By: Ghazali, Abu Hamid ( 450/1058 - 505/1111 )Share
Book XVII of 'Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya 'Ulum al-Din')
Al-Ghazali on Conduct in Travel', is the seventeenth chapter of the 'Revival of the Religious Sciences', which is widely regarded as the greatest work of Muslim spirituality. This volume falls in the section dealing with society and the normas of daily life. In it Ghazali explains the reason for travel - in quest for knowledge or ones living, for the sake of worship including performing pilgrimage, flight from what causes confusion in religion, and flight from harm; and the advantages gained from travel - the disciplining of the soul through exposure to the rigors and strains of travel, and the acquisition of virtue and self-knowledge. On the practical side, Ghazali lists seven forms of conduct in travel, including how to prepare for a journey, what prayers to recite, what to do on the way and how to approach the retun home. The final chapter of 'Conduct in Travel' is dedicated to explanations of the religious concessions that travelers are granted in the like of the shortening and combining of prayers, the breaking of the fast, and how and when they can be applied. Finally, Ghazali explains in detail how to learn to establish the direction of the qibla and the proper times for the daily prayers. As in all his writings, Ghazali bases his arguments in Conduct in Travel on the Qur'an, the example of the Prophet and the saying of scholars and Sufis. He illustrates how an outward activity such as travel can encourage numerous virtues that are themselves necessary for the remainder of the spiritual life.