As-Suyutee said in the course of discussing his biography, "Shaykh al-Islaam, the Haafidh, the Faqeeh, the Mujtahid, the distinguished Mufassir, the rarity of his time, Scholar of the Ascetics" [‘Tabaqaat al-Huffaadh’ (pg. 516 no. 1144), and ‘al-Asbaah wa al-Nadhaa’ir’ (3/683) of as-Suyutee.]
We could mention many more scholars who praised him but insha’Allaah what we have quoted above is sufficient to paint a more just and true picture of this Imaam. As for those scholars that applied the title ‘Shaykh al-Islaam’ to him then they are numerous and would require a separate volume to list them [As has been done by some scholars, from amongst them ibn Naasir ad-Deen in the aforementioned book ‘ar-Radd al-Waafir’]
The Accusations against him:
From what has preceded it is clear that Shaykh al-Islaam had many enemies, and many jealous rivalries who plotted against him together to try to make out that he was an innovator. So we advise anyone who wishes to criticise the Shaykh that he must make sure that his criticisms are based firmly upon the written works of ibn Taymiyyah, not merely upon the words of other than him, as done by his opponents.
What follows is an investigation of the points of belief that ibn Taymiyyah was accused of having deviances in. We have left out the various legal positions he had for which he was attacked for due to their relative unimportance.*
On the works of Taqi ad-Deen Subki and his son Taaj ad-Deen Subki:
Much of what is written against ibn Taymiyyah are based upon the works of these two scholars. ‘Rasaa`il as-Subkiyyah’ of Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen and the various biographical works of Taaj ad-Deen for example ‘Tabaqaat ash-Shaafi`iyyah’.
As for the works of Taqi ad-Deen then adh-Dhahabee wrote to him, censuring him for what he had written, and his erroneous claims, to which as-Subkee replied saying, "As for what you say with regard to ash-Shaykh Taqi ad-Deen, then I am convinced of the great scope, the ocean-like fullness and vastness of his knowledge of the transmitted and intellectual sciences, his extreme intelligence, his ijtihaad and his attainments in that which surpass description. And I have always held to this opinion. Personally, his status in my eyes is greater and more esteemed, for the asceticism, piety, religiosity, his helping the truth and standing firm on it for the sake of Allaah alone, his adherence to the path of the salaf and his abundant taking from it, and his strangeness in this time, nay any time." [‘ad-Durar al-Kaamina’ of ibn Hajr under the biography of ibn Taymiyyah (1/159) and ‘Dhail Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah’ (2/392) of ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee.]
As for his son, Taaj ad-Deen, then unfortunately, he went to extremes in criticising ibn Taymiyyah, due to his highly partisan and sectarian attitude. Such that as-Sakhaawee endorsed the following words about him, following his statement, "did any of the Hanbalees raise their heads (i.e. become prominent)":
"This is from the strangest of things, and the most sectarian/partisan of attitudes, and this is why the Qaadee of our time, and Shaykh of the madhab al-Izz al-Kanaanee wrote under this statement, ‘and likewise Allaah did not raise the heads of the Mu`attila’ and then he said about Taaj ad-Deen Subki, ‘he is a man having little manners, lack of scholarly integrity, ignorant of Ahl as-Sunnah and their ranks.’" [ ‘al-I`laan bi at-Tawbeekh liman Dhamma at-Taareekh’ (94-95) of as-Sakhaawee]
A glimpse of his attacks can be seen in ‘Albani Unveiled’ (pp 114-116) and in what follows the truth of the above criticism will become clear, and a more severe and devastating reality will become apparent, and that is the amount of lies that are heaped around the pillars of Ahlus Sunnah in all ages by individuals that claim to be supporting the truth.
On the book ‘Naseehah adh-Dhahabiyyah’:
A book ascribed to adh-Dhahabee in which he launches a severe attack on ibn Taymiyyah, but in reality was not written by him, but falsely ascribed to him, this due to many reasons:
- No one who is familiar with the works of adh-Dhahabee mentioned this as one of his works.
- Adh-Dhahabee remained the student of ibn Taymiyyah until the latters death.
- All of the sayings of adh-Dhahabee in the books that are affirmed to be from him, to do with ibn Taymiyyah, revolve around praise and respect of him. (A glimpse of these has preceded).
- This letter is written in the handwriting of ibn Qaadee ash-Shuhba, an enemy of ibn Taymiyyah.
