The book of knowledge being a Translation, with Introduction and Notes of al-ghazzali' s book of the




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THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE Being a Translation, with Introduction and Notes of AL-GHAZZALI' S BOOK OF THE

IHYA', KITAB AL-'ILM,

A THESIS

Submitted to the Faculty

of the

KENNEDY SCHOOL OF MISSIONS

Of the

HARTFORD SEMINARY FOUNDATION

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements

for the Degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

William Alexander McCall

May, 1940

VITA

William Alexander McCall, the son of Thomas and Emmeline Sangster McCall, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, September the Third, 1897. A graduate of the Providence Technical High School, he entered Lafayette College in the fall of 1919 and received the degree of A. B. in June, 1923.

In May, 1926, he completed his course of studies at Princeton Seminary with the degree of Th. B., as well as meeting the requirements for the degree of M. A. in Semitics from Princeton University.

Appointed in the spring of 1926 to serve under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in Syria, he arrived at Beirut in September of that year. After two years of language study in Beirut, he was assigned to Tripoli, where, with the exception of a year of furlough study spent at Hartford in 1931-32, he was principal of the Tripoli Boys' School. The present work, begun at Hartford, was continued in Syria and completed during a year of residence at tae Hartford Seminary Foundation in 1939-40 until the summer of 1939.


TABLE OF CONTEN TS

Page

I INTRODUCTION

A. A Biographical Sketch of al-GhazzAli iv

B. Al-Ghazzali's Dependence on Abu lib

1-Makkl vii

C-. A Partial Analysis of the Kitab al-'Ilm xvii

D. A Summary of the Book of Knowledge 1

THE AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION I

His Table of Contents of the Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din 5

His Division of the Seven Parts of the Book

of Knowledge 14

Part

I. THE EXCELLENCE OF KNOWLEDGE AND TEACHING WITH 16

EVIDENTIAL EXAMPLES FROM~a TRADITION AND REASON

A. The Excellence of Knowledge 16

1. Its Evidential examples from the Qur'an 16

2. The traditions (al-akhbar) 18

3. The traditions from the companions of


:iIuhamrkad 23

.

B. The Excellence of Learning 29

1. The evidential verses of the Qur'an.. 29

2. The traditions from ?M~uhammad 29

.

The records of the followers 31

ii

r -


Page

C. The Excellence of Teaching

D. 1. Evidential verses of the Qur'an

2. The traditions from Muhammad

3. The records of the followers

The Rational Evidential Examples

Aid EXPOSITION OF PRAISEWORTHY k1,TD 3L0- 33

34

37

41

II.

WORTHY K dOWLEDGE AND THE DIVISIONS AND

REGULATIONS OF BOTH 50

A. An Exposition of that Knowledge Which Is

a Personal Obligation 50

B. An Exposition of the Knowledge which Is

a General Obligation 60

1. The science of fundamental sources... 62

2. The subsidiary principles 63

3. The preliminary sciences 64

4. The supplementary sciences 65

III. PART THREE CONCERNS WHAT THE MASSES CONSIDER

TO BE PRAISEWORTHY SCIENCES, THOUGH TEY ARE

NOT 116

A. An Exposition of the Cause of Blame

in the Blameworthy Sciences 1.16

1. If it leads either its possessor or

somebody else into harm 116

iii b.

2. If it is harmful to its possessor in the

majority of

Page

cases

118

3. The third reason is for one to be engrossed

in a science of which he is not a master.. 1.22

B. Aft Explanation of those Technical Terms

which Were Changed 127 1. al-filth (jurisprudence)

2. al-" ilm (knowledge)

128 132

3. al-tawhld (affirming the oneness of Allah 133

4. dhikr and tadhkir (remembering and caus

ing to remember This has been changed to:

138

a). stories 138

b). Poetry 143

c). shath (extravagant utterances).. 144

which is divided into:

1). Extreme pretension of love.. 144

2).. Words not understood 1.46

d). tammat (ecstatic utterances)... 147


5.

a1--hikmah (wisdom)

C. An Exposition of the Praiseworthy Amount

of the Praiseworthy Sciences

In this respect knowledge is of three kinds:

