Was Ibn Kathir Ashari, Extreme sufi or Atharee

Some people claimed that Ibn Kathir was Ashari while others claim he was an extreme sufi. Let us see what is the aqeeda of Ibn Kathir. Before quoting the aqeedah of Ibn Kathir, let me clear the aqeeda of Ahlus sunnah regarding attributes of Allah.

Abul Hasan Ash`aree said:
وقال أهل السنة وأصحاب الحديث: ليس بجسم ولا يشبه الأشياء وأنه على العرش كما قال عز وجل: الرحمن على العرش استوى ولا نقدم بين يدي الله في القول بل نقول استوى بلا كيف وأنه نور كما قال تعالى: الله نور السموات والأرض وأن له وجهاً كما قال الله: ويبقى وجه ربك وأن له يدين كما قال: خلقت بيدي وأن له عينين كما قال: تجري بأعيننا وأنه يجيء يوم القيامة هو وملائكته كما قال: وجاء ربك والملك صفاً صفاً وأنه ينزل إلى السماء الدنيا كما جاء في الحديث، ولم يقولوا شيئاً إلا ما وجدوه في الكتاب أو جاءت به الرواية عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم.
وقالت المعتزلة أن الله استوى على عرشه بمعنى استولى.
وقال بعض الناس: الاستواء القعود والتمكن.
Ahlus sunnah and the people of hadith believe that Allah is not a body neither resembles the creation, He is above the Arsh as He azzawajal said: “The Most Merciful rose over (istawa) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)” We do not go beyond this, we only say Allah rose over the throne without saying how.
And Allah is light as Allah says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.”
And HE has a face as Allah says: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord”
And Allah has hands as Allah says: “I created with My hands”
And Allah has eyes as He says “That ran (upon the waters) in Our sight,”
And Allah will come on the day of judgement with his Angels as Allah says “And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank”
And they believe in Allah’s nuzool every night as it is mentioned in the hadith. They do not say anything other than what is mentioned in Quran and the narrations of Prophet peace be upon him.
The Mutazila says Allah is above his throne with the meaning of possession.
Some people say: Al Istawa is sitting. [مقالات الإسلاميين page 211]

This is the aqeedah of Ahlus sunnah regarding attributes of Allah, now see the aqaid of Ibn Kathir.

1. Imam al Hafidh Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) on attributes of Allah

He (rahimahullah) said:
وأما قوله تعالى : ( ثم استوى على العرش ) فللناس في هذا المقام مقالات كثيرة جدا ، ليس هذا موضع بسطها ، وإنما يسلك في هذا المقام مذهب السلف الصالح : مالك ، والأوزاعي ، والثوري ، والليث بن سعد ، والشافعي ، وأحمد بن حنبل ، وإسحاق بن راهويه وغيرهم ، من أئمة المسلمين قديما وحديثا ، وهو إمرارها كما جاءت من غير تكييف ولا تشبيه ولا تعطيل . والظاهر المتبادر إلى أذهان المشبهين منفي عن الله ، فإن الله لا يشبهه شيء من خلقه ، و ( ليس كمثله شيء وهو السميع البصير ) [ الشورى : 11 ] بل الأمر كما قال الأئمة – منهم نعيم بن حماد الخزاعي شيخ البخاري – : ” من شبه الله بخلقه فقد كفر ، ومن جحد ما وصف الله به نفسه فقد كفر ” وليس فيما وصف الله به نفسه ولا رسوله تشبيه ، فمن أثبت لله تعالى ما وردت به الآيات الصريحة والأخبار الصحيحة ، على الوجه الذي يليق بجلال الله تعالى ، ونفى عن الله تعالى النقائص ، فقد سلك سبيل الهدى .
{Then He did Istawa (As it befits His Majesty) upon the Throne”} There are too many positions of PEOPLE on this matter and this is not the place to present themً at length, We follow the position of the righteous early Muslims (Salaf) i.e. Imam Malik, Imam al-Awza‘i, Imam Sufyan ath-Thawri, Imam Layth ibn Sa‘d, Imam ash-Shaf’i, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, as well as others among the Imams of the Muslims, past and present, And that is to pass it on as it came, without saying how. without any resemblance (to the creation), and without nullifying it and Allah is free from the Literal meaning that comes to the minds of Mushabbiha (those who liken the attributes of Allah with creation), for nothing created has any resemblance to Him: {“There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing” (Qur’an 42:11)} The true saying in this matter is the sayings of the Imams, such as Nu`aym bin Hammad Al-Khuza’i, the teacher of Imam Al-Bukhari, who said, “Whoever likens Allah with His creation, will have committed Kufr. Whoever denies what Allah has described Himself with, will have committed Kufr.” Certainly, there is no resemblance (of Allah with the creation) in what Allah and His Messenger have described Him with. Whoever attests to Allah’s attributes that the plain verses and authentic ahadith have mentioned, in the manner that suits Allah’s majesty, all the while rejecting all shortcomings from Him, will have taken the path of guidance.” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir Under 7:54]

2. The debate of Abdul Ghani al Maqdasi on the aqeeda of Nuzool, and al Uluw in the eyes of Ibn Kathir.

Ibn Kathir said regarding Hafidh Abdul Ghani al Maqdasi (Student of Sh Abul Qadir and cousin of Ibn Qudama al Maqdasi).
فذكر يوما عقيدته على الكرسي فثار عليه القاضي ابن الزكي، وضياء الدين الدولعي، وعقدوا له مجلسا في القلعة يوم الاثنين الرابع والعشرين من ذي القعدة سنة خمس وتسعين.
وتكلموا معه في مسألة العلو ومسألة النزول، ومسألة ا لحرف والصوت، وطال الكلام وظهر عليهم بالحجة، فقال له برغش نائب القلعة: كل هؤلاء على الضلالة وأنت على الحق؟ قال: نعم، فغضب برغش من ذلك وأمره بالخروج من البلد.
He (Abdul Ghani) mentioned his aqeeda regarding on al Kursi due to which Qadi Ibn al Zaki and Dia al Din al Dawl`ee attacked him, And they held a majlis for him on Monday, 24th Zi Qa`da 595 h, And they did debate in detail on the issue of al Uluw, Nuzool, al Harf and Soot, He (Abdul ghani) BECAME HEAVY ON THEM BECAUSE OF THE EVIDENCE HE QUOTED. The deputy of the castle Berghash asked him, all of these people are on misguidance and you are on truth?, He said: yes, this made Berghash angry and he ordered that he (Abdul Ghani) should go out from the city. [al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12, tarjuma of Abdul Ghani al Maqdasi]

