Al-Ghazali (Ghazali)’s Understanding of Method and KnowledgeJune 26, 2021
First of all, al-Ghazali is a seeker of truth, and his relationship with philosophy is closely related to this quality of him.
According to al-Münkız, Ghazali’s questioning of the true nature of things and his desire to reach definitive information on this matter is the starting point of his methodical skepticism. However, in order to overcome this fundamental problem, it was necessary to first investigate the possibility of correct information and the way in which it can be obtained.
Ghazali realized that these questions could not be answered by staying within existing understandings and adopting the view of one of the different schools. In that case, what needed to be done was to set aside all kinds of “transferred opinions” (al-aqaidu’l-mawrusa) and directly seek answers with one’s own mental effort. In his own words, the “passion to grasp the truths of beings” that comes from creation turns into an effort to “get rid of imitation and investigate” even in his early youth.
This search of al-Ghazali, which took the form of an epistemological crisis and lasted for two months, resulted in the shaping of his understanding of knowledge and method (Gazali, 2003: 343).
Ghazali, who felt the need to evaluate the possibility and reliability of all the transfer information and direct “knowledge” he had obtained until that day, with a “skeptical” and “critical” approach, expresses this as follows: “I said to myself, my aim is only to reach the true knowledge of everything; So it is necessary to investigate what knowledge really is.”
The basic principles that make up his real understanding of knowledge and method can be listed as follows:
The most important power that will enable to grasp the truth of existence and to reach real knowledge (close) is the desire to learn the truth becoming a passion.
When conducting a research, determining the target to be achieved and the way and method that will lead to it is one of the issues that the researcher should pay attention to.
From the beginning to the end of the research, everything related to the subject should be taken seriously at every stage, and sincerity and meticulousness in seeking the truth should not be left behind.
Courage and determination to overcome all obstacles and difficulties that may be encountered during the research are indispensable conditions for reaching the truth.
While searching for the truth, all opinions and currents on the subject should be reviewed and tried to be understood with a serious approach, without ignoring any of them and free from prejudice.
The most important feature that distinguishes a scientist who is only after the truth from ordinary people is to look at whether it expresses the truth, not by whom, when he encounters any information or idea.
Each scientific discipline is a separate area of expertise, and it is not true to assume that a person who is an expert (ready) in any field will be an expert in other fields, or that a person who is ignorant or not competent in a field cannot be an expert in any field. Therefore, the truth seeker has to pay attention to the areas of expertise of the people whose views and thoughts he will benefit from.
As a requirement of “respect for expertise”, no one should put forward a public opinion in an area where he is not well aware of the subtleties and does not know the purpose, method and scope.
The understanding (dogmatism) that the right is monopolized by a (real) person, group or self is extremely wrong and is the biggest obstacle to the truth seeker.
How wrong it is to avoid and hide the truths reached in the light of these principles from those who can grasp it; It would be just as wrong to explain it to those who are not in a position to perceive it. (Sarıoğlu, 1996: 89-90)
As a result of his search in the light of these principles, al-Ghazali came to the conclusion that certain knowledge must be free from any possibility of doubt and error, and he realized that he had information of this quality in his mind and that he was sure that they were not beyond doubt. Yes, math knowledge was like that. Therefore, according to al-Ghazali, any information whose accuracy and reliability cannot be grasped with certainty cannot reach the level of certainty.
Ghazali expresses the criterion of certainty in knowledge with an analogy: The certainty in knowledge should be such that, for example, if a person tries to reveal the falsity of knowledge by turning the stone into gold and the stick into a dragon, this situation should not lead to any doubt or possibility. For example, if I know that the number ten is more than three, if someone says to me, “No, three is more,” and claims that “I will turn the stick into a dragon” to prove it, and I see it with my own eyes, I still do not doubt my knowledge. Because of this incident, I am simply amazed at how he was able to afford it; As for doubting what I know… never! (Ghazali, 2003: 343)
With this understanding, al-Ghazali evaluated all his knowledge and means of knowledge, including what he said were obvious, in a skeptical-critical manner. spent. According to the thinker who was skeptical of sense perceptions, the power of reason was aware of the misconceptions and false data that the senses left us face to face. All right, but the inferences and propositions that the mind makes are really reliable and