Al-Ghazali on finding Truths

Last Updated on June 30, 2019 by Hamad Subani

It is customary with weaker intellects thus to take the men as criterion of the truth and not the truth as criterion of the men. The intelligent man follows `Ali (may God be pleased with him) when he said, `Do not know the truth by the men, but know the truth, and then you will know who are truthful’. The intelligent man knows the truth; then he examines the particular assertion. If it is true, he accepts it, whether the speaker is a truthful person or not. Indeed he is often anxious to separate out the truth from the discourses of those who are in error, for he knows that gold is found mixed in gravel with dross. The money-changer suffers no harm if he puts his hand into the counterfeiter’s purse; relying on his skill he picks the true gold from among the spurious and counterfeit coins. It is only the simple villager, not the experienced money-changer, who is made to abstain from dealings with the counterfeiter. It is not the strong swimmer who is kept back from the shore, but the clumsy tiro; not the accomplished snakecharmer who is barred from touching the snake, but the ignorant boy.

Al Ghazali, ~11th Century AD, as quoted in The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali, by W. Montgomery Watt

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