Philosophies Associated with Al Ghazali on Knowledge

Philosophies Associated with Al Ghazali on Knowledge

Instructions: In response to each of the three questions given in this sheet, give a clear, well-structured answer. While you should study the material from the books and the lectures in order to give the best answer you can, each answer that you hand in must be the result of your own work, reflection, and understanding.

Please review this sheet carefully several times and make sure to ask me questions about it by email if there is anything you don’t understand.

Format for Each Answer:Maximum 1 page, typed, double-spaced.

Required font size: 12.

Use only Times New Roman font.

Put your student ID number on each sheet.

Do not put your name on any sheet.

Use standard margins (1.0-1.25”).

Use a separate sheet for each separate answer.

Emailed answers will not be accepted.

Format for Assignment All sheets are to be stapled together.

Key Theme of Assignment : The point of this assignment is to give you a chance to prove that you understand this material, and that you have thought about the issues raised by our readings.

So you must first have an understanding of the relevant topics, and then you must demonstrate that understanding by imagining that in each answer, you are explaining the material to someone new to the study of Islam and new to the topic of the question.

Strategy for Working on These Questions:

For each question, it is recommended that you follow these steps.

  • Make sure you understand the question as it is stated to the best of your ability, and make notes on any ideas that you have in response to the question.
  • Determine what aspects of your lecture notes and what parts of the books are most relevant to answering the question.
  • Study carefully the parts of your lecture notes and the parts of your books that you identified in the second step above, until you are sure you understand them.
  • Think about how to apply your understanding to the specific question in front of you.
  • Make notes about how to explain your answer to a beginner who is new to this specific topic.
  • Write a draft of your answer within the space limits already mentioned.
  • Revise and check your draft to improve it until you are confident that it satisfies that requirements laid out in the relevant section.
  • Make sure that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling are all correct, and that each answer as well as the assignment as a whole satisfies the format requirements laid out above.

Warning: If you merely try to loosely copy some passage from our books while changing names and details, you will not only risk getting charged with dishonesty, but you will most likely get very few points.


  1. Explain clearly and briefly, in your own words, what Ghazali means by “certain knowledge”. Which of your own beliefs do you think match this definition of “certain knowledge”? (Hint: you might want to consider your beliefs about the physical objects around you, your beliefs about what you read in the newspapers, your beliefs about other people’s intentions, your beliefs about history, your beliefs about science, and so on.)
  2. Explain clearly and briefly, in your own words, what Ghazali means by “sensory beliefs” and what he means by “necessary beliefs”. Then explain clearly and briefly, in your own words, the reasoning that leads Ghazali to conclude that his sensory beliefs do not amount to certain knowledge.
  3. Explain clearly and briefly, in your own words, the reasoning that leads Ghazali to conclude that his necessary beliefs do not amount to certain knowledge.

How Your Assignment Will Be Graded