that they liken Him to His Creation, and they are from the extreme Shi’ah. Those who were famous for this were Dawud al-Jawarbi and Hisham bin al-Hakam the Rafidi. Some of the innovators accuse Ahl as-Sunnah of being Mushabbahah, and they are free from this. See ash-Shahrastani’s ‘al-Milal wan-Nihal’ (1/103 onwards) and al-Ash’ari’s ‘Maqalat al-Islamiyyin’ (p. 221, 491, 518, 521, and 564).

Rawindis: The followers of al-Qasim bin Rawand. They believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had appointed al- ‘Abbas bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib as his successor, and that the Muslims all apostated from Islam by preventing al-‘Abbas from becoming the leader. They further believe that the right of leadership belongs only to those descended from al-‘Abbas, and that the Mahdi will be from his family.

Kullabis: They were the followers of ‘Abdullah bin Sa’id bin Kullab al-Qattan al-Misri, one of the philosophers who lived during the time of al-Ma’mun, and died in 240 H. He would affirm for Allah the seven Attributes of Knowledge, Power, Will, Life, Hearing, Sight, and Speech based on logic, and would deny the rest. One of his followers was Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, who later abandoned these beliefs for those of Ahmad bin Hambal, while the current day Ash’aris resemble the Kullabis of old. See ‘Lisan al-Mizan’ (3/290).

My Hero: Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah

A brief biography of one of my personal heroes in Islamic history. The great scholar and reviver Ibn Taymiyyah.

The entire world of Islam was trembling with fright as an imminent target of Tartar oppression. Iraq, Iran, and Khurasan continued to be despotically ruled by the Tartars. Egypt, Sudan, Syria, and Hijaz were ruled by the Memluk turks. Simultaneously, a large Christian evangelical movement was mounting to censure Islam. The crusaders were incessantly attacking Palestine and the European Christians residing in Syria and Cyprus had become emboldened to criticize the prophethood of Rasoolullah (saws), compose works on the alleged truthfulness of Christianity, and to invite theological debate. As the external pressures mounted upon, several internal problems plagued the Muslims. A so-called Muslim sect known as the Batinites was conspiring with the enemies of Islam to destroy the Muslims. They sought to propagate their creed which was based on Magian doctrine and Platonic concepts and spread misguidance among the Muslims. It was also at this time that a sufi sect, called the Rafaa’iyah, with its neo-platonic gnosticism and Hindu pantheistic ideas, had introduced the concepts of divination, and the use of charms and spells into Islam. In addition, other concepts alien to Islam had been injected into the Muslim society by influence of the dhimmis living in the Muslims lands. By this means, the practices of worshipping, supplicating to, or excessively praising saints were also introduced to the Muslims. Even as the ignorant masses fell deeper into the pits of misguidance, some scholars, themselves, had become entangled in the web of theological rhetoric and philosophical jargon, thereby allowing heretical beliefs to creep into the Islamic creed. In the midst of this degradation, the other scholars of Islam were stagnant. An attitude had arisen among them that nothing could be added to the corpus juris of the shari’ah already formulated by the scholars of old and that any deviation from the corpus of one’s own juristic school was a grievous sin. So it was that the scholars sought to prove the validity of their own juristic school’s claims rather than subordinate their interpretation to the supremacy of the Quran and Sunnah.

The door of ijtihad was closed and with it any of the inherent dynamism and flexibility in the shari’ah that would have checked the problems of a rapidly changing and deteriorating society. Such was the situation of the Muslim Ummah in the seventh century after Hijrah. From among this ummah came a man who would change the time he lived in with his exceptional knowledge, devotion, courage. He was a mujtahid and a mujahid and he fought all of the enemies of Islam, internal and external, being opposed all the way, and persevering even in the face of insurmountable obstacle. He was a great scholar, son of a great scholar, who was the son of a great scholar. Taqi al-Din abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim, commonly known as Ibn Taymiyyah, had a family history which was just as illustrious as his own life. His grandfather, Abd-ul-Barakaat Majd ud-Din (d. 652 AH) was a renowned teacher of the Hanbali school. His father, Shahab ud-Din ‘Abdul Halim (d. 682 AH) was the pulpiter of the great Ummayyad mosque and a professor of Hadith in Damascus. Ibn Taymiyyah was born on Monday, the 10th of Rabi’-ul-Awwal 661 AH in the city of Harran, Syria. At the age of seven, his family moved to Damascus, fleeing from the Tartar invasion. He studied with over 200 sheikhs, among them his own father and four women. Ibn Taymiyyah was the model student due not only to his zeal for learning but also to his amazing mental capacity and particularly his prodigious memory. An eye-witness account of his amazing memory was preserved in the writings of a scholar: “Once a scholar of Haleb who came to Damascus heard of a prodigious child, Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, renowned for his marvelous retentive power. Coming to a tailor’s shop near Ahmad’s house he sat down there to wit for the child. After a short while, the tailor pointed out the boy sought by him. He summoned the boy and asked him to wipe off his table so that he could write on it. The boy handed over the clean tablet to the scholar who wrote 11 or 13 ahadith on it and then asked the boy to read them carefully once. Now, the scholar took back the tablet and asked the boy to repeat what he had read. The boy repeated them all without a single mistake. The scholar got the table wiped off again and wrote thereon a few transmitting chains of the ahadith. The boy went through these and again repeated the whole thing. Astonished at the feat of the boy’s memory he remarked: ‘If Allah wills him to live, he would be a genius without a peer in the whole world.’ ” [1]

From his childhood, he was never interested in games or sports, and the pursuit of knowledge consumed his life. He mastered all of the religious and secular sciences of his time giving special attention to Arabic literature, grammar, and lexicography. He also learned the laws of shari’ah, Jurisprudence, Hadith and Quranic sciences, and studied the Hanbali system of law under his own father. Besides this he also learned calligraphy and mathematics. A close examination of his work suggests that he followed none but the early pious Muslims (salaf al-salihoon) and it is for this reason that his movement is often called the salafi movement. He was the champion opponent against all of the different innovations that had infiltrated the deen in his time. He had a particular fancy for the tafseer (explanation) of the Quran. Ibn Taymiyyah, himself, explains the way he used to persist in pondering each verse: “Sometimes I have gone through as many as hundred commentaries of a single verse of the Quran. After I have dipped into these pages, I have supplicated Allah to enlighten me about the true content and significance of the verse. I pray to Allah thus on these occasions: ‘Thou art the Exalted Teacher of Adam and Ibrahim. Favor me Thou with the essence of this verse.’ ” [2]

Among the other tasks that Ibn Taymiyyah took upon himself was the response to the contemporary Ash’arite school of dialectics that was them predominant in Syria and Egypt and which was in opposition to the Hanbalite position. He learned and mastered the study of dialectics, logic, and philosophy and to such a degree that he so forcefully argued against the Greek philosophers that no philosopher of note came forward to rebut his criticism. Ibn Taymiyyah always tried to prevent, by force if necessary, all accretions and innovations in religion. He taken upon himself the responsibility of acting as a public censor who would purge the deen of any heretical ideas. He formed a society for this purpose and even accompanied some expeditions to fight the guilty heretical sects that has conspired with the crusaders and Tartars. His jihad was not only an ideological one, but he also personally participated in the battles against the Tartar army. In 699 AH, when the Egyptians army was unsuccessful in holding of the Tartar army from Damascus, almost all of the inhabitants of the city had fled and so the few remaining patricians of the city, among them Ibn Taymiyyah, decided to meet the Tartar king and ask for the peace of the city. While the others trembled in his presence and would dare not speak out, Ibn Taymiyyah was uninhibited and strongly defended truth and justice. One of his companions in the delegation recounts Ibn Taymiyyah’s courage: “I was with the Sheikh on this occasion. He set forth in his address to the King the Quranic verses and ahadith enjoining fairness and just conduct. His voice gradually rising, he was drawing nearer to the king until his knees were about to touch those of Ghazan who was attentively listening to the Sheikh but didn’t appear to be displeased with him. He was straining his ears as if struck with awe. At last he asked, ‘Who is he? I have never seen a man like him — so brave and courageous; none has made a dent in my heart as he!’ the Sheikh was then introduced to the King. The Sheikh said to the King: ‘You claim to be a Muslim. I have been told that you have with you a Qadi and an Imam, a Sheikh and a mu`adhdhin; yet you have deemed it proper to march upon Muslims. Your forefathers were heathens, but they always abstained from breaking the promise once made by them. They redeemed the pledges they made, but you violate the word of honor given by you. You trample underfoot your solemn declarations in order to lay a hand on the servants of Allah!’ ” [3]

His companion adds that despite Ibn Taymiyyah’s remonstrance in a strong language, the King bade him good-bye with the highest mark of respect. he ever set free, on Ibn Taymiyyah’s recommendation, a good number of prisoners. Ibn Taymiyyah often used to say: ‘Only he fears who has a sickness of heart.’ [4]

Then in 702 AH, he participated in the battle of Shaqaab and helped defeat the Tartars Naturally, Ibn Taymiyyah began to be recognized as one of the leading scholars of Syria and his popularity was increasing but some of the scholars became envious of him and resented his trying to enforce the shari’ah. Ibn Kathir explains: “A group of the theologians was jealous of Sheikh Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah because of his position in the court of the governor and also for his acting as a public censor who had taken upon himself the responsibility of enforcing what was lawful and preventing what was prohibited. They were envious of his growing popularity and of the love and respect accorded to him as well as of his learning and zeal for religion.” [5]

As a result of this and strong opposition by some of the scholars to his views, Ibn Taymiyyah was imprisoned several times yet he never wavered in his belief and was unmatched in his generosity in forgiveness. In 705 AH, he was summoned to Egypt where he was interrogated in reference to his belief about the nature of Allah’s attributes. Qadi Ibn Mukhluk Maaliki, one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s fiercest opponents, was appointed as the judge in his case. He was imprisoned along with his brothers, Sharaf ud- Din ‘Abdullah and Zaid ud-Din ‘Abdur-Rahman. [6]