Then he said:
فلقد كانا نادرين في زمانهما في أسماء الرجال حفظا وإتقانا وسماعا وإسماعا وسردا للمتون وأسماء الرجال، والحاسد لا يفلح ولا ينال منالا طائلا.
Both of them (al Mizzi the teacher of Ibn Kathir and Abdul Ghani al Maqdasi) were exceptional with regards to hifdh of Asma al Rijaal.. and THE ENVIOUS CAN NEVER SUCCEED, NEITHER CAN HE BENEFIT FROM ANYTHING. [Ibid]

3. The debate between of Ibn Makhloof Maliki with the brother of Ibn Taymiyah on Arsh and Nuzool in the eyes of Ibn Kathir.

Ibn Kathir said:
وفي هذا الشهر يوم الخميس السابع والعشرين منه طلب أخوا الشيخ تقي الدين شرف الدين وزين الدين من الحبس إلى مجلس نائب السلطان سلار، وحضر ابن مخلوف المالكي وطال بينهم كلام كثير فظهر شرف الدين بالحجة على القاضي المالكي بالنقل والدليل والمعرفة، وخطأه في مواضع ادّعى فيها دعاوى باطلة، وكان الكلام في مسألة العرش ومسألة الكلام، وفي مسألة النزول.
On thursday 27th of this Month both of the brothers of Ibn Taymiyyah i.e. Sharf ud din and Zain ud din were brought to the sitting held by deputy of Sultan Salaar. Ibn Makhloof al Maliki also came and they argued. Sharf ud din was dominant on Qadhi Maaliki in naql, knowledge and evidence. And made his many of the claims false. The debate was on the Mas`ala of Arsh, Kalaam and Nuzool [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/59]

4. Ibn Kathir on the discussion between Qaadi Imam ud din and Ibn Taymiyah regarding Aqeedah al Hamawiya.

He mentioned discussion between Ibn Taymiyyah and Qadhi Imam ud din on Aqeedah al Hamwiyah, He said:
فلما كان يوم الجمعة، عمل الشيخ تقي الدين الميعاد بالجامع على عادته، وفسر في قوله تعالى: {وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ} ، ثم اجتمع بالقاضي إمام الدين يوم السبت واجتمع عنده جماعة من الفضلاء وبحثوا في الحموية، وناقشوه في أماكن فيها، فأجاب عنها بما أسكتهم بعد كلام كثير
ثم ذهب الشيخ تقي الدين وقد تمهدت الامور، وسكنت الاحوال، وكان القاضي إمام الدين معتقده حسنا ومقصده صالحا.
When friday came, As usual Shaykh Taqi ud din did Tafsir of “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” in Jamia (Amawi), Then on Saturday He met Qadhi Imam ud din and other scholars and they argued about Al Hamawiyah and they talked about many issues. He replied and silenced them after a long discussion. Then Shaykh Taqi ud din returned and everything was peaceful. Qadhi Imam ud din had good belief and had good intentions. [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/17]

Imam Mur’i bin Yusaf (d 1033) said:
والقاضي يقول: كل من تكلم في الشيخ فأنا خصمه.
وقال أخوه جلال الدين بعد هذا الميعاد: كل من تكلم في الشيخ نعزره، وخرج الناس ينتظرون ما يسمعون من طيب أخباره، فوصل إلى داره في ملأ كثير من الناس، وعندهم استبشار وسرور به، وكان سعيهم في حقه أتم السعي، وتكلموا في حقه بأنواع الأذى وبأمور يستحي الإنسان من الله تعالى أن يحكيها فضلاً عن أن يختلقها ويلفقها، فلا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله، ورأى جماعة من الصالحين في هذه الواقعة وعقيبها مرائي حسنة جليلة لو ضبطت لكانت مجلداً تاماً.
Qadhi (Imam ud din ash-Shafiee) said (after the debate): whoever oppose him (Ibn Taymiyyah) or say things against him, I will see him by myself. His (Imam ud din’s) brother Jalal al-din said: whoever oppose or say things against the shaykh, we will punish him. People were waiting to listen good news about shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah and he reached his home in crowd of people. But his opponents accused him with those things which a man who have intellect will feel shy to mention them… after this incident the righteous people saw the best outcome of it. If we write about that it will make a volume. [al Qawl al Jalli fi Tarjuma Shaykh al Islam Ibn Taymiyah page 357-358, also quoted by Shukri al Alusi from his book in Ghayat al Amani 2/231]

5. Ibn Kathir praising Hanbalis.

He said:
وهم أهل سنة وأكثرهم حنابلة لا يستطيع مبتدع أن يسكن بين أظهرهم.
They are Ahlus sunnah and most of them are Hanbalis and the innovators have no courage to live with them [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/61]

6. Ibn Kathir on Debate between Ibn Taymiyyah and Safi ud din al Hindi on Aqeedah al Wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymiyah.

Ibn Kathir said:
وفي يوم الاثنين ثامن رجب حضر القضاة والعلماء وفيهم الشيخ تقي الدين بن تيمية عندنائب السلطنة بالقصر وقرئت عقيدة الشيخ تقي الدين الواسطية وحصل بحث في أماكن منها وأخرت مواضع إلى المجلس الثاني فاجتمعوا يوم الجمعة بعد الصلاة ثاني عشر الشهر المذكور وحضر الشيخ صفي الدين الهندي وتكلم مع الشيخ تقي الدين كلاما كثيرا ولكن ساقيته لاطمت بحرا ثم اصطلحوا على ان يكون الشيخ كمال الدين بن الزملكاني هو الذي يحاققه من غير مسامحة
On Monday 8th of Rajab Judges and Scholars came and Ibn Taymiyyah was also present in the palace with Deputy Empire. The Aqeedah al Wasatiyah of Shaykh Taqi ud din was read and its many of the parts were discussed and others were left for next sitting. They gathered on 12th of same month. Shaykh Safi ud din al Hindi also came and argued with Shaykh Taqi ud din about many things but his small stream pushed a vast Ocean (Ibn Taymiyyah).Then, they agreed that Kamaal Al-Deen ibn Az-Zamalkaani whould debate the Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyyah) unbiasedly. [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/52]

