Al-Ghazali’s Reflections on the Metaphysics of Metaphor in the Mishkāt al-Anwar

Sophia 46 (2):163-175 (2007)
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Mythological language is sometimes understood as a way of representing, by concrete imagery, more abstract notions. In this paper, we will pose some metaphysical questions about the possibility of such a representation. These questions will serve to motivate a brief tour of Mishkāt al-Anwār (Niche of Lights)—Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s commentary on the famous ayat al-nur (“verse of light”) of the Qur’an—wherein is discussed, among other things, how symbolic imagery is possible, and “the respect in which the spirits of the meanings are specified within the frames of the similitudes.”



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