O Son


Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

Translated into English by

George O' Schraer




I. In the name of Allah 1 the Compassionate 2 the Merciful ;

Praise unto Allah the. Lord of the worlds 3 and the good issue to the pious, 4 and blessings upon his prophet Mohammed and his family all of them. Know that a certain advanced student 6 attended zealously to the service of the shaykh, the Imam, the ornament of religion, the proof of Islam, Abi Hamid Mohammed bin Mohammed al-Ghazali, the mercy of Allah upon him, and labored in the acquisition and reading of science, until he had assembled the minutiae of the sciences and had per­fected the virtues of the soul; 7 then on a certain day he considered the condition of his soul and it occurred to him and he said, "Truly I have read varieties of sciences, and have spent my life in learning and assem­bling them, and now I ought to know which kind will benefits me tomorrow and cheer me in my grave, and which will not benefit me, so that I abandon it, as the Apostle 9 of Allah, Allah bless and give him peace, said, '0 Allah, I seek 10 refuge in thee from knowledge which does not benefit'." And this idea persisted with him until he wrote to the honorable shaykh, the proof of Islam, Mohammed al-Ghazali, the mercy of Allah upon him, seeking a "fatwa" 11 and asked him questions and desired from him advice and a supplication 12 [to read in its appointed times.] And he said, "Even though the writings of the shaykh like Ihya' 13 and other works contain the answer to my questions, yet my purpose is that the shaykh should write my requirement in a leaflet to remain with me the length of my life, and I will do according to what is in them all my days, if Allah the Exalted wills." So the shaykh, the mercy of Allah the Exalted (upon him), wrote in this epistle

II. In the name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful

Know, 0 Youth, 1 beloved and precious; (Allah) prolong thy days in his obedience, and lead thee in the path of his loved ones-that the open letter 2 of advice is written from the mine of the Message (of the apostle), Allah bless him and give him peace; if there has reached you advice from it, what need have you of my advice ? and if not, then tell me what you have attained in these past years.

III. 0 youth, from all that the Apostle of Allah, blessing and peace upon him, has advised his Congregation, is his saying, 1 Allah bless him and give him peace: "The sign of Allah's withdrawal from His worship­per 2 is his busying himself in what does not concern him; and if a man has passed an hour of his life in other than that for which he was created, it is certainly fitting that his grief should be prolonged [in the day of resurrection], and whoever has reached (the age of) forty ,3 and his good does not surpass his evil, let him prepare for the fire"; and in this advice there is a sufficiency for the people of the world [knowledge].

IV. 0 youth, the advice is easy, the difficulty is accepting it, since it is bitter in the taste of the follower of passionate desire, because' prohibited things are cherished in their 1 hearts; especially whoever is seek­ing formal knowledge, and is busying himself about excellence of [science and] the improvement of the soul [and jurisprudence] and the praises of the present world, for he accounts that knowledge alone is a means in which will be his safety and his salvation, and that he can get' along without work; and this is the belief of the philosophers. Praise the Great God ! he does not know this much, that when he acquires knowl­edge, if he does not work according to it, the indictment against him is certain. As the Apostle of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said 2 "The person most severely punished in the day of resurrection is the learned one whom Allah the Exalted does not benefit 3 by reason of his knowledge." It is told that Junayd, 4 the mercy of Allah (upon him), appeared in a dream after his death, and it was said to him, "What is the news, 0 Abu Qasim ?" He replied, "Perished are the explanations, 5 and vanished are the allusions, nothing benefited us except the prostra­tions which we made in the middle of the night."

V. 0 youth, do not be bankrupt of works, nor empty of states; 1 be assured that knowledge alone does not strengthen the hand: a parable of this is, if a man in the wilderness wore ten Indian swords and other weapons, and the man were brave and a warrior, and a terrifying lion attacked him, what do you think ? would the weapons ward off the evil from him without his using them and thrusting with them ? it is perfectly obvious that they would not ward (it) off, except by activity. Just so, though a man read a hundred thousand scientific questions and understood them or learned them, 2 they do not benefit him except by working. And similarly, if a man had fever and jaundice, his cure is in oxymel and barley broth, and he will not regain his health except in their use.

Though thou measure two thousand bottles of wine, Unless thou drink, no thrill is thin?

Knowledge is the tree, and working is its fruit; 4 and though you studied a hundred years and collected a thousand books, you would not be prepared for the mercy of Allah the Exalted, except by working, as Allah the Exalted said,

"And verily nothing (shall be reckoned) to man but that for which he made effort." 5

And "whoever hopes to meet his Lord let him work a righteous work," 6 "a recompense according to what they have done" 7 "a recompense according to what they have earned." 8

"As for those who believed and do right things, there was for them the gardens of Paradise as an abode." 9

["but others have come after them, they have neglected prayer and have followed lusts; and they shall find evil,] except whoever turns and believes and does a good work; [these shall enter the garden and be wronged in nothing".] 10


And what do you say as to this tradition: Islam is built upon five (pillars): the witness that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed Is the Apostle of Allah; and the instituting of prayers; and the giving of alms; and the fast of Ramadan; and the pilgrimage to Mecca ( ) for everyone who is able 11 to make the journey. And faith is confession with the tongue and belief with the heart and working with the members of the body; and the value 12 of works is greater than can be reckoned; and if the worshipper attains the Garden by the favor of Allah the Exalted and his grace, yet that is after he prepares by his obedience and his worship;

"for the mercy of Allah is near to the doer of good deeds."13

And if it should be said also he attains it by faith alone, 14 we reply, Yes, but when does he attain ? how many a difficult activity meets him before he arrives ! the first of these activities is the activity of faith will he be escape plunder (of his faith) or not ? and when he arrives he will be a bankrupt {sinner}. 15 As Hasan 16 said: Allah the Exalted says to his worshippers on the day of resurrection, "[Oh my worshippers,] enter into the Garden by my mercy and partake of it by [the measure of] your works."

VI. 0 youth, so long as you do not work, you do not find [a reward]. It is told that a man of the children of Israel worshipped Allah the Exalted seventy years; and Allah the Exalted desired to display him to the angels, so Allah sent an angel to him to inform him that with that worship, he was not worthy through it of the Garden; and when he informed him, the worshipper replied, "We are created for worship, and we can but worship him." And when the angel returned he said, "0 my God, thou knowest best what he said." And Allah the Exalted said, -"Since he did not withdraw i [from worshipping us] }, so we with grace will not withdraw from him. Bear witness, oh my angels, That I have. forgiven him." The Apostle of Allah said,! Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Reckon before you are reckoned with, and weigh before you are weighed.'' And 'Ali, 2 the pleasure of Allah the Exalted upon him, said, "Whoever thinks that without exertion he shall reach the garden he is a (vain) desirer; and whoever thinks that by great exertion he shall arrive, he is an acquirer." 3 And Hasan said, the mercy of Allah upon him, "Seeking the garden without working is a serious fault." He also said, "The sign of the real thing is in giving up regard for the work, not in giving up the work." And the Prophet said, upon him be blessing and peace, "The shrewd man is whoever judges himself, and works for what is after death, and the stupid man is the one whose soul follows its passionate desires, and (vainly) longs for Allah the Exalted." 4

VII. 0 youth, how many nights you have remained awake repeating science and poring over books and have denied yourself sleep ! I do not know what the purpose of it was. If it was attaining worldly ends and securing its vanities and acquiring its dignities and surpassing your con­temporaries, and such like, 1 woe to you, and again woe; but if your purpose in it was the vitalizing of the Law of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the training of your character, and breaking the soul commanding to evil, 2 then blessed are you and again blessed. and so he spoke truly who said

Wakefulness of eyes for other than thine own face is no gain

And weeping of eyes for other than thine own loss is all vain.