We have not seen one who ascribes this book to adh-Dhahabee after Qaadee ash-Shuhba except for his contemporary, al-Haafidh as-Sakhaawee, may Allaah have mercy on him, who merely followed him. [From the book, ‘at-Tawdeeh al-Jallee fee ar-Radd alaa Naseeha adh-Dhahabiyyah al-Manhula alaa al-Imaam adh-Dhahabee’ (pp85-86) by Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem ash-Shaybaanee, with summary]
1. The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah to be a body, of composite parts having organs.
Amongst those contemporary, and recent writers who accused Shaykh al-Islaam of this are: al-Habbashee al-Huraree, as-Saqqaaf and his mentor Zaahid al-Kawtharee. In fact all the attacks that are about to be raised will find their origins with one, or all of the three personalities mentioned above, from the writers of recent and contemporary times.
As-Saqqaaf says, after previously quoting an-Nawawees ruling of unbelief on the one who ascribes to Allaah a jism (body):
"Entering into this category is al-Harraanee (i.e. ibn Taymiyyah)…who has affirmed tajseem (Allaah having a body) in many of his books. So from this is his saying in ‘at-Ta`sees’ (1/101): ‘and there is not in the Book of Allaah, nor in the Sunnah of His Messenger, nor a statement from any of the Salaf of this ummah and it’s Imaams that He is not a jism, and that His Attributes are not bodily, consisting of organs…’ I say: By Allaah who originated the heavens and the Earth - your saying is ignorance and misguidance. Is not Allaah - the Most High’s - saying, "there is nothing like Him" sufficient in negating tajseem and it’s reality, O al-Harraanee?!! And what about the Imaams of the Ummah and the Salaf - O al-Harraanee - and their censure of tashbeeh…." [‘Daf Shubah at-Tashbeeh’ (pp 245-246) with it’s footnotes by Saqqaaf. ]
Shaykh Mashur Salmaan said in reply to this, "these words are from one who does not know what fairness is, who acts haphazardly in his rulings, and who falsely accuses the scholars of wickedness. This becomes apparent in a number of ways:
From them: that the previously stated words are not from the writings of ibn Taymiyyah in which he is clarifying his own views, or even stating them. Rather he is quoting the saying of the People of Kalaam (innovated speech and rhetorics). However as-Saqqaaf has conveniently omitted the beginning of the quotation from Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, where he clearly stated: Qaaloo (they said)!!
From them: that Saqqaaf overlooks the words of Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah - may Allaah have mercy upon him - concerning the overall usage of this term in reference to Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - and he halted where he halted upon with knowledge. However justice is very rare - and there is no movement and power except with Allaah.
Shaykh al-Islaam said, in the course of this topic, ‘indeed the term al-Jism (body), al-Arad (organs), al-Mutahayyiz (extent) are newly invented terminoligies. We have mentioned many a time before that the Salaf and the Imaams have not spoken about such things - neither by way of negation, nor by way of affirmation. Rather they declared those who spoke about such matter to be innovators, and went to great lengths to censure them.’
This is what has repeatedly been affirmed by Shaykh al-Islaam - may Allaah have mercy on him - in many of his books, such as: ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’ (pp. 69-76), ‘Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa’ (3/306-310, 13/304-305), ‘Minhaaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah’ (2/134-135, 192, 198-200, 527). Indeed in ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’ Shaykh al-Islaam has labelled ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying, ‘an innovation in the Sharee`ah, a corruption of the language, and a contradiction to the [sound] intellect. Rather it is repudiated by the Sharee`ah, the language and the [sound] intellect.’
And from them: Shaykh al-Islaam mentions the intended meaning of ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying: ‘whosoever alleges that the Lord is a jism - with the meaning that he accepts division, separation and partition (for Allaah) - then he is the most disbelieving of people and the most ignorant. Indeed, his statement is more evil than the one who says that Allaah has a son - with them meaning that a part of Him split and thus became His son.’" [ ‘al-Asaalah’ magazine (no.4 pp.54-55), see also his ‘Rudood wat Ta’qubaat’ (pp 21-23) ]
And at this point we quote from a writer of the own ranks of the accusers: Dr. Sa`eed Ramadaan al-Bootee who says, "and we are amazed when we see the extremists declaring ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, of being an unbeliever. And also at them saying that he was one who held Allaah to be a body (mujassid), and I have studied long and hard as to where I could find a statement or a word from ibn Taymiyyah that he wrote or said which would indicate his holding Allaah to be a body as was quoted from him by as-Subki and others [This is a clear indication from al-Bootee of the injustice done against ibn Taymiyyah by the likes of as-Subki and others], and I have not found anything from him like this. All I found was him saying in his legal rulings, ‘Indeed Allaah has a Hand as He said, and has risen over the Throne as He said, and He has an Eye as He said’"
And he adds to this, " I referred to the last work written by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`aree, ‘al-Ibaanah’, and I found him saying exactly what ibn Taymiyyah said [on the issue of the Names and Attributes of Allah]…" [‘Nadwa Ittjaahaat al-Fiqr al-Islaamee’ (pp 264-265) of al-Bootee.]
