Al-Ghazali, the great Islamic scholar who lived 10 centuries ago, was a great example to all believers with his good moral values and his exemplary life. He trained many students and done great services to the Islamic world. Al Ghazali was born in Tus, Iran in 1058 when there were serious conflicts in the Islamic world and the Andalusian Empire was in a period of decline . In such challenging times, through his books and lectures, he was the means for the enlightening of the Islamic world.
Because he had such deep and profound knowledge, he was also known as ‘Hujjat al-Islam” and ‘Zauniddin’ which means the ‘evidence of Islam, proof that Islam is the true religion’. Hujjat al-Islam also means the person who memorized three hundred thousand hadiths with the names of the reporting people. When he was still young, he went to Baghdad upon the invitation of the then Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk. The scholars in the court were amazed to see the depth of knowledge and eloquence in explaining matters. Nizam al-Mulk appointed him to the Nizamiye Madrassah to act as the master, a position equivalent to today’s university rectors . During his tenure , Al Ghazali trained many students and selected three hundred of the best and taught them all the necessary knowledge. His students included prominent Islamic scholars such as Muhammad ibn Asad al-Tusi, Abu Mansur Muhammad, Abu Abd Allah Jumart al-Hussaini, and Abu al-Hasan al-Balansi.
Al Ghazali is recognized for his vast knowledge not only by the Islamic world, but also by Westerners as well. The knowledge of Al Ghazali was advanced in every aspect compared to the European scholars of his time. For instance, at a time when the Europeans commonly believed that the earth was flat, Al Ghazali asserted that the earth was round, that liver cleansed the blood of toxins and microbes and the ratio of substances in the blood were vital to keep it healthy, the latter two being facts included in today’s physiology books.
Not only this;, Al Ghazali wrote about many other subjects in his books, which are around 1,000. His books deal with Islam, Islamic moral values and science in a way that can be clearly understood by people of every age and of every education level. Some of his most famous books are as follows: Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences), Kimya al-Saadat (The Alchemy of the Happiness), Jawahir al-Qur'an (The Jewels of the Qur’an), Mizan al-Amal (Balance of Action), Durrat al-Fakhira (The Exquisite Pearl), Ayyuh-al-Walad (O my son!), Qistas al-Mustaqim(The Correct Balance).
Europeans studied the books of Al Ghazali’s in a very detailed manner,. and in 1959, upon reading the books of Al Ghazali and being fascinated by Islam religion, four Professors Ordinarius translated the books of Al Ghazali into German and then converted to Islam.
AL GHAZALI CALLED ATTENTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSLIMS BEING UNITED AND LIVING IN A BROTHERLY MANNER:
Another point Al Ghazali paid attention to was the brotherhood, friendship and love between the Muslims. In his famous book, Ihya Ulum al-Din, he explains in the light of the verses of the Qur’an and the hadith, why the brotherhood of Muslims is very important as follows:
The Prophet Mohammed (saas) explains: "Muslims are siblings, they do not hurt, wrong or afflict one another.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Don’t get jealous of each other, don’t hold a grudge against each other, don’t say bad things to each other, don’t turn your backs to each other, don’t gossip about each other. Servants of Allah, be brothers. (Bukhari and Muslim; Hujjatal-Islam Al Ghazali, Ihya al-Ulum al-Din, vol. 3, p. 315)
The great scholar Al Ghazali explains how the believers should approach each other in these wise words:
... You should always approach them with the compassion that they expect from you. You should see their good sides and ignore the bad ones. When they come to you and talk to you, you should not turn your eyes away from them. (Ihya al-Ulum al-Din, p. 431)
Some of the sage advice of Al Ghazali …
"Don’t forget that Almighty Allah knows everything you think and say. People see only the outside of each other, but Almighty Allah sees both the inside and the outside of all. Those who know that will be careful with their thoughts and actions. “
"O my lower self, if you are saying ‘I’ll repent and do good things later’, remember that death can come before that and you can only regret. If you think repenting tomorrow is easier than it is today, you are mistaken”.
Al Ghazali gave the good news of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as)
In his works Hujjat al-Islam Al Ghazali explained in detail the qualities of Hazrat Mahdi (as) who is to come in the End Times based on the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) and heralded Muslims with the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as).