Imam al-Ghazali, one of the most prolific scholars from the nation of the beloved Messenger of Allah ﷺ, compiled his excellent Ihya ulum al-din – revival of the religious sciences - almost 1000 years ago
This collection of forty books is a comprehensive encyclopaedia pertaining to the religious affairs, including beliefs, acts of worship, dealings and character, individual and societal welfare of a Muslim, and has, for centuries, been one of the most widely read work in the Islamic world. Imam al-Ghazali is unquestionably one of the greatest thinkers and theologians of Islam. His contributions could not have been realised without his authority in research, to succinctly command reference from the Qur’an and Sunnah and tackle contemporary issues – many of which remain prevalent today.
Research is an impulsive trait of the righteous scholars. Fatawa (religious edict) is a legal ruling on a point of Shari’a given by a qualified jurist. The process of producing a fatawa is based on research within Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (deductive analogy). This methodology involves the collection, organisation, and analysis of evidence in light of the research topic, while controlling sources of error and bias. Approach to research depend on epistemologies which vary between the Islamic sciences. As the righteous scholars of the past, it is imperative that the same due diligence is afforded to contemporary issues today. To enable such high-quality research in western discourse, Muslims must challenge modern thought in tandem with research methodologies employed in Islamic scholarship for centuries, and avoid orientalist and secular influence.