VIII. 0 youth, live as you will, you are mortal ! I and love what you will, you will leave it ! and do what you will, you will be rewarded accordingly ! 2

IX. 0 youth, so what have you gained from the acquisition of the science of dogmatic theology and from disputation and medicine and "diwans" and poetry and astronomy and prosody and syntax and mor­phology except squandering life ? By the splendor of the Possessor of splendor, I assuredly I saw in the gospel of 'Isa, 2 upon our prophet and upon him be peace, (that) he said: "From the moment in which the dead is placed on the bier until he is placed on the edge of the tomb Allah the Exalted in His majesty 3 will ask him forty questions; the first is, he will say: '0 my servant, you have purified (yourself in) the sight of mankind for years and not for one hour have you purified (yourself in) my sight, while every day I look in your heart; so I say, as for what you do for another, while you are encompassed by my good gifts, are you not deaf, unheeding?"'

X. 0 youth, knowledge without work is insanity and work without knowledge is vanity (lit., cannot be). Know that any science which does not remove you today far from apostasy, and does not carry you to obedience, will not remove you tomorrow from the fire of Hell, and if you do not work today and do not amend the past days, you will say tomorrow in the day of resurrection, "Send us back, we will do good work other than what we were accustomed to do"; and it will be said to you, 0 thou stupid one, thence thou comest !

XI. 0 youth, let energy be in the spirit,' defeat in the soul and death in the body; for your abode is the grave and the people of the graves are awaiting you at every moment; take care, beware lest you, arrive without provision for the journey. And Abu Bakr 2 the Veracious said, the pleasure of Allah upon him, "these bodies are a cage for birds, {or} a stable for animals, so consider for yourself of which you are; if you are of the lofty birds, then when you hear the roll [of the drum]{ return, fly, climbing upward until you sit in the highest towers of the Garden. As said the Apostle of Allah, upon him blessing and peace, "the throne of the Compassionate shook at the death of Sa'id bin Mu'adh, the pleasure of Allah upon him." 3 And seek refuge in Allah if you are of the beasts, as Allah the Exalted said, "These are like the cattle, but they go more astray." 4 So do not consider yourself safe from removal from a corner of the court (of Paradise) to the depths of the fire.

It is told that Hasan el-Basri, Allah the Exalted have mercy {upon him}, was given a drink of cold water, and when he took the cup he swooned and the cup fell from his hand; and when he recovered he was asked, "What happened, 0 Abu Said ?" He replied, "I thought of the longing of the people of the fire when they say to the people of the Garden, Pour upon us from the water (for from what. Allah has bestowed upon you; } they replied that Allah had forbidden these for the infidels]."

XII. 0 youth, if knowledge alone were sufficient for you and you did not need work besides, then would his summons'-Is there any who asks ? and, is there any who seeks forgiveness ? and, is there any who repents ?-be lost without profit. It is related that a group of the Com­panions, the pleasure of Allah the Exalted upon them all, mentioned `Abdallah bin 'Umar, 2 the pleasure of Allah upon him, before the Apostle of Allah, upon whom be blessing and peace. He said, "An excellent man he, if only he would pray at night." 3 And he said, upon him blessing and peace, to a man from his Companions, "Oh N. N., do not increase sleep at night, for much sleep leaves its owner poor in the day of resurrection."

XIII. 0 youth; "and awake at night to pray; [as a supererogatory 1 service] for you" 2-a command; "and at dawn they were seeking pardon" 3 -a praise; 4 "and they who seek pardon at daybreak" 5-a remembrance .6 The Prophet, Allah the Exalted bless him and give him peace, said,? "Three voices Allah the Exalted loves: the voice of the cocks and the voice of one who reads the Qur'an, and the voice of those seeking forgiveness in the early morning." And Sufyan al-Thowri 9 said "Allah the Exalted ]created a breeze which blows at the time of the dawn, which carries the invocations and the petitions for forgiveness to the Supreme 10 King." And he also said, "When it is the beginning of night the herald cried from below the throne, Up 1 let the worshippers arise ! and they arise and pray what Allah the Exalted wills; then the herald cries at midnight, Up 1 let the fully devoted arise ! and they arise and pray till dawn; and when it is dawn, the herald cries, Up ! let those asking forgiveness arise ! and they arise and seek forgiveness; and when the day breaks, the herald cries, Up ! let the heedless arise I and they arise from their beds as the dead are resuscitated from their graves."

XIV. 0 youth, it is told in the testaments of Luqman 1 the Wise to his son that he said, "0 my son, let not the cock be more clever than{ you-he cries at the time of dawn while you are sleeping !" Assuredly he did well who said

The pigeon cooed in the darkness of night

On a branch, in weakness, while I was asleep. I lied; for I swear that were I (His) loved

Not the pigeons alone, but I too would weep; I think I am lovesick, excessively lovelorn

For my Lord-but I weep not, though animals weep I

XV. 0 youth, the substance of knowledge is to learn what are obedience and worship. Know that obedience and worship are conform­ing to the law in commands and prohibitions in word and deed-that is, whatever you say and do and omit in word and deed must be in emulation of the law-giver. Thus, if you fast on the feast day and the days of "tashriq" 1 you are rebellious; or (if you) pray in a garment taken by violence, though it has the form of worship, yet you sin.

XVI. 0 youth, so it is essential that your word and deed be in agreement with the law, since knowledge and work without emulation of the law-giver is a delusion. And it is essential that you be not deceived by the ecstatic utterances and vehement cries of the Sufis, 1 because walk­ing this road is by struggle 2 and cutting off the lusts of the soul and killing its desires with the sword of discipline, 3 not by vehement cries. and idle words. And know that the loosened tongue 4 and the veiled heart filled with negligence and lust, is the sign of misery, so that if you do not kill the fleshly soul with sincere struggle, you will not quicken your heart by the lights of knowledge. 5

And know that certain of your questions which you asked me cannot be answered in writing and in speech; if you attain that state you will know what they are; and if not, knowing them is impossible; for they are known by experience, 6 and whatever is known by experience cannot he described in words, as the sweetness of the sweet or the bitterness of the bitter cannot be known except by experience. As it is said that an impotent man wrote to a friend. "Tell me about the delight of sexual intercourse, how it is." And he wrote in answer, "Oh N. N., I have accounted you only impotent, but now I know that you are both impotent and foolish; assuredly this delight is known by experience; if you attain it you will know it, and if not, it cannot be described in writing or speech."

XVII. 0 youth, certain of your questions are of this sort; but the portion which can be answered we have mentioned in The Vitalizing of the Sciences of Religion and elsewhere [in what we have written, with its explanation, so seek it there]; and we will mention here a portion of them and point them out. And we say: [for the traveler in the way of truth seven things are necessary] the first is, a true conviction that has in it no heresy; and the second, a sincere repentance, after which you do not return to sin; and third, the satisfaction of adversaries, so that there shall remain to no one a claim against you; and the fourth, the attainment of a knowledge of the laws, sufficient that by it you may perform the commands of Allah the Exalted; then of the sciences of future things, what is / essential for salvation [and more than this is not obligatory; and this saying will be understood by a story] . It is told that Shibli, 2 the mercy of Allah, upon him, said: "I served four hundred professors and read four thousand traditions; then I selected from them a single tradition by which I worked, and left off the others; for I meditated and found my salvation and safety in it, and all the knowledge of the ancients and the moderns was included in it, and I was content with it; and that was, that the Apostle, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to one of his-Com­panions, "Work for your world according to your position in it, and work for your other world according to the length of your remaining in it; and work for Allah the Exalted according to your need of Him, and work for the fire according to your endurance of it." 3

XVIII. 0 youth, if you know ] [work by] i this tradition there is no need of further knowledge; and think upon another story, namely, that Hatim al-Asamm 1 was among the friends of Shaqiq al-Balkhi, 2 the mercy of Allah upon them both. [It occurred to him] and he (Shaqiq) asked him one day, and said: "These thirty years you have associated with me what have you gained in them ?" He replied, "I have gained eight benefits from science and they suffice me with it, because I hope for my salvation and safety in them." And Shaqiq said, "What are they ?" And Hatim replied

"The first benefit is that I observed mankind and saw that everyone had a loved one and one passionately desired whom he loved and longed for; and certain of those loved accompanied him to the illness of death and others to the border of the tomb, then each returned and left him alone and lonely, and there did not enter with him into the tomb and comfort him in it ] [one of them; so I considered and said, the most ex­cellent beloved of man is what enters into the tomb and comforts him in it] } 3; and I found it to be nothing else than good works, so I took this as my beloved, [to be] a light for me in my grave, and to comfort me in it and not leave me alone.