The Claims of ibn Batuta:
Amongst the contemporaries of ibn Taymiyyah who accused him of tajseem was the travelling historian, ibn Batuta who said, "I was present in Damascus on Friday where he (ibn Taymiyyah) was admonishing and reminding the people from the minbar (pulpit) of the congregational mosque. During his speech he said: Indeed Allaah descends to the lowest heaven of the world just as I am descending now. He then descended one step of the minbar…" [‘al-Rihlah’ (1/110) of ibn Batuta.]
The falsehood of this can be seen from many angles
- This contradicts the madhab of ibn Taymiyyah concerning the Attributes of Allaah - the Most High - which was the same as the madhab of the Salaf, being built upon the saying of Allaah, ‘there is nothing like Him, He is the Hearing and the Seeing’.
- Ibn Taymiyyah says in ‘at-Tadmuriyyah’ (pg. 20), "It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation…Whosoever says: His Knowledge is like my knowledge, His Power is like my power, or Love like my love, or Pleasure like my pleasure, or Hand like my hand, or Ascending like my ascending, or His Nuzool (descent) is like my descent, then he has resembled and likened Allaah to the creation. Rather it is a must to affirm (Allaah’s Attributes) without resemblance, and to negate (what Allaah negates for Himself), without ta`teel (divesting Allaah of His Attributes)."
- Likewise he said in ‘Majmoo` al-Fataawaa’ (5/262), "whosoever considers the Attributes to be like the attributes of the creation - such that Istawaa of Allaah is like the ascending of the creation, or His Nuzool is like the descending of the creation, or other than that - then he is a deviated innovator." And he repeats this principle over and over again in his works.
- It is not possible that ibn Batuta witnessed ibn Taymiyyah deliver this speech, since ibn Batuta clearly states in his ‘Rihla’ (1/102) that he entered Damascus on the 9th of Ramadhaan in the year 728H. However Shaykh al-Islaam was - before, during and after that time - in prison. Ibn Katheer states in ‘al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’ (14/135) that ibn Taymiyyah was imprisoned on the 6th of Sha’baan in the year 728H and remained there until his death on the 20th of Dhul Qa’dah 728H [These dates are endorsed in ‘al-A`laam al-Uliyyah’ (pg.84) of al-Bazzaar, and ‘Sahdharaat adh-Dhahab’ (6/80) of ibn al-Amaad.]
- Ibn Batuta, may Allaah have mercy upon him, did not write the book ‘Rihla’ with his own hand, rather it was collected by Muhammad bin Jazee al-Kalbee who writes in the introduction to ‘Rihla’, "and I have quoted the meaning of the words of Shaykh Abu Abdullaah (ibn Batuta) with words that give the meaning that he intended…."
- Ibn Batuta started his journey on the 2nd of Rajab 725H and completed it on the 3rd of Dhul Hijjah 756H and he did not write anything down, rather after this journey he dictated to al-Kalbee the events of his journey from memory. Hence the door is open for mistakes, and it is highly likely that ibn Batuta did not witness what he claimed to have witnessed, but merely conveyed the accusations that were in vogue at that time against Shaykh al-Islaam from his enemies.
- Ibn Batuta himself was opposed to ibn Taymiyyah, for he states in ‘Rihla’ (1/309), ‘and from the great Hanbalee Legal Jurists of Damascus was ibn Taymiyyah, except that he was lacking in his intellect.’ Hence it would have been easy for him to take on board the accusations without verifying them.
- Ibn Taymiyyah has a separate book concerning Allaah’s Descending called, ‘Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool’. In it is no trace whatsoever of the anthropomorphic beliefs that he has been falsely accused of.
