THE following quotations from Ghazali's Ihya'u'l-'Ulum (Cairo, Maimaniyya Press, A.H. 1322) will give an idea of this noted theologian's position on this point.

'And a certain Shaikh saw Bishr bin Haratha in his sleep, and said, "What have Abu Nasri't-Tammar and 'Abdu'l-Wahhabi'l-Warraq done?" And he said, "I left them this hour (just now) in the presence of God, eating and drinking." I said, "And you?" He replied, "God knew my small desire for food and drink, so He gave me the vision of Himself".'

'And (it is related) of 'Ali binu'l-Muwaffaq, that he said, "I saw in sleep as if I had entered Janna (Paradise), and I saw a man standing at a table and two angels at his right hand and his left, feeding him with (giving him mouthfuls of) all the good things, and he was eating; and I saw a man standing at the gate of Janna, examining the faces of the people, and letting in some, and turning away others". He said (He went on to say), "Then I passed the two of them to the sacred enclosure, and I saw in the tent of the throne (Saradiqu'l-'Arsh), a man who had turned his sight to look at God (may He be exalted), and he never glanced aside;" and I said to Radwan, "Who is this?" He replied, "Ma'rufu'l-Karkhi 'Abdu'llah (he is doing it); not from fear of His fire (hell fire), nor from love of His Janna, but for love of Him. And He has permitted him to have the vision of Him till the day of resurrection".' (iv. page 221.)


Ghazali quotes (iv. page 222) the following anonymous verse, and comments on it thus:—

'Absence from Him is greater than His Fire,
And being with Him is better than His Janna.

And he did not mean by this anything more than to give precedence to the pleasures of the heart in the knowledge of God (may He be exalted) over the pleasures of eating and drinking and sexual intercourse; for Janna is a place of enjoyment of the senses (a place of sensuous enjoyment); but the pleasure of the heart is the meeting of God only.'

On page 221, Ghazali argues that the pleasure of the knowledge of God (of which the vision of God hereafter is but the culmination) can be understood only by those who have experienced it, and whose natures and characters are such that they could find pleasure in such knowledge. 'And so he who knows not God in this world, how shall he see God in the other world?' (iv. page 223.)

'And every one who has not known God in this world, shall not see Him in the world to come. And he who has not found the pleasure of the knowledge (of Him), in this world, shall not find the pleasure of the vision in the other . . . . But the best of Janna is that every one shall have in it that which he desires, and he who desires nothing but to meet God, shall not find pleasure in anything else.' (iv. page 224.)