The title is translated into English as: The Decisive Criterion for Distinguishing Islam from Masked Infidelity.
The English translation of the book is from On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abu Hamid al Ghazali's Faysal al Tafriqa (Studies in Islamic Philosophy) by Dr. Sherman A Jackson (also known as Abdul Hakim Jackson).
Abu Hamid al Ghazali, one of the most famous intellectuals in the history of Islam, developed a definition of Unbelief (kufr) to serve as the basis for determining who, in theological terms, should be considered a Muslim and who should not. Jackson's annotated translation is preceded by an introduction that reconstructs the historical and theoretical context of the Faysal and discusses its relevance for contemporary thought and practice.It is composed of a somewhat lengthy introduction by Dr. Jackson followed by the translation. Here are some of my thoughts on Dr. Jackson's commentary, to be followed later by any notes on the work itself:
He quotes Imam al-Ghazali,
"How many towns are there that are devoid of Muslim doctors, while it is not permissible to accept the expert testimony of non-Muslims in cases involving the religious law. Yet, we do not see anyone devoting himself to the study of medicine. Instead, they fall over each other in pursuit of jurisprudence, especially dialectics and the art of disputation, despite the fact that there is an abundance of jurists who can issue legal opinions and address the issues of the day. I wish I knew how the jurists could sanction the undertaking of communal obligations that are already being met to the neglect of communal obligations that are not being met. Is there any reason for this other than the fact that the study of medicine does not provide easy access to executorships of religious endowments, bequests and estates of orphans or to judgeships, government positions, superiority over one's peers and power over one's enemies?"While some might be eager to use these as arguments against scholarly tradition, they ought to be reminded that this particular academic tradition in Baghdad met an untimely end at the hands of the Mongols. God's wrath was already felt upon Baghdad and all those that Al-Ghazali had to deal with. The 'ulema of today are a great deal more influenced by Al-Ghazali than the pre-Al-Ghazali tradition. And conversely, Western orientalists had often lamented this, because they thought Al-Ghazali brought down the level of intellectual debate by discouraging debate (on the other hand, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy sees Al-Ghazali as ushering in a Golden Age of Islamic Philosophy by making logic part of the curriculum at madaris or seminaries). Yet they could only agree with the sentiment expressed above, and elsewhere in Al-Ghazali's works, that empirical work in the health and physical/natural sciences was a communal obligation no longer being fulfilled.