The Sufism (Taṣawwuf) of Ahl al-Ḥadīth

Ahl al-Ḥadīth are scholars of Ḥadīth, many of whom happen to also walk the path of Taṣawwuf (Tazkiyah/Iḥsān) in one way or another. The school of the Sufī Muḥaddithīn (Ḥadīth scholars), while not formally established with a frame and codes other than the Book and Sunnah, is characterized generally, however, by prioritizing the Qur’ān and Sunnah as a foundation (تأسيساً). Then wherever the academically valid Ijtihād leads the scholars, such can be relied on as permissible supplemental non-binding rules on non-foundational issues (استئناساً). There is no textual emphasis prioritizing the Ijtihad from the Salaf (Righteous predecessors) over the Khalaf (later generation Mujtahid scholars) or vice versa. Meritorious Ijtihad is what matters.

Some of the Sufī Muḥaddithīn (scholars of Ḥadīth):

1. Al-Muḥaddith Abū Bakr al-Kalābādhī (d. 384 H), the author of al-Taʾarruf.

2. Al-Ḥāfidh al-Sulamī (d. 412 H): The exegetist and authority in Ḥadīth sciences. Authored many books in Sufism and Sufi’s, among them: Ṭabaqāt al-Ṣūfiyyah.

3. Al-Ḥāfidh Abū Nuʾaym (d. 430 H): His book Ḥilyat al-Awliyāʿ contains biographies of the most famous figures in Islam, starting from the Prophetic companions up his Al-Ḥāfidh Abū Nuʾaym’s era. He sealed most of the biographies with something about Sufism and Sufi’s.

4. Al-Ḥāfidh Abū al-Faḍl Ibn al-Qaysarānī (d. 507 H), the author of Ṣafwat al-Taṣawwuf.

5. Al-Muḥaddith al-Faqīh Abū Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī (d. 543 H), the author of Sirāj al-Murīdīn.

6. The famous Muḥaddith al-Imam al-Nawawī (d. 676 H) who authored Maqāṣid al-Taṣawwuf.

7. Al-Imam al-Ḥāfidh al-Ṣuyūṭī (d. 911 H) who authored a book on the Shādhilī school (Tariqah) of Taṣawwuf.

8. And many many more.

9. The Sufī Muḥaddithīn’s tradition continued to our era. Some of the famous contributors to Ḥadīth sciences and Sufism in our era, were our Shuyukh; the Ghumari scholars of Ḥadīth and Taṣawwuf and their immediate senior students like Sīdī Shaykh Muḥammad al-Baqqīālī and Sīdī Shaykh ʿAbdullah al-Talīdī, the Musnid of Libya Shaykh Aḥmad al-Katʿānī, our Shaykh the Muḥaddith of the al-ʿItra al-Sayyid ʿAdāb al-Ḥamsh al-Ḥusaynī, and our Shaykh Muhammad Abd Al-Ba’ith.

They all have in common being scholars in Ḥadīth and Taṣawwuf, though their methodology may vary. They have insisted that being a student of them does not mean conformity to their Ijtihad, but conformity is reserved to the Qur’an and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah. Their Ijtihād and the Ijtihād of the scholars before them is for (استئناس) supplementation not (تأسيس) substantiation and foundation, for that is only reserved for the Qur’an and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah. They lived a life of reverence of the Qur’an and authentic Prophetic Sunnah, prioritizing them over any and everything, coupled by a spiritual (Ihsan/Tazkiyah) seeking and continuous refinement through litanies, Dhikr, and love as founded in the Book and Sunnah. 

Some of our Spiritual Ancestors:

الإمام السلطان: عَلِيّ ٱبْن مُوسَىٰ ٱلرِّضَا

He is the great Imam, leader, and scholar, al-Sultan Abu’l Hasan, ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha. Born 148 years after the Hijrah [migration] of his Grandfather, Sayidna Rasulullah (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), Imam al-Ridha lived during the period of the ‘Abbasid dynasty. He was the son of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, the son of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, the son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the son of Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, the son of Imam al-Husayn, the son of our Master and Spiritual Gateway, Sayyiduna ‘Ali b. Abi Talib – may the blessings of Allah and his peace be upon them all. Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha’s mother was named Najmah; she was of Nubian origin and was originally a slave, but was freed by the family of Imam al-Ridha, whereby his father Musa b. Ja’far then married her.