Note: Safi ud din al Hindi was from India Dehli and then went to Damishq in 685 h, He was Mutakallim, but was a pious person.[Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/93]

Note 2: Taj ud din as-Subki who was staunch against his own teacher Imam ad-Dahabi and Shaykh ul Islam said regarding this debate in Tabqaat al Kubra ash-Shaafiyah under the biography of al Hindi
فلما شرع يقرر أخذ ابْن تيمية يعجل عليه على عادته , ويخرج من شيء إلى شيء ، فقال له الهندي : ما أراك يابْن تيمية إلا كالعصفور ، حيث أردت أن أقبضه من مكان فر إلى مكان آخر
“When he debated Ibn Taymiyya, He (Ibn Taymiyya) precipitated as was his habit moving from one issue to another. al-Hindi said to him: I do not see you except like a sparrow O Ibn Taymiyah that I when I try to catch it at a place, it moves to another.(end quote)

Unlike Ibn Kathir who said “his (al Hindi’s) small stream tried to push a vast ocean (Ibn Taymiyyah). Few things should be mentioned regarding the version of Taj ud din Subki.

1. The student of Safi ud din al Hindi, Kamal ud din bin Zamalkani (who himself argued with Ibn Taymiyyah regarding Aqeedah al Waasitiyyah) said regarding the debates of Ibn Taymiyyah:
ولا يعرف أنه ناظر أحداً فانقطع معه، ولا تكلم في علم من العلوم – سواءً كان من علوم الشرع أو غيرها – إلا فاق فيه أهله والمنسوبين إليه،
It is not known that he debated any point and was put to shame. Whatever be the subject matter about which he spoke, whether religious or discursive, he surpassed the authorities on that particular subject.
[Uqood ad-Durriyah by Ibn Abdul Hadee, Al-Kawakib-ud-Durriyah fe Manaqib al Mujtahid Ibn Taymiyyah by Imam Muree bin Yusaf al Karmee p. 60, Imam ad-Dahabi quoted this from his teacher Kamal ud din bin Zamalkani in his seperate book الدرة اليتيمية في السيرة التيمية]

So, the testimony of the one who did debate with Ibn Taymiyah is enough to accept the truth. Taj as-Subki May Allah be pleased with him was biased against Ibn Taymiyah and other scholars as well as mentioned below.

2. Izz al din al Kinani (819 h) about Taj as-Subki

Dr Bashar Awad said in his comments on Tahdeeb al Kamal (1/21):
وكان السبكي أشعريا جلدا بحيث قال فيه عز الدين الكناني”ت 819″: هو رجل قليل الادب، عديم الانصاف جاهل بأهل السنة ورتبهم”
as-Subki, (The son) was Ashari, Izz al din al Kinani (819 h) said regarding him: ” he is a man having little manners, lack of scholarly integrity, ignorant of Ahl as-Sunnah and their ranks. (ref: الاعلان للسخاوي: 469 فما بعد، ومعجم الشافعية لابن عبد الهادي، الورقة: 48 47 (الظاهرية)

3. as-Sakhawi about Taj as-Subki

Islamweb Fatwa No : 250687 stated

“As for As-Subki (the son [Taaj-ud-Deen], not the father [Taqiyy-ud-Deen]), he cited this statement in his book Tabaqaat Ash-Shaafi‘iyah Al-Kubra. In fact, this is not surprising because he was one of those people who hated and fiercely criticized Ibn Taymiyyah. Mawsoo‘at Ar-Radd ‘ala Al-Mathaahib Al-Fikriyyah Al-Mu‘aasirah reads, “As-Subki, the son, did not follow the example of his father; he disparaged and fiercely criticised Ibn Taymiyyah using the most reprehensible language. People criticized him for that; Imaam As-Sakhaawi attributed him to utter bigotry as he (As-Subki, the son) wrote in his book At-Tabaqaat, ‘Since when did the Hanbalis win a debate?’ As-Sakhaawi commented, “This is very odd and reflects worst type of bigotry!” In fact, As-Subki even criticized his own teacher Ath-Thahabi.

As-Subki’s words underlined that Shaykh Safiyy Al-Deen Al-Hindi said that statement to Ibn Taymiyyah; perhaps this was his personal opinion, given that one may assume that his opponent is dodging his questions in a debate. Even if we assumed that Ibn Taymiyyah was dodging the questions in the debate, this does not necessarily mean that Al-Hindi had won the debate (and proved his argument stronger). Instead, what has been reported is that Ibn Az-Zamalkaani completed the debate with Ibn Taymiyyah and that he was convinced of the argument of Ibn Taymiyyah.”(end quote)

7. Ibn Kathir said Kamal ud din bin Zamalkani (The student of Safi ud din al Hindi) accepted the aqeeda of Ibn Taymiyah after thee debate.

Ibn Kathir mentioned:
فتناظرا في ذلك وشكر الناس من فضائل الشيخ كمال الدين بن الزملكاني وجودة ذهنه وحسن بحثه حيث قاوم ابن تيمية في البحث وتكلم معه ثم انفصل الحال على قبول العقيدة وعاد الشيخ إلى منزله معظما مكرما
Then they (Ibn Taymiyyah and Kamal ud din bin Zamalkani) engaged in a debate and people commended the merits of Shaykh Kamaal Al-Deen ibn Az-Zamalkaani, his wittiness, and careful researching as he debated Ibn Taymiyyah and talked with him. Finally, he accepted Al-‘Aqeedah (Al-Waasitiyyah) and Ibn Taymiyyah went home honored and revered.” [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya 14/52]

Ibn Rajab mentioned that after the three majalis on the Aqeedah of Ibn Taymiyyah:
وقع الإتفاق بعد ذلك على أن هذه عقيدة سنية سلفية
They (all the scholars present in the majlis) agreed that this is the SUNNI and SALAFI Aqeedah. [dhaylh Tabqaat al Hanabilah of Ibn Rajab hanbalee 4/396]

