Ibn `Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari (d. 709) Radiya Allah ‘anhu The Debate with Ibn Taymiyya

November 18, 2006

“As for your statement that Allah has forbidden Muslims to call upon anyone other than Himself in seeking help, have you actually seen any Muslim calling on someone other than Allah? The verse you cite from the Qur’an was revealed concerning the idolaters and those who used to call on their false gods and ignore Allah. Whereas, the only way Muslims seek the help of the Prophet is in the sense of tawassul or seeking a means, by virtue of the privilege he has received from Allah (bi haqqihi `inda Allah), and tashaffu` or seeking intercession, by virtue of the power of intercession which Allah has bestowed on him.

As for your pronouncement that istighatha or seeking help is forbidden in the Shari`a because it can lead to idolatry, if this is the case, then we ought also to prohibit grapes because they are means to making wine, and to castrate unmarried men because not to do so leaves in the world a means to commit fornication and adultery.”

At the latter comment both the shaykhs laughed. Ibn `Ata Allah continued: “I am acquainted with the all-inclusiveness and foresight of the legal school founded by your Shaykh, Imam Ahmad, and know the comprehensiveness of your own legal theory and about its principle of blocking the means to evil (sadd al-dhara’i`) as well as the sense of moral obligation a man of your proficiency in Islamic jurisprudence and integrity must feel. But I realize also that your knowledge of language demands that you search out the hidden meanings of words which are often shrouded behind their obvious senses. As for the Sufis, meaning for them is like a spirit, and the words themselves are like its body. You must penetrate deeply into what is behind the verbal body in order to seize the deeper reality of the word’s spirit.”

http://sunnah.org/tasawwuf/scholr25.htm

http://mac.abc.se/%7Eonesr/ez/isl/On-Tsw_I.AtaAllah.html

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