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The Knowledge of God

God’s existence, from the wonders of his bodily frame God’s power and wisdom, and from the ample provision made for his various needs God’s love. In this way the knowledge of oneself becomes a key to the knowledge of God.


The Flying Jezebel



It is a well-known saying of the Prophet that “He who knows himself, knows God”; that is, by contemplation of his own being and attributes man arrives at some knowledge of God. But since many who contemplate themselves do not find God, it follows that there must be some special way of doing so. As a matter of fact, there are two methods of arriving at this knowledge, but one is so abstruse that it is not adapted to ordinary intelligences, and therefore is better left unexplained.

The other method is as follows: When a man considers himself he knows that there was a time when he was non-existent, as it is written in the Koran: “Does it not occur to man that there was a time when he was nothing?” Further, he know that he was made out of a drop of water in which there was neither intellect, nor hearing, sight, head, hands, feet, etc. From this it is obvious that, whatever degree of perfection he may have arrived at, he did not make himself, nor can he now make a single hair.

How much more helpless, then, was his condition when he was a mere drop of water! Thus, as we have seen in the first chapter, he finds in his own being reflected in miniature, so to speak, the power, wisdom and love of the Creator. If all the sages of the world were assembled, and their lives prolonged for an indefinite time, they could not effect any improvement in the construction of a single part of the body.

For instance, in the adaptation of the front and side-teeth to the mastication of food, and in the construction of the tongue, salivating glands, and the throat for its deglutition, we find a contrivance which cannot be improved upon. Similarly, whoever considers his hand, with its five fingers of unequal lengths, four of them with three joints and the thumb with only two, and the way in which it can be used for grasping, or for carrying, or for smiting, will frankly acknowledge that no amount of human wisdom could better it by altering the number and arrangement of the fingers, or in any other way.

When a man further considers how his various wants of food, lodging, etc., are amply supplied from the storehouse of creation, he becomes aware that God’s mercy is as great as His power and wisdom, as He has Himself said, “My mercy is greater than My wrath,” and according to the Prophet’s saying, “God is more tender to His servants than a mother to her suckling-child.” Thus from his own creation man comes to know God’s existence, from the wonders of his bodily frame God’s power and wisdom, and from the ample provision made for his various needs God’s love. In this way the knowledge of oneself becomes a key to the knowledge of God.

Extract From Book - The Alchemy Of Happiness - By Al Ghazzali and translated By Claud Field

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