Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The spiritual life from the perspectives of Islam and Christianity : the stages of the spiritual life… Christensen, Linda 1987

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-UBC_1987_A8 C47.pdf [ 3.52MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0097038.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0097038-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0097038-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0097038-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0097038-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0097038-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0097038-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

T H E SPIRITUAL LIFE FROM THE PERSPECTIVES OF ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: THE STAGES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IN T H E TEACHINGS OF AL-GHAZALI AND ST. TERESA OF A VILA by L I N D A C H R I S T E N S E N B . A . , The Univers i ty of Alber ta , 1980 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S T H E D E P A R T M E N T O F R E L I G I O U S S T U D I E S We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A A p r i l 1987 © L I N D A C H R I S T E N S E N , 1987 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of R£.1 i <^  i pus S'kiuA.i'es The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date q f r , I XT- t ft Jflr A B S T R A C T In this thesis I attempt to i l lustrate that there is common ground between Chris t iani ty and Is lam in the area of spir i tuali ty. The procedure taken is one of describing the spiritual path from the perspectives of a l -Ghazal i (d. 1111) and St. Teresa of A v i l a (d. 1582) in a comparative manner. The three-fold categorization of the spir i tual path as consisting of the stages of purgation, i l lumination, and union, is used to provide the format for this comparison. Chapter one deals w i th biographical mater ia l and historical contexts, noting similarit ies in their experiences, contexts, and contributions. Chapter two discusses the beginning stage of the spir i tual path — purgation — dealing wi th the requirements of renunciation of the world and of one's self, repentance and the battle of the spirit wi th and victory over the flesh. The next stage — il luminat ion — comprises chapter three. Here it is seen how the purgation of the self from all vice is a prerequisite to receiving divine manifestations to the soul. The roles of prayer, obedience, and the cultivation of virtues are discussed. Un ion , the final stage, is dealt wi th in chapter four. The meaning of union is discussed, including its various degrees, and how the myst ic is consequently transformed. The conclusion summarizes the findings of the previous chapters. It is seen that there is a great deal of commonality in the teachings of a l -Ghazal i and St. Teresa; but differences also arise mark ing their spiritualities as being uniquely M u s l i m and Chr is t ian , respectively. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i Introduction i"* I. Chapter One: Biographical and Historical Backgrounds 1 II. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgation 16 III. Chapter Three: The Way of Illumination 30 IV. Chapter Four: The Stage of Union 43 Conclusion 59 V. Bibliography 64 A. Primary Sources 64 B. Secondary Sources 65 i l l INTRODUCTION In this thesis I shall put forward the hypothesis that there is a basis for a c la im of affinity between Chris t iani ty and Is lam i n the area of spir i tual i ty. There are several reasons for the significance of such a claim. The two persons under study come from religions which have been at enmity throughout their common history. Fur thermore , they come from different time periods (eleventh/sixteenth centuries), different nationalities (East — Pers ia ; West — Spain), are of different sexes (male/female), and have different educational backgrounds (scholar/uneducated). The one thing which they have in common is that they both took up the spir i tual life and became mystics. A n d so, considering such disparity, it is remarkable that their teachings have much in common. Research led to a change i n the title for this thesis from the original " A Comparison of M u s l i m and Chr is t ian Spi r i tua l i ty" to the present "The Spir i tua l Life from the Perspectives of Is lam and Chr is t iani ty" . This illustrates a shift in focus which occurred, resulting from the discoveries made. The findings showed such a close affinity in the teachings of these two myst ics on the spir i tual path that for them to be s imply compared one to another would be monotonous and somewhat pointless. However, to present a description. of the spir i tual path, solely re ly ing upon Ghaza l i and Teresa as the sources, yet doing so in a comparative fashion, can even more clearly il lustrate their affinity. It is now necessary to discuss what is meant by "mys t ic i sm" and "spir i tual i ty". It has been a thorn in the flesh for many scholars who have wri t ten on the iv subject of mys t ic i sm to attempt to produce an adequate definition that would be al l inclusive without fall ing into complete obscurity, and then only to have i t severely criticized by others in subsequent works. F i r s t of a l l , it needs to be recognized that "mys t ic i sm" is an interpretive category and is in fact a subcategory of interpretation of the yet higher category of "religious experience" (which is s imply an experience interpreted in religious language). In other words, certain types of religious experience are interpreted as being myst ical because they share i n common some features of interpretat ion. 1 Those features that are shared in common seem to fall into certain subsets which has led to a delineation of different types of myst ic ism, for example, Zaehner's classification of nature, monistic, and theistic m y s t i c i s m . 2 Robert S. El lwood provides the most suitable definition of mys t ic i sm for our understanding of Ghaz&lr and Teresa, who can be regarded as theistic mystics, in the following quote: Mys t i ca l experience is experience in a religious context that is immediately or subsequently interpreted by the experiencer as encounter wi th ultimate divine reali ty in a direct non-rational way that engenders a deep sense of uni ty and of l iv ing during the experience on a level of being other than the o rd inary . 3 A s theistic mystics, Ghazalr 's and Teresa's mys t ic i sm is characterized as being introversive, in that there is a wi thdrawal from the world, as being dualistic, in that there is an I-Thou relationship involved between the soul and God, and the i Rober t S. El lwood, J r . Mys t i c i sm and Religion (Englewood Cliffs, N e w Jersey: Prentice H a l l , 1980), pp. 29, 33. 2 See R . C . Zaehner, Mys t i c i sm: Sacred and Profane (Oxford: Oxford Univers i ty Press, 1957, 1971). 3 E l l w o o d , p. 29. • experience of uni ty, ?o characteristic of myst ic ism, is described by the imagery of mutual love . 1 It is this myst ica l "union wi th God" which is the goal, for both Ghazalr and Teresa, of the spir i tual path. Hence, spir i tual i ty embodies the teaching and practice of how one can at tain this goal. Ellwood illustrates this relationship, stating that myst ic i sm can be expressed as ...a generalized account of the spir i tual path, in which the experiencer progressively presents its realities as the narrat ive tries to show others how to encounter the same transcendence. Closely related are the rules of monastic or devotional fellowships. These rules express the spir i tual experiences most important to their traditions They do so through a stated way of life that assumes the supreme importance of myst ical states. 2 Thus myst ic i sm is related to spir i tual i ty in that myst ical union is the goal of the spir i tual path. Spir i tual i ty is a more comprehensive category, including not only myst ica l experience, but also religious experience in general, and the principles involved i n attaining them. Louis Bouyer provides an excellent definition of spiri tuali ty: Chr i s t i an spiri tuali ty (or any other spirituality) is distinguished from dogma by the fact that, instead of studying or describing the objects of belief as it were in the abstract, it studies the reactions which these objects arouse in the religious consciousness. 3 1 W m . J. Wainbright , Mys t i c i sm: Study of its Nature , Cognitive Value , and  M o r a l Implications (Madison, Wisconsin: Univers i ty of Wisconsin Press, 1981), p. 36. 2 El lwood, pp. 99-100. 3 Louis Bouyer , et a l , eds., A. His tory of Chr is t ian Spi r i tua l i ty , V o l . I (New Y o r k : Desclee Co. , 1963) p. v i i i . v i This is to say that spiri tuali ty is just as much a "science" as dogmatic theology in that it comprises "a methodically organized body of knowledge" 1 but the object of study is the subjective pole, man's relation to and experience of God, on the axis of religion, instead of the objective pole, God in his revelation to man, which is the study of dogmatic theology. In other words, spir i tual i ty "studies the conduct of the soul vis-a-vis the data of revela t ion" , 2 it is the "science of the reactions of the religious consciousness vis-a-vis the object of f a i t h " . 