In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Ibn Abdul Haadee [rahimahullaah] said: When he [shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah] was imprisoned, he found the prisoners preoccupied with various types of games by way of which they pass the time, such as chess, backgammon and the likes, which [lead people] to neglect the five daily prayers. The Shaikh [Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] strongly disapproved of that. He commanded them to adhere to the five daily prayers and to turn to Allaah through performance of righteous deeds, glorification of Allaah, seeking forgiveness for their sins and supplication.
He acquainted them with what they were in need of from the Sunnah, aroused their desire for it and urged them towards it, until a lot of good came about in the prison due to that which was [present] in the prison, such as preoccupation with knowledge and [affairs] of the Religion, and became better than many of the schools. And it became [such] that many among the prisoners chose to remain with him after they were released and those returning to the prison [i.e. revisiting to benefit from Ibn Taymiyyah] were so numerous that it became crowded. [Ref 1]
Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah] spoke about generosity in the affairs of knowledge in one of his lessons and then stated that Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] reported about Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah’s [rahimahullaah] amazing generosity in this affair. Then Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq [hafidhahullaah] referred the listeners to Madaarij As-Saalikeen regarding this affair. Here is a brief Faa-idah about the affair.
In Madaarij As-Saalikeen Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] spoke about generosity and its different levels, then he said that to be generous with one’s knowledge is from those loftiest levels of generosity. *To be generous with knowledge is more virtuous than generosity with wealth, because knowledge is more noble than wealth. *To be generous with knowledge necessitates that when a questioner asks a question related to the religion, you give him [or her] a detail and sufficient answer and not an answer that is only sufficient to address the needs of the questioner. *Indeed I [i.e. Ibnul Qayyim] have witnessed something amazing about Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] in relation to this affair. When he [Ibn Taymiyyah] used to be asked about an affair that requires a ruling, he would mention in his response-if he was able to do so- the Madhab of the four Imaams, the reason behind the difference of opinion and the position that carries more weight. He would also mention the other issues related to the subject matter which might even be more beneficial for the questioner than the issue he [or she] asked about. *The Sahaabah [radiyallaahu-anhum] asked the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] about performing ablution with sea water, so he [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said, ‘’Its water is purifying [i.e. can be used for ablution] and its dead [animals] are lawful [to eat].’’ [Bulooghul Maraam’ Hadeeth 1. Book of Purification]. So, the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] answered their [main] question and then generously gave them [an extra response] regarding what they would be more in need of -at certain times- than the initial affair they asked about. [Ref 2]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Al-Uqood Ad-Du’riyyah Fee Dhikri Manaaqib Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah 330-331. slightly paraphrased]; [Ref 2: An Excerpt from Madaarij As-Saalikeen 2/43-44. فصل : مراتب الجود – Slightly paraphrased]