ABSTRACT

This book investigates the relationship between law and politics in the writings of the Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111). We also explore the extent to which this relationship explains Ghazālī’s political theology. As we shall see, for Ghazālī, political and legal activities cannot function independently. Political activities here are not so much about the character of the political establishment in the abstract; rather, they represent efforts to address political questions with Ghazālī invoking, articulating, and authoritatively defining the collective resources of the law. Pursuing political theory with Ghazālī means revealing the extent to which he examines the nature of particular decisions, considers their efficacy and suitability, and suggests alternative decisions that might be more appropriate. This applies to the whole body politic, giving rise to a number of broader questions about law, its meaning and purpose, about government and its purpose, and about the role of the individual.