World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ahmad Ghazali

Article Id: WHEBN0023986107
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ahmad Ghazali  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sultan Walad, Kamal Khujandi, Al-Ghazali, Al Akbariyya (Sufi school), Uwaisi
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Ahmad Ghazali

Aḥmad Ghazālī (Persian: احمد غزالی‎; full name Majd al-Dīn Abū al-Fotuḥ Aḥmad Ghazālī) was a Persian mystic, writer, and eloquent preacher (c. 1061–1123 or 1126).[1] He is best known in the history of Sufism for his ideas on love, expressed primarily in the celebrated work entitled Sawāneḥ.

Life

The younger brother of the celebrated theologian, jurist, and Sufi, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad al-Ghazālī, Aḥmad Ghazālī was born in a village near Tūs, in Khorasan. Here he was educated primarily in jurisprudence. He turned to Sufism while still young, becoming the pupil first of Abu Bakr Nassaj Tusi (died 1094) and then of Abu Ali Farmadi (died 1084). He was advanced in Sufism by 1095, and his brother Abū Ḥāmid asked him to teach in his place in the Nezamiya of Baghdad and assume responsibility during his planned absence.

Aḥmad Ghazālī’s thought, centered as it was on the idea of love, left a profound mark on the development of Persian mystical literature, especially poetry celebrating love. Many of the topoi (maẓāmīn) used by later poets such as ʿAṭṭār, Saʿdī, ʿIrāqī, and Ḥāfeẓ, to name but a few, can be traced to his works, particularly the Sawāneḥ.

Among his predecessors, he was influenced most strongly by Ḥallāj, and he made of his idea of essential love the basis of his own thought. His belief that all created beauty is an emanation of divine beauty was likewise Hallajian or neo-Platonic in origin. Since God is both absolute beauty and the lover of all phenomenal beauty, Aḥmad Ghazālī maintained, to adore any object of beauty is to participate in a divine act of love. Hence the practice of naẓar-bāzī or šāhed-bāzī, gazing on young and beautiful faces, a practice for which he became notorious.

Aḥmad Ghazālī travelled extensively in the capacities of both Sufi master and a popular preacher. He visited Nishapur, Maragheh, Hamadan and Isfahan. He initiated and trained eminent masters of Sufism including Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani, Abu al-Najib al-Suhrawardi. The latter was the founder of the Suhrawardiyya Order and its derivatives such as the Kubrawiyya, Mevlevi and Ni'matullāhī orders.

He died in Qazvin in 1123 or 1126 and is buried there.

Works

  • Sawāneḥ, a little book written around 1114 and comprising some 77 short chapters. It was innovative in form, for at a time when Persian Sufi authors used only prose, Ghazālī had recourse to verse in order to illustrate in metaphorical fashion the themes he expounded more technically in the prose sections of his work.
  • Risālat al-ṭayr (or al-ṭuyūr) (Epistle of the Birds): In this work Ghazālī employs the metaphor of a bird and its journey to speak of the spiritual path to illumination in God. This work set a precedent for the Conference of the Birds by Attar of Nishapur.
  • Al-tajrīd fī kalimat al-tawḥīd, a theological and mystical interpretation of the basic testimony of Islam, Lā ilāha illā Allāh, which reflects his adherence to the Ashʿarite school of theology.
  • Baḥr al-maḥabba fī asrār al-mawadda, a Sufi commentary on Sūrat Yūsuf (Koran 12); and an abridgment of his brother’s Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn, a work he himself taught.

Notes

  1. ^ Nasrollah Pourjavady, "ḠAZĀLĪ,MAJD-AL-DĪN Abu’l-Fotūḥ AḤMAD b. Moḥammad b. Moḥammad b. Aḥmad" in Encyclopedia Iranica. [1] accessed 2012.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.