Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ibn Taymiyyah's influence on modern-day Islamism

Ibn Taymiyyah (Source:

Memri has a Special Dispatch (No. 6189, October 18, 2015) that reports on the Indian Scholar Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi for his examination of the roots of current-day Islamism, finding it in the 14th-Century Islamic Jurist Ibn Taymiyyah:
The 14th century Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyyah propounded a complete Islamic theology of radicalism, religious exclusivism, violent extremism and puritanical fundamentalism. He was vehemently opposed to the pluralistic and multicultural Islam that was being preached by the Islamic mystics and Sufi saints at that time, declaring them misguided Muslims indulging in shirk and bid'ah (polytheism and innovation) and fitnah and fasad (religious corruption).

Therefore, he called for returning to the 'pristine purity' of Islam, in conformity with his interpretation of the Koran, hadith and ijtihad [consensus by reasoning as a source of law in Islamic shari'a]. With an aim to purge Islam of the later customs and accretions, he also forbade Greek philosophy, Aristotelian logic and speculative thinking, as is laid out in his book Minhaj al-Sunnah. He believed that there can be no more progression in the vision of Islam, as he advocated the return to the 'pristine' Islamic doctrines bypassing the historical growth and progress of human life (Fatawa ibn Taymiyyah, 29 Vol. in Arabic).
Dehlvi goes on to explain that Ibn Taymiyyah's ideas were popularized 400 years later on the Arabian peninsula by "Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab Najdi of Eastern Arabia[,] who gave the most powerful impetus to Ibn Taymiyyah's theology of radical Islam turning it into an influential religio-political movement which spread across the world." What ultimately made this spread possible was the mid-20th-century discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia, which brought fabulous wealth to the ideology that inspires so many Islamists. None of this is new, of course, but it bears repeating, to know that so much Islamism rejects philosophy, logic, and speculation, for this means that arguing with Islamists is likely futile. The rejection of logical argument leads to violence to settle religious differences, as we can well see.

The followers of  Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Wahhab believe that they are following the earliest and purest Islam - and one must admit that they find textual support in the early sources.

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