Imam al-Ridha was born and raised in a household of knowledge, piety, worship, and struggle. They inherited their lifestyle and learning from their forefathers, who received education and spiritual refinement from fathers all the way to Sayyiduna ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, who received it from the Beloved Prophet of Allah (Peace & blessings be upon him & his family). This legacy and practice of knowledge and spirituality remained with the family of the Prophet (Peace & blessings be upon him & his family), and al-Sultan al-Imam al-Ridha imbibed it in himself, just as his forefathers did before him. According to al-Waqidi, even in his youth, ‘Ali al-Ridha would transmit Prophetic reports [ahadith] from his father and uncles, and would teach, advise, and give legal rulings [fatwa] in the Masjid al-Nabawi. When providing his view of Sayyiduna al-Sultan ‘Ali al-Ridha, al-Dhahabi stated in his Siyar, “He is Imam Abu’l Hasan, and was the master of the Hashimites of his time. He was the most clement and noblest of them. Al-Ma’mun honored him, yielded to him, and magnified him to the extent that he appointed him as his successor.” 

Al-Sultan al-Imam Ali bin Musa Al-Ridha passed away on a Saturday in 203AH.” 

He was buried in modern day Mashhad, Iran, where his shrine stands as a beacon of light, a symbol of immense spirituality and knowledge, and a resort for lovers of the Prophet (Peace & blessings be upon him & his family). Imam Ibn Hibban relates his own account of visiting Imam al-Ridha’s burial place and shrine in Mashhad, stating:

“He is ‘Ali b. Musa b. Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, Abu’l Hasan, from the Sayyids of Ahlul Bayt, the wisest of them, the grandest of the Hashemites and their noblest. It is obligatory upon one to accept his hadith transmissions. Imam Al-Ridha died in Tus on a Saturday, the year 203H, and his grave is at Sanabad, just outside Nawqan, famous and oft-visited, beside the grave of al-Rashid. I visited him many times. Whenever I was afflicted with a problem during my stay in Tus, I would visit the grave of ‘Ali bin Musa (Allah’s blessings be upon his grandfather and him) and ask Allah to relieve me of that problem and my supplication would be answered and the problem alleviated. And this is something I did, and found to work, many times …”

Hafidh Ibn Hajar narrates the account of Imam of Ahlul Hadith and author of the famous Sahih compilation, Imam Ibn Khuzayma: Abu Bakr Muhammad b. al-Mu’amal b. al-Hasan b. ‘Isa said: “We accompanied the Imam of Ahlul Hadith, Abu Bakr ibn Khuzayma, Abu ‘Ali al-Thaqafi, and a group of scholars on a visit to the grave of ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha in Tus. I was astonished by the respect shown by Ibn Khuzayma towards it…”.

We claim a strong spiritual linkage to al-Imam Ali bin Musa Al-Ridha through our Shaykh and the Shaykh of our Shaykh, namely Shaykh Adab al-Hamsh.

عبد القادر گیلانی

He is Muhyi’ud-Din Abu Muhammad b. Abu Salih, ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wa’l Husayni, born 470AH in Gilan, Iran. He was a great Hanbali scholar, jurist, and the greatest Sufi teacher of his time.  Both his mother and father traced their lineage back to the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him & his family) his father being of Hasani descent, while his mother was of Husayni descent. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir grew up in the town of Gilan, where he was born, and learned the basics of Qur’an, Hadith, and Islamic studies. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s father had passed away when he was a young boy, leaving him in the custody of his grandfather Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Sama’i. When he became around 18 years of age, his grandfather also passed away, and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir moved to Baghdad, Iraq to pursue further studies in Hanbali jurisprudence from Shaykh Abu Sa’id al-Makhzumi, and other disciplines from great scholars of Baghdad.

