Page:Alchemyofhappiness en.djvu/40

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Ghazzali's Alchemy of Happiness.

the way to eternal truth. For if the pilgrim do not understand the grounds of the respect due to, and the lawfulness of his food and drink, his dwelling and his clothing, if he do not understand the causes which impair or render complete acts of purification and devotion, what has a tendency to give strength to the blameable affections of the soul, and what is their nature and their remedy, he can derive no advantage from the sciences of spiritual exercise, discovery and revelation. In short to an ignorant pilgrim, the least doubt may operate as a hindrance in his course for many years. If, however, he should fall into a spirit of disputation, and should say, "knowledge implies nothing else than to be able to study a book and to correct the composition, the punctuation and the declensions," he will certainly be frustrated from obtaining and discovering inward knowledge, — that is, he will not attain to the knowledge of God, which is the object of all knowledge, which is the most sublime knowledge, and compared with which all other knowledge is but husks. Therefore, when we hear some good man, who has travelled far on the road of spiritual discovery affirm, that knowledge of the external world, in the sense which we at first alluded to, is a hindrance in the way of truth, we ought to be careful not to deny the truth of what he says.

There are, however, in our times certain weak persons and indifferent to religious truth for the most part, who in the guise of soofees,[1] after learning a few of their obscure phrases and ornamenting themselves with their cap and robes, treat knowledge and the doctors of the law[2] as inimical to themselves, and continually find fault with them. They are devils and deserve judicial death. They are enemies of God, and of the apostle of God. For God has extolled knowledge and the doctors of the law; and the

  1. Mystics.
  2. Ulema, the clerical and theological class.