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Ahmed eventually became a poet and a faqih. Imam al Ghazali turned out to be one of the most intelligent and smartest people of his day. He spoke both. al-Ghazali's classification of the sciences in his philosophical ex- ı Nearly all I am grateful to Frank. Griffel for. Ja: C.M. Jabre, Arabic text of al-Ghazali, al-Munqidh min adalal (see above). Al -Ghazali's full name is Abu Hamid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ahmad.

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Until recently, Islamic thought as propounded by al-Ghazali constituted the predominant school Al-Ghazali appears to have begun his elementary education at. Al-Ghazālī: The Book of Knowledge, Translated by Kenneth Honerkamp, Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, English translation by N. A. Faris (PDF). English . Imam al-Ghazali menjalani period kehidupan yang mengkagumkan sepanjang hidupnya. Beliau terkenal sebagai seorang penulis yang prolifik dan.

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. The Educational Thought of al-Ghazali: Theory and Practice. Asari, MA.

We witness in nature causal processes that add up to longer causal chains. God is the starting point of all causal chains and He creates and controls all elements therein. There is no single event in this world that is not determined by God's will.

While humans are under the impression that they have a free will, their actions are in reality compelled by causes that exist within them as well as outside Griffel , — God creates the universe as a huge apparatus and employs it in order to pursue a certain goal qasd.

Here he describes three stages of its creation. The builder of the water-clock first has to make a plan of it, secondly execute this plan and build the clock, and thirdly he has to make the clock going by supplying it with a constant source of energy, namely the flow of water.

That energy needs to be carefully measured, because only the right amount of energy will produce the desired result. Nature is a process in which all elements harmoniously dovetail with one another. These causes have been made easy for him, who has been predestined in eternity to earn redemption, so that through their chaining-together the causes will lead him to paradise.

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All these are teachings that are very close to those of Avicenna Frank , 24— God's will is not in any way determined by God's nature or essence. God's will is the undetermined determinator of everything in this world. In reality they are compelled to choose what they deem is the best action khayr among the present alternatives. In Avicenna the First Being, which is God, makes all other beings and events necessary.

All material things are composed of atoms that have no qualities or attributes but simply make up the shape of the body. Only the atoms of spatially extended bodies can be substances. A person's thoughts, for instance, are considered accidents that inhere in the atoms of the person's brain, while his or her faith is an accident inhering in the atoms of the heart.

None of the accidents, however, can subsist from one moment waqt to the next. This leads to a cosmology where in each moment God assigns the accidents to bodies in which they inhere. When one moment ends, God creates new accidents. None of the created accidents in the second moment has any causal relation to the ones in the earlier moment.

If a body continues to have a certain attribute from one moment to the next, then God creates two identical accidents inhering in that body in each of the two subsequent moments. Movement and development generate when God decides to change the arrangement of the moment before. A ball is moved, for instance, when in the second moment of two the atoms of the ball happen to be created in a certain distance from the first. The distance determines the speed of the movement. The ball thus jumps in leaps over the playing field and the same is true for the players' limbs and their bodies.

This also applies to the atoms of the air if there happen to be some wind. A purely occasionalist model finds it difficult to explain how God can make humans responsible for their own actions if they do not cause them. Avicenna stresses that no causal series, in any of the four types of causes, can regress indefinitely. Every series of causes and effects must have at least three components: a first element, a middle element, and a last element.

It causes the last element of that chain—the ultimate effect—through one or many intermediaries singl. Tracing back all efficient causes in the universe will lead to a first efficient cause, which is itself uncaused. When the First Cause is also shown to be incorporeal and numerically one, one has achieved a proof of God's existence Avicenna , —9, —3; Davidson , — The 17th discussion is not triggered by any opposition to causality.

If their possibility is acknowledged, a Muslim philosopher who accepts the authority of revelation must also admit that the prophets performed these miracles and that the narrative in revelation is truthful.

This four-fold division of the 17th discussion is crucial for its understanding. For a detailed discussion of the four parts in the 17th discussion the reader must be referred to chapter 6 in Griffel — On first sight, it seems that only an occasionalist explanation of physical processes would fulfill these four conditions, and this is how this statement has mostly been understood.

One should keep in mind, however, that this formula leaves open, how God creates events. Even an Avicennan philosopher holds that God creates the cause concomitant to its effect, and does so by means of secondary causality.

