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Onderwerp: The book Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen

  1. #1
    Alhamdulilah hassan's Avatar
    Dec 2005
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    The book Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen


    Do you advise us to read the book Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen by Shaykh Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali?


    Praise be to Allaah.

    Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] was asked about this book, and he replied as follows:

    “With regard to the books Qoot al-Quloob and the similar book al-Ihya’, which speak of the actions of the heart such as patience, gratitude, love, trust in Allaah, Tawheed (belief in Allah alone) and so on, Abu Taalib [the author of Qoot al-Quloob] has more knowledge of hadeeth, reports and the views of scholars who spoke of spiritual matters among the Sufis and others than Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, and his words are more correct, more precise and further removed from bid’ah (innovation). But nevertheless Qoot al-Quloob includes da’eef (weak) and mawdoo’ (fabricated) ahaadeeth, and many unacceptable things. With regard to what is said in al-Ihya’ about things that may doom a person to Hell, such as pride, self-admiration, showing off, malicious envy, etc., most of it is taken from al-Haarith al-Muhaasibi in al-Ri’aayah; some of it is acceptable and some of it is to be rejected, and some of it is controversial. There is a great deal of good in al-Ihya’ but it also contains some blameworthy material and some corrupt material such as the words of the philosophers on Tawheed, Prophethood and the Resurrection. When he deals with Sufi topics it is like one who has taken an enemy of the Muslims and dressed him in Muslim garb. The leaders of Islam denounced Abu Haamid for this feature of his books, and they said that he was made sick by al-Shifa’, meaning Shifa’ Ibn Seena, which is about philosophy. [Shifa’ literally means “healing” in Arabic].

    Al-Ihya’ contains da’eef (weak) ahaadeeth and reports, and even many mawdoo’ (fabricated) reports.

    It contains many of the errors and myths of the Sufis.

    Nevertheless it also contains some of the words of Sufi shaykhs who correctly understand the actions of the heart in accordance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and it speaks of acts of worship and etiquette in accordance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah; such material outweighs the material that is to be rejected. This is why people differed and disputed concerning it.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, vol 10, p. 551).

    Hence our advice is that people should not read it, especially since there other books in the same field which mean that there is no need for it, such as Haadi al-Arwaah, al-Fawaa’id, Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim; al-‘Uboodiyyah and al-Eemaan by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah; Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, and Risaalat al-Khushoo’ fi’l-Salaah, by Ibn Rajab. There is also a summary of Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen from which one may benefit, such as Mukhtasar Manhaaj al-Qaasideen by Ibn Qudaamah. In the case of a student (taalib al-‘ilm) who has a strong foundation of knowledge, there is nothing wrong with him reading it if he is able to distinguish between what is saheeh (sound) and what is da’eef (weak), what is true and what is false.

    For more information on al-Ghazzaali and his book, please see Question no. 13473.

    And Allaah knows best.

    Islam Q&A

  2. #2
    Alhamdulilah hassan's Avatar
    Dec 2005
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    Scholars Warnings Against “‘Al-Ihya’ ‘Uloom Ad-Din” Of Al-Ghazaali

    Scholars Warnings Against “‘Al-Ihya’ ‘Uloom Ad-Din” Of Al-Ghazaali:

    (احياء علوم الدين) Revival of the sciences of Religion (Ehya Uluum AlDeen)

    What Scholars and Jurists said about the Ihya of Imam Al Ghazali?

    All praise is due to Allah, peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah.

    To proceed: As a compiler of these comments, Allah is my witness that my heart is full of love and reverence for this Imam. However it is being necessitated to warn those who transgressed in him and fanatically developed tendency blindfoldly towards the above mentioned book as a whole.

    AlQadhi Ayadh: (Died 544H) in the Book (Siyar A’lam Annubala-The lives of noble Figures-Vol 19. Page 327): Sheikh Abu Hamid (Al-Ghazaali) has compiled and collated the horrific and damnably fabulous writings on the Sufism, he called to it. The Sultan in Maghreb issued a decree and religious fatwa to burn the book and warn people about it.

    Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi: (Died 597H) in the Book (Mukhtasar Minhaj AlQasidin Pages 16-17): I know that in the book Ihya, there is blight not known except to scholars, the least of which is the false and fabricated Hadith crammed in it. He advocates for the Sufi statements of mortality and immortality, starving, monasticism, etc. I have revealed his shortcomings and errors in my book Talbis Iblis.

    Also he said: Abu Hamid AlGhazali came and compiled a book according to the Sufi methodology, he filled in it Hadiths of which he knew not of its falsehood. He spoke about the mystical transcendence to the level of intuition; he came with something similar to the Badhiniya. (Talbis Iblis page 217).

    Imam Al-Dhahabi: (Died 748 H) in his book (Siyar A’lam Annubala-The lives of noble Figures-Vol 19. Page 339-340): In Ihya there are false Hadiths, there would be good in it, had he refrained from importing in it the literature, arts, and asceticism of the sage men, thinkers, philosophers and the deviant Sufis. We ask Allah a beneficial knowledge; do you know what beneficial knowledge is? It is what has been revealed in the Quran and interpreted by the messenger peace and blessings be upon him. He also said in the same book (Vol 19 page 328), AlGhazali has written books in defaming the philosophers, in his book AlTahafut, he revealed their errors but then he agreed with them in some of their statements, thinking that it was right, because he did neither have knowledge of the narrations nor experience of the Sunnah. He was fond of paying reference to the Letters of AlSufa brothers which is a fatal disease, a killer poison, had Abu Hamid (Al-Ghazaali) not been one of the wise and sincere great Imams, he would have fallen forever, I warn you not to read these books, run away with your religion away from it, otherwise you will definitely fall into utter confusion and mayhem.

    Imam Abu bakar Ibn Al Aarabi: said in (Siyar A’lam Annubala- The lives of noble Figures-Vol 19. Page 327): Imam Ghazali has swallowed the philosophers, then he wanted to vomit them but he could not. (Metaphorically, he beat them but then he himself got caught up in it as he plunged deep in the philosophy).

    Al Imam Al Mazari: ( Died 536H) in (Siyar A’lam Annubala Vol 12. Page 185): Then they see to it alright, meaning some of the Malikis, the writings of a man (Al Ghazali may Allah have mercy on him) whose fatwa is based on unrealism, there is a lot of narrations on the prophet peace and blessings be upon him in which the truth has been mixed with falsehood, likewise what he reported on the Salafu Salih can not be confirmed, he included in it the mysticism of the Awliya but he amalgamated the harmful with the beneficial, it can not be wholly accepted at all.

    Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hamden Al Qurdhubi: ( Died 508H)
    In (Siyar A’lam Annubala Vol 19. Page 332): Some of those who delivered sermons and lectures fanatically preferred quotation of the book of Ihya over the jurisprudence!

    Do not they see the falsehood and abominable quotations in the book which he claimed to be the means to reach the level of intuition and the heavenly secret phases?.

    Imam Ibn Aqil Al Hambali: was among those who warned against the Ihya in his book (Ghaayatal Amani, Vol 2 page 369).

    Ibn Kathir: (Died 774H) said in his book (Al Bidaya Wal Nihaya Vol 12 page 174) during this period he (AlGhazali) has written his book Ihya which is a wonderful book which deals with a lot of knowledge of the legislation embedded with mysticism and subtle acts of the hearts. It is full of many strange, denied and fabricated Hadiths. Both Abul Faraj Ibn AlJawzi and then Ibn Salah reprimanded him strongly on it.

    Al Mazari and the Maghareb wanted to burn the Ihya. Ibn Sakra composed a whole book in which he collected the falsehood in the book Ihya.

    Rashid Ibn Rashid AlWaidi Al Maliki: (Died 675H) said in his book Al Halal Wal Haram that he heard Al Imam Abdullah Ibn Musa AlFashtali AlMaliki saying: If I found the books of Al Qusheri I would have thrown it in the sea, likewise with the books of Al Ghazali.

