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Level: Three

Instructors:  Shaykh Yahya Rhodus & Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary

Course Overview

This is a Level Three course in the Islamic Studies Curriculum. This course is based on the text Minhaj al-Abideen (The Best Way for the Worshippers) by Imam Ghazali.

Widely considered to be Imam Ghazali's last book, Minhaj al-Abidin summarizes his teachings in an accessible manner, charting the pitfalls and obstacles to be overcome in order to draw closer to Allah Most High. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus explains in detail the different hurdles that a worshipper faces on the path to Paradise. He gives practical advice on overcoming the hurdles of knowledge, repentance, and impediments.

With this course, students will gain clarity on the spiritual path at a more advanced level. To successfully complete this course, students should first take courses on Islamic Spirituality in Level One and Level Two.

About the Course Text

Widely considered to be Imam al-Ghazali's last book, Minhaj al-Abidin summarizes his teachings in an accessible manner, charting the pitfalls and obstacles to be overcome in order to draw closer to Allah Most High. He dictated these words to a group of elect students and carefully advised them to resist hindrances such as fear and impairments such as conceit, in order to find salvation by sincerely turning to Allah Most High. This book is one of the important works that help the spiritual development of the believer.

About the Author

This work was written by the greatest scholar of his time and arguably the most famous scholar of the Islamic tradition, Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali. Imam Ghazali is unanimously regarded as the renewer (mujaddid) of Islam of his century, first for his intellectual defense of traditional Islamic beliefs against Avicennan philosophy, and then for his powerful spiritual reinvigoration of the Islamic sciences through his magnum opus, the 40-part lhya’ ‘Ulum aI-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences).

Imam Ghazali was born in the year 450 AH (1058 CE) in Tabiran, near Tus (just north of present-day Mashhad, Iran). He first studied Islamic law at Tus and then travelled across the Islamic world taking Sacred Knowledge from its masters. One of his main teachers was Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni, at whose hands he became a scholar in Shafi'i law, logic, tenets of faith, debate, and the rationalistic doctrines of the philosophical schools of his time (which he was later called upon to refute). After Imam Juwayni’s death, Imam Ghazali was appointed to a teaching post at the Nizamiyya Academy in Baghdad, where word of his brilliance spread, and scholars journeyed to hear him.

In mid-career, after considerable reflection, he was gripped by an intense fear for his soul and his fate in the Afterlife and resigned from his post, travelling first to Jerusalem and then Damascus to engage in spiritual struggle. In Damascus, he lived in seclusion for ten years, at the end of which he emerged to produce his masterpiece Revival of the Religious Sciences. He died in Tabiran in 505 AH (1111 CE).

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Define the hurdle of knowledge and explain how to overcome it.

• Define the hurdle of repentance and explain its pitfalls.

• List the four main impediments in the hurdle of impediments.

• Explain how to overcome the hurdle of the world and all it contains.

• Understand the hurdle of your fellow creatures.

• Differentiate between the hurdle of the lower self (nafs) and the hurdle of the devil (Shaytaan).

• Identify the means to overcome the hurdles on the path to Allah Most High.

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction to the Course (pp. 5-9)

Lesson 2: Continuation on the Author’s Introduction (pp. 9-17)

Lesson 3: The First Hurdle: The Hurdle of Knowledge (pp. 18-26)

Lesson 4: The First Hurdle: The Hurdle of Knowledge (pp. 26-32)

Lesson 5: The Second Hurdle: The Hurdle of Repentance (pp. 32-38)

Lesson 6: The Second Hurdle: The Hurdle of Repentance (pp. 38-43)

Lesson 7: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp. 44-51)

    A) This World and all that it Contains

Lesson 8: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp. 51-59)

    B) Your Fellow Creatures (khalq)

Lesson 9: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp. 59-68)

    B) Your Fellow Creatures (khalq) Continued

Lesson 10: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp.68-79)

    C) The Devil Shaytan

Lesson 11: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp.79-88)

    D) The Lower Self (Nafs)

Lesson 12: The Third Hurdle: The Hurdle of the Impediments (pp.89-94)

    D) The Lower Self (Nafs) Continued

Course Requirements:

Students should take the Beginning of Guidance and Book of Assistance before taking this course. Course Format: 12 prerecorded lessons and three live classes

About The Instructors:

Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary is a researcher in Islamic intellectual history and a teacher of Islamic traditional sciences. He’s currently a teacher of Hadith, Usūl, Logic and Kalam at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (RA), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.

Shaykh Ahmed studied Anthropology at American University in Cairo and received his training in Leadership Communication from Tulane University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is also a life-long learner. He holds a diversified portfolio of almost 50 certificates in a variety of subjects – extending from Teaching Character and Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People to Complexity Theory, Model Thinking and Conflict Analysis.

Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format, and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Shaykh Ahmed has more than 70 Ijazas from scholars from all over the Muslim world.

Beside a number of edited works about to be released in Islamic pedagogy, linguistics and Hanafi Usūl, Shaykh Ahmed has authored Rūh al-`Ilm – a treatise in the art of scientific investigation, based on a survey of roughly 200 traditional Islamic texts, and has been endorsed by Dr. Jamāl Fārūq, the Dean of Islamic Da`wah College at al-Azhar University and Dr. Ahmed Mamdūh, the Chair of Research Division at Dar al-Iftaa’ al-Masrīyah. Rūh al-`Ilm will be published by Tabah Foundation in the early of summer of 2019.

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He embraced Islam at the age of 19 in Santa Clara, California, where he began his study of Islam with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and visiting Mauritanian scholars. In 1998, Shaykh Yahya traveled to Mauritania to pursue a full-time course of study, where he learned from some of Mauritania’s greatest scholars, including the distinguished, Murabit al-Hajj. He also spent an interim period in Damascus, Syria where he received formal education in the Arabic language, grammar, and Qur’anic recitation. In 2000, Shaykh Yahya moved to Tarim, Yemen to continue his studies at the prestigious learning institute, Dar al-Mustafa. There, he spent his formative years studying foundational Islamic sciences with Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz, Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri, and other scholars of Tarim. The scholars of Tarim are heirs of the spiritual way of Imam al-Ghazali as taught by the great sage of Arabia, Imam Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad. At the hands of these scholars, Shaykh Yahya has studied and applied the book that he teaches in this course.

Number of Lessons: 12 Lessons
Total Duration: 9 hrs 41 mins
Category Featured: No
Both Display this course: Yes
Total Lesson: 2
Number of hours: 10
Weightage: 4
Show in catalog: Yes
What You Will Learn:

  • Distinguish between true religious knowledge that is beneficial and ostensibly religious knowledge that is not
  • Identify instances of the sins of the limbs (particularly those of the tongue)
  • Identify instances of the sins of the heart
  • Complete a regimen of protecting your tongue from sin
  • Improve your character with your teachers, relatives, friends, and strangers
  • Appreciate the spiritual value of good company

Skill Level: Beginner
Monday: No
Tuesday: No
Wednesday: No
Thursday: No
Friday: No
Saturday: No
Sunday: No
Self enrolment AUTO (Student)