Category Archives: Ibn Tamiyyah

Method of teaching


Ibn Taimiyah’s method of teaching was both elegant and striking, replete with authentic references,
strengthened with rational arguments, and evidence from the Ahadith .For a lecture on any subject, he
would refer to verses of the Quran and discuss their meanings with cross references from the Quran.
He would also note evidence from Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and check their
authenticity. He would then expound the relevant opinions of the four schools of jurisprudence and of
other famous experts in jurisprudence. Having discussed the matter fully in this way, the problem and
its solution would become clear in the minds of his listeners. Ibn Taimiyah had a prodigiously good
memory which helped him overwhelm his adversaries in polemic

SHEIKH-UL-ISLAM IMAM IBN TAIMIYAHA–BRIEF BIOGRAPHY


Imam Ibn Taimiyah’s full name is Taqi ud-Din Ahmad bin ‘Abdul-Halim. He was born in Harran on
22 January, 1263 AD (10 Rabi’ Al-Awwal, 661 AH). His family had long been renowned for its
learning. His father ‘Abdul-Halim, uncle Fakhr ud-Din and grandfather Majd ud-Din were great
scholars of Hanbalite school of jurisprudence and the authors of many books. His family members
were forced to leave their native place in 1269 AD before the approach of the Mongols and to take
refuge in Damascus. At that time, Ibn Taimiyah was seven years old. His father ‘Abdul-Halim was
appointed as Professor and Head of the Sukkariyah Madrasah. Endowed with a penetrating intellect
and a wonderful memory, Ibn Taimiyah studied, at an early stage, all the disciplines of jurisprudence,
Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), commentaries of the Quran, mathematics and philosophy,
and in each he was far lead of his contemporaries. Among his teachers, was Shams ud-Din AlMaqdisi, first Hanbali Chief Justice of Syria following the reform of the judiciary by Baibars. The
number of Ibn Taimiyah’s teachers exceeds two hundred. Ibn Taimiyah was barely seventeen, when
Qadi Al-Maqdisi authorized him to issue Fatwa (legal verdict). Qadi remembered with pride that it
was he who had first permitted an intelligent and learned man like Ibn Taimiyah to give Fatwa. At the
same age, he started delivering lectures. When he was thirty, he was offered the office of Chief
Justice, but refused, as he could not persuade himself to follow the limitations imposed by the
authorities.
Imam Ibn Taimiyah’s education was essentially that of a Hanbali theologian and jurisconsult. But to
his knowledge of early and classical Hanbalism, he added not only that of the other schools of
jurisprudence but also that of heresiographical literature, in particular of philosophy and Sufism. He
had an extensive knowledge of Quran, Sunnah, Greek philosophy, Islamic history, and religious books
of others, as is evident from the variety of the books he wrote. Though he preferred the Hanbali school
of jurisprudence, he was never biased in favor of it. In his writings, he frequently quoted the opinions
of all four of the well-known schools of jurisprudence, even others. In a number of matters, he himself
held opinions different from those of the four schools. In fact, he was an original thinker (Mujtahid)
who merely drew upon the wisdom of the four established schools.
In all his reformative efforts, Ibn Taimiyah accepted the Our an and the Sunnah (traditions of the
Prophet (peace be upon him)) as the basic criteria. In matters where there was no clear guidance from
the Quran and the Sunnah, he never hesitated to venture into rational thought and took the path of
Ijtihad or creative originality an initiative.
The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD have a distinguished place in Islamic history. Ibn AlAtheer described the political and military conditions prevailing in the Muslim world during Ibn
Taimiyah’s lifetime in the following words:”Islam and Muslims had during that period been afflicted by such disasters that no other nation had
experienced. One such affliction was the invasion by the Tatar. They came from the east and inflicted
overwhelming damages. Another was the onset of the Prankish people (the Crusaders) from the West
to Mesopotamia and Egypt, they occupied its ports, and nearly subjected all of Egypt to their rule, had
it not been from Allah’s Mercy and victory over them. But another affliction was that the Muslims
themselves had been divided, and their swords lifted up against their fellows.
“In addition to such horrid conditions facing the Muslims on the political and military front, Islam as
practiced and preached by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and As-Salaf As-Salih (the
righteous predecessors) was being seriously challenged by various deviant sects. The Sufi movement
which was spearheaded by the teachings of Al-Ghazali had won over many converts and was
exercising a firm hold on the intellect and patterns of thought of many people. Along with this AlAsh’ari system of creed had been widely accepted by the majority of the scholars of Ibn Taimiyah’s
day. Al-Ash ‘ari system of doctrine was a mixture of the Salafi methodology which is based on
revelation centered theology and the Mu’tazilah methodology which is based on a rationalist thought
system. Taqleed was practiced widely. Even though information on the Deen, Fiqh, Ahadith, etc., was
abundantly available, only a handful of scholars and ordinary people took up the task of investigating
the sources of the knowledge and its vehicle. Most people blindly accepted the teaching of their
Sheikh or Imam without questioning or investigating the sources from where the knowledge had
come.”
Imam Ibn Taimiyah’s struggles and persecutions
Ibn Taimiyah’s life was not confined to the world of books and words. Whenever circumstances
demanded, he took part in political and public affairs too, distinguishing himself not only through his
writings and speeches but also with the sword as a brave warrior.
Participation in Jihad
1300, the Mongols under their king Ghazan, invaded Syria and defeated the Sultan’s army. Ibn
Taimiyah, by this time well-known, flung himself into the stream of affairs, while the religious divines
