Al Ghazali Characteristics

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Imam Al-Ghazali
The life of Al-Ghazali
Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali’s life can be divided into three major parts; learning, career and retirement. He earned most of his education in Tus in Persia, then in Gurgan and finally in Nisharpur. He then moved to the court of Nizam al-Mulk, where the vizier of the Seljuq Sultans appointed him as the head of Nizamiyyah College at Baghdad in 1091 AD. His career as a ‘doctor’ of the Islamic community began in Baghdad (1091-5 AD). This period although short, was significant. He spent this time giving lectures on Islamic jurisprudence, responding to queries and refuting heresies from all segments of the community. He left Baghdad after the violence and confusion that occurred due to the assassination
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The innate qualities included: (1) al-bulugh, maturity, (2) al- aql (intelligence), (3) al.hurriyyah (freedom), (4) of the male sex, (5) nasab Quraysh (Qurayshite descent), and (6) soundness of hearing and sight. The four acquired qualities included; (i) al-najdah, intrepidity (bravery, courage; fitness for combat, war or fighting), (ii) al-kifayah, competence, (iii) al- ilm, knowledge, and (iv) al-wara' piety.4
Regarding the third acquired quality Al-Ghazali goes on to say that it is not necessary for a caliph to have this quality. As this was never a requirement for this position nor is it a quality required in public interest. He defends this claim by reasoning that if a caliph can lean on the vizier for matters of state craft and the Seljuks for matters of power then he should be able to take the advice of the ulema and act upon it in matters of ilm, relying on the authority of others who are more qualified. If a caliph has all the other qualities except this he shouldn’t be removed unless someone else who fulfills all the requirements is present and the deposition doesn’t result in a
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In order to show this support and to highlight the importance of the caliphate as a uniting force for Muslims he wrote most of his work. Although some of his work goes against Islamic principles this can be explained when we keep into consideration the political and social conditions of his time.

1. Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid (1058-1111):
2. Al-Ghazali, Al-Fada’ih al-Batiniyyah, 171.
3. AI-Ghazali, al-Iqtisad fi al-I’tiqad, 234.
4. Ibid., 180
5. Ibid
Other sources;
Political thought in medieval Islam: an introductory outline by EIJ Rosenthal
Intellectual Discourse 2004,Vol 12, No.2, 113-136; Politics in the works of Al-Ghazzali-Rusli

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