if eyes could see

a story I heard from one of my teachers:

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali had a brother who was of ahl Allah, a person of deep spiritual insight and understanding. At the time when Imam al-Ghazali was known for his mastery of Islamic law and excellence as a teacher, his brother would never pray behind him, for reasons he left unsaid. His mother would often chastise him for this (‘What will people think? They’ll think that there’s some problem between you two, or that you find his prayer unacceptable’) until one day he relented. He went to the masjid where Imam al-Ghazali led the prayer, and after the iqamah was called, he joined the ranks of worshippers. He left immediately after the prayer, his perturbed and troubled feelings apparent on his face.

When Imam al-Ghazali returned home, he questioned his brother about the manner in which he left the masjid, and his apparent unease. His brother replied, “In the first raka’h I saw you in a vast garden, reciting words of the Quran. But from the second raka’h until the end, all I saw was blood, blood, blood… you were swimming in a pool of it…”

Imam al-Ghazali’s face colored, and he confessed: “In the first raka’h I was in a state of khushu’ with Allah [focus and connection]; but in the second, I recalled that a woman had approached me earlier in the day, and asked me a question related to haydh [menstruation], and I became distracted thinking about her question.”

It was shortly after this time that Imam al-Ghazali left his high ranking position as a teacher and scholar and went into seclusion, focusing on purifying his soul and worshiping Allah. It was from this time of spiritual focus that he produced Ihya Ulum ad-Deen, one of the greatest and most influential books of Islamic history.

Published in: on February 15, 2007 at 2:42 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This reminds me of when Umar (ra) said that I love him the most who tells me of my faults. Allaho alim, maybe it was because Imam Al Ghazali’s brother pointed this out that he took the path that he did, May Allah be pleased with him.

    Jazakullah kheyrun

    Walekum as salaam

  2. subhan Allah, it scares me a little, that people who are this close to Allah have such penetrating insight and ability to see what is in another person. It makes me feel ashamed of myself because I know what’s wrong with my inner self, even if it isn’t evident externally. So if I’m ashamed of standing in front of a person, why aren’t I continually ashamed in front of Allah?

  3. As salaam alaikum.

    This is an awesome, reflective work. I really liked it.

    Wa salaama,


  4. Beautiful Wisdom!


    Great blog.

  5. Oops just correcting my website addy!

  6. Masha Allah. Nice byte of thought. It’s be better for the last line to be read as “one of the greatest and most influential books *in* Islamic history.”.

    The writer has an eloquent style, but more importantly which appeals to the heart.

    May Allah strengthen her pen (and heart).

    ma’ salam


  7. […] [a post taken from the Damascus Dream blog] […]

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