Revival of Religious Learnings Vol-II, IMAM GHAZZALI
Revival of Religious Learnings Vol-II
11:23 h Islam
Iḥyā′ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn (transl. The Revival of the Religious Learnings; Arabic: احياء علوم الدين‎) is an 11th-century book written by Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazali. The book was composed in Arabic and was based on personal religious experience. It is regarded as one of his chief works and a classic introduction to the pious muslim's way to God.
Translated by FAZL-UL-KARIM


The Book of worldly usages is the second book of Imam Gazzali’s world renowned master piece Ihya Ulum-id-Din or the Revival of religious learning. This work is an attempt to translate the second part of the Ihya not too literally but in substance from the original written in Arabic. The book II deals with the worldly usages, etiquettes, manners, rules and regulations concerning eating and drinking, marriage, earnings and trade, lawful and unlawful earnings, duties towards Muslims, neighbours, servants and slaves, harms and benefits of seclusion and society, journey, music, enjoining good and forbidding evil and character and conduct of the Holy Prophet.

A literal translation is avoided in order to omit the unnecessary arguments of sects and things prevailing in the world and to omit the sayings of less important sages. But no verse of the Quran or saying of Prophet has been omitted in this book.

I pray to the Almighty Allah that He may guide the people of the world in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and the spirit in which the Ihya was written by Hujjatual Islam (the Proof of Islam), a title received by Imam Gazzali and about which it has been said “If all the books of Islam were destroyed, it would be but a slight loss if only the Ihya of Gazzali were preserved”.


All praise is due to God who conducts the whole creation in an orderly manner. Who gives provision according to a measure, Who increase the strength of animals by food and drink and Who nourishes religion and good deeds by good foods and drinks.

The object of the wise is the vision of the Lord in the next world and the only way to gain it is learning and action and there is not other way, but it is not possible to stand constantly on them without a healthy body which is also not possible without food and drink, such food and drink which are absolutely necessary and which are taken according to prescribed rules. For this reason, some learned sages said that food and drink appertain to religion. God said Eat pure food and do good deeds— 23:51 Q. If a man takes food for helping his learning and actions and God-fear, his food and drink are considered as divine service. For that, he should not spend his time uselessly and remain busy like a lower being which roams from field to field in eating and drinking. The modes and the ways of food and drink are the lights of religion. A religious man must stick to these ways and control his passion and greed for food and drink by weighing them in the balance of Shariat. The Holy Prophet said: A man can acquire virtues in all his actions, even in a morsel of food he lifts up his mouth and to the mouth of his wife.


The rules of eating alone are three kind— (a) rules before eating (b) rules at the time of eating and (c) rules after eating.

(a) RULES BEFORE EATING: There are seven rules before eating. (1) The food must be lawful. God enjoined eating good and lawful food and prohibited bad and unlawful food. There is benefit in the former and harm in the latter. God says: O believers, don’t eat the properties of one another unjustly — The root of religion is lawful food which is the basis of all religious action.(2) The hand shall be washed before eating. The Prophet said: Wash before eating prevents poverty and wash after eating prevents frivolous thoughts.” Dirts and germs that keep attached in hands as a result of manual labour can be removed by wash. So wash before eating is necessary as ablution before prayer is necessary.(3) Food shall be placed on the ground as it is the way of the Prophet. Whenever any food was taken to the Prophet, he kept it on the ground as it is the sign of humility. The Prophet used not to take food in any plate except in a big dish with others. Four things were innovated after the Prophet— (a) to eat on tables,(b) to sift food-stuffs by sieve,(c) to use soaps and (d) to eat to one’s heart’s content. These things, though not unlawful, are not good for an humble man.(4) One should take food sitting straight. The Prophet said: I don’t leaning as I am a mere slave and I eat as a slave eats and I sit as a slave sits”. To eat leaning is bad for stomach.(5) One shall make niyyat before eating: I eat to gain strength in worship. He will take promise to eat little and not much as full belly prevents worship. The more the intention is pure for religion, the less is the greed for food. The Prophet said: Such quantity of food is sufficient for a man which can keep his backbone erect. If he is unable to do it then one part of the belly is for food, one part of for drink and one part for breathing.” If the niyyat or intention is true, one should not extend his hand towards food if he is not hungry.(6) Be satisfied with the food served and don’t be greedy for varieties of curries. Food is honoured only when one does not wait for curry. The Prophet said: When the time of night meal and the time of night prayer come together, first take meal.(7) The more are the people to partake food, the better. The Prophet said: Eat all together, as there is blessings in it. The Prophet used not to eat single. He said: The food in which many hand participate is best.

(b) RULES AT THE TIME OF EATING: Being eating reciting ‘Bismillah’— in the name of God and end it reciting ‘Alhamdollah’— all praise is due to God. Eat with the right hand and begin and end it with salt. Take little morsels and chew each morsel well. Don’t extend your hand to a morsel till you swallow the previous one. Don’t speak of the defects of cooking. The Prophet never did it. When he liked a food, he ate; and when he did not like it, he did not eat it. Except fruits, he used to take from the nearest side of the dish. The Prophet said: Eat from the side of your front and not form every side, nor from the middle. Don’t cut bread or meat with knife. The Prophet said: Cut meat with your teeth. He said: Honour the principal foods as God sent them from the blessings of heaven. The Prophet said: If any morsel of food falls down, take it up and clear off the dust attached to it and don’t leave it for the devil. Don’t wipe out your hands with handkerchiefs till you like lick your fingers, because you don’t know in which food there is blessing. Don’t blow breath in hot food as it is prohibited, but be patient till it becomes cold. Eat odd number of dates, grapes and such other fruits which can be counted.

RULES OF DRINKING WATER: Don’t drink water at the time of eating except when thirsty. It is better and keeps stomach sound. Take the name of God and drink slowly. The Prophet said ‘Drink water drought by drought and not a time.’ Don’t drink water standing or lying as the Prophet prohibited it except for an excuse. Don’t throw breath into pot or yawn. The Prophet used to recite after drinking water: All praise is due God who has made it delicious and sweet by His grace and has not made it either saltish or distasteful for our sins. Drink water with three breaths and at the end recite ‘Alhamdolillah’all praise is due to God and at the beginning ‘Bismillah’-in the name of God.

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