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Al-Ghazali on the Lawful & the Unlawful

The Book of the Lawful and the Unlawful is the fourteenth chapter of The Revival of the Religious Sciences which is widely considered as the greatest work of Islamic spirituality. Written by one of the most famous of theologian-mystics of all time, The Book of the Lawful and the Unlawful is unlike other Islamic works concerned with legal issues. Here, Abu Ḥamid al-Ghazali aims to teach his readers firstly the theory of what is lawful and what is unlawful and how to deal with dubious or ambiguous issues, and secondly how to apply the knowledge they have gained to their everyday lives. The main support for this application, especially in matters that are unclear, is caution or prudence (waraʿ) and Ghazali explains the degrees of prudence necessary beginning with the prudence of the upright and ending with the prudence of the saintly. Thus the sincere practice of what is lawful and desisting from what is unlawful become integrated into one's spiritual life. As in his other works, Ghazali bases himself on the Qur'an and narrations from the Prophet Muḥammad, followed by examples from the Companions, the Successor generations and the pious Predecessors.
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Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: On the Excellence of the Lawful and the Reprehensibility of the Unlawful with an Exposition of the Kinds of Lawful and their Rankings and of the Categories of Unlawful and the Degrees of Caution Exercised in Relation to These CHAPTER TWO: The Degrees of the Dubious Its Causes and How it is Distinguished from the Lawful and the Unlawful CHAPTER THREE: On Scrutiny and Inquiry or Silence and Disregard and their Indications CHAPTER FOUR: Extricating the Repentant from Financial Iniquity CHAPTER FIVE: Grants and Gifts made by Rulers and which of these may be Considered Lawful and which Unlawful CHAPTER SIX: What is Lawful in Regard to Socialising with Despotic Rulers and Others; and the Categorisation of Attendance at their Courts, of Calling on them, and of Showing them Respect CHAPTER SEVEN: A Variety of Issues of Such Importance that Questions Concerning them are Asked in the Fatwa Literature APPENDIX: Persons Cited in Text BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX OF QUR'ANIC QUOTATIONS GENERAL INDEX

About the Author

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111) is the most famous theologian-mystic of Islam.

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