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The New Arab

Jordan under pressure to ban Ibn Taymiyyah's books

Ibn Taymiyyah denounced Mongols for not following Sharia [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 June, 2015

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Leaked correspondence claims works by the medieval Islamic scholar have been used by the Islamic State group to justify its barbaric massacres.

Owner of publishing houses are reportedly withholding the works of a medieval Islamic scholar amid claims a total ban is imminent.

Ibn Taymiyyah's books are also reportedly being prevented from entering Jordan, although no official statement has been released by Jordanian authorities.

The move, if confirmed, follows the killing of a Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was burned to death in Syria last year by the Islamic State group. It is further claimed that IS is highly influenced by the work of Ibn Taymiyyah.

A 12th century Islamic scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah is considered to have had considerable influence in the development of contemporary Wahhabism, Salafism, and Jihadism.

He sought the return of Sunni Islam to what he viewed as earlier interpretations of the Quran, and was known for issuing a fatwa and declaring jihad against Mongol rulers on the basis that they did not follow Sharia, and thus were not "truly" Muslim.

Some experts believe that the Islamic State group have exploited the idea of Ibn Taymiyyah's fatwas as justification for their barbaric acts.

The reported "decision" was hailed by Egyptian TV presenter Islam el-Behery, who praised Jordan and King Abdullah for the move.

"This is the beginning," he posted on Facebook. "Today, officially, the Jordanian Department of Press and Publications is implementing a ban on the books of Ibn Taymiyyah.

"Jordan becomes the first Arab country taking such measures against the books of the murderous Ibn Taymiyyah and to confront terrorism in deeds not just words. Bravo Jordan and King Abdullah," he added.

But Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a Salafi Islamist Jordanian-Palestinian writer, and a former jihadist, did not share the presenter's sentiments. 

"The folly of withholding the books of Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah or banning them on the pretext of Islamic State's mis-comprehension of his fatwas is as bad as allowing books that directly insult our religion and prophets," Maqdisi tweeted. 

An official decision is yet to be announced by Amman authorities.

Jordan's minister of Islamic affairs, Hayel Dawood, has denied that he or his ministry had issued any decision regarding any ban on the books, saying that the leaked correspondence was a draft proposal that he had not yet examined.

Dawood said a decision regarding the ban will be "issued soon" - and that an internal inquiry had been opened regarding the leaked correspondence.

Al-Araby al-Jadeed's
correspondent in Jordan, Mohammad Fadilat, confirmed that no such ban had yet taken place.

A conference is due to take place next week to discuss IS ideology and to look into whether university courses featuring Ibn Taymiyyah's work should be changed, reported our correspondent.

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