and saints were leaving Damascus to take refuge in Egypt. When Mongol threat arose for a second
time, Ibn Taimiyah exhorted people to Jihad and encouraged them to confront the Mongols boldly. He
toured the cities, called the people to a holy war and fired them with zeal. After a pitched battle at
Shaqhab in which Ibn Taimiyah fought bravely, the Syrian-Egyptian army won a glorious victory that
turned the tide against the Mongols. This victory, which was to a great extent due to Ibn Taimiyah’s
efforts and
commitment, stopped the Mongols advance.
Apart from the battle of Shaqhab, he took part in some other expeditions with the Mamluk authorities,
and also undertook a few expeditions without them.
Opposition of rival Ulama
Because of his brilliant performance on the battlefield and his radical thinking, Ibn Taimiyah’s fame
spread throughout the realm, and he became a highly distinguished celebrity. This made a number of
jurists jealous. Ibn Kathir has pointed out this fact, saying that: ‘A group of jurisprudents were jealous
of Ibn Taimiyah, as the people paid heed to him. To enjoin good and forbid evil was his vocation, and because of this he became very popular among the people. His followers were countless. His religious
zeal, learning and actions made them jealous of him.’ For the complaint of rival Ulama, he was
imprisoned several times.
His last imprisonment began on 13 July, 1326 and lasted until his death. His opponents dug up an old
Fatwa, related to tomb visits, given by him some seventeen years before, which could be
provocatively interpreted. In his treatise on the subject (Risalah Ziyarah Al-Qubur) Ibn Taimiyah had
questioned the legality of visiting tombs, even the tomb of the Prophet (peace be upon him). His
opponents distorted the sense and context of this Fatwa to make it objectionable in the eyes of the
public and the Sultan. A great dispute arose and Ibn Taimiyah was imprisoned in the citadel of
Damascus along with some of his pupils including Ibn Al-Qaiyim.
While in prison, Ibn Taimiyah spent all his time teaching and writing. Many of his works were
produced in this period. In 1328, he was deprived of all means of writing, his pen and papers were
taken away.
But this did not stop him from writing; he wrote many letters and booklets with coal. He never
complained to anybody about his persecution. Only when all reading and writing materials were taken
away from him, did he say: ‘Now they really have put me into prison.’ He breathed his last on 26
September, 1328 (20 Dhul-Qa’dah 728 AH) having endured harsh conditions for five months. The
whole country mourned. Schools, shops, hotels and markets were closed to mark his death. His burial
was attended by the great numbers of Damascans; eyewitnesses confirm that, excepting some invalids,
all turned out for his funeral prayer, both those who had been for him and those against. This is a clear
testimony of his place among the people, of their appreciation of his sacrifices for public purposes and
just cause. Including the two years and three months of his last imprisonment, Ibn Taimiyah spent
about five years in different prisons.
A great reformer
In the Islamic perspective, ‘reform’ is understood quite differently than in Christian terminology. In
Islam, ‘reform’ means purification of the original Islamic teachings, and the removal of UN-Islamic
new practices (Bid’at) and misconceptions. In this sense of the word, Ibn Taimiyah was a great
reformer.
The main aspects of his reforms
The most important elements of Ibn Taimiyah’s reforms were: (a) to bring about a revolution against
UN-lslamic practices (Bidht) that had crept into Islam and to emphasize the concept of Tauhid with all
its implications; (b) a return to the fundamental priorities of Islam and its original spirit, instead of
disputing over secondary and nonfundamental problems.
Attack on philosophy and logic
Another target of Ibn Taimiyah’s criticism was Greek philosophy and logic. He knew that unless the
crippling falsehood of Greek philosophy was removed, the people would not be able to grasp the
Divine truth of Islam. He studied critically all the great Muslim philosophers and their works in this
regard, and then he opposed it extremely.
Rejection of Sufism and deniers of SifatHe abhorred the Sufi ideas of pantheism, gnosticism, and deterministic view of total religious
resignation. According to him the implication of these ideas upon the Muslim community were
devastating, because they led to political apathy, religious misconceptions, and withdrawal from an
active community life. A major portion of his intellectual energies was spent refuting the doctrine of
the Sufis.
The Shi ‘ah were also subjected to harsh criticism by Ibn Taimiyah because of the many flaws in their
doctrines and beliefs. He strongly denounced their falsification of the historical facts and forging of
the Sunnah to support their own political views.
Ibn Taimiyah also attacked Al-Jahmiyah and Al-Jabariyah — the determinists — who denied the
human being’s responsibility for any of his actions. He also denounced Al-Mu’tazilah and AlQadariyah — the rationalists — who held human free will as the basis of human action. He also did
doctrinal battle with the followers of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari on various issues including
determinism/free will, the Names and Attributes of Allah, and other issues of the Islamic creed.
As a result of his confrontation with the Sufis and the scholasticists, he made many enemies among
them. Many of their leaders who exercised political clout used it against him, and as a result, he was
once exiled in Alexandria and imprisoned on three different occasions.
Ibn Tamiyah gave himself relentlessly to pointing the way to the knowledge which, in his own words,
means: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) shown the fundamentals and applications of religion, its
intent as well as its expression, its (intellectual) knowledge and its action. This fact is the foundation
of all fundamental knowledge and belief; and he who most adheres to this foundation is most worthy
of the truth — both, to know it and to do it.”

