Al-Ghazali: Sufi-Philosopher?

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by Ismail F Alatas

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali was one of the greatest Muslim theologian and thinker as well as a prolific writer. The complexity of his works has been noted and studied widely, which then resulted in the emergence of different views and opinions concerning his thoughts. Some adore and canonize him as the pillar of orthodoxy, while others attack and dismiss him as the annihilator of reason in Islam. Consequently, this essay is an examination of a number of al-Ghazali’s works in order to observe his position in regards to philosophy. The essay argues that al-Ghazali did not attack philosophy in general but only a certain tradition of philosophy. Moreover, it will try to demonstrate how in reality al-Ghazali was transforming philosophy from its original form into a more Islamic one.

The essay is divided into four parts. The first part deals with the contextualization of al-Ghazali’s works; the second scrutinizes the intentions of his polemical work, Tahafut al-Falasifah; the third discusses his incorporation of scholastic theology and philosophy; and the fourth analyzes the amalgamation of philosophy and sufism. These separate discussions are followed by a conclusion, which discusses al-Ghazali’s transformation of philosophy.

A Turbulent Time

In order to understand al-Ghazali’s attack on the rational method of the philosophers, one has to take into consideration the historical context in which he wrote the Tahafut. By examining the context, one can understand why did al-Ghazali develop a defensive attitude vis-à-vis the philosophers. Al-Ghazali lived in the eleventh century, which was the beginning of the decline of the Islamic Empire. It was during this period that the Islamic Empire started to disintegrate into a number of autonomous states. Amongst these states, the most powerful was arguably, the one ruled by the Saljuqs Turks. The Saljuqs entered the political scene of Arabia in 956, when an army of Turkomen tribes descended the Kirghiz steppes of Turkestan and took the region of Bukhara.1 By 1055, The Saljuqs conquered Baghdad and became the de facto ruler of the Eastern Islamic Empire.

The Saljuqs were nomads and hence they had no interest in establishing agricultural settlements. They were not interested in the civil life of the people, because their main focus was on territorial expansion. It was left to the ulama as the educated elite to fill the vacuum in the civil administration.2 The ulama evolved to become a class, which tried to hold the remnants of the scattered empire together.

In the meantime, in Egypt there rose a new empire with a totally different religious creed from the Abbasids. The Fatimids established a strong state in much of North Africa and Syria. They propagated the Seveners (Sab’iyah) variant of Shi’ism and sent missionaries throughout the Muslim world. Some of the radical elements within this sect were disillusioned by the state and they form an underground network of assassins, aimed to overthrow the Saljuqs’ leaderships. From their fortress in Alamut, the assassins launched a campaign of terror, which disrupted the daily activities of the Muslims within the empire.3

During this chaotic period, the great vizier of the Saljuqs, Nizam al-Mulk, established the Nizamiyya institute in Baghdad in 1067. After the success of the institute in Baghdad, Nizam al-Mulk commissioned the erection of similar institutions throughout the Saljuq’s dominion. This madrasa system became the power base of the ulama, when the presence of military courts did not exist.4 The madrasa system, which was conducted by the ulama became a tool of unification against the hostile environment. The institutes propagated a unified front under the banner of the Ash’arite creed.5 It was also used to counter different religious views, such as the Seveners Shi’ism. Therefore, the educational institutions were mobilized by religious as well as secular and political motivations.6

It was during this turbulent time that al-Ghazali rose to prominence. As a scholar, he was looked upon with appreciation by the ummah at a time when multitudes of answers were needed to explain the downfall of the Muslims. As a fellow of the ulama class, he was expected to voice unity to the people. It is apparent that doubts and confusions cast by the philosophers were the last addition to the problems he needed. The ummah was already in a weak condition and hence, dissemination of philosophical doubts had to be stopped and supplanted by a unified front under Ash’arite theology.7 Moreover, al-Ghazali was aware that the discipline of theology was in a weak position in results of its inability to answer philosophical criticism.8 Hence, he was afraid that the clarity and certainty of mathematical arguments might lead some people to suppose that the philosophers’ metaphysical assertions had the same clarity and certainty.9 So, it was in this inimical context that al-Ghazali wrote Maqasid al-Falasifah and Tahafut al-Falasifah. The former is a summation of al-Ghazali’s understanding of the peripatetic philosophy, while the latter is its refutation. Both works were written in Baghdad during the period of 1091 to 1094AD, when he was still active both intellectually as a professor in the Nizamiyya, and politically as a scholar in the court of Nizam al-Muluk.10 By understanding the context in which the Tahafut was written, one will be able to comprehend the defensive tone and the strong Ash’arite character of this particular work.

