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The Mysteries of the Pilgrimage

The Mysteries of the Pilgrimage

Author: Al-Ghazali

Kitāb asrār al-ḥajj. Book 7 of the Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn.

Translated from the Arabic with an Introduction and Notes by M. Abdurrahman Fitzgerald

In the Mysteries of the Pilgrimage (Kitāb asrār al-ḥajj), book 7 of the forty books of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn), Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī discusses the fundamentals of the pilgrimage, including its pillars, preconditions, and obligations. The book begins with an introduction on the merits of the pilgrimage and its rewards. Al-Ghazālī explains the Qurʾānic statement announcing the pilgrimage: And proclaim to the people the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass—that they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of God on known days [22:27–28].

In chapter 1, al-Ghazālī enumerates the merits and the profound significance of Mecca and Medina, the sacred mosque, the black stone, and the Kaʿba. In the next chapter, he explains the outward actions, from the beginning of the journey until the return home. In the concluding chapter, he details the rules of conduct and inward practices, lessons, re – flections, and insights regarding their mysteries and its inner meaning, from the beginning of the pilgrimage to its end. By symbolically linking the actions of the pilgrimage to events of daily life, al-Ghazālī ultimately reveals its true meaning. This edition also includes helpful diagrams of the rites of the pilgrimage and the supplications (in Arabic and English).

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