Page:Alchemy of Happiness - Field.djvu/13

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9
PREFACE

religious indifference of the masses not only filled Ghazzali and his Sufi friends with profound grief, but determined them to stem the evil with the whole force of their philosophy, the ardour of vital conviction, and the authority of noble example.

In his autobiography referred to above Ghazzali tells us that, after emerging from a state of Pyrrhonic scepticism, he had finally arrived at the conclusion that the mystics were on the right path and true "Arifin," or Knowers of God.[1] But in saying this he meant those Sufis whose mysticism did not carry them into extravagant utterances like that of Mansur Hallaj, who was crucified at Bagdad (A.D. 922) for exclaiming "I am the Truth, or God." In his Ihya-ul-ulum Ghazzali says: "The matter went so far that certain persons boasted of a union with the Deity, and that in His unveiled presence they beheld Him, and enjoyed familiar converse with Him, saying, 'Thus it was spoken unto us and thus we speak.' Bayazid Bistami (ob. A.D. 875) is reported to have exclaimed, 'Glory be to me!' This style of discourse exerts a very pernicious influence on the common people. Some husbandmen indeed, letting their farms run to waste, set up similar pretensions for themselves; for human nature is pleased with maxims like these,

  1. It may be noted that there was a contemporary sect called "La-adria"—agnostics.