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[Biography of World Leaders] Al-Ghazali, Medieval Muslim Philosopher

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Al-Ghazali exerted a significant influence on philosophers from across religions in the Middle Ages. Al-Ghazali was born in 450 H or between March 1058 and February 1059 AD with the real name Abu Hamind ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali. Al-Ghazali, otherwise known as Algazel to Westerners, was a Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic from Persia. He was born in the city of Tabaran in the district of Tus in what is now modern Iran. According to biographies of world figures quoted by Famous Philosophers, Al-Ghazali's father died in the midst of severe poverty. The father left Al-Ghazali and his younger brother, Ahmad, in the care of a Sufi. Al-Ghazali began to receive teachings on Islamic law from a local teacher named Ahmad al-Radhakani. Thirsty for knowledge, Al-Ghazali then went to study with Al-Juwayni in Nishapur about law and theology. He studied until death picked up Al-Juwayni. After that, Al-Ghazali later joined as a religious leader at the court of Nizam al-Mulk, who was then vizier or equivalent to prime minister of the Suljuk sultan in Isfahan in 1085. For his dedication to the science of religion and its application, Al-Ghazali was awarded the titles of "Brightness of Religion" and "Noble Among Religious Leaders".

In 1096, Al-Ghazali returned to Tus to spend the next few years in exile, not following the teachings endorsed by the state. However, Al-Ghazali continued to publish works, receive guests, and teach at the private madrasas and Sufi monasteries he built. Ahmad Sanjar's Grand Vizier, Fahr al-Mulk, urged Ghazali to return to Nizamiyya in Nishapur. Initially, he insisted on refusing, but finally accepted in 1106. During al-Ghazali's life he wrote more than 70 books on science, Islamic philosophy, and Sufism. Al-Ghazali published his book The Incoherence of Philosophers, this marked a turning point in Islamic epistemology. His skepticism led Al-Ghazali to form the belief that all events and interactions are not the product of material conjunctions, but the direct and present will of God. Al-Ghazali's other most famous work is the Ihya "Ulum al-Din" or the Resurrection of Religious Knowledge. The work covers almost all fields of Islamic science. These include Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and Sufism. The book received many positive comments.

Al-Ghazali then wrote an abridged version of "The Revivial of Religious Sciences in Persia" under the title "Kimiya-yi sa'adat" which is also known as "The Alchemy of Happiness". Al-Ghazali exerted a significant influence on philosophers from across religions in the Middle Ages. One of the most affected was St. Thomas Aquinas. Al-Ghazali also played a major role in merging Sufism and Sharia. He was the first to incorporate the concept of Sufism into Sharia law and the first to provide a formal description of Sufism in his works. Al-Ghazali returned to Tus in 1110 and refused the grand vizier Muhammad I's invitation to return to Baghdad. According to most historians and biographies of world figures, Al-Ghazali died on December 18, 1111.

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