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Al-Ghazali - Essay Example

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He wrote many books on a wide range of topics which included jurisprudence, theology, mysticism and philosophy. One of his biggest achievements was to change the course of Islamic philosophy by successfully refuting the early Islamic Neo-Platonism. Al-Ghazil studied philosophy intensely and was aware of its theoretical attraction and its structural forte. It is considered that he was indirectly influenced by philosophy even though he fought sharply against philosophy and tried to highlight its contradiction. (Campanini, 2007) Al-Ghazil`s father treasured the companionship of jurists and Sufi and wished to have children who would pursue this way of life. His birth took place in the village of Tabaran nearby Tus in northeast Iran and came from an unassertive family. When he was still in his childhood his father expired and left pint-sized cash in the custody of his Sufi friend. When the money given by his father ran out, he joined a Madrasah which allowed him to get a remuneration plus room and board. Later on in his life, Al-Ghazali travelled Nisahapur and studied with the famous scholar of that time Al-Juwayni at the college of Nizamyah. Al-Ghazali was one of his most well-known pupils and Al-Juwayni used to call him an ocean of knowledge. After the demise of his mentor he then journeyed to the camp of Seljuk wazir Nizam al-Mulk which was the meeting place of intellectuals. His distinction was noted swiftly in such a well-known gathering and that is why Nizam al-Mulk selected him as an instructor in the famous Nizamyah college of Baghdad. (Hozien 2001) In 1095 A.D. Al-Ghazali wrote a book called Tahafah al-Falasifah “Incoherence of the Philosophers” in which he attacked the Greek-inspired philosophers. In this book Al-Ghazali judged the beliefs of these philosophers to be opposing to the teachings contained in the Quran and said that they were spreading falsehood. He stated that the philosopher`s teaching were having a bad influence on Islamic thoughts and faith. No one at that time could give a convincing argument against Al-Ghazali (Bergh, 1954) After around eighty years ibn Rushud responded to Al-Ghazali`s attack by publishing a book called Tahafah al-Tahafah (“The Incoherence of the Incoherence”), where he alternately cited Ghazali’s views and his own. One of the topic in which these two intellects debated was cause and effect. Al-Ghazali explained that the necessary existence between cause and effect does not validate that the same effect would take place of a specific cause. He specifically focused on the relationship between fire and burning, mentioning that the former only happens because Allah as an agent led it to be. He dismissed the belief that the cause and its effect takes place naturally but happens because of the willingness of Allah. Al-Ghazali referred to the account of Abraham in Quran who was preternaturally protected from the harm of fire. Al-Ghazali accused the theorists of keeping a view against Islam because he explained that the philosophers rejected the possibility that Abraham could be unharmed by fire as long as it kept its characteristic of burning. Ibn Rushud refuted this allegation by clarifying that if an object does not have a precise characteristic, then the object would lose its distinct term and meaning. He further explained that the disowning of cause and effect would result in the rejection of a person`s own assertion. Ibn Rushud wrote in his book that if motive is impermissible to realize, then there is an obvious association between two succeeding actions. Hence it would not be able to function according to its function and will lose the influence of making obvious thoughts and would not have the chance of ...Show more
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Summary

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, famously known as Algazel in the western world lived from 1058 to 1111. He was a Persian, Muslim theologian, philosopher, mystic and a jurist. Al-Ghazali contributed significantly to the development of Sufism and its acceptance in the mainstream Islam. …
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