This is the letter that Shaykh’ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah sent to his mother, in which he apologies for his stay in Egypt. A stay he felt was necessary to educate the people. And that he mentioned his responsibilities towards his mother as a son and as an Âlim (scholar).
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (in the name of Allaah, Most Merciful, Dispenser of Mercy),
From Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah to my dear and honorable mother…
May Allaah bless her amply, and grant her peace and comfort, and make her amongst the best of His (female) servants.
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuh (peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allaah and His blessings).
We praise Allah, the most worthy of praise. There is no deity worthy of worship but He, and He has Power over all things. We ask Him to bless the Khatm (seal) of the Anbiya (Prophets) and Imam of the Muttaqin (pious); Muhammad, His servant and Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam).
Indeed the bounties of Allaah come abundantly, and His aid is never ending. We praise Him for it, and ask Him to increase His favor. It will not escape you, my contented mother, the fact that our stay in Egypt is for an important issue. The abandonment of such a task (Amal; deed) leads to the corruption of our Din (Akhirah; hereafter) and of our (worldly) life.
Yet it was not our choice to be far from you. Had birds been able to carry us, we would have come to you (willingly). But Ghaib (the absent one) has his Udhr (reason) with him; and had you been able to look deeply into the affairs of the Muslims, you would not choose -walhamdulillaah (praise to Allaah)- for me another place to the one I am in now. Nevertheless, I had never intended to reside here permanently. Instead, I pray Istikhara to Allaah to guide you and I to the right choice, and I pray for your well-being. Pray Khayr (goodness) for us. I ask Allaah to bless us and the rest of the Muslimin, with His goodness and what that goodness encompasses of safety and benefit.
Allaah had opened for me His gates of blessings, mercy and guidance in a way I have never conceived of before. Yet I am always considering travel towards you, making the prayers of Istikhaarah. It is inconceivable for me, if given the choice, to favor any of this life’s mundane issues or of the lesser obligations of the Din, to being close to you. Yet there are great issues which I cannot abandon for fear of their general and personal dangers(1) (as it is said in the saying:) and the witness sees what the absent does not…
I beseech you to make Dua (supplicate) to Allah profusely. Ask Him to guide us to choose our best paths, for He Knows and we do not, and He Decrees and we do not and He knows the Ghaib (unknown).
Rasulullaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
من سعادة ابن آدم استخارته الله ورضاه بما يقسم الله له ومن شقاوة ابن آدم: ترك استخارته الله وسخطه بما يقسم الله له.
It is from the happiness of the son of Adam to practice lstikhaarah and be pleased with what Allah had ordained for him. And it is from the misery of the son of Adam to drop the Istikhaarah of Allah and be displeased at Allah’s decrees.(2)
Indeed, the traveling trader might fear the loss of his money, so he resides at a place until he is able to travel once again. The matter that we are in the middle of is too great to describe, La hawla wala quwwata illa billah (there is no power or ability but through Allah).
Finally, convey my salaam to the entire household, young and old, and the rest of neighbors, friends and relatives one by one.
Wassalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!
Praise be to Allah, and may His Blessings and Peace be upon Muhammad, his family and companions.
1– The general danger is the corruption of people. The personal one is that as a scholar, he has to fulfill his obligation of guiding the people to the right way. There is also another danger which, is that Ibn Taymiyyah came to Egypt whilst accused in his belief, and that he has a right to defend and vindicate himself.
2- Imam Tirmidhi recorded it and he called it Hasan Gharib; and it was also narrated by Imam Ahmad, Abu Ya’laa and al-Hakim who said of it: Sahih al-lsnad.
May Allaah make us dutiful to our parents. Ameen
A Letter from Ibn Taymiyyah’s Mother:
“Indeed I raised you for the likes of this…”
Walaykum assalam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuhu wa maghfiraatuhu wa ridwaanuhu.
Indeed I raised you for the likes of this, swore you to the service of Islam and taught you the laws of the religion. Certainly never imagine, oh my son, that you being near me is more loved to me than your being close to your religion and your service to Islam and the Muslims throughout the various territories.
Rather, oh my son, the epitome of my being pleased with you is only according to the amount of what you put forward for your religion and for the Muslims. Indeed I will not ask you in front of Allah tomorrow (Judgement Day) about your being far away from me because I know where you are and what you are engaged in.
However, oh Ahmad, I will ask you in front of Allah, and hold you accountable, if you fall short in aiding Allah’s religion and serving its followers from your Muslim brethren.
May Allaah be pleased with you, illuminate you with good and straighten your stride. May He gather me with you under the shade of the Throne of al-Rahmaan on a day there is no shade but His shade.
Was-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuhu.
[Majmu al-Fatâwa of Ibn Taymiyyah , 28/48-50; ]