The hadith, the sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, form a sacred literature which for the Muslims ranks second in importance only to the Qur’an itself. As a source of law, ethics and doctrine, the vast corpus of hadith continue to exercise decisive influence.
The essays presented in The History and Philosophy of Islamic Science discuss the principles behind the different sciences cultivated in the Islamic world from the third century of the Islamic era onwards and the place of science in relation to other branches of Islamic learning.
An old disciple of al-Ghazali had studied the Islamic sciences, including the many works of his master, for most of his life. Faced with the proximity of death, he turns again to his master this time asking for a summary of all his teachings, and Letter to a Disciple is al-Ghazali’s response.
The Book of Poverty and Abstinence is the thirty-fourth chapter of The Revival of the Religions Sciences. It falls in the section dealing with the virtues. Ghazali gives definitions of what real poverty and abstinence should be and how the poor should conduct themselves.