3 This leads us to a discussion of the approach, method, format and sources used in this thesis. The approach taken is to s imply describe the spiri tual path according to the teachings of Ghazal r and Teresa. There wi l l be no attempt at t ry ing to get to the "common core of myst ical experience", to test some theory of religion, to il lustrate the superiority of a religion, or to account for the affinity found here. It is hoped that Ghazalr 's and Teresa's teachings are presented objectively, without any misrepresentation, and without undue interpretation. To achieve this, 1 shall employ the methodology desribed as the "Comparat ive" . Stanley A . Cooke defines the "Comparat ive Method" as an "unbiased co-ordination of a l l comparable data irrespective of context or age". 4 Francois Vandenbroucke, O . S . B . , "Spir i tual i ty and Spir i tual i t ies" in Spir i tual i ty in Church and Wor ld , edited by Chr i s t i an Duquoc (New Y o r k : Paul i s t Press, 1965) p. 51. 2 Idem. 3 Ibid., p. 52. 4 Stanley A . Cooke, "Religion" in The Encylopaedia of Religion and Ethics , V o l . X , edited by James Hastings (New Y o r k : Charles Scribners ' Sons, 1961), p. 664. v i i The format or structure of this paper w i l l be based upon (after a brief introduction to the two mystics under study) the classical definition of the spir i tual path as comprising the three stages of purgation, i l luminat ion, and union. This three-fold classification schema originated wi th Pseudo Dionysius , a fifth century S y r i a n monk. It ini t ia l ly was exclusively a Chr is t ian definition but has become universalized and is quite regular ly employed in the classification of spiri tuali ty in general. To adopt one of the wri ters ' own classifications for providing a format, such as Teresa's seven mansions, would make the comparison a great deal more difficult. F o r such a formalization would become an obstacle since Ghaza l i does not use a format close to that. W h a t is being compared here are concepts and not particular formalization of those concepts. There is enough common ground between the two mystics to allow one to extract from both of their part icular structuralizations the concepts they commonly share and which fall into the three categories being adopted without their being violated or misrepresented i n the process. It is not m y intention to tu rn the purgation-illumination-union schema into an absolute. The use of categories is s imply a helpful tool in br inging into order mater ia l d rawn from disparate sources. In using this three-fold classification, the reader should be aware that various aspects of the spir i tual path do not belong exclusively to one stage (e.g., prayer). It should not be thought that the path s imply comprises three separate stages which do not overlap and includes a guarantee that one w i l l progress from point C to D without regressing to B or jumping ahead to E . The spir i tual path is v i i i an interwoven complex enti ty w i th room for surprise and novelty, wi th each individual 's path being unique to that part icular individual . Ghaza l i and Teresa recognized this and so must we. The sources used for this study are exclusively l i terary and predominantly p r imary . It appears that no previous work has been done which compares the spir i tual teachings of Ghaza l i and Teresa. This l imits the value of secondary sources to one of enhancing one's understanding of the individual writers and their historical contexts. Fur ther limitations occur in that little has been wri t ten on Ghazalr 's myst ica l teachings. Scholarship has thus far focused mostly on his theological and philosophical contributions. More has been wri t ten on Teresa in this regard but a setback exists in the fact that many of these works remain untranslated (most being in Spanish). However , a l l of Teresa's wri t ings have been translated and many of Ghazalr 's as wel l . The result is that their own writings provide the bulk of the information used in this thesis. These writ ings wi l l be briefly discussed in the next chapter. A s this work involves a comparison of spir i tual i ty from two different religious traditions, two pitfalls must be avoided. F i r s t of a l l , one can fall prone to attempting to illustrate similari t ies through a process of el iminat ing a l l differences, that is, by ignoring everything that is peculiar to the one tradition. (For example, to discuss Chr is t ian spir i tual i ty while removing everything that is specificalty Chr is t ian about i t ) . 1 Such poor scholarship merely distorts the facts in order to have them accommodate an a priori theory of spir i tual i ty. Secondly, one 1 Bouyer , p. v i i i . ix must avoid the ...pseudo-scientific..prejudice that the understanding of the objects polarizing the religious consciousness is essentially foreign to an understanding of this consciousness itself. O n the contrary, spir i tual i ty studies this consciousness only in its l iv ing relationship wi th these objects.... Dogmatic theology, therefore, must a lways be presupposed as the basis of spir i tual theology, even though the latter concerns itself wi th the data of the former only under the relationship that they entertain wi th the religious consciousness. 1 Such an approach would violate both Ghazalr 's and Teresa's teachings on this point. They strongly mainta in that spir i tual i ty is built upon the edifice of religious orthodoxy, that i t cannot be separated at a l l from orthodoxy or orthopraxy. It would be unthinkable for them that one could at tain the goal of myst ical union without being an orthodox M u s l i m or Chr is t ian respectively. The goal of the believer is to gain an afterlife in Paradise where one w i l l fully enjoy communion wi th God. The spir i tual path includes the path of the ordinary believer. The difference between the two is that the Beatific Vi s ion is believed, by the mystic , to be possible to be experienced here and now, that the communion wi th God hoped for in Heaven can be tasted in this life. It is interesting to note that the error of separating the spir i tual life from orthodoxy, or t ry ing to understand myst ical experience apart from its religious context, was prevalent in their times and something they both had counteracted. It w i l l be seen that both brought reform and revital ization of orthodoxy by attempting to bridge the split between myst ic i sm and orthodoxy, which had occurred in both Is lam and Chr is t ian i ty . This touches upon the subject matter of the following chapter. I. CHAPTER ONE: BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS A b u H a m i d a l -Ghazal i was born in the year 1058 C . E . at Tabaran , in N . E . Pers ia , a township of Tus which , now in ruins, lies near modern Meshed. He pursued his studies p r imar i ly at Tus , wi th an interlude at Jur jan, and then continued at Nrshapur in 1077, to study under the most distinguished Ash 'a r i te theologian of the time, a l - Juwayni . H i s studies followed the standard Islamic curr icu lum for higher education, which means it included the study of the Qur ' an , Hadrth and its commentaries, Arab ic grammar, Islamic jurisprudence, the biography of the transmitters of the Hadrth, et cetera. H e had ear ly contacts wi th Suf ism. H i s father died when he was young, leaving h i m and his brother under the care of a Sufi friend of the family . A t Tus he possibly studied Sufism under Y u s u f al-Nassaj, and at Nrshapur, he became a disciple of a l -Farmadhr (d. 1084), who had been a p u p i l , of both a l -Qushayn and Ghazalr 's uncle. Furthermore, his teacher a l - Juwayni , had been a pupil of the renowned Sufi , A b u N u ' a i m al-Isfaham (d. 1038). H e remained at Nrshapur s tudying unt i l the death of a l - Juwayni in 1085. He then joined the court of the great Viz i e r of the Seljuks, N i z a m a l -Mulk . H i s profound knowledge of Islamic theology, law, and philosophy, so impressed the Viz i e r that he appointed h im to the Cha i r of Theologj' at the college in Baghdad in 1091. This was a most coveted position, and it was exceptional that Ghazalr was yet so young (34 years old). He was very successful as a professor and attained to the glory and prestige of being among the intellectual elite, but he 1 Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 2 entered upon a spir i tual crisis i n J u l y , 1095, which changed his life and was to have its impact on a l l of Is lam. He writes i n his semi-autobiographical work, Deliverance from Er ro r , that his previous studies had convinced h im that the happiness of the world to come could be attained only by a God-fearing life, where one was not attached to this world and fleshly desires, but rather, earnestly sought and loved God. He saw how entangled his life was wi th this world , how much pride he had, how he revelled in the glory of his prestige, and that he would be doomed to hell : "I saw for certain that I was on the br ink of a crumbling bank of sand in imminent danger of hell-fire unless I set about to mend m y w a y s . " 1 H e "reflected on this continuously for a time.... One day I would form the resolution to quit Baghdad and get r id of these adverse circumstances; the next day I would abandon m y resolution. I put one foot forward and drew the other back ." 