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Not to be confused with al-Ghazal. Al-Ghazali_sentence_0

For other uses, see Ghazali. Al-Ghazali_sentence_1


TitleAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_1_0 Hujjat al-Islām (honorific)Al-Ghazali_cell_0_1_1
BornAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_3_0 Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad aṭ-Ṭūsī al-Ġaz(z)ālī

c. 1058 Tus, Greater Khorasan, Seljuq EmpireAl-Ghazali_cell_0_3_1

DiedAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_4_0 19 December 1111(1111-12-19) (aged 52–53)

Tus, Greater Khorasan, Seljuq EmpireAl-Ghazali_cell_0_4_1

ReligionAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_5_0 IslamAl-Ghazali_cell_0_5_1
EraAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_6_0 Islamic Golden AgeAl-Ghazali_cell_0_6_1
RegionAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_7_0 Great Seljuq Empire (Nishapur)

Abbasid Caliphate (Baghdad) / (Jerusalem) / (Damascus)Al-Ghazali_cell_0_7_1

DenominationAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_8_0 SunniAl-Ghazali_cell_0_8_1
SchoolAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_9_0 ShafiʿiAl-Ghazali_cell_0_9_1
CreedAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_10_0 AshʿariAl-Ghazali_cell_0_10_1
Main interest(s)Al-Ghazali_header_cell_0_11_0 Sufism, theology (kalam), philosophy, logic, Islamic jurisprudenceAl-Ghazali_cell_0_11_1
Notable work(s)Al-Ghazali_header_cell_0_12_0 The Revival of Religious Sciences, The Aims of the Philosophers, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, The Alchemy of Happiness, The Moderation in Belief, On Legal theory of Muslim JurisprudenceAl-Ghazali_cell_0_12_1
Other namesAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_13_0 AlgazelAl-Ghazali_cell_0_13_1
Muslim leaderAl-Ghazali_header_cell_0_14_0

Al-Ghazali (UK: /ælˈɡɑːzɑːli/, US: /ˌælɡəˈzɑːli, -zæl-/; full name أَبُو حَامِدٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلطُّوسِيُّ ٱلْغَزَالِيُّ or ٱلْغَزَّالِيُّ, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad aṭ-Ṭūsiyy al-Ġaz(z)ālīy; Latinized Algazelus or Algazel; c. 1058 – 19 December 1111) was a Persian philosopher who was one of the most prominent and influential Muslim philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics, of Sunni Islam. Al-Ghazali_sentence_2

Most Muslims consider him to be a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith who, according to the prophetic hadith, appears once every century to restore the faith of the ummah ("the Islamic Community"). Al-Ghazali_sentence_3

His works were so highly acclaimed by his contemporaries that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title "Proof of Islam" (Hujjat al-Islām). Al-Ghazali_sentence_4

Al-Ghazali believed that the Islamic spiritual tradition had become moribund and that the spiritual sciences taught by the first generation of Muslims had been forgotten. Al-Ghazali_sentence_5

That resulted in his writing his magnum opus entitled Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm ad-dīn ("The Revival of the Religious Sciences"). Al-Ghazali_sentence_6

Among his other works, the Tahāfut al-Falāsifa ("Incoherence of the Philosophers") is a significant landmark in the history of philosophy, as it advances the critique of Aristotelian science developed later in 14th-century Europe. Al-Ghazali_sentence_7

Life Al-Ghazali_section_0

The believed date of al-Ghazali's birth, as given by Ibn al-Jawzi, is AH 450 (1058/9). Al-Ghazali_sentence_8

Modern estimates place it at AH 448 (1056/7), on the basis of certain statements in al-Ghazali's correspondence and autobiography. Al-Ghazali_sentence_9

He was a Muslim scholar, law specialist, rationalist, and spiritualist of Persian descent. Al-Ghazali_sentence_10

