In his book path to Sufism, al-ghazali has brought one of the world’s strongest, and most felt spiritual autobiographies. He is portrayed as religious thinker able to vividly bring out the intuitive image of how a true seeker in the spiritual world is supposed to be. There are various avenues the seeker follows in trying to get to understand the knowledge of salvation. The seeker goes to extend of having deep thoughts until he discovered the feelings of peace in the inner self thus; bringing in the idea of spirituality of Sufis. In this essay, I am going to focus on how al-Ghazali’s search for religious truth is brought out, what he considered crucial to common knowledge with the truth and the reason behind his conclusions.
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Al-ghazali was able to propagate the principle of conciliatory Islam. The critical thought of al-ghazali can be traced back to the to his youth age. He and his brother lost their dad at a tender age. This meant that they had to be left under the fostering of a friend of his father, after some time the money left for them was exhausted forcing him to enter madrasa. It is knowledge gained from reading and studying Islam that made him divert from the mainstream Islamic believes of his times, and instead started a search of his own explanation about god and his deeds. He beautifully explains how his education ended up giving him intellectual crisis, which in turn, left him with so many doubts. This fueled his exit from his long term career in pursuit of truth. This is one of the decisions and paths he had to take in order to gain knowledge and understanding of god and how man has erred.
In search of truth, al-ghazali divided the universe into eternal word and the transient world, the eternal world coming after the transient one. He found out that, “in the universe”, there exist an immortal being with immortal body and soul. On the other hand, man is juxtaposed between evil and good, but with close proximity to god than the evil. With this kind, of a situation, man is under pressure in the world we live today since; he does not belong here. This should make him to continuously look for truth and live well to achieve the destiny which is eternity. According to al-ghazal, this is what a true seeker of truth looks for and should be like. This made him continue to shun the society in order to get grater merit.
In his search for truth, he found out that knowledge and awareness are the most crucial characteristics of a man who applies reason and uses human characteristic of sense. On the other hand, properties of divine revelation are able to make one discover the invisible world. This is one of the reasons and ways which made him to come to a conclusion that a man does not have to abide by what society teaches.
He considers several factors before coming out with his truth. He found out that a man is born a tabula rasa. Through enculturation, the children acquire personality and specific behavior. Their families coach them languages, customs, and religious practices, and this is deep rooted that they cannot deviate from it. This means the children have to be taught by parent and incase they err then parents are to blame. With this, he adapts a stand that arts can be forbidden licit or reprehensible.
In order to shun form the irresponsible behavior of this world, al-ghazali acknowledges that it is wise to get married as soon as the urge for sex is ripe and one is mature. This will act an avenue to spiritual sanctity.
Al-ghazali found out that, a man cannot move a single step with the help of god. There is a god’s gift that guides man this is referred to as taufiq. This gift is able to manifest it self through guidance of letting one differentiate moral and immoral deeds, differentiate good from bad as well as distinguish right from wrong this is known as hid%u0101yah. Moreover, there is the sense of direction, it helps one perform well in carrying out good deeds. Thirdly, there is the power of god that makes one obey his will so that he can realize and achieve a happy ending. Lastly there is the form where the gift manifests a confirmation to make circumstance more congenital in order to actualize one’s will and the will of god.
With this, he concluded that philosophers had many shortcomings. Firstly, they did not believe in god control over the world, they denied bodily resurrection, and finally they did not agree or conform to eternity of the world. He considers the conflict between religion and philosophy as one of the greatest problems in the world today. In his findings, al-ghazali conforms that, god chose one particular time for the world to come into existence; this was god’s choice, and the most precise one. This choice of god cannot be explained in any of the available ways in the world according to him. He acknowledges that if philosophers had not attempted to understand the nature of divine will combined with mans will, they would have found the truth. This is because God’s will is not like mans will. With all these revelations, he came to the conclusion that god knows all. He even knows how the crawling black ants which seem so insignificant to humans live, and what they eat every day. Moreover, to further show God’s knowledge, he says that god knows even the particles of dust either on heaven on earth. This is what is referred to as God’s Knowledge of the Particulars. He concurs that what is mentioned in the Quran about the resurrection of all that has died which are destined to paradise is real.
He wandered in darkness in trying to search for truth for along time until he was able to get direct knowledge for m god himself. He “however” had one great obstacle to overcome: the Hellenist philosophy. Which he did, his insight in spiritual cleanliness is wieldy acknowledged in Islamic realms. This made him come to realization that there is only one absolute will that is the will of god. It is capable of working unconstrained by extraneous laws making his will to the extent to mysterious and wonderful things seen on the world today.
Al-ghazali found out that a person who is thankful for whatever he has been given is blessed. E.g. If one eats and is thankful for the food, that person is the same as the person who is fasting to pray. The power of meditation is very great in portraying the omnipresent characteristic of god. Meditation brings about divine unity, seeing signs the crater has input in created things as well s the contemplation of god as a spiritual being.
In conclusion, I believe al-ghazali came to his conclusion after his convictions as person. Today if one seeks god with a lot of devotion, he will definitely be guided and shown more things of devein origin than if the person lived a casual life of the world. This points to the fact that god exists and is able to work in mysterious ways.
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