O Son! Timeless Advice from al-Ghazali's Letter to His Student
Moustafa Elqabbany (translation)
Paperback, 108 pages
One of al-Ghazali's advanced students wrote to the Imam with a question: From all the fields of knowledge, what will benefit us most in the grave? The student clarified that, while he could certainly find the answer to his question within al-Ghazali's longer works, such as the Ihya 'Ulum al-Din, he wished for his teacher to give him a formal legal opinion, short enough that he could keep it with him at all times and refer to it constantly.
Ayyuhal Walad is the great Imam's response: a personal note from al-Ghazali to his student, and by extension to anyone who desires to follow their way. Imam al-Ghazali elucidates the following for his student, and for the modern reader:
• The precise nature of the relationship between knowledge and action, and the role of each in one's striving for Paradise
• The significance of the night prayer
• Some advice from Luqman the Wise to his son, and its enduring meaning and importance
• A concise definition of obedience and worship, which al-Ghazali states is the quintessence of knowledge
• The four matters that are required of a spiritual traveler
• A single hadith that contains the entirety of the knowledge of the ancients as well as the men of latter days
• Eight lessons that are sufficient for deliverance and salvation
Ayyuhal Walad is designed to be read and reread, and referred to frequently throughout one's life. The reader must take note that the original recipient of this letter was a top student of Imam al-Ghazali, and therefore a scholar of the highest caliber himself. This book is thus invaluable simply as a record of the interaction between one of the Ummah's greatest teachers and his esteemed disciple. However, al-Ghazali's prescriptions are conveyed with such clarity that any Muslim of high aspiration will benefit from this text.