    Al Imam Muhammad Ibn Al Walid Al Dhardhushi (Died 520H) in the book (Al Me’yar Al Mu’arab Vol 12 page 186) also look (Tarikh Al Islam by Imam Adhahabi 122), (Dhabaqat Ashafiya Al Kubra Vol 6 page 243), (Al Rasa’el Vol 3 page 137) said in his letter to Ibn Al Muthafar talking about Al Ghazali may Allah have mercy on him: (Then he started the Sufism, he abandoned the knowledge and its people, he became immersed in the science of mysticism, meddlers in the matters of divine elevation, the whispers of the devil, then he tarnished it with the ideas of the philosophers and mystical codes of Al Hallaj, he used to criticise the jurists and theologians. He filled in his book false Hadiths diluted with the schools of thought of the philosophers and letter of the Ikhwan Alsufa, the likeness of the one who wants to defend Islam with the schools of thought and ideologies of the philosophers is like the one who washes away water with urine. He indulged into the hidden secrets and meanings which is the acts of the Badhiniya.

    Examples of what is written in Al Ghazali’s Ihya:

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 305): Abu Turab Al Nakhshabi said one day to his disciple (Murid): Had you only seen Aba Yazid (Al Basdhami), the disciple replied: I am preoccupied with something else. When Abu Turab reiterated, had you only seen Aba Yazid, so irritatingly, the disciple got spiritual transcendence and replied: What should I do with seeing Aba Yazid, while I have seen Allah whose vision made me dispense with seeing Aba Yazid. Abu Turab said: I felt offended and replied: Had you seen Aba Yazid once would suffice you of seeing Allah seventy times. The disciple was embarrassed and said: How is that? Abu Turab replied: Do not you see Allah is being manifested in you according to your status and to Aba Yazid according to his status?

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 2 page 298): The song is more effective in stimulating the emotions than the Quran for seven reasons of which, all the verses of the Quran do not suit the listener’s status and the listener does not understand its real meanings.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 2 page 301): The hearts, even if it’s filled with burning love for Allah, just a single poem initiates and triggers faster and more effective emotions than recitation of the Quran. That is due to the nature of the poem’s captivation of the tendency and desire of Man.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 305): Sahl Al Tustari said: Allah has created servants in this village if they cursed the oppressors, none of them would remain but die in the same night, even if they asked him not to make the hour or doomsday occur, HE would not. Commenting on this statement AlGhazali said: These are possible matters; those who deny it are ignoring the vast blessings of Allah.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 61): Sahl Ibn Abdullah Al Tustari said when asked about the secret of the soul: The soul is the secret of Allah, That secret has been manifested to none except Pharaoh because he said: I am your Lord the most high.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 206): AlJunaid said: I recommend the beginner disciple not to preoccupy his heart with three, otherwise his status would change, seeking provision, seeking knowledge of the Hadith and marriage. Also AlJunaid said: I prefer the Sufi not to be busy with writing and reading because it is safer and sound for his intention and practice.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 306): Some of them said: I longed for seeing Khidhr, I asked Allah to show me. He appeared to me and I said to him: O’ father of Abbas, tell me something if I read I would be veiled from the eyes of the people, they would not know my status and none would know my piety and good doing. He said: say: O’ Allah drape your dense veil on me, cover the marquee of your barriers on me, make me among your hidden unseen matters, and conceal me from the hearts of your creation. Then he disappeared. I never longed for him again. I used to say the words everyday and it was reported that he became very despised with and downtrodden, even the non believers (Ahlal Dhimma) used to disgust him, he used to carry things for them because of his debased apparent status, children used to laugh at him and make fun of him, he used to get the tranquillity and happiness in it.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 1 page 269): This is the case of the friends of Allah (Awliya) and the likeness of him should be sought after. Among them are those the Kaabah comes visiting him, and circumambulates around him.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 3 page 24): Abu Yazid used to say the knowledgeable is not the one who memorizes the book, if he forgets what he memorized became ignorant but the knowledge is the one who takes knowledge anytime he wants from Allah without memorization and learning.

    Al Ghazali, may Allah forgive him said (Al Ihya Vol 4 page 168): Allah gave the angels a blessed status closer to Him without previously original means with which they attained it and set Iblis in a cursed and ward off status away from Him without previously committing original crime.

    (May Allah forgive us for quoting the above statements which is an accusation of Allah with injustice).