Ibn Abdul Hadi said regarding this debate:
وقد أظهر الله من قيام الحجة ما أعز به أهل السنة
وانصرف الشيخ تقي الدين إلى منزله
Allah gave victory and honored Ahlus sunnah through the evidences, and Shaykh Taqi ud din departed to his home. [al Uqud ad-durriyah, Ghayat al Eemani 2/232]

This is the aqeeda of Ibn Kathir which is clear that he was not Ashari at all. Now whether he was extreme sufi or not? See the following

8. Ibn Kathir spoke against the meaning taken by some Asharis and jahmis that Istiwa is Isteela.

He said in his book “al Bidayah wan-Nihaya“ Volume 9, page 262:, when speaking about al Akhtal who was an Arab Christian poet :

وكان الأخطل من نصارى العرب المتنصرة، قبحه الله وأبعد مثواه، وهو الذي أنشد بشر بن مروان قصيدته التي يقول فيها:

قد استوى بشر على العراق * من غير سيف ودم مهراق

وهذا البيت تستدل به الجهمية على أن الاستواء على العرش بمعنى: الاستيلاء وهذا من تحريف الكلم عن مواضعه، وليس في بيت هذا النصراني حجة ولا دليل على ذلك، ولا أراد الله عز وجل باستوائه على عرشه استيلاءه عليه، تعالى الله عن قول الجهمية علواً كبيراً.

فإنه إنما يقال: استوى على الشيء إذا كان ذلك الشيء عاصياً عليه قبل استيلائه عليه، كاستيلاء بشر على العراق، واستيلاء الملك على المدينة بعد عصيانها عليه، وعرش الرب لم يكن ممتنعاً عليه نفساً واحداً، حتى يقال استوى عليه أو معنى الاستواء الاستيلاء، ولا تجد أضعف من حجج الجهمية، حتى أداهم الإفلاس من الحجج إلى بيت هذا النصراني المقبوح، وليس فيه حجة، والله أعلم

al Akhtal was a Christian from the Arab Al Mutnasrah, (Ibn Kathir prayed against him and said) And he vocalized his qaseeda to Bishr bin Marwan, in which he said:.

Bishr established mastery over Iraq without sword and without shedding blood.

(Ibn Katheer said) The Jahmis take evidence from this poetry that Istiwa’ over the Throne means: al Istila’ (to conquer), and this is from the distortion of the speech, and there is no proof in this Christian’s poetry for that and there is no evidence over it.

And Allah the Almighty didn’t intend by His Istiwa on the Throne that He conquered it, Allah the exalted is far above from the saying of the Jahmiyyah. Because it is said: Istawa upon something if that thing was rebellious or resistant to him before he took it over, like the conquering of Bishr over Iraq, and the taking over of a city by the king after its rebellion against him.
And the Throne of the Lord was not forbidden or inaccessible for Him, for one to say: Istawa over it or the meaning of Istiwa’ is “isteela”. (end quote, taken from the blog by Um Abdullah)

9. Ibn Kathir on Taweel or tahreef of the verses.

Allah says:
They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. [az-Zumr verse 67, Hilali]

Ibn Kathir commented:
وقد وردت أحاديث كثيرة متعلقة بهذه الآية الكريمة، والطريق فيها وفي أمثالها مذهب السلف، وهو إمرارها كما جاءت من غير تكييف ولا تحريف
Many Hadiths have been narrated concerning this Ayah and how it and other Ayat like it are to be interpreted and accepted without any attempts to twist or change the meaning. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under az-Zumr verse 67]

Then he mentioned ahadith related to attributes of Allah.

Sh. ‘Abd Al Ākhir Hammad Al Ghunaymi said:
Tahreef is Taweel as said by Shaykh al Islam Ibn Taymiyah [Majmu Fatawa 4/191] (Aqeeda Ibn Kathir bayn al Tafweed wal Taweel)

10. Fitna between Asharis and Hanbalis

a) When Hanabilah overpowered Asharis.

Ibn Kathir said:
وفيها: وقعت الفتنة بين الأشاعرة والحنابلة، فقوي جانب الحنابلة قوة عظيمة، بحيث إنه كان ليس لأحد من الأشاعرة أن يشهد الجمعة ولا الجماعات.
This year Fitna started between Hanbalis and Asharis and Hanbali side overpowered them such that Asharis could not show up in the Fridays and congregational prayers.

[al Bidaya wal nihaya vol 12 under 447 h]

b) Fight between Hanabilah and Ashariyah in 469 h when Ibn al Qushayrī started attributing Anthropomorphism against Hanbalis.

Ibn Kathir said:
وفي شوال منها وقعت الفتنة بين الحنابلة والأشعرية، وذلك أن ابن القشيري قدم بغداد فجلس يتكلم في النظامية وأخذ يذم الحنابلة وينسبهم إلى التجسيم، وساعده أبو سعد الصوفي، ومال معه الشيخ أبو إسحاق الشيرازي، وكتب إلى نظام الملك يشكو إليه الحنابلة ويسأله المعونة عليهم، وذهب جماعة إلى الشريف أبي جعفر بن أبي موسى شيخ الحنابلة، وهو في مسجده فدافع عنه آخرون، واقتتل الناس بسبب ذلك وقتل رجل خياط من سوق التبن، وجرح آخرون، وثارت الفتنة.
In shawaal of this year Fitna started between Hanbalis and Asharis. What happened was that Ibn al Qushayrī came to Baghdad and started criticism on Nizamiah and Hanbalis and attributed them towards Anthropomorphism. Abu Sad al Sufi helped him and Abu Ishaq Sherazi also inclined towards him. He wrote a letter to Nizam al Mulk and complained against Hanbalis and asked his help against them.

And a group went to the shaykh of Hanbalis al Shareef Abu Jafar bin abi Musa who was in his mosque and defended him against others, due to that fight started and a taylor was killed and others became injured and fitna started. [al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12 under 469 h]

In the court of Wazir, Ibn Kathir said:
ثم جمع بينه وبين الشريف أبي جعفر وأبي سعد الصوفي، وأبى نصر بن القشيري، عند الوزير، فأقبل الوزير على أبي جعفر يعظمه في الفعال والمقال، وقام إليه الشيخ أبو إسحاق فقال: أنا ذلك الذي كنت تعرفه وأنا شاب، وهذه كتبي في الأصول، ما أقول فيها خلافا للأشعرية.
ثم قبّل رأس أبي جعفر، فقال له أبو جعفر: صدقت، إلا أنك لما كنت فقيرا لم تظهر لنا ما في نفسك، فلما جاء الأعوان والسلطان وخواجه بزك – يعني نظام الملك – وشبعت، أبديت ما كان مختفيا في نفسك.
وقام الشيخ أبو سعد الصوفي وقبل رأس الشريف أبي جعفر أيضا وتلطف به، فالتفت إليه مغضبا وقال: أيها الشيخ أما الفقهاء إذا تكلموا في مسائل الأصول فلهم فيها مدخل، وأما أنت فصاحب لهو وسماع وتغبير، فمن زاحمك منا على باطلك؟
ثم قال: أيها الوزير أنى تصلح بيننا؟ وكيف يقع بيننا صلح ونحن نوجب ما نعتقده وهم يحرمون ويكفرون؟ وهذا جد الخليفة القائم والقادر قد أظهرا اعتقادهما للناس على رؤوس الأشهاد على مذهب أهل السنة والجماعة والسلف، ونحن على ذلك كما وافق عليه العراقيون والخراسانيون.
وقرىء على الناس في الدواوين كلها، فأرسل الوزير إلى الخليفة يعلمه بما جرى، فجاء الجواب بشكر الجماعة وخصوصا الشريف أبا جعفر، ثم استدعى الخليفة أبا جعفر إلى دار الخلافة للسلام عليه، والتبرك بدعائه.
They were gathered against wazir i.e. Shareef Abi Jafar (Hanbali), Abu Sad sufi and abu nasr al qushayri. The wazir venerated Abu Jafar (Hanbali) in his sayings and practices, Abu Ishaq (Sherazi) said: I am the man you know, i was young and these are my books on usool (i.e. aqaid) in which i wrote against Asharis. Then he kissed the dorehead of Abu Jafar (al Hanbali). Abu Jafar (hanbali) said to him (Abu Ishaq Sherazi) You are right and you were mohtaj who didn’t clear your thoughts with us and when your helper Suleman and Nizam ul Mulk came then you revealed your words.
Abu Sad al sufi also went near al Shareef Abu Jafar (Hanbali) and kissed his forehead.
He (Wazir) angrily said to him (Abu Sad al Sufi): O shaykh If the jurists talk about the usool (aqaid) then they have knowledge about it, as for you, you are the man of having fun and samaa. Who from us will resist against you on your baatil?
He (Sufi) said: O wazir when will you make peace between us? How will it happen when we say this aqeeda is wajib and they say its haram and disbelief? The grandfather of Caliph al Qaim and al Qadir also mentioned there belief against people which goes with ahlus sunnah and a group of salaf, We are on that (aqida) like Iraqis and Khurasanis agreed with that (aqeeda).
Wazir told about this to caliph and he responded in which he thanked the group specially to al Shareef abu Jafar (Hanbali). Then the caliph asked for Abu Jafr (Hanbali) for salam and for barakah of his dua.
[al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12 under 469 h]
c) Ibn Kathir praised this Hanbali shaykh who was accused for Anthropomorphism
Ibn Kathir said:
الشريف أبو جعفر الحنبليعبد الخالق بن عيسى بن أحمد بن محمد بن إبراهيم بن عبد الله بن معبد بن العباس بن عبد المطلب الهاشمي بن أبي موسى الحنبلي العباسي، كان أحد الفقهاء العلماء العباد الزهاد المشهورين بالديانة والفضل والعبادة والقيام في الله بالأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر، لا تأخذه في الله لومة لائم، ولد سنة إحدى عشرة وأربعمائة، واشتغل على القاضي أبي يعلى بن الفراء، وزكاه شيخه عند ابن الدامغاني فقبله، ثم ترك الشهادة بعد ذلك.وكان مشهورا بالصلاح والديانة، وحين احتضر الخليفة القائم بأمر الله أوصى أن يغسله الشريف أبو جعفر هذا، وأوصى له بشيء كثير، ومال جزيل، فلم يقبل من ذلك شيئا.وحين وقعت الفتنة بين الحنابلة والأشعرية بسبب ابن القشيري اعتقل هو في دار الخلافة مكرما معظما، يدخل عليه الفقهاء وغيرهم، ويقبلون يده ورأسه، ولم يزل هناك حتى اشتكى فأذن له في المسير إلى أهله فتوفى عندهم ليلة الخميس النصف في صفر منها، ودفن إلى جانب الإمام أحمد، فاتخذت العامة قبره سوقا كل ليلة أربعاء، يترددون إليه ويقرؤون الختمات عنده حتى جاء الشتاء، وكان جملة ما قرئ عليه وأهدي له عشرة آلاف ختمة، والله أعلم.

…He was among those jurists, scholars, worshipers and zuhaad who were famous for theire following religion, virtues. worship and qiyam of amr bin maroof and nahi anil munkar… He learned from Qadhi Abu Yala.. The Caliph Qaim bi amr Allah had a wasiya before his death that Abu Jafar should make a ghusl to his body. And he did wasiya to give me lots of things and amwaal but Abu Jafar didn’t accept any of those…. The jurists would come and kiss his hands and forehead… When he died Awam would come to his grave every wednesday night and would recite khatam until the winters came. And they were 10,000 Khatam. [al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12 under 471 h]

Note: This is the practice of awam which Ibn Kathir mentioned.

11. Some fanatic asharis in 494 h

Ibn Kathir said
عزيز بن عبد الملك منصور أبو المعالي الجيلي القاضي
الملقب: سيدله، كان شافعيا في الفروع، أشعريا في الأصول، وكان حاكما بباب الأزج، وكان بينه وبين أهل باب الأزج من الحنابلة شنآن كبير.
سمع رجلا ينادي على حمار له ضائع فقال: يدخل الأزج ويأخذ بيد من شاء.
وقال يوما للنقيب طراد الزينبي: لو حلف إنسان أنه لا يرى إنسانا فرأى أهل باب الأزج لم يحنث.
Aziz bin Abd al Malik Munsoor Abu al M`ali al Jeeli the Judge.. He was Shafiee in furoo (fiqh) and Ashari in Usul (aqeeda)…He and the people of Baab al Azj who were Hanbalis had great enmity… One day he said to Naqeeb Turaad al Zainbi that if a Man take an oath that he will not see a Man (Insaan) and then he sees people of Bab al Azj (i.e. who were Hanbalis) his oath is not broken.
 
