Tajsim through the ages

Thanks to Bill Allison of Ideofact again for actually reading the books I only just like to talk about. He is digesting Stephen Schwartz’s “The Two Faces of Islam” and has put a few things together regarding Ibn Taymiyya and Sayyid Qutb. Reading his posts on the Mongol invasions put things in a historical perspective I wasn’t fully aware of. Those wanting to delve more into what Islamic scholars have said regarding Ibn Taymiyya could start here at Living Traditions. It is a synopsis of Ibn Taymiyya’s life and career put together by Dr. GF Haddad. It is aimed at a muslim audience, but should be accessible to those interested in the topic, if you can get past the cumbersome transliteration. While ibn Taymiyya’s xenophobia that Bill talks about is certainly loathesome, his theological corruptions, in particular, his anthropomorphism or tajsim, are what led him to spend years in prison for heresy. More theological material from a Sunni perspective on anthropomorphism, as originated by Ibn Taymiyya and revived by Ibn Abdul Wahhab, are available here.

Of local interest, there’s also a translation of the anthropomorphism article into Malay and also a different refutation in Malay by Mohamad Ghouse Khan Surattee. I can’t really read it myself, what with only a 100-word vocabulary mostly centering around staying well-fed, but there it is.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. Ibn Taymiyah, though he had his wrongs, certainly wasn’t a “xenophobe”. While certain Sufis were watching the slaughter of Muslims, all because it was the “Will of God”, he was out putting his life on the line. Must we engage in hate-mongering, and cheap sectarianism?

    Further, if you read his collection of fatawa, you’ll notice that he rejects revolt and sees it as a sin. Quttb adovcated revolution.

    Why am I not surprised that Schwartz is pushing this nonsense? That and the myth of the “Wahhabiy” sect.

  2. Assalamualaikum,
    Jazakallahu khair for your link to MGH Surattee’s writing.

    If I may add for the benefit of other Malay/non-Malay readers, there are not many Malay books against Wahabbi around. Either people are not aware or there is no dire need for such. However, the small Northern state of Perlis on the Peninsular of Malaysia had declared itself a Wahabbi state despite having the Jamalulayl family (sayyids) as kings.

    The most comprehensive book on Wahabbi and other sects is I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, written by the Indonesian Kiyai Haji Sirajuddin Abbas. More recently Ustaz Zamihan, a Jordanian graduate and Ustaz Zaidi Abdullah, a local madrasah’s graduate, each has produces their own writings. Ustaz Zamihan’s book is titled Pegangan Sejati Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah.

    For more reliable information on the traditionalists and non-Wahabbism movement, one should meet Ustaz Wan Abdullah Saghir, the owner of Khazanah Fathaniyyah, Kuala Lumpur. He is an old scholar, coming from the respectable al-Fathani (from the former Sultanate of Patani, currently in modern-day Thailand bordering Kelantan) family.

    There is also Khazanah Banjariah, based in Derang, Kedah, but I cannot verify their inclination, though so far, have not heard anything suspicious.

  3. wa alaykum salaam and thank you, nnydd! Do you know of any information on the Pattani Sultanate on the web? The other former kingdom that has piqued my interest is the Moro Sultanate of the Sulu islands, (that encompassed parts of Sabah?). Where can I learn more?

  4. Salaam

    Yes, there is no “Wahhabiy” sect. You have to show me one sect that calls itself “Wahhabiy”. I haven’t found one yet, but I’ll be happy to correct my misunderstanding – if indeed it is one.

    It is a derogatory term used to malign anyone who opposes, or does not accept, either taqleed, or other mind-numbing and corrosive effects of Popular Religion.

    It was actually used mainly on the Subcontinent, where the Brelvis call the Deobandis “Wahhabiy”; the Deobandi in turn use it on the Ahl-e-Hadeeth. The latter, of course, regard the other two as “Ahl al-Bidaah”.

  5. Assalamualaikum,
    Bro. Zayn, I have to apologise that I cannot direct you to any website or printed publications on Pattani in English due to the lack of it and to my distance to do such enquiry. I am sure there are many references to this once-great Sultanate in our National Library.

    However, the Patani United Liberation Organisation is worth a visit. It is a dual-language website, though many of the important writings are in Malay, unfortunately. The book by Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud, advertised on the website, is very authoritative. I do not know if it has been translated or not. Nik Anuar is a living historian, well-respected, and currently is a Professor of history at National University of Malaysia (UKM). He represented Malaysia at the International Court in many international border dispute such as on Pulau Sipadan issue against the Philippines.

