The Analysis of the Epistemic Foundations of Al-Ghazali’s Theory of Legal Goodness and Badness



It is a well-known position that al-Ghazali believes in the disability of reason to know moral goodness and badness, and it is in need of religious laws to know them. But is this because of his belief in reason’s structural disability or is it based on another ground? In this paper we take into consideration this view-point and investigate its real foundations. We show that al-Ghazali seriously believes in the structural ability of reason in knowing ethical goods and evils. According to him, reason can know good and evil if it would be free from the impact of moral pollutions, so that in the prophetic level of knowledge it would be able to receive the truth from God as it is. This opinion has been proved through analyzing three bases in al-Ghazali’s thought: 1. The prophetic level of knowledge is a rational level; 2. Reason can know good and evil in itself; 3. Moral pollutions have profound influences on reason in apprehending moral affairs.