Ibn Taymiyyah, the Use of the Term ‘Jism’ (Body) for Allaah the Exalted and the Attempted Slander of Ibn Taymiyyah by Zaid Shakir


 

Those who malign and slander Ibn Taymiyyah [from the contemporary kalaam groups] are of two types. 

The first we can characterize as uncouth, crude, foul-mouthed vermin to whom scholarly integrity is of no concern and for whom blatant lying is permissible, (even after being caught on many occasions). Takfir is very easy for them upon their tongues and they take an openly aggressive tone and approach. These are you Naruijis (see herehere,herehere and here for example), the Philadelphian Jahmites (see here and here for example), and numerous other pretenders to knowledge from those who speak about Allaah upon the heritage they acquired from the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans which is called “kalaam” which is in reality the conceptual baggage of Aristotelian Metaphysics (refer to Asharis.Com for more details). This first group does not really worry about tact in their agenda. Dumb, is the shorter word. They target a particular like-minded audience.The second are those who understand and know full well that a blatantly aggressive tone is counter-productive and that taking the approach of the first group will undermine the agenda (that both the first and second group are trying to fulfil). These are people like Zaid Shakir, Nuh Keller, GF Haddaad and others. Their approach is to praise Ibn Taymiyyah (because of their knowledge of the overwhelming praise that is documented for him, for his knowledge, erudition, piety and abstinence) and their aim is to first lower the guard of the intended audience, by saying “we have nothing against Ibn Taymiyyah“, “he was a great scholar“, “he was known for piety” and so on. This allows for the appearance of impartiality and is simply to create an opening for the poison that is to follow thereafter, which is to accuse Ibn Taymiyyah of that which he is free of and to make political use of the challenges faced by Ibn Taymiyyah in a hostile “kalaam-theology” environment in his time. [Allaah gives power to whom He wills and He alternates the days between mankind, and in Ibn Taymiyyah’s time the Ahl al-Kalaamand Sufis held sway and they used political clout to oppress Ibn Taymiyyah who was loved by the people at large].

These historical events surrounding the person of Ibn Taymiyyah are employed in order to legitimize their version of creed which is derived fundamentally from the conceptual baggage of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans, the language of al-ajsaam wal-a’raad (bodies and accidents) [which was condemned unanimously by the four well-known Imaams and the leading scholars of the Salaf of the first three centuries]- and about which they know full well that the majority if called purely through this language alone would turn to Atheism as is admitted and stated by al-Ghazali and al-Razi, two towering Ash’arite theologians (see here and here). Because of this, much of the contemporary Ash’ari polemic requires a “spring-board” which is comprised of maligning Ibn Taymiyyah to create repugnance and aversion in the mind of the target audience so that their theology of describing Allaah (which never came in revealed Books or with the sent Messengers) can be lodged more easily into a fitrah that is naturally averse to it.