The Intentions of the Tahafut

After examining the context in which al-Ghazali wrote the Tahafut, it is now the time to study more closely the intentions of the book. The Tahafut was not written as an attack to philosophy par se. Rather it was an attempt to demonstrate a number of shortcomings within the philosophers’ line of thought. There are four issues that al-Ghazali tries to attack. First is the issue of certainty, second is the dogma of the ancient philosophers, third is taqlid (blind emulation) and the last is the conflict with the fundamentals of religion.

It must be made clear from the beginning that al-Ghazali’s attack was exclusively on the realm of metaphysics. For him, the shortcomings in the philosophers’ reasoning lie within their metaphysical theories.11 For instance, in the discussion on the eternity of the world, the philosophers could not prove, in accordance to the rules of logic, the impossibility of ascribing the origin of the world to the eternal will.12 What the philosophers could do was limited to a comparison of the Divine will and the will of a human being. For al-Ghazali, this sort of comparison is false, for ‘the eternal will does not resemble temporal intentions’.13

Hence, the first issue that al-Ghazali objects, is the issue of certainty in the philosophers’ knowledge. Indeed he made it clear towards the end of the Tahafut, when speaking on the doctrine of the soul, that his objection is not on the doctrine par se, but it is with how they claim it to be the truth. He states:


‘There is no denying the fact that things mentioned by the philosophers raise a strong presumption of probability (yaqwi al-zann wa yaqhlibuhu). What is denied here is that they can be known by a knowledge which is certain, uncontested and indubitable. We have seen how far it is open to doubt.’14

Al-Ghazali claims that the philosophers’ doctrine of the soul is not built on certainty. It is in al-Munqidh min al-Dalal that al-Ghazali gives the definition of certain knowledge. For him, certain knowledge is ‘that in which the thing known reveals itself without leaving any room for doubt or any possibility or error or illusion, nor can the heart allow such a possibility’.15 Thus for al-Ghazali, the philosophers’ logic is capable to produce infallible certainty, such as in the area of physics and mathematics. It fails to produce the same degree of infallibility, however, when it deals with the questions of religion.16 It was in the hope of demonstrating this infallibility and uncertainty that al-Ghazali wrote the Tahafut.

The second issue is the dogma of the ancient philosophers. Early in the Tahafut, al-Ghazali states his intention by saying that he decided to write the book in order ‘to refute the ancient philosophers (raddan ‘ala l-falasifa al-qudama’)’ and to expose ‘the incoherence of their belief’ and ‘the inconsistency of their metaphysical theories’.17 From this affirmation, one can detect three points. The first is that the book is directed as a refutation not of all philosophers, but of the ancients only. Secondly is that al-Ghazali alludes to the ancient philosophers as having a particular creed. This means that there is a dogma or a belief system within the philosophical tradition of the ancient philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. It is known that Plato and Aristotle fought against the sophists and dialecticians who upheld skepticism.18 Hence, as a skeptic himself, al-Ghazali accuses the creed of the ancient philosophers as an obstacle to the acquisition of the truth. The third point is that the incoherence of the philosophers lies with the particular creed, while the accusation of inconsistency is limited to the matters pertaining metaphysics. Indeed, al-Ghazali defends philosophy in matters that can be qualified as ‘religiously neutral’; while at the same time ‘vehemently condemns any religious obscurantism’.19

If al-Ghazali’s issue is with the ancient philosophers, then what was his objection to al-Farabi and Ibn Sina? Al-Ghazali’s attack on Ibn Sina and al-Farabi is solely in the practice of taqlid, which is the third issue of the Tahafut. Al-Ghazali writes:


‘Emulation of the example of the learned held out to them the promise of an elevated status far above the general level of common men… They flattered themselves with the idea that it would do them honour not to accept even the truth uncritically. But they had actually begun to accept falsehood uncritically.’20

From the quotation above it is clear that al-Ghazali objects to the practice of taqlid amongst the Muslim philosophers. For al-Ghazali, taqlid is the greatest hindrance to the search for the truth.21 He noted explicitly in al-Qistas al-Mustaqim that the absence of taqlid is the prerequisite to the acquisition of knowledge.22 Therefore, the attack on taqlid, practiced by the philosophers became one of the main agenda of the Tahafut.

