Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, Son of Mary) one day saw some people sitting miserably on a wall, by the roadside. He asked: 'What is your affliction?' The said: 'We have become like this through our fear of Hell.'
He went on his way, and saw a number of people grouped disconsolately in various postures by the wayside. He said: 'What is your affliction?' They said: 'Desire for Paradise has made us like this.'
He went on his way, until he came to a third group of people. They looked like people who had endured much, but their faces shone with joy.
Isa ibn Maryam asked them: 'What has made you like this?' and they answered: 'The Spirit of Truth. We have seen Reality, and this has made us oblivious of lesser goals.'
Isa ibn Maryam said: 'These are the people who attain. On the Day of Accounting these are they who will be in the Presence of God.'
(Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad Ghazali)
'Al-Ghazali on the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God: Al-Maqsad Al-Asna Fi Sharh Asma' Allah Al-Husna'
By Abu Hamid Muhammad Ghazali (Author), David B. Burrell (Translator), Nazih Daher (Translator)
In this work, here presented in a complete English edition for the first time, the problem of knowing God is confronted in an original and stimulating way. Taking up the Prophet's teaching that 'Ninety-nine Beautiful Names' are truly predicated of God, the author explores the meaning and resonance of each of these divine names, and reveals the functions they perform both in the cosmos and in the soul of the spiritual adept. Although some of the book is rigorously analytical, the author never fails to attract the reader with his profound mystical and ethical insights, which, conveyed in his sincere and straightforward idiom, have made of this book one of the perennial classics of Muslim thought, popular among Muslims to this day.