"….He has not placed any Hardship upon you in Religion…" [TM Qur'an  22:78]

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Mishkat al-Anwar (The Niche of Lights)

Translated by W H T Gairdner

Translation to the Introduction by Imam Al-Ghazali

Praise to ALLAH! who poureth forth light; and giveth sight; and, from His mysteries' height, removes the veils of night!

And Prayer for MUHAMMED! of all lights the Light; Sire of them that do the right; Beloved of The Sovereign of Might; Evangelist of the forgiven in his sight; to Him devoted quite; to sinner and to infidel the Arm that knows to fight and smile!

You have asked me, dear brother--and may Allâh decree for you the quest of man's chiefest bliss, make you candidate for the Ascent to the highest height anoint your vision with the light of Reality, and purge your inward parts from all that is not the Real!--You have asked me, I say, to communicate to you the mysteries of the Lights Divine, together with the allusions behind the literal meaning of certain texts in the Qur'an and certain sayings in the Traditions.

And principally this text:

"Allâh is the Light of the Heavens and of the Earth. The similitude of His Light is as it were a Niche wherein is a Lamp: the Lamp within a Glass: the Glass as it were a pearly Star. From a Tree right blessed is it lit, an Olive-tree neither of the East nor of the West, the Oil whereof were well-nigh luminous though Fire touched it not: Light upon Light!  Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. (24:35)

What is the significance of His comparison of LIGHT with Niche, and Glass, and Lamp, and Oil, and Tree?

And this Tradition

"Allâh hath Seventy Thousand Veils of Light and Darkness: were He to withdraw their curtain, then would the splendors of His Countenance surely consume everyone who apprehended Him with his sight."

Such is your request. But in making it you have assayed to climb an arduous ascent, so high that the height thereof cannot be so much as gauged by mortal eyes. You have knocked at a locked door which is only opened to those who know and "are established in knowledge." Moreover, not every mystery is to be laid bare or made plain, but-

      "Noble hearts seal mysteries like the tomb."

Or, as one of those who Know has said--

      "To divulge the secret of the Godhead is to deny God."

Or, as the Prophet has said--

      "There is a knowledge like the form of a hidden
      thing, known to none save those who know God."

If then these speak of that secret, only the Children of Ignorance will contradict them. And howsoever many these Ignorants be, the

Mysteries must from the gaze of sinners be kept inviolate.

But I believe that your heart has been opened by the Light and your consciousness purged of the darkness of Ignorance. I will, therefore, not be so meager as to deny you direction to these glorious truths in all their fineness and all their divineness; for the wrong done in keeping Wisdom from her Children is not less than that of yielding her to those who are Strangers to her. As the poet hath it--

      "He who bestoweth Knowledge on fools loseth it,
      And he who keepeth the deserving from her doeth a wrong."

You must, however, be content with a very summarized explanation of the subject; for the full demonstration of my theme would demand a treatment of both its principles and its parts for which my time is at present insufficient, and for which neither my mind nor my energies are free. The keys of all hearts are in the hands of Allah: He opens them when He pleases, as He pleases, and with what He pleases. At this time, then, it shall suffice to open up to you three chapters or parts, whereof the first is as hereunder follows.


Imam Al Ghazali said:
 "You should not neglect your time or use it haphazardly; on the contrary you should bring yourself to account, structure your litanies and other practices during each day and night, and assign to each period a fixed
and specific function. This is how to bring out the spiritual blessing (baraka) in each period. But if you leave yourself adrift, aimlessly wandering as cattle do, not knowing how to occupy yourself at every moment, your
time will be lost. It is nothing other than your life, and your life is the capital that you make use of to reach perpetual felicity in the proximity of God the Exalted. Each of your breaths is a priceless jewel, since each
of them is irreplaceable and, once gone, can never be retrieved. Do not be like that deceived fools who are joyous because each day their wealth increases while their life shortens.  What good is an increase in wealth when life grows ever shorter?
Therefore be joyous only for an increase in knowledge or in good works, for they are your two companions who will accompany you in your grave when your family, wealth, children and friends stay behind."
Imam Al Ghazali (May Allah have mercy on him) wrote this in his book:
'The  Beginning of Guidance'




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