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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reckless Politics and Moral Hypocrisies

Excellent analysis.

Two Manuscripts written by Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328)

Shaykh al-Islam Taqi al-Din Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyya is among the most influential Islamic scholars to have ever lived. He was also one of the most controversial, with different opinions about his scholarship and his legacy. The following is apparently three folios from a manuscript written by Ibn Taymiyya’s own hand in the early fourteenth century which may shed light on why his thought was interpreted differently by different schools of thought. As one can see, it has neither vowel markings nor dots. This makes it virtually impossible for the non-specialist to decipher the text; even the specialist is left with various critical decisions to make when editing the text and rendering it readable (decisions which may or may not reflect the intention of the author). No wonder so many of Ibn Taymiyya’s ideas have been misrepresented over the centuries (for the most recent controversy, see: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1478-1913.2011.01351.x/pdf and http://muslimmatters.org/2010/06/29/the-mardin-conference-%E2%80%93-a-detailed-account/)

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The following is also a manuscript which contains Ibn Taymiyya’s own handwriting at the bottom (again, no vowels and very minimal use of dots):

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‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi (d. 1902) on the Nature of Oppression

“Oppression manipulates facts in people’s minds, leading people to believe that whoever seeks truth is sinful, that whoever abandons his rights is obedient, that the one who cries out [against oppression] is mischievous, that the perceptive and intelligent are godless, and that the useless one is upright. It transforms genuine advice into intrusiveness, caring for others into enmity, magnanimity into transgression, enthusiasm/zeal into foolishness, mercy into illness, just as it considers hypocrisy to be a policy, manipulation to be civility, and pettiness/villainy to be kindness.”

الاستبداد يقلب الحقائق فى الأذهان، فيسوق الناس إلى اعتقاد أن طالب الحق فاجر، وتارك حقه مُطيع، والمُشتكي المُتظلم مُفسِد، والنبيه المُدقق مُلحد، والخامل المسكين صالح، ويُصبح -كذلك- النُّصْح فضولا، والغيرة عداوة، الشهامة عتوّا، والحميّة حماقة، والرحمة مرضا، كما يعتبر أن النفاق سياسة والتحيل كياسة والدنائة لُطْف والنذالة دماثة

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