From the Jacket
The Book is the English version of Imam Gazzali’s Ihya ulum-id-din. It deals with worship and divine services.
Imam Abu-Hamid al-Ghazzali is unquestionably the greatest theologian of Islam and one of its noblest and most original thinkers. He was born in 1058 A.D. at Tus, where he died in 1111. He reproduced in his religious experience all the spiritual phased developed by Islam.
Starting his religious life as orthodox’ Al-Ghazzali soon turned Sufi, and when still under twenty he had broken with all the past. In 1091 he was appointed lecturer at the Nizamiyah in Baghdad, where he become a sceptic, Four years later he returned to Sufism after a terrific spiritual struggle that left him a physical wreck. Intellectualism had failed him. as a dervish he roamed from place to place enjoying peace of soul and acquiescence of mind. After about twelve years of retirement in various places, including two years of retreat in Syria and a holy pilgrimage, he returned to Baghdad to preach and teach. There he composed him master piece IHYA ULUM-ID-DIN (the revivification of the Sciences of religion).
The mysticism of this work vitalized the law, its orthodoxy leavened the doctrine of Islam. In it and such other work of his Faithful-al Ulum, Tahafut al falasifah, Iqtisad fi-al-itiqad, orthodox speculation reached its culminating point.
The Book of Worship Preface
Through the unbounded grace of the Almighty God and blessings of greatest Apostle of God, the English version of the Book of worship of the world renowned lhyaul-Ulum (Revival of religious learnings) of Imam Ghazzali, the greatest thinker of the world of Islam, the Proof of Islam, the famous Sufi and devout, has now been published in full. This book Ihya is a sea of knowledge full of reasons and arguments, full of Quranic verses, traditions of the Holy Prophet and of the companions and the famous saint of early ages. Each subject was supported by the Quran, traditions and sayings of the learned sages and wise men and established by reasons and arguments.
As the great Imam belonged originally to the Shafayi Sunni sect, some of the religious doctrines will be found in line with that sects, but nevertheless its importance is very great. In his advanced age, the Imam was not a blind follower of sects but followed his independent thinking and as such indirectly created a sect of his own. As the world is advancing with ever new ideas and scientific discoveries, so also this work is full of novelty and great ideas and scientific discoveries and thereby the Imam revived truly the religious sciences and gave them an impetus never given by his predecessors in such a manner. He saved Islam from the currents and cross currents of devilish thoughts and pagan ideas that imperceptibly entered into Islam and clearly showed their fallacies and misconceptions. For this reason, he was given tl1e title of Hujjatul Islam or the Proof of Islam. His thoughts prevailed upon those savants who came after him. Had not the Almighty blessed him with the necklace of reason and intellect, the true belief of Islam would have been carried away by the strong current of irreligious and misguided thoughts.
True it is that there are many weak traditions in this book, but at the same time it should be remembered that the authors of six authentic traditional books specially Bukhari and Muslim selected some few thousand traditions as most of them were not proved to have been founded by trustworthy narrators from the Holy Prophet down to the narrator or did not meet with all the rules laid down for an authentic tradition. For want of proof, many guilty persons are acquitted. For that, it cannot be said that all acquitted persons are innocent. So, in this perspective the traditions in the Ihya should he regarded. Had Imam Ghazzali not found them trustworthy? He would not have incorporated them in his book?
There is no complete English translation of Ihya at present. Ashraf Publications of Lahore published some chapters of the first book of Ihya. The present translation is an attempt to bring out a complete translation of Ihya in English in four volumes. The first book deals with worship and divine service; the second book with worldly usages; the third book with destructive evils and the fourth books with constructive virtues. Ihya in original, is a book in Arabic comprising four parts and its abridged editions in Persian was termed by the author himself as 'Kimiya-e Sa'adat ' or the Touchstone of fortune. Unnecessary argument of different sects prevalent nearly one thousand years ago, some matters not heeded at the present time and some sayings of some sages of less reputation have been omitted in the present English version. The book has been, however, translated into Bengali in full by the author himself without omission.
