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AL-GHAZALI, Abu Hamid Muhammad (450/1058-505/1111), a towering figure in Islam, was born at Tus, near Mashhad in Iran, in the early Seljuq era and studied theology and law at Nishapur. His formidable intellectual abilities soon won him honor and respect at the Court of the famous Seljuqi Prime Minister, Nizam al-Mulk, and, while still in his early thirties, he became Professor at Madrase Nizamiyya in Baghdad and attained great prominence there. But soon he abandoned his professorship for a decade of contemplation and studies. He returned for a while to lecture at the Nizamiyya in Nishapur before his death. He wrote a large number of works, which include Al-Munqidh min al-Dalal (a biographical account), Tahafut al-Falasifa; but his magnum opus remains the Ihya 'Ulum al-Din in four volumes, compiled during his period of retirement and contemplation.
Muhtar Holland (The translator) was born in Durham in the North East of England in 1935. Whilst still a pupil at the Johnston Grammar School there, he developed a strong interest in foreign languages which led him to later study of Arabic and Turkish at Balliol Collage, Oxford. Subsequently, during his National Service in the Royal Navy, he also learned Russian. He went on to lecture in Arabic, Turkish, and near-Eastern History at the University of Toronto, then in Islamic Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He taught Classical Arabic and Greek Philosophy at the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. For a time he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Islamic Foundation, Leicester.
THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION is an educational and research organization devoted to making Islam a living reality in our age. For this purpose, it aims to improve human communication and develop a better understanding of Islam among all people of the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, so as to galvanize man to the message and ideal of One God and the unity of mankind, as brought by all the Prophets of God throughout the ages, last of whom was the Prophet Muhammed ( blessings of Allah and peace be on him). The Foundation has research units in Islamic Economics, Christian- Muslim Relations, and Literature for Children. Its regular publications include Muslim World Book Review containing an Index of Islamic Literature (quarterly), Encounters: Journal of Inter-Cultural Perspectives (bi-annually) and Review of Islamic Economics (bi-annually).Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester, UK, a subsidiary of the Foundation, awards MA/ MPhil/ Ph.D degrees, Post-Graduate Diploma and Certificate in Islamic Studies in partnership with the University of Portsmouth and Loughborough University,UK.
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