The Alchemy of Happiness
by Abu Hamid al- Ghazali, and
The Conference of the Birds
by Farid al- Din Attar
Two classic works of Sufi wisdom examine the nature of spiritual intellection. Sufi conceptions of knowledge are concerned with how “gaining the spiritual virtues and corresponding states and stations are so many stages of the death of the soul in respect of its base and accidental nature, and its resurrection in divinis.”
About the Authors
Abu Hamid al- Ghazali (c.1056–1111) is well- known for promoting the best aspects of Aristotelian science, while driving excessive rationalism from the inner life of Islam. Al- Ghazzali’s “approach to resolving apparent contradictions between reason and revelation was accepted by almost all later Muslim theologians and had, via the works of Averroes (Ibn Rushd, 1126–98), and Jewish authors, a significant influence on Latin medieval thinking.”
Farid al- Din Attar (c. 1142–c. 1220) is one of the greatest Sufi poets and writers. The Conference of the Birds is his best- known work.
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- Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufi Essays. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972, p. 69.
- Once Greek philosopy had been translated and assimilated into Islamic thought in the 10th and 11th centuries, Aristotelian rationalism began to challenge traditional, pious belief in revelation, and other non-rational, affective, and spiritual forms of knowledge (compare to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: plato.stanford.edu/entries/al-ghazali, and Nasr, Sufi Essays, p. 55).
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