Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Faith & Practice of Al-Ghazali

This is the intellectual autobiography of Al-Ghazali, Islam's greatest thinker. He suffered a crisis of faith in mid-career. He ran through a number of different strategies to regain his faith. He finally took refuge in Sufism.

This gives you a view of Islam from the inside out by its leading intellectual. What's revealing is the fact that he has no good reasons to be, or remain, Muslim. His fallback was mysticism, but that's hardly adequate. For one thing, various religion have mystical traditions. So even if his (confessedly faint) mystical experiences were authentic, that fails to single out Islam as the true claimant. And, of course, mysticism can be deceptive-as even the contemplatives admit.

1 comment:

  1. Having recently returned, I was surprised at how many practicing Sufis there were in Afghanistan, given the Pashtun variant of Islam (or is that Pashtunwali?)