The Interpretation of Personal Religious Experience

in al-Ghazālī's al-Munqidh min aḍ-Ḍalāl

Keywords: Al-Ghazali, personal religious experience, clergy, theosophy, knowledge of God, light, mystical theology


Hujjat al-Islam Imam al-Ghazali is a thinker, mystic, jurist, and theologian who has still influenced today since his time. In his al-Munqidh min ad-Dalal, he writes about how he survived the crisis that his inquiries about life had driven him to depression. Due to the distress caused by the crisis in him, he left the place where he lived and moved away from people. During this abandonment, he confesses his experiences, inquiries, introspection, and ways of getting to know himself in al-Munqidh. In this article, I will try to understand how he reached guidance from this crisis, what his method was, and how he gained personal religious experience. I will examine the differences and similarities of the way of Sufism from the clergy, where the concept of rational theosophy corresponds in al-Ghazali’s thought. He shows us the limits of reason on the way to reach precise information. He talks about realities that cannot be explained within these limits, what he has learned in the uzlat (escaping from community life and living alone), and why the love for the world is dangerous. The reason why al-Ghazali returned to social life is explained with the idea of 'fiqh of priorities' in Islam. Al-Ghazali attributes the "nour" (light) that descends to his heart to the will of God in explaining his salvation from the turning point in his life.

How to Cite
Uslu, Nurefşan. 2020. “The Interpretation of Personal Religious Experience”. Entelekya Logico-Metaphysical Review 4 (2), 129-53.