Ten Principles for Those Seeking the Path of Allah


by Imam Ghazali | Translated and Abridged by Webb Translators

Principle 1: Have a sincere, unwavering intention.  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “each person will be rewarded for what he intended” (Muslim). This calls for determination in the heart to continuously act or to abstain from something only for God’s sake. A sign of having sincere intentions is that one does not change his resolve for fleeting reasons; what is done for God, the Truth, should not be forsaken to please His creation.

Principle 2: Work purely for God, (the One) without partners or associates. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “worship God as though you see Him, but if you do not see Him (know that) He sees you” (Muslim). A sign of working purely for God is to not accept anything except the truth, and to see everything else besides the truth as vain and fleeting. As the prophet ﷺ said, “Let the slave of the dinar perish” (Bukhari). One should also beware of falling into doubtful matters. As Prophet Muhammad ﷺ: “Leave what is doubtful for what is not doubtful” (Tirmidhi and Nasa’i).

Principle 3: Align one’s desires with the guidelines and rulings of the Shari`ah (Islamic law). Be patient in times of hardship and difficulty, when struggling with personal desires, and in avoiding sinful acts and pleasures. Whoever practices this regularly reaches a state whereby he is in his sleep as if he were awake [worshipping], in his mixing with people as if he were in seclusion, in his fulfillment as if he were hungry, in his pride as if he were humiliated, and in talking to others as if he were silent.

Principle 4: Base one’s actions on following [the prophet’s way and scholarly opinions], and not on innovation. This prevents the following of one’s own desires and becoming proud of one’s own opinion. Surely, a person who takes himself as his own ruler will not succeed.

Principe 5: Have high ambitions, and do not procrastinate. It is said: “do not leave today’s work until tomorrow,” because actions are built on each another; and whoever is content with a lower [status] will be deprived of a higher one.

Principle 6: Be aware of one’s incapability and insignificance. This is not referring to laziness in worship or lack of productivity in work. It is about realizing that one is not capable of doing any action without support from God, the Most Capable, and Most Generous. This awareness is also manifested in viewing other people with respect and reverence, for people are means and helpers of one another on the path to God, the Exalted and Most Bountiful.

Principle 7: Have fear and hope, and do not be sure that your good deeds are accepted until you have witnessed this [on the day of Judgment]. One should have hope not because of the good deeds themselves, but because God Himself is the Most Benevolent and Generous.

Principle 8: Be consistent in one’s wird (regular litany of worship), for the one without a wird does not have additional source of support from God.  With a wird, the soul opens up in public and private; it becomes more mindful of the rights of others; it increases in loving and hating for others what it loves or hates for itself.  Also, having that wird makes one work more for God in order to please Him, just as a person would love that God does for him what he finds pleasing.

Principle 9: Be constantly observant of your actions and do not stray away from the remembrance of God even the blink of an eye. For the one who is always observant of his heart for the sake of God, and does not let other than God enter his heart besides, is one who has truly found God, experienced His Benevolence, and has reached ‘ilm al-yaqeen (certain knowledge). This is manifested in seeing God as the Enabler or Mover of everything that remains still or in motion around us. One’s mindfulness then increases from there until he recognizes that God is the Sustainer of everything, so His interaction with the creation is characterized by the best of manners. (Exemplifying this), the Prophet ﷺ said: “My Lord taught me good manners, and He gave me the best of manners.”

Principle 10: Know what one should be occupied with, both internally and externally for whoever thinks that he is not in need of obeying [God and His messenger] is a broke man who is in opposition to God’s words: “…Say ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you’ ”(Qur’an 3:31).  This is the foundation upon which have been built castles like no other.

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17 Comments

  1. Engie Salama says:

    Beautiful article and a very necessary translation! Jazakum’allah khairan Webb Translators and this website (truly my virtual mosque!) for posting such brilliant articles.

  2. Sis Anis says:

    Jazakallah khayran for this! Very beneficial. May Allah swt give us the ability to apply what we learn

  3. What amazing points! It’s a concise and complete list of how to be successful in both dunya and akhira. Mashallah, I’m mindblown.

    Jazakallahkhair for translating. :)

  4. Navroz says:

    This is a beautiful post and definitely inline with the many great article posted on Webb’s site. JazakAllah Khyran to the Webb translators for this beneficial piece and re Imam Ghazali’s (RA) 10 points.

  5. fatima says:

    may Allah continued to guide us to the straight path. amee

  6. Naz says:

    SUBHANALLAH! This is really wat I needed, I was looking for answers and SUBHANALLAH! This article provided them. Thanks for the amazing articles and enlightening others thru the knowledge ALLAH s.w.t gave u all. Keep up the amazing work Suhaib Webb team, and keep these amazing articles coming! IA!

  7. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah Khair for translating this wonderful piece of Imam Ghazali’s work.

  8. Hazem says:

    JazakAllah for this beautiful post. Could you briefly elaborate on what principle 3 means when it says:

    “Whoever practices this regularly reaches a state whereby he is in his sleep as if he were awake [worshipping], in his mixing with people as if he were in seclusion, in his fulfillment as if he were hungry, in his pride as if he were humiliated, and in talking to others as if he were silent.”

    A bit confused as to what this means.

    JazakAllah khair

  9. ZAI says:

    Beautiful message and reminder.
    More on this topic please!

  10. Huda (Webb translator) says:

    Thank you for all the positive comments! AlhamdulilAllah.

    Br. Hazem, the original text did not have an elaboration of the quote you are asking about. However, my understanding of it is that Imam Ghazali is describing a person who has reached a position whereby he/she is in a state of worship and consciousness of Allah, even when they may seem to be preoccupied with worldly desires or whims.

  11. Great article. Did this blog just switched from using “Allah” to “God”?

  12. Nadia says:

    Short and powerful mashaAllah

  13. islam blog says:

    well thought out post indeed!!

    masallah!

    number 9!

  14. Asalamu alakum. I ask Allah swt to grant you al these ten principles ameen ya rab and to make this ummah stronger and greater and I ask him to grant us all his mercy and paradise . I truly am just hurt because no matter what I do to worship him swt it’s not enough even if I prostrate to him all day it’s not even a drop of what hes given to us Ill never be satisfied with my worship because know he deserves more .I do as much as I can alhumdulliah I thank Allah for my state and without his permission of me loving him and his messenger saw I would have never been where I am in regards to how I have submitted my life to Allah swt and every breath and thought consists of him alhamdulliah .theirs no better happiness than the happiness of Allah swt .hope and fear of him but most of all love for him loving him can’t wait to see him Allah grant us the day we see your face and your beloved , grant us the home you’ve promised us most of all grant us a house right next to your throne ..ameeen ya rab

  15. When you reach that state nothing around you matters and your heart is filled with happiness.u live upon allah swt remberence with every breath and don’t worry about anything because you know he’s with u. In regards to principle 3 When you reach that saw al humduliiah it does feel like that you wake up as if you never slept as if you where worshippin Allah in your sleep your eyes close but your heart is awak in allahs worship ,when the praising of some one I said you get mad an d feel like you have been humiliated and don’t want to be praised because your not at any higher or better state than any one. When your around people you feel like your in seclusion because while their talkin about Worldly life your thinking about seein Allah swt and his messenger saw and wondering if your doin anything to get them mad and trying to do everything to make sure they’ll smile about it. And when you speak its as if you whete silent if you didnt speak about allah swt and his messenger(saw) and when you done alot you still . are not fulfilled and are stlill hungry to do more that will please Allah swt and are hungry to worship him more and more .I ask Allah to continue this feeling and to strengthen our faith.and alhadulliah for all he has given .

  16. Mariam says:

    A lovely reminder and timeless lesson. We are so blessed to have Imam al Ghazali’s knowledge right at our fingertips, thanks to the noble efforts of Webb Translators.

  17. Weasley says:

    Ghazali is a boss!

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