1. Little or much is blameworthy

152

153

154

Page

2. Praiseworthy to the farthest depth

of inquiry into knowledge 155

3. Only a special amount is praised 156

IV. THE CAUSE OF PEOPLE'S GIVING THEIR ATTENTION

TO THE SCIENCE OF CONTROVERSY AND AN EXPLANA

TION OF THE DEFECTS OF DEBATE AND POLEMICS AND

THE CONDITIONS WHICH HAZE THEM LAWFUL 167

A. An Exposition of the Deception of Trying to

Make These Debates Resemble the Consultations

of the Companions and the Conferences of the

Fathers 1.71


To give mutual aid in the quest of truth

is a part of religion, but it has eight

conditions, and signs :

1. Since it is a general obligation, one

who is not free from personal obligations

should not engage in it... 171

2. One should not see another general obligation which is more important than

3. The debater should be an independent

scholar (able to) give an opinion 174 4. One should debate an actually occurring

debates

172


Fae

g

problem or one about to occur 1.75 5. Debate in solitude should be preferred

to debate in public

6. The debater should make no distinction

whether the truth appears by means of him

or one who aids him 177 7. :-He should not prevent his opponent from

changing from one proof to another 179 8. The debater should debate with one who

is engaged in knowledge and from whom

he expects some benefits

B. An Exposition of the Defects of Debating

and Some of the Things Growing; out of it

Which Destroy Character

These will be discussed in the Quarter on

The Things Which Destroy, but the sum

total of them is:

1. Envy 183

2. Pride and exalting one's self 184

3. Spite 135

4. Backbiting 186

5. Self-justification 186

6. Prying into private affairs 1.87 7. Joy in what harms people and sorrow over

176

181

1.82

their joy

Page 1.88

8. Hypocrisy 189 9. Disdain of the truth and hope of opposing it

190

10. To act the hypocrite and regard people

and seek to incline their hearts and

turn their faces towards them 191

V. PART FIVE GO CERNS T [:E .W •:NERS OF THE PUPIL

AND THE TEACHER 197

A. The Pupil's Outward Manners and Offices Are

Many, But Their Different Aspects :lay Be

Arranged under Ten Headings

1. To give precedence to purifying the soul

from impure character and blameworthy

qualities

2. To diminish one's attachment to the oc

cupations of the present world and to

draw away from one's people and native

land 202

3. Not to boast and feign knowledge or to

become a ruler over his teacher 203

4. In the beginning of the matter one who is

going to plunge into knowledge should avoid

listening to people's disagreements.... 207

197

5. Not to forsake any part of the praiseworthy sciences nor any of its various kinds without giving it careful considation by which its purpose and aim are

atudied

Page

209

6. Not to plunge deeply into any particular

sort of knowledge in one swoop, but to observe the gradations and begin with

what concerns one most 210

7. ,got to go deeply into an art before com

pleting the prerequisite art 213

8. To know the means by which one apprehends the noblest of sciences

9. The pupils present purpose should be to adorn and beautify his inner life with

virtue and in the time to come, to draw

nigh to Allah and ascend to the proximity

of the archangels and those who draw near 215

10. To know the relation of the sciences to

what is purposed

214

B. An Exposition of the Duties of a Teacher

217

Who Guides

226


1. To have sympathy for one's pupils and

to treat them as sons 228

Page

2. To emulate the giver of divine law


(',uhammad) and not seek, recompense


for giving benefit of knowledge 229 3. Not to reserve anything of his advice

4. To prevent the pupil from bad character

by way of implication as much as possible, and not to speak explicitly, and by way

of compassion, not by way of censure... 234

5. Not to vilify, in the presence of the

pupil, the sciences which are beyond him 235

6. To limit the pupil to the measure of his

understanding and not give him something

which his intellect has not reached 236. 7. To give a weak pupil only the clear knowl

edge which is suitable for him, and not

to mention the fact that beyond that there

are fine points which are kept from him... 238

8. The teacher should practice what he inows

and his deeds should not belie his words.. 240

Vi. PART SIX CONCERNS THE PERILS OF KNOWLEDGE A -D AN EXPOSITION OF THE SIGNS OF TIC: OTHER WORLDLY

AND THE CORRUPT D IV I EE S 242

to the pupil

232


iii h.