Many decades later, he became a teacher at schools and would teach Hadith, Tafsir, and Qur’an to thousands of students every single day. Many miracles and spiritual experiences have been recorded and attributed to the great Shaykh, Sultan al-Awliya, Sayyid ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, as his strength in teaching was primarily his ability to reconcile the spiritual nature of Sufism and the strict nature of the Sacred Law. He became the founder of the Qadiri Sufi Order, which was inherited and passed on by some of his greatest students, and he finally passed away at the age of 91 in Baghdad, Iraq.

أَحْمَد ابْن عَلِي ٱلرِّفَاعِي

He is Ahmad b. ‘Ali al-Rifa’I, also known famously as Shams al-‘Iraqi and al-Kabir, and he was born in 512AH, in Basra, Iraq. He was a Husayni Sayyid, who descended from the lineage of Imam Musa b. ‘ Ja’far. Shakyh Ahmad al-Rifa’i’s father passed away when his son was only seven or eight years of age, whereby he went into the custody of his uncle, Sayyid Mansur al-Rabbani. His uncle taught him Islamic disciplines and sent him to study further with some of the scholars and teachers of their city. He learned and memorized the Qur’an at a young age, and began to learn Islamic jurisprudence and tafsir. Shaykh Ahmad al-Kabir became a well-rounded scholar, and began teaching Qur’anic commentary, hadith, and jurisprudence almost every day of the week by the time he reached his thirties. It is said that he used to perform great miracles and cure illnesses of both humans and animals, and such experiences would bring many people into the folds of Islam.

His gatherings of remembrance [dhikr] were incredibly powerful, and later in his forties and fifties, he had acquired over hundreds of thousands of spiritual seekers as students [murids], all wanting to benefit and learn from the spiritual insights of the great Shaykh through his knowledge and spiritual state. Shaykh Ahmad al-Kabir heavily emphasized learning the essential monotheistic beliefs in Islam about Allah, the sacred Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), and working devoutly in the servitude of both Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) by serving the creation in any capacity possible. He passed away in 578AH in the town of Wasit, in Basra, Iraq, where his tomb and shrine now stand.

عبد السلام بن مشيش

He is ‘Abd al-Salam b. Mashish al-‘Alami, the great Moroccan Sufi saint, born in Tangier around 559AH. He was a Sharifian descendant of Hasan b. Ali, born in a village on the ‘Alam mountain near Titwan, an ancient city in the region of Ghumara, in northern Morocco. He studied Qur’an and Maliki law under the Idrisid scholars of Banu Arus, as well as with prominent Sufi scholars such as Sidi Salem of Qabilat Bani Yusuf, and others. He used to also work as a farmer, tilling earth and planting and selling his crops. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Salam grew up learning  Qur’an and jurisprudence, and later became a scholar and teacher of both disciplines to people of all ages. At a young age, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Salam found his spiritual guide, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman b. al-Husayn al-‘Attar, so he learned spiritual sciences and traveled the path of tasawwuf under him. The last twenty years of Sayyid Ibn Mashish’s life was spent devoted to worship, spiritual contemplation, and seclusion on the mountain known as Jabal al-‘Alam. It was during this period which brought about the encounter between Shaykh ‘Abd al-Salam and his only disciple, the fellow Idrisid Shaykh, Imam Abu’l Hasan al-Shadhili. The great scholar, known as Salat al-Mashishiya, was taught by none other than Shaykh ‘Abd al-Salam b. Mashish. He died as a martyr in 622AH. 

معین الدین چشتی‎

He is Sayyid Hasan b. Ghiyathuddin al-Sijzi al-Musawi, born in Herat, Afghanistan (some accounts say he was born in Sistan) in 536AH to Sayyid Ghiyathuddin and Bibi Mahnoor, descendants of the Hasanayn (peace be upon them both and their family), through Imam Musa al-Kadhim.

During Sayyid Mu’inuddin’s teenage years, his father died, leaving him orphaned. His mother too passed on not long after. Living during the time of the Mongol conquests, Shaykh Mu’inuddin gave up business pursuits and the financial assets he inherited from his well-to-do father, and instead took up the path of traveling and learning. He traveled to many of the surrounding lands known for knowledge and spirituality, Bukhara, Samarkand, Isfahan, Nishapur etc. and acquired a great deal of knowledge and wisdom. It was in Iraq where he became murid to his shaykh Khwaja Uthman Harooni (or Harwani; a great Chisti shaykh), whom he took the Chisti path from and spent decades  in his company, traveling and learning from him. He famously used to carry his teacher’s food bag, and would serve and assist him while Shaykh Uthman would do da’wah to townspeople.

