Al-Ghazali : The Book of Contemplation

Al-Ghazali : The Book of Contemplation,
Kitab al-Tafakkur,
*[A5] Paperback - 159 pages,
by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali [d.505h],
Book 39 of the Ihya Ulum al-Din,
Transl. from Arabic with Notes by Muhammad Isa Waley,
Published by Fons Vitae.


Now in Stock July 2024
Description :
Kitab al-Tafakkur; The Book of Contemplation, by Hujjat al-Islam Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, may Allah have mercy upon him. This is book Thirty Nine [of Forty] of Imam al-Ghazali's Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences).

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s purpose in this Book is to explain the nature and importance of contemplation, or reflection, as an act that enriches the thinking person with increased knowledge of, and wonder at, the Creator and His creation.

  *** In Part 1, the author defines and introduces the subject, explaining its importance with reference to the Qur’an, Hadiths, and Sayings of wise and pious Muslims.
  *** In Part 2, he expounds his own highly original views as to the nature and fruits of contemplation.
  *** In Part 3, he offers detailed guidance as to the most appropriate and beneficial subjects for reflection, some relating to human traits and actions and others to Divine Attributes and Actions.
  *** In Part 4, Imam al-Ghazali explores in detail aspects of God’s creation, which, when viewed with an observant eye and considered with a worshipful heart, are full of wonders and offer inexhaustible scope for reflection – from the artistry of the spider and bee to the unimaginable vastness of the heavens, which themselves are dwarfed by what lies beyond them.


“It can be said that this extraordinary book explains the mysterious tenth book of Aristotle’s famous Nicomachean Ethics, the purpose of our existence being mystical contemplation, an idea Aristotle left unexplored. The Qur’an is replete with verses asking us to reflect, contemplate, meditate, and use our intellects, reminding us that essentially our highest purpose resides in doing so. Thus, it makes perfect sense that the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, informed us that ‘One hour’s meditation exceeds a year’s devotion,’ (according to another recension, it exceeds devotion of sixty years).

This translation adds to the remarkable work of others who have contributed to Fons Vitae’s wonderful efforts to bring the entire Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din of the great imam to modern English readers. The seasoned translator, Muhammad Isa Waley, happens to be a practitioner of the path’s practice. This book stands as a propaedeutic to the final chapter of the Ihya’, which is on death, the meditation upon which was a constant practice of our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, who said, ‘Do much pondering upon the destroyer of delights: death.’” ---Hamza Yusuf.


About Imam Ghazali:

Abu Hamid Muhammad, famous in the world of learning as Imam al-Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, was born in 450 AH (1058 C.E). in Persia . He graduated from the al-Nizamiyyah Madrassah at Nishapur, with distinction. The Nizamiyyah is a very famous educational institution in Nishapur. Later he was appointed as a teacher at the Nizamiyyah College in Baghdad, where he proved very successful in imparting knowledge to the scholars under his care. This valuable gift of sustaining interest of his pupils and passing on his knowledge to them made him so famous that students from all parts of the country flocked to study under him. Imam al-Ghazali, may Allah have mercy upon him, was fondly referred to as the "Hujjat-ul-lslam", Proof of Islam. He is honoured as a scholar and a Sufi-saint (Wali-Allah) by learned men all over the world.

Dr Muhammad Isa Waley : is Lead Curator for Persian and Turkish Collections at the British Library, London. His main research specialisations are the palaeography, codicology, illumination and cataloguing of Islamic manuscripts; and the classical verse and prose literature of Islamic spirituality. The subject of his PhD was Jalal al-Din Rumi’s work and he is an editor for the Mawlana Rumi Review, an annual journal. He is considered one of the worlds leading translator of Islamic Academia.
Table of Contents :
---Preface by Hamza Yusuf,

---Translators Introduction,
------Imam al-Ghazali and his Work,
------Contemplation as a Healing Practice,
------Early Sufi Masters on Contemplation,
------Al-Ghazali's Treatment of Contemplation,
------Contemplative Methodology,
------Contemplation in Kimiya i Sa'dat,
------Al-Ghazali "On the Wisdom in God's Creation"
------Contemplation in his Maqsad al-Asna,
------After Al-Ghazali,
------Assessing al-Ghazali's Treatment of Contemplation,
------Contemplation and Invocation,
------Contemplation and Imagination,
------Contemplation and Verification (tahqiq),
------In Conclusion.
---The Book of Contemplation [Kitab al-Tafakkur],
---Author's Introduction.
---Chapter [1].  Preface,
---Chapter [2]. The Merit of Contemplation,
---Chapter [3].  An Exposition of the True Nature and Fruits of Contemplation, 
---Chapter [4].  Means and Subjects for Contemplation, 
------First Category: Reflection upon Human Qualities,
---------1st Type : Acts of Disobedience [to God],
---------2nd Type : Acts of Obedience [to God],
---------3rd Type : Qualities which lead to Perdition, these being located in the Heart,
---------4th Type : Saving Qualities.
------Second Category: Reflection upon the Majesty, Might and Glory of God,
----------How to Reflect upon what God Most High has Created,
----------Signs of God in Man,
----------[What is Between the Heavens and the Earth],
----------The Heavens.
---Index of Qur'anic Verses,
---Index of Hadith and Purported Hadiths,
---Index of Names and Places,
---Index of Works,
---Index of Concepts, Terms and Objects. .
---About the Translator.
More from Imam al-Ghazali,
Also see Shama'il books,
Also see Sirah books.

*Dimensions : 23 x 15.5cm.
  • Shipping Weight: 0.399 kgs
  • 4 Units in Stock
  • Written by: Imam al-Ghazali

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