FROM AL-GHAZALI TO AL-RAZI: 6TH/12TH CENTURY DEVELOPMENTS IN MUSLIM PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY
According to Taj al-Din al-Subki (d. 771 / 1370), al-Ghazali (d. 505 / 1111) was the renewer (mujaddid) of the Muslim faith at the end of the 5th / 11th century, whereas al-Razi (d. 606 /1210) was the renewer of faith at the end of the 6th / 12th century. That al-Ghazali deserves such an honour can hardly be disputed, and his importance in the history of Islamic thought is generally recognised. However, the same cannot, as easily, be said of al-Razi, whose historical significance is far from being truly appreciated, and some of the most important books of whom still await publication. Much is known about his views on particular philosophical and theological problems, and about the historical backgrounds to, and the relations amongst, some of these views. Some rather general observations on his thought are also common; for instance, that he is a heavily philosophising Ash‘ari mutakallim, a master dialectician, and an influential critic of Ibn Sina.
(Published Online February 16 2005)