Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī on the Reality of the Dunyā

Know that in their forgetfulness the people of dunyā are like a group of people sailing upon a ship. When they come to an island, and disembark to relieve themselves, the captain warns them against returning late, and instructs them to remain only so long as is necessary, lest he raise anchor and set sail without them. Heeding this, some of them hurry back quickly, and hence find themselves able to sit in the best and most spacious part of the ship. The others, however, behave in different ways. Some become entranced by gazing at the island’s flowers and rippling streams, and its gems and precious metals, and then suddenly come to, and hasten back to the ship, and although they find spaces which are inferior to those occupied by those who preceded them, they are still safe. Others are so preoccupied by the flowers that they cannot bring themselves to leave them, although the flowers fade and dry soon enough. When the wind gets up, they are forced to throw their dry flowers overboard, and escape just with their own lives. Others, however, have penetrated the jungles and forgotten the captain’s advice, so that when they hear his final call to depart, they rush back only to find that the ship has sailed without them, and they remain marooned with what they had collected, until they perish. Still others are so obsessed with gathering good things that they are deaf even to the captain’s cry. Of these, some are eaten by wild beasts, or are poisoned by snakes, while others wander aimlessly until they die of hunger. This class resembles the people who live for the world, who are preoccupied with its mortal pleasures, and live in heedlessness of their future. How repulsive is the man who claims to be intelligent and full of insight, and yet is deluded by gems, silver and gold, and by flowers and fruits, nothing of which will accompany him to his destination!

[Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, quoted by Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī in فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري (Fat al-Bārī Sharḥ aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī), English Translation: Selections from the Fat al-Bārī (Commentary on aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī) by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Academic Trust, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 6-7]


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One response to “Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī on the Reality of the Dunyā

  1. Pingback: Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī on the Reality of the Dunyā | Exploring Life, The Universe and Everything

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