This study is primarily concerned with the intersection of the moral and aesthetic theories of Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 1111). Al-Ghazālī’s theory of aesthetics has been the subject of thorough scholarly investigations and diverse interpretations in the field of Islamic art history since the 1940s. This thesis critiques the premises upon which the use of al-Ghazālī’s writings in studies of Islamic art and architecture were built. It suggests that they lead to what could be described as “the contradiction of unethical beauty.” To overcome this contradiction, it offers a comprehensive interpretation of al-Ghazālī’s aesthetics through analyzing the concept ḥusn in both his writings on aesthetics and ethics. I argue that there is an interconnectedness between the beautiful and the good in al-Ghazālī’s theory, where both are two facts of the same concept of ḥusn. Finally, the study uses this comprehensive understanding of ḥusn to interpret al-Ghazālī’s writings on architecture as an attempts to open the door for excavating a Ghazālian theory of architectural aesthetics.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Philosophy Department

Degree Name

MA in Philosophy

Graduation Date

Fall 1-31-2025

Submission Date


First Advisor

Ahmed El-Sayed Abdel Meguid

Committee Member 1

Alessandro Topa

Committee Member 2

Robert Switzer



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item