"The second benefit is that I saw that mankind were following their lusts and hastening towards the desires of their souls, and I meditated on the saying of the Exalted-"But as for whoever has feared the majesty of his Lord, and has refrained his soul from lust, truly the Garden shall be his dwelling place." 4 And I was convinced that the Qur'an was sincere truth and so I hastened to deny my soul and hurried to combat it and refuse it its passionate desires so that it become trained to obedience to Allah the Exalted, and it became tractable.

"And the third benefit is that I saw that everyone of the people struggled to collect the vanities of the world, then he seized them, closing his hand upon them. So I reflected upon the saying of the Exalted, "What is with you vanishes, but what is with Allah abides." 5 So I gave freely my worldly possessions for the face of Allah 6 the Exalted and distributed them among the poor to be a treasure for me with Allah the Exalted.

"The fourth benefit is that I saw that certain of mankind thought their honor and their glory to be in the multitude of their family and their kinsfolk and they were beguiled by them, while others considered this to be in their wealth of riches and the multitude of children [and property] and they boasted [of this]; and a portion reckoned glory [and honor] to consist in seizing the riches of people by violence and oppressing them and shedding their blood; and a section believed that it lay in squander­ing riches and in dissipating them and in prodigality. And I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted, "The most worthy of you in the sight of Allah is he who fears him most. "7 So I chose reverent fear and was convinced that the Qur'an is sincere truth and their thoughts and reckon­ings were empty and fleeting.

"The fifth benefit is that I saw that certain of the people censured one another and slandered one another and I saw that this arose from envy in the matter of riches and rank and knowledge, and I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: "It is we who divide their substance among them in this world's life." 8 And I knew that the division was from Allah the Exalted [in eternity, so I did not envy anyone and I was satisfied with the distribution of Allah the Exalted].

"The sixth benefit is that I saw the people treat one another with enmity for a motive or purpose; and so I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: "Truly Satan is your enemy; for an enemy then hold him." 10 And so I knew that enmity was not permissible to any other than Satan.

"The seventh benefit is that I saw that everyone struggled energet­ically and endeavored excessively to seek provisions and a means of living, from which he fell into doubt and forbidden things and debased himself and diminished his worth. And I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: "There is no moving thing on earth whose nourishment dependeth not upon Allah." 11 And so I knew that my provision depended on Allah and he had guaranteed it, so I busied myself in worshipping him, and cut off my covetousness of all else than He.

"The eighth benefit is that I saw that everyone relied on some created thing, some on the dinar 12 and dirhem, some on i [wealth and] ] property, some on trade and craft, and some on a similar created thing. And I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: "Truly whosoever putteth his trust in Allah, He will be suffcient. Truly Allah will attain his purpose. He has made for everything a fixed period." 13 So I relied upon Allah and he is my sufficiency and an excellent guardian. 14

And Shaqiq said, "Allah grant you success; 15 [O Hatim verily I have considered the Torah and the Evangel {new testament} and the Psalms and the Qur'an and I have found that the four books turn upon these eight benefits, and whoever works according to them is working according to these four books."]

XIX. 0 youth, you have perceived from these two words 1 that you are not in need of multiplying knowledge, and now I will show you what is obligatory for the traveler in the path of truth. Know that it is indispensable for the traveler to have a shaykh as guide and tutor, to expel from him the evil qualities by his training and to replace them with an excellent character; and the meaning of training resembles ] [the act of] } the plowman who digs out the thorns and removes the wild plants [from among the sown] to stimulate its growth and make it thrive perfectly, [for Allah the Exalted sent to his worshipper his Apostle for guidance to his path and when he, upon him peace, departed from the world he left behind him the Caliphs in his place, in order that they should guide mankind to Allah, because of this function] .2 And it is necessary for the traveller to have a shaykh to train him and guide him to, the path of Allah. And the sign of the shaykh who is fitted to be the substitute for the Prophet, upon him be blessing and peace, is that be be learned-not that every learned one is fitted for it; and I will show you certain indications in a general way so that not every one shall pretend he is. a learned guide. And we say, one who removes himself far from love of the world and love of rank, and has succeeded a discerning 3 person who traces his successorship to the Lord of the apostles,_ and has. excelled in disciplining himself in scarcity of food. and sleep and speech and. in abundance of prayer and alms and fasting, and who, in following the discerning shaykh, is making the good qualities- of character his way of life, such, as endurance and. thanksgiving and trustfulness and conviction. and generosity and contentment and tranquility of soul and. moderation. and humility and knowledge and veracity and modesty and trustworthi­ness and gravity and quietness and staidness and similar traits; and' then he is light from the lights of the Prophet, upon him be blessing and, peace, and he is worthy to be imitated; but the presence of such as he is­ rare, more precious than red sulfur. 4 And whomever fortune aids to find a shaykh such as we have mentioned, and the shaykh accepts him, be must- honor him outwardly and inwardly. 5

Now outward honor is that he should not dispute with him and not labor in argumentation with him [in every question even if he knows his (the shaykh's) mistake, and should not put down his prayer carpet before him except at the time of the instituting of prayer, and when, he finishes should lift it up] [, and should not multiply the supererogatory 6 prayers in his presence, and should do what the shaykh commands him according to his capacity and his ability.

But inner honor is that all he hears and accepts from him outwardly he should not deny inwardly, neither in deed nor in word, lest he be branded 7 with hypocrisy;, and if this be not possible, that he should desert his companionship until his inner life agrees with his outer; and he should guard against association with the evil man so that he may curtail the province of the Satans of the "jinn" and mankind from the court of his heart, and may be purified from the stain. of Satanic filth; and at all events he will prefer poverty more than wealth.

Then know that becoming a Sufi has two characteristics: uprightness with Allah the Exalted, and quietness with mankind; and whoever is upright, and improves his character among the people, and treats them with forbearance, he is a Sufi. And uprightness is that he offer the pleasures of his soul as a ransom for the sake of his soul; 8 and goodness of conduct among men is that you do not burden people according to your own desire, but burden yourself according to their desire so long as they do not violate the sacred law.

Then you asked me about devotion; it comprises three things; first, the careful observance of the command of the sacred law; second, satisfaction with decree and fate and the lot of Allah the Exalted; 9 and third, forsaking pleasing yourself in order to seek the pleasure of Allah the Exalted.

