Is this authentically attributed to Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah)?
“Turning a hungry lion upon an ‘Abid (worshipper) is not as detrimental to him as a handsome lad left before him.”
This is not the statement of Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah). Rather, Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) has cited this narration in Ihya ‘Ulumid Din as the statement of a Tabi’i.
(Ihya ‘Ulumid Din, vol. 5 pg. 369)
Imam Abu Bakr Ibn Abid Dunya and Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahumallah) have recorded this narration. Baqiyyah ibnul Walid says: “A Tabi’i said, ‘I am not as fearful of [letting loose] a harmful predatory animal upon a pious youngster, more than I fear allowing a beardless youngster to sit by him.’”
(Dhammul Malahi: 138, Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah edition, Shu’abul Iman: 5013)
The narration is suitable to quote.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist.