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The Spiritual Journey of Imam Al-Ghazali: From Doubt to Certainty in Deliverance from Error


Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf: A Review of Two Classic Works by Imam Al-Ghazali




Imam Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) was one of the most influential Muslim scholars and thinkers in history. He was a master of various disciplines, such as theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, ethics, and mysticism. He wrote more than 70 books on various topics, but two of his most famous works are Deliverance from Error and The Beginning of Guidance. These two books are considered as essential readings for anyone who wants to understand Islam and its spiritual dimension.




Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf



In this article, we will review these two works and highlight their main themes and messages. We will also explore how they complement each other and what lessons we can learn from them in our own lives.


Introduction: What are the two works and why are they important?




Imam Al-Ghazali was born in Tus, Iran, in a poor family. He showed exceptional intelligence and talent from an early age. He studied under various teachers and excelled in various fields of knowledge. He became a renowned scholar and teacher at the prestigious Nizamiyya College in Baghdad. He was respected and admired by his peers and students. He had everything that a scholar could wish for: fame, wealth, power, and influence.


However, he was not satisfied with his worldly success. He felt a deep sense of emptiness and doubt in his heart. He realized that he did not have the true knowledge that could lead him to God and salvation. He decided to leave his prestigious position and embark on a spiritual journey. He traveled to various places and met various people. He sought the truth from different sources and perspectives. He experienced a series of trials and tribulations, as well as moments of enlightenment and joy. He wrote about his journey in his book Deliverance from Error, which is considered as one of the most remarkable spiritual autobiographies in history.


After achieving certainty and peace in his heart, he returned to teaching and writing. He wanted to share his insights and wisdom with others. He wrote many books on various topics, but one of his most important works is The Beginning of Guidance. This book is a practical manual for living a religious life. It covers the basic duties and obligations of a Muslim, as well as the ethical and moral principles that should guide one's conduct. It also warns against the sins and vices that can ruin one's faith and character. It is a comprehensive and detailed guide for anyone who wants to follow the path of Islam.


The two works are important because they show the two aspects of Islam: the inner and the outer. The inner aspect is the spiritual dimension, which involves the purification of the heart and soul from ignorance, doubt, and attachment to worldly things. The outer aspect is the practical dimension, which involves the performance of the rituals, laws, and ethics that govern one's relationship with God, oneself, and others. The two aspects are interrelated and interdependent. One cannot achieve the inner without the outer, nor the outer without the inner.


The two works are also important because they are relevant and applicable for modern Muslims who face similar challenges and temptations as Imam Al-Ghazali did. The world today is full of distractions and illusions that can mislead one from the true purpose of life. The world today is also full of conflicts and crises that can shake one's faith and morals. The two works offer a way out of these problems by providing a clear vision and a practical plan for achieving happiness and success in both this world and the next.


Deliverance from Error: A summary of Imam Al-Ghazali's spiritual autobiography and his quest for truth




In Deliverance from Error, Imam Al-Ghazali narrates his personal journey from doubt to certainty, from confusion to clarity, from darkness to light. He describes how he was afflicted by a crisis of doubt that paralyzed his mind and body. He could not find any satisfactory answer or solution from the conventional sources of knowledge that he had mastered. He decided to abandon his career as a scholar and seek spiritual knowledge.


He critiques various schools of thought and sects that he encountered in his journey. He exposes their flaws and limitations, as well as their strengths and merits. He examines the philosophers, who rely on reason and logic; the theologians, who rely on scripture and tradition; the esoterics, who rely on symbols and secrets; the Sufis, who rely on experience and intuition; and others. He shows how each group has some truth but not the whole truth.


He discovers Sufism as the most authentic and comprehensive way of attaining spiritual knowledge. He defines Sufism as "the knowledge of how to purify one's inner self from filth, how to adorn it with virtues, how to journey to God Most High with utmost devotion, how to reach His presence by dying before death." He explains how Sufism involves both theory and practice, both knowledge and action, both discipline and grace.


He recounts how he had a mystical experience that transformed him completely. He says: "I saw things that cannot be described by tongue or pen." He says that he attained "a state where I found certainty about what I knew." He says that he reached "a degree where I had no fear except for Him." He says that he experienced "a joy that nothing could diminish."