- Ibn Taymiyyah was not the khateeb of the aforementioned masjid, rather it was Qaadee al-Qazwaynee. Ibn Batuta himself says in his ‘Rihla’ (1/107), "and at the time of my entering it (Damascus) their Imaam was Qaadee Jalaal ad-Deen Muhammad bin Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Qazwaynee from the great legal jurists, and he was the khateeb of the masjid…."
- Ibn Taymiyyah did not used to give admonitions and reminders to the people from the minbar, rather he used to sit upon a chair. Al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee said, "and he became very famous and well-known, and he started giving tafseer of the Might Book from his memory, on the days of Jumu`ah, sitting upon a chair." And ibn Batuta states in his ‘Rihla’ (1/108), "it was the habit of the scholars of hadeeth to read books of hadeeth on a raised chair." And a raised chair in the Arabic language is called, ‘minbar’. [‘Lisaan al-Arb’ (5/189)]
- This is why ibn Hajr mentioned in his ‘Durar al-Kaaminah’, "and he used to speak on the minbar in the way of the explainers of fiqh and hadeeth, and he used to mention in an hour, what another was unable to mention in many sittings, as if the sciences were displayed in front of his eyes" Meaning by this that he sat on a chair as done by the scholars of hadeeth.
[The above discussion is taken from ‘Min Mashaaheer al-Mujaddidayn’ (pp 27-29) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan, and ‘ibn Taymiyyah al-Muftaraa alayhi’ (pp 50-60) of Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee.
Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee also mentioned in ‘Durar al-Kaaminah’ (pg. 154) quoting from at-Tufee that, "and they mentioned that he mentioned the hadeeth of Descent and he descended two steps of the minbar and he said, ‘Like this descending of mine’ so he was imputed with tajseem (fa nusiba ilaa at-tajseem)"
This statement is by no means an evidence against ibn Taymiyyah as it only states ‘they mentioned’ mentioning no eye witnesses, And in fact it only confirms, along with all that has preceded, that these were lies being spread against ibn Taymiyyah. This is the reason that at-Tufee only said, ‘he was imputed with tajseem’ using uncertain phraseology.]
So with the above it is clear that the account of ibn Batuta cannot be depended upon due to his obvious confusion and the lack of coherency of his account, and due to it’s clear contradiction to the written words of ibn Taymiyyah.
And with this the gross exaggeration of Taaj ad-Deen Subki can also be discerned, where he said, "none of them (scholars) denied that he had said, ‘Allaah had directions and is a composition of particles coming together’" [ See ‘Albani Unveiled’ (pg.116)]
2. The Accusation that ibn Taymiyyah held Allaah to be subject to direction (jihha).
Nowhere in the works of ibn Taymiyyah has he used the word jihha in describing Allaah. Rather the basis of this accusation arises from his following our Salaf and clearly stating that Allaah is outside of His creation, above the heavens, over His Throne. When reading this, the misguided philosophers (mutakallimeen) argued that this position of ibn Taymiyyah necessitated that Allaah have a direction.
The Position of the Salaf as to Allaah being distinct from creation:
Know that the verses of the Qur`aan on this issue, clear and unequivocal in their meaning, run into hundreds, and likewise the ahaadeeth, that Allaah is above His creation and over His Throne. These are well known so we will suffice here with stating the position of the Salaf on this issue as it is they who understood the Qur`aan and Sunnah the best.
Below is a translation of some points from 'Khalq Af`aal al-Ebaad' of Imaam Bukhaaree (RH), pp.13+. All narrations quoted are authentic insha`Allaah according to the takhreej done of the works quoted. The narrators are mainly Taabi`ee and those that came immediately after.
*"6) Wahb bin Jareer said, ‘The Jahmiyyah are heretics, they think that He has not risen over His Throne.’
13) Ibn al-Mubaarak said, ‘we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say that Allaah is on the earth, rather He has risen over His Throne.’
14) And it was said to him, ‘how should we know our Lord?’ He said, ‘above the Heavens, over/upon (`alaa) His Throne’
29) Sufyaan ath-Thawree was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are". He said, ‘His Knowledge.’
64) Sadqa said, ‘I heard Sulaiman at-Taimi saying, ‘if I were asked, "where is Allaah?" I would say, "above (fee) the heaven". And if it said, "where was the Throne before the Heaven?" I would say, "over the water." And if it is said, "where was the Throne before the water?" I would say, "I do not know."’
And Imaam Bukhaaree said, ‘and that (i.e. his answer) was because of the saying of Allaah, "and they cannot encompass anything of His Knowledge except what He wills." i.e. except what He explains.’
