Abu Hayyan vs Ibn Taymiyyah

Abu Hayyan vs Ibn Taymiyah.

Abu Hayyan al Andalusi was great grammarian and a Mufassir who spoke against sufis like Munsur Hallaj, Ibn Arabi and various others, he spoke against Aqida of Wahdatul wujud and the fake saints who claim to have knowledge of unseen, he even spoke against Tafsir of Fakhr ul din al Razi. Imam Abu Hayyan highly Praised Ibn Taymiyah as well, His clash with Ibn Taymiyah started when Ibn Taymiyah said to Aby Hayyan “Sibawayh was not the Prophet of Syntax nor was he infallible. He committed eighty mistakes in his book which are not intelligible to you.” This was the only reason he went against him.

According to Mahmud Shukri al Alusi this type of criticism is normal among the scholars. Elsewhere he mentioned Abu Hayyan that he said about Ibn Taymiyyah when he saw him:

لما اجتمع بابن تيمية ما رأت عيناي مثله

“my two eyes have never seen the like of Ibn Taymiyyah.”

Ghayat al Amani 2/156, see also Ar-Radd al-Wafir by Ibn Nasir ud deen Damishqi, p. 63

In fact, Abu Hayyan himself praised him and even wrote poetry about praising him in his own book in which Abu Hayyan al Andalusi said 

لما أتينا تقي الدين لاح لنا … داع إلى الله فرداً ماله وزر

على محياه من سيما الألى صحبوا … خير البرية نور دونه القمر

حبر تسربل منه دهرنا حبراً … بحر تقاذف من أمواجه الدرر

قام ابن تيمية في نصر شرعتنا … مقام سيد تيم إذ عصت مضر

When Taqi al Din came upon us there appears to us a Man inviting to Allah single Handed without the help of vizier.

On his face shone the signs of Allah’s graces:

The best of the people accompanied him like the moon..

Ibn Taymiyyah undertook to uphold the cause of our law,

On bhelaf of Chief of Taim, when Mudar had disobeyed the law.

: نغبة الظمآن لأبي حيان page 105, Also quoted by Mahmud Shukri al Alusi in Ghayat al Amani vol 2 page 156, English Translation vol 3 page 239, translated by Dr. Rana M.N. Ehsan Elahie

False statement attributed to Abu Hayyan that he spoke against Ibn Taymiyah in his tafsir.

a) Response by our Brother Raza Hassan, he said:

Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi relates the same about Ibn Taymiyyah in his Tafsir that:

“I have read in a book by our contemporary Ahmad ibn Taymiyya written in his own hand and which he entitled Kitab al-`arsh (The Book of the Throne):

“Allah the Exalted sits (yajlisu) on the kursi, and He has left a space vacant for the Prophet to sit with Him.” Taj al-Din Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Barnibari tricked him into thinking that he was supporting him until he obtained that book from him and we read this in it.”

The reference of Abu Hayyaan that you have brought is itself a fabrication. Allaamah Abu Hayyaan’s tafseer “An-Nahr al-Maad” is well known and published. And when it was later published by Daar al-Janaan they added this statement from an unreliable manuscript while they themselves said at the end, that this part i.e. the reference of Ibn Taymiyyah is not present in the published nuskha.

And the manuscript that they took it from is the nuskha of Halb which was written by Al-Ashmooni as late as 1197 AH. Beside this great lapse of time that it was written in and this fabricated addition that was added to it, the editors of this publication themselves said in the Muqaddimah,

“ ولسنا ندعي أن هذه النسخة مضبوطة…”

“And we do not claim that this manuscript is strong…”

And compare this with what the first publisher of the book (which did not have this addition said),

” وأحضرنا أصولا معتمدة معولا عليها ، مأثورة عن فحول علماء الغرب والشرق ، مقابلة على نسخ موثوق بها بالكتبخانة الخديوية المصرية ”

We leave the decision up to the readers.

Now this is what we call fabrication. The entire reference of Ibn Taymiyyah was fabricated and added into the book of Abu Hayyaan to defame him.

Moreover, the book of Ibn Taymiyyah on Al-Arsh that this quote talks about is found here [https://archive.org/details/resala_archiya]. Please read through the entire book and I dare you find the said statement.

Even if this reference was authentic, it would still not be considered valid due to many other reasons, along with the fact that it simply contradicts the statement of Ibn Taymiyyah in his own books as mentioned above. (end quote from the article, Refutation of Usamah Muttakin, Yasir al-Hanafi, and Abu Al-Hasan on the issue of al-Maqam al-Mahmood)

b) Response by Mahmud Shukri al Alusi to an-Nabhani.

Mahmud Shukri al Alusi responded in detail, this is just glimpse, He said:

ففي أي كتاب قال: إن الله يجلس على العرش وأنه قد أخلى مكاناً يقعد معه فيه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ وفي أي كتاب رآه أبو حيان من كتب الشيخ.

