> (Vol. 6, pp. 566-567)
In an earlier passage (Vol. 6, pp. 565-566), Ibn Taymiyah discusses why those on the other side of the earth are not below us, just like we are not below them. He writes:
As for the other side of the earth it is surrounded by water. [Note: Admittedly, Ibn Taymiyah - as all Muslim scholars of his day- were not aware of the Americas and believed that the Old World was encompassed by an ocean.] There are no human beings or anything like that [on that side]. Even if we were to imagine that people were on that side of the earth, such individuals would still be on the face of the earth. Those on that side of the earth are not below those who are on this side; just like those on this side are not below those on that side. For as all spherical bodies surround a center point (markaz), no one side of a spherical body is under the other, nor is the north pole under the south [Note: Unlike Western maps, Muslim cartographers (map-makers) would draw the world with the south-side up.] or vice versa.
In another passage (Vol. 5, p. 150) Ibn Taymiyah clearly states the earth is spherical.
Significantly Abu Ya'la in his work Tabaqatal-Hanabilah (Biographical Entries of the Hanabali Scholars) quotes the unanimous consensus (ijma) of all Muslim scholars that the earth is round.
This consensus was mentioned by the scholars of the second generation (the students of the Prophet's Companions) and was based upon Ibn Abbas' explanation to 21:33 (previously cited) and other evidences.
The later belief of Muslim scholars, like as-Suyuti (died 911 AH / 1505 CE) that the earth is flat represents a deviation from this earlier opinion.