2 This battle continued for s ixth months, where he "was tossed about between the attractions of worldly desires and the impulses towards eternal l i f e " . 3 Then his health became afflicted: "God caused m y tongue to dry up so that I was prevented from lecturing...and at the same time m y power to digest and assimilate food and drink was impaired. . . . M y powers became so weakened that the doctors gave up a l l hope of successful t reatment." 4 This crisis forced h i m to seek "refuge wi th God most high as one who is driven to H i m , because ~ al-Ghazalr, Deliverance from Er ro r , translated by W. Montgomery Wat t , in The  F a i t h and Practice of Al -Ghaza l r (London: A l l e n and U n w i n , 1953. Repr int ed., Lahore , Pak is tan : Sh . M u h a m m a d Ashraf , 1981), p. 56. 2 Idem. 3 Ibid., p. 57. 4 Idem. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 3 he is without further resources of his o w n . " 1 God then "made it easy for m y heart to turn away from position and wealth, from children and fr iends." 2 In November, 1095, he left everything behind, sold a l l he had, left provisions for his family , and went to Damascus. There, in solitude, he practised devotional exercises for almost two years, after which he went to Jerusalem, Mecca, and Med ina . It was during this time when the first crusade set out from the West , capturing Jerusa lem in 1098. H i s concerns for, and appeals from, his family drew h i m back home, where he continued his religious exercises. In Tus , he established a type of hostel, where disciples could live, to share his life, and receive his teaching, Dur ing these years, he became a full-fledged Sufi , and became convinced of the need for Sufism by orthodox Is lam. The Viz i e r F a k h r a l -Mulk (son of Nizam) prevailed upon Ghaza l i to accept a post at the college in Nrshapur. He accepted, and taught yet another three years, from 1106 to 1109, when he retired to Tus. He died of fail ing health on December 8, 1111. It is not clear exactly how many works can be definitely attributed to Ghazalr. Since the time of Ibn 'Arab r (d. 1240), there have been allegations that books have been erroneously attributed to h im, and quite a high number of unauthentic works seem to exist. 1 Ibid., p. 58. 2 Idem. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 4 H i s works range from a type of autobiography, Deliverance from Er ro r , wri t ten one to two years before his death, to legal, philosophical and logical, dogmatic-theological-polemical, to sufistic works . Besides the Deliverance, the works of concern to this study include his greatest, The Rev iva l of the Religious Sciences, a four volume work wri t ten during the ten years when he fully practiced Suf ism; The A lchemy of Happiness, a Pers ian abridgement of the Rev iva l for popular use; The Beginning of Guidance, which can be seen as an introduction to the Rev iva l , preparing the reader for this larger work; and, The Niche for  Lights , wri t ten near the end of his life presenting his more esoteric views. The Islamic Empi re of the Abbas id Caliphate was beginning to undergo disintegration. Coming into power i n 750 C . E . , Is lam saw its greatest expansion, however, this soon proved to be too vast to be maintained under one ruler. The Cal iph lost one province after another to their ru l ing governors and succeeding sons. Thus local dynasties arose which were practically autonomous, wi th the Ca l iph being given only a formal acknowledgement of his supremacy. This continued, and by the end of the tenth century, "the authori ty of the Cal iphs had shrunk so much that it hard ly extended beyond the precincts of Baghdad . " 1 The Baghdad Caliphate came under the control of the B u w a y h i d family of Shfi tes in 945 C . E . , to be released from their control by the Sunnf Seljuk dynasty in 1055. Under the Seljuks, the M u s l i m Empi re once again became united and prospered. M . Umarudd in states that, "The era of unity and peace ushered in by the "I M Umarudd in , The Ethica l Philosophy of A l - G h a z z a l i (Lahore, Pakis tan : Sh . M u h a m m a d Ashraf , 1970) pp. 14-15. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 5 Seljuqs m a y fi t ly be called the golden age of Is lam. Education became universal . The cities of A s i a were adorned wi th mosques, colleges, universities, hospitals and other charitable inst i tut ions ." 1 It was a time of great cul tural achievements as well . I t was under the rule of the Seljuks that Ghazalr l ived, teaching in some of the colleges established at this time. A rift between Suf ism and mainstream Is lam began to appear quite early in Sufism's history. M a n y Sufi 's began to abandon the orthodox practices of Is lam, believing themselves to have been liberated from observing Islamic L a w after having attained union wi th God. The orthodox, on the other hand, suspected Sufi doctrine of heresy and lamented over their lack of religious observances. However , on the other hand, orthodox I s l am had become merely an external affair of religious practice, lacking devotion and sincere piety. Ghazalr 's most important contribution to I s l am was to fully integrate Sufism into orthodox Is lam. In short, he made mys t ic i sm orthodox and orthodoxy m y s t i c a l . 2 The achievement of his work was to l ay the foundation of Suf ism upon the observance of outward acts of piety as prescribed by the orthodox, and at the same time, to make the inward piety of Suf ism the consummation of, not an alternative to, the formal Islamic observances. N o longer was Suf ism isolated from mains t ream Is lam, i t now became established as "a standard element in the M u s l i m believer's life" due to Ghaza l r . 3 F a z l u r Rahman states that, 1 Ibid., p. 17. 2 M . Saeed Sheikh, "Al-Ghazal r : M y s t i c i s m " , in A_ His tory of M u s l i m Philosophy, vol . I, edited by M . M . Shar i f (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowi tz , 1963) p. 617. 3 Ignaz Goldziher, Introduction to Islamic Theology and L a w , translated by Andras and Ru th H a m o r i (Princeton: Princeton Univers i ty Press, 1981) p. 160. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 6 The influence of al-Ghazalr i n I s l am is incalculable. He not only reconstituted orthodox Is lam, making Suf ism an integral part of it, but also was a great reformer of Sufism, purifying i t of un-Islamic elements and putting it at the service of orthodox re l ig ion . 1 Teresa de Cepeda y A h u m a d a , was born in A v i l a , Spain , on M a r c h 28, 1515, into a large and prosperous family. H e r mother died when she was thirteen, and she was taken to an Augus t in ian convent to be educated. She had at that t ime the greatest aversion to becoming a nun. W h a t caused a turning point in her life was that she became seriously i l l and had to return home. O n the w a y there, she stayed for a few days at her widowed uncle's home, who had became a friar. While there, she heard h i m talk a great deal about God and the vanities of this world. He made a deep impression upon her and she writes, I began to fear that, i f I had died of m y illness, I should have gone to hell; and though, even then, I could not incline m y w i l l to being a nun, I saw that this was the best and safest state, and so, little by little, I determined to force mysel f to embrace it. . . . I used to convince mysel f by using the following argument. The trials and distresses of being a nun could not be greater than those of purgatory and I had fully deserved to be in hel l . . . . This decision, then, to enter the religious life seems to have been inspired by servile fear more than by love. 2 It seems that it was in November, 1536, at age 20, when Teresa took up the religious life. Upon entering the convent she was blessed wi th a great joy, which, "amazed me, for I could not understand whence i t arose." However , this joy was not sufficient to cure her and the change in her life and diet worsened 1 F a z l u r R a h m a n , Is lam, second edition (Chicago: Univers i ty of Chicago Press , 1979) p. 140. 2 St. Teresa of A v i l a , The Book of Her Li fe , i n The Collected Works of St. Teresa of A v i l a , V o l . I, translated by K i e r a n Kavannaugh , O . C . D . , and Otil io Rodriguez, O . C . D . (Washington, D . C : I C S Publishers, 1976), pp. 18-19. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 7 her already poor health. Var ious treatments proved unprofitable, and her condition worsened, reaching the point where she was thought to be dead. One night she had a prolonged fit (probably cataleptic), which left her unconscious for nearly four days. Believed to be dead, a grave was dug for her, wax put on her eyelids, and in a monastery, rites for the dead were performed on her behalf. She returned to consciousness, shown through tears, but was i n a terrible state: A l l m y bones seemed to be out of joint and there was a terrible confusion in m y head.... I was a l l doubled up, like a ba l l , and no more able to move...than i f I had been dead.... I could move, I think, only one finger of m y r ight h a n d . 1 This paralysis lasted unt i l Eas ter Sunday — eight months. Then she slowly began to improve over the next three years, although remaining crippled to some degree unti l her fortieth year. She never gained complete health. Fo r a l l of her life she was plagued wi th pains, especially in the heart, morning sickness, fevers, and headaches. The next twenty years were a continual spir i tual struggle — a conflict between God and the world in her life. She describes this as follows: I can testify that this is one of the most grievous kinds of life which I think can be imagined, for I had neither any joy in God nor any pleasure i n the world. When I was in the midst of worldly pleasures, I was distressed by the remembrance of what I owed to God; when I was wi th God, I grew restless because of worldly affections." 2 She finally came upon a turning point in her life when she saw "an image 1 Ibid., p. 32. 2 Ibid., p. 48. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 8 which had been procured for a certain festival", that of "Chr i s t sorely wounded" . 1 I t so deeply moved her to become totally devoted to God that this experience came to be regarded as her second conversion. F r o m then onwards, her spir i tual devotion to God improved, and she began to spend long periods of prayer, and earnestly sought to live a sinless life. A love for God began to grow in her heart and she began to receive "many favours from God". A result of the supernatural experiences which she began to experience was persecution from her fellow nuns and her spir i tual advisors. She was held suspect of being deceived by the devi l . This caused her great distress for about two years unt i l her advisors and confessors were convinced otherwise. However , one t r ia l ended for only another one to begin. One day she and some sisters discussed the need for establishing a new convent and becoming Discalced nuns, adhering rigorously to the Rule of their Order. She later received the command to establish such a convent from God through a vision. The whole idea caused her deep distress because, "...I had a fa i r ly good idea of the serious disturbances and tr ials which the work would cost me. . . . " 2 A n d so i t did. However , this was the beginning of the reform movement led by Teresa of the Carmeli te Order, which was to prove successful. B y the end of her life she would have established seventeen new convents throughout S p a i n . 3 She passed away on her journey home from establishing the last convent at Burgos on October 4, 1582. 1 Ibid., p. 54. 2 Ibid., p. 220. 3 Bouyer, p. 532. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 9 Teresa wrote exclusively on the spir i tual life, besides autobiographical works. She completed her m a i n autobiographical work, The Book of H e r Li fe , in 1565 (the second edition which had been revised under order). It is an account of the exterior events in her life but subsumed under an account of her interior life, wi th detailed descriptions of her experiences of God and spir i tual growth. It reads like a diary, not like a theological treatise. The next important work relied upon for this thesis, is her W a y of Perfection, which was begun immediately after her Li fe . A s the title suggests, it is more didactic in character, her purpose being to teach her nuns of the wa y of prayer, and how one can at tain Chr is t ian Perfection. It grew out of the requests of her nuns for such a work, and she received permission from her superiors to write it. Las t ly , the work of greatest importance and influence, is The Interior Cast le . This work was wri t ten over a period of a few months in 1577, and represents Teresa's most mature thought regarding the spir i tual path, being wri t ten in her sixties. It describes the stages of the spir i tual path through the use of the imagery of the soul as an interior castle wi th many dwell ing places that one passes through before one reaches God i n the centre. She attempts to be didactic, without being autobiographical, but it is obvious throughout that she is re lying upon her own experiences for her teaching. Spa in in the sixteenth century likewise was in its "Golden Age" . It was a time of political and mater ia l prosperity — Spain having been taken back from the Moors and united under one rule through the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella brought political stabili ty and strength, and the discovery of the N e w World provided vast riches. It also was a time of a prosperous intellectual life, where Chapter One: Biographical and Historical Backgrounds / 10 Spain could rival France and Italy for the number of prestigious masters in her universities. However, spiritually, although Spain could boast of leading in the Counter Reformation, and having the "brightest stars in European spirituality" (besides Teresa, Sts. Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross), it was a time of intolerance and persecution through the establishment of the Inquisition in 1478. Religious unity was seen as being a tool for providing political unity. "The supreme problem for any ruler of Spain was the unification of these many states and the harmonizing of their conflicting interests."1 To resolve this problem, the Church played a crucial role. The past intermingling of different races and religions — Jew, Christian, Muslim — and the state of the division that Spain had existed in, led to the establishment of the Inquisition, which seemed to be the most feasible solution.2 Furthermore, the threat of Lutheranism made the Inquisition even more zealous and cautious to uncover anything approaching heresy, and so orthodoxy was even more rigorously defined. The Inquisition turned its attention to stopping the Illuminist movement. The Illuminist movement "produced excellent as well as distorted forms of spirituality".3 In Spain, this movement developed into two streams — one 1 FL Trevor Davies, The Golden Century of Spain (1501-1621) (London: MacMillan & Co., 1937), p. 9. 2 J.H. Elliott, Imperial Spain: 1469-1716 (London: Edward Arnold Pub. Ltd., 1963), p. 210. 3 Kavanaugh, p. 7. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 11 attaching the "highest importance to recollection", and the other to "the idea of self-abandonment". 1 Those of the former group comprised many among the religious orders who sought to teach the w a y of recollection as a means of attaining union wi th God. They came to be known as the "spir i tual men" or "men of experience", referred to by Teresa. Osuna, a Franc iscan friar, gave "the movement its definitive expression in his Th i rd Spir i tual Alphabet" which greatly influenced T e r e s a . 2 Besides being an i l luminist of the conservative,,-orthodox type, Teresa was also a par t of the Counter Reformation. " A s the Protestant challenge to Rome grew i n strength and effectiveness, the need for reform came everywhere to be accepted as urgent ." 3 The Pr imate of Spa in sought to initiate a movement to reform among the clergy. The spir i tual fervour that l a y ' behind the I l luminists and Erasmianis t s , although formally suppressed, st i l l existed and "forced its w a y irresist ibly into new channels, and welled up afresh in the spir i tual rev iva l of the 1560s and 1570s ." 4 A wave of mys t ic i sm swept through the religious orders. Since i t was believed that the monasteries were under control, the Inquisition, for the most part, tolerated it. This sense for an urgent need for reform and a greater spir i tual devotion led Teresa to start a reform of her Carmel i te order. In the larger context of European Spir i tual i ty , the sixteenth century saw the consolidation of a transition which began in the Middle Ages: a resolution of the breach between myst ic ism and theology. A t the end of the fourteenth century, 1 Idem. 2 Idem. 3 El l iot t , p. 236. 4 Ibid., p. 237. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 12 the religious had become weary of speculative myst ic i sm, nominal ism, and the concept of the spir i tual life as being reserved for the elite. This reaction against speculation, and even against monasticism, expressed itself concretely in a movement known as the devotia moderna. The spir i tual crisis of this breach became resolved through the emerging belief that "the spiri tual life became a fact of experience, va l id as such — no longer the experience of a fact val id in i tself ." 