Without doubt, both groups have the same agenda. The only difference is that the first are open and aggressive and don’t really hide anything. The second are a bit more shrewd and employ a higher level of makr (conniving). A whole article is needed on this in reality, but for now, readers should be aware that they are united upon the objective but due to differences in personality, character, intelligence, tact and the nature and type of their audience, they choose to go about it in different ways.

Zaid Shakir’s Attempted Slander of Ibn Taymiyyah Which Backfired Upon Him

In 2007, Zaid Shakir published an answer to a question put to him within which was the following, quote: “Ibn Taymiyya, may Allah have mercy on him, was a pious man, a great scholar, and a prolific writer. Most of his career was spent in Damascus. He was a staunch defender of the Hanbali approach in creed (‘Aqida), an approach based on a reliance on the transmitted evidence of the Qur’an and Sunnah to establish and defend theological positions. Although he was himself a Hanbali, he differed from the mainstream of the school on many issues related to creed and jurisprudence… He also insisted on “constituting” the Divine as a physical body, by emphasizing the reality (Haqiqiyya) of his various attributes, along with an insistence on physical boundaries to contain and define his essence, to such an exaggerated extent that one would be led to envision Him (Allah) as resembling His creation, in violation of the fundamental rule governing our understanding of those attributes, Laysa Kamithlihi Shay’un (There is nothing like unto Him) (Qur’an 42:11). For these and other innovations in ‘Aqida, Ibn Taymiyya was strongly condemned by many of the scholars his time and imprisoned several times to force his repentance.” End quote.

At the time, he was responded to by numerous brothers from different quarters, all of whom pointed out his lies. And our intent with this article is simply to put this (cheap attempt) on the record as it is worthy of having its place on IbnTaymiyyah.Com, and for the reason that whilst these people make a display of piety, rectitude, fairness and the likes, there are clear agendas lurking in the background, which Ahl al-Sunnah, the followers of the Salaf, should be wise too.

 

The Jahmiyyah have realized that the golden age of 1990s Internet where it was easy to play “Ash’ari Grandmaster” (in the then much smaller cyberspace) has long gone, and now, with knowledge more easily accessible and primary sources within easier reach, accountability and answerability has come on the horizon (which Zaid Shakir learned first hand). For this reason these Jahmites have adopted a diplomatic approach of placating and pacifying Ahl al-Sunnah by hoodwinking the dumb and foolish (despite their appearance of intelligence and sophistication) into signing pledges of mutual understanding and co-operation which aim to legitimize their brand of theology [which is derived from the conceptual baggage of the Hellenized civilizations and clashes with the revealed Books and Sent Messengers] and to silence any criticism of it, whilst they themselves have free reign to malign and attack Ahl al-Sunnah and accuse them with what they are free and innocent of.

Ibn Taymiyyah and the Use of the Term “Jism”

 

Related Useful Information: We recommend you read and study the following articles which are on a related topic: Refuting Academic Fraudster al-Naruiji and His Slanders Upon Ibn Taymiyyah: (see Part 1Part 2Part 3 and more to follow inshaa’Allaah). The quotes below are taken from that series of articles.

We see Ibn Taymiyyah’s position clearly explained in all of his well known books and his position is that the use of the word jism (body) in both affirmation and negation is a reprehensible bidah (innovation) in the religion. We can bring only a small sample of quotes here: He said in Minhaj al-Sunnah (2/135):

 

As for the word jism (body), it is an innovation (bid’ah) in both negation or affirmation, there is not in the Book or the Sunnah and nor the saying of any of the Salaf of the Ummah and it’s leading Imaams who applied the word “jism” with respect to Allaah’s attributes, neither in negation nor in affirmation.

