Islam is not only considered to be a spiritual connection to God, but it is a way of life; how one remembers God on day to day basis by not only praying five times a day but also by abiding to the rules and regulations that he has bestowed upon adherents for prevention of sin. The quote “If you want to be free of all affliction and suffering, hold fast to god, and turn wholly to him” is accredited to Abū Ḥāmid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazālī (c. 1058–1111), a highly significant Islamic Scholar during the “Islamic Golden Era”.
Abū Ḥāmid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazālī 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 significantly impacted upon Islam. From his ability as a Fiqh scholar, he was able to form judgements objectively. Al Ghazali’s impact on the development of Islam can be seen in his accomplished synthesis of the areas of; theology, philosophy, law and mysticism. He has made significant contributions to each of these disciplines yet what is often referred to as his most significant contribution was his ability to bring out the best from all these disciplines and strands of Islam in a way that provided strength and maturity to Islamic thought. 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. 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.
Educated in Tus, Persia, at the Nishapur School as well as at the Nizamayyah School in Baghdad, Al Ghazali 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, the perspective of the quote if exemplified in this. 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.
The significance of Hajj to adherents of Islam reiterates the influence the perspective “if you want to be free of all afflicted and suffering, hold fast to god, turn wholly to him” on the nature and practise of Islam. Hajj is an integrated part of the life of a Muslim because of its position as one of the five pillars of faith. This pillar expresses the obligatory pilgrimage to the Ka'ba in Mecca that all followers are expected to take at least once in their lifetime. This experience has great effect on the Hajjis that partake in the pilgrimage as it unites the Muslim community, and bring them closer to Allah and the core teachings of their religion. The community also receives positive effects from this significant practice due to its unification.
Hajj is composed of many rituals that symbolize important events in the history of Islam which are represented in the Quran. As Hajjis perform these rituals, they are reinforcing their belief in the Quran and their submission to Allah. "Perform the pilgrimage and the visit [to Mecca] for Allah" Surah 2:196. The perspective that “if you want to be free of all afflicted and suffering, hold fast to god, turn wholly to him” is expressed through the rituals of Hajj. Hajj takes place on the 8th to the 13th of the last month of the Islamic calendar, Thul Hijjah. Before undertaking the pilgrimage, Muslims...
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