Imam al-Ghazali relates to tradition from the life of Isa, ibn Maryam: Jesus, Son of Mary.
Isa 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 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 said: 'These are the people who attain. On the Day of Accounting these are they who will be in the Presence of God.'
'Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism'
By Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al- Ghazali (Author), R.J. McCarthy (Translator)
This is not only an Islamic classic but also one of the great spiritual autobiographies in the religious tradition. al-Ghazali (1058-1111) is generally acclaimed as the most influential thinker of medieval Islam. This volume contains a translation of Ghazali's autobiography The Deliverance from Error, in which the Imam describes his education and his intellectual crisis, which left him so paralysed by doubt that he was forced to resign the most distinguished academic appointment of his day.