He said in ‘Bayaan Talbees ul-Jahmiyyah Fee Ta’sees Bida’ihim al-Kalaamiyyah‘ (tahqeeq: al-Hunaydee) (1/283):

 

And those who said that He is a “jism (body)” are of two types: The first: And this is the saying of their scholars – that He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies, just like it is said, a dhaat (essence, self) but not like the [created] essences, and mawsoof (described) but not like the [created entities that are] subject to description, and a thing (shay’) but not like the created things. So these people say that He, in His reality, is not like those besides Him from any angle at all, however this affirmation (of jism) is merely (to indicate) that He has a real existence by which He is distinguished [from whatever is besides Him]. Like when we say, “mawsoof” (something being subject to description), then this is an affirmation of a reality (haqeeqah) that (a thing) can be distinguished by… …And as for the second type, they are the majority, those about whom it is narrated that they said, ‘He is flesh and bones’ and similar things to this. This saying of their’s which is the most obvious corruption, if He had been flesh and bones – as it is understood – then what is permissible upon (the created types of) flesh and bone would be permissible upon Him, and this leads to the tamtheel (resemblance to the creation) that Allaah has negated from Himself…

Then he said, after that:

 

…So whoever speaks with this tashbeeh (resemblance), which comprises such anthropomorphism (tajseem), then he has made Him like the [created] bodies which are other than Him, [considering] Him to be greater in status [in this tajseem], and this is clear and manifest falsehood from both a rational and sharee’ah point of view. And such people are the Mushabbihah (Anthropomorphists) whom the Salaf have criticised. And they (the Salaf) said: “The Mushabbih is the one who says: Seeing like my seeing, and Hand like my hand and Foot like my foot“, and so this is making resemblance in the genus (jins) [of a thing], even if that being attributed with resemblance is greater in status than that to which it is being resembled.

And he says in Dar’ al-Ta’aarud (10/306):

 

The leading Imaams of the Sunnah and Hadeeth never differed in anything of the foundations of their religion. For this reason, not a single one of them said, “Allaah is a jism (body)” and nor “Allaah is not a jism”, rather they rejected the negation when the Jahmites from the Mu’tazilah and others innovated it, and they also rejected the negation of the Jahmites of the attributes, alongside their rejection of those who resembled His attributes with those of His creation. In fact, their rejection of the Jahmiyyah Mu’attilah was greater than their rejection against the Mushabbihah, because the disease of ta’teel is greater than the disease of tashbeeh…

Note that this last statement of Ibn Taymiyyah is also said by al-Ghazali and al-Razi, that ta’teel is worse than tashbeeh, and it is far better to leave a people upon belief in Allaah with something of tashbeeh than have them fall into complete denial and atheism (see here and here).

And he says in Dar’ al-Ta’aarud a little later, (10/308):

 

So it is said to the one who asked about the word “jism” (body): What do you mean by your saying? Do you mean that He is of the genus (of things) found in the creation? If you mean that, then Allaah, the Exalted, has explained in His Book that there is no likeness (mithl) or equal (kofu) or rival (nidd) for Him, and He said, “Is one who creates like one who does not?” (16:17). Hence, the Qur’an indicates that nothing is like Allaah, neither in His essence (dhaat) nor in His attributes and nor in His actions. So if you mean by the word “jism” that which comprises likeness to anything from the creation, then Allaah is purified of that, and your answer is in theQur’an and Sunnah, and when Allaah [in His essence] is not like of the genus of water, or air, and nor the soul that is blown into us, and nor from the genus of Angels, or the celestial orbits, then that He should not be from the genus of the body of man, his flesh, his bones, nerves, flesh, hand, foot, face and other such organs and limbs is even more the case and more befitting. And this type of (affirmation) and its likes which is referred to as tashbeeh and tajseem, all of it is denied in the Book and the Sunnah, and there is not in the Qur’an, a single verse which indicates, neither textually, (nassan) nor apparently (dhaahiran), the affirmation of any of that for Allaah…

This is only a small sample of literally hundreds of statements which can be found across all of Ibn Taymiyyah’s works. For the sake of completion, we should cite statements of Ash’ari and Maturidi scholars on the usage of the word “jism“, and if purely for argument’s sake, Ibn Taymiyyah permitted the use of the word “jism” (which is completely untrue and false), then what is the most that could be said? The following quotes are documented in this article:

From al-Eejee in his al-Mawaqif:

 

…So the Karraamiyyah, that is, some of them, said, “He is a jism (body), meaning, existent (mawjood)”. And (another) people amongst them said, “He is a jism (body), meaning established by Himself (qaa’imun bi-nafsihi)”. So there is no dispute with them upon [either] of these two explanations except in the naming, meaning in the application of the word “al-jism” to Him.

And from Sullam ul-Wusool of al-Mutee’i:

 

…As for the one who said, “He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies”, then he has negated [from Him] the necessities (lawaazim) of the [created] bodies, such that nothing remains from them [in relation to Allaah] except the mere naming [with al-jism]. So this, as our Shaykh has said, there is no angle for any differing in this, because nothing remains except merely naming Him with [the word] al-jism (body).