In which book He (himself) said that Allah is sitting on his Arsh and He has left a place where Prophet peace be upon him will sit?, In which book of the Shaykh Abu Hayaan saw this? [Ghayat al Amani 1/628]

Then He mentioned the quote by Ibn Taymiyah to negate this slander, He said, Imam Ibn Taymiyah said in his Risalah “Tadmuriyyah”:

فيظن المتوهم أنه إذا وصف بالاستواء على العرش كان استواؤه كاستواء الإنسان على ظهور الفلك والأنعام، كقوله: {وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنَ الْفُلْكِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مَا تَرْكَبُونَ * لِتَسْتَوُوا عَلَى ظُهُورِهِ} فيتخيل أنه إذا كان مستوياً على العرش كان محتاجاً إليه كحاجة المستوي على الفلك والأنعام، فتعالى الله وتقدس، فهذا خطأ

The follower of illusions think that when the description is “He rose (istiwa’) over the Throne” then the Istiwa is like the Istiwa of a Man over a boat or cattle as Allah says “And who made all the pairs and made for you carriages from boats and cattle. That you may sit rightly on their backs” [al Zukhraf 12-13].

He thinks that when Allah rose over the throne, it means Allah is in need of the throne like the man is in need of boats and cattle to sit, ALLAH IS HIGH ABOVE FROM ALL THIS FALSE (INTERPRETATION). [Ibid]

Then al Alusi mentioned from “Tadmuriyyah” of Shaykh al Islam:

وقد علم أنه تعالى الغني عن الخلق، وأنه الخالق للعرش ولغيره، وأن كل ما سواه مفتقر إليه، وهو الغني عن كل ما سواه، فكيف يجوز أن يتوهم أنه تعالى إذا كان مستوياً على العرش كان محتاجاً إليه، تعالى الله عما يقول الظالمون علواً كبيراً، هل هذا إلا جهل محض وضلال ممن فهم ذلك وتوهمه أو ظنه ظاهر اللفظ أو جوزه على رب العالمين الغني عن الخلق المجيد المتعال؟

It is known that Allah tala is not in need of creation, He is the creator of the Arsh and other things. Everything is dependent on him, He is not dependent on anything, then how can one believe that when He rose over the throne then He is in need of the throne? Allah is above the saying of these wrongdoers, whoever think like this is an ignorant and astray. [Ibid]

Some statements of Abu Hayyan.

a) Abu Hayyan Andalusi said about Khidr Aleh salaam:

والجمهور على أن الخضر نبي وكان علمه معرفة بواطن قد أوحيت إليه، وعلم موسى الأحكام والفتيا بالظاهر. وروي أنه وجد قاعدا على ثبج البحر. وفي الحديث سمي خضرا لأنه جلس على فروة بالية فاهتزت تحته خضراء. وقيل: كان إذا صلى اخضر ما حوله. وقيل: جلس على فروة بيضاء وهي الأرض المرتفعة. وقيل: الصلبة واهتزت تحته خضراء. وقيل: كانت أمه رومية وأبوه فارسي. وقيل: كان ابن ملك من الملوك أراد أبوه أن يستخلفه من بعده فلم يقبل منه ولحق بجزائر البحر فطلبه أبوه فلم يقدر عليه. والجمهور على أنه مات.

The Majority said he was a Prophet… The Majority said he died. [Tafseer Al–Bahr Al-Muheet 6/139]

b) Allah, may He be exalted, says:

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.”[al-A‘raaf 7:188].

Abu Hayyan (may Allah have mercy on him) commented:

أي لكانت حالي على خلاف ما هي عليه من استكثار الخير واستغزار المنافع واجتناب السوء والمضارّ حتى لا يمسّني شيء منها

“That is, my situation would have been different and I would have secured for myself an abundance of wealth and avoided evil and harm so that none of that would have touched me”.[End quote from al-Bahr al-Muheet, 4/355, Islamqa]

C) Abu Hayyan said:

وظاهر قوله { ولو كنت أعلم الغيب } انتفاء العلم عن الغيب على جهة عموم الغيب كما روي عنه لا أعلم ما وراء هذا الجدار إلا أن يعلمنيه ربي بخلاف ما يذهب إليه هؤلاء الذين يدعون الكشف وأنهم بتصفية نفوسهم يحصل لها اطلاع على المغيبات وإخبار بالكوائن التي تحدث، وما أكثر ادعاء الناس لهذا الأمر وخصوصاً في ديار مصر حتى أنهم لينسبون ذلك إلى رجل متضمّخ بالنجاسة يظلّ دهره لا يصلي ولا يستنجي من نجاسته ويكشف عورته للناس حين يبول وهو عار من العلم والعمل الصالح

“The apparent indication of the verse is that it means, ‘If I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me.’ The verse clearly negates the claim that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, knew the matters of the Unseen in their entirety, as it was narrated that he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘I do not know what lies behind this wall except what my Lord reveals to me.’ This is contrary to the claim of those who say that they experience Kashf through spiritually purifying their hearts and accordingly receive knowledge of the Unseen and the things that are yet to happen. Many are the people who make such false claims, especially in Egypt, to the extent that they would attribute the knowledge of the Unseen to a man who is soaked with impurity, and all his life he refrains from performing prayers and purifying himself after answering the call of nature, exposes his private parts before people when relieving himself, and has no knowledge nor does he carry out any righteous deeds…” [Ibid, translation taken from Islamweb]

d) Abu Hayyan commented under the verse where Allah says about the reward he will provide to the best people of jannah that,

