This podcast offers a concise summary of Muhammad al-Ghazali’s Incoherence of the Philosophers.
Muhammad al-Ghazali was a major critic of the works of other philosophers. In this work he attacks various viewpoints of Ibn Sina, more commonly known as Avicenna. By criticizing others’ philosophies, he also asserted an emphasis on God’s absolute power in Islamic theology. A popular criticism al-Ghazali held was of the idea that the universe is eternal. According to al-Ghazali, if the universe is eternal, then God could not have created it, thus God cannot be all powerful. This was considered heresy to al-Ghazali. It seems that his goal was to combine philosophy and theology in such a way that God has the ultimate power, contrary to other philosophers. A significant issue he found with Avicenna’s teachings regarded the theory of causation. Avicenna believed that one thing may be the cause of another however al-Ghazali proposed the theory of occasionalism, which is to say that one thing does not necessarily cause the other, rather they are simply grouped together by God, further asserting His power as the absolute divine being