Al-Ghazali once wrote a small book, completely directed at advising one of his students.
The book is titled, “Ayyuha Al-Walad” (O my Beloved Son), and was taught recently at the RIS Knowledge Retreat 2012. Imam Mohamed Magid, president of ISNA, spent a few discourses lightly touching on parts of the book and offering insight.
I thought it would be a good way to kick off my tenure here at KeepingItHalal with one advice from that book. It says in the Noble Quran, “And remind. It benefits the believers (51:55).”
Imam Ghazali said, “O my beloved Son, live as long as you can, know that you will die. Love whoever you want, know that you will be separated. Do whatever you want, know that you will be held accountable.”
This is one of the most beautiful advices I have ever read. It has truth to it, and imprints an idea into a person’s heart,
rather than mere memory of such a phenomena.
Sometimes people are aware of a particular piece of knowledge, but it is not engraved in their heart. An example is the
fact that Allah the Almighty oversees every action we do. However, a person may truly understand this knowledge after studying the life of Prophet Musa (Alayiehe Al-Salatu Wa Al-Salam).
Similarly, this piece of knowledge separates the two realities. The coming of something and the end of something. Both come into play, just like the world will come to an end after having been created.
SubhanAllah, when scholars like Imam Ghazali speak, they speak with tons of wisdom. Another way to look at that advice is that the Imam is signaling where we go wrong and fall into sin.
The reasoning is that our living life can be harmful to us when we temporarily forget about death. Our love for someone goes into astray when we forget that we will be separated from them one day. The actions we do fall into the displeasure of Allah, the second we forget about how we will answer to Him on the day of judgment. All of these moments of
forgetfulness make it easy for us to fall into sin.
I pray that Allah the Almighty empowers us to understand these realities and take heed of the advice given by Imam Ghazali for his student. Surely, this advice is important for everyone!
My articles for KeepingItHalal likely won’t be dealing with specific Islamic knowledge. No, I am not someone who has enough knowledge to speak in this formal manner. However, this advice I thought was beneficial for all.