Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips has rendered Ibn Taymiyah’s treatise, Eedaah-ud-Dalaalah fee ‘Umoom-ir-Risaalah, from volume 19 of Majmoo‘-ul-Fataawa into very readable English. This abridged and annotated translation is significant in that it is perhaps the first book available in English exclusively on the topic of spirit-possession and exorcism in Islam.
Ahmad ibn ‘Abdul-Haleem ibn Taymeeyah was bron in the town of Harran [near Edessa, in what was once Northern Iraq, but is now called Orfa and is a part of Turkey.], in the year 1263 CE. His father was a leading scholar of the Hanbalite school of Islamic law and so was his grandfather, who authored Muntaqaa al-Akhbaar, the text of ash-Shawkaanee’s Hadeeth classic Nayl al-Awtaar.
Ibn Taymeeyah mastered the various disciplines of Islamic study at an early age and read extensively the books of the various sects and religions in existence at that time. Much of his time and effort was spend defending the orthodox Islamic position against a tidal wave of deviation which had swept over the Muslim nation. Consequently, he faced many difficulties from both the prominent sectarian scholars of his time and from the authorities who supported them. His clashes with them led to his imprisonment on numerous occasions. Ibn Taymeeyah also fought, not only against internal enemies of Islaam, but also against its external enemies by both his Fatwaas (Islamic legal rulings) and his physical participation in battles. His ruling allowing the taking up arms against groups which recognized the Shahaadataan (declaration of faith) but refused to uphold some aspects of the fundamental principles of Islaam, greatly affected the resistance movement against the Tartars who had declared their acceptance of Islaam but did not rule according to divine law.
During these struggles he wrote countless books and treatises demonstrating his extensive reading and knowledge, not only of the positions of the early scholars, but also those of the legal and theological schools which had subsequently evolved. Ibn Taymeeyah also had a major effect on the open-minded schoars of his day, most of whom were from the Shaafi’ite school of law. Among the most famous of his students were IBN KATHEER, ADH-DHAHABEE and IBN AL-QAYYIM. The author died in 1328 while in prison in Damascus for his Fatwaa against undertaking journeys to visit the graves of saints [Ibn Taymeeyah’s ruling was based on the authentic statement reported by Abu Hurayrah wherein the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not undertake a journey except to three masjids; this masjid of mine, Masjid al-Haraam (Makkah) and Masjid al-Aqsaa (Bayt al-Maqdis).” Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]. His Fatwaa had been distorted by his enemies to say that he forbade visiting the Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) grave.