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Question:
Assalamu Alaykum brothers and sisters,

I want to thank you for your efforts in making such questions and answers available for us as students.

I have a serious question. My math teacher was giving a lecture, and he started talking about Imam al-Gazaliy, but he said that Ghazaliy was misguided because “he followed the Ashari beliefs and that he was a Sufi”, and he also said Sufis are misguided and are out of Islam!!

I was shocked to hear that, but did not know what to do.
What is your opinion about Imam Ghazaliy? And was he a sufi? And what should I have done?
Answer:

Short Answer:
1.    All Muslims of our ummah know the great and high status of Imam al-Ghazali, but only wahhabis deny that.
2.    The Wahhabi sect defames Imam al-Ghazali as well as Ash^aris and Sufis arrogantly, ignorantly, and blindly.
3.    Whoever defames such scholars, is either a wahhabi or influenced by them and their books.
4.    You should have peacefully stood up and discredited his opinion against Gazali, and simply say: “Al-Ghazali has been accepted and praised by the majority of our Ummah for his books and great works, so why are you different the rest of the ummah”?

 
Detailed Answer:
Praise be to Allah the creator of all the creations. He has no beginning and no ending, He existed before the creations, without a place, without a body or shape, whatever you imagine in your mind, Allah is different from it. We ask Allah to raise the rank of our master Prophet Muhammad, and his kind Al and companions, thereafter,

It’s very sad to hear that math teacher defame such a great scholar such as al-Imam al-Ghazali (Rahimahullah).

The only ones that defame him along with the great Ash^ari and sufi scholars, are a tiny sect called the “Wahhabiyah” whom are “Mushabbihah and Mujassimah”. A sect that emerged from Najd, that likens Allah to His creations, and attributes to Allah the bodily parts and organs.


Sadly, it seems that this teacher is either one of these wahhabis, or is influenced by them and their books. And so we warn you from him and from anyone that deems as misguided, the great scholars of this Ummah such as the four imams or their great followers like Imams al-Ghazali, an-Nawawiy, as-Suyutiy, Ibn Hajar al-^Asqalaniy, al-Bayhaqiy, al-Qurtubiy, an-Nasafiy, at-Tahawiy (whom are all Ash^aris and Maturidis) and many others. Wahhabis also deemed those aformentioned scholars as misguided, we did read books and heard recordings of theirs where they accuse these great scholars with straying from the path of Ahlus-Sunnah and being misguided in the creed (Al-asma' was-Sifat).



- They declared Imam Nawawiy, Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalaniy, Imam Suyutiy as misguided in creed!!
See: انظر كتاب ابن عثيمين "لقاء الباب المفتوح"


- They declared Sultan Salahud-Deen al-‘Ayoubiy as misguided Aqeedah!!
See: راجع الشريط المسجل بصوت شيخ للوهابية جاسر الحجازي وعلى موقعهم في الانترنت. ولدينا الشريط

- They deem most of the ottoman sultans as mushrik blasphemers!!
See: انظر نفس المصدر في الشريط المسجل بصوت جاسر الحجازي وانظر كتابهم "فتح المجيد" لعبد الرحمن حسن بن محمد بن عبد الوهاب، ص/352

- They declared as a blasphemer Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih (whom the Prophet praised)!!
See: انظر كتابهم "فتح المجيد" وانظر نفس المصدر في الشريط المسجل بصوت جاسر الحجازي

- They claim that all Asharis (like Nawawiy) and Maturidis (like Nasafiy) whom are the Majority of Ahlus-Sunnah are kuffar!!
See: انظر مقدمة محمد بن صالح الفوزان عن الكتاب المسمى "التوحيد" لابن خزيمة


- They claim that all Islamic Sufism is shirk and must be eradicated and targeted!!
See: انظر كتابهم المسمى "المجموع المفيد من عقيدة التوحيد" ص 55 وكتاب "إعصار التوحيد" لنبيل محمد.

- They declare Shirk on the one who says “la ilaha illallah” in the count of 1,000 times!!!!
See: انظر كتابهم المسمى "حلقات ممنوعة" تأليف حسام العقاد ص 25

- They claim that Islam ceased to exist between Ibn Taimiyah till Ibn Abdul-Wahhab!!
See: انظر كتاب ابن عبد الوهاب المسمى التوحيد. وانظر كلام مفتي مكة "الدرر السنية" ص 42 وما بعدها.

- They declare most Muslim countries namely: Egypt, Libya, Morocco, India, Persia, West Asia, Syria, Nigeria, Turkey, Afghanistan, Turkistan, Sudan, Tunisia, Marrakesh and Algeria  with Kufur and Shirk
See: انظر كتابهم المسمى "إعصار التوحيد" لنبيل محمد
Wahhabis considered Imam al-Ghazali and his likes from the great Ash^ari scholars as misguided, because these scholars promoted the Ash^ariy creed of the millions of Muslims, believing that Allah is not contained in a place, and that Allah is not like his creations in any way, and that Allah is clear from bodily parts, organs, limits, directions and place. Where as wahhabis, they attribute to Allah the sitting on the throne, the bodily parts, direction, change, size and weight (Na^udhubillah from such kufur).

