Deliverance from Error by Al Ghazali

The latter was one of the early ancients and his

This preview shows page 23 - 25 out of 43 pages.

The latter was one of the early ancients, and his doctrine is the feeblest of all philosophical doctrines. Aristotle had already refuted him and had even regarded his teaching as weak and contemptible. Yet this is what is followed in the book of the Brethren of Purity, and it is really the refuse of philosophy. One can only marvel at a man who spends a weary lifetime in the quest for knowledge and then is content with such flaccid and thin stuff! Yet he thinks he has attained the utmost reaches of knowledge! 79. These also we have tested thoroughly and probed inside and out. The substance of their doctrine comes down to deceiving the common folk and the dimwitted by showing the need for the authoritative teacher, and to disputing men s denial of the need for authoritative teaching by strong and effective argument. So it goes until someone tries to help them about the need for the authoritative teacher by saying: Give us some of his lore and acquaint us with some of his teaching! Then
Image of page 23

Subscribe to view the full document.

the disputant pauses and says: Now that you have conceded to me that much, do you seek him for yourself! For my aim was to tell you only this much. For he knows that, were he to add anything more, he would be put to shame and would be unable to solve the simplest problem. Nay, but he would be unable to understand it, let alone give an answer to it! This, then, is the true nature of their situation. So try them, and you will hate them! Thus, when we had had experience of them, we also washed our hands of them! Discussion of the Ways of the Sufis 80. When I had finished with all those kinds of lore, I brought my mind to bear on the way of the Sufis. I knew that their particular Way is consummated [realized] only by knowledge and by activity [by the union of theory and practice]. The aim of their knowledge is to lop off the obstacles present in the soul and to rid oneself of its reprehensible habits and vicious qualities in order to attain thereby a heart empty of all save God and adorned with the constant remembrance of God. 81. Theory was easier for me than practice. Therefore I began to learn their lore from the perusal of their books, such as The Food of Hearts by Ab# T#lib al- Makk# (God s mercy be upon him!) and the writings of al-H#rith al-Muh#sib#, and the miscellaneous items handed down from al-Junayd and al-Shibl# and Ab# Yaz#d alBist#m# (God hallow their spirits) and others of their masters. As a result I came to know the core of their theoretical aims and I learned all that could be learned of their way by study and hearing. 82. Then it became clear to me that their most distinctive characteristic is something that can be attained, not by study, but rather by fruitional experience and the state of ecstasy and the exchange of qualities. How great a difference there is between your knowing the definitions and causes and conditions of health and satiety and your being healthy and sated! And how great a difference there is between your knowing the definition of drunkenness viz., that it is a term denoting a
Image of page 24
Image of page 25
  • Spring '13
  • islam
  • Islam

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern