Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ghazālī and the Poetics of Imagination…

Ghazālī and the Poetics of Imagination (2005)

by Ebrahim Moosa

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
281389,858 (4.75)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

I started to read this book because I had a decidedly distasteful attitude towards Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali and I decided that perhaps I was not giving the man a fair shake. I had recently read that in Al-Ghazalis’ “Council to Kings” he characterized the ‘race of women’ as consisting of females whose behavior could be pigeonholed into the following categories: dog, pig, fox, scorpion, pigeon, donkey, mouse, snake, monkey or sheep. A good woman would be most similar to a sheep. I don’t like to be called a sheep. Anyhow, this “Council to Kings” book is out of print, so I couldn’t get a feel for the context in which Al-Ghazali wrote this stuff, plus one needs to keep in mind that gender justice is very historical time and context dependent. Therefore, I decided to read Ebrahim Moosa’s book to get a better idea of who this Al-Ghazali person was and what he had to say about women.

First off, he doesn’t have anything to say about women in this book. Al-Ghazali’s ideas of individuality and what constitutes human consciousness are gender neutral.

Second, there isn’t much verbatim quoting of Al-Ghazali, this is Moosa’s commentary on Al-Ghazali’s ideas, many of which were spread out across volumes of Al-Ghazali’s copious literary output.

Third, Moosa does have a post-modernism bias (based on my observation that only post-modernists use the word ‘bricolage’) however, he is respectful of Muslim tradition. His basic tenant is Muslims need to deconstruct the past so that it can then be reconstructed with a foundation of tradition but with an active dialog in respect to dealing with modern problems.

Moosa’s book is very good in that it paints a very complex portrait of a highly complicated and interesting historical figure. No Al-Ghazali wasn’t perfect, yes he backtracked on some of his ideas or wasn’t consistent, and perhaps even he was a dreaded ‘flip-flopper’, but nevertheless, who exactly is right all of the time? Who doesn’t change their mind? And besides, Al-Ghazali did write some stunningly beautiful things. I particularly liked his analysis of the “light” ayahs in Surat al-Noor. Furthermore, since so many Muslim traditions have picked over and borrowed from Al-Ghazali’s work, I felt like I had a better understanding of so many other Muslim thinkers, particularly Rumi and Muhammad Iqbal. In reading Al-Ghazali, you get a better understanding of the source of many Muslim ‘talking points”.

There is a lot of heavy vocabulary, most of which Moosa defines so you don’t have to go running to a dictionary (ex. Anathema, catachresis, epistemicide, teleiopoiesis, liminality, palingenesis). The style is academic, but not so obtuse that a college sophomore couldn’t handle it. The chapters on self and identity were lovely, but I got a bit lost on the metaphysics chapters.

After reading this book I had much greater respect for Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, and while he wasn’t perfect and got some stuff wrong, overall he was an amazing thinker. ( )
  nabeelar | Sep 17, 2012 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807856126, Paperback)

In many ways, this book is a dialogical encounter with perhaps the most influential intellectual in the Muslim tradition: Abu Hamid al-Ghazaly. It is a dialogue with many voices, one that fosters motion, discovery, playfulness, and invention.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Focusing on Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, the preeminent Muslim thinker, this book argues that his work has lasting relevance as a model for a critical encounter with Muslim intellectual tradition in a modern and postmodern context. It proposes that Muslims who place their own traditions in conversation with modern traditions share the same vantage point.… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.75)
4.5 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,646,078 books! | Top bar: Always visible