And he said, "And he wrote, read and corrected (works) and also excelled in the sciences related to the narrations and the sunan. He studied, gave verdict, made tafseer and authored the most amazing of works. He was alone in holding certain opinions and as a result his honour was attacked, yet he is a man who has sins and mistakes. But despite this, and by Allaah, my eyes have not seen the likes of him and he has not seen the likes of himself. He was a skilled and erudite Imaam in the various sciences related to the religion, had a correct and sound mind, extremely quick in his perception, fluent in his understanding, overflowing with good deeds and was characterised by excessive braveness and generosity. He kept away from the desires of food, clothing and sexual relations. He did not find pleasure in anything but the spreading of knowledge, putting it into books and then acting upon its requirements. Abu Fath al-Ya'maree mentioned him in answering the questions of Abul-'Abbaas Ibn Dimyaatee al-Haafidh, saying, 'I found him to be amongst those who had acquired a fortune of knowledge and he fully and completey memorise the Sunan and the Aathaar. If he spoke about tafseer then he would be the carrier of its flag or if the gave a legal ruling in fiqh, he would know its extreme depths. And if he was to recall a hadeeth he would possess all the knowledge related to it and would carry its flag (i.e. make the hadeeth take precedence over all else). And if he was to talk about the various religions and factions, no one who was more vast in knowledge or greater in meticulousness could be seen. He surpassed his contemporaries in every science and my eyes have not seen the likes of him and nor have his eyes seen the likes of himself.' I (adh-Dhahabee) say: He was imprisoned on more than one occasion in order that he would slacken with respect to his antagonists and so that the fluency of his tongue and pen may diminish. Yet he would not recant and nor turn around upon the advice of anyone, up until he died while imprisoned at the Damascus Prison on the 20th of Dhul-Qa'dah, in the year 728H. And his followers consisted of nations, (the like of) their number could not be found at the graves of the Soofees, may Allaah forgive him and have mercy upon him, aameen."
So these are four books of al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee which testify to the lie of this ignominy of innovations and caller to misguidance. They (the books) speak out against his slander and show that he is merely shooting in the unknown, following the desires, and we seek refuge in Allaah from (His) abandonment, the absence of success and from deprivation.
Fourthly, Allaah defends and protects those who believe, for He has willed, free is He from imperfections, that He should preserve for us the biography of Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah which is present in 'Siyar A'laam un-Nubulaa'. Ibn al-Wazeer has quoted it in his extraordinary book 'al-'Awaasim min al-Qawaasim' (5/261-264).
Its verifier said, "And there occurs here in the manuscript 'jeem' a lengthy biography of Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah which is not present in all of the manuscripts. So I saw it fit to affirm it in these footnotes, along with its text. On some of its lines there is some deficiency (in quality) on account of which some words have been cut off, and I have shown this by establishing the diacritical marks, and I have affirmed them here. This is because the volume of 'Siyar A'laam un-Nubulaa' in which this biography is found - and that is the last one - has not been printed, and this is because we have not found a manuscript which is fit for publishing. This is a biography of the Imaam, the 'Allaamah, Ibn Taymiyyah from 'an-Nubulaa' of adh-Dhahabee. I have quoted it to here (only) because I have quoted from it frequently in this book, especially in this volume. Abu 'Abdullaah adh-Dhahabee said regarding him,
"The Shaikh, the Imaam, the Scholar, the Mufassir
(Exegete), the Faqeeh (Jurist), the Mujtahid, the Haafidh, the Muhaddith, the
Shaikh of Islaam, the prodigy of the era, author of amazing works, and (a
manifestation) of excessive intelligence, Taqee ud-Deen Abul-'Abbaas Ahmad the
son of the Scholar, the Muftee, Shihaab ud-Deen 'Abdul-Haleem, the son of the
Imaam, the Shaikh of Islaam, Majd ud-Deen Abul-Barakaat 'Abdus-Salaam, the
author of 'al-Ahkaam' (meaning the book 'al-Muntaqaa') Ibn 'Abdullaah bin
Abul-Qaasim al-Harraanee..." until his saying "...he heard from so and so and so
and so and from (attending) many circles (of knowledge). And he increased,
reached far limits and read over a group of people by himself. He also wrote
with his own hand numerous chapters (of certain works) as well as 'Sunan Abu
Daawood'. He looked at the various narrators of hadeeth and the hidden defects
(in the chains of narration) and then became one of the Imaams of criticism and
Scholars of the narrations, along with his recording of knowledge (in books),
his piety, remembrance, and constant devotion.