Translation with introduction and notes, by Charles E. Butterworth. The Decisive Treatise can be viewed as a plea before a tribunal in which the divinely revealed Law of Islam is the sole acknowledged authority.
Averroes argues that the Law not only permits but mandates the study of philosophy and syllogistic or logical reasoning. In the course of his argument, he acquits certain earlier Muslim philosophers-particularly Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and al-Farabi-of the charge of unbelief.
He dismisses al-Ghazali's criticisms of them as inconsistent and, indeed, as more harmful to the Islamic community than the philosophers' own views had been.
For, says Averroes, al-Ghazali discussed difficult matters before audiences unequipped to understand them.