Monday, 17 October 2011

The Special Properties of the Heart of Man cont..

To continue from the last post:

Imaam Al-Ghazzali says that desire, anger, and external/internal senses exists in the youth potentially – (like a seed planted but needs to grow), but in order to attain them (use them fruitfully) the youth must first pass through two stages:

1)      His heart must comprehend the knowledge and its first principles (the knowledge of possibility and impossibility, rationale judgement, for example it is impossible for Zayd to be in two places at one time..)

2)      He shall gain that knowledge which is acquired by experience and thought (the experiences we have, and reflecting upon these experiences – there is no substitute for experience)
A similtude given:
The status of point 1) in relation to knowledge, is like that of a writer whos knowledge of writing only extends as far as knowing the use of a pen which is dipped into the inkwell which is then used to write letters. But they do not know how to join the letters together to make meaningful words and sentences. – such a person is well on their way to writing, but has not yet achieved it.
(In comparison – is like people who have knowledge of Fiqh, who have memorised the quran, who mastered tajweed, but their knowledge does not extend as far as how to implement it into their life in a meaningful way).
And thus if the youth has passed both point 1) and point 2) is like that of a person who knows how to write – able to form words and sentences meaningfully – a writer. (And in comparison – the person who has much knowledge in Fiqh, Quran, Sunnah, is able to implement it meaningfully and able to make perfectly just decisions based on his knowledge in accordance to his experiences and reflection and maturity which has developed over time).

The potential lies within every youth, like a seed planted but needs to grow
(Picture is of the Blessed Tree in Jordan)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Special Properties of the Heart of Man

Taken from book 21 of Imaam Al-Ghazzali’s Ihya Ulum Al-Din
Title: An Exposition on the Special Properties on the Heart of Man.

Khaasiyah – an attribute which is inseparable to something, which makes it unique and thus has a special property.
There are things in the world where Allah has given them special properties, e.g. there are certain herbs in the world which are used for specific medicinal purposes, animals have their own unique attributes, and so what makes Man so special? It is his Heart.
The special properties of the heart are based on:
-          Knowledge (Ilm)
-          Will (Iraadah)
From Knowledge (Ilm) meaning: special knowledge, the ability to reflect on the past and future (animals cannot reflect on things) – thus is a special attribute gifted to Man related to the Heart.
From Will (Iraadah) meaning: the ability to act on the intellect, to reach a certain desire/benefit.
Knowledge and Will are related because, if someone wants to do something beneficial (i.e. take medicine), but can only do it through a way that is undesirable (through injection), if they are intelligent they will still go ahead with it in order to reach that which benefits them, therefore the Will goes against the desire based on their knowledge. In comparison, an animal will not go against the desire, it Wills what it desires, if its hungry it eats.
Imaam Al-Ghazzali states that the heart of man has the special properties of Knowledge  and Will which separate it:
-          From other animals (as described above)
-          From the youth in his natural disposition, for this comes to him only with maturity
Thus the difference between the Heart of Man and animals, and the heart of the mature man and the youth.
So its interesting to note that one may adopt the special qualities of the heart – but infact it will be of no real use to them until they know how to use it, and they will know how to use it only with maturity and maturity only comes with time and life experience. Hence why we have young people of today whom have the Will to gain and seek out knowledge, however are still not righteous people, or are unable to make right decisions as they lack maturity  and experience which can only come through time.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

An example by Imaam Al-Ghazzali

An example of the inner reality of the heart that Imaam Al-Ghazzali gives:
The Body is like a city and the perceptive power - the Mind (Akl) is a King that rules over the city. The perceptive power of the senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing) both external and internal are its armies and helpers.  The members (limbs) are like the people of the city, the soul which commands to evil – appetence and anger (nafs) is like the enemy who opposes the Kingdom and strives to destroy his people. His body thus becomes a frontier outpost, and his soul, is a place in which guards are placed. So if he strives against the enemy (nafs) and conquours him, then his deeds will be praised on the day that he returns to the presence of Allah (swt). But if he loses the control of the frontier and neglects his people, then his deeds will be blamed and vengeance will be taken against him when he meets Allah.
And so on the outside of the city, we have the evil notions (shaytaan) that try to penetrate the heart – the Castle, to take over the city, through different doors/gates. And it is the enemy within (your nafs) which tells the shaytan which doors are open, because your nafs knows you from the inside, it knows your weaknesses. And thus, we need the Akl – the intellect to understand and to keep closing the doors, to try to win the war.
Your Heart is where the battle takes place within the city. There are lesser battles and there are greater battles, the greater battle being that of the nafs – the battle against yourself.

Allow your Intellect (the King) to close the gate to the Heart (the Castle) in order to win the Battle of the Self (the Nafs)