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Ghazali on the Principles of Islamic Spirituality

Selections from The Forty Foundations of Religion—Annotated & Explained

Translation and Annotation by Aaron Spevack, PhD
Foreword by M. Fethullah Gülen

5.5 x 8.5, 336 pp, Quality Paperback


Large Print edition also available from

The wisdom of one of the greatest scholars of Islam can be a companion on your own spiritual journey.

Considered by many to be the all-time greatest scholar of Islam, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058–1111) was also one of the foremost sages of theology, philosophy and Sufism. His writings on the interrelation of law, theology and mysticism were central in establishing Sufism as a core dimension of orthodox Islamic practice. Muslim communities all across the world today still base much of their practice of Islam on Ghazali’s writings.

The Forty Foundations of Religion, Ghazali’s own summary of his magnum opus, The Revival of the Religious Sciences, serves as a brief and powerful summary of Islamic faith, worship, law and spirituality. It outlines the basis of Islamic belief, the foundational matters of ritual and practice, and the character traits a person must cultivate and avoid in the perfection of faith.

Now you can experience the wisdom of Ghazali even if you have no previous knowledge of The Forty Foundations of Religion or Islam. This SkyLight Illuminations edition—the first publication of significant portions of The Forty Foundations of Religion in English—provides original translations of selected highlights accompanied by insightful commentary that makes the core message of this great spiritual master relevant to anyone seeking a balanced understanding of Islam.

“Fascinating.... An enlightening and rich read.... A lovely read for any reader looking for spiritual inspiration.”

Publishers Weekly

“[A] gem of spiritual direction…. Clear and accessible … illuminates without overwhelming the text. It is going to the top of my ‘recommended books’ list.”

Ingrid Mattson, PhD, director, The Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and professor of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations, Hartford Seminary; former president, Islamic Society of North America

“A groundbreaking event in Islamic publishing…. Gives this compact manual a new life in English translation by reviving the spirit and form of this classical text and by providing invaluable commentary on the original text.”

Muhammad Hozien, editor, Journal of Islamic Philosophy and

“Gift[s] seekers with a clear, cogent translation of—and invaluable commentary on—one of the greatest works of Islamic spirituality by one of its greatest masters. Highly recommended.”

Faraz Rabbani, executive director, SeekersGuidance (

“A long-overdue contribution to the growing body of translations of al-Ghazali’s writings and probably the best starting point for studying the thought of the man known as the Proof of Islam.”

Ken Garden, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Religion, Tufts University

“An excellent translation of a priceless book. There are few scholars whose writings captured the essence of Islam as Ghazali’s did. This book deserves to be read by everyone.”

Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Qibla for the Islamic Sciences (

“Professor Spevack’s translation will be of value not only to students interested in al-Ghazali and Islamic traditions, but also to students of global spiritual and ethical traditions who are seeking a concise introduction to Islam.”

Scott Girdner, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy, Randolph-Macon College

Aaron Spevack, PhD, is assistant professor of Islam in the Religious Studies Department at Loyola University, New Orleans. He specializes in Islamic intellectual history, including law, theology and Sufism. He is also a founder and director of Boston’s Bukhari Institute, which offers educational programs on the arts and sciences of the Islamic world.

M. Fethullah Gülen, is an authoritative and popular Turkish Muslim scholar, imam, preacher and civil society activist. He has extensive knowledge and teaching experience in Islamic scholarship, and is a prolific author with more than sixty books translated into many languages.

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