After this it will cause no surprise that it is this figure of the Vicegerent (al-Mutâ` . . . alladhî amara bi tahrîk il-samâwât) who excited the curiosity and suspicion of thinkers in the century after Ghazzâlî's death. The passage is at least twice singled out, once by Ibn Rushd in the treatise already cited, and once by Ibn Tufail in his Hayy ibn Yaqzân.

(1) Ibn Rushd uses the passage to level at Ghazzâlî a direct accusation of gravest hypocritical insincerity over a matter which Ghazzâlî had ostentatiously singled out as the prime test of orthodoxy, namely.. the doctrine of emanation. According to Ibn Rushd the passage about the Vicegerent was the explicit teaching of this doctrine of the Philosophers, for which,


elsewhere, Ghazzâlî can find no words strong enough to express his censure and contempt. The words of Ibn Rushd are as follows:

"Then he comes on with his book known as Mishkât al-Anwâr, and mentions therein all the grades of the Knowers of Allah; and says that all of them are veiled save those who believe that Allah is not the mover of the First Heaven, He being the One from Whom this mover of the First Heaven emanated: which is an open declaration on his part of the tenet of the philosophers' schools in the science of theology; though he has said in several places that their science of theology (as distinct from their other sciences) is a set of conjectures."[1]

It is not within the scope of this Introduction to follow in detail the evidence for and against the truth of this radical accusation. This has been done at length and with considerable minuteness in the monograph in Der Islâm, which has already been cited (pp. 133-145). The

[1. Op. cit., ed. Müller, p. 21, Cairo edition, p. 59. The treatise was written before A.H. 575; date of Mishkât c. 500.]


reader must be referred to that; and it must suffice here to say that after the full consideration of all the evidence the verdict given there. is Not Guilty. On the other hand, the existence of an esoteric doctrine in regard to this Vicegerent and his function is undeniable (and undenied); and it is clear, from the comparison of the Mishkât itself with the Munqidh, that that doctrine differed vitally from the one professed by Ghazzâlî exoterically (Munqidh, p. 11). Ghazzâlî himself, in a passage of remarkable candour,[1] admits that every "Perfect" man has three sets of opinions (madhâhib), (a) those of his own environment, (b) those he teaches to inquirers according as they are able to receive them, and (c) those which he believes in secret between himself and Allah, and never mentions except to an inner circle of friends or students.

Ibn Rushd's accusation was an attempt to identify the figure of the Vicegerent, al-Mutâ` with that of Al Ma`lûl al Awwal, the First Caused, in the emanational scheme of the Neoplatonizing[2] philosophers of Islâm, with

[1. Mîzân al `Amal, p. 214.

2. The unquestionable Neoplatonism of much of the forms and expression of Ghazzâlî's thought, if not of the thought itself {footnote p. 20} Contd. (see especially pp. 15, 16. 29, 47 seq.]), exposed him in a very special way to this charge of emanational pantheism. And it cannot have made it easier for him to steer clear of such dangers in fact.]


al-Fârâbi and Ibn Sinâ at their head. This was the Demiurge, the Being who first emanates from the Absolute Being, and mediates between It and all the lower stages or relational existence, with their increasing limitedness and grossness, thus relieving the predicateless Absolute from all part in the creation or administration of the universe.

There can be no doubt that whatever Ghazzâlî's doctrine of the Vicegerent was, and whatever else his esoteric doctrine contained, the emanational theory formed no part of that doctrine. For this particular piece of pseudo-metaphysics he appears to have had a very particular dislike and contempt; and if Ibn Rushd was really serious in levelling his accusation he can hardly be acquitted of being blinded by his bitter prejudice against "Abû Hâmid". The only possible ground for Ibn Rushd's accusation which I have been able to discover is as follows:--it is a fact that the extreme (ghulât) Imâmites did identify al-Rûh "The Spirit of


Allah" with the First Emanation[1]. If, as is contended hereafter, Ghazzâlî identified al-Mutâ` with Al-Rûh, and Ibn Rushd was aware of this, he may have thought, or been pleased to think, that Ghazzâlî therefore thought that al-Mutâ` was the First Emanation. This would be an indirect confirmation of the identification which it is attempted presently to prove, namely, al-Mutâ` = al-Rûh.

(2) We now pass to the other criticism of the passage, by Ibn Rushd's contemporary Ibn Tufail, in the introduction to his philosophical romance entitled Hayy Ibn Yaqzân.[2]

Ibn Tufâil's allusion to this perplexing passage is as follows:--

"Some later writers[3] have fancied they have found something tremendous in that passage of his that occurs at the end of al-Mishkât, which (they think) impales Ghazzâlî on a dilemma from which there is no escape. I mean where, after speaking of the various degrees of the

[1. Massignon, Hallâj, p. 661.

2. Ed. Gautier, pp. 14-15, transl. 12-14.

3. Or "a later writer" presumably Ibn Rushd himself, in the passage already cited and discussed.]


Light-Veiled, and then going on to speak of the true Attainers, he tells us that these Attainers have discovered that this Existing One possesses an attribute which negates unmitigated Unity; insisting that it necessarily follows from this that Ghazzâlî believed that the Absolute Being has within His Essence some sort of plurality: which God forbid!"

The excursus on this passage in the article cited from Der Islâm (pp. 145-151) can only be summarized here. It seems to have escaped the critics quoted by Ibn Tufail, that the Unveiled, according to Ghazzâlî himself, abandoned the position of the last of the Light-Veiled just because of this dread, viz. that the identification of al-Mutâ` with Allah would endanger "the unmitigated Unity" of Deity. Ibn Tufail himself, though he admits the serious contradictions which appear in Ghazzâlî's books, flatly refuses to see in this passage anything so monstrous, or anything sinister at all.

Unfortunately he does not give us his own exegesis of the passage; but it may perhaps be inferred from his own schematization of the


grades of being. In this he makes elaborate use of the schema of reflectors, and reflectors of reflectors, which Ghazzâlî has already suggested in this book (pp. [15, 16]). "The essences of the Intelligences of the Spheres" are represented as successive, graded reflections of the Divine Essence. The highest of them is not the essence of the One Real nor is he the Sphere itself, nor is he other than both. He is, as it were, the image of the sun which appears in a polished mirror; for that image is neither the sun, nor the mirror, nor other than them both." It is probable that Ibn Tufail, who professed to have won through to his position after studying al-Ghazzâlî and Ibn Sînâ (the juxtaposition is singular!), would have more or less equated this conception of the highest Essence of the Intelligences of the Spheres with the conception of al-Mutâ` in the Mishkât, though he says nothing about the business of Heaven-moving in relation to this Being. It need not follow that al-Ghazzâlî would have accepted this explanation[1]; though both men were evidently striving equally to avoid a total pantheism, and both

[1. Though his "mirror" schema in Mishkât, p. [15], is near Ibn Tufâil's meaning.]


disbelieved in the emanational theory as taught by al-Fârâbî and Ibn Sinâ.

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