In addition to being a confidante of the Seljuq Sultan and his court in Isfahan, he now became closely connected to the caliphal court in Baghdad. He was undoubtedly the most influential intellectual of his time, when in he suddenly gave up his posts in Baghdad and left the city. He realized that the high ethical standards of a virtuous religious life are not compatible with being in the service of sultans, viziers, and caliphs. He continued to teach, however, at small schools singl. Falsafa was a movement where Christians, Muslims, and even pagan authors participated.
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He is viewed as the key member of the influential Asharite school of early Muslim philosophy and the most important refuter of the Mutazilites. However, he chose a slightly-different position in comparison with the Asharites.
His beliefs and thoughts differ in some aspects from the orthodox Asharite school. A total of about 70 works can be attributed to Al-Ghazali. The encounter with skepticism led al-Ghazali to investigate a form of theological occasionalism , or the belief that all causal events and interactions are not the product of material conjunctions but rather the immediate and present Will of God. While it might seem as though a natural law was at work, it happened each and every time only because God willed it to happen—the event was "a direct product of divine intervention as any more attention grabbing miracle".
Averroes , by contrast insisted while God created the natural law, humans "could more usefully say that fire caused cotton to burn—because creation had a pattern that they could discern.
The book took aim at the falasifa, a loosely defined group of Islamic philosophers from the 8th through the 11th centuries most notable among them Avicenna and Al-Farabi who drew intellectually upon the Ancient Greeks.
This long-held argument has been criticized. George Saliba in argued that the decline of science in the 11th century has been overstated, pointing to continuing advances, particularly in astronomy, as late as the 14th century. Though appreciating what was valid in the first two of these, at least, he determined that all three approaches were inadequate and found ultimate value only in the mystical experience and insight the state of prophecy or nubuwwa [ citation needed ] he attained as a result of following Sufi practices.
William James , in Varieties of Religious Experience , considered the autobiography an important document for "the purely literary student who would like to become acquainted with the inwardness of religions other than the Christian" because of the scarcity of recorded personal religious confessions and autobiographical literature from this period outside the Christian tradition.
It covers almost all fields of Islamic sciences: fiqh Islamic jurisprudence , kalam theology and sufism. Its great achievement was to bring orthodox Sunni theology and Sufi mysticism together in a useful, comprehensive guide to every aspect of Muslim life and death. After the existential crisis that caused him to completely re-examine his way of living and his approach to religion, Al-Ghazali put together The Alchemy of Happiness  to reassert his fundamental belief that a connection to God was an integral part of the joy of living.
The book is divided into four different sections. The first of these is Knowledge of Self, where Al-Ghazali asserts that while food, sex, and other indulgences might slake humans appetites temporarily, they in turn make a human into an animal, and therefore will never give true happiness and fulfillment.
In order to find oneself, people must devote themselves to God by showing restraint and discipline rather than gluttony of the senses. Here he states that the world is merely a place where humans learn to love God, and prepare for the future, or the afterlife, the nature of which will be determined by our actions in this phase of our journey to happiness.
The final section is Knowledge of the Future World, which details how there are two types of spirits within a man: the angelic spirit and the animal spirit. Al-Ghazali details the types of spiritual tortures unbelievers experience, as well as the path that must be taken in order to attain spiritual enlightenment.
This book serves as a culmination of the transformation Ghazali goes through during his spiritual awakening. The second chapter has a more specific focus: sexual satisfaction and gluttony. The ultimate goal that Ghazali is presenting not only in these two chapters, but in the entirety of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, is that there must be moderation in every aspect of the soul of a man, an equilibrium.
Al-Ghazali essentially formulates two main arguments for what he views as a sacrilegious thought process. Central to the Aristotelian approach is the concept that motion will always precede motion, or in other words, a force will always create another force, and therefore for a force to be created, another force must act upon that force. Ghazali counters this by first stating that if the world was created with exact boundaries, then in its current form there would be no need for a time before the creation of the world by God.
Ghazali veers from the often hardline stance of many of his contemporaries during this time period and states that as long as one believes in the Prophet Muhammad and God himself, there are many different ways to practice Islam and that any of the many traditions practiced in good faith by believers should not be viewed as heretical by other Muslims.
It is one of the outstanding works of 11th-century-Persian literature. The book was published several times in Tehran by the edition of Hussain Khadev-jam, a renowned Iranian scholar. The second part differs considerably in content and style from the well-known writings of al-Ghazali.
The book was most probably written during the last years of his life. The introduction to the book relates that Al-Ghazali wrote the book in response to a certain king who had asked him for advice.
