In this short biography you will discover how Imam al-Ghazali rose from his humble background as a fatherless young boy to become the preeminent Muslim scholar of the eleventh century and a towering figure in the history of Islamic thought. It also reveals why, after years of success, he left behind his prestigious teaching position and became a penniless traveler trying to experience the peace of a contented inner life.
With illustrations, photographs, and maps, the rich and diverse world that produced al-Ghazali is vividly brought alive.
Edoardo Albert is a London-based writer of Italian and Sri Lankan extraction.
This slim volume outlining the life of Imam al-Ghazali, an 11th-century Muslim scholar and saint, is fairly sparse in content, reviewing only the most important biographical details of al-Ghazali’s life, from his birth in what is now Iran to his scholarly career and his later years when he abandoned scholarship, turned to Sufism, and traveled the Middle East as a mendicant and mystic. Al-Ghazali is a fascinating figure, and even a short biography like this reveals his importance in the history of Islamic thought. Readers looking for a basic introduction will be satisfied with the straightforward prose, inclusion of beautiful photographs and medieval paintings, and inset boxes with background information about al-Ghazali’s cultural and historical context. The simple prose and abundance of b&w illustrations may also pique the interest of younger readers and serve as a gateway to further reading about Islamic history and culture. Part of a series of short books aimed at introducing Islam in small pieces, works like this deserve more attention and a place in high school libraries. Ages 14–up. (Jan.) — Publishers Weekly, November 2012