al-Ghazali website

Main: Research Topics : Sources

  • This section is reserved for works dealing with al-Ghazali's sources. It is a documented fact that al-Ghazali used many sources in his books. He says of his Ihya': 

    • It is true that men have written several works on some of these aspects, but this one differs from them in five ways: 

      • First, by clarifying what they have obscured and elucidating what they have treated casually. 

      • Second, by arranging what they have disarranged, and organizing what they have scattered. 

      • Third, by condensing what they have elaborated, and correcting what they have approved. 

      • Fourth, by deleting what they have repeated (and verifying what they have set’ down). 

      • Fifth, by determining ambiguous matters which have hitherto been unintelligible and never dealt with in any work. 

    • For although all have followed one course, there is no reason why one should not proceed independently and bring to light something unknown, paying special attention to what his colleagues have forgotten. It is possible that such obscure things are noticed, but mention of them in writing is overlooked. Or again it may not be a case of overlooking them, but rather one of being prevented from exposing them. 

    • These, therefore, are the characteristics of this work which comprises the aggregate of the (previously enumerated) sciences. [end of quote]

  • He also says in al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Deliverer from ignorance):

    • I began to acquaint myself with their belief by reading their books, such as The Food of the Hearts (Qut al-Qulub) by Abu Talib al-Makki (God have mercy upon him), the works of al-Harith al-Muhasibi, the various anecdotes about al-Junayd, al-Shibli and Abu Yazid al-Bistami (may God sanctify their spirits), and other discourses of their leading authors. [end of quote]

 

Articles:

  1. Smith, Margaret, “The Forerunner of al-Ghazali ”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1936, pp. 65-78. (PDF)

  2. See also the introduction to: 'THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE,' BEING A TRANSLATION, WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES OF AL-GHAZZALI'S BOOK OF THE 'IHYA, KITAB AL-ILM'. MCCALL, WILLIAM ALEXANDER, PHD. HARTFORD SEMINARY, 1940. pp. I-XXX. (PDF).

 

al-Ghazzali mention it in his “Munqidh” that he read the works of al-Makki, al-Muhasibi, al-Junayd, ash-Shibli, and al-Isfahani, it might be appropriate to put some of works by, or at least, about them: 

  • al-Junayd: 

    • Abdelkader, A.H. (1962). The life, personality, and writings of al-Junayd. London. 

  • al-Muhasibi: 

    • Smith, Margaret. (1935). An early mystic of Baghdad. A study of the life and teachings of Harith b. Asad al-Muhasibi. London. 

  • al-Makki: 

    • al-Makki, Abu Talib. (1310H). Qut al-qulub fi mu‘amalat al-mahbub wa wasf tariq al-murid ila maqam at-tawhid. Cairo. 

  • al-Isfahani, Abu Nuaym: al-Isfahani, Abu Nu‘aym. (1351-7/1932-8). Hulyat al-awliyya’ wa tabaqat al-asfiyya. Cairo. (pdf)

  • or and older, source for al-Isfahani, and more complete biographies collection: 

    • al-Sulami & Pedersen, Johannes (ed.). (1960). Tabaqat as-Sufiyyah. Leiden, Netherland. 

 

al-Ghazzali mentions the “ecstatic utterances” (satahat) of al-Bisthami (Ihya book I): 

Badawi ‘Abd al-Rahman. (1949). Satahat as-Sufiyyah, I: Abu Yazid al-Bistami. Cairo. 

Fragments of other Sufis mentioned by al-Ghazzali might also be found in these works: 

  • as-Sarraj, Abu Nasr & Nicholson, R. A. (ed.). (1914, 1963). al-Luma‘ fi at-tasawwuf. Leiden, Netherland: Gibb Memorial Series XXII. 

  • Nicholson, R.A. (1911). The kashf al-mahjub, the oldest Persian Treatise on Sufism (by al-Jullabi Ali Hujwiri). Leiden and London. 

  • Arberry, Prof. A.J.. (1935). The doctrine of the Sufis (tr. Ta‘arruf, al-Kalabadhi). Cambridge. (PDF)

  • Gramlich, R. (1989). Das sendschreiben al-Qushayri’s uber das Sufitum (tr. & intro. in Germany of al-Qushayri, ar-Risalah). Wiesbaden. Original work in Arabic (pdf)

  • Attar, Farid Uddin. (1970). Tadhkaratul-Auliya (Memoirs of the Saints), translated by Dr. Bankey Behari. Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar.

 

 

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