There is much more to know about that miraculous Book ihya’ `ulum al-din and it’s great author Abu Hamid Muhammed al-Ghazali, the most applauded Muslim scholar simultaneously in the secular world and in the Muslim world. Wikipedia says: “Ghazali has sometimes been acclaimed by secular historians such as William Montgomery Watt to be the greatest Muslim after Muhammad (PBUH) (traditionally among Sunni Muslims, the greatest Muslim after the Prophet, is Abu Bakr (RA)” His works has been transported – not merely translated – to the western world to an extent that modern publishers cite western libraries and sources to prove their authenticity.
Today we are so lucky to have many of his works easily accessible on line. Live classes by Habeeb Husain Saqaaf on Imam Ghazali’s famous book “Dear Son!” (Ayyuhal Walad) are expected on each Friday via www.hemmah.net. There is a dedicated site namely www.ghazali.org with considerable collection of resources.
Here is the opening session of a series of lectures by Yahya Rhodus on Disciplining the Soul , an excerpt from Ihya Uloom al Deen. This has been recently uploaded by Zaytuna college of California, USA.
According to Sheikh Abdullah Al Aidaroos each reading of Ihya gives fresh ideas, increases knowledge and uncovers new secrets. Nobody would be astonished to hear a scholar like Imam Al Nawawi say: “Ihya is close to be the Quran!” (كاد الاحياء ان يكون قرانا)Another scholar said: If you did not read Ihya you are not amongst Ahya (living beings)!! A Yemeni scholar Sheikh Isamaeel Bin Faqeeh has been quoted; “Muhammed Bin Abdillah (PBUH) is the Greatest Messenger, Muhammad Bin Idrees Al Shafiee is the greatest schlolar and Muhamed Bin Muhammed Al Ghazali is the greatest author. It can be added that Imam Muhammed al Busairi is arguably the greatest poet.
Let me quote from http://www.ghazali.org about the great genius and his wonderful work
“Because of him the lame walked briskly,
And the songless through him burst into melody.(Muthanabbi)”
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali is one of the great Muslim jurist, theologian and mystics of the Muslim world. He lived in the 12th Century. He was a polymath who wrote on a wide range of topics including jurisprudence, theology, mysticism and philosophy. In the west he is famous for his devastating attack on philosophy specifically metaphysics in his tahfut al-falasifa, Incoherence of the philosophers. He is also the author of the famed ihya’ `ulum al-din (Revival of Religious Sciences) a book that combined mysticism with practical everyday life actions by emphasizing the underlying psychology of daily life practices and its ramification on life in this world and the hereafter. AKA: al-Ghazzali , Algazel (450-505 AH/1058-1111 AD)
The Revival of the Religious Sciences is widely regarded as the greatest work of Muslim spirituality, and is perhaps the most read work in the Muslim world, after the Qurān.
it is divided into four parts, each containing ten chapters. Part one deals with knowledge and the requirements of faith—ritual purity, prayer, charity, fasting, pilgrimage, recitation of the Qurān, and so forth; part two concentrates on people and society—the manners related to eating, marriage, earning a living, and friendship; parts three and four are dedicated to the inner life of the soul and discuss first the vices that people must overcome in themselves and then the virtues that they must strive to achieve….
Finally I cannot but express my pity and pathos towards some ‘modern-Muslims’ who cannot conceive the greatness of these pioneers of the religion and bring new versions of their own which is really unknown to the Muslims of our good old days.
May Allah guide us all to the Truth. Aameen