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Sufism & Islam
Flowers From Al-Ghazzali
His Brief Life Story
Imam Al-Ghazzali was born in Tus (Khorasan) in 1058 A.D. He lost his father when very young. His father at his death had entrusted him and his younger brother to a friend for their education and upbringing. The dutiful friend invested all their inheritance on their education.
Imam Ghazzali learned theology from Ahmed Bin Mohammed Raz Kazi and Abu Nasir Ismail of Jarjan, In those days the method of instruction was by oral lectures and students had to preserve them by notes to commit by heart. As Imam Ghazzali was returning home with his precious notes, they were looted on the way by the robbers. When he approached the leader of the robbers entreating him with tearful eyes to return his notes, the thieves only laughed and said: "What have you learned and what knowledge have you acquired when on the toss of a mere piece of paper you find yourself blank." These remarks deeply hurt Ghazzali and, on reaching home, he started learning all things by memory and did this for full 3 years.
His Early Education
He then proceeded to Nishapur to perfect his theological knowledge at the feet of Imam-ul-Harmain who was a master mind of his time. The teacher found in him a scholar of extraordinary intelligence and wisdom and used to call him "an ocean of learning." He appointed him as his own deputy in his reputable school. When his teacher died, Al Ghazzali was only 28, but he had earned high reputation as a brilliant scholar, author and preceptor.
Now the famous Wazir, Nizam-ul-Mulk, invited him to the great seat of Islamic learning--the Nizamia University of Baghdad--and made him its principal. Here he attained worldwide prominence by coming in contact with various religious scholars, masters and intellectual giants of his day. His powers of advocacy and supreme knowledge won him the hearts of both the rich and the poor. The kings offered him the seat by their side and the streets were decorated as he passed through them. By the age of 34, Al-Ghazzali's reputation had reached its pinnacle; his freethinking lectures were preserved in many volumes by scholars and intellectuals.