Biography: Primary Source Material

Primary Source Material on al-Ghazālīʼs Life and Works

  1. {المنقذ من الضلال} al-Munqidh min al-alāl (Rescuer from Misguidance), considered to be autobiography an apologia pro vita. One of the best editions is Edited with an introduction by J. Saliba and K. Ayyad, 7th edition. See entry on this work for other editions. 
  2. ʿAbd al-Ghāfir al-Farīsī (d. 529/1135) – Entry on Ghazali originally from “History of Nishapur” Ghazālī’s student. (source:  “Tabaqat al-shaifi’iyya al-kubra” ), alternate source: Ibrahim al-Siyrafini’s condensation of  ʿAbd al-Ghāfir al-Farīsī’s al-siyāq li-t ārīkh Nishāpūr (History of Nishapur) titled: “al-muntakhab min al-siyaq li-t ārīkh Nishapur ” (Selections from the “History of Nishapur”) (المنتخب من السياق لتاريخ نيسابور) (pdf)
  3. Eulogy by al-Abī Wardī (Abū l-Muzaffar Muḥammad b. Aḥmad) from Abiward in Khurasan (d. 507/1113) quoted by Yaqūt.
  4. Abū Bakr b. al-ʻArabī (d. 543/1143) (العواصم من القواصم) al-ʿAwasim min al-qawasim, al-Ghazālī’s student. (found in the complete edition: A. Talabi) (PDF).
  5. Ibn ʿAsākir (d. 571/1176)
    1. (تبين كذب المفتري فيما نسب للأشعري) Tabyin kadhib al-muftari; Damascus: Matbaʿat al-Tawfiq, 1347/1924, pp. 291–306.
    2. Also in Tārīkh madīnat Dimashq (pdf)
  6. Ibn Ṭufayl (d. 581/1186), in the introduction of his book Ḥayy bin Yaqẓān.
  7. Ibn al-Jawzī  (d. 597/1201) (المنتطم في تاريخ الملوك والامم) al-Muntaẓam fī tārīkh al-mulūk wa-l-umam, Hyderabad: Maṭbaʿat Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif al-ʿUthmāniyya, 1357–/1938–. Vol. 9. pp. 168–170. (pdf) Also included is Beirut, 1992. htm
  8. Yaqūt al-Ḥamawī (d. 626/1229) in his Muʿjam al-buldān (pdf) Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1977. Vol. 4, pp. 49–50.
  9. Ibn al-Ṣalāh (d. 634/1237), Ṭabaqāt al-fuqahāʾ al-shāfiʿiyya. Not extant.
  10. Ibn al-Athīr (d. 636/1239) al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh. Vol. 10, p. 173.
  11. Ṣibṭ ibn al-Jawzī  (d. 654/1257) (مرآة الزمان) Mirʾat al-zaman (pdf)
  12. al-Nawawī (d. 676/1277), Mukhtaṣar Ṭabaqāt fuqahāʾ.
  13. Abī l-ʿAbbās Shams al-Dīn Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm b. Abī Bakr b. Khallikān [Ibn Khallikān]  (d. 681/1282) (وفيات الأعيان وانباء ابناء الزمان)  Wafiyāt al-aʿyān wa-anbāʾ abnāʾ al-zamān, ed. Iḥsān ʿAbbās, Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1971. Vol 4, pp. 216–219. The pdf file includes an English translation by Baron M. de Slane. Beirut, Librairie du Liban, 1970. pp. 621–624 and a biography of his brother from Vol. 1, pp. 97–98. (pdf)
  14. al-Dhahabī (d. 748/1348)
    1. (سير إعلام النبلاء)  “Siyar aʻlam al-nubalaʾ” (pdf) also in html
    2. ( تاريخ الإسلام ) “Tārīkh al-islam” (pdf)
    3. al-ʿAbar fī khabr man ghabr. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1985.
  15. al-Yafiʻi (d. 768/1367) (مرآة الجنان وعبرة اليقظان) “Mirʾat al-Jinan” (PDF) also in html – and also al-Yafi, Mirat al-Jinan, Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, vol. 3, pp. 136–146 (pdf).