    Last but not least, the king of the Murabidheen, Ali Ibn Yusuf Ibn Tashfen, burnt the book of Ihya, Al Dhahabi said in (Siyar A’lam Annubala Vol 20. Page 124): The king was brave, struggler and striving in the way of Allah, just ruler, pious, humble, good doer, setting the scholars on high status and seeking their counsel. It is mentioned in Miyar AlMuarab Vol 12 page 185 that the king of Tashfeen has burnt the book of Ihya with the consent and accordance of the contemporary jurists.


  3. #3
    Alhamdulilah hassan's Avatar
    Dec 2005
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    Who was al-Ghazzaali?


    Could you shed some light on who Imam al Ghazzali was?


    Praise be to Allaah.

    Al-Ghazzaali was Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi, who was known as al-Ghazzaali. He was born in Toos in 450 AH. His father used to spin wool and sell it in his shop in Toos.

    The life of al-Ghazzaali needs to be discussed at length because he went through a number of stages. He indulged in philosophy, then he recanted and rejected that. After that he indulged in what is known as ‘ilm al-kalaam (Islamic philosophy) and gained a sound grasp of its basic principles; then he rejected that after it became clear to him that it was corrupt and filled with contradictions. He was focusing on ‘ilm al-kalaam during the period when he refuted philosophy, and at that time he was given the title of Hujjat al-Islam, after he had refuted the arguments of the philosophers. Then he recanted ‘ilm al-kalaam and turned away from it. He followed the path of the Baatiniyyah (esotericists) and learned their knowledge, but then he rejected that and showed the beliefs of the Baatiniyyah to be false, and exposed the manner in which they tamper with the texts and rulings. Then he followed the path of Sufism. These are the four stages that al-Ghazzaali went through. Shaykh Abu ‘Umar ibn al-Salaah (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke well of him when he said: “A lot has been said about Abu Haamid and a lot has been narrated from him. As for these books – meaning al-Ghazzaali’s books which contradict the truth – no attention should be paid to them. As for the man himself, we should keep quiet about him, and refer his case to Allaah.” See Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali wa’l-Tasawwuf by ‘Abd al-Rahmaan Dimashqiyyah.

    No fair-minded person would deny the rare level of intelligence, ingenuity and cleverness that Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali attained. Al-Dhahabi said of him: “Al-Ghazzaali, the imaam and shaykh, the prominent scholar, Hujjat al-Islam, the wonder of his time, Zayn al-Deem Abu Haamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi al-Shaafa’i al-Ghazzaali, the author of many books and one possessed of utter intelligence. He studied fiqh in his own town, then he moved to Nisapur in the company of a group of students. He stayed with the Imaam al-Haramayn and gained a deep knowledge of fiqh within a short period. He became well-versed in ‘ilm al-kalaam and debate, until he became the best of debaters…” (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, part 9, p. 323)

    You will find that even though Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali had such a deep knowledge of fiqh, Sufism, ‘ilm al-kalaam, usool al-fiqh, etc., and even though he was such an ascetic and devoted worshipper, and had such a good intention and vast knowledge of Islamic sciences, he still had an inclination towards philosophy. But his philosophy emerged in the form of Sufism and was expressed through Islamic ideas. Hence the Muslim scholars, including his closest companion Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi, refuted his ideas. Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi said: Our shaykh Abu Haamid went deep into philosophy, then he wanted to come out of it but he was unable to. There were narrated from him opinions which sound like the Baatini way of speaking, and that may be verified by looking in al-Ghazzaali’s books. See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, part 4, p. 66.

    Even though al-Ghazzaali was very advanced in knowledge, he had little knowledge of hadeeth and its sciences, and he could not distinguish between sound ahaadeeth and weak ones. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If we assume that someone narrated the view of the salaf but what he narrated is far removed from what the view of the salaf actually is, then he has little knowledge of the view of the salaf, such as Abu’l-Ma’aali, Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, Ibn al-Khateeb and the like, who did not have enough knowledge of hadeeth to qualify them as ordinary scholars of hadeeth, let alone as prominent scholars in that field. For none of these people had any knowledge of al-Bukhaari and Muslim and their ahaadeeth, apart from what they heard, which is similar to the situation of the ordinary Muslim, who cannot distinguish between a hadeeth which is regarded as saheeh and mutawaatir according to the scholars of hadeeth, and a hadeeth which is fabricated and false. Their books bear witness to that, for they contain strange things and most of these scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam and Sufis who have drifted away from the path of the salaf admit that, either at the time of death or before death. There are many such well-known stories. This Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, despite his brilliance, his devotion to Allaah, his knowledge of kalaam and philosophy, his asceticism and spiritual practices and his Sufism, ended up in a state of confusion and resorted to the path of those who claim to find out things through dreams and spiritual methods. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, part 4, p. 71).

