Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ibnّ Taymiyyah's Intellectual Abilities

Ibn Taymiyya's Vast Knowledge:

Ibn Abd al-Hadi called him "the sea of sciences."

Scholars noted how when Ibn Taymiyyah talked about a subject, you would get the feeling that this was his area of expertise and that he didn't know any other subject. And that was the case for every subject. That's how much knowledge he had.

Then even said that it was as if he could quote entire books from his memory.

However, despite all that knowledge, and despite some great thinking in many areas, it seems that he just couldn't grasp what other, greater, scholars were talking about sometimes.

Especially in the field of theology, Ibn Taymiyyah just couldn't get what Ibn Arabi was talking about. Also in the question of the status of Nubuwwa and Wilaya. He COMPLETELY misunderstood Ibn Arabi and declared him a kafir for that, even though it's not that hard to grasp his idea if you give it a minute or two of thinking.

There are also some weaknesses in some of his fiqhi thinking. For example, Jockisch, in "Ijtihad in Ibn Taymiyya's Fatawa", shows him falling into building a circular argument on a simple matter.

And finally, the way he came to the conclusion that travel for the sake of visiting the Prophet's tomb, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is forbidden is completely ridiculous. It makes no logical sense whatsoever.

Maybe that is why when the great scholar Ibn Daqiq al-Id was asked about him, he said:

"A man with a multitude of subjects of knowledge at his fingertips."

He commented on his great knowledge, but nothing about his intellect or scholarly opinions. It seems like a very reserved answer. But who is to blame him, for he has seen the likes of Sultan al-Ulama Izz al-Din bin Abd al-Salaam.

The scholar Wali al-Din al-Iraqi said about Ibn Taymiyyah, "His knowledge is bigger than his intellect." I think that's true.

قال فيه المحدث الحافظ الفقيه ولي الدين العراقي ابن شيخ الحفاظ زين الدين العراقي في كتابه الأجوبة المرضية على الأسئلة المكية : " علمه أكبر من عقله " ،

وقال أيضاً : إنه خرق الإجماع في مسائل كثيرة قيل تبلغ ستين مسألة بعضها في الأصول وبعضها في الفروع خالف فيها بعد انعقاد الإجماع عليها

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