The Alchemy of Happiness - Al-Ghazali
Kimiya-yi Sa'ādat or The Alchemy of Happiness, was written by Abu Hamid Al-Gazali in 1105, at the end of his life. It is a summary of his masterpiece Ihya'e Ulum-ed'Deen, The Renaissance of the Sciences of Religion. It was originally written in Persian, a language that at the time rivalled Arabic in importance in the Islamic world, to reach a wider audience. From the original Persian it was translated into several languages such as Urdu, Turkish, Azerbaijani, German and English.
The original work consists of several chapters and contains more than a thousand pages dealing with issues related to spirituality and purification of the heart, knowledge of God and how to approach Him, but also covers some legal issues related to marriage, business transactions, etiquette when eating and receiving guests and other issues of daily practice of Muslims. Two short translations into English were made from it in 1873 and 1909, which are the basis for this translation.
The term Sa'ādat, translated as happiness, is a fundamental concept in Islamic philosophy to describe the highest goal of human endeavor, which can be achieved through ethical perfection and the constant acquisition of knowledge. It is the closeness to Allah and His infinite Mercy, and the attainment of supreme happiness that awaits the believer in Paradise, but which we can still experience in this life, in a relative way, when engaging in prayer or in the remembrance of God.
In Islam, all actions become worship and are ways of remembering God, if done with the intention of pleasing Allah alone and performed as He has determined. Thus, in Alchemy of Happiness, Imam Al-Gazali teaches how to achieve closeness to God through His constant remembrance, through specific acts of worship and daily acts as well, which will result in happiness in this life and in the Next.