Al-Ghazali: The Principles of the Creed (Kitab qawaid al-aqaid) Book 2 Revival of the Religious Sciences

James Pavlin
Khalid Williams

In the Principles of the Creed, (Kitab qawaid al-aqaid) second of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences(Ihya’ ulum al-din), Abu Hamid al-Ghazali explains the fundamental beliefs of Islam, those that concern faith in God, His revelation, His messengers, and the hereafter. The scope of these beliefs includes the nature of God, Muhammad’s status as a prophet, the virtues of the Companions, the events related to the resurrection and judgment, and the nature of faith itself. This presentation of beliefs goes beyond a list of creedal statements; al-Ghazali cites the scriptural foundations in the Quran and hadith, refers to transmitted reports from the Companions and others from the righteous predecessors, and supports these beliefs with rational arguments.

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Product Description

In chapter 1, which presents a succinct summary of the essential aspects of the Muslim creed, the Arabic text appears on facing pages.

Chapter 2 discusses how religious instruction should be imparted gradually, the stages and levels of conviction, the ruling on studying debate and theology, the outward and inward creed, and the difference between the two.

Chapter 3, the “Jerusalem Epistle on the Principles of the Creed” (al-Risala al-qudsiyya fi qawa’id al-‘aqa’id), is a detailed exposition consisting of four pillars: the recognition of the essence of God, the knowledge of the attributes of God, the knowledge of the acts of God, and belief based on transmitted reports about God from the Prophet.

Chapter 4 examines faith and Islam, what connects and separates them, whether faith can increase and decrease, and whether the predecessors qualified their claims to faith (by saying “God willing”).


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)
Al-Ghazālī is [like] a deep ocean [of knowledge].
Imām al-Ḥaramayn al-Juwaynī (d. 478/1085)
If you wish for effacement [in God], knock upon the door of remembrance (dhikr) as one seeking shelter and in utter need, steadfastly abstain from speech (ṣamt) with both peers and others, and pay heed with every breath to the innermost soul (al-sirr) over the discourse of the lower self.
From the sayings of Abū al-Ḥasan as-Shādhilī (656/1258)