About Imam Ghazali
Below is a brief summary of the life of Imam Ghazali
Introduction: Imam Ghazali whose real name was Abu Hamid Muhammad was born 450 years after hijrat in Persia, in the village of Teberan in the district of Tus. His title was Hujjat-ul-Islam and his ancestral title was Ghazali. His father was a famous person and his grandfather was one of the leading men of that era. His father died while he was young leaving him under the guardianship of his mother, supported by his grandfather. His ancestors had the business of weaving; meaning Ghazal, and as such the family title Ghazali.
Education: Together with his brother Ahmad, imam Ghazali went to a private Madrassah and they both completed Hifz-ul-Quraan in a very short span. Then they studied the language of our beloved prophet saw, i.e. the Arabic language. Moreover, to acquire higher education, Imam Ghazali left his village for Zarzan where he studied under Imam Abu Nasr Ismail, a great scholar of his time.
Further, Imam Ghazali studied in a well known Madrassah at Nishapur; the Nizamia Madrassah. Then at the age of 28 he moved to Baghdad where he was appointed as the principal of Nizamiyah Madrassah. Such a post of responsibility at such a young age made him become very celebrated. Eminent as a great scholar, the message spread faraway; and as such many leaders and heads of state used to seek his advice in state matters as well as theological issues.
Contribution: Imam Ghazali has written about 400 books, in different fields such as theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, spiritual and moral. Some of the famous titles are as follows:
- Jawaharul Quran (Jewels of Quran)
- Minhajul Abedin (Path of the devout)
- Yakutut Ta’wil (Tafseer Quran in 40 volumes)
- Ihya Ulumiddin (Revival of Religious Sciences)
- Risalatul Qudsiyya (Canon laws of Prophet)
- Khulasatul Fiqh (Quintessence of jurisprudence)
- Maqasidul Falasifah (Aim of Philosophers)
Expedition: After 10 years in Baghdad, Imam Ghazali left for Damascus. There he enclosed himself in a room and started meditations and Zikrullah, under the spiritual guidance of Peer Abu Ali Farnedi. As such he spent two years in seclusion. Then he left for Jerusalem to visit the birth place of Hazrat Issa (a.s). Further, he visited the sacred shrine of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s) and he made three promises which he fulfilled up to his death. These are as follows:
- Not to go to the palace of any ruler.
- To never accept their gifts.
- Not participate in any religious debates.
Furthermore, Imam Ghazali decided to perform Hadj. Then after the pilgrimage in Makkah, he visited Rasulullah (saw) in Madinah where he stayed for quite a long time.
Finally Imam Ghazali returned to his native village Taberan in Persia, where he died at the age of about 55 years.
Conclusion: Imam Ghazali was a great scholar. He was not a blind follower of Mazhabs although in his early age he followed the Shafeyi mazhab. He had great influence even in Europe, the East and the West.