Kennedy school of missions

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v (i,178), xiv and xxiv (ii,158); and GhazzAli in his
Things that Destroy only summarizes Chap. fix (iii,113), vii (111,203), liv (1ii,237), lviii (11,264); cf. v(iv,l). Neither of them gives the connection of the states of con
science, the method of experimental psychology taught by 20


The Sayyid Murtada gives a list of the books which alGhazazali used and from which he received benefit. Of these
books those which I noticed mentioned repeatedly throughout the Kitab al-'Ilm include the following: al-Hilyah of Abu
Nu'aim, a1-Dharl'ah of Raghib al-Isfahani, and ut al-Qulub of Abu Talib al-Makki; while in the section on Intelligence mention is frequently made to Da'ud Sin al-Muhabbar's

Kitab al-'Aql which I have not been able to locate.

Of the books mentioned by the Sayyid Murtada I have been able to examine only certain parts of Qut al-Qulub, but even this far from exhaustive examination reveals the large extent of al-Ghazzali's dependence on Abu Talib alMakk l .

Of the many references indicated by the commentator

I have been able to identify and compare approximately one hundred quotations varying in length from one to sixteen

lines in Qut al-Qulub which means from two to sixty lines in the Kitab al-'Ilm. In addition I have recognized numer

ous other passages in the Qut al-Qulub which I had read in the Kitab al-111m but which I have not brought together for

comparison. Finally there are still a great many more which

are mentioned by the commentator, where he says, "Sahib al

Pt says--", but which I failed to locate. So the approxi

mately one hundred passages which I have been able to com

pare represent only a fraction of the actual references to the 'book, Qut al-Qulub, as indicated by the bayyid i1urtada.

Some of these passages agree word for word with the ut al-Qulub; others convey the same idea but with synonyms in

troduced here and there; there are others where only the gist

is given; and then there are some where the order of the words

is altered thus indicating a dislocation of the text or pos-

sibly the use of a text which differed from that which I had before me or even that both had drawn from another source such as al-iuhasibi. However, in my references to the Qut al-Qulub I have not tried to indicate their nature, but have simply noted their location.

One of the longest quotations is found on page 404

of -she Ihya' beginning at the third line from the foot of

the page and extending to the third line from the foot of page 406. This passage follows the Qut al-Qulub, i;p.198: 21-1_99:11, practically verbatim although it does contain certain slight variations of the various kinds already mentioned.

Most of this variation in the text as found on the margin may be traced to the fact that he had probably read the account in more than one source. On page 404, for example,

the Sayyid Murtada says that Ibn al-Qaiyim (who is too late for al-Ghazza.ll) mentions this in Miftah dar al-Sa'adah and Abu Talib al-Iakki in al--Qut and Raghib in al-Dharl'ah and Abu Nu' aim in al--Hilyah.

The extract beginning at the end of the Ihya', i; p.446

and continuing to line 8 of page 447 is an example of al-

ahazzall's carelessness in handling his material. Its parallel is QUt al--Qulub, ii; from the foot of page 60 to 61:4. The coi.xmentator says, "--and Sahl's words have ended (here,


i.e, after 'ignorance of his ignorance'). Then Sahib al.

Qut begins, and ~ae says, 'And to consider the (circumstances of the) masses and listen to the words of the heedless (is

easier for them, i.e. the Abdal, because they do not lack that where they are in the ends of the earth. And it has become obvious to you, from what precedes, that the words of

Sahl al-Tustari, are this amount, "The greatest disobedience

is ignorance of one's ignorance", whereas what follows is whaLL Sahib al-Qut mentions, all of which our author suspected to be Sahl's words. So he mentioned the three sen

tences together and suppressed the predicate which is his

(sahib al-Qut'a) saying, "--is easier for them",--."

After all,al-Ghazzali was not interested in knowledge

per se, but rather as it was a means to guide one to the right way and draw one nearer to his Lord. He was more in

terested in what he could do with knowledge than in where he obtained it. As Skellie says in an unpublished thesis,

"As a writer al-Ghazzali was not original in the use of the

material which he incorporated in his many books. ---He was

influenced by all the systems which he studied, and appro

priated for his own teaching what he deemed to be the truth

wnerever he found it. He followed the teaching of the pro

verb he quoted, (p.151), 'Eat the vegetable wherever it


comes from, and do not ask where the garden is."'


Most of the references which I located are included in the parallel lists here appended:

LhYa',iQut al- ,ulubIhya ' , i• at al-4ulTo73:11-13ii; 5:25-26334.:.26-28 cf. 11; 12:1513:1340:13-14 81,12i.; 198:2-374:6-812:23:29-34197:25-198:186:3-71;198:23-24348:3-10ii; 9:21-2388:1-5ii; 12:24-25349:2-416:1594:7-8i; 1.98:10355:14-356:510:21-24111:7-18ii; 24:8-12357:20-32 cf.:17-21121:5-122:261; 199:12-21359:6-9i.; 200:3-4135:1 ff. cf.193:14 ff362:2-6 cf.ii; 9:5-6153:25-32 cf.198:7-10:8-121; 200:7-8157:14-20ii; 9:8-10363:17 ff.ii; 14:1-2224:35-391;194:14-16365:1-18:3-10229:3-4:16:19-37:11-16:8-10:17366: all15:1-11242:1-6ii; 21:13-14367:1-414:21243:3-7:14-15:5-17:16-20244:2-1422:4-7:18-2715:14-15246:12-247:949:14-19368:1-7:23-24264:28-266:513:20-26372:9-10 cf.9:16 ff.276:32-277:7i; 196:12-14375:1-45:13-14290:6-21ii; 20:21-21:1:4-9:15-16xvi

375:11-15 370':1-14







384:13-16 cf.

392:1-10 :15-23


:4-8 cf.



397: all

398:11-14 :15-21 :21-27 :29-32

399:1-4 :4-11 :11-15 :18-20

QUt al-qulub

ii; 5:22-23 9:16-20

1; 194:19-21 197:3-6

.8-9 200:5-7

ii; 16:1-2 185:5-10

i; 199:23-25


11; 3:1


i; 195:3-4



:13-14 196:2-4



1; :7

:8-10 197:10-11


Qut al-QulUb

ii; 11:9-15




1;198:21-199:10 201:6-13

ii; 8:20-21


:26-9:4 10:15-17


:24-25 11:4-8 1&C25-11:2 11:22-26 25:26-20`:2 12:2-11 16:3-9 17:7-11 23:6-18 40:1-3

:3-5 48:1-2

Ihya',i 400:1-16

:19-30 401: all 403:3-15 404:21-406:17 409:12-410:9 419:2-4 cf.


:4-27 420:8-14 421:2-4



:23-422:5 422:5-24


:32-423:24 423:40-424:17 424:18-36 428:4-430:7 438:14-439:3 439:7-13 442:1-6

ti H


442„6--17 ::21-26 ::27-32

443::8-19 :20-24 cf.


Qut al-Qulub ii; 48:9-12

:166-17 49:5-7


:23-24 58:5-7

Ihya' i Qut al-Qulub

444:7-17 ii; 59:21-23

:18-23 60:10--1.1

:27-445:23 :1-10

446:12-447:8 60:26-61:4

447:35-39 :24-25

C. APartial Analysis of the Kitab al-'Ilm

Ghazzala's theory of knowledge, treated among others

by Macdonald, Carra de Vaux, and Skellie (in an unpublished thesis), is dependent on his theory of the visible and the invisible worlds, the latter of which being the real world, the former, merely transitory and a reflection of the other.

Just as the visible world is perceptible to man by his orBans of sense, so the invisible world should be perceptible to the soul by means of spiritual sight. What prevents it are the encumbrances of the body and the encrustations of sin; but when cleansed of these, the soul is able to arrive at spiritual vision and know realities which are ordinarily hid from man. So there are two doors to knowledge: the door of the senses, and that of the spirit: that is, the mystical way.