    He also said: Hence, even though Abu Haamid refuted the philosophers and classed them as kaafirs, and expressed veneration of Prophethood [as opposed to philosophy], etc., and even though some of what he says is true and good, and indeed of great benefit, nevertheless some of his writings contain philosophical material and matters where he followed the corrupt principles of philosophy that contradict Prophethood and even contradict sound common sense. Hence a group of scholars from Khurasaan, Iraq and the Maghreb criticized him, such as his friend Abu Ishaaq al-Margheenaani, Abu’l-Wafa’ ibn ‘Aqeel, al-Qushayri, al-Tartooshi, Ibn Rushd, al-Maaziri and a group of earlier scholars. This was even mentioned by Shaykh Abu ‘Amr ibn al-Salaah in his book Tabaqaat Ashaab al-Shaafa’i, and was confirmed by Shaykh Abu Zakariya al-Nawawi, who said in his book: “Chapter explaining some important things for which Imaam al-Ghazzaali was denounced in his books which were unacceptable to the scholars of his madhhab and others, namely his odd statements such as what he said in Muqaddimat al-Mantiq at the beginning of al-Mustasfa: ‘This is the introduction to all knowledge, and whoever does not learn this, his knowledge cannot be trusted at all.’”

    Shaykh Abu ‘Amr said: “I heard Shaykh al-‘Imaad ibn Yoonus narrating from Yoosuf al-Dimashqi, the teacher of al-Nizaamiyyah in Baghdad, who was one of the famous deans of the school, that he used to denounce these words and say, “Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and So-and-so and So-and-so…” meaning that these great leaders had a great deal of certainty and faith even though they had no knowledge of this Muqaddimah and of any of the ideas contained in it.” (al-‘Aqeedah al-Isfahaaniyyah, part 1, p. 169).

    Al-Dhahabi narrated in his book Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’ that Muhammad ibn al-Waleed al-Tartooshi said in a letter which he sent to Ibn Muzaffar: As for what you mentioned about Abu Haamid, I have seen him and spoken to him, and I think that he is a man of great knowledge, he is intelligent and capable, and has been studying all of his life, spending most of his time in study, but then he drifted away from the path of the scholars and entered the crowd of worshippers. Then he became a Sufi and forsook knowledge and its people, then he got involved with “inspiration”, those who claim to have spiritual knowledge, and the insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan. Then he mixed that with the views of the philosophers and the symbolic phrases of al-Hallaaj, and he started to criticize the fuqaha’ and the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam. He almost went astray from the religion altogether. When he wrote al-Ihya’ [i.e., Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen], he started to speak of the inspiration and symbolic words of the Sufis, although he was not qualified to do that and had no deep knowledge of such matters. Hence he failed, and filled his book with fabricated reports.

    I (al-Dhahabi) say: as for al-Ihya’, it contains many false ahaadeeth, and it contains much that is good. I wish that it did not contain etiquette, rituals and asceticism that are in accordance with the ways of the philosophers and deviant Sufis. We ask Allaah for beneficial knowledge. Do you know what is beneficial knowledge? It is that which Allaah revealed in the Qur’aan, which was explained by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in word and deed, and the type of knowledge which we are not forbidden to acquire. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.” So, my brother, you must ponder the words of Allaah and persist in studying al-Saheehayn, Sunan al-Nasaa’i, Riyaadh al-Nawawi and al-Adhkaar by al-Nawawi, then you will succeed and prosper.

    Beware of the opinions of the philosophers, the practice of spiritual exercises, the starvation of monks, and the nonsense talk of those who stay alone for long periods in their monasteries. All goodness is to be found in following the pure and tolerant way of the haneefs. And seek the help of Allaah. O Allaah, guide us to Your straight path.

