Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s On the Duties of Brotherhood as a Modern Guide for Peaceful Coexistence

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Tusi al-Shaf’i al-Ghazali (1058–1111CE/AH 450–503) was an extraordinary scholar, philosopher, and spiritual teacher of Islam. Generations of Islamic scholars have regarded him as one of the greatest thinkers in Islam and, as such, have bestowed upon him the honorifc Hujjat al-Islam, or “the proof of Islam,” meaning that he was himself “proof” of the righteous truth of Islam because of the excellence of his witness to the faith: the depth of his wisdom; the vibrancy of his spirituality; the creative integration of dogmatic with mystical strains of piety; and the breadth of his knowledge, including philosophy, law, and theology. In addition, in his own time, leading scholars in other faiths read and discussed his works, notably the medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides and the medieval scholastic and doctor of the Catholic Church Thomas Aquinas, so that some of his ideas found their way into the scholarly as well as spiritual discourse of medieval Judaism and Christianity.

Al-Ghazali, however, is more than a historical figure or a religious scholar limited to a singular time and singular faith, for his ideas are still relevant today and resonate with all belief communities, as this essay will demonstrate with an analysis of his short treatise On the Duties of Brotherhood, Book 15, from the second quarter of his great work, The Revival of the Religious Sciences.


Print ISBN 9783031271205; eBook ISBN 9783031271212