Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) on the Inclinations of the Soul

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) said, “It is hardly a secret that each thing is like that to which it is attracted: a soul which inclines itself more to the craft of shoemaking than it is inclined to the art of writing is in its substance more like a shoe than a book.  Similarly, if one yearns in his soul in such a way that he inclines to the pleasure of animals rather than yearning so that he inclines towards the pleasures of angels, he will inevitably become more like an animal than an angel.  These are the ones of whom it is said:


... They are like cattle, nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Surah al-A’araf:179)”

He continued, “They are in worse error because cattle do not have it in their power to aspire to the rank of angels; all they have to aspire to is aging.  Yet for human beings, it is in their power to aspire,” meaning to aspire to the rank of angels, “and one who is capable of inclining towards perfection is more deserving of censure and more appropriately reminded of his error, provided both these reproofs do not hinder his actually aspiring to perfection.”


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