Page

Some of the sip;ns that distinguish the other-worldly divines from others are:

1. They do not seek the present world by their

knowledge 248

2. Their deeds do not contradict their speech

3. Their concern is to obtain knowledge which 260


is useful for the next abode and which requires obedience, and they shun the sciences the benefit of which decreases, and

about which disputation and talk increase 208

4. They are not inclined to lead_an easy life (in respect to) luxury in food and drink, soft clothing, and ornamented furnishings

and dwellings

5. They try to be remote from the sultans ana not to visit them at all as long as there is a way of escape from. them

6. They are not precipitate in giving legal

opinions

7. Most of their concern should be about

mystic knowledge and watchfulness of the heart and knowledge of the way and their journey to the next abode 295

8. They should have a strong concern to

273

282 288

M i.

Page

strengthen certain belief 300

al-yagin is used by two groups in a

particular sense for different ideas.

They are the speculative and scholas

tic theologians 302

They use it to express absence of doubt. There are four degrees in the soul's inclination to believe anything:

a). When belief. and disbelief are

evenly balanced "

b). When the soul inclines toward

one of two matters in spite of

a perception that its contradic

tion is possible 303

c). When something overcomes the

soul and no other possibility

occurs to the mind 304

d). True knowledge obtained by way of demonstration so that doubt is excluded

The second technical usage for al--yag3n

is the special usage of the juriscon

suits and Sufis and most of the learned,

which concerns ruling and dominating the mind

303 303

304

306

in j.

9. They should be sad, contrite, downcast, silent, and give the appearance of piety

on their countenance, and by their clothing, conduct, motion, quiesence, speech, and silence

10. Most of their discussion should be about practical knowledge and about what corrupts it and confounds hearts and incites satanic thoughts and stirs up evil

Page

314

322

11. In regard to their knowledge, their dependence should be on their intelligence arid on their understanding with purity of heart,

not on pamphlets and books and not on imi

tation of what they hear from others 327

12. They should be strictly on their guard

against new things, even if a great many should agree on them; and (not be deceived by) people's agreement on what has happened after the time of the Companions

VII. PART SEVEN CONCERNS I ?TELLIGE:i' CE , ITS N03ILITY,

ITS VERACITY, AND ITS DIVISIONS 346

A. An Exposition of the Nobility of Intelligence 346

x3. An Exposition of the Veracity and Divisions

332

of Intelligence 0.

353

iii k.

The name al-'aql is ascribed to four ideas:

1). That quality by which roan is differentiated from the rest of the animals and by which he is prepared to receive the speculative sciences and to manage the hidden reflective arts

2. The knowledge which comes into existence

In the essence of a child (dhat al-tifl) which distinguishes between the possibility of the possible and the impossibility of the impossible

3. Knowledge acquired from the experience of

Page

354

356

passing circumstances 356

4. The power of this natural disposition leads

one to know the issue of affairs and to tame and conquer his appetite which tempts him

to follow fleeting delight 357

C. An Exposition of People's Disparity in

Intelligence a_ 363

_NOT'ES TO THE Kitab al-' Ilm :, . Bibliography

372 420

PART I

INTRODUCTION

iv.

INTRODUCTION

A. A Biographical Sketch of al-Ghazzall

When directly in front of me lie approximately ten

1


books and articles which treat the life of our author, Abu Hami,d Muhammad Bin Muhal mad Bin Muhammad a.1-Ghazzall (450)/1058-505/1111), it would be preseumption on my part to do more than mention the bibliography and add a few observations on certain points.


Though reputed to have been of a critical and sceptical turn of mind even in his youth, he must have absorbed much of the spirit of Sufiism from his early surroundings which prepared him to receive it in his later life, when he was dissatisfied with the results of theology and speculation. So his experience resembles that of a youth, nurtured under the sweet influence of a simple homely relig,iou faith, who goes off to school where more critical ideas disturb his heart and leave him dissatisfied, until he returns again to the shelter of his earlier religious experiences.
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