Imam Abü Hamid al-Ghazalı is perhaps the most celebrated Muslim theologian of medieval Islam yet little attention has been paid to his personal theology. This book sets out to investigate the relationship between law and politics in the writings of Ghazalı and aims to establish the extent to which this relationship explains Ghazalı’s political theology.
Articles concerned with Ghazalı’s political thought have invariably paid little attention to his theology and his thinking about God, neglecting to ask what role these have contributed to his definition of politics and political ethics. Here, the question of Ghazalı’s politics takes into account his thinking on God, knowledge, law, and the Koran, in addition to political systems and ethics.
Yazeed Said puts forward the convincing argument that if Ghazalı’s legal and political epistemology provide a polemic analogous to his writings on philosophy, for which he is more famed, they would reveal to us a manifesto for an alternative order, concerned with a coherent definition of the community, or Ummah. This book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars of the Middle East, political theology and Islamic studies.
Table of Contents
1 Primary Scholarship on Ghazali and Law 2 Politics and Natural Law 3 The Foundation of Ghazali’s Society 4 Ethics and Society 5 Authority and Law Conclusion
Dr. Yazeed Said is an affiliated member of Faculty at McGill University in Montreal and a scholar in residence at Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. He completed his PhD at Corpus Christi College in the University of Cambridge in 2010 and has lectured widely on subjects related to Ghazali, Islam, political theology, and contemporary issues relating to Israel and Palestine. A Palestinian born Israeli citizen, ordained as an Anglican priest; he has served in the diocese of Jerusalem, Cambridge, Vancouver, and Montreal.
"Said’s book is a valuable addition to the relatively small bookshelf on the political in al-Ghazālī’s oeuvre. Its main contribution lies in the author’s inclusion of texts and teachings that others involved in this debate have not yet considered. If more studies like this one appear, we may one day be able to offer a more contextualized analysis of Ash‘arite political theory and check whether claims such as Anjum’s, that an elitist attitude to politics led to a crisis, are justified."
- Frank Griffel, Professor of Islamic Studies, Yale University, NAZARİYAT Journal for the History of Islamic Philosophy and Sciences