While such connections cannot be proven through observation or through any other means , they may or may not exist. Like in the connection between a father and his son, where the father is not the only efficient cause for the son's existence, so there may be in every causal connection efficient causes involved other than the most obvious or the most proximate one. The proximate efficient cause may be just the last element in a long chain of efficient causes that extends via the heavenly realm.

God may create this effect directly or by way of secondary causality. Still he does not accept the teachings of Avicenna, which are discussed in the Second Position.

Avicenna combines secondary causality with the view that causal processes proceed with necessity and in accord with the natures of things, and not by way of deliberation and choice on the side of the efficient cause.

The ultimate efficient cause in a cosmology of secondary causality is, of course, God. The Avicennan opponent of the Second Position teaches secondary causality plus he holds that the causal connections follow with necessity from the nature of the First Being.

They are not created through God's deliberation and choice but are a necessary effect of God's essence. Kukkonen and Dutton have shown that the two start with quite different assumptions about necessity.

If this sentence is true whenever uttered, it is necessarily true. If its truth-value can change in the course of time, it is possible. If such a sentence is false whenever uttered, it is impossible Hintikka , 63—72, 84—6, —5, — In Aristotelian modal theories, modal terms were taken to refer to the one and only historical world of ours. In the modern model, the notion of necessity refers to what obtains in all alternatives, the notion of possibility refers to what obtains in at least in one alternative, and that which is impossible does not obtain in any conceivable state of affairs Knuuttila , The process of particularization makes one of several alternatives actual.

We know this distinction instinctively without learning it from others and without further inquiry into the world. The same applies to the time when the building is built. He denies Avicenna's premise that possibility needs a substrate.

For Avicenna, the fact that the connection never was different and never will be different implies that it is necessary.

We will see that he, like Avicenna, assumes causal connections never were and never will be different from what they are now. Still they are not necessary, he maintains.

The connection between a cause and its effect is contingent mumkin because an alternative to it is conceivable in our minds. We can imagine a world where fire does not cause cotton to combust. Or, to continue reading the initial statement of the 17th discussion: … it is within divine power to create satiety without eating, to create death without a deep cut hazz in the neck, to continue life after having received a deep cut in the neck, and so on to all connected things.

A change in a single causal connection would probably imply that many others would be different as well. Still, such a world can be conceived in our minds, which means it is a possible world.

God, however, did not choose to create such an alternative possible world Griffel , —3. Avicenna denied this. This world is the necessary effect of God's nature and a world different from this one is unconceivable. This is the part of the 17th discussion where he presents occasionalism as a viable explanation of what we have usually come to refer as efficient causality. God's eternal and unchanging knowledge already contains all events that will happen in creation.

In real terms, however, combustion occurs only concomitantly when fire touches cotton and is not connected to this event. When God wishes to perform a miracle and confirm the mission of one of His prophets, he suspends His habit and omits to create the effect He usually does according to His habit. We know that wood disintegrates with time and becomes earth that fertilizes and feeds plants. These plants are, in turn, the fodder of herbivores, which are consumed by carnivores like snakes.

It is a struggle that has its own existential dimension, and is an essential process of being. Al-Ghazali lived in both states: the state of restlessness and the state of stillness and peace. His life was a journey to attain the truth. He went through a difficult state of doubt; he was the most eloquent religious scholar in Baghdad, then lost the desire to communicate with other people and became physically unable to talk. After studying the work of the greatest students and seekers of knowledge of his time, his mind engaged in a continuous state of searching for certainty and doubting many types and categories of knowledge.

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Let us look closely at his life, his methodological doubt, his journey in search of knowledge, and then turn to his approach to knowledge and the 12 Ibid. We begin with a reading from Deliverance from error [al-Munqidh min ad-Dalal] on methodological doubt. Readings from al-Ghazali's Deliverance from Error Methodological doubt and al-Ghazali's journey in search of knowledge Al-Ghazali says, I saw that the children of Christians always grew up embracing Christianity, and the children of Jews always grew up adhering to Judaism, and the children of Muslims always grew up following the religion of Islam.

I also heard the tradition related from the Apostle of God—God's blessing and peace be upon him—in which he said: "Every infant is born endowed with fitra [intuitive ability to know God] then his parents make him Jew or Christian or Magian. I wanted to sift out these uncritical beliefs, the beginnings of which are suggestions imposed from without since there are differences of opinion in the discernment of those that are true from those that are false.

