The works of Abu Hāmid Muhammad al-Ghazālī al-Tūsī (1058—1111), the greatest Muslim thinker of the Middle Ages, constitute an extremely valuable intellectual inheritance for contemporary Islam. His numerous well-known works on philosophy, jurisprudence, logic, theology and Sufism allow us to regard him as one of the most prolific authors in the Muslim world. It has been said of al-Ghazālī that if one divides the number of pages he wrote (in works known to us) by the number of days he lived, one finds that he wrote four pages a day. The works by al-Ghazālī have come down to us in numerous manuscripts held in various repositories all over the world. Naturally, the oldest manuscripts are of special interest to specialists, constituting a valuable source for those engaged in text investigations.
The current article is devoted to al-Ghazâlîs first composition written in Persian and entitled the Kīmiyā-ya sa 'ādat (The Alchemy of Happiness). It should be noted that the oldest known manuscript fragment of the Kīmiyā-ya sa 'ādat (call number В 4612) is kept in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. Judging from palaeographic features of the manuscript, it can be dated to the beginning of the twelfth century. It contains the complete third rukn of the work and was acquired by the Institute from the collection of O.L.Vilchevsky (1902—1964)…
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