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How does one revive one’s religion and relationship with Allah? In this critical class, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Abdullah Misra, and Shaykh Yusuf Weltch summarize the teachings of Imam Ghazali’s masterpiece of Islamic knowledge and spiritual guidance, Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din).

This text is split into four quarters. Quarter One concentrates on knowledge, beliefs, and acts of worship. This quarter aims to take our worship from mere forms to deep acts of devotion–brought to life and revived through sincerity, excellence in following the sunna, and consistent action.

The condition for real worship is belief in our Lord. Belief, in turn, is based on knowledge. Accordingly, Imam Ghazali starts the journey of spirituality with knowledge, then beliefs, and then proceeds to worship.

By applying the lessons learned in this course, students will be able to develop reverence and awe, sincerity and presence of heart in their worship–be it prayer, fasting, zakat, or Hajj.

This class presents the key aspects of Imam Ghazali’s teachings without complicating issues. It allows people of all ages to benefit from a magnificent work of spirituality, and from practical teachings that relate to us in our day-to-day lives.

Essentially, through this course, the student will learn how to bring Prophetic guidance to life, practically and deeply.

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About the text:

The masterpiece of Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, consists of forty Books organized into four Quarters. In this course, Quarter One of the Ihya’ on Excellence in Worship (Books 1 - 10), will be covered.

Imam Ghazali’s work is focused on teachings relevant to every stage of our lives. Said to be the greatest scholarly work from the writings of the scholars, the Ihya’ teaches the importance of cultivating spirituality through the Sacred Law - making it the practical tool all believers can benefit from.

The Ihya’ is about bringing religion into the lives of everyone who studies it. Religion is guidance, and guidance is beneficial knowledge. Imam Ghazali introduces all key concepts that are important to our live and afterlife–those things that have to be cultivated,rooted out of our hearts, and upheld at all times. This is why Imam Ghazali’s method of spirituality is often referred to as “practical spirituality.”

About the Author:

Imam Ghazali was born in the year 450 AH (1058 CE) in Tabiran, near Tus (just north of present-day Mashhad, Iran) to a righteous family. After his parents passed away, he was entrusted to a pious scholar. This scholar later sent him to a school for religious learning. Imam Ghazali traveled across the Islamic world taking Sacred Knowledge from the masters of each field.

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 learn from him and 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, traveling first to Jerusalem and then Damascus to engage in spiritual struggle. In Damascus, he lived in seclusion for some ten years, at the end of which he emerged to produce his masterpiece Revival of the Religious Sciences.

Imam Ghazali wrote many works on spirituality and the rational sciences. His work al-Iqtisad fi al-I‘tiqad (Moderation in Belief) is an advanced work in theology. He also wrote a refutation of the philosophers called Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers) as well as a work in logic called Mi‘yar al-‘Ilm fi Fann al-Mantiq, (Criterion of Knowledge in the Science of Logic).

He died in Tabiran in 505 AH (1111 CE).

Who is this course for:
  • This course is for adults, and for youth seeking to deepen their understanding of Islam.
  • It is particularly beneficial for anyone seeking to connect Islamic knowledge to beneficial action, rectifying one’s relationship with Allah, and acquiring sincerity and presence with Allah.
  • It is a general enrichment course that anyone can benefit from.
Learning outcomes:
  • Distinguish between praiseworthy and blameworthy types of knowledge.
  • Learn the etiquettes of seeking knowledge.
  • Understand what we believe about Allah Most High.
  • Learn how to cultivate God-consciousness in our prayer.
  • Understand the etiquettes of giving in charity.
  • Realize the true reality of fasting.
  • Understand how we can take our fasting to the next level.
  • Learn the virtues of the Quran.
  • Learn the etiquettes of reciting the Quran.
  • Learn the merits and etiquettes of supplication (dua).
  • Realize the importance of establishing spiritual routines.
  • Understand how night worship can be facilitated.

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