And you asked me about trust:10 it is that you seek to fortify your belief in Allah the Exalted as to what he has promised; that is, that you believe that what he has fated for you will come to you without fail, although anyone in the world endeavors to prevent it; and what is not written for you, you shall not attain, though all the world help you. And you asked me about sincerity:11 it is that all your works be done for Allah the Exalted, your heart not resting content with the praise of people nor despairing with their censure. Know that hypocrisy is born from exalting mankind and the cure is that you see them forced to labor 12 under the decree (of Allah) and reckon them like inanimate objects in their inability to attain contentment and misery, in order to escape from hypocrisy in their sight; and as long as you reckon them as possessing power and free will, hypocrisy will not be far from you.

XX. 0 youth, the remainder of your questions-a portion are covered in my writings, so seek them there; and setting down others in writing is forbidden: work by what you know, there will be revealed to you what you do not know. 1

XXI. 0 youth, after today ask me what is obscure for you (only) by the tongue of the heart. 1 The saying of the Exalted, "and had they waited patiently until you came forth to them, it had been better for them." 2 And accept the admonition of Khidr, 3 upon our Prophet and upon him be blessing and peace, "And do not ask me about anything until I mention it unto you." 4 And do not be in a hurry to reach the time, when it shall be revealed to you. And have you seen, "I will show you my signs so do not be in a hurry." 5 So do not ask me before the time. And be certain that you will not reach (that time) except by traveling. "Have they not traveled through the earth, and seen? "6

XXII. 0 youth, by Allah, if you travel, you shall see the wonders in every station. Give your spirit unsparingly, for the core of this matter is in applying your spirit abundantly; as said Dhu'l-Nun al Masri, 1 the mercy of Allah, to one of the students, "If you are able to give your spirit without reserve, come; and if not, then do not busy yourself with the idle practices of Mysticism."

XXIII. 0 youth, verily I admonish you in eight things; receive them from me lest your knowledge become your adversary in the day of resurrection.] Perform four of them and avoid four of them. These you are to avoid are, first, do not argue with any one in any matter, as far as you are able, for in this is great mischief, and its evil is greater than its benefit, since it is the source of every blameworthy quality: such as hypocrisy and envy and pride and malice and enmity and boasting and other such. Of course, if there arises a question between you and an individual or group and it is your purpose in it that the truth should appear and not be lost, discussion is permissible.7 But there are two signs of such a desire, first that it makes no difference whether the truth is revealed by your tongue or the tongue of another; 2 and second, that discussion in private is preferred by you rather than in public.

And listen, for here I call your attention to a helpful point: know that the question about obscure points is the presenting of the disease of the heart 3 to a physician, and its answer is the attempt to cure 4 his disease. And know that the ignorant are diseased in their hearts and the learned 5 are the doctors, and the partially learned cannot perfect the treatment; and the perfectly learned does not treat every sick person, but every one who will, he hopes, accept the treatment and the cure. And if the weakness is chronic or fatal, (and) incurable, then he will not labor to give medicine, for this is a waste of time.

Then know that the sickness of ignorance is of four sorts, one curable and the others incurable. 6 Of these which cannot be cured, [the first] is one whose question or objection arises from envy and hate, [and envy cannot be cured for it is a chronic weakness] and every time you answer him with the best or clearest or plainest answer, that only increases his rage and envy. And the way is not to attempt an answer. One hopes for the removal of every enmity Except enmity arising from envy.

So you must depart from him and leave him with his disease. Allah the Exalted said, "Withdraw from whoever turns away from our warn­ing and desires nothing except the present life." 7 And the envious, both in all he says and in all he does, kindles [a fire] in the sowing of his deed as the Prophet said, Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Envy eats up excellences as fire eats up wood." 8

The second, whose weakness arises from stupidity, and he also is incurable. As 'Isa said, upon him be peace, "Indeed I did not fail in bringing the dead to life, but I failed in curing the stupid." 9 And be is the man who has busied himself in seeking knowledge a short time and has learned something of the sciences of the intellect and of the sacred law, and so he asks questions and raises objections in his stupidity before the very learned one who has spent his life in the sciences of the intellect and the sacred law, and so this very stupid fellow does not know, and thinks that what is obscure to him is also obscure to the highly learned; and since lie does not think this much, his question arises from stupidity, and you must not attempt to answer him.

And the third is one who is seeking guidance and whatever he does not understand of the speech of the great ones, he lays to the defects of his own understanding and his question is in order to seek benefit; but he is dull and cannot arrive at the truth of things. You must not attempt to answer him also, as the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, "We, the company of the prophets have been commanded that we speak to the people according to their understanding. "10

But the sickness which is curable is that of the intelligent and under­standing seeker of guidance, who is not overcome with envy and anger and the love of worldly vanities and wealth and honor, but is seeking the straight road; and his questions and objections do not arise from envy and a desire to cause trouble and to make trial. And he is curable, and it is permitted to attempt to answer him-nay, it is necessary.

And the second thing to avoid is to guard against and shun becoming a preacher 11 and warner, since its mischief is much unless you practice what you preach first and then preach it to the people; and consider what was said to 'Isa, upon him be peace, "0 Son of Miriam, preach to yourself, and when you have preached to yourself, then preach to others; and otherwise, be ashamed before your Lord." 12 And if you are impelled to try this work, then guard against two conditions: the first is affectation in speech in explanations and allusions 13 and vehement cries and versi­fication and poetry because Allah the Exalted hates pretension, and the person pretentious beyond bounds gives evidence of inner confusion and a heedless heart. And the significance of warning is that the worshipper remember the fire of the future (world) so that he confine himself to the service of the Creator, and that he consider his past life which he dissipated in what did not concern him, and that he consider what is before him of obstacles to the security of faith at the end (of life) and what will be his condition in the grasp of the angel of death and will he be able to reply to Munkar and Nakir 14 and that he be concerned with his condition in the resurrection and its stations, and will he pass across the bridge 15 safely or fall into the pit; and {the memory of} these things will remain in his heart and disturb his tranquility; and stirring up these fires and lamenting over these afflictions is called "warning"; and giving notice to mankind and calling their attention to these things and warning them about shortcomings and omissions and causing them to see the defects of their souls, so that the heat of these fires touch the people of the assembly, and these afflictions make them impatient to rectify the past years according to their ability, and they feel regret over the days passed in other than obedience to Allah the Exalted-all this carried out in this way is called "preaching".

It is as though you saw that a torrent was rushing suddenly upon the house of someone and he and his family were in it and you cried, "Danger, danger, flee from the flood"-And would your heart in such circumstances crave to give your message to the master of the house with pretentious explanations and witticisms and allusions? Certainly not at all. And so is the condition of the preacher and he must avoid such things.

And the second condition (to avoid) is that your concern in preach­ing be not that mankind become wrought up in your assembly and show excitement and tear their clothes, so that it be said "What an assembly this was": for all this is an inclination to the things of the world, 16 3 [and is born from heedlessness; but your purpose and concern must be to call the people from this world] } to the future world and from apostasy to obedience, and from cupidity to abstinence, and from stinginess to" generosity, and from vanities to the fear of God, and to cause them to love the future life and to hate the world, and to teach them knowledge of worship and asceticism; because the predominating tendency in their nature is deviation from the plain road of the law and exertion in that in which Allah the Exalted does not take pleasure, and busying themselves with their evil characteristics. Cast fear into their hearts and frighten them and warn them about what they will meet of terrifying things; if perchance the qualities of their inner lives shall be changed and the deeds of their outer lives shall be transformed and there appear a craving and desire for obedience and a return from apostasy. And this is the method of preaching and of admonition, and all preaching which is not of this sort is a pest for both him who speaks and him who hears; nay, it is even said to be a ghul 17 and a satan, which carries off mankind on the road, and destroys them; and they must flee from it, because what this speaker corrupts of their religion, Satan himself is not able to do; and whoever has power and authority must bring him down from the pulpits of the Muslims and forbid him from what he has proclaimed,-on account of the word "enjoining fairness and forbidding evil." 18

And the third thing to avoid is not to mix with the princes and Sultans 19 and not to see them; for seeing them and sitting with them and mixing with them is great mischief; and if you are impelled to do this, avoid praising them and commending them, for Allah the Exalted is angered when an oppressor and an impious man is praised and whoever has called for the lengthening of their lives has delighted that Allah be disobeyed in his land.