And from Sharh ul-Aqaa’id al-Adhudiyyah of al-Dawwaaniyy:

 

…And in this manner does such a one negate from Him all of the special [qualities] of a [created] body (jism) until nothing remains except the mere label (ism) of a al-jism. And these [people] are not declared disbelievers, as opposed to those who are explicit in affirming jismiyyah (i.e. a body like the created bodies).

And from the Hanafi Ash’ari scholar, Abu Ja’far al-Simnani (d. 444H), and is cited by al-Dhahabi in al-Siyar (17:540), who in turn is citing from Ibn Hazm (d. 456H):

 

[Ibn Hazm]: He is Abu Ja’far al-Simnani al-Makfuf, he is the greatest of the companions of Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, and the forerunner of the Ash’arites in his time. And from his statements are: “Whoever labelled Allaah a “jism” for the purpose (of explaining) that He has attributes in His essence, then he is correct in the meaning, but has erred in the labelling (tasmiyah) only.”

So if – even just for argument’s sake – we assert the validity of the false claim that Ibn Taymiyyah said Allaah is a “body (jism)”, then the affair would not go beyond what these Ash’ari and Maturidi scholars have stated, but we do not even need to go there, as is clear.

Summary

 

The Jahmites – [an umbrella term to refer to the schools of kalaam, all of whom founded their creed upon a kalaam cosmological argument taken from the Sabean Philosophers(see here) whose conceptual tools and terminology are taken straight from Aristotelian Metaphysics (see here)] – are like scorpions. They lie waiting in the sand until the opportunity to strike presents itself.

Ibn Taymiyyah on the Durations of Isha and Fajr Prayers in Summer and Winter and the Variation Therein


We were sent the following fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah for translation. It is regarding the variation in the durations of the Fajr and Isha prayers between the summer and winter seasons and the reasons for that. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) was asked (Majmu al-Fatawa 22/93-94):

 

هَلْ يُشْتَرَطُ اللَّيْلُ إلَى مَطْلَعِ الشَّمْسِ ؟ وَكَمْ أَقَلُّ مَا بَيْنَ وَقْتِ الْمَغْرِبِ وَدُخُولِ الْعِشَاءِ مِنْ مَنَازِلِ الْقَمَرِ ؟ .

 

Is it a condition for the [end of the] night to be [defined] at sunrise? And what is the least amount of time between Maghrib and the entrance [time] of Isha in terms of the positions of the moon?

And he replied:

 