[al Bidaya wal nihaya vol 12 under 494 h]
 
Meaning he would not consider hanbalis of that area insaan. Ibn Kathir mentioned other asharis as well who used to make fights between hanbalis and asharis.
12. What happened when the Ruler of Egypt influenced by Jahmiya tried to persecute Hanbalis.

 
Ibn Kathir said:
فيها كانت وفاة العزيز صاحب مصر
وذلك أنه خرج إلى الصيد، فكانت ليلة الأحد العشرين من المحرم، ساق خلف ذئب فكبا به فرسه فسقط عنه فمات بعد أيام، ودفن بداره.
ثم حول إلى عند تربة الشافعي، وله سبع أو ثمان وعشرون سنة، ويقال: إنه كان قد عزم في هذه السنة على إخراج الحنابلة من بلده، ويكتب إلى بقية إخوته بإخراجهم من البلاد.
وشاع ذلك عنه وذاع، وسمع ذلك منه وصرح به، وكل ذلك من معلميه وخلطائه وعشرائه من الجهمية، وقلة علمه بالحديث، فلما وقع منه هذا ونوى هذه النية القبيحة الفاسدة أهلكه الله ودمره سريعا، وعظم قدر الحنابلة بين الخلق بمصر والشام، عند الخاص والعام.
وقيل: إن بعض صالحيهم دعا عليه، فما هو إلا أن خرج إلى الصيد فكان هلاكه سريعا،
 
In this year (595 h) the death of al Aziz the ruler of Egypt occurred.
And that is, he went for a hunt on 21st night of Muharram, he was chasing a wolf and his horse struck something. He fell from his horse and died after few days.. it has been related that he had plans to kick hanbalis our from his land and wrote letters to his brothers that they should also kick them out.. and that was due to his those teachers and the friends he meet who were from the Jahmiyah and his lack of knowledge of hadith. When he intended this ugly thing Allah killed him and destroyed him quickly. And in Egypt and al Sham respect of Hanbalis increased.
 
And it is said some righteous prayed against him and when he went for hunting he was killed.
 
[al Bidaya wal nihaya vol 13 under 595 h]

13. The aqaid of Ibn Kathir against extreme Sufis.

a) Under 4:64 Ibn Kathir said before quoting the story of al Utbi

{ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُوۤاْ أَنفُسَهُمْ } الآية، يرشد تعالى العصاة والمذنبين إذا وقع منهم الخطأ والعصيان أن يأتوا إلى الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم، فيستغفروا الله عنده، ويسألوه أن يستغفر لهم، فإنهم إذا فعلوا ذلك، تاب الله عليهم، ورحمهم، وغفر لهم، ولهذا قال: { لَوَجَدُواْ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً }
(If they (hypocrites), when they had been unjust to themselves,) directs the sinners and evildoers, when they commit errors and mistakes, to come to the Messenger , so that they ask Allah for forgiveness in his presence and ask him to supplicate to Allah to forgive them. If they do this, Allah will forgive them and award them His mercy and pardon. This is why Allah said,(they would have found Allah All-Forgiving (One Who forgives and accepts repentance), Most Merciful).
(end quote)

So the saying of Ibn Kathir is different, because he said ask Allah for forgiveness “IN HIS (peace be upon him) PRESENCE” and we know that Prophet peace be upon him is not present now neither any other Prophet is present as said by Ibn Kathir in the commentary of following verse.

b) According to Ibn Kathir it is impossible to ask the Anbiya.

Allah says: And ask those of Our messengers whom We sent before thee: Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped beside the Beneficent? (43:45)

Commentary of Ibn kathir says
قال مجاهد في قراءة عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه: (واسأل الذين أرسلنا إليهم قبلك رسلنا). وهكذا حكاه قتادة والضحاك والسدي عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه، وهذا كأنه تفسير لا تلاوة، والله أعلم. وقال عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن أسلم: واسألهم ليلة الإسراء؛ فإن الأنبياء عليهم الصلاة والسلام جمعوا له، واختار ابن جرير الأول، والله أعلم.
Mujahid said that `Abdullahbin Mas`ud recited it: (وَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ قَبْلَكَ (مِنْ) رُسُلِنَا) (And ask those whom We sent before you of Our Messengers.) This was narrated by Qatadah, Ad Dahak and as-Suddi from Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleasedwith him. Yet this appears to be an explanation rather than an alternate version of recitation. so meaning is that ask to those people to whom these messengers were sent, abdul rehman said ask to the anbiya, meaning in the night of meraj and Ibn Jaeeer at-Tabri holds the first opinion (end quote)

Comment:
It is Clearly Refuting the stance that we can ask anbiya in this world because Ibne Kathir and at-Tabri knew, that it is impossible for Prophet peace be upon him to ask anbiya in this world (other then a miracle) so they preferred first opinion. When it is impossible for Prophets then how can it be possible for lay people?

c) Now Explicit Sayings of Ibne Kathir himself

Hafidh Ibne Kathir said
وقد ذكر الحافظ بن عساكر في ترجمة أحمد بن كثير وقال إنه كان من الصالحين أنه رأى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأبا بكر وعمر وهابيل، أنه استحلف هابيل ان هذا دمه فحلف له وذكر أنه سأل الله تعالى أن يجعل هذا المكان يستجاب عنده الدعاء فأجابه إلى ذلك وصدقه في ذلك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال إنه وأبا بكر وعمر يزورون هذا المكان في كل يوم خميس وهذا منام لو صح عن أحمد بن كثير هذا لم يترتب عليه حكم شرعي والله أعلم
Hafidh Ibne Asakir mentioned in the Biography of Ahmad bin Katheer that he (Ibn Asakir) said he (Ahmad bin Katheer) was among the Pious People and he saw Prophet peace be upon him,Abu bakr, Umar and Habeel in the dream. They (Prophet peace be upon him, Abu Bakr and Umar) asked Habeel to swore that this is his blood (i.e. the place of his death), and He (Habeel) swore, And he mentioned: He (Habeel) asked Allah to make this place (the place where he was killed), the place where the dua is answered and Prophet peace be upon him accepted his truthfulness and He said: (that he saw) Abu Bakr and Umar visiting that place on every thursday. (Ibn Kathir said): If this dream is proven from Ahmad bin Katheer then the rulings of Shariy`ah can not be made through this dream. [Al Bidaya Wal Nihaya vol 1 Page 105 and 106]

