Ghazali on tawbah

Ghazali lived in 5th century Hijri (450H-505H=1058- 1111), and his book, Kitaab Al-Arba’in Fi Usul ad-Din, ‘The Forty Principles of the Religion,’ which he wrote before his death, is a summary of Ihya Ulumuddin, and his life’s works and thoughts. Overview of the book Ihya Ulum al-Din is divided into four sections. The first quarter is related to worship. The second is al-adat, which are norms, customs and habits. The third quarter is about muhlikat, which are the ways to perdition. The last section is about al munjiyat, (from najat), meaning the ways to salvation. Ghazali divided his book “The forty principles” into four sections. Each section has ten chapters. The total is forty, which is why his book is called the Forty Principles. There are ten principles of belief in the first chapter. Chapter two contains the outer actions and worship, chapter three is about purifying the heart from blameworthy characteristics, and the final chapter is about praiseworthy characteristics, making a total of forty. This is the overview of the characteristics. The 10 Praiseworthy character traits Tawbah – to come back Tawbah comes from the root letters ta-ba, which means ‘to go back’. Da ha ba in Arabic means to go out and ‘aada means to come back. Strikingly and rather unusually, when you compare the Arabic to the English they are very similar, as repent also means ‘to come back’. This is the linguistic meaning. The spiritual meaning is to come back to Allah. Where were you, that you needed to come back? Ghazali elaborates that the one who returns is the one who had gone far away and left the right track. Ghazali defines tawbah as the path of the traveller. If you want to travel to Allah, the path starts with tawbah. It is the key … Continue reading Ghazali on tawbah