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  • Book Title:
 Ibn Al Qayyims Advice To Ahl Al Sunnah
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Ibn Qayyim
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IBN AL QAYYIMS ADVICE TO AHL AL SUNNAH CONCERNING THE OBLIGATION OF SUPPORTING THE TRUTH From the Nūniyyah Poem (al Käfiyah al-Shafiyah fi-l Intişār lil Firga al-Nājiyah)


The Subject Matter of the Nuniyyah

Supporting the truth and its triumphing over falsehood is the overall subject of Ibn al Qayyim lengthy poem al Kifayah al­ Shafiyah ff-I intisar Iii Firqa al-Najiyah {That Which Suffices and Remedies as Pertains the Triumphing of the Saved Sect}, as is evident from its very name.

The poem is most commonly called the Nuniyyah because every verse of poetry is concluded with the Arabic consonant “nun.” The Nuniyah itself consists of 5,842 lines of poetry, making it quite a remarkable, one-of-a­ kind work in ‘aqidah. The great scholar al-Sa’di says about its exceptionality:

(It) includes that which is not found in any other single book on the topic of monotheism, beliefs, and fundamentals. It contains details that are not found in other books, including the writings of the author himself’

In the Nuniyyah, the author of the poem systematically defends the ‘aqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah by repudiating many groups of deviation who had plagued Muslim society for centuries and had caused it to reach an unprecedented point of crisis. In this and many other writings he fully elaborates on this crisis and the unmistakable cause of it. For example, in one instance he said:

In summary; the splitting of the people of the previous two scriptures, and the splitting of this nation into seventy-three  sects was caused by misinterpretation. The blood of Muslims was only ever shed…because of misinterpretation. The enemies of Islam, such as the philosophers, the Qaramitah, the Biitiniyyah, the Isma’iliyyah, and the Nusayriyyah, only infiltrated through the door of misinterpretation. Islam has never been trialled with any tribulation except on account of misinterpretation. Such tribulation transpired either: by way of the misinterpreters

themselves; or by way of the unbelievers being unleashed against them. This was on account of what they had perpetrated of misinterpretation, what they opposed of the obvious meaning of revealed religion, and what they had justified of false reasoning. 2

So defending the creed of the Sunnah against misinterpretation and misrepresentation constitutes the first line of defense for the religion as a whole. If beliefs about

Allah are open to reinterpretation, then what would remain off limits thereafter? As such, elsewhere, Ibn al Qayyim explains the inherent danger of reinterpreting the Divine Attributes of the Creator saying:

Applying this (false) principle (i.e., the admissibility of reinterpreting the-Divine Attributes) would necessarily allow for the reinterpretation of the verses pertaining divine commandment and prohibition, those pertaining divine promise and threat, and those pertaining divine reward and punishment.

We have mentioned in the book al Sawii’iq al Mursalah that misinterpretation of the verses and narrations pertaining the divine attributes in a manner that removes them away from their literal meanings constitutes the foundational cause of the corruption of the world and the religion, and that of the departure of kingdoms.

It was only by way of misinterpretation that the enemies of Islam gained control over them. Those who have investigated and are experienced pertaining what has happened in the world know this well. Accordingly, some intelligent people from the philosophers forbid reinterpretation, despite them believing it to be correct, because it is the cause of the corruption of the world and discarding of religious matters.

Likewise, Ibn al Qayyim’s most formative mentor, Shaykh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (jJ ) outlined the seriousness of this historical threat, saying that:

Those who are familiar with the events of history unanimously agree that the worst sword unsheathed upon ah! al qiblah (i.e. the Muslims) was from those who ascribing to it; and that the greatest corruption that transpired against the Muslims who ascribe to the qibla came exclusively from those sects affiliated to them. They are the most extreme in harming the religion and its people.3

Because Ibn al Qayyim keenly understood the nature of the threat presented by deviant doctrines that are antithetical to the core tenets of Islamic creed, he reiterates the dire importance of supporting the truth and repudiating falsehood throughout his writings. He says in the beginning pages of the Qasida al-Nuniyyah, before commencing with the poem itself:

Jihad (lit. struggling) by means of evidence and explanation is assigned primacy to jihad conducted by way of sword and weaponry. That is why (Allah), in the Meccan surahs commanded that it be conducted as a notification and

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