1 F r o m this time onwards, "myst ical experience was thought of not so much in terms of an experience of the data of Revelation in themselves, as of an experience in the framework of, and guaranteed by, these da ta . " 2 This can be seen in the wri t ings of Teresa, where one can see the influence of the devotia moderna upon her through Francisco de Osuna (d. 1540), and Bernardino de Laredo (d. 1540). In adopting their psychological orientation, Teresa was indirectly influenced by the conception of contemplation that was simple and affective and devoid of any intellectual claims. . . . While she recognized the importance of dogma, St. Teresa's a im was to describe what she fel t . 3 The characteristics that sixteenth century Spanish Spir i tual i ty derived from the devotia moderna are described by Louis Bouyer as follows: ...there was the pr imacy of the psychological aspect — of the subjective side of the interior life, even of the contemplative life. More attention is paid to mental and emotional reactions than to the object, or rather the objective content of contemplation. Prayer , by a shift that is only na tura l when it is seen from this new angle, becomes in 1 Bouyer , p. 543. 2 Ibid., p. 538. 3 Idem. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 13 a sense a matter of technique. 1 This explains the reason w h y Teresa's writ ings are for the most part very subjective. The bulk of i t is a description of her experience of the spir i tual path she trod, rather than a systematized theological treatise on myst ica l theology. Considering her context, her wri t ings could be seen as par t ly being a testimony to the reali ty of supernatural experiences of God, including their validation by orthodox doctrine. 2 She sought to keep herself clear from any i l luminist heresy, pointing out where others have gone astray, yet at the same time, t ry ing to re tain what was of legitimate value in the i l luminis t movement. A n d so, in this sense, i t can be said that through her writ ings — which became very influential — she contributed a great deal to bridging the gap between mys t ic i sm and theology, by teaching that orthodox dogma was the foundation for the spir i tual life and guarded one from going astray into some kind of pseudo-spirituality. O n a personal level, Teresa and Ghaza l i although believers came to realize that their hearts were entangled wi th the world, overruling any devotion to God. This realization brought them to a spir i tual crisis which affected their health. The fear of being condemned to hell persuaded them to embrace a religious life in order to become t ru ly devoted and obedient to God. Thei r ini t ia l motivation was fear, but that in time changed into love. In having earnestly taken up the spiri tual path both reached the summit of myst ica l union wi th God. 1 Ibid., p. 541. 2 K a v a n a u g h , p. 21. Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 14 O n a broader level, i t was their personal experiences which led them to attempt to br ing a revital izat ion of their respective religions. Both had to deal wi th heretical streams of myst ic i sm present in their times which had led to the suspect of any mys t ic i sm by the orthodox. This fact shaped their teachings on spir i tual i ty. They both sought to defend authentic myst ic ism by pointing out the fallacies of certain extremists while at the same time established the spir i tual path upon a foundation of orthodox religious practice. B y reintegrating mys t ic i sm wi th orthodox practices and beliefs they revitalized orthodoxy as wel l as gaurded myst ic i sm from degenerating into a pseudo-spirituality. Ghazalr as a scholar and leading intellectual of his time, wrote his seminal work, the Rev iva l , w i t h the explicit purpose of presenting in a systematized fashion an integration of mys t ic i sm and orthodoxy. He presents the "five p i l lars" of Islamic practice in a manner which retains their importance as being fundamental to orthodox Is lam while also being the foundation and means of the way of a Sufi . Through them one treads the spir i tual path. Teresa, on the other hand, was not a scholar or leading intellectual of her t ime, but s imply a nun who most l ikely could not even read the Scriptures i n L a t i n . Unl ike Ghazalr, she did not purpose to deal wi th the intellectual, spir i tual issues of her time on a large scale. Her perspective was more immediately concerned wi th her religious order. Because of her circumstances, she was forced to remain cautiously wi th in orthodoxy while (because of the summits she had reached spiri tually) she attempted to teach her nuns, through sharing her experience, how they too might attain union wi th God. This resulted in her teachings being an Chapter One: Biographical and His tor ica l Backgrounds / 15 integration of mys t ic i sm and dogma as well . Bo th were to be widely read i n the centuries to come, and consequently, left a profound impression upon their respective religions. II. CHAPTER TWO: T H E STAGE OF PURGATION Before beginning a description of the spiri tual path a discussion of who can embark on the journey and how important divine assistance is in the process is required. Ghazalr provides and defines a spir i tual path for different types of people. For some (the multitude), the goal is s imply to enter Paradise and enjoy the happiness it w i l l bring. Fo r them the path consists of obedience to, and fulfillment of, the demands of Islamic L a w which could be called the " W a y of Purgat ion" — a riddance of vices and the l iv ing of a virtuous life. The few, on the other hand, are what one would regard as the mystics . They are those who attain to gnosis — the " W a y of I l luminat ion", and from there on to union. They testify to the dogma of God's U n i t y , not merely by the intellect, but through experiential intuit ion, gnosis. They not only follow the demands of the L a w , but also go beyond external observance to cultivate the myst ica l v i r tues . 1 Likewise for Teresa, " . . .God does not lead all by one path.... Prepare yourself so that God may lead you along the path i f he so desires. W h e n he does not, you can practice humil i ty " 2 No t everyone is called to be a contemplative, however, neither is anyone excluded i f they so desire. Teresa explains this as follows: ...I said that the L o r d had different paths by which to go to H i m just as there are many dwell ing places.... Since H i s Majesty has 1 M . A . Sherif, Ghazalr 's Theory of Vi r tue (Albany: State Un ive r s i t y of New Y o r k Press, 1975), pp. 102-103. 2 St. Teresa of A v i l a , The W a y of Perfection, in The Collected Works of S t Teresa of A v i l a , V o l . II, p. 99. 16 Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 17 understood our weakness, He has provided after the manner of who He is. B u t H e did not say: "some come by this path, and others by another". Rather, H i s mercy was so great He excluded no one from st r iv ing to come to this fount of life to drink. . . .He calls us publicly, crying aloud. Bu t since H e is so good, H e does not force us . . . . 1 Hence, i t is believed that there are many ways a believer can walk . He has the choice to either take up the spir i tual life and seek union wi th God, or to live the life of an ordinary believer, satisfied wi th the union he w i l l enjoy in the world to come. Both are paths acceptable to, and provided by, God. Al though the spir i tual life is open to a l l , progress can not be made without the grace of God. It is maintained that man is unable to acquire any virtue without divine assistance. Fo r Ghazalf, man needs to be guided throughout his spir i tual quest by the gift of God (tawfiq), which is manifested i n four ways: 1) as guidance from God, the abi l i ty to distinguish between good and evi l ; 2) as direction, the " w i l l " to do what is right; 3) as setting aright, the power from God which makes the body obey the w i l l ; and 4) as confirmation, God makes "circumstances congenial for the actualization of the w i l l . " 2 F o r Teresa, the concept of grace is so taken for granted that she does not bother to expound upon it. Instead, she refers to it i n passing. For example, in her describing the prayer of active recollection as not being supernatural , she states that it is "...something we can desire and achieve ourselves wi th the help of God — for without this help we can do nothing, not even have a good 1 Ibid., p. 114. 2 Sheikh, "Al-Ghaza l r : Ethics" in A His to ry of M u s l i m Philosophy, p. 628. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 18 thought ." 1 W h e n we do something good, we should give heed to the source and understand that God alone is the source of any good. 2 Their teachings regarding the beginning stages of the spir i tual path are very s imilar . Both agree that they essentially involve a purgative process. This includes repentance from sin, renunciation of the world, and embarking upon the battle over one's flesh, to put the carnal self to death and be alive only to God. Ghazalr teaches that man's overal l purpose in life is to undergo a spir i tual alchemy. The knowledge of which has been made available, through the teaching of the prophets — sent by God — wi th the purpose of turning mankind away from the world and towards Himself . In The Alchemy of Happiness, he explains that life's context is a spir i tual battle of turning away from the world towards God. One should see this world as a "market-place passed by pi lgrims on their w a y to the next" world. One goes to the market-place to purchase something and then returns home. Likewise , the true purpose of this world is that it is here where m a n can acquire, the use of his bodily senses, some knowledge of the works of God, and, through them, of God Himself . . . . It is for the acquirement of this knowledge that the spir i t of man has descended into this world of water and c l a y . 