Al Gazali

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Al Ghazali was a Sunni and Sufi philosopher of the 11th and 12th century, during the Golden Age, a period of great economic growth and stability and a time when both knowledge and power was at its peak. He was born in 1058 AD in Tus, Persia and impacted greatly upon the Islamic faith, particularly toward Sunni and Sufi members; they know him as ‘the Proof of Islam’. Al Ghazali provided a positive impact upon the Islamic faith and its million of devotees and still continues to do so today through his many works.

Al Ghazali was educated in Tus, Persia, at the Nishapur School as well as at the Nizamayyah School in Baghdad. Here, he excelled in Islamic sciences. In 1095, Al Ghazali experienced a personal crisis and had many questions about his life and where his faith was headed. He went on a pilgrimage to question both his belonging and faith. It was throughout his time that his beliefs in Sufism became strong. After his personal crisis, he became a Sufi, believed by many members of Islam as the ‘inner or mystical dimension of Islam’. Al Ghazali believed this approach to Sufism provided him with a closer relationship to Allah and a better understanding of his own beliefs.

Al Ghazali is recognised as a significant scholar throughout the Islamic faith, particularly to both Sunni and Sufi members. Firstly, his ability as a Fiqh scholar (Islamic jurisprudence) was great; through his study of Islamic Fiqh sciences, he was able to come up with various approaches, which impacted upon Islam. From his ability as a Fiqh scholar, he was able to form judgements and take mercy upon those guilty of apostasy, abandonment of ones religion. Al Ghazali was still able to see apostasy as a serious crime against Allah’s will yet argued that freedom from Islam without punishment, which was often death, would be permitted.

Secondly, he is renowned for his teaching that Allah was the primary source of knowledge. He preached that that all members of Islam should trust Allah as he...
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