Al-Ghazali

Ghazali, al-

al- Ghazali (ăl-găzä´lē), 1058–1111, Islamic theologian, philosopher, and mystic. He was born at Tus in Khorasan, of Persian origin. He is considered the greatest theologian in Islam. Al-Ghazali was appointed professor at Baghdad in 1091, but following a spiritual crisis in 1095 he abandoned his career to become a mystic (see Sufism). After ten years of wandering he settled down to teach in accordance with his new mystical insights, which he formulated very closely to orthodox Islam. Al-Ghazali was the author of several important works; his Destruction of the Philosophers, written just prior to his spiritual crisis, opposes the philosophical method of approaching metaphysics when it contradicts orthodox theology. That position had a great influence on the future of speculative thought in Islam. Al-Ghazali's chief work, The Revival of the Religious Sciences, outlines a complete and orthodox system of the mystical attainment of unity with God. Al-Ghazali is most important for his attempt to reconcile mysticism with orthodox Islam. He was well known in medieval Europe by his Latin name, Algazel.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Muslim Intellectual: A Study of Al-Ghazali
W. Montgomery Watt.
University Press, 1963
Ghazali's Theory of Virtue
Mohamed Ahmed Sherif.
State University of New York Press, 1975
An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy
Oliver Leaman.
Cambridge University Press, 2002 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Part I "Al-Ghazali's Attack on Philosophy"
Ghazali and the Perils of Interpretation
Dallal, Ahmad.
The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 122, No. 4, October-December 2002
Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination
Ebrahim Moosa; Carl Ernst; Bruce Lawrence.
University of North Carolina Press, 2005
Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey
W. Montgomery Watt.
Edinburgh University Press, 1985 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Al-Ghazali and Later Ash'arites"
The Many Faces of Philosophy: Reflections from Plato to Arendt
Amélie Oksenberg Rorty.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Al Ghazali: My Life"
Medieval Islamic Economic Thought: Filling the Great Gap in European Economics
S. M. Ghazanfar.
RoutledgeCurzon, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Economic Thought of an Arab Scholastic: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (AH450-505/1058-1111AD)"
Political Thought in Medieval Islam: An Introductory Outline
Erwin I. J. Rosenthal.
Cambridge University Press, 1968
Librarian’s tip: "Al-Ghazali" begins on p. 38
Islamic Creeds: A Selection
William Montgomery Watt.
Edinburgh University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "Al-Ghazali" begins on p. 73
The Columbia History of Western Philosophy
Richard H. Popkin.
Columbia University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Al-Ghazali" begins on p. 163
Fifty Eastern Thinkers
Diané Collinson; Kathryn Plant; Robert Wilkinson.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Al-Ghazali, 1058/9-1111 CE" begins on p. 37
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