Alchemy of Happiness 2 Vols. HBK

Muhammad al-Ghazzali

Published by Kazi Publications, 2008
ISBN 10: 1567447589 / ISBN 13: 9781567447583
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Synopsis: The first complete English translation of The Alchemy of Happiness, this is Imam Ghazzali s Persian summary of his famous Arabic treatise on morality and ethics in Islam, The Revival of Religious Sciences. In this work, Ghazzali details the many pitfalls, snares, and distractions internal and external that lie in wait to divert the traveler of the Way from attaining the goal which Ghazzali calls spiritual happiness. But there are also defenders, guides, and helpers which the traveler may enlist in his aid if he recognizes them. In The Alchemy, Ghazzali has provided the traveler of the Way with a critique of faith and a detailed guidebook to guide him safely to that goal. If he follows its counsels, he will successfully pass through the awesome tribunal of the Resurrection to achieve everlasting salvation, the highest degree of which is that state in which there remains neither fear of the terrors of hell nor appetite for the pleasures of Paradise. It is the pure ecstasy of the loving Divine Presence: Absolute spiritual happiness.

Review: I find it surprising that this book has not received more attention. It is a translation of Imam al-Ghazali's Persian abridgement of his magnum opus the Ihya Ulumuddin, of which many scholars have noted that if all of the books of Islam were lost, but the Ihya remained, it would be sufficient. The Ihya, in English translation, would be the equivalent of 9 volumes. However, Imam al-Ghazali did the ummah a great favor by composing a less technical, abridged (though still hefty) version of the work. He did this in the Persian language, rather than Arabic, in order to reach the masses of his time (apparently it also became popular in India, where Persian was read). Comparing this work with the Arabic text of the Ihya (I don't know Persian and thus couldn't compare it with the original), I feel that the translator did an excellent job conveying the Imam's message. His massive footnotes also reveal a comprehensive knowledge of Islamic ritual, history and tradition. Finally, the sections on Shafi'i jurisprudence(such as prayer and fasting), despite being tangential to the book's overall purpose, are more comprehensive than many works devoted purely to that subject. Perhaps most importantly, this book is an invaluable key to approaching the Ihya, which is possibly the greatest work of Islamic spirituality and ethics ever written. It would have been great if there was takhrij (identification of the source of each hadith), but of course they are basically the same hadiths as are found in the Ihya. Munir Ahmad --amazon

A great work. A masterpiece. This can be considered (by some) to be a more concise version of 'The Revival of Religious Sciences' (which is impossible to find in a 'complete' and readable translation). Broken down into sections, chapters, and sub-chapters covering a wide range of subjects. Simply brilliant. Al-Ghazzali (sometimes one sees the last name with 2 zs in the last name, sometimes 1 z) was a deep thinker who could also explain those thoughts in words that could be understood by the common man. He sought to share what he had realized, and we (muslim and non-muslim) can benefit from his kindness and effort. If you have this set 2 volume set of books, you have much of what he had to say/share in a superb translation. Highly recommended - in general, and for anyone interested in the works of 'the proof of islam'. Stantondude --amazon

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Title: Alchemy of Happiness 2 Vols. HBK
Publisher: Kazi Publications
Publication Date: 2008
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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