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Distributed for Brigham Young University

The Niche of Lights

Translated by David Buchman
Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali’s philosophical explorations covered nearly the entire spectrum of twelfth-century beliefs. Beginning his career as a skeptic, he ended it as a scholar of mysticism and orthodoxy. The Niche of Lights, written near the end of his illustrious career, advances the philosophically important idea that reason can serve as a connection between the devout and God. Al-Ghazali argues that abstracting God from the world, as he believed theologians did, was not sufficient for understanding. Exploring the boundary between philosophy and theology, The Niche of Lights seeks to understand the role of reality in the perception of the spiritual.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Series
Translator’s Introduction
[Author’s Introduction]
The First Chapter
Clarifying that the real light is God and that the name “light” for everything else is sheer metaphor, without reality
A fine point
A fine point
A fine point
A supplement to this fine point
A fine point that goes back to the reality of light
A fine point
A fine point
A fine point
A reality
A reality
The Reality of realities
An allusion
Some encouragement
The Second Chapter
Clarifying the similitude of the niche, the lamp, the glass, the tree, the olive, and the fire
The first pole: Concerning the mystery and method of using similitudes
Conclusion and apology
A fine point
The second pole: Clarifying the levels of the luminous human spirits; for, through knowing them, you will come to know the similitudes of the Qur’an
A clarification of the similitudes of this verse
A conclusion
The Third Chapter
Concerning the meaning of the Prophet’s words: “God has seventy veils of light and darkness; were He to lift them, the august glories of His Face would burn up everyone whose eyesight perceived Him”
The first kind
The second kind
The third kind
Notes to the English Text
Index of Qur’anic Verses
Index of Hadiths and Sayings
Index of Names and Terms

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