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on 16 August 2012
Ibn Taymiyah is selectively much quoted by certain Muslim circles in support of their radical, politicised agenda. Equally, as the author, Yahya Michot, points out, there have been opponents of Islam, be it political or otherwise, who have plundered Ibn Taymiyah's oeuvre for evidence that extremism = mainstream. Where this book (Muslims under non-Muslim Rule. Ibn Taymiyya) is so valuable therefore is that through it helps explain to what extent Ibn Taymiyah has been either misunderstood or misrepresented, such that many have come to assume that this scholar did actually propound views in total allignment with the extremist doctrines found, for example, in the 1996 and 1998 fatwas of Al Qaeda.
For a scholar of the stature of Ibn Taymiyah to die in prison, refusing to recant, is perhaps not too extraordinary; but for his funeral procession to have been joined by over half a million people, as a near contemporary account claims, is. For a person of such popularity, to have found if only a handful of zealots prepared to perpetrated some terrorist attrocity should not have been too difficult; but this he chose not to do. To repeat Michot's opening quotation from Ibn Taymiyah: "Among the fundamentals of truth, which the texts [to which one refers to know the religion] provide proofs of, is that people with a tyrannical (ja'ir) and unjust (zalim) leader are ordered to show patience (sabr) in the face of his tyranny, his injustice, his oppression (baghi), and not to fight him." Far from disgraced by his incarceration, Ibn Taymiyah (like Sir Thomas More two centuries later) died not instigating treason, but putting his money where his mouth was.
A very good book, with a fascinating appendix comprising six conflicting modern views of one of Ibn Taymiyah's most controversial fatwas, on the status of Muslims living under non-Muslim rule. On the down side, the frequently irksome turn of phrase which (perhaps occasionally like mine own) is less than lucid.
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on 21 March 2016
Great deal.
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