He whom Allah wills to guide, he opens his breast to Islam; and he whom he wills to lead astray, he narrows his breast...He does what he wills, and decides what he wishes; there is no opposer of his decision and no repeller of his decree. He created the Garden (of Paradise) and created for it a people, then used them in obedience; and He created the Fire (of Hell) and created for it a people, then used them in rebellion...So is Allah Most High, the King, the Reality.
'The Book of Knowledge: The Revival of the Religious Sciences' (Book 1)
By Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (Author), Kenneth Honerkamp (Translator)
The Book of Knowledge is the foundation of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, Imam al-Ghazali's magnum opus. In the Book of Knowledge, he defines knowledge, its relation to faith, theology, and jurisprudence. The book deals with the virtue of knowledge from both rational and traditional points of view. It elucidates the types of knowledge and the nature of people's obligation to seek knowledge. Imam al-Ghazali defines jurisprudence and theology as branches of Islamic knowledge, then outlines those fields that people incorrectly consider to be Islamic disciplines, and distinguishes the praiseworthy from the blameworthy. He describes in detail the perils of disputation and the reasons people engage in debate and dialectics. He also considers the conduct incumbent on the teacher and student, and warns of the perils that can befall those pursuing knowledge. Finally, Imam al-Ghazali discusses the virtues and categories of the intellect and the prophetic traditions related to it.
'The Book of Knowledge: The Revival of the Religious Sciences' (Book 2):
In the Principles of the Creed (Kitab Qawa'id al-'aqa'id), the second of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya' 'ulum al-din), Abu 'amid al-Ghazali explains the fundamental beliefs of Islam, those that concern faith in God, His revelation, His messengers, and the hereafter. The scope of these beliefs includes the nature of God, Muhammad s status as a prophet, the virtues of the Companions, the events related to the resurrection and judgment, and the nature of faith itself. This presentation of beliefs goes beyond a list of creedal statements; al-Ghazali cites the scriptural foundations in the Qur'an and hadith, refers to transmitted reports from the Companions and others from the righteous predecessors, and supports these beliefs with rational arguments. In chapter 1, which presents a succinct summary of the essential aspects of the Muslim creed, the Arabic text appears on facing pages. Chapter 2 discusses how religious instruction should be imparted gradually, the stages and levels of conviction, the ruling on studying debate and theology, the outward and inward creed, and the difference between the two. Chapter 3, the Jerusalem Epistle on the Principles of the Creed (al-Risala al-qudsiyya fi qawa'id al-'aqa'id), is a detailed exposition consisting of four pillars: the recognition of the essence of God, the knowledge of the attributes of God, the knowledge of the acts of God, and belief based on transmitted reports about God from the Prophet. Chapter 4 examines faith and Islam, what connects and separates them, whether faith can increase and decrease, and whether the predecessors qualified their claims to faith (by saying God willing ). Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111) was a leading scholar, jurist, and theologian of the golden age of Islam, and he remains its truest advocate in modern times. As a teacher of both inward and outward faith, he recorded these practical teachings in his forty-book compendium of Islamic knowledge."
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali is, a native of Central Asia, was the best-known jurist, theologian and mystic of medieval Islam. Himself a teacher of Sufi initiates, he recorded his practical teaching in his great work, the 'Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din' ('Revival of the Sciences of Religion'), from which the present work is taken. Dr. Kenneth Honerkamp is a professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Georgia at Athens; where he teaches World's Religions, Islamic Studies and Arabic. He has published numerous articles on Sufism, and the lives and teaching methods of well-known Moroccan Sufi masters.