Sayyid Hasan Mu’inuddin learned and imbibed this practice, as he too would later travel to towns of various lands, preaching Islam, spirituality, and love to all. In his personal travels, he is said to have met and been in the majalis of great Sufi shaykhs such as Sultan al-Awliya’ Sayyidna ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, ( the great Shaykh Abdullah al-Ansari, Shaykh Najmuddin Kubra, and many others (Radi Allahu anh)

Years later, around his 60’s, after traversing much of the Islamic world and learning at the hand of many teachers of all disciplines, Sayyid Mu’inuddin Chisti had a dream of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, who told Mu’inuddin to travel to India and be his representative there, and to teach and spread the message of Islam to the people of India.

Without hesitating, and without even fluently knowing the Indian language, Sayyid Mu’inuddin Chisti left for India, took up residence in Ajmer sharif, and began spreading Islam – through his actions. 

He famously used to cook mass-meals for townspeople and feed them, while treating and speaking with them compassionately and with tolerance, so much so that the masses of Indians fell in love with Islam and their new teacher. Among his nicknames is Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, cherisher of the poor, for it was they whom he would feed in mass and recites odes about God and His Prophet ﷺ to. He gained fluency of the Indian language and even began teaching the farsi language/poetry to people. Millions of Indians are said to have converted to Islam through the da’wah of Sayyidna Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chisti – hence, his tomb and burial place in Ajmer has always been incredibly venerated and he became known as Sultan al-Hind. For the true Sultan is not the one who sits on a Kursi, but rather the one who has a seat on the throne of peoples’ hearts.

Khwaja Gharib  Nawaz passed away on the 6th of Rajab, 633 years after the Hijra of his Greatest Grandfather ﷺ.

بهاء الدین محمد النقشبندی‎

He is Sayyid Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband Bukhari, born in 718 AH, in the village of Qasr-i-Asrifan, near Bukhara, in what is now Uzbekistan. Early on in his life, he took up the spiritual path and became a spiritual son to one of the great Sufi Khwajas (Masters) of his time in Central Asia. His direct teacher and the one who educated him was his Shaykh, Baba Muhammad Samasi. At the age of 18, Baha’uddin’s grandfather sent him to the village of Samas to serve the great Shaykh of the time, Muhammad Baba as-Samasi. Sidi Baha’uddin spent a great deal of time serving and learning the spiritual practices and purification of the soul from his teacher, as well as another advanced student and inheritor of Muhammad al-Samasi, known as Amir Kulal. Amir Kulal became the inheritor of Samasi, after which Shah Naqshband became the inheritor of Amir Kulal, and revived the path. The students of Shaykh Amir Kulal used to make dhikr aloud when sitting together in association, and silent dhikr when alone.

Shah Naqshband, however, although he never criticized nor objected to the loud dhikr, preferred the silent dhikr. Concerning this he said, “There are two methods of dhikr; one is silent, and one is loud. I chose the silent one because it is stronger and therefore more preferable.” The silent dhikr thus became a distinguishing feature of the Naqshbandiyya (among other paths). Towards the end of his life he went back to settle in his native city of Qasr-i-‘Arifan. His teachings became quoted everywhere and his name was on every tongue. Visitors from far and wide came to see him and to seek his advice. They received teaching in his school and mosque, a complex which at one time accommodated more than five thousand people. This school is the largest Islamic center of learning in Central Asia and still exists in our day. Shah Naqshband passed away in the year 791AH, after remaining in confinement in his room during his final days. His shrine stands in Bukhara, Uzbekistan and is an oft-visited site for Muslim all over the world.

