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GHAZALI, MUHAMMAD AL- (1917–2001)

Born in 1917, al-Ghazali was an Egyptian Islamic thinker who was educated as a jurist at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, and held prominent positions with the Ministry of Awqaf and the Mosques Department. During his early career he sided with the Muslim Brotherhood party until he separated himself from the organization in the 1950s. Al-Ghazali wrote over forty books that are considered to be very important in the field of modern legal studies and modern theology. In Islam and Political Despotism and Prejudice and Tolerance in Christianity and Islam, he advocated the variety of ways in which religion could be a source of social justice and promote peace in the modern world.

As a scholar, al-Ghazali was known for an independent, well-balanced approach to jurisprudence, and he cited Islamic texts in favor of gender equality, greater political participation, environmental awareness, and human rights. He was critical of modern Muslim scholars who focus too much on pedantic details of adhering to rituals and not enough on governance, finance, ethics, and moral philosophy. Al-Ghazali was critical of radical and neoconservative scholars who failed to understand the comprehensive nature of religion and he refused to recognize their myopic views of faith. He felt that they were poorly trained scholars who purposely select esoteric hadiths and sunna accounts to argue their point and further their political agendas. Al-Ghazali's contribution to modern Islamic thought was to treat faith as integrally linked with the political, economic, and social order.

See alsoPolitical Islam .

Qamar-ul Huda

Ghazali, Muhammad Al- (1917–2001)

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