Al-Ghazali : The Marvels of the Heart

 Al-Ghazali : The Marvels of the Heart -
Kitab Sharh 'Aja'ib al-Qalb,
[A5+] Paperback - 197 pages,
by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.

Science of the Spirit
Book XXI [21] of the Ihya Ulum al-Din.
Translated from the Arabic with Introduction by Walter James Skellie,
Foreword by T.J. Winter [Shaykh Abd'al Hakim Murad].

Description :

"Marvels of the Heart" - Kitab Sharh 'Aja'ib al-Qalb, is thought to be the key volume of the 40-book Ihya' 'Ulum-Al Din--Revival of the Religious Sciences--, the most read work in the Muslim world after the Qur'an, and considered by many to be the Summa Theologica of Islam. These traditional teaching stories, which use the theme of the heart as a mirror, illustrate key tenets of Islam on the requirements of religion, living in society, and the inner life of the soul. This is a classic Sufi manual on the 'science of the heart.' For Sufis, the 'heart' is more than a piece of flesh, it is the seat of the soul, and holds the key to the intimate relationship which exists between soul and body.

Each heart, according to this traditional wisdom accumulated over centuries of spiritual practice and experience, possesses four qualities: predatory, animal, demonic, and divine. The latter represents our true origin and potential, and by use of the intelligence and spiritual practices enabled by God's grace, we may restore equilibrium to our inner core. As the Noble Qur'an says: 'By the remembrance of God do hearts find peace.'

Imam al-Ghazali, May Allah be pleased with him, uses a series of traditional Sufi teaching stories to illustrate the theme of the heart as a mirror. The light of the divine sun can only shine in the heart when the seeker recalls the Prophet's, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, teaching that 'everything has a polish, and the polish of hearts is the remembrance of God.' Bad character traits, acquired through faulty upbringing, are like 'a smoke which clouds the heart's mirror'; this is the 'heart's rust' mentioned in the Qur'an. But the one who has polished his heart is made luminous by God's light, and brings that light to others, which is the quality of sainthood. 

Review :

"This is a book which all Muslims should cherish in their personal libraries. Without it one would lose the beauty and richness of our Islamic heritage."  —Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia.

Hujjat al Islam - (The Proof of Islam) Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111), 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.

Table of Contents :

---Editor's Note,
---Translators Introduction,
---Author's Foreword.

---Chapter [1]. An Exposition of the Meaning of 'Soul,' 'Spirit,' 'Heart,' and 'Intelligence,' and of the Purport of these Names,

---Chapter [2]. An Exposition of the Armies of the Heart,

---Chapter [3]. An Exposition of the Similitudes of the Heart and its Internal Armies,

---Chapter [4]. An Exposition of the Special Properties of the Heart of Man,

---Chapter [5]. An Exposition Summarising the Qualities and Similitudes of the Heart,

---Chapter [6]. An Exposition of the Similitudes of the Heart as Related Specifically to Knowledge,

---Chapter [7]. An Exposition of the Condition of the Heart as Related to the Categories of Knowledge: Intellectual, Religious, Worldly, and Otherworldly,

---Chapter [8]. An Exposition of the Difference between General Inspiration (ilham) and Learning (ta'allum); and the Difference between the Sufi Way of Seeking the Unveiling of Reality and the Way of the Speculative Theologians (nuzzar),

---Chapter [9]. An Exposition of the Difference in Rank between Two Positions by a Tangible Example,

---Chapter [10]. An Exposition of the Testimony of Divine Law to the Validity of the Method of the Mystics in Gaining Experiential Knowledge, not through Instruction nor in the Ordinary Way,

---Chapter [11]. An Exposition of the Domination of Satan over the Heart through Evil Promptings; the Meaning of such Suggestion, and the Means of Overcoming it,

---Chapter [12]. A Deatiled Exposition of the Ways by which Satan Enters the Heart,

---Chapter [13]. An Exposition of that for which Man is Held Accountable and that for which he is Pardoned and not Punished for Evil Promptings of Hearts, their Decisions, Involuntary Suggestions, and Purposes,

---Chapter [14]. An Exposition of whether or not Evil Promptings Can be Conceived of as Entirely Cut Off during Remembrance [of God],

---Chapter [15]. An Exposition of the Rapidity of the Heart's Changes; and of the Way Hearts are Classified in Respect to Change and Stability.

---Translators Biography.






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