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Förändring och kontinuitet: Al-Ghazâlîs politiska omsvängning
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies.
1994 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Transition and continuity : The political reversal of al-Ghazâlî (English)
Abstract [en]

The present dissertation ia an analysis in the history of ideas of the 12th-century Persian-Islamic thinker Abß Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazâlî's political ideas and his political reversal, ie. his abandonment of a religiously-influenced political theory in favour of a Persian-influenced political theory. This study is based upon source studies and a comparison between his manual for government and other writings in which his political ideas are expressed, along with a comparative study of his manual and other manuals of the same period. The dissertation begins with a description of the socio-political conditions of the 11th- and 12th-century Islam and provides a background to the seizing of power in the eastern region of the Islamic realm by the Central Asian Turks, accenting their relationship to the militarily and politically enfeebled

c Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad. The dissertation also describes the status of political theory in the Islamic world and the various political currents of the era.

During his lifetime, al-Ghazâlî was one of the foremost authorities of Islamic theology, honoured with the title Hujjat al-Islam, "sign of Islam". He was also a respected critic of Islamic philosophy who in one of his books proclaimed the caliphate to be the religiously and logically necessary head of Islam. In the mid-1090s al-Ghazâlî went through a spiritual crisis which led to his stepping down from his post as head of Nizâmiyya school in Baghdad, subsequently affiliating himself with Stjfîsm and retiring from public life.

Having reemerged at the begining of the I2th century al-Ghazâlî wrote his manual Nasîhat al-Multik (Counsel for Kings) for the Saljfiq sultan Sanjar, where he in contrast to his earlier political writings employed pre-Islamic Persian ideas, eg. the idea of the ruler as being chosen by God, Farr-i îzadî (divine radiance), and the principle of justice. He now proclaimed the sultân to be the head of the Islamic state and elevated the Turkish sultan to "God's shadow on earth", not once mentioning the role of the caliphate. Furthermore, he made use of numerous fabricated Persian narratives in this book, presenting the pre-Islamic Persian era as a lost Golden Age.

The present dissertation studies whether al-Ghazâlî's "conversion" to Sûfîsm in the 1090s played a role in his political reversal and his use of pre-Islamic Persian ideas, or if this should be interpreted as a literary conceit typicall such manuals. Moreover, the dissertation examines whether his transition to a Persian-influenced political theory implies a change in and therefore an abndonment of his fundamental political ideals, or if one may instead speak of a form of continuity in his political thought. This would mean that these new ideas should be seen as novel, normative sources which al-Ghazâlî employed in order to retain his fundamental political ideals under the pressure of the changed political climate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå :: Umeå universitet , 1994.
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 121
Keyword [en]
The c Abbâsîds, Central Asia, Mirror for princes/kings (Nasihat al-Mulûk, Qâbûs Nâma, Siyâsat Nâma), al-Ghazâlî (1058-1111), genre, caliph (khalîfa, khilafa), Nizam al-Mulk (1018-1092), justice Cadi, cidâla), the Saljûqs, Sûfîsm (stifî, tasawwuf), sultân
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65858ISBN: 91-7174-947-0OAI: diva2:605174

Diss. Umeå : Univ., 1994

Available from: 2013-02-13 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-02-13Bibliographically approved

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