Imam Al-Ghazali:
On The
Praiseworthy Science of Knowing God

The part whose knowledge, even to the limit of thoroughness, is praiseworthy is the science of knowing God - Allah, His attributes and works as well as His law which governs His creatures and His wisdom in ordaining the superiority of the hereafter to this life.

The knowledge of this is incumbent upon man both for itself and also for attaining thereby the bliss of the Hereafter.

To exert oneself even to the utmost capacity of one's effort, falls short of what is required because it is like the sea. Its depth cannot be sounded and men can approach its shores and edges only to the extent to which it has been
made possible for them, while no one has navigated its ends except the Prophets, the Saints, and those who are grounded in the science of God - each according to his rank and ability and according to what God has preordained for them therein.

This is the hidden science which is never revealed in books but whose knowledge maybe at first promoted by learning and by contemplating the states, of this learned man in the science of the Hereafter whose characteristics we shall discuss later.
Its knowledge may be furthered through selfmortification (mujāhadah), discipline and through purifying the heart and freeing it from the affairs of this world
as well as through emulating the Prophets and the Saints so that it may be revealed to every seeker in proportion to God's mercy (rizq) on him rather than in proportion to his efforts and labours (fahd).

Yet diligence in it is indispensable for selfmortification which is the sole key to guidance.

He whose object is to gain nearness of God should seek such learning as helps towards ... the knowledge of the Hereafter and the learnings that are auxiliary to it. Allah (swt) said:

{ Allah will exalt those of you who believe*,
{ and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees. }
Sura The Pleading One (58) verse 11
[*believe: in the sense of commiting oneself to God and His religion (dīn).]

Studying the science of the heart
The science of the heart is that by which these impurities are removed from the heart, as these impurities [on the mirror of the heart] are impediments or obstacles to the knowledge of God's attributes. The mode of cleaning them is abstaining from low desires and passions and following the way of the prophets. Thus to whatever extent the heart is cleaned and made free to face the truth, to that same extent it will reflect its (His) reality. This cannot be attained without disciple and efforts. This secret science cannot be written in books, but it can be gained by experience as a gift of God. (fn3)

Blessings and greetings of Allah on the Holy Prophet,
his Noble Family, and all his Companions.

Al-Ghazali; The Book of Knowledge, p. 93
which is part of book 1 of the Ihya `Ulūm-ud- Dīn
(fn3) IUD, Book of Worship, chapter on knowledge, p.37.


    < Regarding Our Supports on the Sufi Way Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba >
    < On Our Passing to Esoteric Knowledge Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba >
    < On The States And Trials On The Way To Deliverance Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba >
    < On The Praiseworthy Science of Knowing God Imam Al-Ghazali >
    < From his Tariq-al Jannah Shaykh Uthman Dan Fodio >






from: Wed, Sep 29, 2004
upd.: Sun, 16 Sep 2007