Al-Ghazali on Poverty and Abstinence is the thirty-fourth chapter of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din), which is widely regarded as the greatest work of Muslim spirituality. In Al-Ghazali on Poverty and Abstinence, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali considers two themes dear to Islamic devotional literature: poverty and abstinence. Taking as his example the Prophet’s love for the poor, Ghazali explains that poverty is not simply an accidental state of destitution that might befall anyone but rather an inner acceptance of the Will of God and a form of abstinence for His sake. Thus the life of poverty described by Ghazali in Al-Ghazali on Poverty and Abstinence refers to what every devoted follower of the Prophet is meant to adopt whatever his or her outer state may be.
In this new edition, the Islamic Texts Society has included the translation of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s own Introduction to the Revival of the Religious Sciences which gives the reasons that caused him to write the work, the structure of the whole of the Revival and places each of the chapters in the context of the others.
Please refer to the Islamic Texts Society Al-Ghazali Series for further translations from Al-Ghazali.
Dr Anthony Shaker holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from McGill University and is the translator of both Al-Ghazali on Intention, Sincerity & Truthfulness and Al-Ghazali on Vigilance and Self-examination.