3 1 W a y , p. 147. 2 Ibid., p. 290. 3 Al-Ghazalf , The Alchemy of Happiness, translated by Claud F ie ld (London: J . M u r r a y , 1910. Repr int ed., Lahore: Sh . M u h a m m a d Ashraf , 1964, 1983), p. 48. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 19 G h a z a l i discusses renunciation of the world i n conjunction wi th the myst ica l virtue of poverty in The Reviva l of Religious Sciences. They strike at the same issue — to uproot a love for anything but God. Renunciation involves both a turning away from one object so as to attach oneself to another. Fo r Ghaza l i , "He who renounces things other than God, even the highest Paradise and does not love things other than God is jahid, or one who renunciates the w o r l d . " 1 One has to realize that he has an opportunity to exchange something of a lesser value for something greater, and that he can only gain by mak ing this exchange and can only lose i f he does not. To exchange the world for God and this life for the next is like exchanging ice for a jewel. Ice, like this world, is short-lived and w i l l pass away; but a jewel , like the next world, is permanent and everlasting. Knowledge is of importance here, "...there should be a knowledge of this world and the next world. The greater this knowledge, the greater the strength. He whose belief is sure and f i rm wi l l sell this wor ld lieu of the next wor ld . . . . " 2 The motive for making such an exchange can be to save oneself from H e l l , or, yet a higher motive, to gain rewards in Paradise, or, the highest motive, to meet God face to face and be in his presence and receive his p leasure . 3 Ideally, one should have the latter motive. Teresa would agree wholeheartedly in regards to the need for renouncing the wor ld — detaching oneself from it so as to be totally devoted to God. In her imagery of the spiri tual life involving a progression of the soul through several 1 Al -Ghazal r , The Reviva l of the" Religious Sciences, translated by Bankey Baha r i (Vrindaban: M a t a K r i s h n a Satsang, 1964. Reprint ed., Pakis tan: I s lam Miss ion , 1971), pp. 200-201. 2 Ibid., p. 201. 3 Ibid., pp. 212-213. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 20 rooms of a castle, " i n whose centre dwells H i s Majesty", she asserts that many people, believers, w i l l not enter the first dwelling place because of apathy, ignorance, disbelief, or most commonly, because of too great an involvement i n the world. For Teresa, "the door of entry to this castle is prayer and reflection." 1 In The  W a y of Perfection she describes the necessary foundations for a life of p raye r . 2 Cer ta in virtues are a prerequisite, and i f great effort is not taken to attain them, God wi l l not unite himself wi th the soul. These virtues are humil i ty , detachment from the world and the self, which then allows for the virtue of loving God and one's neighbor. One is to practice going against his own w i l l in order to do God's. She teaches that unless one totally gives up his w i l l and surrenders to do God's one w i l l never attain to contemplation so as to "drink l iv ing water". A n d so one begins wi th the a im of careful obedience to God's w i l l . Since the spir i tual walk w i l l be very difficult and t ry ing, one must realize that one needs great determination to persevere and courage to a lways continue and not to turn back. To progress from this first dwelling place, one must overcome one's love for the world and make a definite decision to chose God instead. A complete turn-around, from the world towards God is necessary. Teresa teaches that a knowledge of God and of oneself is helpful in br inging this about. I f one could see the holiness of God, one would then see one's own wretchedness before h i m — resulting in humi l i ty and a fear of offending God. Seeing the need to love and 1 Interior Castle, p. 286. 2 op_. cit., pp. 28-77. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgation / 21 obey h im, one would renounce the world and turn towards God i n repentance. One can see from this that hand in hand wi th renunciation, i n fact preceding it, is repentance. In the Rev iva l , Ghazalr states that the first step on embarking upon the spir i tual path is repentance, which is based upon faith — the conviction that there is no god but God. A s faith grows, sin is exposed and seen to be destructive to the soul resulting in godly fear and contrition. The repentant has come to see that he is in fact separated from the Beloved by his heart being veiled. The grief over this stirs up the desire for amending one's life, to turn around and cut off a l l love for the world and be attached only to God. Ghazalr defines repentance as follows: taw bah means repentance for a sin by taking promise not to do the same evi l again and to return to God. Repentance is the beginning in the life of a person who intends to walk i n the path of religion... .In other words, to control the passions and low desires of the self, to return from the paths of the devil and to walk in the path of G o d . " 1 F o r Ghazalr, "Nothing can give salvation to a m a n except the fire of repentance." 2 The reason lies in repentance being the means of expiating sin. A s a M u s l i m , he believed that every soul is born pure and clean but gets polluted i n life by the sins that are committed. When one sins, smoke rises in the heart, and once several layers of smoke have accumulated they make the mir ror of the heart rusty. I f this continues, and the rust remains too long, i t w i l l turn into iron and destroy the mirror . One therefore has to deal wi th not only present 1 Reviva l , p. 12. 2 Ibid., p. 1. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgation / 22 and future s in but also past s in and restore and main ta in the soul in p u r i t y . 1 These impurit ies are burnt off "by the fire of repentance and the light of good deeds can remove the darkness of dirt gathered on the s o u l . " 2 A n d so repentance and good deeds expiates a l l s in, leaving one as though he had never sinned. In sum for Ghazalr, m a n is ini t ia l ly pure and free from sin but becomes corrupted in the process of life. This corruption can be reversed, restoring one's original state of puri ty. Fo r Teresa as a Chr is t ian , however, i t is believed otherwise. She assumes that her readers are well aware of Roman Catholic dogma which maintains that a person is born natura l ly into a fallen state of morta l sin wi th a corrupted nature. M a n is therefore unable to enter into communion wi th God unt i l — through the Church 's sacraments, beginning wi th Bap t i sm — he has entered a state of sanctifying grace made effective through Chris t . She therefore s imply presupposes that her readers have repented to the degree such that they have entered the kingdom of God, and are members of the Body of Christ , the Church , and hence are partakers of a new divine nature. A n d so she begins wi th the person who already is a member of the Church but is in love wi th the world and the self. To come to a state of repentance and to choose God over the world and one's self, one then has taken the first giant step into the battlefield where the flesh w i l l be at war wi th the spirit . W i t h this resolve, the seeker now, 1 Ibid., pp. 12, 16. 2 Ibid., p. 16. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 23 ...enters upon the contest between the impulse to what is spir i tual and the impulse to what is sensual, and the battlefield is the human heart. H e needs the patience which w i l l enable h im to stand fast by what is spir i tual , in the face of wha t is sensual . . . . 1 A most important aspect of the purgation process is this battle between the spirit and the flesh, or between the desires of the self and those of God. In essence a l l vices arise from attachment to and love of self, and al l virtues from attachment to and love of God. It follows, then, that vices are to be eradicated and virtues cultivated. This involves the practice of asceticism for the purpose of bringing the passions under control and subordinate to the spirit . A l l that which is mater ia l and sensual is to be renounced and forsaken for the sake of what is divine. In the W a y , Teresa follows her discussion of the virtues of love, detachment, and humil i ty , wi th one on mortification. Some of us, she writes, are "such lovers of comfort", and "so fond of our health", that the ....first thing we must strive for is to r id ourselves of our love of our bodies.... A fault this body has is that the more comfort we t ry to give it the more needs it discovers.... A n d . . . when we begin to conquer these wretched little bodies, we w i l l not be so troubled by t h e m . 