Dusty Quotations


Who is Al-Ghazali?

Al-Ghazali (c. 1058 – 19 December 1111; ٱلْغَزَّالِيُّ), full name Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad aṭ-Ṭūsiyy al-Ġazzālīy (أَبُو حَامِدٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلطُّوسِيُّ ٱلْغَزَالِيُّ), and known in Persian-speaking countries as Imam Muhammad-i Ghazali (Persian: امام محمد غزالی) or in Medieval Europe by the Latinized as Algazelus or Algazel, was a Persian Sunni Muslim polymath. He is known as one of the most prominent and influential jurisconsult, legal theoretician, mufti, philosopher, theologian, logician and mystic in Islamic history.

He is considered to be the 11th century’s mujaddid, a renewer of the faith, who, according to the prophetic hadith, appears once every 100 years to restore the faith of the Islamic community. Al-Ghazali’s works were so highly acclaimed by his contemporaries that he was awarded the honorific title “Proof of Islam(Ḥujjat al-Islām). Al-Ghazali was a prominent mujtahid in the Shafi’i school of law.

Much of Al-Ghazali’s work stemmed around his spiritual crises following his appointment as the head of the Nizzamiyya University in Baghdad – which was the most prestigious academic position in the Muslim world at the time. This led to his eventual disappearance from the Muslim world for over 10 years. It was during this period where many of his great works were written. He believed that the Islamic spiritual tradition had become moribund and that the spiritual sciences taught by the first generation of Muslims had been forgotten. This belief led him to write his magnum opus entitled Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm ad-dīn (“The Revival of the Religious Sciences“). Among his other works, the Tahāfut al-Falāsifa (“Incoherence of the Philosophers”) is a landmark in the history of philosophy, as it advances the critique of Aristotelian science developed later in 14th-century Europe.

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