Revelation (wahy) and Ilham (divine inspiration) according to Imam Ghazali

Summary of Ihya Ulum al-Deen class at LCI

This is short summary of last weeks class (17/5/21) by a student:

There are two types of divine inspiration: Wahy (revelation) and Ilham (inspiration). Wahy is the knowledge which is sent down to the prophets, Ilham is the knowledge sent down to believers who purify their hearts. The difference between the two is that Wahy involves the receiver seeing the angel who brings the knowledge, whereas Ilham doesn’t.

A student can gain knowledge in two ways- studying or Ilham. The only difference is that Ilham is brought directly by an angel, the other is learnt through books.

A hijab (barrier) exists between one’s spiritual heart and the Guarded Tablet (lowh-ul-mahfoodh) on which is inscribed everything decreed until the day of judgment. Sometimes the hijab is partially lifted temporarily, such as when one glimpses the future through a true dream.

Full unveiling of the unseen realm occurs after death. Whilst one is living, they may sometimes glimpse the unseen, but this state usually only lasts a few moments; it is rare for this state to persist.

Imam Ghazali outlines a method of deep meditation for people who want to receive divine openings. They should cut off all attachments to the Dunya, emptying their hearts for Allah. They should cut off devotion to things like wealth, family, country, studying knowledge, even desire to become a Waley or Sufi Shaykh, as even this can be muddled in motivation of worldly gain and prestige.

To begin the meditation, the person should go and sit alone in a Zawiyah (lit. “corner). They should ensure they continue to do fardh and sunnah acts of worship, but apart from this they should sit in silence. They must make an effort that nothing occurs in the heart apart from the word ‘Allah’. They should continue repeating the word ‘Allah’ until the dhikr leaves the tongue and occurs in the heart. Eventually even the letters that form the word ‘Allah’ will disappear, whilst the meaning of the word remains in the heart. In this way, the person has prepared their heart to receive divine openings. However, all they can do is prepare, they have no control over whether they will receive openings or not, that is up to Allah (s.w.t).

Monday evening class at LCI. Shaykh Ridhwan goes through the Quarter on Destructive Vices from the Ihya Ulum al-Deen of Imam Ghazali (may Allah have mercy on him). The shaykh reads through the original Arabic text with translation and commentary in English.

You can enrol for this class here

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