So I began by saying to myself: "What I seek is knowledge of the true meaning of things. Of necessity, therefore, I must inquire into just what the true meaning of knowledge is. Furthermore, safety from error must accompany the certainty to such a degree that, if someone proposed to show it to be false—for example, a man who would turn a stone into gold and a stick into a snake—his feat would not induce any doubt or denial.

Books on/by Ghazali

For if I know that ten is more than three, and then someone were to say: "No, on the contrary, three is more than ten, as is proved by my turning this stick into a snake—" and if he were to do just that and I were to see him do it, I would not doubt my knowledge because of his i6o feat. The only effect it would have on me would be to make me wonder how he could do such a thing. But there would be no doubt at all about what I knew!

I realized, then, that whatever I did not know in this way and was not certain of with this kind of certainty was unreliable and unsure knowledge, and that every knowledge unaccompanied by safety from error is not sure and certain knowledge.

I then scrutinized all my cognitions and found myself devoid of any knowledge answering the previous description except in the case of sense-data and the self-evident truths This protracted effort to induce doubt finally brought me to the point where my soul would not allow me to admit safety from error even in the case of my sense-data.

Then I said: "My reliance on sense-data has also become untenable. Perhaps, therefore, I can rely only on those rational data which belong to the category of primary truths, such as our asserting that 'ten is more than three,' and 'one and the same thing cannot be simultaneously affirmed and denied,' and 'one and the same thing cannot be incipient and eternal, existent and nonexistent, necessary and impossible. Indeed, you used to have confidence in me.

Then the reason-judge came along and gave me the lie. But were it not for the reason-judge, you would still accept me as true. So there may be, beyond the perception of reason, another judge. And if the latter revealed itself, it would give the lie to the judgments of reason, just as the reason-judge revealed itself and gave the lie to the judgments of sense.

The mere fact of the nonappearance of that further perception does not prove the impossibility of its existence. For they allege that, in the states they experience when they concentrate inwardly and suspend sensation, they see phenomena which are not in accord with the normal data of reason.

Or it may be that this state is death. For the Apostle of God—God's blessing and peace be upon him—said, "Men are asleep: then after they die they awake. Consequently, when a man dies, things will appear to him differently from the way he now sees them, and thereupon he will be told: "But We have i6i removed from you your veil and today your sight is keen.

However, my effort was unsuccessful. This malady was mysterious and it lasted for nearly two months. During that time I was a skeptic in fact, but not in utterance and doctrine. At length, God Most High cured me of that sickness. My soul regained its health and equilibrium and once again I accepted the self-evident data of reason and relied on them with safety and certainty. But that was not achieved by constructing a proof or putting together an argument.

On the contrary, it was the effect of a light which God Most High cast into my breast. And that light is the key to most knowledge. Therefore, whoever thinks that the unveiling of truth depends on precisely formulated proofs has indeed straitened the broad mercy of God. When the Apostle of God—God's blessing and peace be upon him! There remained, then, only what was attainable, not by hearing and study, but by fruitional experience and actually engaging in the way.

These three fundamentals of our faith had become deeply rooted in my soul, not because of any specific, precisely formulated proofs, but because of reasons and circumstances and experiences too many to list in detail.


It had already become clear to me that my only hope of attaining beatitude in the afterlife lay in piety and restraining my soul from passion. The beginning of all that, I knew, was to sever my heart's attachment to the world by withdrawing from this abode of delusion and turning to the mansion of immortality and devoting myself with total ardor to God Most High.

That, I knew, could be achieved only by shunning fame and fortune and fleeing from my preoccupations and attachments. Next I attentively considered my circumstances, and I saw that I was immersed in attachments which had encompassed me from all sides. I also considered my activities—the best of them being public and private instruction—and saw that in them I was applying myself to sciences unimportant and useless in this pilgrimage to the hereafter.

Then I reflected on my intention in my public teaching, and I saw that it was not directed purely to God, but rather was instigated and motivated by the quest for fame and widespread prestige.

So I became certain that I was on the brink of a crumbling bank and already on the verge of falling into the Fire, unless I set about mending my ways.

I therefore reflected unceasingly on this for some time, while I still had freedom of choice. One day I would firmly resolve to leave Baghdad and disengage myself from those circumstances, and another day I would revoke my resolution.

