The code of light: al-ghazali and al-suhrawardi

Bachelor thesis Lithuanian OPEN
Gediminaitė, Barbora (2017)
  • Publisher: Institutional Repository of Vilnius University

The Code of Light: Al-Ghazali and Al-Suhrawardi The Bachelor’s thesis The Code of Light in Islam: al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi presents a comparative study of light. The study analyses the philosophical systems of al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi through the reconstruction of the image of light and its operation principles. The main subject of the thesis are the attributes of light. The main problem of the research is the semantics and contextuality of light in Islamic theology and philosophy. The aim of the thesis is to explore the correlation between the theology of light in Islam and the metaphysics of light through the analysis of the concept of light in Islam. In order to achieve the above aim, the following objectives were set: to analyse the formation of the concept of light in Islamic theology by discussing the semantic field of light in the Quran presented in studies; to analyse and compare the image of light against the backdrop of ontological problems of al-Ghazali’s and al-Suhrawardi’s doctrines; to analyse and compare the principles of light operation in al-Ghazali’s and al-Suhrawardi’s cosmology; to reveal the correlation of light properties, which is perceived in binary oppositions in the above sources; through the analysis of the sources, to compare and identify common points in al-Ghazali’s and al-Suhrawardi’s light doctrines in the context of epistemological problems. The theological semantic field of Islamic light in the Quran actualized by academic literature in the theoretical part of the thesis is unfurled in four main semantic groups: natural light, light of the Judgement Day, light of guidance and faith and light of the Prophet and the Scripture. Presentation of the Sura of Light and the Ayat of Light, which are entangled in academic controversy, reveals the deep and multifaceted fundamental concept of light in Islam, which indicates a likelihood of a complex concept and structure of light in later Islamic texts. Based on the works by al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi, the analysis reveals the light in the framework of the problems of its variety and oneness, (dis)orientation and illumination attributes are used to present the discourse of light spatiality, and the binary nature as well as the light-knowledge characteristic are analysed. The comparative research of the doctrines of light seen in the analysed texts by al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi allows concluding that Islamic philosophical texts, though different in their specifics, refer to the contextuality of the concept of light and creation of light structures that complement each other. The research highlights the multifaceted nature of the semantics of light shaped by both texts. Thus, having analysed the concept of light in different discourses in the above Islamic texts and having compared the light structures created by al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi, this thesis discloses the correlation between the theology and metaphysics of light and reveals the code of Islamic light as a contextual, multifaceted theological and also metaphysical construct.
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