“And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes as reward for what they used to do.” [32:17]

Abu Hayaan al Andalusi said:
وأخفاه من جميع خلائقه مما تقر به أعينهم، لا يعلمه إلا هو

He Hid it from ALL OF HIS CREATION who are close to him, NO ONE KNOWS EXCEPT HIM (ALLAH). [Tafsir Abu Hayaan al Andalusi under 32:17]

e) Abu Hayyan al Andalusi said:

وهو أنه لم يحضر وقت قضاء الله لموسى الأمر، ثم ثنى بكونه لم يكن من الشاهدين. والمعنى، والله أعلم؛ من الشاهدين بجميع ما أعلمناك به، فهو نفي لشهادته جميع ما جرى لموسى،

He (peace be upon him) WAS NOT PRESENT at the time of Judgment of Allah regarding Musa (peace be upon him) [Tafsir al Bhr al Muheet under 28:44]

f) Abu Hayyan Refuted Wahdatul wajud, Masur Hallaj and Ibn Arabi, He said:

ومن ذهب من ملاحدتهم إلى القول بالاتحاد والوحدة: كالحلاج، والشوذى، وابن أحلى، وابن العربي المقيم كان بدمشق، وابن الفارض. وأتباع هؤلاء كابن سبعين، والتستري تلميذه، وابن مطرف المقيم بمرسية، والصفار المقتول بغرناطة، وابن اللباج، وأبو الحسن المقيم كان بلورقة. وممن رأيناه يرمي بهذا المذهب الملعون

And from the deviants who are on ittehaad and wahdat (wahdat al wujhood) like (Hussain bin mansur) al Hallaj, ash-Shawzi, Ibn Ahlli, Ibn arabi who lived in Damishq, Ibn fariz and their followers, example Ibn Sibieen and his student Tastaree, the one who lived in Marsiya Ibn matarraf and who was killed in gharnatah al Safaar, ibn al balaaj and the one who lived in lawrqa abul hasan and we saw them on this Mal’oon Madhab. [Tafsir al Bhr al Muheet li Ibn Hiyaan, under Surah al Maidah verse 17]

g) Abu Hayyan on Tafsir of al Razi.

He also spoke against Fakhr ud din al Razi and his tafsir as as-Suyuti said:

قال أبو حيان في البحر : جمع الإمام الرازي في تفسيره أشياء كثيرة طويلة لا حاجة بها في علم التفسير ، ولذلك قال بعض العلماء : فيه كل شيء إلا التفسير .

Abu Hayyan said in “Al Bhr” Imam al Razi gathered many lengthy things in his tafsir which are not needed in science of Tafsir. That is why some scholars said: In his tafsir there is everything apart from the tafsir. [al Itteqaat 2/29, Tafsir al Bahr al Muheet under the tafsir of al Baqarah verse 110]

Note: as per Ibn Kathir, Dhahabi and others, Fakhr ud din al Razi repented. He also bashed extreme sufis.

h) Whether Adam peace be upon him made tawassul of Prophet peace be upon him.

Allah says

“Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful”[al-Baqarah 2:37]

Comment: Now here some sufis claim that the words were, Adam peace be upon him sought tawassul through Prophet peace be upon him and they quote the fabricated hadith in this regard. This alleged tawassul of Adam peace be upon him through Prophet peace be upon him was not known to the righteous predecessors. Abu Hayyan Andalusi quoted many opinions but as per his tafsir Majority of the tafsir scholars have the following:

، قال ابن عباس والحسن وابن جبير ومجاهد وابن كعب وعطاء الخراساني والضحاك وعبيد بن عمير وابن زيد: هي

{ ربنا ظلمنا أنفسنا وإن لم تغفر لنا }

[الأعراف: 23]، الآية.

Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan, Ibn Jubair, Mujahid, Ibn Ka`ab, Ata al-Khurasani, Zahhaq, Obaid bin Omair, Ibn Zaid said these are the words “”Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.(7:23)(end quote)

He also mentioned the weak opinion at the end with seegha tamreedh (which is used for weak or fabricated narrations)

وقيل: رأى مكتوبا على ساق العرش محمد رسول الله، فتشفع بذلك فهي الكلمات

It is said: that Adam (a.s) saw written on the Shin of Throne: Muhammad is the Mesenger of Allah and he Adam (a.s) “SOUGHT INTERCESSION THROUGH IT” and “THESE ARE THE words” [in his tafsir 2:37]

In short,

1. Abu Hayyan was staunch against sufiyah and their mainstream aqaid.

2. Abu Hayyan praised Ibn taymiyah when he saw his abilities.

3. He only went against him because Ibn Taymiyah said Sibawayh did mistakes which is normal among the scholars.