Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thinking About the Tortures of the Grave

The counsel which I give you is that you should not look too intently into the details of this matter or busy yourself with trying to understand it. Occupy yourself instead with warding this chastisement off by whatever means, for if you were to neglect your works and worship, and busy yourself with this matter instead you would resemble a man arrested and incarcerated by a sultan with a view to cuting off his hand or his nose, but who spent all night wondering whether he would be cut with a knife, a sword, or a razor, and neglected to devise a plan which might ward off the punishment itself, something which is the very height of folly.

It is known for certain that after his death the bondsman must meet either with dire punishment or with everlasting bliss. It is this that one should prepare for; to study the minutiae of chastisement and reward is superfluous and a waste of time.

Imam al-Ghazali - Ihya 'Ulum al-Din - the Chapter on the Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife.


ihsan said...


Now, what does Imam Ghazali mean by opposed to thinking of death which is recommended.

MudPie said...

What he (and may God be pleased with him) meant here is one should not be too occupied with the little details of the barzakh - like the types of punishments. One should be aware that terrible punishment awaits, and spend time thinking about how to avoid these punishments, whatever they may be. That is, spend the time learning and doing the good things and avoiding the bad things so you dont end up getting punished - and it does not make any difference whether or not you know what punishment is for what. Does this make it clearer?

Ihsan said...

Thank you for the explanation.