In Defence Of The Four Imams Ibn Taymiyyah By Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali
IN DEFENCE OF THE FOUR IMAMS IBN TAYMIYYAH
Ibn Taymiyah may not shine as bright as any of the Four Imams, but he has exuded a light brilliant enough not to go without notice.
This does not mean that he is free of any error in his thought, reasoning, or approach. Rather, he – as with all others – was tested by the limits of his mental faculties and reason until he was plunged into very dangerous territory leaving him the subject of mainstream critiques. In some matters, he was accused of contravening unanimous consensus (ijma’).
And in other matters, he is believed to have violated the sanctity of the pure and pristine Islamic doctrine as connoted by the Quran and the prophetic tradition in spite of his claim that he was following the approach of the Pious Forbearers, The Salaf. In this book of his, Raf al-Malamm ‘an al-immat al-‘Alam (Removing Blame from the Distinguished Imams), he offers a number of excuses that remove the accusation of sin from the Four Imams and others like them for not acting in accord with certain prophetic traditions (hadiths).
This is especially important in this day and age because there are many who have accused some of the Imams of ruling in contravention to the Sunnah of Allah’s messenger oe due to not knowing or understanding their reasoning for not applying a particular hadith.
It is also important because those who usually, implicitly or explicitly, launch such accusations are those who champion the views of Ibn Taymiyah in a number of matters, especially his doctrine concerning the divine attributes.
This championing of his views by such people has led to their opponents – who are ignorant of many of the works of the shaykh – to assume that Ibn Taymiyah was also one of those who exhibited intolerance with legal differences and that he was one who condemned anyone for following one of the four surviving Sunni schools of Islamic law (fiqh).
On the contrary, Ibn Taymiyah was himself an adherent of the Hanbali School of law, and Ibn Al- Zamlakani praised him as being one of those who reached the level of mujtahid in the school