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Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (2004)

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Exploring the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history, this film examines Ghazali's existential crisis of faith that arose from his rejection of ... See full summary »

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Title: Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (2004)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Dariush Arjmand ...
Mitra Hajjar ...
Ghazali's wife
Abol Reza Kermani ...
Ahmad al-Ghazali
Ghorban Nadjafi ...
Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali
...
Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (voice)
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Storyline

Exploring the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history, this film examines Ghazali's existential crisis of faith that arose from his rejection of religious dogmatism, and reveals profound parallels with our own times. Ghazali became known as the Proof of Islam and his path of love and spiritual excellence overcame the pitfalls of the organised religion of his day. His path was largely abandoned by early 20th century Muslim reformers for the more strident and less tolerant school of Ibn Taymiyya. Combining drama with documentary, this film argues that Ghazali's Islam is the antidote for today's terror. Written by Abdul Latif Salazar

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22 October 2004 (Italy)  »

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User Reviews

A soul searching journey that expands over nine centuries
26 January 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Al-Chemist of Happiness is a documentary about the quest for truth in which by use of unique approach through swift transitions between 12th century and the 21st century producer Ovidio A. Salazar successfully manages to keep the viewers engaged.

The documentary takes us to 12th century Baghdad as one of orient's greatest thinkers, Al- Ghazali, arrives at the Nizamiyya College where he made quite an impression as he began a prestigious teaching career. But, as the documentary suggests, in a few years Ghazali underwent a change, started suspecting every thing he had learnt. He shunned his position, left the school and went on a quest to take a dip into his soul, looking for purpose that could bring inner salvation.

Salazar takes you to a soul searching journey as he travels in the footsteps of Ghazali. Though using natural and simple settings, the film makes creative use of sights, sounds for re-enactment of several interesting episodes of the life and times as they happened in 1111.

At a time when the Iraq-Iran border region is mentioned only in the context of turmoil, this documentary offers a different window in the historical context, in an effective portrayal of those pursuing the truth in the face of the hardships of that time. Should the sweet chimes of birds go unheard because of the coarse cries of the crows? Should feature and documentary productions remain fixated mostly on the rabble rousing and doom saying elements at a time when the voice of compassion deserve to be brought from the background to the forefront? It is all up to the viewers to decide if they tune to the whispers of wisdom. One way to acknowledge our appreciation is to hear the tender beats of the heart and find the pearls of inner richness.

Unless voices of compassion are accorded due attention, recognition and preponderance, complaints about the recurring rants of rage will remain meaningless.


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