The last issue taken by al-Ghazali was the conflict between philosophical reasoning and the fundamentals of religion. As stated above, al-Ghazali does not attack philosophical reasoning when it deals with religiously neutral matters. It is only when it touches the fundamentals of religion, that al-Ghazali reacted. He notes:


‘Every piece of knowledge, whether ancient of modern, is really a corroboration of the faith in God and in the Last Day. The conflict between faith and knowledge is related only to the details superadded to these two fundamental principles.’23

In short, reason, as long as it does not go against these two fundamental principles (faith in God and in the Last Day), can be accepted. This clearly shows that al-Ghazali did not attack philosophy par se, but only against philosophical reasoning that tries to undermine the fundamentals of religion. He clearly states this by saying that ‘it was only a few persons having irresponsible views and perverted minds who denied these principles’.24 Al-Kindi, for instance was a philosopher who did not attack the fundamentals of religion, and hence he is not mentioned in the Tahafut.

The issue of conflict with the fundamentals of religion fits in perfectly with al-Ghazali’s accusation of the ancient philosophers having a particular creed. It is this particular creed that al-Ghazali found very disturbing and very destructive. Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Sina and al-Farabi have utilized the dogma of the ancient philosophers in order to interpret the fundamentals of religion. An example would be the theory of emanation, received from Plotinus, which was used to substitute the Qur’anic account of the creation of the universe. Another example is the Aristotelian theory of motion ‘that leads to the eternity of matter as the locus of movement’, which was employed to demonstrate the eternity of the world.25 Therefore, al-Ghazali’s intention in the Tahafut is firstly (1) to demonstrate the infallibility of the arguments of the ancient philosophers, then (2) to expose their belief system, which is in conflict with the fundamentals of Islam, and finally (3) to show that Muslim philosophers such as al-Farabi and Ibn Sina have committed heresy for practicing taqlid to the belief system of the ancient philosophers. Hence, it is clear by now that al-Ghazali’s intention in the Tahafut is not to attack and dismiss philosophical reasoning par se.

Towards an Ash’arite Philosophy

As stated above, al-Ghazali was worried about the stagnation of theology, in particular, scholastic theology (Kalam), as a result of its inability to answer philosophical criticism. Henceforth, as an Ash’arite theologian himself, he had to do something in order to prevent the collapse of the creed in the hands of the philosophers. It should be noted that for al-Ghazali, Kalam is essentially dialectical in its reasoning, thereby it failed to achieve ‘genuine insight into the true qualities of things’, especially when it is employed in purely partisan disputation.26 For al-Ghazali, Kalam can only be useful insofar it is utilized to dispute heretics and to affirm basic belief.27 Hence, in the mind of al-Ghazali, Kalam is useful as long as it is used to consolidate the basic creed (Aqida) and nothing else. During his lifetime, however, he had to face the influences of the philosophers, which have destructive effects to the fundamentals of religion. As a theologian working for the Saljuqs, al-Ghazali was obliged to protect Ash’artie creed in order to present a unified front. Therefore the challenge for al-Ghazali was to incorporate Kalam especially the Ash’arite teachings into philosophical system in the hope of refuting the philosophers.

The Tahafut, as a polemical work against the philosophers has a deep Ash’arite resonance. This is certainly the case in the last chapter of the Tahafut that deals with the resurrection of the bodies. The Philosophers object the validity of God’s creating a second body for each person in a way fully separated from the condition that one observe to be the natural prerequisites for the formation of a human body.28 For the philosophers, this kind of bodily restoration would go against the laws of nature. The position of the philosophers is very much based on the principle of natural philosophy, which emphasizes ‘the natural necessity operating between events linked logically’.29

Al-Ghazali, however, refutes the objection of the philosophers by drawing on the Ash’arite occasionalist position on causality, which affirms the direct, divine agency operating on events linked contigently. The Ash’arite occasionalist position on the theory of causality can be summed up as ‘movement from one to another is orchestrated by God, who creates the world anew in every instant and therefore, events entirely disjointed from temporal causes’.30 This in turn means that the connection between what is believed to be the cause (sabab) and the effect (musabbab) is not necessary.31 One, according to al-Ghazali, tends to customarily believe the connection as a result of constant recurring of the effect produced by the cause. Therefore, for him causal necessity is not logical but merely psychological as a result of constant experience.32 Al-Ghazali’s standpoint in this discussion is clearly a staunch Ash’arite position and thus, this shows how he is incorporating Kalam into philosophy to create a balance mix.

From al-Ghazali’s standpoint on the theory of causality, one can observe that he is affirming the Ash’arite position. This is in stark contradiction to his intention, which he writes in the preface of the Tahafut. In his own words:


‘Since I have undertaken to expose the incoherence and contradiction involved in philosophical thought, I will approach them in order to attack them, not to defend something of mine own.’33

In reality, however, he is propagating the Ash’arite theology in the Tahafut. In this light, one can question the extent of al-Ghazali’s skepticism. In the Munqidh, al-Ghazali maintains his attitude in the acquisition of knowledge, which is the methodic doubt.34 Yet from his manner in the Tahafut, it can be derived that there are certain principles that al-Ghazali refuses to scrutinize skeptically, which are matters concerning the fundamentals of religion. Henceforth, al-Ghazali cannot be classified as skeptics in the same way as David Hume was. According to Leor Halevi, al-Ghazali can be classified as a ‘functional skeptic’. Functional skepticism is ‘a tool applied or withheld at one’s will, so as to negate a certain perspective in favor of another’.35 Al-Ghazali was a functional skeptic in favour of Ash’arite doctrines and he would negate other perspectives in order to safeguard his own. Yet, by contextualizing his works historically, one can notice that he did this because of a number of internal and external threats to the authority of the Saljuqs. Therefore, the context in which he wrote the Tahafut, forced him to develop a defensive attitude.

Despite this defensive stance, one has to recognize al-Ghazali’s contribution in transforming the traditional Kalam discipline and incorporate it into the philosophical discourse. As W.M. Watt says, one of al-Ghazali’s greatest contribution is to give traditional Kalam more philosophical basis in order to strengthen it.36 On the other hand, it can be said that al-Ghazali’s attempt to infuse philosophical discourse with Ash’arite theology marked the beginning of the transformation of philosophy from its Hellenic and Hellenistic ambiance to a more Islamic one. The installation of the Ash’arite doctrine into philosophical discourse is a way to protect the fundamentals of religion, thereby paving the way to a reconciliation between reason and revelation.

Mystical Philosophy

After his mental disturbance that made him to leave Baghdad for about ten years, al-Ghazali found a new answer to his quest for knowledge in sufism.37 During this long period of contemplation, al-Ghazali came to the conclusion that true knowledge, which gives insight into the essential natures of things, can only be attained through unveiling (mukasyafah).38 Unveiling is a phenomenon where God opens a person’s insight into the reality of things (haqiqah) by means of intuitive experience, which for al-Ghazali is the highest level of knowledge attainment. Philosophically, intuition is the term that is used to signify ‘immediate insight or knowledge, in contrast to insight or knowledge arrived at discursively by ways of analysis or proof’.39 Hence, by placing intuition, which has been popular among the sufis at the time, into an epistemological structure, al-Ghazali is incorporating sufism into a philosophical system.

In order to understand clearly al-Ghazali’s concept of intuition, one has to pay particular attention to his discussion concerning heart, because for him, heart plays a vital role as a cognitive tool. In the Ihya’ Ulum ad-Din, He writes:


‘Indeed, he prepares himself for the gnosis of God through his heart and not through any one of his bodily extremities. For his heart is that which perceives God, that which draws nigh unto God…’40

