In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Riad Saloojee gives an overview of the Chapter on The Permissible and The Impermissible from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. The chapter is divided into the following sections:
 the virtue of the permissible and the problems of the impermissible
 the doubtful and how to judge and evaluate between them
 the extent to which someone should question the gifts they’ve been given
 what one should do when they have obtained unlawful wealth and would like to turn back to Allah.
 the relationship between a person and power
In this lesson, Shaykh Riad focuses on the first section of the chapter: the virtue of the permissible and the problems of the impermissible. The Prophet, peace be upon him, tells us that actions are either lawful or unlawful, and between the two there are doubtful matters and whoever avoids doubtful matters is free and saved and whoever engages in doubtful matters is walking a difficult path in which they may fall into the impermissible. He continues to say, that every king has a sanctuary and the sanctuary of Allah in His Earth is His prohibitions; meaning that that is where we should not even come close to. Lastly, the Prophet, peace be upon him, says that in each body there is a morsel that if it were to be corrupt the whole body would to and if it were to be healthy then the whole body would be too; that is the heart. With this the Prophet connects the action of the limbs to the impact it has on one’s spiritual heart. Conversely as well a sound spiritual heart will push one to the permissable as well.
Shaykh Riad continues to explain that the permissible and impermissible actions have levels. In addition, the lawful matters and unlawful matters can be dependent on their circumstances, so one needs to be smart and thoughtful in understanding the law and the circumstance.
Shaykh Riad concludes by reminding us the strength to engage in the halal and avoid the unlawful is derived not by intellectual understandings but through a sound heart and spiritual strength. The door to that is to continually engage in a lot of remembrance on a daily basis.
In this brief overview of Imam Ghazali’s opus magnum, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences), this series will serve as blueprint for how the believer can bring to life their religion. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the form of the religion properly, but to also practice it with excellence.
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