Al-Ghazali Love, Longing Intimacy And Contentment
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This is the first complete English translation of the Book of Love, Longing, Intimacy and Contentment, the thirty-sixth chapter of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali s monumental Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya Sulim al-din). The Book of Love, or Kitab al-mahabba, 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 various aspects of the love between God and man, The Book of Love was the first treatise which established not merely the possibility but the necessity of such love. 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 are a result of it. Using proof-texts derived from the Qur an, the Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and Sufi precept, 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 Ghazali s pioneering treatment would emerge not only new trends in Sufi theory and practice, but an entire body of mystical poetry including that of the great Persian poets Rümi and Hafiz. Professor Eric Ormsby s fully annotated translation brings out all the beauty and lyricism of the text. The translation is preceded by an extensive introduction which sets the work in its historical and spiritual context. In this new edition, the Islamic Texts Society has included a translation of Imam Ghazali s own Introduction to the Revival of the Religious Sciences which gives the reasons that caused him to write the work, the structure of the whole of the Revival and places each of the chapters in the context of the others.