Al-Ghazali : Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence -
- Kitab al-tawhid wa'l tawakkul,
*[A5+] Paperback - 180 pages,
Book XXXV  of The Revival of the Religious Sciences;
(Ihya Ulum al-Din),
Translated with an Introduction and Notes by David Burrell, C.S.C.
Published by Fons Vitae, USA.
Back in Stock - December 2018
How can we trust in Divine Providence? Imam al-Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, states that everything in creation is solely initiated and originated by God. If we truly believe that each created thing reflects God's majesty and beauty, then each event in our lives also reveals God's way of guiding us. Al-Ghazali's judicious use of stories is intended to imitate the Sufi practice of master/disciple, where a novice is helped to discern how to act.
It is fair to say that the "Book of Faith in Divine Unity and Trust in Divine Providence " plays an axial role in al-Ghazali's, may Allah be pleased with him, celebrated compendium, the Ihya Ulum al-din. What is at issue is not 'Divine Unity' itself, but the implications for the community arising from the idea that everything comes from God and that "there is no agent but God."
How can we trust in Divine Providence? Imam Al-Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, states that "all that exists in creation--sustenance given or withheld, life or death, riches or poverty, and everything else that can be named" is solely initiated and originated by God Most High. "If the gates of mystical insight were opened to you, this would be clear to you with a clarity more perfect than ordinary vision." But those gates are not opened to most of us, so the test of our understanding of divine unity will not come by direct insight into the ways of God, but through a life of trust in which concerted practice will bring each of us personally to the threshold of the only understanding possible to us.
What sort of a practice is Trust in Divine Providence? It entails aligning oneself with things as they really are: in al-Ghazali's, may Allah be pleased with him, terms, with the truth that there is no agent but God Most High-- a reminder that everything in the universe is created by that same God and so reflects something of God's majesty and beauty. Yet the very thing that escapes our understanding is the secret connection of each creature with its creator. This requires effort, which cannot be solely intellectual, for our relationship to the One Creator resists formulation.
If we truly believe that each created thing reflects God's majesty and beauty, then each event in our lives also reveals God's way of guiding us. By trying our best to act according to the conviction that the divine decree expresses the truth in events as they unfold, we can allow ourselves to be "shown" how things truly lie. Faith, tawhid and practice tawakkul reinforce one another. The understanding we can have is that of one journeying in faith, a "salik," the name which Sufis appropriated for themselves. Imam Al-Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, selects stories of Sufi sheiks, offering them as examples to help point us towards developing specific skills of trusting: habits of responding to different situations in such a way that we learn by acting how things are truly ordered, the truth of the divine decree.
Table of Contents :
---Notes to Introduction,
Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence,
---Prologue; Explicating the Benefits of Trust in Divine Providence.
---The First Part:
------Explicating the Nature of Faith in Divine Unity [tawhid] as the Foundation of Trust
in Divine Providence [tawakkul],
------Notes to the First Part.
---The Second Part:
------States in in Divine Providence with Accompanying Practices,
---Chapter . Explicating the State of Trust in Divine Providence,
---Chapter . Explnation of What [Sufi] Sheikhs Have said about the States in Divine
---Chapter . Explanation of the Actions of Those who Trust in Divine Providence,
------3.1. On obtaining something beneficial which people lack,
-----------3.11. On obtaining what is beneficial for single persons,
-----------3.12. Explaining the trust in divine providence proper to heads of families,
-----------3.13. Using a parable to clarify the states of those who trust in God ...,
------3.2. Attending a means by saving,
------3.3. On making use of means to repel injury and resist danger,
-----------3.31. Explanation of the conduct of those who trust in divine providence when
their goods are stolen,
------3.4. On the effort to remove harm, as in treatment of disease and similar things,
-----------3.41. Explaining that dispensing with treatment belongs to some states and
demonstrates the power of God, & how that doesn't contradict the practice
of the Messenger of God, may God's Blessing & Peace be upon him,
-----------3.42. Explanations countering those that say that foregoing treatment is more
beneficial in every case,
-----------3.43. Explaining the states of those who trust in God with regard to disclosing
or concealing illness,
------Notes to the Second Part.
---Persons cited in the text,
*Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5cm.