(Continued from the previous post)
After having completed all of this he is now able to worship and serve Allah as required and is safe from all destructive forces but still he takes another deep pondering look and all of a sudden he realises that he is totally submerged in the Oceans of Allah's Generosity and Munificence because of the numerous favours and bounties Allah has bestowed upon him such as having granted him Success and Protection and all kinds of Aid and Security. All of sudden he is consumed with fear that he might neglect to reciprocate (all this generosity) with gratitude and appreciation and thus plunge into the abyss of ingratitude and fall from this elevated station – the station of the sincere and pure-hearted servants of Allah, the High and Mighty. Consequently, all these generous favours such as the variety of Benevolence that Allah displayed to him and having looked upon him with favour. Here he is confronted with the Obstacle of Praise and Gratitude and he sets out to conquer it with all the praise he is able to celebrate and all the gratitude he is able display for the numerous favours Allah has bestowed on him.
After having surmounted this Obstacle and having descended he all of a sudden finds himself within reach of his goal and what he has all along strived for. It is not long that he travels before he falls down to the Land of Bounty and the Desert of Longing and Plains of Love.
Thereafter he descends further to the Gardens of Divine Contentment and the Gardens of Geniality leading to the Carpets of Cheerfulness and the Station of Proximity and the Council of Communion and obtaining the Robes of Honour. He delights and rejoices amidst these states being transformed in their goodness for the days he remains (in this world) and the rest of his life – with his person being in this world and his heart in the Next – anticipating more day by day, hour by hour until he tires of the whole of creation and begins to despise the worldly life and yearn for death. As his longing and yearning for the High Assembly become more complete then all of a sudden he is amongst the emissaries of the Lord of the Worlds dispatched to him approaching him with rest and provision, Glad Tidings and Divine Contentment from a Pleased not a Displeased Lord. They carry and transport him with good spirit and complete joy and geniality from this ephemeral abode full of temptation, to the Divine Presence and the settlement of the Gardens of Paradise. He envisions for his weak and poor soul (unimaginable) delight and a great kingdom. There he will meet from his Merciful and Munificent Master – Magnificent is His Mention – Kindness and Compassion, Reception and Proximity, Favour and Honour, the likes of which defy description and expression. Every day he draws closer to the Eternity of eternities. What Great Felicity! What High Power! What a fortunate devotee and an auspicious man and a praiseworthy affair! Absolute Happiness for him and a Beautiful Destination!
We ask and beseech Allah, the Most Kind and Most Merciful – Glory be to Him – to bestow on us this Great Favour and Enormous Bounty and this is not at all difficult for Allah, and not to make us of those whose share thereof is nothing but description, hearsay and empty and idle wishing, and not to make the knowledge that we learn serve as evidence against us on the Day of Resurrection. (We also ask and beseech Him) to guide us all to execute this and carry it out in the manner that He loves and approves of. Indeed, He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy and the Most Generous of those who show generosity.
[End of Imam al-Ghazali's Introduction;
the rest of the book is an elaboration of each of the Seven Obstacles backed with Qur'anic Verses and Prophetic Sayings]