Public lecture by Dr Ayman Shihadeh, Department of the Near and Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Al-Ghazali (1058-1111), the Muslim theologian and mystic, succeeded in reconciling Sufism with Orthodox Islam.
Although al-Ghazali is one of the best-known and most influential thinkers of medieval Islam, he remains little understood. Until recently he was widely perceived as a straight-forward opponent of the philosophical tradition, responsible for the decline of philosophical thinking in later Islamic culture. Nowadays, as his works are studied more closely and comprehensively, his legacy is proving much more complex.
This paper will give an overview of some of the key recent developments in our understanding of this great figure and his influence, and will underscore some of the main questions that continue to puzzle historians to this day.