أَمَّا وَقْتُ الْعِشَاءِ فَهُوَ مَغِيبُ الشَّفَقِ الْأَحْمَرِ لَكِنْ فِي الْبِنَاءِ يُحْتَاطُ حَتَّى يَغِيبَ الْأَبْيَضُ فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ تَسْتَتِرُ الْحُمْرَةُ بِالْجُدْرَانِ فَإِذَا غَابَ الْبَيَاضُ تَيَقَّنَ مَغِيبَ الْأَحْمَرِ . هَذَا مَذْهَبُ الْجُمْهُورِ كَمَالِكِ وَالشَّافِعِيِّ وَأَحْمَد . وَأَمَّا أَبُو حَنِيفَةَ : فَالشَّفَقُ عِنْدَهُ هُوَ الْبَيَاضُ وَأَهْلُ الْحِسَابِ يَقُولُونَ : إنَّ وَقْتَهَا مَنْزِلَتَانِ لَكِنَّ هَذَا لَا يَنْضَبِطُ فَإِنَّ الْمَنَازِلَ إنَّمَا تُعْرَفُ بِالْكَوَاكِبِ بَعْضُهَا قَرِيبٌ مِنْ الْمَنْزِلَةِ الْحَقِيقِيَّةِ وَبَعْضُهَا بَعِيدٌ مِنْ ذَلِكَ . وَأَيْضًا فَوَقْتُ الْعِشَاءِ فِي الطُّولِ وَالْقِصَرِ يَتْبَعُ النَّهَارَ فَيَكُونُ فِي الصَّيْفِ أَطْوَلَ كَمَا أَنَّ وَقْتَ الْفَجْرِ يَتْبَعُ اللَّيْلَ فَيَكُونُ فِي الشِّتَاءِ أَطْوَلَ . وَمَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّ حِصَّةَ الْعِشَاءِ بِقَدْرِ حِصَّةِ الْفَجْرِ فِي الشِّتَاءِ وَفِي الصَّيْفِ : فَقَدْ غَلِطَ غَلَطًا حِسِّيًّا بِاتِّفَاقِ النَّاسِ . وَسَبَبُ غَلَطِهِ أَنَّ الْأَنْوَارَ تَتْبَعُ الْأَبْخِرَةَ فَفِي الشِّتَاءِ يَكْثُرُ الْبُخَارُ بِاللَّيْلِ فَيَظْهَرُ النُّورُ فِيهِ أَوَّلًا وَفِي الصَّيْفِ تَقِلُّ الْأَبْخِرَةُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَفِي الصَّيْفِ يَتَكَدَّرُ الْجَوُّ بِالنَّهَارِ بِالْأَبْخِرَةِ وَيَصْفُو فِي الشِّتَاءِ ؛ لِأَنَّ الشَّمْسَ مَزَّقَتْ الْبُخَارَ وَالْمَطَرَ لَبَّدَ الْغُبَارَ . وَأَيْضًا : فَإِنَّ النورين تَابِعَانِ لِلشَّمْسِ هَذَا يَتَقَدَّمُهَا وَهَذَا يَتَأَخَّرُ عَنْهَا فَيَجِبُ أَنْ يَكُونَا تَابِعَيْنِ لِلشَّمْسِ فَإِذَا كَانَ فِي الشِّتَاءِ طَالَ زَمَنُ مَغِيبِهَا فَيَطُولُ زَمَانُ الضَّوْءِ التَّابِعِ لَهَا . وَأَمَّا جَعْلُ هَذِهِ الْحِصَّةِ بِقَدْرِ هَذِهِ الْحِصَّةِ وَأَنَّ الْفَجْرَ فِي الصَّيْفِ أَطْوَلُ وَالْعِشَاءَ فِي الشِّتَاءِ أَطْوَلُ وَجُعِلَ الْفَجْرُ تَابِعًا لِلنَّهَارِ : يَطُولُ فِي الصَّيْفِ وَيَقْصُرُ فِي الشِّتَاءِ وَجُعِلَ الشَّفَقُ تَابِعًا لِلَّيْلِ يَقْصُرُ فِي الصَّيْفِ وَيَطُولُ فِي الشِّتَاءِ فَهَذَا قَلْبُ الْحِسِّ وَالْعَقْلِ وَالشَّرْعِ . وَلَا يَتَأَخَّرُ ظُهُورُ السَّوَادِ عَنْ مَغِيبِ الشَّمْسِ وَاَللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ .

 

As for the the time of Isha, it is the disappearance of the red twilight. However in built up areas, caution should be taken by [waiting] until the white twilight (disappears) because the red twilight can sometimes be hidden by buildings. So when the white twilight disappears, the disappearance of the red twilight becomes certain. This is the madhhab of the majority such as Malik, al-Shafi’i and Ahmad. As for Abu Hanifah, he holds the twilight (period) to be the (disappearance of the) white [twilight]. The astronomers say it that its duration is between two of the positional stages of the moon, but this is not precise because the positional stages are themselves known by the stars, and some of them are close to the true positional stage of the moon and others are far away from it.Also, the length and shortness of the duration of Isha follows on from the [length and shortness of the] day. Hence, in the summer, it is longer, just as the duration of Fajr follows the [length and shortness] of the night, and thus in winter it is longer.

Whoever claimed that the duration of Isha is the same as the duration of Fajr in winter and in summer has made an error in perception by agreement of all the people. And the reason for his error is that the light(s) follow on from the water vapour in the air. In the winter, the water vapour increases (rises) at night, and thus the light (signifying dawn) appears earlier [being reflected off the water vapour which has risen in the atmosphere]. And in summer the water vapour becomes lower [descends] at night and in the summer the air becomes turbid by the water vapour in the daytime, and it clears in the winter, because the sun penetrates the vapour and the rain removes the atmospheric dust (bringing it to the ground).

And also [because] the two lights simply follow the sun. One of them [at the approach of sunrise] precedes the sun and the other one [after sunset] follows after the sun, hence it is obligatory that they are both following the (movement) of the sun. Thus, when the time for its disappearance is increased in the summer [due to variation in axis], the length of time of the light that follows it is also lengthened. But as for making this duration (in summer) the same as that duration (in winter), and [making the duration of] Fajr in summer to be longer, and [the duration of] Isha in the winter to be longer and making [the length of duration] to [relatively] follow the [length] of daytime, it increasing in the summer and decreasing in the winter, and making the twilight to relatively follow the [length] of the night, it decreasing in summer and increasing in winter, then this is overturning sensory perception, reason and legislation. The appearance of darkness is not delayed from the disappearance of the sun.