Many had pleaded incessantly for his release until, after a year had passed, he was offered to be set free if he renounced his creed. The offer was made to him as many as six times, but he always refused, saying, “The prison is dearer to me than what I am asked to affirm.” [7]

In prison he found his fellow prisoners emmersed in a life of sin and he raised his voice against these abuses such that not long after his arrival, he changed the whole atmosphere of the prison. A number of the prisoners became his devoted disciples who, on being released, opted to stay with their beloved teacher than to return to their families. Perhaps nothing is as much of an indication of Ibn Taymiyyah’s moral excellence as is his show of mercy and forgiveness to those who inflicted so much harm on him. In a letter he sent to Syria soon after his release, he says: “…I do not want that anyone should be avenged for my suffering or for leveling false allegations against me, for I have already forgiven everyone of them. I desire the well-being of every Muslim — the same as I desire for myself. All those persons who discredited me or deposed false evidence against me or caused trouble to me are not the least accountable so far as I am concerned; no responsibility lies upon them on my score.” [9]

This was only the first of the many times he was imprisoned and in every cases he forgave the perpetrators of the injustice against him and was patient with his fate. Still, some were not satisfied, and continued to put forth allegations against him. One of his rulings stated that no journey to a shrine, even if it be to the grave of Rasoolullah (saw) could be undertaken as an act of devotion under the shari’ah. His enemies used this seventeen year old statement to discredit him among the ignorant ones. The order for his arrest came on the 7th of Sha’ban, 726 AH, and when news of this came to Ibn Taymiyyah, he said, “I was looking forward to it. It has a lot of goodness and grace for me.” [10]

While in prison he completed 80 recitals of the Quran and wrote several books and treatises. When the authorities confiscated paper and writing materials from him he wrote with charcoal on any loose sheets of paper he could find. He completed a 40 volume tafseer called al-Bahr al-Muheet. He wrote in total over 500 books according to Imam adh- Dhahabi, most of them in prison. While his enemies succeed in containing his person, they couldn’t contain his mind, wisdom, and scholarship and while they considered that they were harming him, he had a different perception. He writes in a letter: “Thanks to Allah that we are now engaged in a fight in the way of Allah. The battle we are fighting here is not a bit lower in order than our previous warfare against Ghazan, the heretics of the hills and the propagators of pantheistic monism. This is undoubtedly a blessing of Allah on us, although most of the people are unaware of it.” [11]

And so he died as he lived, in a constant struggle for the sake for Allah (swt). Zaid ud-Din ‘Abdur-Rahman relates that after completing eighty recitals of the Quran, Ibn Taymiyyah started if again with him. However, when he reached the closing verses of Surat al-Qamar: “Lo! The righteous will dwell among gardens and rivers firmly established in the favor of a Mighty King.” [54:54- 55] he expressed his desire to continue the recital with ‘Abdullah ibn Muhib and his brother, ‘Abdullah az-Zara’ee. [12]

He was not able to complete this recitation. Ibn Taymiyyah dies on the 22nd of Dhul Qa’dah, 728 AH. It is estimated that a train of 60,000 to 100,000 people, of which at least 15.000 were women, joined the funeral procession. [13]

Ibn Taymiyyah revived an otherwise dying society. He was the torch of tawheed, a fortress of courage, an encyclopedia of knowledge and a patient servant of Allah (swt). He surpassed all of the scholars of his time and even his enemies bore witness to this fact. His knowledge and works continued to have a marked affect on history and he is, without doubt, one of the greatest scholars of Islamic history. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Ibn Taymiyyah’s status in the annals of knowledge is a statement of one of his bitterest enemies, Allaama Kamal ud-Din al-Zamalkaani: “Allah has made knowledge of all the sciences as easy for Ibn Taymiyyah as iron had been softened for Prophet Dawud. Whenever he was asked any question, he answered in a way that the audience thought him to have spent his whole life in acquiring knowledge of that very branch of knowledge alone and acknowledged as the greatest authority on the subject. Scholars subscribing to different juristic schools attended his discourses and each one of them learnt something that he had not known earlier. It never happened that he debated any point and was put to shame. Whatever be the subject matter about which he spoke, whether religious or discursive, he surpassed all the authorities on that particular subject. In penmanship, too, he was equally elegant.” [14]

REFERENCES[1] Abu Zahra, p. 56 (cited from al-‘Uqood ud- Durriyah, pg. 21) [2] al-‘Uqood ud-Durriyah, p. 24 [3] al-Kawaakib ud-Durriyah, p. 25 [4] Nadwi, Saviors of Islamic Spirit, p. 31 [5] Ibn Kathir, p. 37 [6] Ibn Kathir, Vol. XIV, p. 38 [7] Ibn Kathir, Vol. XIV, p. 42 [8] al-Kawaakib ud-Durriyah, p. 181 [9] Abu Zahra, p.62 [10] Nadwi, Saviors of Islamic Spirit, p. 55 [11] Abu Zahra [12] Nadwi, Saviors of Islamic Spirit, p. 59 [13] Ibn Kathir, Vol. XIV, p. 136-139 [14] al-Kawaakib ud-Durriyah, p. 5