I HAVE greatly profited from hints, generously lavished in the course of correspondence, from Professors D.B. MACDONALD, R. NICHOLSON, and LOUIS MASSIGNON, in addition to recent works by the last two. My cordial thanks to these; and also to Professor D.S. MARGOLIOUTH for discussing with me some of the difficult points in the translation.


I AM so conscious that my general equipment was insufficient to warrant my having undertaken an introduction to this treatise (in addition to the translation), that my utmost hope is this,--that what I have written may be regarded by lenient Orientalists as something to elicit--provoke, if you will--the necessary supplementing and formative criticism; or as useful materials to be built into some more authoritative and better informed work: and that they may from this point of view be inclined to pardon what otherwise might seem an unwarrantable piece of rashness and indiscretion.

A still greater presumption remains to be forgiven, but this time on the ground of the great human simplicities, when I venture to inscribe this work, in spite of everything, to the beloved memory of


— that golden-hearted man — who in 1911 introduced me to the Mishkât; and to join with his name that of


who first introduced me to the Mishkât's author. Of these twain, the latter may perhaps forgive the lapses of a pupil because of the filial joy with which, I know well, he will see the two names joined together, howsoever or by whomsoever it was done. As for the former, ... in Abraham's bosom all things are forgiven.


July, 1923.


The references in square brackets are to the pages of the Cairo Arabic edition, and to the present English translation.

THE MISHKÂT AL-ANWAR1 is a work of extreme interest from the viewpoint of al-Ghazzâlî's2 inner life and esoteric thought. The glimpses it gives of that life and thought are remarkably, perhaps uniquely, intimate. It begins where his autobiographical Al-Munqidh min al-Dalâl3 leaves off. Its esotericism excited the curiosity and even the suspicion of Muslim thinkers from the first, and we have deeply interesting allusions to it in Ibn Tufaill and Ibn Rushd,4 the celebrated philosophers of Western Islam, who flourished within the century after al-Ghazzâlî's death in 1111 (A.H. 505) — a fact which, again, increases its importance and interest for us.

1 The Mishkât al-Anwâr is numbered No. 34 in Brockelmann's Geschichte der Arabischen Literatur (vol. i, p. 423). It was printed in Cairo (matba`at as Sidq, A. H. 1322), to which edition the references in the present work are made. There is another edition in a collection of five opuscules of Ghazzâlî under the title of the first of the five, Faisal al-Tafriqa.

2 The Algazal of the Schoolmen.

3 The Abubacer of the Schoolmen.

4 The Averroes of the Schoolmen.

Mishk‚t Al-Anwar
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