Medieval economic thought broke down the boundaries set by the natural economy and placed the merchant on a higher level than the farmer or the artisan. Rich merchants represented a powerful and respected class in Islamic world, near power without ever acquiring the capacity to manage or condition it. Merchant behaviour was considered the correct (or at least partially correct) way to use money. Trading meant putting money (and wealth in general) in circulation; so like charity and alms, it guarantees the virtuous circulation of goods within the community.
Taking clearly stimulus from Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī (d. 996), al-Ġazālī (d. 1111) represents the moral weakness and ambiguity of the merchant and his constant hovering in society as a figure lying between selfish greed and public usefulness. This is not the author’s aversion to earnings and trade; on the contrary he considered the merchant to be part of the “natural order” of things. Only through “exchange” can man satisfy all his needs, and the market/merchant is the link between the producer (farmer and artisan) and consumer. In this way a complex society is created in which the accumulation of wealth is essential for further development and where the market itself – the law of supply and demand – defines the “fair price”. Thus al-Ġazālī recognises the importance of trade in the economy of the Muslim world and, like Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī, he dictates the rules for behaviour for a “good merchant”.
Al-Ġazālī’s Fayṣal al-tafriqa bayn al-Islām waʾl-zandaqa was aimed to contest religious dissidents, especially Ismaʿili Fāṭimids, but also to promote religious peace in troubled times. It was a fatwā by which al-Ġazālī as a jurist and a muǧaddid planned to achieve a composition between harsh sectarian quarrels. This “mission” did not involve in itself “tolerance” towards opponents, but simply appeasement. Tolerance, however, is more an ethical and juridical than a religious or dogmatic item.
The purpose of this article is to read, under a different light, the relationship between al-Ġazālī and Ibn Taymiyya thanks to the analysis of their writings (from Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn to Ilǧām al-ʿawāmm ʿan ʿilm al-kalām) in order to find commonalities and differences in the ideological proposal of the two authors. In line with Michot, Hoover, Anjum and Rapoport, this article includes Ibn Taymiyya in the ideological debate of the Islamic thought and provides evidences in order to not consider him only as the forefather of radicalism and fundamentalism, but rather a complex and sophisticated jurist, theologue, thinker. A man of his time. This aim is reached by investigating the concept of “Salafism” in both authors and analyzing the importance of the first community example in both visions and philosophical proposals.
In conjunction with the plan of Tiberio Alfarano (1590), the designs in the codex Arch. Cap. S. Pietro A. 64ter are the most important source for drawings of the ancient Vatican basilica. This large-format Album is associated with the cleric Giacomo Grimaldi (1568-1623), who placed autograph notes on the folia of the two main series of drawings. Previously known as libri picturarum, the two collections were achieved by Domenico Tasselli da Lugo (1578-1630) and other professional illustrators a short time before the Constantinian basilica was demolished. Starting from the reconstruction of the dramatic historical circumstances for a documentary enterprise that was without precedent, this study examines the Album’s images in an innovative way, making use of the opportunities presented by the digitalization of the manuscript. By means of the reconstruction of the ancient foliation of the paper together with an evaluation of an earlier parchment illustration that in 1592 documented the apse mosaic of St. Peter’s before its destruction, this contribution sheds new light on the structure of the “watercolor book” by Domenico Tasselli (1606), on the original nature of the second set of drawings (1609), and on the important role that Giacomo Grimaldi played in a documentary project “in pictura et scriptura” that was quite modern in its form.