Born in 1058 AD in the Iranian province of Khurusan, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (given the honorific title hujjat al-Islam, 'the Proof of Islam') was one of the greatest jurist-theologians of the medieval Islamic period and a prolific author on the religious sciences. The present manuscript is approximately one quarter of his greatest and best-known work, Ihya' 'ulum al-din, or 'The Revival of the Religious Sciences', in which he attempted to integrate the major disciplines of Islamic religion - theology and law, ethics and mysticism. It comprises ten books within four quarters; 'ibadat (religious duties); 'adat (social duties); al-muhlikat (what leads to damnation) and al-munjiat (what leads to salvation). The latter quarter, al-munjiat, represented by the present manuscript, is further divided into ten chapters: Forgiveness (1); Patience and Thankfulness (2); Hope and Fear (3); Poverty and Abstention (4); Monotheism and Confirmation (5); Love and Longing (6); Intention and Honesty (7); Observation and Accounting (8); Reflection (9) and finally Death (10).
There are at least nine copies of Ihya' 'ulum al-din in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, see A. Arberry, A Handlist of the Arabic Manuscripts, Dublin, 1956, volume II, p.45, no.3353. Also see Brockelmann i. 422, Suppl.i.748. An earlier copy of the fourth part, al-munjiat, was sold in these rooms, 6 April 2011, lot 205.
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