Download e-book for iPad: Al-Ghazali and the Ismailis: A Debate on Reason and by Farouk Mitha

By Farouk Mitha

ISBN-10: 1860647928

ISBN-13: 9781860647925

Al-Ghazali is arguably some of the most influential thinkers within the heritage of Islam, and his writings have acquired higher scholarly realization within the West than these of the other Muslim student. This research explores a major measurement of his proposal that has now not but been absolutely tested, specifically, his polemical engagement with the Ismailis of the Fatimid and early Alamut periods.Published in organization with The Institute of Ismaili experiences.

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Beginning with the title of the text, it is here put forward as a term of antipathy – antipathetical to all that is implied by the term ‘Mustaúhiriyya’. The title is framed in terms of a normative opposition between fa{å¢il (virtues) and fa{å¢i˙ (infamies). Hence, it is best to approach the term ‘Bå†iniyya’ as a polemical construct. Like all such constructs, its meaning is conditioned by the presuppositions – the motivations and biases – of the polemical exchange in which it is used. In this particular case, the biases are those of al-Ghazålí as the self-styled polemicist on behalf of the Sunni caliph.

28 Anatomy of the Kitåb al-Mustaúhirí 29 In decipherment the task at hand is to ascertain what the author has written, and how has he written – this falls within the purview of what is conventionally referred to as the style or form of the text. 1 As with all conventions, the validity or even usefulness of the style/content (form/substance) dichotomy is open to debate. This distinction is a mental abstraction, and thus something that one would be hard pressed to verify empirically. In part, the difficulty presents itself as to whether style or content are irreducible categories; if so, can something called style be extracted from the text with the result that what remains is something called content?

Al-Mustaúhirí might be interpreted in several different ways. It could reflect an attitude, not uncommon amongst the ™ulamå¢, of remaining neutral amidst the all too common inter-dynastic struggles, so as to appear nonpartisan and thus avoid the consequences of having supported a defeated faction. This is not to say that al-Ghazålí was apolitical, but rather, on certain issues, as in this case, it was expedient for him to project himself in this way; or perhaps his silence reflects a deeper dilemma that he may have had in reconciling the prevailing arrangements between the Saljuqs and the caliphate.

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Al-Ghazali and the Ismailis: A Debate on Reason and Authority in Medieval Islam by Farouk Mitha


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