He was born in Tabaran, a town in the district of Tus, Khorasan (now part of Iran), not long after Seljuk captured Baghdad from the Shia Buyid and established Sunni Caliphate under a commission from the Abbasid Dynasty in 1055 AD. Al-Ghazali_sentence_11

A posthumous tradition, the authenticity of which has been questioned in recent scholarship, is that his father, a man "of Persian descent," died in poverty and left the young al-Ghazali and his brother Ahmad to the care of a Sufi. Al-Ghazali_sentence_12

Al-Ghazali's contemporary and first biographer, 'Abd al-Ghafir al-Farisi, records merely that al-Ghazali began to receive instruction in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) from Ahmad al-Radhakani, a local teacher. Al-Ghazali_sentence_13

He later studied under al-Juwayni, the distinguished jurist and theologian and "the most outstanding Muslim scholar of his time," in Nishapur, perhaps after a period of study in Gurgan. Al-Ghazali_sentence_14

After al-Juwayni's death in 1085, al-Ghazali departed from Nishapur and joined the court of Nizam al-Mulk, the powerful vizier of the Seljuq sultans, which was likely centered in Isfahan. Al-Ghazali_sentence_15

After bestowing upon him the titles of "Brilliance of the Religion" and "Eminence among the Religious Leaders," Nizam al-Mulk advanced al-Ghazali in July 1091 to the "most prestigious and most challenging" professorial at the time: in the Nizamiyya madrasa in Baghdad. Al-Ghazali_sentence_16

He underwent a spiritual crisis in 1095, abandoned his career and left Baghdad on the pretext of going on pilgrimage to Mecca. Al-Ghazali_sentence_17

Making arrangements for his family, he disposed of his wealth and adopted an ascetic lifestyle. Al-Ghazali_sentence_18

According to biographer Duncan B. Macdonald, the purpose of abstaining from scholastic work was to confront the spiritual experience and more ordinary understanding of "the Word and the Traditions." Al-Ghazali_sentence_19

After some time in Damascus and Jerusalem, with a visit to Medina and Mecca in 1096, he returned to Tus to spend the next several years in 'uzla (seclusion). Al-Ghazali_sentence_20

The seclusion consisted in abstaining from teaching at state-sponsored institutions, but he continued to publish, receive visitors and teach in the zawiya (private madrasa) and khanqah (Sufi monastery) that he had built. Al-Ghazali_sentence_21

Fakhr al-Mulk, grand vizier to Ahmad Sanjar, pressed al-Ghazali to return to the Nizamiyya in Nishapur. Al-Ghazali_sentence_22

Al-Ghazali reluctantly capitulated in 1106, fearing rightly that he and his teachings would meet with resistance and controversy. Al-Ghazali_sentence_23

He later returned to Tus and declined an invitation in 1110 from the grand vizier of the Seljuq Sultan Muhammad I to return to Baghdad. Al-Ghazali_sentence_24

He died on 19 December 1111. Al-Ghazali_sentence_25

According to 'Abd al-Ghafir al-Farisi, he had several daughters but no sons. Al-Ghazali_sentence_26

School affiliations Al-Ghazali_section_1

Al-Ghazali contributed significantly to the development of a systematic view of Sufism and its integration and acceptance in mainstream Islam. Al-Ghazali_sentence_27

As a scholar of Sunni Islam, he belonged to the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence and to the Asharite school of theology. Al-Ghazali_sentence_28

Al-Ghazali received many titles such as Sharaf-ul-Aʾimma (شرف الأئمة), Zayn-ud-dīn (زين الدين) and Ḥujjat-ul-Islām (حجة الإسلام). Al-Ghazali_sentence_29

He is viewed as the key member of the influential Asharite school of early Muslim philosophy and the most important refuter of the Mutazilites. Al-Ghazali_sentence_30

However, he chose a slightly-different position in comparison with the Asharites. Al-Ghazali_sentence_31

His beliefs and thoughts differ in some aspects from the orthodox Asharite school. Al-Ghazali_sentence_32

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