I would put one foot forward, and the other backward. In the morning I would have a sincere desire to seek the things of the afterlife; but by evening the hosts of passion would assail it and render it lukewarm. Mundane desires began tugging me with their chains to remain as I was, while the herald of faith was crying out: "Away!


Up and away! Only a little is left of your life, and a long journey lies before you! All the theory and practice in which you are engrossed is pretension and fraud! If you do not prepare now for the afterlife, when will you do so? And if you do not sever these attachments now, then when will you sever them?

Then Satan would return to the attack and say, "This is a passing state: beware, then, of yielding to it! For it will quickly vanish. Once you have given in to it and given up your present renown and splendid position free from vexation and renounced your secure situation untroubled by the contention of your adversaries, your soul might again look longingly at all that—but it would not be easy to return to it! In this month the matter passed from choice to compulsion.


For God put a lock upon my tongue so that I was impeded from public teaching. I struggled with myself to teach for a single day, to gratify the hearts of the students who were frequenting my lectures, but my tongue would not utter a single word: I was completely unable to say anything.

As a result that impediment of my speech caused a sadness in my heart accompanied by an inability to digest; food and drink became unpalatable to me so that I could neither swallow broth easily nor digest a mouthful of solid food. That led to such a weakening of my powers that the physicians lost hope of treating me and said, "This is something which has settled in his heart and crept from it into his humors; there is no way to treat it unless his heart be eased of the anxiety which has visited it.

And I was answered by Him Who "answers the needy man when he calls on Him" Qur'an 62 , and He made it easy for my heart to turn away from fame and fortune, family, children, and associates. I announced that I had resolved to leave for Mecca, all the while planning secretly to travel to Syria. This I did as a precaution, lest the Caliph and the group of my associates might learn of my resolve to settle in Damascus. I departed from Baghdad after I had distributed what wealth I had, laying by only the amount needed for my support and the sustenance of my children.

My excuse for that was that the money of Iraq was earmarked for the welfare of the people, because it was a pious bequest in favor of Muslims.

Nowhere in the world have I seen a more beneficial arrangement regarding money which the scholar can use for his family. My only occupation was seclusion and solitude and spiritual exercise and combat with a view to devoting myself to the purification of my soul and the cultivation of virtues and cleansing my heart for the remembrance of God Most High, in the way I had learned from the writings of the Sufis.

I used to pray in seclusion for a time in the Mosque, mounting to its minaret for the whole day and shutting myself in. Then I was inwardly moved by an urge to perform the duty of the pilgrimage and to draw succor from the blessings of Mecca and Medina and the visit to the tomb of the Apostle of God—God's blessing and peace be upon him!

So I traveled to the Hijaz. Mecca to Baghdad Then certain concerns and the appeals of my children drew me to my native land; so I came back to it after being the person most unlikely to return to it. There I also chose seclusion out of a desire for solitude and the purification of my heart for the remembrance of God.

But current events and important family matters and gaining the necessities for daily living had an effect on the way to realize my desire and troubled the serenity of my solitude, and the pure state of ecstasy occurred only intermittently.

But nonetheless I did not cease to aspire to it. Obstacles would keep me away from it, but I would return to it. For ten years I remained in that condition. In the course of those periods of solitude things impossible to enumerate or detail in depth were disclosed to me.

This much I shall mention, that profit may be derived from it: I knew with certainty that the Sufis are those who uniquely follow the way to God Most High, their mode of life is the best of all, their way the most direct of ways, and their ethic the purest.

Indeed, were one to combine the insight of the intellectuals, the wisdom of the wise, and the lore of scholars versed in the mysteries of revelation in order to change a single item of Sufi conduct and ethic and to replace it with something better, no way to do so would be found!

For all their motions and quiescence, exterior and interior, are learned from the light of the niche of prophecy. And beyond the light of prophecy there is no light on earth from which illumination can be obtained. Ascertainment by apodictic proof leads to knowledge. Intimate experience of that very state is fruitional experience. Favorable acceptance of it based on hearsay and experience of others is faith. These, then, are three degrees, or levels, of knowledge—"God raises in degrees those of you who believe and those to whom knowledge is given.

A discussion of al-Ghazali's idea of prophecy follows under the section entitled "Methodological Doubt and Epistemology.

Pdf al ghazali

Al-Ghazali agrees with other philosophers that the goal of philosophy and rational endeavors is to reach the truth and know the ultimate reality.