Previously, I wrote about the need to study and understand the Qur’an or the words of God, which by the Grace of God is going really well. Taking one step back and contemplating about the originator of everything, namely God, I often wonder why people who appear to have religious knowledge are not often exemplary in manners or conduct. However, far be it for me to judge anyone and I will refrain from doing so, because Allah may see within them qualities that are dear to Him. Besides, ultimate judgement is best left to Allah. I am referring to the inter community divisions that are driven and maintained by people who gain a little knowledge of the book of Allah and the religion and dispute with one another in matters that cause harm in the short and long term to the perception within and outside the Muslim community.
I therefore consider the first phase in a muslims development to make it a mission to know and understand Allah. To strengthen within us an unshakeable certainty and conviction of Allah. Whilst I deem it impossible to ever be able to fully comprehend Allah, I feel it a worthwhile goal to at least recognise who Allah is as the majority of scholars have previously understood. Turning then to the Qur’an will add that much needed impetus to drive us to embody the teachings within it.
We are then reminded of who it is we profess the oneness and existence of and our subsequent repsonsibilities or expectations as a result.
Furthermore this step enables us to better comprehend at least the first part of the shahadah (Muslim statement of belief), namely that there is ‘No God but God’. In professing this statement, we have acknowledged that there is one God. Thus knowing God will strengthen the desire to both learn and practice what God has revealed to us in the Qur’an.
I begin this step in first reading The Alchemy of happiness, by Imam Ghazali, a renowned scholar of Islam known as the proof of Islam. My view is that we can’t go wrong with sources that are collectively agreed upon my the majority of Muslim scholars through the ages. One such source is Imam Ghazali.
The Alchemy of happiness provides a beautiful exposition and introduction into the understanding and knowledge of God and human life.
Imam Ghazali’s text offers deep insights into the subject matter, although the book is quite brief. In recognising the profound nature of the subject matter and a need to fully understand his text, I recommend a commentary and reading of the book by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, available here.
I’m going to re-read this book again and will write a follow up on the next phase which I believe to be a complimentary activity which is to know and understand the 99 names of Allah for which I will be seeking to understand again using a text by Imam Ghazali, may Allah be well pleased with him and have mercy on him.
All posts on MyRamadan and advice contained herein is first and foremost advice and instruction to myself. If you find any benefit therein, then praise be to God. Any mistakes are from myself for which I ask you to forgive. Please seek scholarly advice for anything you are unsure about and do please let me know too so that I may be corrected in any mistake.