Al-Ghazali letter to Mu'inul Mulk

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Al-Ghazali letter to Mu'inul Mulk
by Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī
This letter was translated by Allah.com, who releases them into the public domain.

To His Excellency Mu'inul Mulk

Allah says: "That is the Last Abode, We shall assign it to those who desire neither exorbitance in the earth, nor corruption. The outcome is for the cautious." Koran, Chapter 28 verse 83

Salvation is of two kinds:

  • The rise above others through relentless struggle.
  • Keeping a distance between bad associates and disobedient men.

Undoubtedly, the one who has the ambition to conquer other countries is possessed of magnanimity and magnificence, and the one who does not restrain himself from evil, sinful acts and from forbidden things disturbs the world and pollutes it. It is futile to expect salvation without fulfilling the necessary conditions, and those who refuse to believe that salvation depends upon fulfilling the two conditions already mentioned are deceived by greed and led astray by the devil, because they do not act upon the teachings of the Koran.

It is unwise to be satisfied with wretchedness and disbelief in the next world. It will not be out of place to mention at this point that there are certain men who strictly observe these two conditions, yet the passions of the animal self overpower them. The reason is that they believe that Allah, being merciful and kind, would eventually forgive them, but they are not wise enough to remember that Allah is merciful only to those who lead good lives: "Indeed, the righteous shall (dwell) in bliss. But the wicked, indeed they shall be in the Fiery Furnace." Koran, Chapter 82 verse 13.

On other occasions they say to themselves "Tomorrow, we shall start living the life of repentance." They know full well that for the last several years the devil has been playing tricks with them, exploiting them with hopes for the future that prevent them from repentance and doing good deeds right away. If their lives were to be extended by a few years, there is no doubt that they would once again resort to the same base passions and forgetfulness of the Day of Judgement. Sometimes they suppose they would live longer than others and that good deeds could be done later at a more convenient time. Have they entered into an agreement with the Angel of Death to this effect? Woe to them, they do no know that most men have perished in a wretched condition simply because the devil misled them with false hopes. If you want to take such risks in the evening of your life, none would be more miserable and regretful than you.

"Do the people of the cities feel secure from Our Might coming to them at night whilst they sleep? Or do the people of the cities feel secure from Our Might coming to them in the mid-morning while they play? Do they feel secure from the devising of Allah? None feels secure from the devising of Allah except the loosing nation." Koran, Chapter 7 verses 97 - 99."

May you and all of us awake from the deep sleep of indifference, and may Mu'inul Mulk be warned against what one of his friends has told me these days. The things reported to me against him are the source of incalculable danger in respect of the Hereafter. As far as he is concern, I have become extremely worried. There is nothing at my disposal except a deep feeling of devotion, good wishes, verbal warnings and written advice which I have exclusively reserved for him. Though you do not feel pity towards yourself, let me look at yourself with the look of mercy.

You amuse yourself with drinking wine that blinds your eyes and heart to your duties toward your people, and an understanding of the laws of human nature. I advise you to give up drinking wine, even if it is hard for you to sever your ties with the cruel, corrupt government officials, for when personal sin is associated with cruelty it is beyond human power to separate one from the other, particularly in one's old age drinking wine is one of the worst crimes. When the frost of old age was upon his head Nizamul Mulk abandoned major sins, including drinking wine and other wicked things. Until the last days of the life he resolutely maintained his religious pledge never to drink wine or to abandon repentance. He would say: "If the king of Khurasan does not despise the things prohibited by Him, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven will not forgive me, and no excuse would be acceptable to Him."

I sincerely hope you will despise wine and make up your mind to hate it for the rest of your days. I have said these things in the interest of friendship which has mutually developed between us. Your Excellency's humble servant Al Ghazali

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is in the public domain worldwide because it has been so released by the copyright holder.