Al-Ghazali on Patience and Thankfulness is a translation of the thirty-second chapter of The Revival of the Religions Sciences (Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din). This chapter falls in the section dealing with the virtues or what is conducive to salvation. Ghazali here presents definitions for patience and its different forms; the need for patience; the degrees of patience; and why patience is considered to be half of faith.
The second part of this chapter deals with thankfulness, and again Ghazali gives us definitions for thankfulness, its nature and its blessings. In addition to the translation, Dr Henry Littlejohn provides an extensive introduction which illustrates the importance of the topics of patience and thankfulness in Islam throughout the centuries.
Revival of the Religious Sciences which gives the reasons that caused him to write the work, the structure of the whole of the Revival, and places each of the chapters in the context of the others.
About the Author
Dr Henry T. Littlejohn is a retired university lecturer and pastor.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), theologian, logician, jurist and mystic, was born and died in Tus in Central Asia, but spent much of his life lecturing at Baghdad or leading the life of a wandering dervish. His most celebrated work, Revival of the Religious Sciences, has exercised a profound influence on Muslim intellectual history by exploring the mystical significance of the practices and beliefs of Islamic orthodoxy, earning him the title of Hujjat al Islam, the ‘Proof of Islam’.
Read an Excerpt
GOD (EXALTED IS HE!) has given those who are patient specific characteristics. He has mentioned patience in the Qur'an in more than seventy places. He has attributed most of the stages (darajat) and the rewards (khayrat) to patience, making them its fruits. God (Exalted is He!) has said, We appointed from among them leaders who guide by Our command, when they endured patiently. And He has said, And perfectly was fulfilled the most fair word of your Lord upon the Children of Israel, for they endured patiently. And, Surely We shall recompense those who were patient with their reward, according to the best of what they did. Again, These shall be given their reward twice over for they endured patiently. And He has said, Surely the patient shall be given their reward in full without reckoning.
For each action bringing us close [to God] has its reward according to a predetermined measure and calculation, with the exception of patience. It is because fasting pertains to patience, and indeed is half of patience, that God (Exalted is He!) has said, 'Fasting is mine and I shall reward for it;' He specifically related it to Himself, [and set it] apart from the other acts of worship.
He has promised the patient that He will be with them, He (Exalted is He!) has said, And be patient; surely God is with the patient. He has made victory conditional upon patience, saying, If you are patient and God-fearing and the enemy attacks you suddenly, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand swooping angels. He has brought together for the patient [certain] things that He did not bring together for others. God (Exalted is He!) has said, Upon these rest blessings and mercy from their Lord, and they are truly guided. Therefore, guidance (huda), mercy (rahma) and blessings (salawat) are brought together for the patient. An exhaustive list of all the Qur'anic passages pertaining to the station (maqam) of patience would be lengthy.
Table of Contents
Notes to Introduction XXXVII
On Patience and Thankfulness
Part I On Patience 5
Chapter 1 An Exposition of the Merit of Patience 7
Chapter 2 An Exposition of the Nature and Meaning of Patience 12
Chapter 3 An Exposition of How Patience is Half of Faith 23
Chapter 4 An Exposition of the Terms Used for Patience in Addition to the Term Patience Itself 25
Chapter 5 An Exposition of the Divisions of Patience According to Variations of Strength and Weakness 28
Chapter 6 An Exposition of the Assumed Need for Patience and that the Servant Cannot Dispense with it Under any Condition 33
Chapter 7 An Exposition of Patience as a Remedy and What is Gained by Resorting to It 49
Part II On Thankfulness 63
Section 1 On the Essence of Thankfulness 65
Chapter 8 An Exposition of the Merit of Thankfulness 65
Chapter 9 An Exposition of the Definition and Nature of Thankfulness 69
Chapter 10 An Exposition of How to Raise the Veil on the Thankfulness Due to God 79
Chapter 11 An Exposition of the Distinction Between What God Loves and What He Hates 94
Section 2 The Applications of Thankfulness 119
Chapter 12 An Exposition of the Nature of the Blessings and Their Divisions 121
Chapter 13 An Exposition of Examples of God's Abundant Blessings, their Inter-connectedness and that they can Neither be Limited nor Counted 145
Chapter 14 An Exposition of the Causes which Turn People Away from Thankfulness 179
Section 3 On What Patience and Thankfulness Shake and What Links One with the Other 189
Chapter 15 An Exposition of that which Unites Patience and Thankfulness 189
Chapter 16 An Exposition of the Merit of Blessing over Tribulation 205
Chapter 17 Exposition of Which is Better: Patience or Thankfulness? 209
Appendix: Persons Cited in Text 243
Index to Qur'anic Quotations 263
General Index 271