  16. Abū l-Fidāʾ, Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī b. Maḥmūd (d. 732/1331), al-Mukhtaṣar fī akhār al-bashar. (pdf) vol. 2, p. 237.
  17. Ibn al-Wardī, ʿUmar b. al-Muẓaffar (d. 750/1349), Tārīkh Ibn al-Wardī. (pdf) vol. 2, p. 21.
  18. Subkī, (طبقات الشافعية الكبرى) Taj al-Dīn b. al-Subkī (d. 771/1370) “Ṭabaqat al-shāfiʿiya al-kubra” vol. 6, pp. 191–389. A biography of al-Subki is online. (link) (in PDF complete) N.B. This is the most important biographical entry on Ghazālī.
  19. Ibn Kathīr (d. 774/1373) “al-Bidāya wal-nihāya” (whole work, article only in PDF) ed. ʿAbdallāh al-Turkī; Giza: 1998, dar Hajr, 16:213-215.
  20. al-Wasṭī, ( الطبقات العلية للواسطي ) Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Wasti (d. 776/1374) “al-tabaqat al-ʻulya fi manaqib al-shafiʻiya” pdf . From A.A. al-ʿAsam’s al-falisuf al-Ghazālī. Beirut: dar al-Andlus, 1981 2nd ed. with addendum, pp. 153-194.
  21. Ibn al-Mulaqqan’s (d. 790/1388), al-ʻAqd al-mudhahab fi tabaqat hamlat al-madhab (pdf)
  22. Taqi al-din ibn Qadi Shahbah (d. 851/1447) “Tabaqat al-Shafiʻiya” (pdf)
  23. Ibn Taghrībirdī (d. 874/1470), al-nujum al-zahira’ vol. 5, p. 203.
  24. Rawdat al-janat, pp. 180-185.
  25. al-ʻAini (d. 855/1451) “ʻaqd al-juman
  26. al-Jami (d. 898/1492) “Nafakhat al-uns
  27. Ṭāsh Kubrī Zāda (d. 962/1365) “Miftāḥ al-saʿāda wa miṣbaḥ al-siyāda” (pdf)
  28. Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Al-Ṣafadi (d. 964/1367) “al-Wafi fi l-wafiyat”, vol. 1, pp. 247-277.
  29. Abū Bakr b. Hidāyat Allāh al-Ḥusaynī (d. 1014/1605 or 6), Ṭabaqāt al-shāfiʿiyya. Also known as Ṭabaqāt Ibn Hidāyat Allāh. pp. 69-71.
  30. Lubab, vol. 2. p. 170.
  31. al-Mīnāwī (d. 1031/1621) al-Kawākib al-durriyya fī tarājim al-sāda al-ṣūfiyya. 
  32. al-ʿaydrawis bā ʿAlwī (d. 1038/1628) in his Taʿrīf al-aḥyāʾ bi-faḍāʾil al-Iḥyāʾ (pdf) Printed on the Margins of Zabidi’s Ithaf.
  33. Ibn al-ʻImad al-Hanbali pdf (d.1089/1679) – “Shadharat al-dhahab fi akhbar man dhahab” Beirut: 1989, Dar ibn Kathir; 6:18-22.
  34. Murtaḍa al-Zabidī’s (d. 1791) commentary on Ihya‘ (Ithaf al-sadah al-mutaqin bi sharh ihya’ ʻulum al-din) (Introduction pp. 1-55). This is an important work on his life and authenticity of his works. See the whole book 
  35. al-‘Uthman, ‘Abdelkarim. Sirat al-Ghazali wa-Aqwal al-Mutaqaddimin fihi [The Life of al-Ghazālī and the Remarks of the Ancients concerning him ]. (Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.) A compilation of important biographical original source material presented at the Ghazālī millenary 900 years since his birth held in Damascus, 1961. (PDF) To keep the volume size down the complier took the liberty of excising the repeated material in individual biography. Note that all the above biographical material is not included in this book.

The above are a complete list of biographies as far as I know of the Arabic sources. Whereas the rest are secondary biographical sources on al-Ghazālī. A listing of Ghazālī’s main teachers with whom he learned.