And the fourth thing to avoid is not to accept anything of the gifts and presents of princes, 20 though you know it is permissible, because Coveting things from them corrupts religion, since there is born from it flattery and "kotowing" to them and approving of their oppression, and all this is corruption of religion; and the least of its evils is that if you accept their gifts and benefit from their world, you become fond of them; and whoever loves one necessarily loves the prolonging of his life and presence, and in loving the continuance of the life of the oppressor there is a willingness for the oppression of the worshippers of Allah the Exalted and a willingness for the ruination of the learned man. And what is more injurious than this to religion, and the future life ? Have a care­ have a care-lest the fascination of the Satan prove deceptive. Or some one will say to you that it is better and preferable to take the gold and silver from them and distribute it among the poor and needy; for they are disbursing it in profligacy and apostasy, and your spending it upon the weak among the people is better than their spending it; and verily the Cursed One has cut off the necks of many people by this evil whispering; 21 and its mischief is excessive. We have mentioned this in the Vitalizing of the Sciences of Religion, so seek it there.

Now the four things you must do are first: that you make your dealings with Allah the Exalted such that, if your servant acted thus with you, you would be pleased with him and you would not withdraw your good will from him nor become angry; and what you are not pleased with for yourself in your paid servant, Allah the Exalted is not pleased with in you, and He is your true Lord; second, in all your dealings with people, treat them as you would be pleased to he treated by, them, because the faith of a worshipper is not complete until he loves for other people what he loves for himself; third, if you read or study science, it must be a science which corrects your heart and purifies your soul; as if you knew that your life would not be prolonged more than a week, necessarily you would not busy yourself in it in the science of jurisprudence and argu­mentation and rudimentary principles and scholastic theology and such like, because you know these sciences would not enrich you, but you would busy yourself in guarding your heart and in apprehending the attribute of the soul, and removal from the entanglements of the world, and the purification of your soul from the blameworthy moral qualities, and you would busy yourself in the love of Allah the Exalted and his worship, and in being distinguished with good qualities; and not a single day or night passes upon the worshipper but that it is possible his death may occur in it. 22

XXIV. 0 youth, hear from me another word and consider it, that you may find salvation. If you were informed that within a week the Sultan would come to visit you, I know that in that time you would busy yourself only in the rectification of what you knew the sight of the Sultan would fall upon, in the matter of the clothing and the body and the house and the furnishings and other things. And now consider to what I refer, for you have understanding and a single word suffices the clever. The Apostle of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: "Verily Allah the Exalted does not look upon your form nor upon your deeds, but he looks upon your hearts and your intentions." 1 And if you desire knowledge of the states of the heart, look in the Vitalizing of the Sciences of Religion 2 and other of my writings. This knowledge is required of all, and other knowledge is required of some, 3 except what fulfills the ordinances of Allah the Exalted; Allah grant you success that you attain it.

And the fourth (thing to do) is that you do not gather from the world more than the sufficiency of a year, as the Apostle of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, prepared for certain of his rooms, 4 and he said: "0 Allah, make the provision of the family of Mohammed sufficient." 5 And he did not prepare that for every room, but he would prepare it for her in whose heart he knew there was weakness (of faith), but for her who was a steadfast companion, he would not prepare for her {except} the necessities of a day and a half.

XXV. 0 youth, truly I have written in this treatise what you have requested, and you must do what is in it; and do not forget to mention me in your righteous petitions; but the supplication you asked from met seek in the supplications of the perfect. And recite this supplication in its times, especially at the conclusion of your prayers:





Please note that the notes are grouped by section (25 sections) number (roman numeral on first note)/ note number.  (Editor).


I.1 Instead of translating the Arabic word by the English term 'God', I have preferred to retain the Arabic word 'Allah', and have done so through the translation.

2 Lane, TON, vol. 1, p. 15 says that 'the Compassionate' expresses an accidental or occasional passion, while r.--A 'the- Merciful' denotes. a. constant quality. The 'Ulama' say that the first means 'Merciful in great things', and the second 'Merciful in small things'. Another explanation is that the first term-denotes that active quality from.. which the evidence of mercy comes, while the second denotes the permanent inherent quality which originates that mercy.

3 The' first Surah of the Qur'an opens with this phrase. Sale translates a by "all creatures", Rodwell by "the-worlds": ^It is used for the three worlds of rational creatures recognized by Islam-angels, men, and jinn.

4 This phrase occurs in the Qur'an, Surah 11:51.

5 Calverley, pp. 3-6, discusses at length the derivation and meaning of the word salah.

6 No clue is afforded as to the identity of this advanced student, except that the colophon at the head of MS. 23 reads "The advice of the Shaykh  al-Ghazali to the 'one trusting firmly in the glorious King, 'Abdallah ibn al­'Hajj Khalil."- I am unable to identify this name. The tradition quoted in section III below seems to imply that he was at least 40 years of age.

7 See Appended Note on The Wonders of the Heart.

8 Abu hurairah is quoted in Mishcat al-Masabih (v. i, p. 69) as follows: The Prophet said, "that knowledge from which no benefit is derived, is like a treasure from which no charity is bestowed in the road of God."

9 Lane TON, p. 16 says "An apostle is distinguished from a mere Prophet by his having a book revealed to him." Mishcat, v. ii, p. 654, says, "There is a difference between Nabi and Rasul; a Nabi is he who receives instruction from above to deliver to man, and a Rasul has those instructions and a book also.­'Abd-ul-Hak". Mishcat in this same place quotes the traditional saying of Mohammed that there have been 24,000 prophets, and 350 (Hughes D I, article Prophet, says 315) apostles. Another tradition (Majalis al-Abrar p. 55) says the number of books delivered was 104, of which 100 are lost. There remain only the Taurat of Moses, the Zabur of David, the Injil of Jesus, and the Qur'an of Mohammed.

10 al-Ghazali says, in the Ihya'-ul-'ulum: "Satan laughs at such pious ejacula­tions. Those who utter them are like a man who should meet a lion in a desert, while there is a fort at no great distance, and, when he sees the evil beast, should stand exclaiming, 'I take refuge in God,' without moving a step towards it. What will such an ejaculation profit him ? In the same way the mere exclamation, 'I take refuge in God,' will not protect thee from the terrors of His judgment unless thou really take refuge in Him." Quoted in Claude Field Alchemy of Happiness p. 10. 1 cannot locate the source of this quotation.

11 A "fetwa" is a formal legal opinion given by an official interpreter of the law in answer to a question laid before him.

12 The worshipper in Islam after completing the prescribed prayers may make any special supplication he will. Sayyid Murtada says the best supplication is:

'0 Allah !

I seek refuge in Thee from the punishment of the grave I

I seek refuge in Thee from the testing of the Anti-Christ

I seek refuge in Thee from the testing of the time of life and death 1

0 Allah ! I seek refuge in Thee from sin and obligation I'

(S.M. iii. 161 B).

The student desired a special supplication for private use. See Translation Section XXV, note 1. A tradition related by Abu-Malic al-Asja'i (Mishcat v. i, p. 594) says, "when a man embraced Islam, the Prophet would teach him the prayers, and then ordered him to supplicate in these words: 0 Lord, pardon me, and have mercy on me, and show me the straight road, and give me health, and daily bread."

