Nearly seven hundred years after his death in prison in Damascus (728/ 1328), Ibn Taymiyya remains one of the most influential of the classical Islamic thinkers.
In this collection of rigorously translated and annotated texts, it is the voice of the Shaykh al-Islam himself that one hears. It vibrates with the feeling that animates the whole of his religious thought-whether he is explaining the worship of God or veneration of the Prophet, exploring the labyrinth of vain desires or that of true love, understanding the failings of the believers (collective and individual), or positioning himself in relation to the authorities and to others, Muslims and non-Muslims.
His abiding concern is to explain how to enliven our everyday life by making God for us 'more important than water for fish'. Having himself tasted this 'sweetness of faith', he testifies from experience: such an objective is not unattainable. He invites to the journey, signposts the way, and proffers a hand to whoever commits himself to it.
Whatever has sometimes been said about him, it is obvious that Ibn Taymiyya always was a great spiritual master of the via media, the middle way that is at the heart of traditional Islam. One year after the Arab Spring, his balanced understanding of how to live a responsibly Muslim life has an urgent relevance.
'For those who want to delve into the mysteries and motivations, the declarations and limits, of the foremost anbalî theologian and jurist of his time, Ibn Taymiyya, ponder this tome! It is useful, its delights evident, its benefits many.'
Bruce Lawrence, Professor Emeritus, Duke University (USA)
'This is a wonderful text with careful translations, of immense value to English-speaking Muslim readers, and it provides not only many clarifications as to Ibn Taymiyya's positions but also makes available to a wider audience the powerful arguments he makes for the moderate or middle way in all spiritual matters.'