From the Publisher
"[A] gem of spiritual direction…. Clear and accessible … illuminates without overwhelming the text. It is going to the top of my 'recommended books' list."
Ingrid Mattson, PhD, director, The Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and professor of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations, Hartford Seminary; former president, Islamic Society of North America
"A groundbreaking event in Islamic publishing…. Gives this compact manual a new life in English translation by reviving the spirit and form of this classical text and by providing invaluable commentary on the original text."
Muhammad Hozien, editor, Journal of Islamic Philosophy and Ghazali.org
“Gift[s] seekers with a clear, cogent translation ofand invaluable commentary onone of the greatest works of Islamic spirituality by one of its greatest masters. Highly recommended.”
Faraz Rabbani, executive director, SeekersGuidance (www.SeekersGuidance.org)
“A long-overdue contribution to the growing body of translations of al-Ghazali's writings and probably the best starting point for studying the thought of the man known as the Proof of Islam.”
Ken Garden, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Religion, Tufts University
“An excellent translation of a priceless book. There are few scholars whose writings captured the essence of Islam as Ghazali’s did. This book deserves to be read by everyone.”
Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Qibla for the Islamic Sciences (Qibla.com)
“Professor Spevack’s translation will be of value not only to students interested in al-Ghazali and Islamic traditions, but also to students of global spiritual and ethical traditions who are seeking a concise introduction to Islam.”
Scott Girdner, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy, Randolph-Macon College
The Maroon - Karl Gommel
Aaron Spevack, assistant professor of Islamic studies, has recently published a partial translation of an influential 12th century Muslim text. Spevack worked with SkyLight Paths Publishing to produce Ghazali on the Principles of Islamic Spirituality. The work, published in December 2011, is a translation of selections from al-Ghazali's The Forty Foundations of Religion.
Ghazali was an important Muslim theologian, jurist and mystic.Spevack said that Ghazali sought to harmonize Islam, law and Sufism, a form of Muslim mysticism. "Ghazali was a great reviver of Islam in his time," Spevack said.
Ghazali's Forty Foundations of Religion were meant to help this harmony, according to Spevack. The text is broken down into four sections, each containing 10 foundations. These four sections focus on theology, practice, “blameworthy traits” and “meritorious traits.”
Spevack provides annotated commentary for each page of translation to provide a richer context to the work. He said he provided most of the commentary through previous research, as his studies focus on Islam, Islamic law and Sufism. However, Spevack said he had to edit out some of the commentary. "I planned to add commentary after I finished the text, but I started adding some in the book as I went along. When I finished the translation, I was already over the page limit,” he said.
Spevack’s interest in Islam stemmed from taking a class in Turkish music as a jazz guitar major in the New England Conservatory of Music. While taking time off from his studies, Spevack played with a hip-hop band for five years, meeting Muslim musicians and exploring his faith. He then resumed his education and received a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Intellectual History from Boston University in 2008.
Spevack has not yet gone on promotional trips for his book. However, he is finishing another book that started as his dissertation. It focuses on the works of al-Bajuri, a 19th century scholar of law, theology and Sufism and an intellectual descendant of Ghazali, according to Spevack. Spevack cited al-Bajuri’s words on Sufism to explain his own interest in Sufism.
“You can’t really study Islam without studying Sufism,” he said.Spevack will be leaving Loyola to take a position at Colgate University in New York next semester and said he is “sadly leaving Loyola and happily joining Colgate.”