Notes and Comments

The above can be better understood by looking at this diagram whilst reading through it.

In this fatwa Ibn Taymiyyah is pointing out factors which contribute to:

 

  • The variation in the duration of Maghrib to Isha between summer and winter
  • The varation in the duration of Fajr to sunrise between summer and winter
  • The variation between the duration of Maghrib to Isha and Fajr to sunrise in summer
  • The variation between the duration of Maghrib to Isha and Fajr to sunrise in winter

And these factors are the length of the day and night, which in turn are affected by season [in terms of change in axis] and also the seasonal effect of water vapour and particles in the atmosphere affecting the speed at which light travels (is reflected) through the atmosphere, which will vary between summer and winter. What this establishes can be illustrated by the following: The duration between Mahgrib and Isha may be 1 hour 25 minutes in the peak of summer [where Maghrib and Isha are later in the 24 hour day] but only 1 hour and 10 minutes in the winter [where Maghrib and Isha are earlier in the 24 hour day]. Conversely, the duration between Fajr and sunrise might be 1 hour and 10 minutes in Summer but 1 hour and 25 minutes in the peak of winter. If we are operating upon the solar calendar (where seasons do not shift in terms of the calendar, unlike the lunar calendar), then it means that there is a graduated change in these durations between the peak of summer (21st June) and the peak of winter (21st December).

If you take note of what Ibn Taymiyyah says at the very end of the statement:

 

The appearance of darkness is not delayed from the disappearance of the sun.

This is a statement of fact regarding the cosmic order and the converse applies, the appearance of light is not delayed from the approach of the sun. What this means, when we look at the speech of Ibn Taymiyyah as a whole, is that as a matter of fact and reality, the actual time of appearance and disappearance of light (and therefore the durations between Maghrib and Isha and Fajr and sunrise) takes place in a graduated fashion as we move through the calendar [due to variation in the axis].So as a matter of fact and reality, there will be small gradual incremental increases or decreases in the times of the prayers as we move through the calendar, and in the subject of discussion, in the durations between Maghrib and Isha and Fajr and sunrise.

 

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin in Sharh al-Mumti’

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin rahimahullaah cites the above fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah in his discussion of the matter of the time of Isha and Fajr. He said (Sharh al-Mumti’ 2/117-118):

 

The author did not mention the commencement of the time of Fajr because he considers the time of Isha to extend right until break of dawn (fajr), and for this reason he said, “And the time of [entrance] of Fajr follows it…” and so it (time of Fajr) becomes from the appearance of the second dawn until sunrise.And its duration of being an hour varies, it could be an hour and a half and it could be an hour and a quarter like Maghrib. Shaykh al-Islam (rahimahullaah) says: “Whoever claimed that the duration of Fajr is the same as the duration of Maghrib has erred and is mistaken…” Meaning that some people make an hour and a half between Fajr and sunrise and likewise an hour and a half between sunset and the disappearance of twighlight in both the winter and the summer. Shaykh al-Islaam says, “This is an error, and is not correct because the duration between break of dawn and sunrise in the winter is longer due to water vapour rising higher, and thus the reflection of the light of the sun appears earlier, and hence the duration of Fajr becomes longer (due to this effect), and the opposite is the case in summer. And when the duration of Fajr increases the duration of Maghrib decreases, and vice versa.” These manifestations in the horizon can be observed more so than what Shaykh al-Islaam (rahimahullaah) has said. As for what is observed, then if you are on the land and there are no lights and dust around you which prevent vision, then when you see the whiteness extend from the north to the south, then dawn (fajr) has broken, and the time for prayer has entered. But fajr has not been reached before this has taken place.

So this is further clarification that a contributing factor to the longer duration of Fajr (to sunrise) in winter is the higher elevation of water vapour in the atmosphere which in turn means that light (from the approaching sun) is reflected better and appears earlier and is visible earlier. To understand this better, imagine you have a huge mirror in the atmosphere. Depending on how high or low it is will determine at what time you first begin to see the light due to the approach of the sun. If it is higher, you will see it quicker and if it is much lower, you will see it later. So water vapour in the atmosphere has this effect. And seasons affect this water vapour and where it is in the atmosphere. But this has no connection to local, regionalized, daily fluctuations in weather affecting the times of these prayers.