I just wanted to know that these two imams (Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Qayyum) usually get criticized a lot by followers of the four schools of thought since these two scholars went against some of the rulings of the four major imams.
Based on your research do you think that both of these were pious and scholars of good repute. I know all humans have errors and probably these two might have made some mistakes too in their fatwas at times but overall what is your opinion about the level of knowledge they possesed? I dont like the fact that why some muslim scholars criticize other scholars in a hateful tone and these two are definitely criticized like that and even called non-believers/kafirs by their opponents mostly due to the fact that they did not agree with the major imams on various issues. Thank you.
I think that these two were outstanding scholars with encyclopedic knowledge. Not only that but they were also known to be righteous and wise. Their intentions were only pure and good. They have every right to disagree with the Imams if their understandings of the religious sources differ. They were in the position to do so. These two actually go down in the annals of history as being among the greatest of our scholars of the past. There is no question about it, surely most of us would agree to that!
This issue of people — even scholars — condemning each other and splitting each other into sects is most despicable. The yearning to be like peas in a pot in everyway is just a plain unrealistic absurdity. It is well known that even the companions differed on issues and we all know that differences in us are but natural. It is high time that we left this silly idea that we are not allowed to decide for ourselves what the correct path toward God is whether or not it agrees with a particular maddhab.
It should further be stressed that not only did scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah possess the right to differ with scholars of their past but even educated scholars of today have this right. The average Muslim who is able to think for himself and examine the different viewpoints has every right to choose between them. Even if he follows none of the scholars of the past but a scholar of today on a certain issue, as long as he feels the explanation or view of that scholar is best in accordance with the truth, he is very much entitled to accepting it. Remember, every person is answerable for himself on the Day of Arising. There is no such thing as a “blind following” and it is utterly ridiculous in my view that people should claim that there is. God never made us beings possessing intelligence merely that we should behave like animals, where the only remarkable things in life are eating, sleeping, playing in the grass and odds and ends! He gave us intelligence so that we use it. Making use of it is what made us so special. Discarding it as so many Muslims do and thinking that this is necessary is part of what led us to the miserable position that we find ourselves in today!
Let us think for a moment though. Has this not always been the way with people — trying to restrict others to what they have become accustomed to? People are lazy and perhaps quite naturally afraid of changes. It is not an easy thing. Nevertheless, it is a hurdle that we need to overcome. It becomes a great injustice, when we start slandering, accusing and insulting because of this fault in ourselves. Great scholars of our past had to face such problems and even today, good scholars are going through the same thing. Alas, was this not also what kept people from following the Prophets and even pushed them to persecuting those whom they should actually have held close to their heart?! So let the example of how such great men admirably stood their ground with patience and persistence in God’s way both become a consolation and an inspiration for us. I know it is disappointing to see even scholars behaving like this, but they too are but fallible humans facing the same hurdles of life as everyone else.
Thank you for your good question and please feel free to write back to us if anything remains unanswered.
July 2, 2005