أحمد البدوى‎

He is Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi al-Husayni, tracing his lineage back to Imam al-Husayn b. ‘Ali through Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Ridha. He was born in the year 596AH, in Fes, Morocco. From a young age, Sayyid Ahmad was already known as “al-Badawi” (i.e. the Bedouin), as he liked to cover his face, imitating the behavior of the desert dwellers. He often saw these Bedouins after his family moved to Mecca when Sayyid Ahmad was only seven years old. There, Sayyid Ahmad studied and memorized the Qur’an, and attended the gatherings and classes of hadith, Shafi’i jurisprudence, and was also introduced to his spiritual shaykh, ‘Abd al-Jalil b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nisaburi, after which he spent much of his time in spiritual seclusion. Among the many places he would often go for seclusion, his favorite was the mountain called Jabal Abi Qubais, near the Holy Sanctuary in Mecca.  Sayyid Ahmad was a guide and spiritual teacher for many students of knowledge and seekers [murids].

He left Mecca and departed for Tanta, where he was visited by many people who benefitted from his presence and teachings. Amongst his sayings are, “Beware the love of this world, for it corrupts the righteous deed as vinegar corrupts honey” and, “This way of ours is built upon the Book, the Sunnah, truthfulness, purity, loyalty, bearing injustice against oneself, and fulfilling the promise.” Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi is the founder of the Badawiyya Tariqa, also known as the Ahmadiyya Tariqa, and is recognized as one of the four major Poles [aqtab] within Sufism. He passed away in 655AH/1276CE in Tanta, Egypt.

إبراهيم الدسوقي

He is the great Egyptian Imam and founder of the Desuqi Order, Sayyidi Ibrahim b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Abu’l Majd al-Desuqi. A descendant of Amir al-Mu’mini ‘Ali b. Abi Talib from his paternal side, he was born in Desuq, on the Nile delta, in 633AH and lived there his entire life. At a young age, Sayyid Ibrahim committed himself to memorization of the Qur’an and learning the sacred Islamic sciences, particularly Shafi’i Usul al-Fiqh (principles of jurisprudence). As he matured into his older years, he became greatly inspired by the path of tazkiya and would often go into spiritual retreats of seclusion [khalwa]. Eventually, Sayyid Ibrahim became a teacher of religious sciences and also a spiritual guide for many aspirants in Egypt. He was also known as a crafty potter and insisted that his disciples take up a handicraft as well to be self-sufficient. He used to say, “Whoever abandons the sacred law and esoteric sciences and ignores hygienic practices is not from amongst my sons even if I conceived him. And whoever is an aspirant adhering to the sacred law, esoteric sciences, self-sufficiency, asceticism, and is free from greed then he is my son even he be from the farthest lands.”

Sayyid Ibrahim al-Desuqi’s impressive spiritual attraction reached such peaks that the Sultan Baybars decided to make him the head Shaykh of Islam in Egypt which he accepted. He fulfilled this responsibility nevertheless refusing any personal benefits, distributing his salary for example to the poor. Likewise, the Sultan commissioned the building of a zawiya (sufi lodge) for the Shaykh to meet with his students and teach them the matters and principles of their religion. He continued working in the position of Shaykh al-Islam until the Sultan Baybars passed away, so he excused himself from the position to be more available for his students. Sayyid Ibrahim never married and dedicated all of his time to the Sufi path, worship, and meditation and dhikr. He learned many languages and wrote many books on jurisprudence, creed, and tafsir, and was also a contemporary of Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi, while his own maternal uncle was the great Saint, Sayyid Abu’l Hasan al-Shadhili. Shaykh Ibrahim is the founder of the Desuqiyya Order, and he had many followers all over Egypt, with many Christians converting to Islam at his hands. He passed away in the year 676AH, in the very room that he used to often worship, in his well-known mosque in Desuq.

سعد الدين الجباوي

He is the great Idrisid Hasani Sufi scholar Sayyid Sa’d al-Din b. Yunus b. ‘Abdullah al-Jibawi, born in Mecca in the year 460AH. At a young age, Shaykh Sa’d al-Din memorized the Holy Qur’an and its recitation in the Sacred Sanctuary of Mecca. By the time he was twelve years old, he had completed his first stages of Islamic studies and continued to build on that under the tutelage of his father, Shaykh Yunus al-Shaybani al-Idrisi. Shaykh Sa’d al-Din also learned from the various teachers of Mecca, who taught the various disciplines such as tafsir, hadith, Shafi’i sacred law, and creed. Later on, he traveled outside of Mecca, to lands such as Yemen, Morocco, the Levant, Jerusalem, and Egypt, studying and learning from the foremost spiritual teachers and scholars of those lands. Shaykh Sa’d al-Din became a learned scholar and spiritual guide and teacher to many students of his time, and also wrote a number of books and treaties about spirituality and purification of the heart. He died in 575 AH, in the Syrian village of Jiba’, where he had relocated and settled in during the latter years of his life along with the students and followers of his Spiritual Order.

