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Main: Research Topics: On the influnce of al-Ghazali on the study of Philosophy in the Muslim world after Ghazali

On the al-Ghazali's influnce on the study of Philosophy in the Muslim after al-Ghazali

(preleminary version)


There is a contention that al-Ghazali has single handedly dealt a death blow to the study of philosophy in the Muslim world and by extention all sciences. The logic being that since he wrote his work Tahafut al-falasifah the book having dealt a death blow to philosophy from which it never recovered and Muslims were turned off to the study of philosophy that it simply disappeared in the Muslim world. Ibn Rushd (Averroes) is usually held up as the last of the great Muslim philosophers who had made a heroic attempt but alas it was too late as philosophy would never rise in the Muslim world.

This elsewhere (in any other tradition) would be laughed at however stranger things have been said about this tradition.

what follows is a list what we deem as evidence (ad nasum) that Muslims continued to study philosophy after al-Ghazali. There are some shining stars that not only worked on philosophy but many of the other sciences as well. Those considering to blame the decline of Science in Muslim world are adviced to look elsewhere.

For example here is a list of some of the philosophers who studied philosophy after the death of Ghazali:

  • Ibn Bajja (1077-1139)
    • Tadbir al-mutwahid (Rule of the solitary)
    • Risala al-wada' (Farewell treatiste)
    • Ittisal al-`aql bi al-insan (Union of the intellect with Man)
    • Kitab al-Nafs (on the soul)
    • Commentary on Aristotle's Physics (ed. P. Lettinck, Leiden, 1994)
  • Shahrastani (1087-1153): 
  • Ibn Tufayl (1110-1185) wrote  Hayy bin Yaqzan.
  • Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126-1198). See our website on him. 
  • Fakhraddin al-Razi (1149-1209) (PDF) 
    • Book on Ethics an English translation of Kitab al-nafs wa'l-ruh wa sharh quwahuma (pdf).
    • Wrote many many books on Philosophy including muhsal afakar al-mutaqadimin wal-mutakharin
    • al-mutalib al-'alyiah min al-ilm al-ilyahi.
    • and many many others see A. Shihadeh, Leiden, 2006. pp. 7-11. for a listing.  
  • Haci Pasha (1339-1424) wrote on Medicine and theology.
  • athir al-din al-Abhari (1200-1246).
    • Kitab Hidaya al-Hikmah (Guide to Philosophy)
    • Isaghuji fi'l mantiq (Introduction to Logic) trans. by T. Novarinsis Rome, 1625 and E. Calverly, Princeton, 1933.
    • Tanzil al-afkar (on Logic)
    • Kitab al-Mahsul (metaphysics)
    • Kashaf al-haqa'iq (fi tahrir al-daqa'iq) (Unveiling of metaphysical Realities)
  • Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi (1207-74) considered a chief expositer of Ibn `Arabi's philosophy
  • Ibn Taymiyah. (1263-1328). wrote many critisim of philosophy including one of Aristotlian logic.
  • Ibn Khaldun(1332-1406). wrote in the introduction to his history a review of all branches of knowledge in his time. He was quite aware and knowledgeable on the philosophical debates. 
  • Nasir al-Din al-Tusi - wrote commentaries on Ibn Sina's works and his own indpendent works.
  • Hocazade - Wrote a book titled tahafut which was a reworking of the issues that Ghazali mentioned in his tahafut.
  • Ala' al-din al-Tusi - Wrote a book titled tahafut which was a reworking of the issues that Ghazali mentioned in his tahafut.
  • Nur al-din al-Raniri (d. 1658)
  • Mulla Sadra. (1571-1640) - Wrote philosophical works and is considered the founder of the Ishraqi school of theosophy.
  • Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (1641-1731) - followed Ibn `Arabi philosophy.
    • Al-Hadiqat al-nadiya
    • Wujud al-Haqq (On True Being)
    • Sharh jawahir al-nusus
    • Books on Hanfi fiqh and on Dream interperetation.
  • Mehmet Raghib Pasha (1699-1763) - Accomplished statemen, poet and scholar
    • Safinat al-raghib wa dafinat al-matalib (history of knowledge)
    • Tahqiq al-Tawfia
  • Said Nursi (1877-1960) enough said!



  • Averroes, 1930, Averroès Tahafot at-Tahafot, M. Bouyges (ed.), Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique.

  • Averroes. 1954, Averroes' Tahafut al-tahafut (The Incoherence of the Incoherence), S. van den Bergh (trans.), 2 vols., London: Luzac.(link) Ibn Rushd's answer to some of al-Ghazali's concerns in the tahafut.

  • Tahafut of Hocazade (a book by an Ottoman scholar (Mustafa b. Khalil Khawaja zadae Barswae) on the issue of philosophers in the tahafut of Ghazali. (Arabic PDF.) 
  • Tahafut of Alaaddin al-Tusi. (yet another book by an Ottoman scholar edited by Rida Sa`ada (Beirut: al-Dar al-Alimyah, 1983). Arabic. (pdf)
  • The Teleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Ayman Shihadeh, Brill: Leiden, 2006 (ISBN: 9004149910)


  • Michot, Y. "Al-Nukat wa-l-faw`id: An Important Summa of Avicenian Falsafa", in Peter Adamson, ed., Classical Arabic Philosophy: Sources and Reception, Warburg Institue, London 2007, pp. 90-123. (pdf)
  • Michot, Y. “A Mamluk Theologian’s Commentary on Avicenna’s Risla Adhawiyya: Being a Translation of a Part of the Dar' al-ta'rud of Ibn Taymiyya with Introduction, Annotation, and Appendices” Part I,  Journal of Islamic Studies, 2003 14:2 pp.149-203 and Part II , Journal of Islamic Studies, 2003 14:3 pp. 309-363 (PDF).




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