Still in the Ihya’, al-Ghazali affirms that what he means by intellect is something ‘(1) that which grasp the sciences, being itself the heart… and the intellect may be used to denote (2) the attribute of the knower of the receptacle of the apprehension, by which I mean the knower itself’.41 Therefore it must be understood that for al-Ghazali, the highest definition of intellect is equated with the heart, which becomes the essence of the person who is knowing. But it is also important to remember that al-Ghazali differentiates the intellectual heart and the bodily heart. For him, the connection between the two is like the relation between the person residing in a place and the place itself.42 It is the intellectual heart, rather than the bodily, which comprehends, perceives and knows. Hence, for al-Ghazali only the intellectual heart that is able to apprehend the highest objects of mans’ knowledge, which are God, His qualities and His acts.43 It does so by ‘tasting’ (dhawq) the deepest truth, through immediate living experience.44

In an esoteric work entitled al-Risalah al-Laduniyyah45, 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). Duncan McDonald correctly asserts that the former is major revelation while the latter is minor; and that the status of the minor is subsidiary and explanatory to the major.46 Therefore, by an immediate experience of divine instruction, according to al-Ghazali, a person can attain the highest level of knowledge.

Not every person, however, can reach the level in which he or she can experience direct intuition. Only those who have been prepared spiritually and intellectually and have purified themselves may reach this state.47 A strong spiritual state can be maintained by engaging in an ascetic lifestyle. 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.48 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 his own works. From the summary of al-Risalah al-Laduniyyah above, 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 from the one who is recognizable from the Tahafut. Also in the Ihya’, al-Ghazali borrowed many terminology, methods and materials from Galen, whom he also attacked in the Tahafut.49 The notable scholar Fazlur Rahman correctly asserts that even though al-Ghazali attacked the philosophers, nevertheless ‘he wrote certain esoteric works incorporating much of the same philosophy’.50 Therefore, his reliance on Hellenic and Hellenistic thoughts can be seen as a sign that 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.

Conclusion: al-Ghazali as a Transformer

After discussing different aspects of al-Ghazali’s thoughts, one can start to understand the complexity and the equivocal nature of his works. No wonder that from this degree of complexity, emerged different explanations of his thoughts. To a certain extent, this essay tries to explore a number of possibilities regarding al-Ghazali’s position on philosophy, and by looking it from four different angles, the essay demonstrates that al-Ghazali was not against philosophy par se.

The source of misunderstandings in regards to al-Ghazali’s position on philosophy is the Tahafut. This essay shows that the Tahafut is not an attack against philosophy, rather it is an attack against particular Hellenic and Hellenistic traditions of philosophy. Al-Ghazali saw that the destructive effects of these two traditions upon the Ummah were great and therefore he had to stop the confusions motivated by these traditions. It was also the historical context at the time, that forced al-Ghazali to attack these traditions in attempt to safeguard the unity of the Ummah under Ash’arite banner. But, it is important to note that putting an end to one or two particular philosophical traditions does not mean the end of philosophizing.

As this essay has shown, al-Ghazali did not object to philosophy as long as it is not against the fundamentals of religion. That is why, in the Tahafut, he incorporates Ash’arite positions to refute the philosophers. He also found philosophy useful to resurrect the stagnation of traditional theology. Al-Ghazali infused traditional theology with philosophical basis of conceptions and methods in order to create a rationally stronger Kalam. Nevertheless, his greatest contribution was to amalgamate philosophical concepts with sufism to create a form of Islamic mystical philosophy. It is in this form that for al-Ghazali reason and revelation can support one another. Also it is in this form that philosophy does not have to go against the fundamentals of religion. Al-Ghazali’s theoretical framework of mystical philosophy paved the way to the emergence of many great mystical thinkers in the Muslim world. His legacy was received and continued in the Western frontier of the Islamic Empire and reached its apogee under the great Doctor Maximus Ibn ‘Arabi. While in the East, the fusion of philosophy with Shi’ite ideas and a degree of non-Islamic mystical ideas gave birth to the Ishraq school with its early proponent Suhrawardi. It was in this locus that the Islamic world witnessed the birth of the undoubtedly greatest Islamic mystical philosopher, Mulla Sadra. Therefore, al-Ghazali can be seen as a transformer of philosophy from its non-Islamic origin to a more Islamic and mystical form.