أبو الحسن الشاذلي

Imam Abul Hassan ash-Shadili was born in the region of Ghumara, in modern day Morocco, around the year 583 A.H. He embarked on a spiritual journey in search of a genuine teacher or guide and as a result travelled to Baghdad which was famously known as the center of the Muslim world. Abul Hassan was advised to travel back to his homeland by a Sufi Shaykh and it was there that he later met his most prominent teacher Abd al-Salam b. Mashish al-‘Alami, the great Moroccan Sufi saint. Abul Hassan asked Abd al-Salam b. Mashish recognised that this young man had very special qualities. Abd al-Salam b. Mashish took Abul Hassan on as his disciple and guided him on his path of spirituality.

Abu Hassan started attracting followers and was known to support the poor and downtrodden in society. During his lifetime his disciples were dispersed in North Africa as well as Tunisia and Egypt. Abul Hassan was ordered to travel to Tunisia by his teacher where he established his first Zawiya (Sufi Lodge) in Tunisia. In Tunisia Abul Hassan met a young man who was to become his sucesor, Abul Abbas al-Mursi. After a while Abul Hassan left Tunisia with his student Abul Abbas and some others and moved to Alexandria where he established another zawiya (Sufi Lodge). Abul Hassan spent his life learning and teaching the Qur’an and the way of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family) to the masses, until the year 565 A.H where he passed away on the way to perform the Religious Pilgrimage (Hajj). He was buried in Southern Egypt and his shrine is visited by people from around the world.

أبو القاسم الجنيد بن محمد

Imam Abul Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muḥammad al-Bagdhadi, more famously known as Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi was born around 210 A.H. He was very young when he became an orphan, resulting in his uncle Sirri Saqti taking care of his upbringing. At a young age Sari al-Saqti travelled for Hajj and took Imam Junayd with him. It is said that upon arrival in Masjid Nabawi the two met with hundreds of shuyukh (scholars). Here they were discussing the concept of gratitude or thankfulness where Imam Junayd as a young boy answered ‘Thankfulness means that one should not disobey Allah by means of the favour which He has bestowed upon you nor make His favour a source of disobedience.” The scholars agreed that this was the best way to define the term. Sari al-Saqati became one of his greatest teachest alongside al-Harith al-Muhasibi who later took him under his wing. Imam al-Junayd spent most of his time in prayer, devoting his time and his thoughts only to Allah he also withdrew himself from society spending his days and nights in worshipping Allah. Men would come and ask him to start peaching and calling people to Allah but he refused until he had a dream of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family) asking him to start pearching. Around 296 A.H Imam Junayd passed away.

أَبُو حَامِدٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلطُّوسِيُّ ٱلْغَزَالِيُّ

Abu Hamid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad at-Tusiyy al-Ghazali was born in the eastern Iranian city of Tus in 450 A.H. (1058 c.e.) and later died in the city of Tus at the age of 505 A.H. During his fairly short lifetime Imam al-Ghazali established himself as a pivotal figure throughout the Islamic world. In his early thirties Imam al-Ghazali was a legal scholar and a teacher in the city of Baghdad. Even after becoming a pre-eminent scholar and teacher he felt a void in his life. This void was to be filled by the spiritual journey he undertook. Imam al-Ghazali left his home, his career, his position, and his family to embark on a journey of where he left Baghdad and travelled to Syria to spend over a decade in solitude. It was during this period that he wrote his most famous work “The Revival of the Religious Sciences” also known as the Ihya. This book is considered to be one of the greatest works in spirituality and is still taught around the globe till this day. Imam al-Ghazali eventually returned home to continue teaching and later passed away in the city of Tus.