Research Seminar: “God’s relation to body and space in the theology of Ibn Taymiyya”

On the 1st May 2014 at 3.00 pm the Al Mahdi Institute held a research seminar by Dr. Jon Hoover exploring ‘Gods relation to body and space in the theology of Ibn Taymiyya’ as a means to further dialogue and explore various perspectives.  A number of students, staff and members of the public attended.

Much debate and controversy has revolved around Ibn Tayimiyya who can arguably be seen as a misunderstood figure. Within a 40 minute presentation, Dr.  Jon Hoover chipped away at the surface and shed some light into his teachings, demonstrating the need for working towards greater depth than taking on cursory readings.

Professor Hoover took the audience through Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s work  Ta’sis al-taqdis, exploring his arguments and then looked at the refutations of ibn Tayimiyya in Bayan talbis al-Jahmiyya. Throughout the talk he weaved both Imami and Sunni perspectives and at times they intertwine. Centrally he focused on the argument of whether God is a corporeal or incorporeal Being and took the view that scholars understand and take different approaches to what each means differently. He gave details by 3 examples of where Ibn Tayimmiya picks apart Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s work. In Dr. Hoover’s opinion, there needs to be more work done in Western scholarship on Taymiyya’s work regarding God, body, time and space.