Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim
Iqra Islamic Publications
Welcome to Islam
Accept Islam for your salvation
Live according to Islam for your spiritual progress

Imam Al-Ghazali's Ihya' 'Ulum Al-Deen

Simile and Metaphor

There is simile and metaphor. Consider the summary of expositions from Appendix III: "The Wonders of the Heart", in Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's translation of Imam Al-Ghazali's On Disciplining The Soul, Ihya', Vol III, Book 2. (The rest of the article exclusively uses his translations).

"The heart is a mirror which may be polished by struggling against the appetites and working to acquire good character traits, and holding to actions, such as the remembrance of God, 'until the true nature of that matter which is sought in religion is revealed in it'. Bad influences by contrast are like smoke which clouds over the heart's mirror until it is entirely veiled from God, which is the 'heart's rust' mentioned in the Qur'an". (p. 237). (Ihya', Vol III, p. 13)

"The heart is like a pool filled either from rivers or from underground springs. The first represents knowledge derived by means of deduction from the evidence of the world while the second is the inner spiritual knowledge". (p. 239). (Ihya', Vol III, p. 22)

"One side of a portico was once decorated by Byzantine craftsmen, while the other was decorated by craftsmen from China. Between the two sides, a veil was suspended. The Byzantines painted and carved their side, while the Chinese merely polished their side so that it became a mirror. When the veil was removed, the mirror reflected the work of the Byzantines with added brilliance. The Byzantines then, resemble the scholars, while the Chinese are like the sufis". (p. 239). (Ihya', Vol III, p. 24)

We have more such beauties in Vol IV, Book 10, The Remembrance of Death.

"Know that after the believer dies there is revealed to him of the mightiness and great majesty of God something in comparison to which this world is no more than a narrow gaol. He is like a prisoner in a gloomy chamber from which a door has been opened onto a spacious garden stretching as far as his eyes can see containing diverse trees, flowers, birds and fruit, and cannot therefore wish to return to the gloomy gaol. The Emissary of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) provided such a simile when he said regarding a man who had died, 'He has now voyaged from this world and left it to its inhabitants. If he is of the blessed then he will no more wish to return to it than would any of you wish to return to his mother's belly'. Thus he informs us that the relation between the expanse of the next world and that of this is as the difference between the breadth of this world and the darkness of the womb". (p.130). (Ihya', Vol IV, p. 528)

Hasbunallahu wa ni'mal Wakeel
Allah is Sufficient for us and (He is) the most excellent Trustee (3:173)

< Return