What have Sunni authorities said about Averroes as a theologian and jurist?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Averroes (Ibn Rushd, d. 595 AH) was not just a great, but rather a phenomenal Muslim scholar who excelled greatly in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and medicine. He, like his grandfather, was given the role of judge of Cordova in Muslim Spain.
That said, while none of his theological positions were outright disbelief, he did try to defend the validity of certain philosophical stances that were completely at odds with the Qur’an and Sunna. For which reason, scholars have cautioned from taking his views wholesale.
For the specific differences between Ghazali and Averroes, please see:
Parenthetically, just like any other Islamic discipline, it would be advised not to delve into these discussions until one had studied Arabic, creed, usul al-fiqh, fiqh, and logic with skilled and specialised teachers. One such teacher is Shaykh Ahmed al-Azhari who teaches at SeekersGuidance.
As a jurist, Averroes is also the author of a very important book on comparative fiqh: Bidayat al-Mujtahid. It is a book that compares key debates between jurists. Averroes was Maliki, but he is not however a major authority in the Maliki school. The Ibn Rushd that is quoted frequently in Maliki fiqh works is his grandfather, Ibn Rushd al-Jadd (d. 520 AH). He is an authority in Maliki fiqh. The two should not be confused: Averroes (d. 595 AH) is Ibn Rushd al-Hafid while the grandfather is Ibn Rushd al-Jadd (d. 520 AH).
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.