In examining the dynamic relation between both spirituality and the self within society, this thesis focuses on two autobiographical works, Deliverance from Error (c. 1106) by the medieval Persian theologian Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) by the contemporary African American political activist Malcolm X. Both texts are examined in light of Paul John Eakin’s notions of autonomous individualism versus cultural determinism in autobiography as explained in his book Touching the World (1992). Through Eakin's perception of autobiographical production as an expression ultimately reflecting the interrelatedness between the individual and the surrounding society, this comparative study examines both works as spiritual narratives that express their authors’ views on spirituality and individualism in relation to their communities along an arduous process of self-development. Despite belonging to different historical, geographical, and cultural settings, both al-Ghazali and Malcolm X delineate their remarkable spiritual journeys emphasizing the role of liberated individual investigation in attaining both spiritual solace as well as genuine understanding and assertion of their selfhoods in society.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

December 2015

First Advisor

Abdel Nasser, Tahia

Committee Member 1

Ghazoul, Ferial

Committee Member 2

Soliman, Mounira


64 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Ghazzālī, 1058-1111.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

X, Malcolm, 1925-1965.


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