The Travels of Al-Ghazali

Attached are the files made before. I would like a presentation to be made about AlGhazali and his travels, and compare him to Ibn Batutta. It’s a part of my final project. Also I want two pages of what to say during my presentation.

The study of Islamic history is rich with prominent figures that played critical roles in the shaping of Islamic cultures during their years of living and many decades after. Al-Ghazali is one of the most notable figures whose role in understanding Islamic culture and history is worth comprehending. Considering the different views held by Islamic scholars, it is important to discuss each of them as compared to the other. This paper will discuss the travels of al-Ghazali and compare him to Ibn Battuta. The thesis of this paper is: The travels of al-Ghazali compares significantly with that of Ibn Battuta. It will seek to answer these research questions: what were the experiences of al-Ghazali and Ibn Battuta during their travels? How do their experiences compare and differ to each other?

Al-Ghazali travels can be traced back to 1095 when he was experiencing spiritual crisis and decided to leave Baghdad for Damascus. While leaving Baghdad he pretended to be going to Mecca for pilgrimage and so he made arrangements on how to dispose his possessions (Euben, 2008, p. 33). At that time he abstained from scholastic work so as to confront the spiritual crisis that he was going through. Besides, he wanted to have a better understanding of the spiritual teachings and its traditions. He spent two years in Damascus where he engaged in meditation but did not end his vocation in academics. He used to deliver lectures in Jami’ Umavi, which was on the west of Damascus (Mahdi, 2005, p. 384). After the two years, he left for Bayt al-Maqdis where he made a visit to Prophet Ibrahim’s Dome and went on with his meditations. While at this Dome, he vowed three things: he will not accept any king’s gift; he will not argue and debate on any topic; and, he will not visit a court of the king. He then traveled to Madinah and Makkah for Hajj.

Shortly after he left for Egypt and spent quite a long time there. Even though he desired to visit Morocco to meet Sheikh Yusuf Tashfeen, he had to cancel his trip because Sheikh Tashfeen died. In the same year, he made a return to his hometown of Tus where he spent a number of years in seclusion (Mahdi, 2005, p. 385). He abstained from teaching institutions that were sponsored by the state. However, he continued to write religious articles and to receive visitors who wanted to learn about Islamic teachings. It should be noted that while back at Tus, those who were opposing him continued fighting him but he kept downplaying their efforts. Al- Ghazali was a student throughout his life and he considered each travel opportunity as time to acquire systematic Islamic knowledge. During his travels he not only meditated on the teachings of the Quran, but also studied and observed other aspects related to Islam. He studied Sahih al-Bukhari which he read out to Sheikh Isma il Hafsi (Euben, 2008, p. 80).  Like Al-Ghazali, Ibn Battuta traveled widely with the intention of spreading Islamic teachings. He left his place of birth, Tangier, at the age of twenty two with the aim to make the pilgrimage to Medina and Mecca (Euben, 2008, p. 181). His first stop was in Tlemsen where he joined the company of Tunis merchants to Algiers. He spent a few days in Algiers and then left for Tunis. He was so determined in his journey that at one point when he fell ill on the way and advised by a friend to stay until he recovered, he refused. He responded by saying that if God decrees his death, it will be on the road and his face will be facing Mecca. He and his party eventually arrived to Tunis and they were met by the city’s population. However, while the other members were being greeted, he did not get any greeting because he was not known to any of the people there. This affected him so much that he could not restrain his tears and he wept bitterly. One of the pilgrims realized his agony and the cause of his distress and went to greet him kindly and entertained him with friendly talk until they entered the city (Khan, 2008, p. 79)…

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