13 See Appended Note on The Vitalizing of the Sciences of Religion.

II. 1 The introduction shows that the one thus addressed is no young child, but an advanced student ( ) The word al-,means literally "offspring", its use is like the Hebrew 1V) or French garcon. I have used the word "youth" throughout, though this particular student, who has spent the greater part of his life in  acquiring knowledge, is doubtless a bearded sheikh I See Translation Section I, footnote 6.

2 I am translating this phrase as nearly literally as possible. The idea is that advice, proclaimed publicly, must be derived from the Qur'an which is the source of all advice. Hammer-Purgstall renders this very freely in his German translation: "Perlen ausgestreute des Rathes sind gescrieben in der Fundgrube Sendung des Propheten"-and with a slightly different meaning.


III. 1 I fail to find the source of this traditional saying of the Prophet.

2 I have uniformly translated the verb ° and its derivatives by the verb worship and its noun forms. In some contexts 'servant' might be more suitable than 'worshipper', but I have thought it best to use a single word consistently.

3 A Swabian proverb says, "A Swabian must put away folly by the time he is forty." See Translation Section I, footnote 6.

IV. 1 The confusion between the singular number (the follower) and the plural number (their hearts) exists in the text.

2 1 do not find the source of this traditional saying.

3 Abu hurairah is quoted as saying: "That knowledge from which no benefit is derived, is like a treasure from which no charity is bestowed in the road of God." Quoted in Mishcat al-Masabih, v. i, p. 69.

4 Junayd b. Mohammed, Abu Qasim, was born and lived in 'Iraq. In later years he gave himself entirely to Mysticism and gathered a large circle of followers. He died in 297/910.

5 The "explanations" and "allusions" doubtless refer to the practices of speculative theology, which are contrasted with the prayerful attitude of mind which leads to night watches and prayers.

V. 1 See Appended Note on The "Way" of the Moslem Mystic.

2 Variant reading ; understood them and taught them. See folio 93a, 1. 17.

3 This verse appears in Persian in all MSS.

4 This same figure is used also in Ghazali's Minhaj, except that there he states

that worship ( ) is the fruit rather than work (3P) and the figure it

further developed.

5 Qur'an 53:40.

6 Qur'an 18:110.

7 Qur'an 32:17                  

8 Qur'an 9:83, 96

9 Qur'an 18:107,      

10 Qur'an 19:60, 61.

11 Compare the saying of the Qur'an, "God imposeth not on a person save what he is able to accomplish." (2:286).

12 That is, in the sight of Allah, works as evidence of a real faith are of in­

estimable value as compared with confession with the tongue or belief in the


13 Qur'an 7:54.

14 AI-Ghazali says, in the Mizan al-'Amal: "Whoever thinks faith alone will suffice him, is ignorant of the meaning of faith." (p. 82).

15 If the Arabic word be read ()- as in our text, the phrase would read


"bankrupt, possessed by a jinn." The MSS. however, prefer ( )                          which means "sinner". Hammer-Purgstall has translated the phrase: "wahnsinnig

and bankernt" although his Arabic text reads: L.U.

16 Hasan al-Basri was born in Medina, the son of a woman who was slave to one of Mohammed's wives. He received his liberty and removed to Basrah, where he became an ascetic and leader of orthodox theology, unfolding the doctrines of the Qur'an in strictest terms. One of his pupils, Wasil bin 'Ata withdrew from his master and is the reputed founder of the school of the Mu`tazilites. He died in 110/728.

VI. I In the Alchemy of Happiness, Ghazali assigns this saying to the Caliph Omar. See Claude Field Alchemy of Happiness, London, 1910, p. 75.

2 'Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, the fourth Caliph in the Sunnite list, but accounted by all Shi'ite sects to be the first legitimate successor of the Prophet.

3 See Collation of Variant Readings, folio 93b., 1. 18. The contrast is between the attitude of the man who trusts in his faith alone and falsely feels secure and at ease, and the man who seeks to show his faith by his works (cf. James 2:181 and does thus actually receive God's approval.

4 In the Ithaf, v, i, p. 12, this same saying is quoted, but the last phrase reads:

VII. 1 Abu Hurairah says, "The second (person to receive sentence on the day of the resurrection), a man who shall have obtained -knowledge and instructed others, and read the Koran, He will be brought into the presence of God, and will be given to understand the benefits he had received, which he will be sensible of and confess: and God will say, 'What didst thou do in gratitude therefor ?' He will reply, 'I learned knowledge and taught others, and I read the Koran to please thee.' Then God will say, 'Thou liest, but thou studiest that people might call thee learned, and thou didst read the Koran for the name of the thing.' Then God will order him to be dragged upon his face, and precipitated into hell." Quoted in Mishcat, v. i, p. 56. Cabbin Malic is quoted also as follows: "The Prophet said, 'he who desires knowledge in order to be honored in the world or to dispute with the ignorant, and to attract the notice of mankind, God will throw him into hell fire."' Mishcat, v. i, p. 60.

2 See Appended Note on The Wonders of the Heart.

VIII. 1 Abu-Bakr is reported to have said, "To every man saluted in the morning among his people, death is nearer than the lachet of his shoes." Ihya', Quarter II, Book 8, Section 2.

2 Qur'an (28:84) says: "Whose doeth good shall have reward beyond its merits, and whoso doeth evil, they who do evil shall be rewarded only as they shall have wrought."

IX.     1 I follow the -un-emended text here. See also the Collations of Arabic Texts at this point, folio 94a, 1. 9.

2 The Moslem world knows Jesus under the name of 'Isa. In the Qur'an he is called 'Isa , 'Isa son of Miriam, and the Messiah. He is also described as the Word of God (4:169), a Spirit of God (4:170; 19:31), Prophet (19:31), Illustrious in this World and the Next (3:40), and One of those who have near access to God (3:40).

3 The commentary of Khadimi (published text C) explains this phrase "apparently without the means of an angel". X. 1 Qur'an 32:12.

XI. 1 See Appended Note on The Wonders of the Heart. Cf. this with Paul's discussion of flesh, mind and spirit, in Rom. 7 and 8.

2 Abu-Bakr was the father of 'Aisha, whom Mohammed married when she was nine. He was one of Mohammed's first followers among the Quraysh, and the first Caliph or successor of Mohammed. He is praised for the purity of his life, and is called by Muslim writers, the Veracious.

3 Sa'id bin Mu'adh, was a chief of the Beni Aus. He embraced Islam at Medinah, and died of wounds received in battle of the Ditch AH 5. The tradition is a favorite one, quoted by many of the collectors of tradition. Ibn Hanbal refers to it in the Musnad, v. iii, pp. 23f., 234, 295f., 316, 327, 349; v. iv, p. 352; v. vi, pp. 329, 456. The name is preferably spelled Sa'd

b. Mu'az ( ) 4 Qur'an 7:178.

XII, 1 The Qur'an says (40:62) "And your Lord saith, 'Call upon me-I will hearken unto you."' And Ghazali in the Ihya' (Book IV of Quarter I, Asrar al-Salah) says, "He differs from kings, for all His unique majesty and grandeur, in inspiring His creation to ask and supplicate, for He says: 'Is

there any who supplicates ? I will answer him !' and, 'Is there any who asks forgiveness ? I will forgive him I"'

2 'Abdallah b. 'Umar b. al-Khattab, eldest son of the Caliph 'Umar I, one of the most respected of the Companions, horn before the Hijrah, d. A. 11. 693. Through his intimate intercourse with Muhammed he acquired an exact knowledge of the early period of Islam, and he is the author of many


3 The tradition is related by Ibn Hanbal (Musnad, v. ii, p. 146). The story concludes, "And (after that) 'Abdallah slept very little at night."

