Ibn Taymiyyah stands as one of the towering intellectual giants of Islamic history. Beyond his academic contributions, however, ibn Taymiyyah was known for his high moral character. The following is an excerpt from Sh. Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi’s famous book Rijal al-Fikr wa’l-dawa fi’l Islam (titled Saviours of Islamic Spirit in translation).
The episode of Ibn Taimiyah’s arrest and release revealed his moral grit and courage. He did not bow down before the threats of tyranny, nor did he yield to the offers of worldly gains, position and riches. He rejected all offers of royal favours and privileges which he could have easily won by retracting from his stand. But this incident also speaks of another excellence— a nobility of character seldom to be witnessed even in those claiming the distinction of rank and blood. He forgave all those evil hearted persons who had tried to get him into trouble without giving a second thought to the whole affair. He announced that he had no grudge, no bitterness against anyone. In a letter he sent to Syria soon after his release, he says:
May God be pleased with you. You know that I have never wished a single Muslim to get into any trouble of any sort; then, how can I desire that my friends (scholars and theologians) should come to grief on account of me? I have no complaint, nothing to grumble against anyone; on the contrary, I have a greater love and respect for them all- for their learning and status as they verily deserve.
If someone opposes another man, he is either a scholar and man of principle, or an evil-hearted wrong-doer and a sinner. In the former case he deserves our thanks and a goodly return from God; and, if he falls in the latter category one needs to pray for his redemption as well as for me and all the believers.
I do not want that anyone should be avenged for my sufferings or for leveling false allegations against me, for, I have already forgiven every one of them. I desire the well-being of every Muslim- the same as I desire for myself. All those persons who discredited me or deposed false evidence against me or caused trouble for me are not the least accountable so far as I am concerned; no responsibility lies upon them on my score.