Skellie states that man, according to al-Ghazzali,

is potentially capable of knowledge because of the principle that like can know like; that al-GhazzalI accepted the old Greek idea of man as a microcosm and "that man is an dpitomy of the world in which there is a trace of every

form in the world. For his bones are like the mountains, his flesh as the dust, his hair as plants, his head as heaven, his senses as the planets,---the power in his stom

ach is like the cook, that in the liver like the baker,

that in the intestines like the fuller, and that which makes milk white and blood red is like the dyer."

However, in his Kitab al-'Ilm Ghazzall mentions these

ideas only incidentally, his main purpose being to treat of the science of practical religion as it concerns belief, performance, and abstention; not mystical knowledge.

This knowledge is further subdivided as follows:

practical knowledge

exterior knowledge which deals with physical member s

interior knowledge

which deals with states of the heart and characteristics o f

the soul

acts of wor- usage ship

praiseworthy blameworthy

Though al-Ghazz9li describes mystic knowledge in various ways such as, "it is a light cast into the heart (201)


""Knowledge of Allah is a sea, the utmost depths of which

is not known" (212), "Inner knowledge is the ultimate goal of all knowledge" (76), " Ilm al-mukashafah is an expression to designate the illumination that appears in a heart after its purification from blameworthy qualities" (77), he does not believe that this is what is meant in the injunction, "Seek knowledge---." He limits the scope to religious knowledge and says it "is knowledge of how to per

form the religious works which are well known to be obliga

tory upon ,1usl ims" (50-60).

As to the question of how one obtains knowledge, he states that some knowledge is axiomatic, some is gained

best comes by direct inspiration or revelation. This group

ing is shown in his section on intelligence. He says elsewhere, "Allah only cast the light of knowledge into a heart

by means of angels" (198), "The blessed receive it by il

lu_m_nation, the wretched are denied it" (41). It is obtained by having the concealing cover of the heart removed.

lie says, "We mean by mystical knowledge that the cover is

raised until the essence of reality in these matters is absolutely made clear for one with a clearness w'cvh acts the sine as seeing in which there is no doubt. hi& would be possible in the soul of man were it not that the filth of

by experience, some comes by study, while the highest



the present world has been heaped up by rust and dirt on the mirror of his heart" (79). Allah dilates one's bosom, if He wants to cast some knowledge into it, thus making it favorable to reception of knowledge (322).

It comes by spiritual struggle: "The spiritual struggle results in vision and the minutiae of the sciences of

the heart by which fountains of wisdom spring up from the

heart" (296).

In his scheme of things books and teaching play a subordinate role. He says, "As for books and teaching, they do not fulfil one's expectation, but the wisdom which is

beyond restriction and computation is truly opened up by

(spiritual) struggle and watchfulness and practicing both physical and spiritual acts and sitting alone with Allah with a receptive heart and pure thought and cutting one's self off from everything which is other than Allah. This is the key to divine inspiration (ilham) and the fountain of revelation (kashf)" (296); and he says, "Knowledge will not give you any part of itself until you give it all of yourself" (202).

Regarding the objective of knowledge he says, "In short, the most honorable of sciences and their utmost limit is to 'know Allah" (212). Education is meant to cure man of

some of the things that keep him from knowing Ailah and

and drawing nigh to Him, because "A learned person is better able to forsake his disobedient acts than an ignorant person" (365) and better able to tame his fleshly inclinations. "To shoione that disobedient acts are deadly and destructive is

one of the very beginnings of that knowledge" (201).

Man's chief concern is to obtain knowledge that is useful in the next abode. So a teacher should call a pupil's attention to the fact that the objective of the quest of knowledge is to draw nigh to Allah; not leadership, rivalry, and contention" (232) This goal is shown negatively, when both pupil and teacher are reminded that knowledge is not for the purpose of having precedence in the present world. Neither of them should seek wealth and prestige through his learning.. It should be for the glory of Allah only and to please Him, whereas "--teaching in order to obtain some worldly benefit--is destruction (for one's self) and causing (others) to be destroyed, from which we take refuge with Allah" (228).

All knowledge does not have the same rank. Some is praiseworthy; some, blameworthy. Some is for the elite;

some,for the masses; sinc.e the former reach an understand

ing of mystic knowledge which the minds of the masses can not reach.

