Brief Notice: The Niche of Lights


Lights, Islamic thought


Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (A.D. 1058-1111) is a pivotal figure in the history of Islamic thought, whether his work is seen as having a negative impact or, as is far more common, a positive one. He was famous in his time as a master of Islamic jurisprudence (which defined correct practice) and doctrine (which defined orthodox belief). But his own spiritual quest convinced him that salvation was not to be obtained merely by slavish adherence to a code of conduct or intellectual assent to a creed but rather in the firsthand experience of the divine, toward which the beliefs and practices of Islam were oriented but often went unrealized. Al-Ghazali's quest for a fully actualized spiritual life led him to the disciplines of meditation on the divine essence and reflection upon the inner meanings of the Islamic revelations as contained in both the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The Niche of Lights, written in the latter part of his career, is a luminous example of al-Ghazali's personal effort to understand certain of those revelations in their richest sense.

Original Publication Citation

Book notice: al-Ghazālī, The Niche of Lights, trans. David Buchman. In BYU Studies 40, no. 4: 269–70.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


BYU Studies




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication