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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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