Comment: Extreme sufis would use this dream for their false aqaaid. Whereas, Ibn Kathir clearly rejected the idea of Innovative tawassul and travelling to the places i.e. trees, graves etc for the acceptance of the dua.

d) Ibn Kathir said under the Biography of Sayyiyadah Nafeesah in Al Bidaya wal Nihaya.

والذي ينبغي أن يعتقد فيها ما يليق بمثلها من النساء الصالحات، وأصل عبادة الأصنام من المغالاة في القبور وأصحابها، وقد أمر النبي بتسويه القبور وطمسها، والمغالاة في البشر حرام
ومن زعم أنها تفك من الخشب ( هكذا ) أو أنها تنفع أو تضر بغير مشيئة الله فهو مشرك.رحمها الله وأكرمها.)
The AITEQAAD(creed) regarding her is not applicable for righteous women like her, The Origin of Idol worship is Exaggeration for graves and people of graves(the person who is in the grave), That is why Prophet peace be upon him ordered to level and Obliterate the graves, and Exaggerating for any Man is Prohibited, It is alleged.. (whoever think) they can benefit or harm without the will of Allah is Mushrik. (end quote)

Comment: Ibn Kathir did Talkhees of the book of Ibn Tamiyah “Radd al Bukri”. It is refutation of Noor al Din alBukri ash-Shafiee on the issue of Istegatha through dead. Ibn Kathir went with the opinions of Ibn Tamiyah on the issue of Istegatha and the name of Talkhees is “Talkhees Kitab al Istegatha”.

e) Ibn Katheer on the answer of Ibn Taymiyah to al Bukri on Istigatha through dead., He said:

و المقصود أن الشيخ رد على البكري و نقض قوله نقضا أجاد فيه و أفاد و بين ما فيه من حق و باطل في مجلدة كبيرة أبطل فيها أنواع الشرك الاعتقادي و العملي و ما يتفرع منهما بالأدلة و البراهين القاطعة المقبولة التي تسر قلوب أهل السنة و تقر أعينهم عند سماعها و تسود وجوه أهل الأهواء و البدع و يرهقها قتر و ذلة فرحم الله من قبل الحق و نصره و رد الباطل و خذله و أهله
The purpose is that Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyah) refuted al Bukri, and answered him, which is the powerful answer. And he cleared the truth and false in a big volume in which he has proven the types of Amali and Aiteqaadi shirk false with clear and known evidences. This delighted the hearts of Ahlus sunnah and It was soothing for their eyes when they heard this answer. It blackened the faces of people of desires and innovations and they were exausted and humiliated. May Allah have mercy on the one who accepts the truth and helped the one who spoke truth and refuted the false and its followers. [Talkhees kitab al istigatha li ibn katheer 1/52]

It is the book by Ibn Katheer, to know about more details read the discussion of the Muhaqqiq Abdullah as-Suhayli in “Radd ala al Bukri by Ibn Taymiyah” pages 121 to 129.

f) Ibn Kathir said regarding alBukri (the one who went against Ibn Taymiyah on the issue of Istigatha)

الشيخ الإمام الزاهد نور الدين أبو الحسن علي بن يعقوب بن جبريل البكري المصري الشافعي، له تصانيف، وقرأ مسند الشافعي على وزيرة بنت المنجا، ثم إنه أقام بمصر، وقد كان في جملة من ينكر على شيخ الاسلام ابن تيمية، أراد بعض الدولة قتله فهرب واختفى عنده كما تقدم لما كان ابن تيمية مقيما بمصر، وما مثاله إلا مثال ساقية ضعيفة كدرة لا طمت بحرا عظيما صافيا، أو رملة أرادت زوال جبل، وقد أضحك العقلاء عليه، وقد أرا السلطان قتله فشفع فيه بعض الأمراء، ثم أنكر مرة شيئا على الدولة فنفي من القاهرة إلى بلدة يقال لها: ديروط، فكان بها حتى توفي يوم الاثنين سابع ربيع الآخر، ودفن بالقرافة، وكانت جنازته مشهورة غير مشهودة، وكان شيخه ينكر عليه إنكاره على ابن تيمية، ويقول له أنت لا تحسن أن تتكلم.
Shaykh Imam Zaahid Noor al din Abul Hasan bin Yaqoob bin Jibreel al Bukri al Misree ash Shafiee, He wrote books, He recited Musnad ash-Shafiee in front of Wazeerah bint al Manja. Then he resided in egypt. He is in those who are against Shykh al Islam Ibn Tamiyah as a whole. Some of the people of power wanted to kill him and he ran away and took shelter from him (Ibn Tamiyah) as it is mentioned earlier, because Ibn Tamiyah lived in Egypt. His (al Bukri) example is like weak canal who wants to slap Pure and Great Ocean (Ibn Tamiyah), or like the sand (al Bukri) who wants to remove Mountain (Ibn Tamiyah). He made the wise people laugh at him. Sultan wanted to kill him but some of the Umaraa favoured him, Then he rejected somethings of the state and he was thrown out from al Qaahirah to the city called Dewroot. He was there untill he died on Monday 7th of Rabi ul Akhir. He was buried in Qurafa. His funereal was famous but not seen. His teacher used to reject him due to going against Ibn Tamiyah. He said You do not talk good [Al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 14 page 136]

Comment: So, for Ibn Kathir the stances of al Bukri against Ibn Tamiyah are false. Ibn Tamiyah was pure ocean the mountain and al Bukri who supported Istegatha is a small dirty canal and a sand againt mountain. Own sayings of Ibne Kthir is different, Quoting something in book never means the author agrees with it.