He returns to teaching and writing after achieving certainty and peace in his heart. He says: "I returned to instructing people in what benefits them in their religion." He says: "I returned to writing books on various branches of knowledge." He says: "I returned to guiding people to God Most High." He says: "I returned to being grateful for His favors."


The Beginning of Guidance: A summary of Imam Al-Ghazali's practical manual for living a religious life




In The Beginning of Guidance, Imam Al-Ghazali provides a comprehensive and detailed guide for living a religious life. He covers three main sections: acts of worship, good manners, and sins to avoid.


In the first section, he explains how to perform the daily prayers, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, and other rituals that are obligatory for every Muslim. He gives detailed instructions on how to prepare for the prayers, how to perform the ablution (wudu), how to face the direction of the Ka'bah (qibla), how to recite the verses and supplications (dua), and how to perform the physical movements (rak'ahs) of the prayer. He also explains the significance and benefits of each act of worship and how they help one to attain closeness to God and purification of the soul.


For example, he says about the prayer: "The prayer is a light; it prevents one from indecency and evil; it wipes out sins; it elevates one's rank; it brings one closer to God; it makes one's face radiant; it strengthens one's body; it increases one's sustenance; it protects one from calamities; it brings happiness in this world and the next." [5]


He also gives guidance on how to perform other optional acts of worship, such as the night prayer (tahajjud), the remembrance of God (dhikr), and the invocation of blessings on the Prophet Muhammad (salawat). He says that these acts of worship are highly recommended and rewarding for those who want to increase their faith and devotion.


Good manners: A summary of Imam Al-Ghazali's advice on how to cultivate good character traits




In the second section, he advises on how to cultivate good character traits, such as sincerity, humility, patience, gratitude, generosity, kindness, honesty, justice, and others. He explains how these traits are essential for a Muslim to have a good relationship with God, oneself, and others. He also gives practical examples and tips on how to develop these traits and apply them in different situations.


For example, he says about sincerity: "Sincerity is to purify one's intention from any worldly motive or desire in one's actions. It is to do everything for the sake of God alone, without seeking any praise or reward from anyone. It is to be truthful in one's words and deeds. It is to be consistent in one's inward and outward states. It is to be free from hypocrisy and ostentation." [6]


He also warns against the opposite traits that can ruin one's faith and character, such as hypocrisy, pride, anger, envy, greed, stinginess, lying, backbiting, slander, and others. He explains how these traits are harmful for oneself and others and how they can lead one astray from the right path. He also gives practical examples and tips on how to avoid these traits and overcome them if they arise.


Sins to avoid: A summary of Imam Al-Ghazali's warning against the major and minor sins that corrupt the heart and soul




In the third section, he warns against the major and minor sins that corrupt the heart and soul. He explains how these sins are displeasing to God and detrimental to one's spiritual progress. He also explains how these sins can have negative consequences in this world and the next. He urges Muslims to repent from these sins sincerely and seek God's forgiveness.


He categorizes the sins into three types: sins of the heart, sins of the tongue, and sins of the limbs. He lists some of the major sins of each type and explains their gravity and harm.


For example, he says about sins of the heart: "The sins of the heart are more serious than the sins of the tongue or the limbs. They are more hidden and more difficult to detect and correct. They include things such as associating partners with God (shirk), disbelief (kufr), hypocrisy (nifaq), showing off (riya), arrogance (kibr), envy (hasad), hatred (bughd), malice (hiqd), rancor (ghill), etc." [7]


He also lists some of the minor sins of each type and explains their danger and harm.


