AL-GHAZALI LETTER TO A DISCIPLE – Book Sample
INTRODUCTION – AL-GHAZALI LETTER TO A DISCIPLE
AL-GHAZALI’s SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE.
A Moslem tradition says that at the beginning of each century God sends a renewer of the religious life. While there is difference of opinion concerning the receiver of this honor in certain centuries, there is universal agreement that for the fifth century there can be only one name Proposed-Abi-Hamad Mohammed b. Muhammed al-Ghazali. ((For biographical material, see the Bibliography.
For a discussion of the spelling of the name, see article by Macdonald, in JRAS London, 1902, pp. 18-22, where the author advocates the spelling al-Ghazzali. But in his article in the Encyclopedia of Islam, Macdonald adopts the spelli11g with a single z. Cf. also Zwemer, footnote p, 64.))
In fact, Ibn al-Subki ((Abu Nar ‘Abd al-Wahhab b. ‘Ali b. ‘Abd-al-Kafi Taj al-Din al-Subki, an eminent canon lawyer, born in Cairo 727/1327, d. in Damascus 771/1370. Quoted in Ithaf al-Sadah, v. i, p. 9., by Mohammed al-Husayni al-Zabidi, known as AI-Sayyjd Murt.i(ja, (d. 1791), Cairo, 1311 A. JI. Al-Sayyid Murtada quotes liberally f,om al-Subki’s ‘fabaqa.t al-Sbafa’lyah.)) says: “If there had been a prophet after Mohammed, it surely would have been al-Ghazali.” Another tradition ((Tabaqat al-Shafi’yah, v. iv., p. 1 31.)) related by Ibn al-Suhki is to the effect that the Shaykh Abu ‘l-Hasan al-Shadbili4 saw the Prophet, in a dream, and that he was challenging Moses and Jesus with the Imam al-Ghazali, and he asked them, “Is there among your peoples any righteous man like him?” And they replied, “No.”
He has been universally assigned by later Moslems first rank as interpreter of sacred law, theologian, philosopher and scientist. Although he never became a thoroughgoing mystic, yet he brought Sufiism5 into an accredited place in orthodox Islam. With his keenness of intellect, depth of learning, and
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