Imam Ghazali’s quotes can be found in many of his great works, one of the greatest of all time is the Ihyaulum al-din (Revival of the Religious Sciences). A lot of other quotes can be found in the open letter to his students entitled, My dear Beloved Son/Daughter, taken from the book YaAyyuhalwalad.
Below are 30 quotes of Imam Ghazali categorized into different sections, it includes knowledge, self-reflection, good character and others.
Quotes about Knowledge
1. Knowledge without action is vanity, and action without knowledge is insanity.
2. Knowledge exists potentially in the human soul like the seed in the soil; by learning the potential becomes actual.
3. Using his powers to attain to knowledge can raise him up to the ranks of Angels. Following desire he is brought down to the level of beasts.
4. Dear seeker, you will not be able to rise to carry out the commands of Allah until you monitor your heart and limbs in every moment and every breath.
5. The corruption of religions comes from turning them to mere words and appearances.
Quotes about Advice
1. Advice is easy, what is difficult is accepting it, for it is bitter in taste.
2. Shaikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali was asked, “What is the ruling of the one who left prayer?” He replied, “The ruling is for you to take them along with you to the mosque.” Be a caller, not a judge.
3. The tongue is very small and light but it can take you to the greatest heights and it can put you in the lowest depths.
4. Soft words soften the hearts that are harder than rock, harsh words harden hearts that are softer than silk.
Imam Ghazali Quotes about good Character
1. The hypocrite looks for faults; the believer looks for excuses.
2. Declare your jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see egoism, arrogance, conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, intolerance, anger, lying, cheating, gossiping and slandering. If you can master and destroy them, then you will be ready to fight the enemy you can see.
3. We are creatures that love to blame the external, not realizing that the problem is usually internal.
4. The first stage of sincerity is that your private and public state should be the same.
5. Desires make slaves out of kings and patience makes kings out of slaves.
6. If you see an unbeliever, say, “I don’t know, maybe he will become a Muslim, and his life will be sealed with the best of deeds, and for his Islam he will emerge free of sin, as a strand of hair is gently removed from dough. As for me, Allah could cause me to go astray, so that I become of the unbelievers, and my life could be sealed with the worst of deeds. So tomorrow this person might be of the Ones Drawn Nigh [to Allah], and I of the distant ones!
7. Half of disbelief in God in the world is caused by people who made religion look ugly due to their bad conduct and ignorance.
Quotes about Self Reflection
1. As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good; I was actually being re-directed to something better. You must convince your heart that whatever God has decreed is most appropriate and most beneficial for you.
2. It is the states of the heart, the place of our intentions, that holds us accountable.
3. Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul, sometimes it helps me and sometimes it opposes me.
4. If we had perfect power to determine our destinies, and perfect vision to see the future and know what is best for us, we would choose exactly the fate that Allah has chosen for us.
5. People count with self-satisfaction the number of times they have recited the name of God on their prayer beads, but they keep no beads for reckoning the number of idle words they speak.
6. One departs from the station of patience through anxiety, exaggeration of complaint, making an exhibition of sorrow, possessions and food.
7. Do not allow your heart to take pleasure with the praises of people nor be saddened by their condemnation.
8. Verily the soul becomes accustomed to what you accustom it to. That is to say: what you at first burden the soul with becomes nature to it in the end.
9. To get what you love, you must first be patient with what you hate.
Imam Ghazali Quotes about Destiny
1. What is destined will reach you, even if it be beneath two mountains.
What is not destined will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips.
2. To completely trust in God is to be like a child who knows deeply that even if he does not call for the mother, the mother is totally aware of his condition and is looking after him.
Sayings about Friendship
1. The real friend is the one who, when you ask him to follow you, doesn’t ask ‘Where?’ but gets up and goes.
2. Keep company with those who have firm faith, hear from them the learning of sure faith, follow them always, so that your faith may become firm as their faith became firm.