If knowledge is one of Allah's attributes, some people

would object to its being pronounced blameworthy, but it

is riot knowledge per se which is blamed. It is only in respec.t to Allah's creatures that any blame is attached to it. This is so when it leads to harm as in the case of knowledge of magic or talismans which Ghazzall said was real, for the Prophet himself had been affected and sickened by means of them.. (116-117) It is also blameworthy, when it harms its possessor in most cases as is true of the speculative side of astrology which is pure conjecture and has no benefit. (11.8-121). And it is also blameworthy,when one becomes engrossed in a science of which he has not learned the prerequisites (122).

In the theory that there is a sufficient amount of knowledge for the masses and an unlimited amount for the gnostics for whom Allah has prepared what eye hath not seen and year, hath not heard, there is evidence of what Naedonald designate.s "pan economy of learning". In connection with those who sat at the feet of certain leaders such as Sahl al-Tustarl, Ghazz&li says, "--whatever is very precious and expensive is for special people only. What is bestowed on the masses, that is easily obtainable" (327).

Because the prophets knew that the understanding of the masses was deficient, they spoke mostly about practical knowledge and only in a veiled way about mystic knowledge.

Since the learned are the heirs of the prophets and the principle of usage was so commonly accepted, there was nothing for them but to follow the same method and imitate the prophets (11).

When the masses were well grounded and knew the essentials, a teacher was advised not to disturb their beliefs, If he saw that their minds could go no further. To stir up

doubts in them would be to spoil them for their work of sus

taining mankind and by which the elite continue to live (240).

Although knowledge had certain benefits and was sought by some because of that, Ghazzall points out that it entails great risk and responsibility. Those who by their knowledge seek anything but Allah's reward in the next abode are, not only deserted but destroyed by knowledge. For that reason Muhammad said, "The person most severely punished on the day

of resurrection is the learned man whom Allah did not cause

to benefit by his knowledge" (194). "For the danger of

knowledge is great and its seeker is a seeker of eternal

kingdom or perpetual bliss. There is no separation from either the kingdom or destruction" (194). "Verily a learned person will receive double punishment for his disobedience,

because he disobeyed in spite of the fact that he knew (bet

ter)" (246). "Woe to one who knows, but a seven-fold woe

t o one who knows and does not do" (261), and "'When a learned


person falls, a world of people fall with him" (264). "Knowledge is like a sword,---. For that reason one is not

permitted to sell to anyone who he knows, by the nature of his circumstances, wants to use it in highway robbery" (344). That is, the teacher must use his discretion in giving anyone knowledge. That is his responsibility.

In the field of pedagogy Ghazzali's ideals of the office of a teacher deserve to rank with those of Hippocrates

in medicine. Every young teacher would do well to read his

estimate of the exalted rank of one who is going to train

and teach a pupil. He says, "After prophecy, the noblest

of these four professions is to provide knowledge and to

train people's souls away from destructive and blameworthy

character and to guide them to praiseworthy character which brings happiness; and this is what is meant by teaching" (47).

If one is to judge this work according to its scope of activity, he finds that it is most noble, as it deals with man's heart. "The noblest being on the face of the globe is man, while the noblest part of man's substance is his heart; and a teacher is engaged in perfecting, polishing, purifying, and guiding it to proximity of Allah. From one

aspect teaching knowledge is a kind of worship of Allah;

and from another aspect, a kind of vice-gerency of Allah; for to the heart of a learned man, Allah has granted knowl-


edge, which is the most particular of His attributes" (48


He should treat his pupils as sons (228), restrain

them from undertaking a subject of which they have not -studied the prerequisite subject (232), correct their character

by Implication rather than by open censure (234), restrict

pupils to the limit of their understanding (236), and emulate the master teacher, Muhammad, by not expecting any recompense for teaching, but rather to consider that the pupil has done a favor by lending him his heart as a kind of plant

ing place (229-230).

On the other hand pupils have their offices to perform. A far cry from the present-day self expression theories were Ghazzali's notions about a pupil's etiquette. In the hands of his teacher he should be pliable, serve him as a donkey,

rush. to his aid and champion him against all critics, be

the first to render him a service, and to question his teach

er only up to a certain extent and not press him too far.

