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Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (2004)

7.8
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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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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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A subtle and moving account of the spiritual journey of one of the world's most influential mystics.
19 March 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali was one of the world's most influential scholars and saints. This film is, however, not about the intricacies of Islamic law and jurisprudence, nor is it a detailed biography all aspects of al-Ghazali's life. Rather it is an account of that transformative period in his life where, in the midst of worldly success something deep within him stirred and moved him to leave it all behind in search of the ultimate Truth.

The great achievement of Salazar's film is to portray the unportrayable -- the profound inner transformation that is the goal of every spiritual man, yet which few achieve in this life. Through a subtle and sensitive cinematography that takes us on a great journey through Central Asia, Salazar imperceptibly puts us in al-Ghazali's shoes. Through Salazar's own narration interwoven into the film, we understand that al-Ghazali's great inner journey was on behalf of every like-minded traveller regardless of time, place and denomination.

In today's world, where Islam is usually only considered in the light of its worst representatives, Salazar reminds us of a man who has, since his lifetime, been universally considered by Muslims themselves to be one who attained the ideal of their religion. Anyone seeking to better understand Islam and Muslims, as well as anyone who feels the inner attraction of the spiritual life will appreciate this film.


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