Revisiting Al-Ghazali: Reason and Revelation

Friday, Mar 04, 2016 - Friday, Mar 04, 2016 | 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Zaytuna College, 2401 Le Conte, Berkeley, CA 94709
Location is ADA accessible


Zaytuna College, 2401 Le Conte, Berkeley, CA 94709

Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali is among the most brilliant intellectuals in human history and arguably the Islamic tradition’s most influential scholar. He has been called the Mujaddid (Renewer of Islam) of his time, and later scholars also gave him the honorific title Hujjat al-Islam (Proof of Islam). Al-Ghazali’s scholarly contributions were immense: he authored more than 70 books and countless treatises, his methodological approaches influenced generations of students, and his engagement in his era’s critical debates continues to inform contemporary discourse. Al-Ghazali wrote on Neoplatonism and Hellenistic philosophy, theology, Sufism, and jurisprudence and legal theory, with each contribution having an impact on, if not defining, Muslim thought up to the present.

This Zaytuna College conference seeks to revisit al-Ghazali’s monumental contributions in order to engender deeper awareness of their sophistication as well as to gain a renewed understanding of his works and his relevance to our present context. Approaching al-Ghazali’s scholarship in the framework of the prevailing conditions, debates, and challenges of his time can help contemporary readers navigate critical areas in his work that otherwise provoke narrow and unsympathetic readings.

Indeed, al-Ghazali’s critique of philosophy, and his reconciliation of Sufism and Orthodox Sunni Theology have been focal points for detractors over the ages, and have produced mostly polemical works. Al-Ghazali is often, and wrongly, held responsible for closing the door to reason and rationality in Muslim scholarship, and a consequential scientific decline.


Friday, March 4, 2016

4:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Welcome and Opening Remarks – Dr. Hatem Bazian, Conference Chair

4:15 pm to 5:45 pm
Panel 1: Al-Ghazali and the Modern World

Muhammad Ikhwan Azlan, “Al-Ghazali on the Limits of Mathematics”

Ahmed Uddin, “How Imam Ghazali’s Work on Zakat Proves that Zakat Does Not Fall Victim to the Maussian Reciprocity Complex”

Khaled and Mujahid Sarsour, “Al Ghazali and the Question Concerning Technology: Notes on Freedom, Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World”

5:45 pm to 6:30 pm
Invited Speaker – John Walbridge, “On the Philosophical Understanding of the Light Verse”

6:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Prayer Break

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Keynote – President Hamza Yusuf

Saturday, March 5, 2016

10:00 am to 11:10 am
Panel 2: Influence, Society, Salvation

Sam Houston, “Al-Ghazali, Public Virtue, and the Duty to ‘Command Right and Forbid Wrong’”

Mustafa Styer, “The Goodly Tree of Faith and Virtue: The Structure of the Salvific Virtues Underpinning al-Ghazali’s Synthesis of Scripture, Sufism, and Practical Philosophy (al-hikma al-‘amaliya)”

11:15 am to 12:00 pm
Invited Speaker – Mustafa Abu Sway, “Reason, Revelation and Spirituality in Imam Al-Ghazali’s Life and Works”

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Lunch and prayer

1:15 pm to 2:45 pm
Panel 3: Philosophy, Science, Comparative Work

Muhammad Sami, “Al-Ghazali, the Philosophers and the Problem of Bodily Resurrection”

Isra Yazicioglu, “Islam and Modern Science: Extending Imam Ghazali’s Insights to Today through Said Nursi”

Rania Shah, “St. Thomas Aquinas and Imam Al-Ghazali on the Attainment of Happiness”

2:45 pm to 3:30 pm
Invited Speaker – Sr. Marianne Farina, “Al-Ghazali on Thankfulness: Learning and Liberation”

3:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Prayer break

4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Panel 4: Law and Ethics

Manzarul Islam, “From Imagination to Reality: The Juridical Methodology of al-Ghazali”

Rami Koujah, “At the Juncture of Reason and Revelation: Al-Ghazali’s Reintegration of Ethical Reasoning into Legal Theory”

Ummugul Betul Kanburoglu, “The Ultimate Aim of Moral Education: al-Kamal in Al-Ghazali’s Thought”

5:30 pm to 6:15 pm
Invited Speaker – Timothy Gianotti, “Al-Ghazali, Ethics, and the Spirituality of the Attributes”

6:15 pm to 7:00 pm
Prayer Break

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Roundtable of invited speakers – Mustafa Abu Sway, Marianne Farina, Timothy Gianotti, Hamza Yusuf, John Walbridge

8:00 pm
Closing Remarks

Co-sponsored by the CRG Islamophobia Research Documentation Project, and GTU Center for Islamic Studies

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