Whoever thinks that the unveiling of truth depends on precisely formulated proofs has indeed straitened the broad mercy of God… For primary truths are unseekable, because they are present in the mind.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
Topic: Truth, Law, & Principle
This malady was mysterious and it lasted for nearly two months. During that time I was a skeptic in fact, but not in utterance and doctrine. At length God Most High cured me of that sickness. My soul regained its health and equilibrium and once again I accepted the self-evident data of reason and relied on them with safety and certainty But that was not achieved by constructing a proof or putting together an argument. On the contrary, it was the effect of a light which God Most High cast into my breast. And that light is the key to most knowledge.
Therefore, whoever thinks that the unveiling of truth depends on precisely formulated proofs has indeed straitened the broad mercy of God. The aim of this account is to emphasize that one should be most diligent in seeking the truth until he finally comes to seeking the unseekable. For primary truths are unseekable, because they are present in the mind.
Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī, commonly known as Al-Ghazali, was a figure of towering intellect and deep spiritual insight. Born in Persia around 1058, he left an indelible mark on Sunni Islam as one of its most influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics. His profound understanding of the Islamic tradition, coupled with a relentless quest for spiritual truth, contributed to a body of work that transcended the boundaries of time and geography, embedding him deeply within the history and consciousness of the Islamic world. A scholar of immense stature, he was well-versed in the complexities of Islamic jurisprudence, the intricacies of philosophy, and the subtle depths of mysticism. His multifaceted genius is evident in his ability to interweave these diverse strands of knowledge into a cohesive vision of the faith.
Within the Islamic tradition, Al-Ghazali holds the distinct honor of being recognized as a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith. The concept of the Mujaddid comes from a prophetic hadith stating that God sends such a figure once every century to revive the faith of the ummah - the global community of Muslims. Al-Ghazali was seen as embodying this role, as he worked tirelessly to elucidate the teachings of Islam, addressing both the challenges of his time and the timeless questions of human existence. His writings, imbued with a profound wisdom and a deep love for God, continue to guide and inspire Muslims around the world, aiding them in their quest to understand and live out their faith in a holistic manner.
Such was the impact of Al-Ghazali's works and the respect he commanded from his contemporaries that he was bestowed with the honorific title "Proof of Islam" (Hujjat al-Islam). This title is a testament to his role as a beacon of knowledge and spirituality, illuminating the path for seekers of truth in their journey towards God. Despite his passing on December 19, 1111, the legacy of Al-Ghazali continues to shine brightly, his teachings serving as a bridge between the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of Islam, guiding generations of believers towards a deeper, more meaningful understanding of their faith.
Deliverance from Error
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid Muhammad. "Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism: His Deliverance from Error." Translated by R.J. McCarthy SJ, 1st ed., [Publisher], 2000.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali