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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ten Directives of Imam Ghazali



In the name of Allah, most merciful, most generous

The Ten Directives

From the Gathered works of Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy)
Translated by Arfan Shah

Proofread by Adnan Tariq


All praise is for Allah, the giver of success, who gathered the hearts of the lovers, the ability to practice the prophetic way and the rulings of the Quran. The Opener who opens the insight of their eyesight, so they see the place of sublime in the battle of the veiled. The Inspirer who inspired bright proof through overwhelming evidence then affected it soundly. Called them with a tongue to the order of love, from the garden of affection, how can the lover sleep when he sees the beloved ones...?!

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To begin: may Allah blow on us a breeze of closeness; quench our and your thirst from beakers of his love. This is an explanation of our way and a proof for peoples’ realisation. Built upon ten directives that awaken those in slumber so they can establish these directives.

The First Directive 

Is a truthful intention that does not waver because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “The recompense for the intender is their intention.” (Muslim) intention means the determination of the heart. (To do or not do something).



The definition of intention is the determination of the heart and truthfulness is completing an action or leaving an action for the Lord. In reality is it continuing on this natural effectiveness because one of the signs of an unchanged determination is that his resolve towards the goal is unswerving; remaining on his determination. As the action is for the Real (Allah) and this is the necessary truth so do not leave that which you have intended for the Creator.

The Second Directive 

To perform an action for Allah without a co-sharer or partner because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “Worship Allah as if you see him and you cannot then as if he sees you.” (Muslim)

A sign (of this) is that you are not pleased with anything but the Real (Allah) and you see nothing other than him. You avoid creation as the Chosen Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Cursed is the slave of the gold coin.”

He should leave, for the sake of Allah (the All-mighty), all his aspirations; because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “Form the perfections of one’s Islam; is to leave that which does not concern him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is passions so avoid if they afflict you because of his speech (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Leave that which gives you doubt for that which does not.” (At-Tirmidhi 2520 and An-Nisa'i 5711)

So if these principles are sound then the branches will give fruits of closeness. So be like this in the world and in meaning in the afterlife; upon the extent of your aspiration and steadfastness upon action. Leave error like in the famous prophetic narration, “Be in the world as if you are a stranger or a wayfarer.” (Bukhari) and “Consider yourselves inhabitants of the graves.” (ibid)

A sign of satisfaction and sufficiency with hot, cold and hunger is his speech, “Sufficient for the son of Adam are some morsels which keep his back straight.” (At-Tirmidhi 2380 and Imam Ahmed 17186)

So do not incline to wheat, barley or to the pit of the date stone. Be satiated with pure things and do not desire the impermissible. Do not lower yourself to minor desires. A sign of a stranger is having less and using little and the opposite is being agreeable to much. Not questioning as he is under the shelter of the stranger. The sign of a traveller is his fast response and satisfaction with what came to him of comfort. And the sign of the dead is altruism to his religion as well as questioning, most of the time.

Third Directive
Accepting the Real (Allah) totally and in conformity. Oppose yourself with patience upon separation, hardship; abandonment of whims, distancing (oneself from) passions, places and disagreements. Whoever goes back to him leaves the veil and enters the disclosure. Then he sleeps late; mingles isolation; is satisfied with hunger; his honour is low; his speech is silence and abundance is little.

Fourth directive

Action is by fellowship and not by innovating lest he becomes a follower of his passions. Do not be proud of your opinion as there is no success in he who takes himself as a protector because he (upon him peace and blessings) said, “It is upon you to hear and obey, even to an Ethiopian slave.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Fifth directive
High aspirations delay your corruption. As they say, “Do not leave the action of today for tomorrow.” As some actions are part of others and only those who are satisfied with little are prevented from much. The correct group to follow is the Sunni's not the Shia, not the Mutazilites and not the innovators because of his speech (upon him peace and blessings), “O’ my beloveds, be with the majority.” They asked, “O’ Messenger of Allah, who are the majority?” He replied, “What I and my companions are on.”

Sixth directive

Weakness and lowness. Do not be lazy in the acts of obedience and refraining from striving. Rather be weak in all actions except those for the Real, the Generous. See the Creator through generous and respectful eyes; as some it is means to others; in reverence to the owner of the glory and honour. As the way of Allah (mighty and majestic) is if he desires something; it does not exceed by negating the means. When the Glorious desires to show you his greatness, more than others, the auspices of his order become clear. If you know that everything is under the control of Allah (mighty and majestic) and returns to him; then be grateful for it as it reached you from Him. So make your weakness in a corner and your habitation to him is with apology and do not conceive your ability as there is contention in ability.

Seventh Directive
Fear and hope mean lack of tranquillity in the Majesty of excellence except according to the evident. So be good by showing generosity and excellence.

Eighth directive
Constant worship, this is either the right of the Real or the right of the servant. As the one without a constant action does not have a constant support. Be constant without suffering boredom; be not he who is absent in his actions and words. As the ego is excessive with this in public and in secret. Take into account the rights of the servant as good or occurs from them. He loves or abhors for them what he loves or abhors for himself of good or evil. Know that Allah (the exalted) is not satisfied if he likes that which Allah does not.

Ninth directive
Is constant vigilance of himself and he is not absent from Allah (mighty and Majestic) for a blinking of an eye. Whoever is constant upon being vigilant, in his heart, for Allah (mighty and majestic) negates everything other than Allah, finds Allah and perfection. Then knowledge of certainty will be arrived at by his beauty. He will not see movement, stillness, eye movement or calmness without the power of the All-Mighty being free from it. So increase your vigilance for it will be raised to the level of certain knowledge then to annihilation after that and that is the reality of certainty. So say, “I do not see anything except I see Allah (mighty and majestic) through it. He is the Everlasting that established everything. That is something he established by his order and his power; according to witnessing and presence.” So show etiquette with the Creator and mix with excellent associates. He said (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “My Lord gave me etiquette and then perfected me in it.”

Tenth directive
Know, what is necessary for you to be occupied with striving internally and the externally. As whoever thinks that he is free from obedience is a bankrupt fool because he has no Lord other than him. He said, “Say, if you love Allah then follow me; Allah will love you.” (The Family of Imran 4:31)


So these are founding principles that castles are based, unlike any other castles. Base it upon large rocks; for the heads of the charges; cultivate your fields; sow seeds of happiness; plant in paradise remembrance; receive gardens of flowers and rivers; its bedding is red anemones of struggle; its bed gardens of enduring reality; in hope of reaping the field by scythes of endeavour; intended for the rich giving of a generous giver and Allah (the exalted) purifies and brings them forth. Indulge freely in the manifest and enjoin from what is shameful. He is the Generous, the Munificent and the merciful.

Peace upon those who follow guidance. Do not innovate, benefit and be beneficial and join the righteous servants of Allah, their party is successful, blessed and shown mercy. Allah send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad one of the lights of gnosis and the secret of knowledge of God; and upon his family, his companions; whoever follows his path and party. All praise is due to Allah who completed the favour of righteous actions and spreads his blessings. Ameen. (O' Allah please respond.)

Translated from Mujmua Ar-Risail Al-Imam Al-Ghazali. Printed by Maktabah At-Tawfiqqiyyah, Egypt, Cairo.

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