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This course provides a clear-cut set of guidelines and a full program of spiritual development intended to serve as a layman’s guide to Islamic spirituality, based on Imam al-Harith al-Muhasibi’s Risalat al-Mustarshidin. The course is designed to cater to students and seekers of guidance who are interested in developing their spiritual character. It covers various aspects of Islamic spirituality, including the importance of sincerity, intention, moral conduct in the pursuit of spiritual development, and the concept of self-examination and self-reckoning, which is a central theme in Imam al-Muhasibi's teachings.
The course consists of a combination of pre-recorded lectures, interactive discussions, and readings. The course begins with an introduction to Islamic spirituality and to the life and works of Imam al-Muhasibi, followed by a detailed exploration of his book, "Risalat al-Mustarshidin.” The course will also draw upon other works of Imam al-Muhasibi as well as related classical works of Islamic spirituality to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to engage in self-reflection and introspection, and to apply the teachings of the course to their daily lives. Students also have the opportunity to participate in group discussions and to ask questions, and receive feedback and guidance from the course teacher. Overall, this course is an enriching and transformative experience for students seeking to deepen their understanding of Islamic spirituality. It provides them with the tools and guidance they need to cultivate a deeper relationship with Allah and to develop their spiritual character.
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Skill Level: Beginner
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Class Time: 1:30 PM ET
About the text:

Risalat al-Mustarshidin by Imam al-Harith al-Muhasibi is a concise manual for the aspirants of the spiritual path, which maps out the path before them and provides them with instruction for the purification of their hearts and the refinement of their souls. It includes all of the ideas and counsels of the author that are explicated at length in his other works. It summarizes the teachings of Imam al-Muhasibi in a similar way that the classical primers of the late authors did, which traditionally would be memorized by students, taught by teachers, and studied by scholars with their accompanying commentaries.

Risalat al-Mustarshidin, amongst other works of al-Muhasibi, was one of the most influential writings in the discipline of Islamic spirituality during its formative period. Its influence extended to Imam Abu Talib al-Makki and through him to Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. The teachings of Risalat al-Mustarshidin is, without a doubt, embedded and weaved within al-Ghazali’s magnum-opus Ihyaa’ Ulum al-Din. Therefore, the careful reading and study of Risalat al-Mustarshidin provides great insight into the underpinnings of al-Ghazali’s spiritual approach and methodology.

About the Author:

Al-Muhasibi was an erudite Sunni scholar of his day who had acquired a great deal of spiritual insight and a window upon the human soul to the extent that his spiritual state and proximity to Allah was of the highest rank.

Who is this course for:

The course is suitable for all Muslims from all walks of life. It is highly-recommended for students of knowledge and those who are pursuing a career in Islamic scholarship and religious leadership.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the concept of Tazkiyat al-Nafs (Purification of the Soul) in Islam.
  • Recognize Imam al-Harith al-Muhasibi’s methodology to Tazkiyat al-Nafs.
  • Develop an awareness of inner thoughts and motivations.
  • Grasp the importance of being vigilant in the efforts to purify one’s heart and mind.
  • Realize the essential need of cultivating a deep and sincere relationship with Allah.

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