Ay farzand O son! The book was early translated to Arabic entitled ayyuhal walad. The longest letter is the response to objections raised against some of his statements in Mishkat al-Anwar The Niche of Light and al-Munqidh min al-dalal Rescuer from Error. The sultan was so impressed that he ordered al-Ghazali to write down his speech so that it will be sent to all the ulemas of Khorasan and Iraq.
Influence[ edit ] This section needs more complete citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding missing citation information so that sources are clearly identifiable. Citations should include title, publication, author, date, and for paginated material the page number s. Several templates are available to assist in formatting. Improperly sourced material may be challenged and removed.
November Learn how and when to remove this template message During his life, he authored over 70 books on science, Islamic reasoning and Sufism. The experience that he had with suspicion drove al-Ghazali to shape a conviction that all occasions and connections are not the result of material conjunctions but are the present and prompt will of God.
The work covers all fields of Islamic science and incorporates Islamic statute, philosophy and Sufism. Although al-Ghazali said that he has composed more than 70 books, attributed to him are more than books. Al-Ghazali likewise assumed a noteworthy part in spreading Sufism and Sharia. He was the first to consolidate the ideas of Sufism into Sharia laws and the first to give a formal depiction of Sufism in his works. His works fortify the position of Sunni Islam, contrasted with different schools of thought.
Al-Ghazali had an important influence on both later Muslim philosophers and Christian medieval philosophers.
Then she emphasizes, "The greatest of these Christian writers who was influenced by al-Ghazali was St. Thomas Aquinas — , who made a study of the Arabic writers and admitted his indebtedness to them, having studied at the University of Naples where the influence of Arab literature and culture was predominant at the time.
He was also the first to present a formal description of Sufism in his works. His works also strengthened the status of Sunni Islam against other schools. Al-Ghazali strongly rejected their ideology and wrote several books on criticism of Baatinyas which significantly weakened their status. Al-Ghazali succeeded in gaining widespread acceptance for Sufism at the expense of philosophy. Some fifty works that he had written is evidenced that he was one of the most important Islamic thinkers of his time.
After the death of Al-Ghazali, it is believed there followed a long era in which there was a notable absence of Islamic philosophers, contributing to the status of Ghazali in the modern era.
The staple of his religious philosophy was arguing that the creator was the center point of all human life that played a direct role in all world affairs. Some of the more notable philosophers and scholars in the west include David Hume, Dante, and St. Thomas Aquinas.
One of the more notable achievements of Ghazali were his writing and reform of education that laid the path of Islamic Education from the 12th to the 19th centuries CE.
He worked to influence and develop a program to mold the young minds of children at an early age to develop their mind and character. He stressed that socialization, family, and schools were central in the achievement of language, morality, and behavior. He emphasized incorporating physical fitness such as games that were important in the development of young minds to attract the idea of attending schools and maintaining an education.
In addition, he stressed the importance of understanding and sharing cultures in the classrooms to achieve a civic harmony that would be expressed outside the classroom and kindness to one another. In his writings he placed this responsibility upon the teachers. Ghazali emphasized the importance that there should be a dual respect in regard to the teacher and the pupil. Whereas the teacher guides the student and takes the role of a father figure and offers council to the student, and the student respects the teacher as a patriarch.
He stressed that the teacher needed to pay attention to the learning paces of his students so that he could help them be successful in academic achievements. He believed himself to be more mystical or religious than he was philosophical however, he is more widely regarded by some scholars as a leading figure of Islamic philosophy and thought.
He describes his philosophical approach as a seeker of true knowledge, a deeper understanding of the philosophical and scientific, and a better understanding of mysticism and cognition.
But his work and ethical approach transcends another boundary into the Islamic business practice. They emphasize, "His mastery of philosophical logic and reasoning earned him the title of philosopher without losing his status as a religious scholar.
Therefore, they approach the business perspective with the same ideology and organizational thought. Works[ edit ] Al-Ghazali mentioned the number of his works "more than 70" in one of his letters to Sultan Sanjar in the late years of his life.
The tradition of falsely attributing works to Al-Ghazali increased in the 13th century, after the dissemination of the large corpus of works by Ibn Arabi.
Background[ edit ] In July , at the invitation of Nizam al-Mulk, Al-Ghazali became professor of law at the Nizamiyya of Baghdad , one of the most prestigious colleges at that time. Al-Ghazali stated that he did not find other branches of philosophy including physics, logic, astronomy or mathematics problematic, his only dispute was with metaphysics in which he claimed that the philosophers did not use the same tools, namely logic, which they used for other sciences. But in three other chapters, he accuses them of being utterly irreligious. Among the charges that he leveled against the philosophers is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of the existence of two gods.