Imam Ghazzali was born in 450 A.H. (1058 AD) in the village Taberan in the district of Tus in Persia (Iran) and his name is Abu Hamid Muhammad. His title is Hujjatul Islam or ‘proof of Islam’ and his dynastic title is Ghazzali. His father was a famous person but his grand father was one of the leading men of that age. His father died while he was young leaving him under the care of his mother and grandfather. Ghazzali is said to be name of a village in the district of Tus in the province of Khorasan in Persia. According to Maulana Shibli Nomani, his ancestors had the business of weaving (Ghazzal) and therefore he retained his family title Ghazzali (Weaver).
His Education: At the time of the death of Ghazzali’s father, he entrusted the education of his two son- Muhammad and Ahmad — to one of his trusted friends. The latter imparted to them primary education and then sent them to a private Maktab. The boys within a short time committed the whole Quran to memory and after that began to learn Arabic.
They were then admitted in a free Madrasa. Alter sometime, Imam Ghazzali left his native village for higher education for Jarjan and began to study under a great learned men Imam Abu Nasr Ismail. He used to take notes of his lectures but in a certain journey he was robbed of those notes by some dacoits along with his other belongings. He took courge, went to the chief of the robbers and begged of the notes only to be returned to him. It was returned to him at his earnest entreaties.
Then he joined Nizamia Madrasa at Nishapur which was it reputed seat of learning and a great educationist named Imamul Haramain was its principal. He had 400 students of whom three were most noted-Harrasi, Ahmad b. Muhammad and Imam Ghazzali. The latter became so much grieved at his death that he left Nishapur and went to Baghdad, the capital of the Caliphs. He was then a young man of 28 years of age.
At Baghdad, he was appointed principal of Nizamiya Madrasa by Nizamul Mull; the chief vizier of the Turkish ruler Malik Shah. Being thus appointed at an early age to such a high post, his popularity as a great learned man spread far and wide and the rulers and the chieftains used to consult him in state affairs and theological matters.
Lectures of Imam Ghazzali: In the lectures of the Imam, hundreds of learned men and dignitaries of the State and even the ruling princes attended. His lectures were full of arguments and reasons and they were mostly recorded by Sayeed b. Fares and Ibn Lobban. They recorded nearly 183 of his lectures which were compiled in a book named Majalis-e-Ghazzalia.
The great Imam then turned his mind to gain spiritual heights and the circumstances leading to it were recorded by him in his book Munqezum Minaddalal (Deliverance from error). He was a follower of Imam Shafayi in his early age but in Baghdad he mixed freely with the peoples of all sects and thoughts and ideas. There were then the Shias the Sunnis, Zindiqs, Magians, Scholastic theologians, Christians, Jews, atheists, fire-worshipper and idol-worshippers. There were also the Deists, the Materialists, the Naturalists, the philosophers. They used to meet in mutual wars of argumentations and debates. This had such an effect in the mind of the man that his whole life became changed and he began to search for truth with a free mind. His old ideas disappeared and he began to live in doubts. He then became inclined to Sufism but here practical actions were more required than mere belief Being imbued with such an idea, he gave up his lucrative post at Baghdad, wore Sufi dress and left Baghdad suddenly one night in 438 A. H.
He then went to Damascus and closetted himself in a room of its mosque and began attentively the divine services, meditations and Zikr. Thus he spent here two years in solitude. At the age of 27 years, he was initiated by Pir Abu Ali Farnedi who was the spiritual guide of also the vizier Nizamul Mulk. After two years he went to Jerusalem and visited the birth place of Jesus Christ and in 499 A. H. he visited the holy shrine of Hazrat Abraham and made there three promises:-1) he will not go to the Darbar of any ruler, 2) he will never accept their presentation, 3) he will not join any religious debates. He fulfilled these promises up to his death. Then he went to Mecca for pilgrimage and visited also Madinah and stayed there for a longtime. When he returned home, he was requested by the then ruler to accept the post of the principal of Nizamia Madrasa and he accepted it. When the ruler was assassinated by an assassin, he gave up the post and went to Tus and closetted himself in a khanqah. The new ruler requested the Imam to join his post of the principal but he denied the offer.
