The Beginning of Guidance

PREFACE

THE BEGINNING OF GUIDANCE (Bidãyat al-Hidãya) is one of Imãm Abu Hãmid al-Ghazãli’s shortest treatises, yet one of his most useful for the seekers of a successful and organized moral life. Abu Hãmid al-Ghazãli (450-505 AH/1058-1111 CE) wrote this book as a simplified version of his most celebrated work, The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihyã’ ‘Ulum al-Din). It was written in reply to one of his students, who asked him to write a short essay on spiritual knowledge and the method of practicing and maintaining one’s spiritual connection with God. The aim of Bidãyat al-Hidãya was different from that of his other books. While the Ihyã, for instance, emphasizes the epistemological, moral, and jurisprudential dimensions, Bidãyat al-Hidãya concentrates on the methodological level –how to reach spiritual guidance and how to maintain it.

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