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

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8/10
A subtle and moving account of the spiritual journey of one of the world's most influential mystics.
foxinsocks7419 March 2006
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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10/10
I watched some other films of Abdol reza zohreh kermani
pashan200320 December 2006
This is an excellent film about the life and spiritual journey of the renowned Islamic scholar al-ghazali. The film takes us through his time as the judge in Iraq, where he is revered as for his knowledge of quran and fiqh. Students flock to him. Then we see his crisis where he questions everything he knows, and he is unable to talk. He opens him mouth but no words come out. He then embarks on his spiritual journey, traveling for 10 years. He finds his truth in the knowledge of actions.

In his work the 99 names of Allah, Ghazali talks of how Allahs attributes must be known by tasting the experience,and not just the word. So to know mercy we must be merciful, to know justice we must be just. Just like if you tell someone what it is like to swim (wet, buoyancy etc) they will never truly know swimming until they have swam. And so we will never know God until we have experienced what it is to be merciful, just, compassionate, etc.

It makes a refreshing change to see a movie where the film is inspirational and captures the essence of spirituality , pushing us to reflect on how we view religion.

The scenic shots of Iraq are also wonderful
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10/10
A spiritual journey of the renowned scholar Al-Ghazali
abuhamza197019 November 2005
This is an excellent film about the life and spiritual journey of the renowned Islamic scholar al-ghazali. The film takes us through his time as the judge in Iraq, where he is revered as for his knowledge of quran and fiqh. Students flock to him. Then we see his crisis where he questions everything he knows, and he is unable to talk. He opens him mouth but no words come out. He then embarks on his spiritual journey, travelling for 10 years. He finds his truth in the knowledge of actions.

In his work the 99 names of Allah, Ghazali talks of how Allahs attributes must be known by tasting the experience,and not just the word. So to know mercy we must be merciful, to know justice we must be just. Just like if you tell someone what it is like to swim (wet, buoyancy etc) they will never truly know swimming until they have swam. And so we will never know God until we have experienced what it is to be merciful, just, compassionate, etc.

It makes a refreshing change to see a movie where the film is inspirational and captures the essence of spirituality , pushing us to reflect on how we view religion.

The scenic shots of Iraq are also wonderful
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A soul searching journey that expands over nine centuries
Najam Abbas26 January 2007
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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10/10
It's one-of-a-kind! - comment by Persian-speaker
nejato25 April 2006
As a Persian speaker it truly enjoyed Salazar's masterful portrayal of Ghazali. Managing to portray the Persian spirit with his magnificent camera-work (the graveyard scene) and a captivating plot (Ghazali's life), Salazar presents us with a wonderful drama documentary. I was also very impressed by the high level of the Persian that was spoken, which authentically reflects the Persian of Al Ghazali's time. Salazar's pick of Iranian actors is also very impressive, who all do a very good job. The costumes were also well made, and I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who wishes to taste the flavour of Oriental mystery.
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