He died at his native village Taberan on 14th Jamadis- Soni in 505 A. ll. corresponding to 19th December 1111 A. D). lbne Jauzi narrated a story about his death. He said On Monday early in the morning he got up from his bed, performed his morning prayer and then sent a man to bring his coffin cloth. When it was brought, he lifted it up to his eyes and said Lord’s command is to be obeyed. Saying this, he prolonged his legs and immediately breathed his last. The Intern left no son, but only daughters.
His books: The Imam lived nearly 55 years and he began to write books from his early age when he was 20 years of old. He travelled for nearly 10 to 11 years and spent his time in reading, writing and teaching. Besides this, he had to reply thousand of letters which came from far and near for his decision and opinion. He wrote nearly 400 books of which the following are noted.
The Book of worldly usages is the second book of Imam Ghazzali’s world renowned master-piece Ihya Ulum-id-Din or ‘The Revival of Religious Learnings’, this work is an attempt to translate the second part of the Ihya not too literally but in substance from the original written in Arabic. The book II deals with the worldly usages, etiquettes, manners, rules and regulations concerning eating and drinking, marriage, earnings and trade, lawful and unlawful earnings, duties towards Muslims, neighbours, servants and slaves, harms and benefits of seclusion and society, journey, music, enjoining good and forbidding evil and character and conduct of the Holy Prophet.
A literal translation is avoided in order to omit the unnecessary argument of sects and things prevailing in the then world and to omit the sayings of less important sages. But no verse of the Quran or saying of Prophet has been omitted in this book.
I pray to the Almighty Allah that He may guide the people of the world in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and the spirit in which the Ihya was written by Hujjatul-Islam [the Proof of Islam), a title received by Imam Ghazzali and about which it has been said "lf all the books of Islam were destroyed, it would be but a slight loss if only the Ihya of Ghazzali were preserved?
“The Book of Destructive Evils’ is the third book of Imam Ghazzali’s world renowned master piece Ihya Ulum-id-Din of ‘the Revival of Religious learnings’. This work is an attempt to translate the third part of the Ihya not too literally but in substance. This book deals with soul and its attributes, conduct, greed and passion, benefits and harms of tongue, anger and envy, attachment for the world, love for wealth and harms of miserliness, power, show, pride and erroneous beliefs.
A literal translation is avoided in order to omit some unnecessary things which were prevalent in the then society, such as arguments of sects and sub-sects and also to omit the sayings of personages and sages of less importance but it should be noted that no verse of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet has been omitted in this work.
Translations of the other three books of the Ihya have by the grace of God already come out of press, namely the Book of worship, the Book of worldly usages and the Book of constructive virtues.
I pray to the Almighly Allah that He may guide the people of the world in according with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and the spirit in which the Ihya was written by Hujjatul Islam (proof of Islam), a title received by Imam Ghazzali and about which it has been said “If all the books of Islam were destroyed, it would be but a slight loss if only the Ihya of Ghazzali were preserved.”
‘The Book of Constructive Virtues’ is the forth and the last volume of Imam Ghazzali’s world renowned master piece Ihya Ulum-id-din or the Revival of religious learnings. This work is an attempt to translate the forth part of the Ihya not too literally but in substance from the original written in Arabic. ‘The Book of Constructive Virtues’ consists of two parts, Part II deals with love and attachment, will and intention, meditation and self examination pondering over good, death and subsequent events, death of the Prophet and four Caliphs and events before and after Resurrection and Paradise and Hell. A literal translation is avoided in order to omit the unnecessary arguments of sects and sub-sects then prevailing in the world and also to omit the sayings of the sages of less importance. But it should be noted that no verse of the Holy Quran or the Hadis of the Holy Prophet has been omitted in this translation.
Translations of the other parts of Ihya have already come out of press by the grace of Almighty God with full details of the Ihya and a short life and activities of Imam Ghazzali, the greatest thinker and philosopher of the Muslim world.
I pray to the Almighty Allah that He may guide the people of the world in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and the spirit in which the Ihya was written by Hujjatul Islam (the Proof of Islam), a title received by Imam Ghazzali and about which it has been said “If all the books of Islam were destroyed, it would be but a slight loss of only the Ihya of Ghazzali were preserved.”
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