Lot 7
  • 7

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111 AD), The seventh book on the condemnation of wealth (dham al-mal) and miserliness (al-bukhl) from the third quarter on al-Muhlikat, 'The Ways to Perdition', from the author's Ihya 'Ulum al-Din, North Africa, 12th/13th century

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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  • Ink on Vellum
  • 25.5 by 19cm.
Arabic manuscript on vellum, 16 leaves loose in binding, 19 lines to the page, written in Maghribi script in brown ink, some marginal annotations, later red leather binding with tooled central medallions

Catalogue Note


A royal waqf inscription states that this manuscript was presented by the Marinid Sultan al-'Mu'ayyid al-Mansur Amir al-Mu'minin Abu 'Inan al-Mutawakkil to the prestigious Qarawiyyin mosque in Fez in 751 AH/1350 AD.

Born in 1058 AD in the Iranian province of Khurasan, 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 represents a part 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 in four quarters; 'ibadat (religious duties); 'adat (social duties); al-muhlikat (the ways to perdition) and al-munjiat (what leads to salvation). The work was banned and burnt during the Almoravid era (first half of the twelfth century) in al-Andalus and the Maghrib, but it returned with renewed prestige under the Almohads. This manuscript is a rare testament to the rehabilitation of al-Ghazali's work by this time. According to Mingana, “This is the work of which it is said that if all other books on the religion of Islam had perished, this loss would not be felt so long as the precious Ihya survived”.

Since the author died in 1111 AD, this manuscript can be considered an early copy of the work, written within 100 years of his death. Other sections of this work are in the Chester Beatty Library, (see A. Arberry, A Handlist of the Arabic Manuscript, Dublin, 1956, p.45, no.3353; and A. Mingana, Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, 1934, pp.88-89, no.73 [223]). See also Brockelmann, GAL, i, 422, Suppl.i, 748.