Al-Ghazali: Wonders of the Heart
Walter James Skellie
Kitab Sharh Ajaib Al-Qalb
This is a classic Sufi manual on the science of the heart. Imam al-Ghazali uses a series of traditional Sufi teaching stories to illustrate the theme of the heart as a mirror. The light of the divine sun can only shine in the heart when the seeker recalls the Prophet’s teaching that ‘everything has a polish, and the polish of hearts is the remembrance of God.’ Bad character traits, acquired through faulty upbringing, are like ‘a smoke which clouds the heart’s mirror’; this is the ‘heart’s rust’ mentioned in the Qur'an. But the one who has polished his heart is made luminous by God’s light, and brings that light to others, which is the quality of sainthood.
Wonders of the Heart is considered to be one the key volumes of the 40-book Ihya’ ‘ulum-al Din, Revival of the Religious Sciences, one of the most read works in the Muslim world after the Qur’an. These traditional teaching stories, which use the theme of the heart as a mirror, illustrate key tenets of Islam on the requirements of religion, living in society, and the inner life of the soul.