He is Sheikhul Islam, Ahmad bn Abdil-Haleem bn Abdis-Salaam bn AbdiLLaah bn Muhammad bn Khadir bn Ali bn Abdillaah bn Taymiyyah al-Harraaniyy, the Dimashqee. His Kunya is Abul Abbass.
Birth and family of Sheikhul Islam
He was born on Monday the tenth of Rabee‘ul–Awwal at Haraan in the year 661A.H. At seven years of age he moved with his father to dimashq (Damascus). His father’s relocation was to flee from the Tattaar invaders.
He was raised in a house of religious knowledge, understanding and uprightness. His father, grandfathers and many of his brothers were famous scholars. His fourth grandfather Muhammad bn Khadir, AbdulHaleem bn Muhammad bn Taymiyyah Majduddeen Abul Barakaat; was the author of well-known books such as: ‘Al–muntaqaa min Ahaadithil Ahkaam’, ‘Al-Muharrar fil fiqh’, and ‘Al-muswaddah fee usoolil fiqh’.
So also his father, Abdul-Haleem bn AbdiSalaam al-Harraanee and his brother, AbdurRahmaan were scholars of Islamic knowledge.
Learning of Sheikhul Islam
In this erudite environment, Sheikhul Islam was raised. He was known for his intelligence, strong memory and brilliance from a young age. He started by seeking knowledge from his father and the scholars of Dimashq (Damascus) in Syria. So, he memorized the Quran while young and studied hadith, fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), Usool (principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) and Tafseer (exegesis of the Quran).
Then he went further in studying the sciences of Islamic knowledge and he became well established in them. He acquired the attribute of a mujtahid (someone who is able to derive Islamic rulings from texts of the Quran and Sunnah) from his youth. It wasn’t long before he became an Imam who was acknowledged by icons of knowledge, virtue and leadership. He did all this before reaching the age of thirty three.
Works of Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah
Sheikhul Islam bequeathed a large and invaluable legacy for the ummah. Islamic scholars and researchers continue to benefit from his legacy. Today his works are in many volumes comprising of treatises, verdicts, issues and others. What we have mentioned is only the published portion of his works. The unknown works of Sheikhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah and those which remain in manuscript are still many.
Sheikhul islam didn’t leave any field of Islamic knowledge without writing in it and excelling in it. That is an attribute that is only found in very few people across history. His contemporaries, teachers and even those who disagreed with him all bear witness to his wide reading, and deep knowledge. If he speaks in a field of knowledge the listener or reader will think he doesn’t know any other thing except what he is talking about.
Ibn Taymiyyah and the Tattaar Invaders
The Tattaar invaded Shaam in the year 702 AH and surrounded Damascus leaving no room for anyone to enter or leave. The hearts almost reached the throats out of extreme fear.
But Ibn Taymiyyah swore by Allaah to the king of Shaam that if they remained steadfast they would definitely defeat the invaders. Some of the kings said to him: “say if Allaah wills” but Ibn Taymiyyah did not, rather he swore by Allaah because he was certain of Allaah’s promise.
Then he gave the Muslim army verdict that they could break their fast to have strength for the battle. He would eat in front of the kings and army to show them that even he was not fasting. He based his verdict on the statement of Allaah’s messenger (commendations and peace of Allaah be upon him):
In the morning, you are going to meet your enemy. And breaking the fast will make you stronger, so break the fast
Saheeh Muslim: 1120
The battle lasted a whole day and continued into the darkness of the night. The Tattaar could not stand the Muslims again, they fled and sought cover in the mountains. The Muslim army followed them and caught them before fleeing. The Tattaar suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of the Muslims. This was how Allaah used Ibn Taymiyyah to lead the Muslims to victory.
Death of Sheikhul Islam Ibn taymiyyah
Sheikhul Islam fell sick for a few days and died on the 22nd night of Dhil-Qi’dah in the 728 AH.
While on his death bed the governor of Shaam, Shamsud-Deen Al-Kaatib, came to him and sought for the sheikh’s forgiveness for all the oppression he had gone through. Sheikhul Islam forgave everyone who transgressed against him out of ignorance including King Nasir who imprisoned him because he only did it out of ignorance and dogmatism not out of arrogance. The only people the sheikh did not forgive are those who knew he was on the truth.
His janazah was witnessed by uncountable number of people. It was said that the markets were closed and such a crowd had never been experienced at anyone’s janazah since the death of Imam Ahmad bn Hanbal.
May Allaah have mercy on Sheikhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah and admit him and us into jannatul firdaws.
 A kunya is any nickname that begins with Abu, Ummu or Ibn. See Al-Qowaaidul Asaasiyyah by Sayyid Haashim
 Shaam comprises of today’s Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.
3. We recommend this article for further reading