Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Imam al-Ghazzali on those who stray from Sunnism

"Pronouncing them (philosophers) infidels is necessary in three questions.
One of them is the question of the world's pre-eternity and their statement that all substances are pre-eternal.
The second is their statement that God's knowledge does not encompass the temporal particulars among individuals [existents].
The third is their denial of the resurrection of bodies and their assembly at the day of judgment."
(from the Incoherence of the Philosophers)

Looking at the above list, one may ask, are there such Muslims who adhere to any of these beliefs?
Maybe no Muslim today would consider believing the first question, but as for the second and third, many Muslims do, often through lack of learning.
The thing that breaches the second rule - is the belief that God's knowledge does not encompass the temporal particulars among individuals - is essentially disbelief in qada and qadar.
Many Muslims do not understand the concept that everything is already pre-destined to happen, and will happen in the way it is pre-destined.
We have no power to prevent or cause anything. Many people have a difficulty in understanding this because they believe that it means we have no free will.
But the problem with free-will is that if you decide things, then God is not the decider, and His will is subjected to your will.
That would mean that He is not as almighty as He says, instead we are the almighty ones.
As for the denial of resurrection of bodies, what this refers to is not the belief that we shall come back to life after death, but instead to the false belief that it is not our physical bodies, but our spirits, that resurrect.
It is not known to many Muslims today that it is a denial of God's power to believe that we come back on Judgment Day as spirits only, and not in flesh.
Part of this confusion is due to the Hollywood version of death - you die, and appear on a cloud at the Pearly Gates, and play harps all the time.

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