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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on 24 April 2015
This book contains 1 Introduction and 12 essays (1 on Ibn Taymiya's biography, 3 on his Theology, 2 on his Hermeneutics, 1 on Law, 2 on Shii and Christians, 3 on his Legacy). What this book shows to me is that the study of Ibn Taymiya is vast (it appears he wrote a lot), relevant (it pinges directly on debates within Islamic Law and Theology today in people's everyday approach to faith) and partly complicated (since positions between traditionalists and Ibn Taymiya have become polarised while yet overlapping). It opened my eyes to the depth of knowledge and detail out there and that one can easily devote one's sole specialisation to this writers. As a result I was surprised that Professor Yahya Michot did not contribute to this volume. One take a way I have is that Ibn Taymiya's approach to some issues are partly extreme (e.g. Mawlid and definition of devotional Bida') partly commercially practical (e.g. his interpretation of certain legal detailed rulings on contract and land law), partly common sense (e.g. taking into account the views of all schools of thought and moving away from a de facto stare decisis), partly overlapping with traditionalists (e.g. himself being Hanbali, revering the Imams, believing all are right but only can be really right etc.), partly realistic (e.g. not everyone is capable of understanding all schools of law) and partly unrealistic to carry through his views in operationalising them (e.g. ultimately human capacity is limited to absorb so much information to be an expert in all four schools) which ultimately looks like the core problem with ibn Taymiya. Nevertheless, there is no black or white view on him but it would be probably better to consume Ibn Taymiya after having mastered or internalised one of the major schools of thought first in order to be able to see what are the commonalities and what are the differences. In that sense Ibn Taymiya can only be advanced reading. One take away for me is that in many ways these sophisticated legal discussions are interesting but debating them will not improve any really existing legal system. Islamic law is hardly relevant anymore. For the commoner therefore sticking to one school of law and tazkiya seems to be the safest option. This book is useful to present some of the ideas and impact Ibn Taymiya had and still has on Islamic theological, legal and political thought. Thanks to the editors and the contributors for sharing their insight. I strongly recommend having a read in this book, even if only to appreciate the depth of the Islamic sciences, its arguments and history.
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on 4 May 2016
This book is a balanced interpretation of Ibn taymiyyahs views and is devoid of the usual salafi garbage that exists in polemic publishing houses such as Darusalam
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on 15 October 2014
A fascinating multi-authored glimpse of a great ideologue. Ibn Taymiyya was a rigorous and agile critic of the incursion of philosophy into Islam, but unlike many of his contemporaries, he wasn't content, like Al-Ghazzali, to point out the 'heretical' conclusions of the philosophers, he attacked the very substratum of their thought and assumptions. His approach was radical, but not insensitive to the nuance and subtlety of his adversaries, on the contrary he points out their inconsistencies and uses their own criteria to expose them. He clings to the Qu'ran and the Sunna not only for truthful assertions, but also for a method of thought and knowledge - bringing all his assumptions back to its bar. He was frequently imprisoned for his convictions.

It's a great pity his devotion and rigour had such poor material to work with, and that predictably his takfiri assertions (the excommunication of professing Muslims who don't follow his radical conclusions) have now brought forth such evil fruit, and made him a champion of fanatics and gangsters.
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on 9 November 2011
A must have book for all muslims in these times. Especially for those who are brainwashed into following Ibn Taymiyya and his controversial teachings. This work, in an excellent manner, shows that Ibn Taymiyya and his unorthodox views were more or less forgotten throughout the centuries until quite recently.
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