    On the Sulu sultanate, I do not have much information myself. There are many websites on the web of which I will recommend a visit to http://jamalabbas.virtualave.net/sultanates.htm , for those beginners. As you can read on this website, Sulu was not the only sultanate in this region of the Philippines island. Even Manila purpotedly had a sultan of its own. The word Manila is said to come from the Arabic, Amanillah.

    As in the case of the Philippinos Sultanate, the Sultanate of Pattani was not the only Muslim Malay Kingdom on what we, the Malay, called Segenting Kera, i.e. the thin strip of land between Thai-proper and Malaysian border. The were many existing Sultanates like the al-Minar (Narathiwat), and Singgora (Songkhla). These sultanates ceased to exist due to the treachery of their people and secret grand plan of the imperialist British and Siamese. A British officer remarked on the separation of Segenting Kera’s Malay states from Malaya-proper: If the affairs in this world were settled by common sense and equity, I personally have no doubt what ever that Patani ought to be seperated from Siam dan become part of Malaya. The inhabitants are 90%. Malays and 90% Mohamedans (in a Buddhist country). All their connections are with the south, and particularly with Kelantan, and the Siamese record in Patani is one of dreary mis-rule interspersed with sporadic outbursts of actual tyranny. There is no doubt that where the wishes of the inhabitants lie, and a fair plebscite (if one could be arranged) could only have one result. In the complex affairs of international politics, however, mere practical considerations of this mind do not find much place.

    You may have heard about the Banjarmasin Sultanate and the Pontianak Sultanate. The later is closer to Kuching. Banjarmasin Sultanate is famous for its mufti, Syeikh Arshad al-Banjari, who contributed a lot in writings.

    Sorry for this long comment. Wassalam.

  6. Assalamualaikum Bro. Abdus Salam,
    The great Imam, al-Ghazali, is famously quoted saying ‘Don’t argue on a word if the ma’na (meaning) of it is well-understood.’

    I think many people here understand what is the meaning of Wahabbi, or who people refer to when they talk about it. You can give it different label but its meaning will remain the same.


  7. Yes, thank you for the quote from Imaam al-Ghazaali.

    But my point is that the word is not “well understood”, from the examples I gave.

    Nonetheless, you are welcome to your understanding, as I hope I am to mine.

    Kind Regards and Salaam `alaykum

  8. Assalamualaikum wr wb

    Just a correction made by bro/sis nnydd, the book by Ust Zamihan Mat Zin is “Salafiyyah Wahabiyyah Satu Penilaian”. The book “Pegangan Sejati Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah” is by Ust Mohd Zaidi Abdullah.

    Hope this correction benefit all.

    Thank You.

  9. Wahabi, as i understand in arabic is , actually derived from the name of Allah.
    one of 99 auspicious names of allah is Al-Wahab.
    Using this name of Allah in mocking others and in a negative way tantamounts to abusing his name, and that is what some maniacs, self proclaimed Sufis are doing, where infact they are knee deep in Bidah n Fitnah. Worshipping graves like Hindus do it to the Idols, Dancing as in “pleasure of Allah” – (as they call it), so on and so forth.
    And yes, Wahabi is a name given to so many sects who oppose such innovations.
    It is a name given to Sufis themselves by these Sufi Innovators and its followers.
    Nashqbandiyah, Deoband are all sufis, but they follow correctly and oppose much innovations, so they get dubbed as Wahabis, by the innovators.
    Afghanistan’s Taliban were Sufis too, they were Nashqbandis.

  10. HI…i just want to know how to get info about Syeikh Muhammad Arshad Al-Banjari whom supposely my ancestors (8 generation)?

  11. HI i’m Karl Mohd again… if anyone knows that if he is the decendant of Syeikh Muhammad Arshad Al-Banjari… please e-mail me at property_tycoon@hotmail.com. I am sincerely seeking my heritage and if there are traces f it i would like to find out the “family tree”. Thank you.

  12. what was written by zamihan was refuted by hafiz hirdaus abdullah in “Membongkar jenayah ilmiyah buku salafiyah wahabiyah.”

    Inna al baatila kaana zahuuqa

  13. Assalamualaikum,

    With regard to the issue of Wahabism, there is one writer who by the name of GF Haddad who explore into minute details with reliable references to answering accusation/slandering by the Wahabysm. May use any of your search engine to look for these articles by GF haddad. I found it very resourceful though it is in English.


  14. salaam this is an invitation for you to join the bloggin’ muslimz webring site which was launched yesterday. Check out the site inshaAllah. Wassalam – admin.

  15. To the anonymous one:

    You don’t believe Wahabbis exist? Please explain.

    To Zayn:

    The picture of Shaykh Ridwan in his school uniform doesn’t show up on my computer!


    Please fix.


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