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Main: Article: Contesting the authenticity of Ma`arij


Ma‘arij al-Qudus fi Madarij M’arifat al-Nafs


Mashhad Al-Allaf

I thinks that the book so called: Ma‘arij al-Qudus fi Madarij M’arifat al-Nafs, was not written by Imam al-Ghazali and was falsely attributed to him. (A special thanks to Muhammad Hozien who translated this portion with the author’s permission. Also for his great effort to facilitate knowledge to students and scholars through his website)

I think that the book called Ma‘arij al-Qudus fi Madarij M’arifat al-Nafs, is a book that is falsely attributed to al-Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. My conclusion is based first on the studying the history of the manuscripts of al-Ghazali’s books and that of Ma‘arij al-Qudus. Second by analyzing the works of the specialized scholars who classified al-Ghazali’s book. Third by comparing the internal contents of Ma‘arij al-Qudusfi with al-Ghazali’s writing and his style and semantics. The book so called Ma‘arij al-Qudus fi Madarij M’arifat al-Nafs was not written by al-Ghazali and was with no doubt falsely attributed to him.  The following details show how the book Maarij al-Qudus was one of the books that was falsely attributed to Imam Abu  Hamid al-Ghazali:

  1. This book: Maarij al-Qudus was neither mentioned in the early classification of al-Ghazali’s books such as the famous classification of al-Subki (d. 771). Nor it is mentioned by the later authors who listed al-Ghazali’s works like al-Murtda al-Zabidi (d. 1205). This mean that the name of this book Maarij al-Qudus was a recent compilation that came into existence at least in the late thirteenth century or even after that.  So there was no such book during the life of Imam al-Ghazali called Maarij al-Qudus.
  2. Badawi states in describing the manuscript number 630 falsafa in Dar al-Kutb al-Misrya (National Egyptian Archives) that in the title page of this manuscript there is only the title “Ma'arij al-Qudus” without any mentioning of an author. C. f. Badawi p. 245.
  3. al-Ghazali never mentions this book (Maarij al-Qudus ) in any of his works. He does not mention it in al-Munqidh min al-dalal in which he mentions a good number of his books. Also he did not mention it in the ihya’.
  4. Maarij al-Qudus does not mention any of the works or books of al-Ghazali, nor does it refer to any of the sections in al-Ghazali’s other works of a similar topic.
  5. The compiler of Maarij al-Qudus has placed an introduction under the title: “On the meanings of synonymous terms denoting nafs (soul) and they are four nafs (soul), qalab (heart), rouh (spirit) and aql (intellect). This is nothing but a summary in four pages of a well known section in the ihya’ comprising of 50 pages. It is the first book of 3rd Quarter on the ways to perdition (book 21) titled The Marvels of the Heart, in which Imam al-Ghazali has discussed in detail these concepts. If  Maarij al-Qudus was authentically belong to al-Ghazali, then al-Ghazali would have directed the reader to the ihya’ for more details on this crussial topic. If he had written Maarij al-Qudus before al-Ihya’ , then al-Ghazali would have mentioned it in the ihya’.
  6. In Maarij al-Qudus there is again another chapter titled “Expounding the examples of the heart with its armies which has three examples” and this is again a summary that is inferior of the similarly titled section from the ihya’. If it was truly and authentically written by al-Ghazali, then, al-Ghazali would have directed the reader to the detailed section in book 21 on the Marvels of the Heart, in his Ihay’.
  7. As a conclusion Maarij al-Qudus  is not written by al-Ghazali, and the book as a whole is not much more than a collection of summaries from the works of al-Ghazali without a cohesive connection among its chapters; which is contradictory to al-Ghazali’s writing styles.

Additional information from Badawi, pp. 244-248:

According to the book’s editor/printer (Badawi, p. 244) Muhyi al-din Sabri al-Kurdi that he utilized two manuscripts the first one is dated 15 Rajab, 1066 and another dated 923 and was reviewed in 1345.

According to Badawi he mentions the following Mss for this book:

  • Wali al-din 1814[10] Baghdad,

  • 630 falsafa in dar al-kutb al-misrya (National Egyptian Archives)

  • Kuperlu 853

  • Aya sofia 1: 388 [20 Arabic taswauf]

These are different than the one’s mentioned by al-Kurdi.

The 630 falsafa in dar al-kutb al-misrya (National Egyptian Archives) was copied by Muhammad Baqir ibn khadma’li in 1176 in 74 folios aprox 20 lines per page written in an are 6.4 X 12.2 cm with numerous corrections in the margins in a different hand.  (Badawi p. 246)

However the Baghdad Mss is in better shape as it was written by a better copyist. It begins the same as the work above however it ends differently where it mentions  Mi’ayar al-ilm and Mizan al-amal. It is part of a Mujmua’ work includes an epistle on states of the soul, Maarij al-Qudus, mi‘yar al-‘ilm, mahik al-Nazar. Copied in 887. (Badawi, p. 247-8



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