Ghazzali Abu Hamid Imohammed Ibn Ahmad

Ghazzali Abu Hamid Imohammed Ibn Ahmad, "surnamed ZAINEDDIN (glory of the law), one of the most eminent Mohammedan philosophers and divines, and one of the warmest adherents of Sufism (q.v.), born in 450 H. (1058, A.D.), at Tus, in Khorassan, the birthplace also of Firdusi, and burial-place of Harunal-Rashid. The surname of Ghazzali was given to him, according to some, because his father dealt in ghazal or spun cotton. Left an orphan at an early age, by the advice of his guardian, a Sufi, he went to Djorshan, with the intention of devoting himself to study and science as a means of support, and became the favorite pupil of Abu Nasr Ismail, an eminent teacher of the time. He afterwards betook himself to Nishapur, where he attended the lectures of the learned Imamn of the two sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina) on law, polemics, philosophy, and theology, and remained till the death of his instructor. The grand vizier of Bagdad Ithen appointed him (A.D. 1091) to a professorship at his Nizamje (university), which he left four years later in order to perform the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. On his return he visited Jerusalem and Damascus, and remained for ten years at the mosque of the latter place, leading a studious and ascetic life. He afterwards visited Cairo, Alexandria, and other places in Africa, everywhere teaching and lecturing on religion and science, and also returned for a short time to Nishapur; but he finally went back to Tus, his native place, where he died, 505 H. (A.D. 1111), having founded a monastery for Sufis and a college for the studious. Of the ninety-nine works written by him (mostly in Arabic, a few in Persian), the most famous is his Ihja Olum ad-Din (Restoration of Religious Sciences), a work so remarkable and exhaustive, that it has been said, 'If all the books of the Islam were lost, and we had only this one left, we should not miss the others' (Haji Khalifah). The academies of the West, however, Cordova, Morocco, Fez, etc., condemned it as contrary to the teachings of the Sunna (q.v.), and had it publicly burned. Next in importance stands his great philosophical work Tahafat Al-Filasafah (The Overturning of the Philosophers), which has survived only in Hebrew translations, and which gave rise to a warmly contested controversy between him and Averroes (Ibn Roslid). We may mention also his commentary on the ninety-nine names of God, and an ethical treatise, O Child! published and translated into German by Hammer Purgstall. About one third only of his works is known to have survived and of this but a very small part has been published."

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