by Ismail F Alatas

1 Philip K. Hitti, The History of the Arabs. Tenth Edition (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1970) p. 473.
2 Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History (London: Phoenix Press, 2001) p. 73.
3 Ibid, p. 74.
4 Ibid, p.73.
5 Philip K. Hitti, The History of the Arabs, p. 431.
6 Mehdi Nakosteen, History of Islamic Origins of Western Education AD. 800-1350; with an Introduction to Medieval Muslim Education (Surabaya: Risalah Gusti, 2003) p.53.
7 A. J. Arberry, Revelation and Reason in Islam (New York: Macmillan, 1957) p. 56.
8 W. Montgomery Watt, Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1985) p. 89.
9 Ibid, p. 89.
10 George F. Hourani, “A Revised Chronology of Ghazali’s writings”, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 104, No. 2 (1984) Pp. 292-293.
11 Timothy J. Gianotti, Al Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul: Unveiling the Esoteric Psychology and Eschatology of the Ihya’ (Leiden: Brill, 2001) p. 89.
12 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, translated by Sabih Ahmad Kamali (Lahore: Pakistan Philosophical Congress: 1963) p. 19.
13 Ibid, p. 19.
14 Ibid, p. 204.
15 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, translated by Muhammad Abulaylah (Washington D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2001) p. 63
16 Ibid, p. 78.
17 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, p. 3.
18 Yasin Ceylan, ‘Al-Ghazali Between Philosophy and Sufism’ in The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol. 12, no. 4 (1995) p. 585.
19 Jules Janssens, “Al-Ghazzali’s Tahafut: Is it Really a Rejection of Ibn Sina’s Philosophy?” in the Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 12, no. 1 (2001) p. 6.
20 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, p. 2.
21 M.M. Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, Vol. I (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1963) p. 588.
22 Binyamin Abrahamov, “Al-Ghazali’s Supreme Way to Know God”. In the Studia Islamica, vol. 77 (1993) p. 147.
23 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, p. 3.
24 Ibid, p. 3.
25 Yasin Ceylan, ‘Al-Ghazali Between Philosophy and Sufism’, p. 585.
26 R. M. Frank, Al-Ghazali and the Ash’arite School (London: Duke University Press, 1994) p. 21.
27 Timothy J. Gianotti, Al Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul, p. 85.
28 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, Pp. 242-4.
29 Leor Halevi, ‘The Theologian’s Doubt: Natural Philosophy and the Skeptical Games of Ghazali’ in the Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 63, no. 1 (2002) p. 21.
30 Ibid, p. 22.
31 Ibid, p. 23.
32 M.M. Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, p. 615.
33 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, p. 8.
34 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, p. 69.
35 Leor Halevi, ‘The Theologian’s Doubt’, p. 33.
36 W. Montgomery Watt, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, p. 90.
37 Duncan B. Macdonals, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory (New York: Russel & Russel, 1965) Pp. 226-7.
38 R. M. Frank, Al-Ghazali and the Ash’arite School, p. 22.
39 Thomas Mautner (Ed.), The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy (London: Penguin Books, 1999) p. 281.
40 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihya’ Ulumiddin, Vol. IV transated by: M. Zuhri (Semarang: Asy-Syifa’, 2003) p. 579.
41 Ibid, p. 586.
42 Ibid, p. 583.
43 Binyamin Abrahamov, “Al-Ghazali’s Supreme Way to Know God”, p. 141.
44 Eric L. Ormsby, “The Taste of Truth: The Structure of Experience in al-Ghazali’s al-Munqidh min al-dalal” in Wael B. Hallaq & Donald P. Little (Eds.), Islamic Studies Presented to Charles J. Adams (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991) p. 152.
45 The summary of this work in this essay is taken from Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, ‘al-Risalat al-Laduniyyah’ in Majmu’at Rasail al-Imam al-Ghazali, Vol. III (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiya, 1986). For English translation, see “Al-Risalat al-Laduniyyah”, translated and introduction by Margaret Smith in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1938).
46 Duncan B. Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory, p. 236.
47 Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihya’ Ulumiddin, Vol. IV, p. 635.
48 Binyamin Abrahamov, “Al-Ghazali’s Supreme Way to Know God”, p. 151.
49 Eric L. Ormsby, “The Taste of Truth”, p. 149.
50 Fazlur Rahman, “Islamic Modernism: Its Scope, Method and Alternatives” in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. I, No. 4 (1970) p. 324.


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Janssens, Jules, “Al-Ghazzali’s Tahafut: Is it Really a Rejection of Ibn Sina’s Philosophy?”, Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 12, no. 1 (2001).

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