2 Besides practicing exterior mortification, it is most necessary to likewise practice interior mortification. It is acquired " proceeding gradually, not giving in to our own wi l l and appetites, even in little things, unti l the body is completely 1 M . Smi th , A l - G h a z a l i : The M y s t i c (London: Luzac , 1944), p. 154. 2 OJJ. cit., pp. 77, 80-81. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 24 surrendered to the sp i r i t . " 1 The whole matter, ...lies in losing concern about ourselves and our own satisfaction.... So, let us t ry hard to go against our own w i l l in everything. F o r i f you are careful, as I said, you w i l l gradually, without knowing how, find yourselves at the s u m m i t . " 2 Paral le l l ing this two-fold aspect of asceticism of exterior and interior mortification, Teresa also asserts that one must first avoid a l l mortal sin and then go on to avoid a l l venial s in , seeking to succumb to no occasion of s in whatsoever. This purgation of a l l s in in one's life is followed by a cultivation of virtues which she stresses time and again. A s practicing vices is equivalent to sinful disobedience, so cult ivating virtues is wil l ful obedience to God. Teresa stresses the importance of gaining virtue by saying, " ...that the K i n g of Glory w i l l not come to our soul — I mean to be united wi th i t — i f we do not make effort to gain the great v i r tues . " 3 L ikewise , she stresses the importance of obedience in saying, "I can assure her [the nun] that as long as she fails in obedience she w i l l never attain to being a contemplative " 4 Ghazalr more explicitly describes this battle of purgation of the spirit . In the Alchemy, he teaches that m a n has a dual nature — an outward shape, the body, which is base and earthly, and an inward entity, a soul or spiri t , which is lofty and divine. It is the soul which is man's true essence, and belongs to the invisible world, having come into this world as a traveller vis i t ing a foreign 1 Ibid., p. 82. 2 Idem. 3 Ibid., p. 95. 4 Ibid., p. 105. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 25 land, but w i l l re turn to its homeland. Spi r i tua l alchemy involves a purging of the carnal passions. This purgation frees the soul to rule, so that one is endowed wi th angelic qualities, being attached to God instead of the world. Fur thermore, Ghazal r describes mortification in terms of inward and outward piety. H e provides some basic guidelines in his work, The Beginning of Guidance, where — in his introductory remarks — he teaches the following: . . .you must realize that the guidance which is the fruit of knowledge has a beginning and an ending, an outward aspect and an inward . No one can reach the ending unti l he has completed the beginning; no one can discover the inward aspect unt i l he has mastered the outward. . . . K n o w that the beginning of guidance is outward piety and the end of guidance is inward piety... . P ie ty designates car ry ing out the commands of God most high and turning aside from what he prohibits, and thus has two par t s . 1 In other words, one has to keep the formal observance of Islamic law, which demonstrates outward piety and is the place to begin — doing what is commanded to be done, and refraining from doing what is prohibited. Once this is mastered, one can continue on to the inward aspect of piety, as found in Sufism. The rest of this work explains in part how to live out this outward piety, describing the acts of obedience ("do's"), and the avoidance of sins ("don'ts"), in accordance wi th Islamic law. A t the end of this work, he writes that the "above is a smal l part of the science of piety in its exterior and it is the Beginning of Guidance", and for further guidance one should go to the Rev iva l , op_. cit., pp. 87, 90. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 26 ...and become acquainted wi th piety i n its interior aspect. W h e n you have buil t up the interior of your heart in piety, at that the veils between you and your L o r d w i l l be removed, the light of myst ic knowledge wi l l be revealed to you, there w i l l burst forth from your heart the springs of wisdom, and the supernal rea lm wi l l be made clear to y o u . 1 The Rev iva l , which provides this "further guidance", comprises four quarters, each containing ten books. The first deals wi th divine commandments concerning acts of worship, the second deals wi th customs, (both essentially being a detailed exposition of Islamic L a w ) . The th i rd and fourth quarters deal w i th man's inner life — vices, the "things leading to destruction", and the mys t ica l virtues, the "things leading to salvation", respectively. Wha t is presented here is i nward piety, or the heart of the spir i tual path. This essentially revolves around a purging of a l l vice followed by the cult ivation of virtues. A s Teresa is not overly descriptive of the battle over the passions but usual ly subsumes this under her pleading the readers to avoid a l l sin and seek i n every w ay to conform their wi l l to God's, Ghazalr explicitly describes a six-fold process of how to be victorious in this area. He teaches that i t is necessary through introspection to take account of one's passions. There are six stages of "spi r i tual efforts" to do this: first, one should enter into an agreement wi th oneself before taking any action that the sole intent is to purify the soul from al l passions which w i l l result in salvation; next, one should guard and examine one's passions; third, one should take account of those passions; fourth, one should punish them; fifth, one should "disobey the dictates of passions by constant efforts"; and, finally, one should rebuke them. The seven bodily organs (of eyes, 1 Ibid., pp. 151-152. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 27 ears, tongue, stomach, sexual organ, hands and feet) are the seven doors to s in, and are to be under the soul's control like servants to the k ing . One's flesh is one's worst enemy. It, ...runs after evils and flees away from what is good.... Encage it by force and lead it to the divine service of the L o r d , prevent it from greed and passions and deprive it of its joys and happiness. I f you neglect your baser self, i t w i l l be disobedient to you. Y o u w i l l not then be able to overcome it. I f you rebuke i t a lways and treat harshly wi th it, you w i l l be vic tor ious . 1 It can be seen that obedience to God, or fulfillment of the L a w , is extremely important, for i t is a key means of transforming the seeker. Both would agree that without it one would never at tain to the goal. Fo r Teresa , the supernatural life of God (or sanctifying grace) which is present in the soul is either stifled by sin or made operative through obedience. Through having received sanctifying grace, one then has potential for at taining perfection (i.e. to love God and neighbor). One attains union wi th God — a complete and perfect conformity of one's w i l l wi th God's — when this potential is actualized by consistent obedience to God. A n d so the practice of obedience is the means by which one reaches union wi th God, for Teresa. The result would be that one becomes Christ- l ike (Teresa quotes P a u l as an example, "It is no longer I who live, but Chris t") . A n d so the life of God himself is l ived through the myst ic; his w i l l , desires, thoughts and deeds wi l l reflect God's character and be in conformity wi th his nature, and so the mystic acquires the virtues of Chris t . Obedience is equally important to Ghazalr. A psychophysical tie exists between Reviva l , p. 441. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgat ion / 28 the heart and the body, one influencing the other. In Deliverance from Er ror , Ghazal r writes that the heart is diseased by ignorance of, and disobedience to God, whereas knowledge and obedience are remedies. 1 To know the workings of these remedies one cannot rely upon reason but needs the light of prophecy. For this reason, it is mandatory that in order to bring the heart back to health, one is to follow the ways of the prophets by following the Sunna. Th is rationale provides the basis for seeking to imitate the Prophet M u h a m m a d . Zolondek succinctly summarizes this: ...this knowledge revealed by the prophets [i.e. the L a w and Sunna] serves as medicine for the heart and is essential for man's actualizing his divine essence. The prophets in general and M u h a m m a d in part icular are the doctors of the heart whose prescriptions must be followed. They are the spiri tual guides for the purification of the heart and for changing one's bad qualities.. . . The Prophet is no longer s imply a lawgiver but a doctor of the heart, the Sunna no longer merely external forms, but medicines for the heart, moral i ty no longer an end but a means of purifying the mir ror of the hear t . 