Since knowledge is worship of the heart, a pupil's first office is to cleanse the soul of impure character (197); knowledge requires sacrifice on the part of a pupil: he

should cut himself off from his home and city ties, as these

are distractive (202). Allah has not made man with two hearts in his breast. So a pupil must choose between knowl


edge and other things and give it all of himself. A pupil should begin with what concerns him most and not plunge into any branch of knowledge at one swoop (21.0-211). He

should be able to recognize the near and the far objectives

of knowledge, the latter being to meet Allah and contemplate His face.

In relation to the happiness of meetin Allah, Knowl

edge is divided into three parts similar to that of the pil-griiage: a) preparation, b) journeying, and c) the arkdn.

It is the heart that tries to draw nigh to Allah, while the body isinerely a vehicle for it. That GhazzAli viewed knowledge from the practical as well as from the ideal side is shown in the fact that he did not despise the other sciences such as arithmetic, medicine, and jurisprudence. All of these he considered necessary because of the set-up of the present world as well as because they helped the heart by helping its vehicle. However these sciences could not hold the same rank as mystic knowledge.

As for mystic knowledge, there is no permission to reveal it (223). Happiness and salvation come through this knowledge. Salvation is obtained by every traveler provided his objective is real, that is, security from eternal destruction; but only those who know Allah obtain happiness

(220). The well-grounded have apprehended this by inner


sight which is stronger and clearer than physical sight (221).

From what precedes we may conclude that our author was

interested in rescuing his ideal of knowledge from the then prevalent usage of considering it to be mostly Jurisprudence or scholastic theology which in his opinion did not deal

with the root of knowledge, it being inner and other world

ly, rather than outer and worldly.

His method of proof is to present evidential verses from the Qur'an, like our "proof texts" from the 3ible. These are followed by traditions; first, those about ',{uhammad; secondly, about the Companions; then, if more proof were considered necessary, he drew upon the reason. This,

however, was used to bolster up and support a premise, rather than to discover new truth.

The method is one which looks backward to a standard: the Qur' a.n, the law-giver Muham, ad, and the Companions. Therein lies one's safety. In innovation lurks destruction.Imitation is the key to safety, provided one imitates

the proper examples. Those whom he cited were all god-fearing, ascetic seekers of the next abode unmoved by the petty jealousies of the controversial debaters then known as "the


Ghazzali's idea of knowledge was theological in that the ultimate aim of knowledge was to bring one nearer to

Allah, and the standard by which to judge it was whether

it fulfilled this function or not. Yet in spite of this,

he recognized that, because of the present set-up of this word and human nature being what it is, various branches

of knowledge such as medicine, arithmetic, and jurisprudence

are necessary to regulate life, and they are not to be de

spised; but they should be recognized as instruments to this end and not considered as the knowledge the search of

which is obligatory on every Muslim.

Knowledge comes to a person in various ways, but the highest method the direct illumination or revelation.

Finally, in various ways illustrated by comparisons

with the pilgrimage, physicians, the sick, agriculture,

and so on, he would warn all of us that knowledge is of

absolutely no avail unless it is acted upon. To know the rules of health is not the same as to enjoy good health, to describe the delights of food will not appease one's

appetite, and to know what medicine one should take is of

little value unless he actually begins to take it. So

knowledge in itself will not help one to reach the next

abode unless he actually steps out and begins to journey upon the way.

OTZ S on the


1.The spelling of this name is discussed by MMIacdonaid in JRAS, 1902, pp. 18-22.2.

3.See the Mystics of Islam, R. A. Nicholson, pp.24-5page 86, translation; An Early Mystic of 3aghdad,I4~arg are t Smith, p. 274.pp. 163-4, translation5.i.e., Kitab al-'Ilm6.p.282, translation7.p. 284 ditto8.p. 285n9.p. 287u10.See the History of Philosophy in Islam. by

3oer, translated by E.R. Jones,London, p. 158

11. See MMAacdonald, the Life of al-Ghazzal1, JAOS, xx, 1899, p. 107

12. Scherer, 0 Youth, p. 3; Zwemer, A Moslem Seeker after God, p.21

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