Al-Ghazali: the Legacy of a Reformer

“Salafism as a creed was founded in the late nineteenth century, though there are early traces in Ibn Taymiyya’s work, by liberal Muslim reformers such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d.1314/1897), Muhammad Rashid Rida (1354/1935), and others. As a term, it is exploitable by any movement that wants to claim that it is grounded in Islamic authenticity. Just as “socialism” and “democracy” can be attributed to groups and movements that have very little connection to the terms…According to al-Ghazali, the Ahl al-Hadith knew how to collect and memorize the traditions but did not know how the source material could interact with legal methodology in order to produce jurisprudence. The puritanical Wahhabi’s were capable of only recounting, not interpreting the texts. In effect, they utilize the inherited traditions about the Prophet in an arbitrary and whimsical personalized fashion in order to affirm whatever positions they feel like supporting…”

بنسبة لنا

Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 1996) was a prolific author and influential Salafi jurist. In 1989 he wrote a blistering critique of the Wahhabi movement and influence upon the Salafi creed.  His work (al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyya Bayn Ahl al-Fiqh wa Ahl al-Hadith) is important for many reasons, not the least that it is well known that any criticism of Saudi Arabia or Wahhabism is a dangerous task.  Nevertheless, he published his work and is the first since the early 1930s to attempt such a task.

Al-Ghazali considered himself a Salafi (a rough translation: one who ought to follow the precedents of the Prophet and the Rightly Guided Companions).  Salafism as a creed was founded in the late nineteenth century, though there are early traces in Ibn Taymiyya’s work, by liberal Muslim reformers such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d.1314/1897), Muhammad Rashid Rida (1354/1935), and others.  As a term, it is exploitable by any…

View original post 645 more words