Al-Ghazali on the manners relating to eating is the eleventh chapter of the Revival of the Religious Sciences which is widely regarded as the greatest work of the Muslim spirituality. This volume begins the section dealing with man and society, and the norms of daily life. While concentrating on a daily activity, eating, al-Ghazali presents the importance of aligning every aspect of one’s life with religion and spirituality. Referring extensively to the example of the Prophet and to early Muslims, al-Ghazali illustrates how the simple activity of eating can encourage numerous virtues which are themselves necessary for the remainder of the spiritual life.
The section of Al-Ghazali on the manner relating to eating are divided into what a person must uphold when eating alone, how a person must conduct himself when eating in company and the manner of hospitality. Through these sections, al-Ghazali also discusses lawful and unlawful foods and practices, cleanliness, fasting, general health issue, contentment with little and generosity.
Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (450/1058-505/1111) is widely known by the honorific, 'the Sultan of the Saints (awliya) of Allah'. In the history of the Saints of Islam, Shaikh Abd al-Qadir stands out as being unique, in the broad scope of perfection that includes his lineage, his complete development, piety, knowledge of the religion and adherence to the Sacred Law (Sharia), his intimate and direct knowledge of the Divine, and his establishment by the Lord of All the Worlds at the level of Reality (Haqiqa). Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir lived almost a thousand years ago, but his words transcend the time and place in which they were recorded to span the centuries without difficulty.
Revered to this day as the supreme spiritual helper (al-Ghawth al-A'zam) the Shaikh addresses his audience at a level that bypasses the heart and mind. His discourses are justly ranked among the most beautiful oratory the world has ever known.
He is justly described as a "towering figure" in the history of Islam. He was born 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.
Denys Johnson-Davies is an eminent Arabic-to-English literary translator who has translated, inter alia, several works by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, Sudanese author Tayeb Salih, Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish and Syrian author Zakaria Tamer.
Davies, referred to as “the leading Arabic-English translator of our time” by the late Edward Said, has translated more than twenty-five volumes of short stories, novels, plays, and poetry, and was the first to translate the work of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. He is also interested in Islamic studies and is co-translator of three volumes of Prophetic Hadith. He has also written a number of children’s books adapted from traditional Arabic sources, including a collection of his own short stories, Fate of a Prisoner, which was published in 1999.
Born in 1922 in Vancouver, Canada to English parentage, Davies spent his childhood in Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya, and then was sent to England at age 12. Davies studied Oriental languages at Cambridge, and has lectured translation and English literature at several universities across the Arab World. In 2006, he published his memoirs. In 2007, he was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award "Culture Personality of the Year", a valued at about $300,000.
Davies lives between Marrakesh and Cairo.