Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy & Contentment
This is the first complete english translation of the Book of Love, Longing, Intimacy and Contentment, the thirty sixth chapter of al-Ghazali’s monumental Revival of the religious Sciences.
The Book of Love, is of fundamental importance in the history of Islamic thought and in the development of Sufism. Though earlier treatises had been written by Sufi masters on the various aspects of the love between God and man, The Book of Love was the first treatise which established mot merely the possibility but the necessity of such love. Al-Ghazali argues that all the virtues and spiritual stages that precede love, like repentance, patience and thankfulness, lead to love; and all the spiritual stages that follow on from love area a result of it. Using proof-texts derived from the Quran, the Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and Sufi precept, al-Ghazali succeeded in marshalling forceful arguments to make his case. These arguments prevailed to such an extent that the later Islamic mystical tradition is imprinted with a central emphasis on divine love. Out of al-Ghazali’s pioneering treatment would emerge not only new trends in Sufi theory and practice, but an entire body of mystical poetry and lyricism of the text. The translation is precede by an extensive introduction which sets the works in it historical and spiritual context.