Note: There are few statements falsely attributed to Imam al-Ghazali, and some of them are even inserted into his books, but all his works clear him from such accusation.

Here are some of the quotes of Imam al-Ghazali in clearing Allah from place and direction, and that the “Fawqiah; aboveness” when attributed to Allah, it refers to aboveness in status NOT being in a place or having a form or image as wahhabis delude:
قال الشيخ أبو حامد محمد بن محمد الغزالي الشافعي الأشعري (505 هـ) ما نصه (1):
"تعالى- أي الله- عن أن يحويه مكان، كما تقدس عن أن يحده زمان، بل كان قبل أن خلق الزمان والمكان وهو الان على ما عليه كان " اهـ.

In his book "Ihia' ^ulum Deen" 1/108 he said: "Allah is clear from being contained in a place, as He is exalted from being bound to time, in fact He exsited before He created time and place, and now He exists as He existed eternally (ie; without being in a place).

He then went into details in clearing Allah from being in a place or direction, as quoted below:

وقال أيضا في كتابه "إحياء علوم الدين ما نصه (2):
"الأصل السابع: العلم بأن الله تعالى منزه الذات عن الاختصاص بالجهات، فإن الجهة إما فوق وإما أسفل وإما يمين وإما شمال أو قدّام أو خلف، وهذه الجهات هو الذي خلقها وأحدثها بواسطة خلق الإنسان إذ خلق له طرفين أحدهما يعتمد على الأرض ويسمى رجلا، والاخر يقابله ويسمى رأسا، فحدث اسم الفوق لما يلي جهة الرأس واسم السفل لما يلي جهة الرِّجل، حتى إن النملة التي تدب منكسة تحت السقف تنقلب جهة الفوق في حقها تحت وإن كان في حقنا فوقًا. وخلق للإنسان اليدين وإحداهما أقوى من الأخرى في الغالب، فحدث اسم اليمين للأقوى واسم الشمال لما يقابله وتسمى الجهة التي تلي اليمين يمينا والأخرى شمالا، وخلق له جانبين يبصر من أحدهما ويتحرّك إليه فحدث اسم القدّام للجهة التي يتقدم إليها بالحركة واسم الخلف لما يقابلها، فالجهات حادثة بحدوث الإنسان.


ثم قال: "فكيف كان في الأزل مختصًا بجهة والجهة حادثة؟ أو كيف صار مختصا بجهة بعد أن لم يكن له؟ أبأن خلق العالم فوقه، ويتعالى عن أن يكون له فوق إذ تعالى أن يكون له رأس، والفوق عبارة عما يكون جهة الرأس، أو خلق العالم تحته، فتعالى عن أن يكون له تحت إذ تعالى عن أن يكون له رجل والتحت عبارة عما يلي جهة الرّجل: وكل ذلك مما يستحيل في العقل ولأن المعقول من كونه مختصّا بجهة أنه مختص بحيز اختصاص الجواهر أو مختص بالجواهر اختصاص العرض، وقد ظهر استحالة كونه جوهرا أو عرضا فاستحال كونه مختصًا بالجهة: وإن اريد بالجهة غير هذين المعنيين كان غلطا في الاسم مع المساعدة على المعنى ولأنه لو كان فوق العالم لكان محاذيا له، وكل محاذ لجسم فإما أن يكون مثله أو أصغر منه أو أكبر وكل ذلك تقدير محوج بالضرورة إلى مقدّر ويتعالى عنه الخالق الواحد المدبّر، فأما رفع الأيدي عند السؤال إلى جهة السماء فهو لأنها قبلة الدعاء، وفيه أيضا اشاره إلى ما هو وصف للمدعو من الجلال و الكبرياء تنبيها بقصد جهة العلو على صفة المجد والعلاء، فإنه تعالى فوق كل موجود بالقهر والاستيلاء" اهـ
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(1) إحياء علوم الدين: كتاب قواعد العقاند، الفصل الأول (1/ 108).
(2) إحياء علوم الدين: كتاب قواعد العقائ، الفصل الثالت، الاصل السابع (1/ 128)..

 

He also said on 1/128: "As for raising our hands to the sky when making supplication (du^a'), it is because the sky is the Qiblah for Du^a'. This also indicates that the aboveness when attributed to Allah it refers to exaltment and aboveness in status, because Allah has the highest status over all creations in subjugation.

This is the belief of the Salaf, and Khalaf. Allah has power over all creations, He does not need any of His creations and He exists without a place.

For more details proving this belief and refuting the oposers, see our following researches:
Allah is the one that guides, and Allah knows best.