The Ghazali Children's Project

The Mysteries of the Prayer and Its Important Elements

M. Abdurrahman Fitzgerald

In the Mysteries of the Prayer and Its Important Elements (Kitāb asrār al-ṣalāt wa-muhimātiha), book 4 of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn), Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī explains the inner and outer meanings of the prayer, a  central practice for Muslims. This is one of five books that deal with the inner dimensions of Islamic worship; books 3, 5, 6, and 7 address purification, zakāt, fasting, and pilgrimage, respectively.

Al-Ghazālī begins with a discussion of the merits of the prayer, the prostration, the importance of reverence, and the mosque. He explains the acts involved in the outward elements of the prayer and outlines which of these acts are obligatory and which are sunna. He then discusses the inward requisites of the prayer—the practices of the heart— and presents practical remedies for a distracted heart. Al-Ghazālī explains the role of the imām who leads the group prayer and the merits of the Friday prayer; he addresses supererogatory prayers, the daily sunnas, and the weekly prayers, including recommendations for each day of the week, and for each night. Al-Ghazālī discusses the annual prayers (the two ʿīds and the tarāwīḥ prayers during Ramaḍān), and finally, the prayers and supplications related to events such as eclipses, the prayer for rain, guidance, and need.

This readable yet comprehensive work covers an array of issues from the essential outward aspects of how to pray, to the inward aspects of the state of the heart during the prayer and how to humble oneself completely. As a practical, yet profound book, it is essential reading for Muslims who seek a deeper comprehension of prayer, and for all those interested in understanding the meaning and place of prayer in Islam.

Product Description

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), theologian, logician, jurist and mystic, was born and died in Tus in Central Asia, but spent much of his life lecturing at Baghdad or leading the life of a wandering dervish. His most celebrated work, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has exercised a profound influence on Muslim intellectual history by exploring the mystical significance of the practices and beliefs of Islamic orthodoxy, earning him the title of Hujjat al Islam, the ‘Proof of Islam’. A theologian of the golden age of Islam, he remains its truest advocate in modern times. As a teacher of both inward and outward faith, he recorded these practical teachings in his forty-book compendium of Islamic knowledge.

Originally from California, Abdurrahman Fitzgerald and his wife migrated to Morocco in the late 1970s. Since that time, he has been involved in education and the study of Arabic, Islam, and Sufism for the past thirty years. He co-translated Ibn al‑Qayyim on the Invocation of God (Islamic Text Society, 2000), worked on the editing and annotation of Denys Johnson-Davies’s translation of al-Ghāzali’s Kitāb ādab al‑akl (Islamic Texts Society, 2000), and also on Dr. Kenneth Honerkamp’s edition of al‑Rasāʾil al‑kubrā by Ibn ʿAbbād (Dār al-Machreq, 2005).

Other works translated with Fouad Aresmouk include The Immense Ocean, a portion of Ibn ʿAjība’s Qurʾānic commentary; The Book of Ascension, Ibn ʿAjība’s spiritual glossary; and a portion of the work, Two Sufi Commentaries, all published by Fons Vitae. Abdurrahman holds degrees from the University of California and Shenandoah University, Virginia, and is the director of the Center for Language and Culture, Marrakesh.

On the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn):

“The Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn is one of al-Ghazālī’s best works.” —Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm (d. 728/1328)

“The Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn is a marvelous book containing a wide variety of Islamic sciences intermixed with many subtle accounts of Sufism and matters of the heart.” —Ibn Kathīr (d. 774/1373)

“The Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn is one of best and greatest books on admonition, it was said concerning it, ‘if all the books of Islam were lost except for the Iḥyāʾ it would suffice what was lost.’” —Ḥājjī Khalīfa Kātib Čelebī (d. 1067/1657)

“The Iḥyāʾ [ʿulūm al‐dīn] is one of [Imām al-Ghazālī’s] most noble works, his most famous work, and by far his greatest work’” —Muḥammad Murtaḍā l‐Zabīdī (d. 1205/1791)

On Abu Hamid al-Ghazali r.a.:

“Al-Ghazālī is the second [Imām] Shāfiʿī.” —Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā l-Janzī (d. 549/1154)

“Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, the Proof of Islam (Ḥujjat al-Islām) and the Muslims, the Imām of the imāms of religion, [is a man] whose like eyes have not seen in eloquence and elucidation, and speech and thought, and acumen and natural ability.” —ʿAbd al-Ghāfir b. Ismāʿīl al-Fārisī (d. 529/1134)

“[He was] the Proof of Islam and Muslims, Imām of the imāms of religious sciences, one of vast knowledge, the wonder of the ages, the author of many works, and [a man] of extreme intelligence and the best of the sincere.” —Imām al-Dhahabī (d. 748/1347)

“Al-Ghazālī is without doubt the most remarkable figure in all Islam.” —T.J. DeBoer

“. . . A man who stands on a level with Augustine and Luther in religious insight and intellectual vigor.” —H.A.R. Gibb

“I have to some extent found, and I believe others can find, in the words and example of al-Ghazālī a true iḥyāʾ . . .” —Richard J. McCarthy, S.J.



The Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn is the most valuable and most beautiful of books.
Ibn Khallikān (d. 681/1282)
Any seeker of [felicity of] the hereafter cannot do without the Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al‐dīn
Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī (d. 771/1370)
"The Imam Ghazali Children's Series is a gift to our children who deserve a pedagogy of Islam that allows them to develop the innate goodness which God has placed within each human being so they can become moral, kind and happy adults."
Professor Ingrid Mattson