Books-In-Brief: In Service of God and Humanity

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In his passionate devotion to the task of inviting others to Islam, Muhammad al-Ghazali (1917-1996) presented Muslims with a powerful critique of themselves, not only in their endemic failure to project Islam in the best, most reasoned light, but also in their betrayal of the Qur’an’s spiritual principles and the highest standards set by the Prophet Muhammad. This work analyzes al-Ghazali’s critique of du’at (those inviting to Islam) and the practice of da’wah work itself (the call to Islam). It also examines his methodology, various proposed solutions, and the juristic responses to his perspective. The evolution of al-Ghazali’s thought and the people and factors influencing him are key elements of the study. It is hard to conceive where the state of discourse on da’wah and Islamic reform would be without al-Ghazali’s outstanding contributions. The powerful stand he took on the importance of education, the significant weight he gave to a free society, his promotion of a decent standard of living for the poor, the qualities of moral and personal excellence he appealed for, and his compassionate, impassioned role as an educator, all these preserve al-Ghazali’s reputation, both in his own lifetime and for many generations to come, as one of the twentieth century’s most important Muslim intellectual thinkers and reformers. His legacy is founded on a lifetime of service.

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