The Alchemy of Happiness

6 alchemy of happiness

Imam Al-Ghazali – Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent

The alchemy of happiness is a guide to transform the essence of man from baseness to the purity of the angelic state. This transformation is through increasing one’s knowledge of Allah (swt). However, before you can begin to know Allah (swt), you must first know yourself. This starts with the understanding of a human being’s two distinct components:

  • The body
  • The heart (the spiritual heart)

There are five steps to understand the heart:

  1. Recognize its existence.
  2. Know its true nature: The heart works to seek happiness through the knowledge of Allah (swt), which it acquires through the knowledge of Allah (swt)’s creation.
  3. The body is a kingdom: The body is a kingdom and within it, the limbs and organs are its workers.
    1. Appetite is the tax collector;
    2. Anger is the policeman;
    3. Intellect is the Chief Minister;
    4. The heart is the king.

The body is in a constant spiritual struggle between being held captive by appetite and anger and using them as a weapon to attain spiritual fulfillment. If the heart acts at the advice of the intellect and keeps appetite and anger under control, a part of happiness will be made accessible. But if the intellect becomes a prisoner of anger and appetite, the kingdom will become desperate, and the heart will be destroyed.

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Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali

ghazali

Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, also known in the West as Algazel, was born at Tus, Iran, in 1058 CE. He received his early education at Tus, and at the age of fourteen, he went to Gurgan, where he studied Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). After seven years, he moved to the city of Nishapur and became a student of the famous scholar, Abu Malik Al-Juwayni.

He soon acquired a high standard of scholarship in religion, philosophy and Fiqh. The vizier of the Seljuk Sultan, impressed by his scholarship, appointed him as a Professor at the Nizamiyah University of Baghdad, which was the most reputed institution of learning at that time.

After a few years, however, he gave up his academic pursuits and worldly interests to become a wandering ascetic.

After spending some time in Jerusalem, Makkah and Madinah, he came back to Tus and spent several years in seclusion. He finally ended his seclusion, opened a Sufi school and started teaching and lecturing. He remained in Tus until his death in December, 1111 CE.

Al-Ghazali was an influential Muslim theologian; in addition, he was a philosopher, a jurist and a Sufi mystic. He was a prolific writer, authoring more than seventy books. One of his major works, the multi-volume “Ihya ul-Uloom ud-Din” (“The Revival of Religious Sciences”), can be divided into four parts. It covers nearly all aspects of Islam, including Islamic jurisprudence, theology and Sufism.

Al-Ghazali authored two books on Islamic theology. He was very interested in logic and philosophy, and he studied intensively while he was teaching at Baghdad. He composed two books on philosophy as well.

Al-Ghazali’s work had a widespread influence on Western Medieval scholars, especially Thomas Aquinas. He received wide recognition in the religious institutions of the Ottoman Empire, southeast Asia and Africa.

Writer’s email: Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com