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2019, vol. 8, iss. 3, pp. 1-29
From the court theorist to a social critic: An analysis of Muhammad Ghazali's social thought
Centar za religijske nauke "Kom", Grupa za religijsku civilizaciju, Beograd

emailm.halilovic@centarkom.rs
Keywords: Muhammad Ghazali; Seljuks; Abbasids; Nizam al-Mulk; crisis; philosophy; social theory; Baghdad; Tus
Abstract
In the years when the Seljuks practically ruled the Muslim caliphate and built their institutions unobstructedly even in Baghdad, one of the greatest representatives of Islamic thought, Muhammad Ghazali, emerged. Known among historians of science for his encyclopaedic knowledge, Ghazali often addressed social topics and issues in his works. The great Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk had great confidence in him, both because of his unquestionable scientific and intellectual readiness, and because of the similar ideological views they both championed. Specifically, they both followed the Shafi'i law school, while in theological terms they strongly advocated Asharite views. This was true, however, in the early period of Ghazali's life, which is why Nizam offered him to be the rector of the Nizamiyyah University he had recently built in Baghdad. This conceptual resemblance suited Nizam perfectly, because, when founding the university, his idea was to affirm the Shafi'i and Asharite conceptual platform in an academic and scientific way. However, Ghazali's life did not remain uniform until the end. Several reasons led to a great cognitive, intellectual and spiritual change in Ghazali. During the crisis he was going through, Ghazali decided to change his lifestyle completely. He left Baghdad and embarked on a journey without a clear destination, which lasted for several years and finally ended with a pilgrimage to Mecca. During his journey and the crisis of his life, he decided to reconstruct seriously his approach to political as well as social engagement in general. He preferred a lonely life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Some historians believe that this change also influenced his social theory. To confirm their point of view, they frequently refer to a book he wrote in the last years of his life, in which he often deviates from his primary views related to social topics. How right are these historians? Do we really notice any revolutionary change in social attitudes in Ghazali's life and his works? In this paper, we will try to find the answers to these questions.
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article language: Serbian
document type: Original Scientific Paper
DOI: 10.5937/kom1903001H
published in SCIndeks: 09/04/2020
Creative Commons License 4.0