Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Anna A. Akasoy

Subject Categories



Ibn Taymiyya and Philosophy; Ibn Taymiyya's Fatawa; Ibn Taymiyya's Polemics; 'ilm al-kalam and Sufism in Ibn Taymiyya's Polemics; Muslim; Christian; and Jewish Polemics; Religious Polemics


Most of the Mamluk theologian Taqī al-Dīn Ahmad ibn Taymiyya's opinions had a polemical nature. This paper traces certain common tropes of Ibn Taymiyya's polemics such as tahrīf (corruption), taqlīd (imitation), and bid`a (innovation) that he repeatedly used in some of his judgments that targeted Christians, Jews, Sufis, mutakallimūn, philosophers, and Nusayris. The paper argues that what connects all of these groups in Ibn Taymiyya's polemics is the tropes of corruption, imitation, and innovation that he identified in their thought and practice. When investigating Ibn Taymiyya's polemics within the broader array of religious polemics, a consideration of his commentaries on different groups is important. The fact is that Ibn Taymiyya does not target a religious or intellectual group per se. He targets certain "corrupted or innovated" ideas and practices done by certain groups and being blindly "imitated" by other groups. He does not tolerate any mistakes in theology as a result of the imperfect human intellect not only by the followers of other religions, but also by Muslims. In his judgment strategies, Ibn Taymiyya referred to Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scriptures as well as analytical methods of reason and logic. Nonetheless, he is convinced that Revelation should always take precedent over any human intellect methods in evaluating theology; otherwise, we will corrupt theology.

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