He also said al-Bukri was stopped to give fatwa and thrown out from the city
وذلك لاجترائه وتسرعه على التكفير والقتل والجهل الحامل له على هذا وغيره.
This was because he dared to (give fatawa on) takfeer and killing very early and his ignorance was the reason behind this [AlBidaya wal Nihaya vol 14 page 89] Comment: This is the same attitude of brailwis in Pakistan. They did takfir of everyone who do not agree with them.

g) Ibn Kathir said pious people ask Allah through their good deeds, He said:
“Allah describes the Muttaqin, His pious servants, whom He promised tremendous rewards, (Those who say: “Our Lord! We have indeed believed”) in You, Your Book and Your Messenger. (so forgive us our sins) because of our faith in You and in what You legislated for us. Therefore, forgive us our errors and shortcomings, with Your bounty and mercy, (and save us from the punishment of the Fire.)” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir 2/23 under 3:16]

h) Shaykh Adi Bin Musafir student of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jeylani and Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi was considered Ilah.

Ibn Kathir said:
الشيخ عدي بن مسافر
ابن إسماعيل بن موسى بن مروان بن الحسن بن مروان الهكاري، شيخ الطائفة العدوية، أصله من البقاع غربي دمشق، من قرية بيت نار، ثم دخل إلى بغداد فاجتمع فيها بالشيخ عبد القادر والشيخ حماد الدباس، والشيخ عقيل المنبجي، وأبي الوفا الحلواني، وأبي النجيب السهروردي وغيرهم، ثم انفرد عن الناس وتخلى بجبل هكار وبنى له هناك زاوية واعتقده أهل تلك الناحية اعتقادا بليغا، حتى إن منهم من يغلو غلوا كثيرا منكرا ومنهم من يجعله إلها أو شريكا، وهذا اعتقاد فاحش يؤدي إلى الخروج من الدين جملة.
 
مات في هذه السنة بزاويته وله سبعون سنة، رحمه الله.
Shaykh Adi bin Musafir… Shaykh of the group Adwiya.. people of that place have aiteqaad regarding him, in fact some of them extremely exaggerate and some even make him Ilah and partner (of Allah), this is filthy aqeeda which can take out of the religion fully.
 
He died in this year at his zawiya at the age of 70 May Allah have mercy on him.
 
[al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12 under 555 h]
 

If you ask followers of Shaykh Adi, no one would say we consider him Ilah. But like Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jeylani, these people have aqeeda on Shaykh Adi and they ask him help. If Ibn Kathir was alive today he would be called munkir of auliyah.

i) Ibn Kathir said regarding followers of Shaykh Jeylani.

ويذكرون عنه أقوالا وأفعالا ومكاشفات أكثرها مغالاة
They mentioned his sayings, practices and Mukashifaat, majority of it is extremism. [al Bidaya wal Nihaya vol 12 under 561 h]
 
That was the practice 600 years ago, what would Ibn Kathir say now?

j) Seeking blessings from the graves.

Ibn Kathir said in al-Bidaya wal Nihaya under the Tarjuma of al-Khidr bin Nasr
وترجمه ابن خلكان في الوفيات ، وقال قبره يزار، وقد زرته غير مرة، ورأيت الناس ينتابون قبره ويتبركون به، وهذا الذي قاله ابن خلكان مما ينكره أهل العلم عليه وعلى أمثاله ممن يعظم القبور
Ibn Khilkaan mentioned his (Khidr`s) biography in al-Wafayāt and said: People visit his grave and i have visited his grave many times and i have seen people visiting his grave and seeking blessings from it. This is what Ibn Khilkaan said. People of knowledge rejected the veneration on his grave and a like[al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya 12/371]
 
Note: Seeking blessings from the graves here means dua near the graves, it does not mean asking help from the dead or praying near the grave etc.
 
Note 2: When we see Ibn Khilkaan’s history it states:
وقبره يزار، وزرته كثيرًا – رحمه الله تعالى
People visit his grave and i have visited his grave many times [Wafiyat al Ayan 2/201]
 
So Ibn Khilkan is free from this statement and maybe the manuscript Ibn Kathir was using had this statement. Allahu alam.


k) Did you know, Ibn Katheer wrote a book by the name of

أحاديث التوحيد والرد على الشرك
“Ahadeeth at-Tawheed wal Radd ala al-Shirk”

This book was published in the footnotes of the book “Jam`e al Byan” by Mu`een bin Shaf`e in Delhi India, 1297 h. [see Muqaddima Musnad al Farooq by Ibn Katheer page 76, taken from The Muqaddima of Radd ala al Bukri page 124]

Ibn Katheer said regarding this book:
وقد كتبت في هذه المسألة نحو مجلد وذكرتها في مواضع أخر و بينت أسباب الشرك وما فيه من الفوائد و المقاصد التي ضل بها المشركون و أنها معمورة بالمفاسد ومعمورة بالمضار التي من أجلها حرمها الله
I have written a volume on this issue [i.e. Shirk and tawheed].. [Talkhees Kitab al Istigatha 1/167]

Dr. Abdullah as-Suhayli said:
This points towards Ibn katheer’s book ” “Ahadeeth at-Tawheed wal Radd ala al-Shirk”. [The Muqaddima of Radd ala al Bukri page 124]

i) See also Aqeedah of Ibn Kathir and grave worship here:

http://www.systemoflife.com/articles/aqeedah/195-umar-bin-al-khattab-and-grave-worship

Related Links

a) Life of Ibn Taymiyyah in Al Bidaya wal Nihaya.
Whoever says Ibn Kathir was staunch Ashari, he must read the life of Ibn Taymiyyah in Al Bidaya wal Nihaya which has been translated in the following article, After reading it no one will ever say Ibn Kathir was against Ibn Taymiyah and his aqaid
http://www.systemoflife.com/articles/refutation/2000073-life-of-ibn-taymiyyah-in-ibn-kathir-s-al-bidaya-wal-nihaya

b) A very detailed article on “Debunking the shubuhaat of the modern day ahlul-kalaam that Ibn Katheer was miraculously an Ash’ari”
http://al-mustaqeem.tripod.com/id122.html

c) see also the Answer to the question “Was Ibn Kathir Ashari”
http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vbe/showthread.php?t=84