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Al-Ghazali (UK: /ælˈɡɑːzɑːli/,[15] US: /ˌælɡəˈzɑːli, -zæl-/;[16][17] full name أَبُو حَامِدٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلطُّوسِيُّ ٱلْغَزَالِيُّ or ٱلْغَزَّالِيُّ, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad aṭ-Ṭūsiyy al-Ġaz(z)ālīy; Latinized Algazelus or Algazel; c. 1058 – 19 December 1111) was a Persian[18][19][20] philosopher who was one of the most prominent and influential Muslim philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics,[21][22] of Sunni Islam.[23]

Most Muslims consider[citation needed] him to be a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith who, according to the prophetic hadith, appears once every century to restore the faith of the ummah ("the Islamic Community").[24][25][26] His works were so highly acclaimed by his contemporaries that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title "Proof of Islam" (Hujjat al-Islām).[1]

Al-Ghazali believed that the Islamic spiritual tradition had become moribund and that the spiritual sciences taught by the first generation of Muslims had been forgotten.[27] That resulted in his writing his magnum opus entitled Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm ad-dīn ("The Revival of the Religious Sciences").[28] Among his other works, the Tahāfut al-Falāsifa ("Incoherence of the Philosophers") is a significant landmark in the history of philosophy, as it advances the critique of Aristotelian science developed later in 14th-century Europe.[23]

Also a widely considered Sunni scholar, Al Dhahabi in, his praise of Al Ghazali, wrote: “Al-Ghazzaali, the imaam and shaykh, the prominent scholar, Hujjat al-Islam, the wonder of his time, Zayn al-Deen Abu Haamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi al-Shaafa’i al-Ghazzaali, the author of many books and one possessed of utter intelligence. He studied fiqh in his own town, then he moved to Nisapur in the company of a group of students. He stayed with the Imaam al-Haramayn and gained a deep knowledge of fiqh within a short period. He became well-versed in ‘ilm al-kalaam and debate, until he became the best of debater.”[63]

Ibn Rushd (Averroes), a rationalist, famously responded that "to say that philosophers are incoherent is itself to make an incoherent statement."[citation needed] Rushd's book, The Incoherence of the Incoherence, attempted to refute al-Ghazali's views, but the work was not well received in the Muslim community.[64]

According to historian Firas Alkhateeb, "When one reads Imam al-Ghazali’s works at a very superficial level, one can easily misunderstand what he is saying as anti-scientific in general. The truth, however, is that al-Ghazali’s only warning to students is to not fully accept all the beliefs and ideas of a scholar simply because of his achievements in mathematics and science. By issuing such a warning, al-Ghazali is in fact protecting the scientific enterprise for future generations by insulating it from being mixed with theoretical philosophy that could eventually dilute science itself to a field based on conjecture and reasoning alone."[65]

Al-Ghazali has been seen by Orientalist scholars of causing a decline in scientific advancement in Islam because of his refutation of the new philosophies of his time. He believed he saw danger in the statements made by philosophers that suggested that God was not all-knowing or even non-existent, which strongly contradicted his conservative Islamic belief.[65] This position is being increasingly challenged, however.[66][67]

Economic philosophy

Most aspects of Al-Ghazali's life were heavily influenced by his Islamic beliefs, and his economic philosophy was no exception. He held economic activity to a very high level of importance in his life and thought that others should as well, as he felt that it was not only necessary for the overall benefit to society but also to achieve spiritual wholeness and salvation. In his view, the worldly life of humanity depended on the economic activity of people and so he considered being economically active to be a mandated part of the Sharia law.[68]

He established three goals of economic activity that he believed were part of one's religious obligation as well as beneficial to the individual: "achievement of self-sufficiency for one's survival; provision for the well-being of one's progeny; and provision for assisting those in economic need."[68] He argued that subsistence living, or living in a way that provides the basic necessities for only one's family, would not be an acceptable practice to be held by the general population because of the detrimental results that he believed that would bring upon the economy, but he acknowledged that some people may choose to live the subsistence lifestyle at their own will for the sake of their personal religious journey. Conversely, he discouraged people from purchasing or possessing excessive material items, suggesting that any additional money earned could be given to provide for the poor..mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad, the Proof of Islam, Ornament of the Faith, Abu Hamid al-Tusi (al-Ghazali) the Shafi'ite jurist, was in his later years without rival[59]

and the jurist, a

and the jurist, al-Yafi'i stated:

[60]

The Shafi'i jurist al-Subki stated:

"If there had been a prophet after Muhammad, al-Ghazali would have been the man".[61][62]

Also a widely considered Sunni scholar, <

Also a widely considered Sunni scholar, Al Dhahabi in, his praise of Al Ghazali, wrote: “Al-Ghazzaali, the imaam and shaykh, the prominent scholar, Hujjat al-Islam, the wonder of his time, Zayn al-Deen Abu Haamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Toosi al-Shaafa’i al-Ghazzaali, the author of many books and one possessed of utter intelligence. He studied fiqh in his own town, then he moved to Nisapur in the company of a group of students. He stayed with the Imaam al-Haramayn and gained a deep knowledge of fiqh within a short period. He became well-versed in ‘ilm al-kalaam and debate, until he became the best of debater.”[63]

Ibn Rushd (

Ibn Rushd (Averroes), a rationalist, famously responded that "to say that philosophers are incoherent is itself to make an incoherent statement."[citation needed] Rushd's book, The Incoherence of the Incoherence, attempted to refute al-Ghazali's views, but the work was not well received in the Muslim community.[64]

According to historian Firas Alkhateeb, "When one reads Imam al-Ghazali’s works at a very superficial level, one can easily misunderstand what he is saying as anti-scientific in general. The truth, however, is that al-Ghazali’s only warning to students is to not fully accept all the beliefs and ideas of a scholar simply because of his achievements in mathematics and science. By issuing such a warning, al-Ghazali is in fact protecting the scientific enterprise for future generations by insulating it from being mixed with theoretical philosophy that could eventually dilute science itself to a field based on conjecture and reasoning alone."[65]

Al-Ghazali has been seen by Orientalist scholars of causing a decline in scientific advancement in Islam because of his refutation of the new philosophies of his time. He believed he saw danger in the statements made by philosophers that suggested that God was not all-knowing or even non-existent, which strongly contradicted his conservative Islamic belief.[65] This position is being increasingly challenged, however.[66][67]

Most aspects of Al-Ghazali's life were heavily influenced by his Islamic beliefs, and his economic philosophy was no exception. He held economic activity to a very high level of importance in his life and thought that others should as well, as he felt that it was not only necessary for the overall benefit to society but also to achieve spiritual wholeness and salvation. In his view, the worldly life of humanity depended on the economic activity of people and so he considered being economically active to be a mandated part of the Sharia law.[68]

He established three goals of economic activity that he believed were part of one's religious obligation as well as beneficial to the individual: "achievement of self-sufficiency for one's survival; provision for the well-being of one's progeny; and provision for assisting those in economic need."[68] He argued that subsistence living, or living in a way that provides the basic necessities for only one's family, would not be an acceptable practice to be held by the general population because of the detrimental results that he believed that would bring upon the economy, but he acknowledged that some people may choose to live the subsistence lifestyle at their own will for the sake of their personal religious journey. Conversely, he discouraged people from purchasing or possessing excessive material items, suggesting that any additional money earned could be given to provide for the poor.[68]

Al-Ghazali thought that it should not be necessary to force equality of income in society but that people should be driven by "the spirit of Islamic brotherhood" to share their wealth willingly, but he recognized that it is not always the case. He believed that wealth earned could be used in two potential manners. One is for good, such as maintaining the health of oneself and their family as well as taking care of others and any other actions seen as positive for the Islamic community. The other is what Al-Ghazali would consider misuse, spending it selfishly on extravagant or unnecessary material items.[68]

In terms of trade, Al-Ghazali discussed the necessity of exchanging goods across close cities as well as larger borders because it allows more goods, which may be necessary and not yet available, to be accessible to more people in various locations. He recognized the necessity of trade and its overall beneficial effect on the economy, but making money in that way might not be considered the most virtuous in his beliefs. He did not support people taking "excessive" profits from their trade sales.[68]