Monday, July 2, 2012

The Alchemy of Happiness

"The heart of man has been so constituted by the Almighty that, like a flint, 
it contains a hidden fire which is evoked by music and harmony, 
and renders man beside himself with ecstasy. 
These harmonies are echoes of that higher world of beauty 
which we call the world of spirits; they remind man of his relationship to that world, 
and produce in him an emotion so deep and strange 
that he himself is powerless to explain it. 
The effect of music and dancing is deeper in proportion 
as the natures on which they act are simple and prone to emotion; 
they fan into a flame whatever love is already dormant in the heart, 
whether it be earthly and sensual, or divine and spiritual." 

Muhammad al-Ghazzali
(1058–1111 C.E.)

Al-Ghazzali is one of the most important religious figures in Islamic history. 
He is particularly noted for his brilliant synthesis of mysticism and traditional Sunni Islam. 
Ghazzali's "The Alchemy of Happiness", written toward the end of his life, 
provides a succinct introduction to both the theory and practice of Sufism