XIII. I Worship is of two classes-prescribed or obligatory ( ) and supererogatory . Special virtue is supposed to attach to the performance of the

supererogatory prayers, since they show excessive zeal. Their performance secures reward, although the omitting of them is allowable and not punished. Book N of Quarter I, Chapter 7, of Ihya', deals with Supererogatory Worship. r_ retain the phrase in f I because it is found in most MSS., and

is so in the Qur'an.

2 Qur'an 17:81.                   3 Qur'an 51:18.

4 Book II of Quarter IV of Ihya' deals with the subjects of Patience and Praise 5 Qur'an 3:15.

6 In Ihya', Book IV of Quarter I, chapter 7 dealing with Supererogatory Worship, Ghazali says: "During the time between the morning worship

and the appearance of the sun the most liked thing is the remembrance (  -also translated invocation) and meditation ( , ' ) and confining one's self to the two prostrations of the dawn and the prescribed worship." He also devotes Book IX of Quarter I of the Ihya' to Remembrances

and Invocations ( .. \f) . For a brief discussion of (                   a) see Calverly pp. 31-32.

7 1 fail to find the source of this traditional saying. 8 Because by its crowing it awakens sleepers to pray.

9 Abu 'Abd Allah Sufyan b. Sa'id b. Masruk al-Thowri al-Kufi, a celebrated theologian, traditionalist and ascetic of the second century A. H. He was one of the old school of pious men who showed their dislike of the new regime by refusing to accept offices in the government service. Because of the wrath thus aroused he had to flee from Kufa to Yamen, and finally to Basra, where he died in 161/778. He was one of the first to put into writing the traditions current in his time.

13 Lane in AEL explains                   .at. as applied to God to mean "The Compeller

of his creatures to do whatsoever he willeth" or "The Compeller of his creatures to obey the commands and prohibitions which He pleaseth to im­pose upon them . . . it is also explained as meaning the Supreme; the High above His creatures; or the Unattainable."

XIV. 1 Luqman was a legendary figure of pre-Islamic paganism, famous for his
wise sayings and fables. He is referred to in the Qur'an, Surah 31.

XV. I This phrase refers to the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhu-'I­ ijjeh, following the day of sacrifice, because the flesh of the victims was cut into strips and spread in the sun to dry; or because the victims were not sacrificed until the sun rose; or from the prayer of the day of sacrifice, which they follow. It is said in a tradition that these are days of eating and drinking and celebrating the praises of Allah. (See Lane A E L).

XVI. I See Appended Note on The "Way" of the Moslem Mystic.

2 God has said 'Those who strive to the utmost (jahadu) for Our sake, we will guide them into our ways'. (Qur'an 29:29). And the Prophet said 'The mujahid. is he who struggles with all his might against himself (jahada nafsahu) for God's sake'. And he also said 'We have returned from the lesser war (al-jihad al-asghar) to the greater war (al-jihad al-akbar)'. On being asked, 'What is the greater war 7' he replied, 'It is the struggle against one's self' (mujahadat al-nafs).-Quoted in Hujwiri's Kashf al-Mahjub, p. 200.

3 Book II of Quarter III of Ihya' treats of the Discipline of the Soul, the Nurture of the Character and the Cure for the Sicknesses of the Heart.

4 Ghazali, in Ihya', Book VII, Quarter I, c. 3, says, ".... the moving of the tongue in nonsense is easy for the negligent I . . . The object is uttering letters in so far as they are intelligent, and they do not become intelligent un­less they express what is in the consciousness, and they do not become such an expression except the heart be present. And what supplication is there in saying 'Guide us in the straight road', if the heart is negligent.... For what hardship is there in moving the tongue with it, if the heart be negligent." Book 4 of Quarter III treats of the Evils of the Tongue.


XVII. 1 But cf. Section xix 1. 1 ff. There is confusion if the glosses are accepted.

2 Abu Bakr Dulaf al-Shibli, a Sunni Mystic born in Baghdad, and died there in 334/945. He was first an official of the government, but later became an ascetic and Mystic. His vagaries were so pronounced that for a time he was confined in a lunatic asylum.

3 1 do not find the source of this traditional saying.

XVIII. 1 Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Hatim b.'Unnan of Asamm, died 237/851. Al-Hujwiri says, (p. 115) "He was,, one of the great men of Balkh and one of the ancient shaykhs of Khorasan, a disciple of Shaqiq.... Junayd said, 'Hatim al-Asamm is the veracious one of our time."'

2 Shaqiq b. Ibrahim al-Balkhi was one of the earliest group of Mystics, who died before 200/815. He laid special stress on trust (   ), which is practically synonymous with complete passivity. One of his sayings, quoted in Nicholson's Literary History of the Arabs, p. 233, is "Nine-tenths of de­votion consists in flight from mankind, the remaining tenth in silence." Al­-Hujwiri says (p. 111) he was "versed in all the sciences... and composed many works on various branches of Sufism."

3 This line is omitted in our text, evidently an error of homoeoteleuton.

ii_        See Appended Note on The Wonders of the ( ) . See Appended Note on The "Way" of the

4 Qur'an 79:40, 41.  

5 Qur'an 16:98, Cf. also Luke 12:21.

5 The Arabic word is . Heart.

6 The Arabic word is Moslem Mystic.

6 For a discussion of the expression "face of Allah" see Macdonald, Aspects of Islam, pp. 186 S., 201 f.

7 Qur'an 49:13.        

8 Qur'an 43:31.

9 This line is omitted in our text, evidently also an error of homoeoteleuton.

10 Qur'an 35:6.          

11 Qur'an 11:8.

12 The dinar was-the standard gold coin and the dirham the standard silver coin of the Arabs, whose value varied from time to time. The use of the two together is roughly the equivalent of the modem American expression "the Almighty Dollar", or the more classical expression "gold and silver".

13 Qur'An 65:3.

14 The word  signifies a steward or trustee or deputy. But as applied to Allah, it is in the sense of protector or guardian. Cf. Qur'an 3:167; 6:102; 11:15; 12:66.

15 Hammer-Purgstall translates these words "Gott hat dich mit Seiner Vorsieht

geleitet." But the Arabic ( ) is the regular use of the perfect tense

to express wishes, prayers or curses. XIX. 1 MSS. 1 and 2 read a.o. v

2 This section f I seems to be required by the reference to the "substitute for the Prophet" four lines below. It is omitted by MSS. 3,. 4,. 12, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25. If it belongs to the original text, I venture to. suggest that it is misplaced in MSS. 1 and 2 margin, and should be inserted after the sentence immediately following.

3 Reading ( ); instead of                   ( )

4. The Commentary of Khadimi says, "This is said to be stone which shines by night. It is told that Solomon placed a piece in, the dome of the temple and it gave light for a distance, of, a mile so that the women could spin wool by its light."

5 Al-Ghazali discusses the duties of teacher and taught at length in the Ihya', Quarter I, Book 14 c. 5_; also in the Mizan al-'Amal and in the Badayat al-Hiddyah.

6 See Section XIII; note 1.

7 Hammer-Purgstall translates the, verb as though it were "vergiftet werde", deriving it from for instead of from.

8 This phrase is difficult to translate concisely and accurately. The point is that he should deny the lusts and desires of his fleshly soul, in order to redeem his higher soul for Allah.

9 There is a traditional saying to the effect that when a man is satisfied with Allah's decrees, it is a sign that Allah is satisfied with him.

10 Book 5 and Quarter IV of the Ihya' treats of the Unity of God and Trust. 11 Book VII of. Quarter IV of the Ihya' treats of Sincerity and Veracity.

12 Two interpretations are possible here, either, see them forced to labor under the decree of Allah; or, see them laughing-stocks under the decree of Allah. Hammer-Purgstall takes this latter meaning, and translates the phrase, 'das du ale betrachtest als Fratzen der Macht.' But this translation requires the

Arabic word v >                   while the MSS. give                   which is the regularly employed word for forced labor.

XX. 1 When Dawud Ta'i had acquired learning and become a famous authority, he

went to Abu Hanifah and said to him: "What shall I do now Y' Abu Hanifah replied: "Practice what you have learned, for theory without

practice is like a body without a spirit "-Hujwiri's Kashf al-Mahjub, p. 95.

XXI. 1 The Arabic phrase is ( ) which may mean either: (1) the tongue of the Garden ( ) or (2) the tongue of the heart, or of the veil V\-.

I have accepted the latter, following the two vowelled MSS. 18 and 22, and the Commentary of Khadimi, which explains this as "the tongue of a State."

2 Qur'an 49:5.

3 A mysterious person, identified with Elijah, or St. George, supposed to have drunk from the fountain of life, located in the S. W. quarter of the earth, in the Zulumat or darkness of the Muhit, the regions surrounding the known (to Arabs) inhabited earth. As a result, he still lives, and will live to the day of judgment. But tradition makes him originally a just man and saint, wazir and counsellor of the first Dhul-l-Qurnain, a universal conqueror, con­temporary of Abraham. He appears to Muslims in perplexity, usually clad in green. In the day time, he wanders on sea and directs travellers who go astray; Elijah does the same for travellers in mountains or deserts, for those led away by the Ghul. See Lane TON v.i., p. 21.

4 Qur'an 18:69.        

5 Qur'an 21:38.

6. The verse in full reads: "Have they not travelled through the earth, and seen the end of those who were before them ?" Qur'an 30:6.

XXII. 1 Abu 'I-Fayd Thawban b. Ibrahim, to whom the sobriquet Dhul-l-Nun (the Possessor of the Fish) was given because of one of his miracles, was of Nubian extraction. He is considered by the Mystics to be the primary author of their formulated doctrines. He died in Baghdad in 246/860.

XXIII. I Hammer-Purgstall translates this phrase very freely in the opposite sense,
"vielleicht hilft dir deine Wissenschaft am Tage des Gerichts."

2 The Imam al-Shafi'i (d 204/820) is quoted in Alf Laylah wa-Laylah, night 84, as saying: "I never disputed with anyone but .................. for the showing forth of the truth, and I care not whether Allah manifest it by my tongue or by his."

3 Book I of Quarter III of Ihya' treats of the wonders of the heart, and one section of Book lI of this Quarter discusses the signs of sicknesses of the heart. See the Appended Notes.

4 The text is grammatically unsound and should read

as do other MSS.

5 The Insertion of , is an error; the text should read

as do other MSS.

6 The marginal gloss at this point (f. 97b., 1. 4) is plainly out of place; it appears in the text, f. 97b., 11. 17-19.

7 Qur'an 53:30.

8 I do not find the source of this traditional saying. 9 I do not find the source of this traditional saying,

10 This saying is also ascribed to 'Ali b. Abi Talib. See MacDonald, The Life of al-Ghazzali, in JAOS, v. xx, p. 132.

11 "I do not think myself worthy to preach; for preaching is like a tax, and the property on which it is imposed is the accepting of preaching to one's self. He, then, who has no property, how shall he pay the tax ? And he who lacks a garment, how shall he cover another ? And 'when is the shadow straight and the wood crooked ?" And God revealed to 'Isa (upon him be peace!) 'Preach to thyself; then, if thou acceptest the preaching, preach to mankind, and if not, be ashamed before me.' "-An extract from a letter said by al-Simian to have been written by al­Ghazali, quoted in S M v. i, p. 12.

12 I do not find the source from which this traditional saying is quoted. Al-Ghazali quotes it also in the Ihya', v. i, p. 47, and elsewhere. See also preceding note. Cf. also with Lk. 4:23.

13 See Translation Section iv, footnote 5.

14 These are two angels who examine all the dead, and torture the wicked in their graves. The body of the deceased is placed on his right side so that his face is turned toward Mecca. At the grave, some one is appointed to dictate to the deceased the answers he is to make to these two angels. Book IX of Quarter IV of Ihya' is devoted to the subject of Meditation and one section deals with the questions of Munkar and Nakir.

15 The bridge extending over the midst of Hell, finer than a hair, sharper than the edge of a sword. All creatures must pass over it on the day of judgment, the people of Paradise "passing over it with their works, some like the blinding lightning, and some like the wind sent forth, and some like coursers, and some running, and some walking, and some dragging them­selves along; .... and the fire will say to the believer, "Pass thou over, 0 believer, for thy light hath extinguished my flame", and thereupon, the feet of the people of the fire will slip"-Lane in A E L, quoting from Taj-el-'Aroos. See also Ihya', Book X, Quarer IV, a section near the close of c. 8.

16 Here also a line is omitted in the text, through homoeoteleuton.

17 Ghul-one of the inferior order of evil jinn, that eats men; described by some as an enchanter who assumes various forms-animals, human beings, monstrous shapes; haunts burial grounds; kills and devours any human creature who falls in its way; appears to travellers at night in lonely places in guise of a fellow-traveller. An authority says, "Ghul is any Jinni that is opposed to travellers, and assumes various forms and appearances." Properly speaking, it is applied only to a female demon; the male is called qutrub. See Lane TON, v. i, p. 32.

18 This phrase occurs frequently in the Qur'an; cf. e.g. 3:100, 106, 110; 7:156, etc. Ghazali in Ihaya' Book IX, Quarter 11, discusses this subject fully.

19 A Sultan is higher than king or viceroy, and has kings and viceroys under him. Chapter 6 of Book IV and chapter 4 of Book IX, of Quarter II of the Ihya', deal with Intercourse with Sultans.

20 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas d. 68/687, one of the Companions of the Prophet, relates that the Prophet said, "Verily some of the people of my sect learn the knowledge of religion and read the Qur'an; and say, we will go to the great, and take something of the world from them, and retire from them with our own religion. But such things cannot be; like as the tree of thorns from which nothing can be gathered but thorns, in such manner nothing can be gathered from the society of the great but sin and vice." Mishcat ul-Masabih, vol. i, p. 66. Similarly it is reported (Alf Lailah wa-Lailah, night 84) that Abu Hanifa (d. 150/767) refused a salary from the Caliph, "lest the love of tyrants get a hold on my heart."

21 One chapter of Book I, Quarter III of the Ihya' discusses the Rule of Satan over the heart by whisperings; their meaning; and how to over­come them.

22 Cf. Translation Section viii.

XXIV. 1 I fail to find the source of this traditional saying. It is very reminiscent of the word of I Sam. 16:7.

2 Ihya', Book I of Quarter III.

3 It is impossible to translate the two Arabic expressions u     ,o ff with two equivalent phrases. The first is explained as "that whereof the observance is obligatory on every one, and does not become of no force in respect of some in consequence of the observance of some;" the latter is that "whereof the observance is obligatory on the collective body of the Muslims, and in consequence of the observance by some, be­comes of no force in respect of the rest." Lane in ACT, quoting from Taj-el-'Aroos.

4 The reference is evidently to the time when Mohammed lived in Medinah and his residence consisted of rooms built along the inside of the walls surrounding the whole enclosure. In each room or "house" dwelt different ones of his wives or relatives.

5 I do not find the source of this traditional saying. XXV. I See Translation Section I,  footnote 12.


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