Ibn Taymiyya placed mainimportance on exposure as the only consistent source of knowledge about God andabout a person’s religious obligations towards Him. The human mind (‘aql)and its authorities of reason must be respectful to revelation. According to IbnTaymiyya, the only proper use of ‘aql was to recognize Islamin the method the Prophet and his companions (Sahabat) did, and then to secure it against divergent groups.
Whendebating the nature of God, he claimed, one must admit the metaphors originatein the Qur’an and sunna and apply the orthodox view of notasking how (bi-la kayf) attributes exist in God. This means that onebelieves in all the attributes of God stated in the Qur’an and sunna withoutinspecting the nature of these, because the human mind is unqualified ofunderstanding the everlasting God. For example, one accepts that God is mountedupon a throne above the heavens without questioning how this is possible. Thissame attitude is held for all of God’s attributes such as his sight, his hearingor his hand.IbnTaymiyya’s disagreement compared to the Sufis is on two levels.
First, there isthe theological position that God has features and that one of these featuresis God as creator. Ibn Taymiyya believed that the Qur’an determinedly createsthat God is the one who shaped, created and contributed form to the universe. Thus,there happens to be difference between God the creator and the created beings.This is an absolute discrepancy with no opportunity of inclusion. He then wenton to say that those who band God of his features and deny that he is thecreator are just one step away from falling into the belief of wahdatal-wujud. This is the foundation for the second part of his disagreement.
Ibn Taymiyya believed that a Sufi is simply someone who is overcome by an eruptionof emotion. For example, someone may deny God’s features but could then be stunnedby a feeling of love for God. However, the basis of that person’s knowledge isnot a dependable information from the Qur’an, and so their weak logical basiscollapses with the blitz of emotion. For according to Ibn Taymiyya, sense awarenessand emotions cannot be reliable, and the likelihood of being led astray by themis compounded when one has a basis of knowledge which is itself misbehaving andaberrant.
One holds a proper belief in God and maintains a proper relationshipwith him, Ibn Taymiyya argued, by establishing a foundation of knowledge basedon the Qur’an and authentic sunna.