ghazali.org went online on 28-06-2001 as part of Islamic Philosophy online: muslimphilosophy.com. By 2004 the al-Ghazālī material had out grown its original location and it just made much more sense to branch out on its own.
This version is a major website update that was started in September 2015 to a mobile device friendly version. The old web pages will still exist on the website will have the same URL as before except for the main page. With that said the old pages will not be updated as all updates will be in this new version of the website. As of early 2017 the pages are still being converted and updated. The detailed pages with information on editions are still being worked on. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as I make this conversion. In this system I am able to enlist help in updating these pages. If anyone is interested please contact me directly.
This version is in “wordpress” a Content Management System (CMS) that makes use of a system of HTML, CSS, templates, plug ins and theme files. I kept the “light version” i.e. “old version” of the site as long as possible but with new requirements of search engine [and the World Wide Web] that all sites must pass a mobile friendly test and using a CMS, i.e. wordpress is easiest to use and maintain. I found a very light template that is clutter free and very sparse. Further I have changed it to further declutter it. Overly I am happy with it now and will keep it as the main look of the site.
Islamic Philosophy Online and ghazali.org were created fill a gap, a lacuna, that was missing in the early years of the internet. It was started as project to help me keep track of the plethora of information that researchers would need for the academic study of the subjects. Some items are easily found while others were near impossible to obtain that it took literally years to find and procure. If I had such a hard time finding the material why should anybody else have to suffer the same fate.
I also took advantage of the existing technology (the web, inter library loan system and a scanner) not to mention the many many academic libraries in the united states. Some material is out of print, while others only certain libraries had them. While many others were simply missing from the library or loaned out permanently. This would explain that some of the early material is of lower quality. Whereas newer material is of higher and exceptional quality. By 2010 the standards for PDFs (facsimiles) of printed books have gone up to at least 300dpi for black and white pages. Also many students of Islamic Studies especially in the Muslim World have been in race to get as many of the classical texts scanned and uploaded as soon as they are available. While there are many institutions that have “branded” their scans others have been generous not to include the annoying watermarks.
So the site was envisioned as a research aid and store house to help those who really want to study al-Ghazālī through his works, manuscripts, primary research material as well as important secondary sources. It also gives you an idea of how much al-Ghazālī was studied and continues to be studied.
I have been fortunate to meet many scholars and students (some who have gone on to become scholars in their own right) working on al-Ghazālī as well as to attend many conferences. Ultimately, I was able to put together a panel at Annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in November 2003. I continue to reach out and attend many of the gathering on al-Ghazālī specifically. I have been fortunate that I have travelled to many countries, including Malaysia, England and Germany not to mention travel through out the US. I was also honored to be invited to many others and could not attend. Many authors have been so kind as to send me their publications on al-Ghazālī as well as many hard to find texts and for that I thank them from my heart.
As of Feb 2015 there was over 17 Gigabyte of E-texts (2.4 gigs – 12289 files) many in PDF format. There is a lot of al-Ghazālī stuff out there! The materials are in Arabic, English, French, Persian and German. There are Latin (2), Hebrew (1), Turkish (10), Spanish (1), Dutch(1), Hungarian (1) and finally Urdu translations.
Editions what can I say. There are a lot of editions of al-Ghazālī works in print in Arabic. It seems that every major publisher in Cairo and Lebanon has an edition of the ihya’ in print. Some are just plain offset copies of existing in print others have value added like re-typesetting which sometimes introduces more errors. While others work on either the Qurʾānic ayāt or Ḥadīth verification. I try to buy just about any version that is on sale. I have 15 editions of the Iḥyāʾ, 5 of the Tahāfut; 5 of al-munqidh. I am still looking for a few of the older editions, namely dār al-Shaʿab, lately the Damascus based dār al-Fikr released an edition that promises to be a good one. The best of the modern editions is the 2010 dār al-Fayḥaʾ edition. The best index edition award goes to 2997 dār al-khayr edition. The Jedda based dār al-minhāj is on a Ghazālī publishing spree to publish more and more of his works, The more the merrier.
Archive.org and waqfeya.com have been an enormous asset for texts that are needed for research on the intellectual heritage of the Muslim world. Guogle books while it may be easy to search its content its books the downloadable versions are of low quality meanwhile the material from individual universities (Kudos to the Canadian University libraries) on archive.org have been of the highest quality and many in full color. Individuals have placed material online on archive.org that is of varying quality including books by guogle.
Enjoy the site and if you are working on a project related to al-Ghazālī, a scholar studying al-Ghazālī, or even thinking (no dreams please, I am not in that business) about al-Ghazālī I want to hear about it.
Muhammad Hozien (E-mail: m @ ghazali . org)