Shāh Walī Allāh in Defence of Ibn Taymiyyah
A Translation and Reading of Risālah fī Manāqib Ibn Taymiyyah wa ’l-Difā‘ ‘anhu
Until now, only a short excerpt from the eighteenth-century South Asian reformist Shāh Walī Allāh’s (d. 1176/1762) treatise in defence of the medieval Syrian theologian Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328) has been published in English. In addition to providing a full translation of Risālah fī Manāqib Ibn Taymiyyah wa ’l-Difā‘ ‘anhu (Epistle on the Virtues of Ibn Taymiyyah and in His Defence), this article argues that Shāh Walī Allāh’s due attention for Ibn Taymiyyah is principally a defence of his own work for the larger Walī Allāhī project, heavily inspired by the latter, and an effort to reconcile thinkers as disparate as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240), with the mainstream of Sunni Ash‘arī thought. Far from being a reproduction of one or the other in South Asia during the eighteenth century, however, it seems to the writers that Shāh Walī Allāh proves himself to be an independent figure with his own unique philosophy for reformation whose broader vision accommodates polemics among Muslim thinkers from across the spectrum in issues of creed, Qur’ānic hermeneutics, ḥadīth sciences, theology, law, and spirituality.
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