The influence of Ibn Sina on al-Ghazzali in qur'anic hermeneutics
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CitationOkumuş, M. (2012). The Influence of Ibn Sīnā on al‐Ghazzālī in Qur'anic Hermeneutics. The Muslim World, 102(2), 390-411.
Al-Ghazzali criticized Muslim philosophers in general and Ibn Sina in particular in a number of matters notwithstanding, he was deeply influenced by philosophy and Ibn Sina's views as to some issues. Of the contexts in which al-Ghazzali is under the clear influence of Ibn Sina are the interpretations of some Qur'anic chapters and verses which are related to the demonstration of the existence of God and the explanation of some divine attributes and names. In many of his works, al-Ghazzali reproduces Ibn Sina's interpretation of the verses in harmony with the ontological proof. One can observe Ibn Sina's influence on al-Ghazzali in relation with the hierarchy of beings, too. However, the context in which Ibn Sina's influence is most obvious is the interpretation of the 35th verse of the Surah Nur. Ibn Sina's interpretation of the terms occurring in this verse as symbols of the human faculties exercised a profound impact on the thought of al-Ghazzali, which manifests itself in his interpretation of the verse in Mishkat al-Anwar. Another of such contexts is the topic of human psychology and the interpretations of the verses related wherewith. Immensely influenced by the psychological views of Ibn Sina, al-Ghazzali adopted Ibn Sina's notion of the simultaneous creation of soul and body, interpreting some Qur'anic verses in harmony with this notion. This article is intended to illustrate that al-Ghazzali, who is opposed to the blind imitation of any school of thought, did not make a wholesale denouncement of the views of philosophers; on the contrary, he made an extensive use of Ibn Sina's ideas in conformity with his general attitude of benefiting from all schools of thought. © 2011 Hartford Seminary.