cover image Imam al-Ghazali: A Concise Life

Imam al-Ghazali: A Concise Life

Edoardo Albert. Kube (Consortium, dist.), $9.95 trade paper (84p) ISBN 978-1-84774-030-4

This slim volume outlining the life of Imam al-Ghazali, an 11th-century Muslim scholar and saint, is fairly sparse in content, reviewing only the most important biographical details of al-Ghazali’s life, from his birth in what is now Iran to his scholarly career and his later years when he abandoned scholarship, turned to Sufism, and traveled the Middle East as a mendicant and mystic. Al-Ghazali is a fascinating figure, and even a short biography like this reveals his importance in the history of Islamic thought. Readers looking for a basic introduction will be satisfied with the straightforward prose, inclusion of beautiful photographs and medieval paintings, and inset boxes with background information about al-Ghazali’s cultural and historical context. The simple prose and abundance of b&w illustrations may also pique the interest of younger readers and serve as a gateway to further reading about Islamic history and culture. Part of a series of short books aimed at introducing Islam in small pieces, works like this deserve more attention and a place in high school libraries. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)■