About The Book
This short treatise gives a summary of Imam Al-Ghazali’s religious philosophy. In it, he discusses knowledge and its various types, the human soul and its relation to the human body. Drawing evidences from the Qur’an, he shows that the humans spirit is one with the Divine and is able to contemplate the Invisible, receive the Divine Radiance and attain perfection and supernatural qualities even in this world.
Al-Ghazali outlines systematically his mystical philosophy. He begins by stating that knowledge can be accessed thorough divine and human learning. Only divine learning (al-ta’lim al-Rabbani), however, can grasp the ultimate knowledge of the intelligibles based on certainty. Divine learning in turn, can be divided into two: revelation (Wahy) and inspiration (ilham). Revelation is a spiritual phenomenon that happens to a prophet, in the form of a direct instruction of the soul by the Universal Intellect (al-Aql al-Kulliyah). While, lesser than revelation, inspiration happens to saints and sages, which is the direct instruction of the soul by the Universal Soul (al-Nafs al-Kulliyah).
While a solid intellectual condition can be attained through the habit of contemplation, independent reasoning and study. That is why, for al-Ghazali, mystical experience, which is not preceded by study and thinking can lead to confusion. And so, the supreme way to know the true qualities of things is a blend of wisdom, philosophical thinking and asceticism.
The last factor that is worth mentioning, is Al-Ghazali’s utilization of Hellenic and Hellenistic concepts in this own works. From the summary of al-Risalah al-Laduniyyah e, one can see very clearly the usage of neo-platonic key terminology. This Hellenistic aura within the work really gives a different image of al-Ghazali. He was ready to accept those thoughts as long as they are in accordance to the fundamentals of Islam. By amalgamating the fundamentals of religion, philosophical systems and sufism, Al-Ghazali is laying the foundation for the emergence of the Islamic mystical philosophy.
About Imam Al-Ghazali
Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali was born in 450 AH (1058 A.D) in the Iranian town of Tus, studied Islamic law and theology at the Seljuq College in Nishapur, and became a distinguished professor at the famous Nizamiyya University in Baghdad.
Despite his glittering success, he was inwardly dissatisfied, so he abandoned his career for the life of hardship, abstinence and devotion to worship. During ten years of wandering, he experienced a spiritual transformation, in which the Truth came to him at last, as something received rather than acquired.
Blessed with an inner certainty, he then applied his outstanding faculties and vast learning to the task of revitalizing the whole Islamic tradition. Through his direct personal contacts, and through his many writings, he showed how every element in that tradition could and should be turned to its true purpose.
Imam al-Ghazzali was fondly referred to as the “Hujjat-ul-lslam”, Proof of Islam, he is honoured as a scholar and a saint by learned men all over the world and is generally acclaimed as the most influential thinker of the Classical period of Islam.
He passed away in 505 AH (1111 A.D).