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Ibn Taymiyah

Source:
The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

    Ibn Taymiyah

    1263 – 1328

    Thinker and

    political figure

    Taqi al-Din Ahmad ibn Tamiyah was a controversial thinker and prominent political figure who was persecuted for his unorthodox ideas. As a young boy, he fled with his family from a Mongol invasion and settled in the Syrian city of Damascus. Descended from a long line of Sunni scholars, Ibn Tamiyah studied religion and became the head of a local mosque and a professor of the Hanbali school of law by his mid-twenties.

    Ibn Tamiyah attacked many of the religious movements, such as Shi'ism and Sufism that arose after the Prophet Muhammad and his first four successors. His essential argument was that the Qur'an, the sunnah, and the practices of early Muslims were the supreme and authoritative sources of Islam. He criticized the veneration of saints, a popular practice in the Muslim world, as sinful. Ibn Tamiyah also rejected the practice of relying on established judgments with regard to Islamic law. Ibn Tamiyah believed that Muslim legal experts should combine careful reasoning with a thorough reading of sacred texts to find solutions to legal issues.

    These ideas outraged many of the ulama (religious scholars), who viewed such teachings as a threat to their authority. Ibn Tamiyah was persecuted and jailed in Egypt and Syria, where he eventually died. Ibn Tamiyah influenced later thinkers, such as Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb , and his ideas are important in the Wahhabi movement. Some Islamic groups have even used Ibn Tamiyah's teachings to justify revolution against their governments. See also Ijtihad; Muslim Brotherhood; Qutb, Sayyid; Wahhabi.

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