Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Al Ghazali : The Alchemist of Happiness

A subtle and moving account of the spiritual journey of one of the world's most influential mystics.

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

A spiritual journey of the renowned scholar Al-Ghazali

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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