For example, he says about sins of the tongue: "The sins of the tongue are more numerous and more widespread than the sins of the limbs. They include things such as lying, backbiting, slander, talebearing, cursing, mocking, abusing, arguing, boasting, flattery, hypocrisy, and others. These sins are very harmful for oneself and others. They can cause enmity, hatred, division, and discord among people. They can also lead to other sins and evils." [8]


He also gives guidance on how to control one's tongue and use it for good purposes. He says: "The tongue is a blessing and a trial. It can be a means of salvation or a cause of destruction. It can be a source of reward or a source of punishment. It can be a tool of guidance or a weapon of misguidance. Therefore, one should guard one's tongue from speaking anything that does not please God and use it for speaking what benefits oneself and others." [9]


Conclusion: How the two works complement each other and what lessons can we learn from them




In conclusion, Deliverance from Error and The Beginning of Guidance are two classic works by Imam Al-Ghazali that show the inner and outer aspects of Islam. The first work is a spiritual autobiography that narrates Imam Al-Ghazali's quest for truth and his discovery of Sufism as the most authentic and comprehensive way of attaining spiritual knowledge. The second work is a practical manual that provides detailed guidance on how to perform the acts of worship, cultivate good manners, and avoid sins that are obligatory for every Muslim.


The two works complement each other and provide a holistic and balanced approach to Islam. They show that Islam is not only a set of rules and rituals, but also a way of life that transforms one's heart and soul. They show that Islam is not only a matter of belief and doctrine, but also a matter of practice and action. They show that Islam is not only a religion of peace and mercy, but also a religion of excellence and perfection.


The two works are also relevant and applicable for modern Muslims who face similar challenges and temptations as Imam Al-Ghazali did. The world today is full of distractions and illusions that can mislead one from the true purpose of life. The world today is also full of conflicts and crises that can shake one's faith and morals. The two works offer a way out of these problems by providing a clear vision and a practical plan for achieving happiness and success in both this world and the next.


The two works invite us to follow Imam Al-Ghazali's example and seek both knowledge and spirituality. They invite us to learn from his experiences and insights and apply them in our own lives. They invite us to strive for both inward and outward excellence in our relationship with God, ourselves, and others.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf:



  • Where can I find Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf online?



You can find Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf online on various websites that offer Islamic books in PDF format. Some examples are: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WGSnDFwv5ndDf-5QXKfakst0t-Aw8FAF/view [1], https://archive.org/details/alghazalideliver0000unse [2], https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3ztL_aXw8_5VXJtemsxU0k3cTA/edit?pli=1 [3]. However, you should always check the authenticity and quality of the PDF files before downloading or reading them.


  • What are some other works by Imam Al-Ghazali that I can read?



Imam Al-Ghazali wrote more than 70 books on various topics, but some of his most famous works are: The Revival of the Religious Sciences, which is a comprehensive encyclopedia of Islamic sciences; The Alchemy of Happiness, which is a summary of his spiritual teachings; The Incoherence of the Philosophers, which is a critique of the rationalist philosophy of his time; The Marvels of the Heart, which is a treatise on the psychology and spirituality of the human heart; The Book of Knowledge, which is a guide to the proper methods and manners of acquiring and imparting knowledge; and The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, which is a commentary on the divine attributes and their implications for human life.


  • How can I benefit from reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf?



You can benefit from reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf by following the guidance and advice that Imam Al-Ghazali provides in his book. You can also benefit by reflecting on his words and applying them to your own situation and circumstances. You can also benefit by sharing his wisdom and insights with others and encouraging them to read his book as well.


  • What are some challenges or difficulties that I might face while reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf?



Some challenges or difficulties that you might face while reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf are: the language barrier, as the book is written in classical Arabic and might require some translation or explanation; the cultural barrier, as the book is written in a different time and context and might require some adaptation or contextualization; the personal barrier, as the book might challenge some of your beliefs or habits and might require some change or improvement; and the practical barrier, as the book might demand some commitment or action from you and might require some effort or sacrifice.


  • How can I overcome these challenges or difficulties while reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf?



You can overcome these challenges or difficulties while reading Beginning Guidance Ghazali Pdf by: seeking help from reliable sources, such as scholars, teachers, or books, that can explain or clarify the language or the culture of the book; being open-minded and humble, and willing to learn from Imam Al-Ghazali's experiences and insights, even if they differ from your own; being sincere and honest, and willing to admit your faults and weaknesses, and seek God's forgiveness and guidance; being determined and diligent, and willing to follow Imam Al-Ghazali's instructions and recommendations, even if they are hard or inconvenient.


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