[This shows that the question ‘where is Allaah’ was considered allowed by the Salaf, and how could it be otherwise when the Prophet (SAW) himself asked the slave girl, "where is Allaah" as is established firmly in the saheeh of Imaam Muslim. So do not be misguided by the neo-Jahmiyyah of today, Saqqaaf and al-Habbashee and their likes who try to declare the above hadeeth of Muslim as weak, and make out that the above question is a bid`ah, having only the classical Jahmiyyah as their precedents.]
66) Muhammad bin Yusuf said (one of the teachers of Bukhaaree), ‘the one who says that Allaah is not over (`alaa) His Throne is a kaafir. And the one who thinks that Allaah did not speak to Moses is a kaafir.
103) Ibn Mas`ud (RA) said about His saying, "then He rose over His Throne", - ‘the Throne is over the water, Allaah is above (fawqa) the Throne and He knows what you are upon.’
104) Qataada said about His saying, "and He is Allaah in the Heaven and in the Earth" - ‘the One Who is worshipped in the heaven and in the earth.’"
Below are further points translated from ‘Sharh Usul I`tiqaad Ahlus Sunnah’ of al-Laalikaa`ee (d.414, pp396+)
"660) Abdullaah bin Abbaas (RA) said, ‘Verily Allaah was above His Throne before He created anything, then He created the creation and decreed what was to exist until the Day of Judgement.’
662) Bashr bin Umar said, ‘I heard more then one of the Mufassir say about the verse, "The Most Merciful istawaa upon the Throne" - istawaa means rose above.’
665) Rabee`(one of the teachers of Maalik) was asked about the verse, "The Most Merciful rose over His Throne" - ‘how did He rise?’ He replied, ‘al-Istawaa (rising) is known, and the how is not comprehensible, and from Allaah is the message, and upon the Messenger is the preaching, and upon us is believing.’
670) Maqaatil bin Hayaan said about His saying, "and there is no secret discourse of 3 people except He is the fourth, or of 5 people and He is the sixth" - ‘He is above His Throne, and nothing is hidden from His knowledge.’
673) Imaam Ahmad was asked, ‘Allaah is above the seventh heaven, above His Throne, distinct from his creation, and His Power and Knowledge are in every place?’ He replied, ‘yes, above the Throne and His Knowledge is in every place.’
675) Imaam Ahmad was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are", and the verse, "there is no secret discourse of 3 people except that he is the fourth." – he replied, ‘(meaning) His Knowledge, He is the Knower of the seen and the unseen, His knowledge encompasses everything, and our Lord is above the Throne without setting limits and giving description, and His Kursi is as the expanse of the heavens and the earth with His Knowledge.’"
Imaam Awzaa`ee said, "we used to say, while the Taabi`een were many, ‘indeed Allaah is above His Throne, and we believe in what occurs in the Sunnah to do with His Attributes’" [ Related by al-Bayhaqi in ‘Asmaa was Sifaat’ (pg. 408) and ibn Hajr declared it’s chain of narration to be good as in ‘Fath al-Baaree’ (13/406).]
Imaam Abdullaah bin Ahmad quoted Abdullaah ibn Mubaarak as saying, ‘...I bear witness that You are above Your Throne above the seven heavens and this is not as the enemies of Allaah say, the heretics.’ [ ‘Sharh as-Sunnah’ of Imaam Abdullaah]
He also quoted Abdullaah ibn Mubaarak as saying, ‘we know that our Lord is above the seven heavens over the Throne, and we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say that he is here,’ pointing with his hand to the earth. [Ibid.]
Abu Haneefah (RH) said, when asked of his opinion of the one who says, ‘I do not know whether Allaah is in the heavens or on the earth.’ -
‘He has disbelieved, because Allaah says, "The Most Merciful rose above the Throne.", and His Throne is above His seven heavens.’ He was then asked, ‘what if he said that Allaah is above His Throne but he does not know whether the Throne is in the heavens or on the earth?’ He said, ‘He has disbelieved, because He has denied that He is above the heavens and whosoever denied that He is above the heavens has disbelieved.’ [‘al-Uluww’ of adh-Dhahabee, also ‘Sharh Aqueedah at-Tahaawiyyah’ of ibn Abee al-Izz al-Hanafee.]
*Ibn Khuzaymah (the Imaam of the muhadditheen of his time) said, ‘whosoever does not affirm that Allaah is above His heavens, over/upon (`alaa) His Throne and He is distinct from His creation, must be forced to repent. If he does not repent then he must be beheaded and thrown in the garbage dump so that the Muslims and thimmis (Jews and Christians living under the Islamic State) would not suffer from his stinking smell.’ [‘at-Tawheed’ of ibn Khuzaimah, also quoted by al-Haakim in ‘al-Ma`rifah’]
Imaam Abul Hasan al-Ash`aree (d.290) in ‘al-Ibaanah’ brings a whole chapter on ‘Istawaa’ (Allaah Rising over His Throne), in the course of his discussion he said, ‘and some people say, from the Mu`tazila and Jahmiyyah and Hururiyya, about the saying of Allaah, "The Most Merciful rose upon His Throne", that he istawla (conquered), Milak (owned), Qahr (dominated), and that Allaah is in every place, and they denied Allaah being above His Throne, as the People of Truth say...’
[‘al-Ibaanah’ (pg. 120+) containing an excellent refutation of the above claim. This also refutes clearly what Abu Mansur al-Baghdaadee states in his ‘Farq bayna al-Firaq’ that, "The majority go the way of saying that the meaning of "Istawaa" is establishing dominance (al-qahr) and victory (al ghalaba), that is, the Merciful vanquished the Throne (al-rahmanu ghalaba al-`arsh) and overcame it (wa qaharahu). He mentioned the Throne specifically because it is the greatest of created things (a`dhamu al-makhluqat)."
It should be said to him, ‘establish the throne and then sit on it’, what majority? When the totality of the Salaf held that Istawaa meant that Allaah has risen over His Throne. Not only that but the very Imaam that Abu Mansur claims to follow, al-Ash`aree refutes his very claim as being misguidance!]
The quotes on this run into the hundreds from the salaf, and the books written on this by the early scholars of Islaam are many but we do not wish to lengthen the discussion beyond what is necessary.
So we say to those that accuse ibn Taymiyyah of giving Allaah a direction, because of this belief of his: Your accusation necessitates that all of the above Salaf also held Allaah to have a jihha, including the two great Companions, ibn Mas`ud and ibn Abbaas. So if you were to declare ibn Taymiyyah as misguided due to this, then you must do the same with the Salaf. We seek refuge with Allaah from such misguidance!
Ibn Taymiyyah said,
"And when it became established in the souls of the addressees (of the revelation) that Allaah is the Highest of the High, and the He is Above everything, the understanding of His saying, "Indeed He is (fee) the Heaven" became that He was High and Above everything. Likewise the slave girl when it was said to her, "where is Allaah," she said, "(fee) the Heaven," meaning above, without designating for Him a created body or His being contained in His Creation….Furthermore whosoever thinks that Allaah being (fee) the Heaven means that the Heaven surrounds or encloses Him, then he is a liar if he is quoting someone else or misguided if He believes this with respect to His Lord. We have not heard anyone understand this from this word (fee) just as we have not seen anyone quote this from anyone else" [‘Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah’ (1/559) of ibn Taymiyyah]
He said in ‘Darr at-Ta`aarud’ (1/253), "so when the Creator, the Exalted is separate and distinct from the creation, high above it, and there is nothing in existence save the Creator and created, then there is nothing that exists alongside Him which is besides Him, let alone that He – Subhaanahu – should be in some existing thing which surrounds and encompasses Him."
Ibn Taymiyyah said,
"The people fall into three groups over the convention of the use of the word jihha. A group that negates it, another that affirms it, and a third that explains the issue. This difference is present amongst the followers of the Four Imaams who affirmed the Attributes of Allaah and the difference of the Ahlul Hadeeth and Sunnah, specifically, over this is a difference in wording, not in meaning. This is why a group from the Companions of Ahmad - like the Tameemiyyeen and al-Qaadee in one of his two sayings - negated it yet another, larger group, affirmed it - and this is the last saying of al-Qaadee. This is because the word jihha could be used to refer to that which is subject to time and space (wujood) or that which is not (ma`doom) and it is known that there is nothing present except for the Creator and creation.
So if the word jihha is used to refer to something that exists other than Allaah then it refers to something created by Allaah and Allaah is not encompassed or confined by any of his creation. If the word is used to refer to something outside time and space, i.e. above the creation, then there is nothing there except Allaah." [‘Minhaaj as-Sunnah’ (1/216) of ibn Taymiyyah.]
So it is clear with all of this that ibn Taymiyyah did not believe Allaah to be subject to any of the created direction, nor did he believe Allaah to be surrounded in any way by His creation.