    Al-Maaziri praised Abu Haamid with regard to fiqh, and said that he had more knowledge of fiqh than of usool al-fiqh (the basic principles of fiqh). With regard to ‘ilm al-kalaam which is usool al-deen, he wrote books in this field, but he did not have deep knowledge of it. I realized that he was lacking in experience in this field, because he studied the branches of philosophy before he studied usool al-fiqh, so philosophy made him audacious in criticizing ideas and attacking facts, because philosophy goes along with one’s train of thought, without any shar’i guidelines.

    A friend of his told me that he spent a lot of time studying Rasaa’il Ikhwaan al-Safa, which contains fifty-one essays. It was written by someone who has studied sharee’ah and philosophy, then had mixed the two. He was a man who was known as Ibn Seena, who filled the world with his books. He had a good knowledge of philosophy, which led him to try to refer all the basic principles of ‘aqeedah to philosophy. He strove hard and achieved what others had failed to do. I have seen some of his books and I noticed that Abu Haamid quotes him a great deal when he speaks of philosophy. With regard to Sufi views, I do not know where he got them from, but I have seen that some of his companions mention the books of Ibn Seena and their contents, and he also mentioned the books of Abu Hayyaan al-Tawheedi. As far as I am concerned, he picked up his Sufi ideas from him. I was told that Abu Hayyaan wrote a huge book about these Sufi ideas, and al-Ihya’ contains a lot of baseless ideas… then he said: In al-Ihya’ he mentioned ideas that have no basis, such as starting with the index finger when cutting the nails because it is superior to the other fingers, as it is the finger used in tasbeeh; then moving on to the middle finger because it is to the right of the index finger, and ending with the thumb of the right hand. He narrated a report concerning that.

    I (al-Dhahabi) say: this is a fabricated report. Abu’l-Faraj al-Jawzi said: Abu Haamid wrote al-Ihya’ and filled it with fabricated ahaadeeth which he did not know were fabricated. He spoke of inspiration and deviated from the framework of fiqh. He said that what is meant by the stars, moon and sun that Ibraaheem saw was the barriers of light that keep a person from Allaah, not the things that are well known. This is like the words of the Baatiniyyah.

    (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, part 19, p. 340).

    Then at the end of his life, al-Ghazzaali (may Allaah have mercy on him) came back to the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. He focused on the Qur’aan and Sunnah and condemned ‘ilm al-kalaam and its proponents. He advised the ummah to come back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and to act in accordance with them, as was the way of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Judgement). Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: After that he came back to the path of the scholars of hadeeth, and wrote Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam.

    (Majmoo Fataawa, part 4, p. 72)

    A glance at Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam will prove to us that he had indeed changed in many ways:

    1 – In this book he advocated the belief of the salaf, and pointed out that the way of the salaf was the truth, and that whoever went against them was an innovator or follower of bid’ah.

    2 – He emphatically denounced ta’weel (interpretation of the attributes of Allaah in a manner that differs from their apparent meaning). He advocated affirming the attributes of Allaah and not misinterpreting them in a manner that would lead to denying the attributes of Allaah.

    3 – He emphatically denounced the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam and described all their principles and standards as “reprehensible innovations” which had harmed a great number of people and created trouble for the Muslims. He said: “The harm caused to a great number of people is something that has been seen, witnessed and experienced. The evil that has resulted since ‘ilm al-kalaam began has become widespread even though people at the time of the Sahaabah forbade that. This is also indicated by the fact that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Sahaabah, by consensus, did not follow the way of the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam when they produced arguments and evidence and analysis. That was not because they were incapable of doing so; if they had thought that was something good, they would have done it in the best manner, and they would have studied the matter hard, more than they did with regard to the division of the estate among the heirs (al-faraa’id).”

    He also said: “The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) needed to prove the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the Jews and Christians, but they did not add anything to the evidence of the Qur’aan; they did not resort to arguments or lay down philosophical principles. That was because they knew that doing so would provoke trouble and cause confusion. Whoever is not convinced by the evidence of the Qur’aan will not be convinced by anything other than the sword, for there is no proof after the proof of Allaah.”

    See Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali wa’l-Tasawwuf.

    These are a few of the comments that trustworthy scholars have made about al-Ghazzaali (may Allaah have mercy on him). Perhaps this is enough for those who wish to be guided. And Allaah is the Guide to the straight path.

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