About The Book
In the Principles of the Creed (Kitab Qawa'id al-'aqa'id), the second of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya' 'ulum al-din), Abu 'amid al-Ghazali explains the fundamental beliefs of Islam, those that concern faith in God, His revelation, His messengers, and the hereafter. The scope of these beliefs includes the nature of God, Muhammad’s status as a prophet, the virtues of the Companions, the events related to the resurrection and judgment, and the nature of faith itself. This presentation of beliefs goes beyond a list of creedal statements; al-Ghazali cites the scriptural foundations in the Qur'an and hadith, refers to transmitted reports from the Companions and others from the righteous predecessors, and supports these beliefs with rational arguments.
In chapter 1, which presents a succinct summary of the essential aspects of the Muslim creed, the Arabic text appears on facing pages.
Chapter 2 discusses how religious instruction should be imparted gradually, the stages and levels of conviction, the ruling on studying debate and theology, the outward and inward creed, and the difference between the two.
Chapter 3, the “Jerusalem Epistle on the Principles of the Creed” (al-Risala al-qudsiyya fi qawa'id al-'aqa'id), is a detailed exposition consisting of four pillars: the recognition of the essence of God, the knowledge of the attributes of God, the knowledge of the acts of God, and belief based on transmitted reports about God from the Prophet.
Chapter 4 examines faith and Islam, what connects and separates them, whether faith can increase and decrease, and whether the predecessors qualified their claims to faith (by saying “God willing”).
Introduction & Notes By James Pavlin
About Imam Al-Ghazali
Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali was born in 450 AH (1058 A.D) in the Iranian town of Tus, studied Islamic law and theology at the Seljuq College in Nishapur, and became a distinguished professor at the famous Nizamiyya University in Baghdad.
Despite his glittering success, he was inwardly dissatisfied, so he abandoned his career for the life of hardship, abstinence and devotion to worship. During ten years of wandering, he experienced a spiritual transformation, in which the Truth came to him at last, as something received rather than acquired.
Blessed with an inner certainty, he then applied his outstanding faculties and vast learning to the task of revitalizing the whole Islamic tradition. Through his direct personal contacts, and through his many writings, he showed how every element in that tradition could and should be turned to its true purpose.
Imam al-Ghazzali was fondly referred to as the "Hujjat-ul-lslam", Proof of Islam, he is honoured as a scholar and a saint by learned men all over the world and is generally acclaimed as the most influential thinker of the Classical period of Islam.
He passed away in 505 AH (1111 A.D).