The Iqtiṣād in Translation

Written By Dinda Revolusi on Selasa, 15 Februari 2011 | 19.11

There has never been a full English translation of Al-Iqtiṣād fī al-itiqad, but most of its second part has been translated into English by ʿAbdu-r-Raḥmān Abū Zayd and published under the title, Al-Ghazālī on Divine Predicates and their Properties; Michael E. Marmura has published a translation of the first chapter of part two in his article Al-Ghazālīís Chapter on Divine Power in the Iqtiṣādî; and there is a full Spanish translation of the Iqtiṣād, published in 1929 by Miguel Asín Palacios as El justo medio en la creencia. I have been unable to find evidence of published translations of the Iqtiṣād (whether in whole or major sections) in any other language.

Abū Zaydís translation covers most but not all of the second of four major parts into which the Iqtiṣād is divided. This section, as Abū Zaydís title indicates, contains Ghazālīís explication of the divine attributes and of the properties common to them all. In his second introduction to Divine Predicates, Abū Zayd also has an important analysis of Ghazālīís adaptation of the syllogistic method to the kalam genre. He also translates Ghazālīís later stated opinions about the importance of the Iqtiṣād as given in both the Ihyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn and Jawāhir al-Qurʾān. For some reason that he does not explain, he does not translate the discussion on Godís power (the first of the divine attributes), nor does he translate Ghazālīís discussion of the first property of the attributes. Marmuraís translation provides much of what is missing here, together with an insightful commentary on Ghazālīís discussion of divine will. Though dated and rather free as translations go, Asínís Spanish rendition of the Iqtiṣād nevertheless follows the gist of Ghazālīís treatise quite well in most cases. Asínís extensive translations of and (admittedly Christian-biased) expertise on Ghazālīís works (among many others) remain underappreciated and even unknown among many Western scholars today.

The translation from the Iqtiṣād offered herein covers all of Ghazālīís introductory material and the first of the four main parts into which he divided his treatise. In terms of volume, it covers just under half of the total content of the book but none of the sections that have previously been translated into English by the other scholars noted above. The Arabic text of the Iqtiṣād I have used is the critical edition prepared by Çubuçu and Atay (Ankara, 1962). Although it is by far the best edition of the text, and entirely adequate for our purposes here, Marmura has shown that it is not yet definitive.

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