The Book of Knowledge

 The Book of Knowledge : Kitab al-'Ilm of Al-Ghazali's Ihya Ulum al-Din,
[A5+] Paperback - 293 pages, [Revised Edition - 2013],
by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali,
Part of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya Ulum al-Din),
Translated with Notes by: Nabih Amin Paris.


This book is the English translation of the opening section of Imam al-Ghazali's, may Allah be pleased with him, The Revival of the Religious Sciences, Kitab al-'Ilm in which he defines what constitutes true 'knowledge,' it's relation to religious faith, and the abuses of academic learning in the pursuit of thelogy and jurisprudence.

Extract from the Introduction :

'' I have begun the work (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) with the 'Book of Knowledge' because it is of the utmost importance to determine first of all the knowledge which Allah Almighty has, through His Apostle, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered the elite to seek. This is shown by the words of the Apostle of Allah when he said;

''Seeking knowledge is an ordinance obligatory upon every Muslim.''
Ibn Majah, Sunan al-Mustafa.

Furthermore, I have begun with the 'Book of Knowledge' in order to distinguish between useful and harmful knowledge, as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said ;

'' We seek refuge in Allah from useless knowledge. ''
Ibn Majah, Sunan al-Mustafa.

and also to show the deviation of the people of this age from right conduct, their delusion as by a glistening mirage, and their satisfaction with the husks of knowledge rather than the pith.'' ---Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.

Table of Contents :


Section [I]
On the Value of Knowledge, Instruction and Learning, Together with it's
Evidence in Tradition and from Reason,
------The Excellence of Knowledge,
------On the Excellence of Learning,
------On the Excellence of Teaching,
------Evidence [for the Excellence of Knowledge] from Reason.

Section [II]
On Praiseworthy and Objectionable Branches of Knowledge
------On Knowledge whose Acquisition is deemed Fard 'ayn (compulsory duty upon all),
------On Knowledge whose Acquisition is deemed Fard Kifayah (compulsory upon

Section [III]
On What is Popularly considered a Part of the Science of Religion, but is (really) not,
------Determining what Names of Sciences have been changed,
------Determining how much is Praiseworthy [to acquire] of the Praiseworthy Sciences.

Section [IV]
On the Reasons which induced man to pursue the Science of Polemics,
On revealing the evils of debate & disputation as well as stating conditions which render them permissible,
------Determining the ambiguity which exists in likening these debates to the consultations
         of the companions and the councils of the fathers,
------On the evils of debate and the character destroying influences resulting thereform.

Section [V]
On the Proprieties of the Student and the Teacher
------The Duties of the Teacher.

Section [VI]
On the Evils of Knowledge and on Determining the Distinguishing Features of
the Learned Men of the Hereafter and those of the Teachers of Falsehood,
------What the Learned Men have said.

Section [VII]
On the Intellect, it's Noble Nature, it's Definition, and it's Divisions
------The Noble Nature of the Intellect,
------On the Truth concerning the Intellect and it's Divisions,
------On the Intellectual Disparity Among Men.

---Index of General Names and Terms.


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  • Written by: Imam al-Ghazali

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