2 Prayer plays a crucial role in the spir i tual path, for it too is a means of transformation. F o r Teresa, i t is supposed to bring the seeker to a place of such overwhelming love for God and complete abandonment to H i m that one w i l l gladly do H i s w i l l no matter what the cost or consequences to oneself. Through prayer one should eventually reach the goal where the great exchange — of self and world for God — is totally complete and consistently effective in one's life. Teresa uses the analogy of the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly to describe the transformation of a soul which has experienced the "prayer of union": 1 op. cit., p. 69. 2 Book X X of al-Ghazalr 's Ihya ' ' U l u m a l -Din , translated by L . Zolondek (Leiden: E . J . B r i l l , 1963), p. 14. Chapter Two: The Stage of Purgation / 29 W h e n the soul is, in this prayer , t ru ly dead to the world, a little white butterfly comes forth. O h , greatness of God! H o w transformed the soul is when i t comes out of this prayer after hav ing been placed wi th in the greatness of God and so closely joined wi th h i m for a little while — in m y opinion the union never lasts for as much as a ha l f hour. T ru ly , I tell you that the soul does not recognize itself. Look at the difference there is between an ugly w o r m and a little white butterfly,; that is what the difference is here . 1 Prayer likewise is very important for Ghazal r as a means of attaining the goal. It is through prayer and dhikr (remembrance of God) that one eventually comes to experientially realize the unity of God (tawhid). Once one is totally consumed by this vis ion of tawhid one enters the stage of union (fana'). However , more on prayer and the goal of union later. 1 Interior Cast le , p. 343. III. CHAPTER THREE: THE WAY OF ILLUMINATION As has been seen, the beginning stage is characteristically ascetic in tone; the emphasis being on a purgation of any and all love and attachment to the world and one's self, so as to be rid of any hindrance from loving God completely. This preparatory stage involves a great deal of active diligence, determination and perseverance on the part of the seeker, and is regarded as a difficult and trying road. However, both agree that it is absolutely necessary, and lays the groundwork for the next stage commonly referred to as the Illuminative Wa}' by writers on mysticism. The more one is purged of vices, stemming from a love of self and world, the more one can be receptive to God's manifestation to the soul. Teresa describes this stage as one involving an entrance into "supernatural", "infused", or "passive" prayer, a state of communion which is the work of God, where one begins to experience contemplation, visions and raptures. Ghazali describes this stage as the beginning of gnosis, where one begins to experience illumination, an intuitive knowledge of God and His unity, and of the spiritual realm. It should not be thought that the process of purgation has now ended; it continues until the goal of union has been reached, marking the completion of purgation. However, enough purification of the soul has occurred at this point to allow profound encounters between the seeker and his God. For Ghazalr, the seeker is now "mid-waj' on his journey". He is winning the battle over his flesh, yet has not yet attained to a life completely ruled by the spirit. Nevertheless he, ...has much now to encourage him on his ascent, for he who has 30 Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 31 repented of sin, and accepted the obligation of obedience, has the joy of intimate converse wi th the Mos t H i g h God and of rest in knowledge of H i m and obedience to H i s wi l l and long periods of fellowship wi th H i m , and i f the servant were to obtain no further reward for his efforts than what he finds of the sweetness of obedience and the sense of fellowship in communion wi th his L o r d , that would be enough. 1 Teresa expresses the same thought, that even i f the seeker does not fully reach the goal, this stage is enough: A person feels the greatest delight in his body, and a great satisfaction in his soul. He feels so happy merely wi th being close to the fount that he is satisfied even without drinking. I t does not seem there is anything else for h im to desire . 2 Regardless of the outcome for the seeker, both agree that he has certain obligations as he journeys. Ghazalr emphasizes that the servant is obligated to a total surrender to God, to constantly strive to do H i s w i l l , to discipline himself in accordance wi th that w i l l , and to seek help from God in doing this. F o r Ghazalr, God's approaching the seeker, ...does not depend on the servant's choice, but it is for h i m to choose to prepare himself for that Divine rapture..., by detaching his heart from a l l lower attractions. . . . 3 Simi la r ly , Teresa writes that one is obligated s imply to obey, and i f God chooses to give the seeker spiri tual consolations, he then w i l l be ready and receptive for t hem. 4 However , he always must remember that God is in no way obligated to 1 Smi th , pp. 160-161. 2 W a y , p. 154. 3 Smi th , p. 161. 4 W a y , p. 145. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 32 give them or that the receiver deserves them. Fortunately, however, God is so merciful that H e is just wai t ing to give to H i s servants. S m i t h writes, The L o r d is ever ready to give; our business, says a l -Ghazal i , is only to make the place empty and to awai t the descent of H i s m e r c y . 1 Likewise , Teresa writes that through practicing the prayer of recollection one w i l l lay a good foundation: If then the L o r d should desire to raise you to higher things He wi l l discover i n you the readiness, finding that you are close to H i m . 2 A n d so it is seen that the emphasis is on the seeker focusing upon his being prepared to receive an encounter wi th his God. It is interesting to note that both go a bit further than this to say that God has already given revelation to the soul and is already present wi thin . The problem lies in our blindness to that fact. F o r Ghaza l i , . . .spiri tual states and Divine revelations are actually present wi th in your heart, but you are distracted from them by worldly ties and sensual desires, which vei l you from them. B u t when that veil is raised, then the radiance of the knowledge of God is seen wi th in yourself . 3 Teresa teaches that God is already present wi th in and that one's problem is in realizing that: " A l l the ha rm comes from not t ru ly understanding that H e is 1 Smi th , p. 161. 2 W a y , p. 149. 3 Smi th , p. 162. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 33 near, but in imagining H i m as far a w a y . 1 A s has been seen earlier, the development of virtues is very important and integral to the spiri tual life for both Teresa and Ghaza l i . Bo th agree that virtue can only take root in the soul once it has been cleansed from al l vice and sinfulness — the greater the cleansing, the more room there is for virtue to grow, by the hand of God. It is the duty of the seeker to purge himself of vice so as to be ready and prepared for God's grace to plant and grow any virtue. The process of replacing vice wi th virtue continues in this stage. In fact, one's position on the spiri tual path is designated by the degree of virtue existent in one's life. Ghazal r explicitly discusses the myst ical virtues of Suf ism on this assumption. Teresa believes l ikewise: I repeat, i t is necessarj' that j 'our foundation (for the spir i tual path) consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you w i l l a lways be dwar f s . 2 For Teresa, it is ul t imately the degree of love one has for one's neighbor as expressed in deeds which provides a measuring stick for the stage of attainment of the seeker. 3 For Ghazalr, on the other hand, i t is the degree of tawhid experienced by the seeker which is such a canon, to come to the place where one sees nothing but God. (This wi l l be explained more fully in the following chapter.) 1 W a y , pp. 144, 147. 2 Interior Cast le , p. 447. 3 Ibid., p. 353. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 34 It has been seen that prayer plays a crucial role in spir i tual progress. There are various kinds of prayers and i t is i n this stage where through prayer the seeker begins to more obviously encounter God. For Teresa, the first three dwelling places are characterized as involving "active prayer". Act ive prayer is that which is achievable through human effort and ordinary grace. The type of prayer engaged in here includes "menta l" or "vocal prayer", and "discursive prayer" or "meditation". Men ta l or vocal prayer is defined by Teresa as prayer which is not s imply said aloud but includes " thinking of whom we are speaking to", to say the prayer wi th concentration and reflection of what is being said, who is saying i t and to whom it is being s a i d . 1 Furthermore, "one can not speak simultaneously to God and to the w o r l d " , 2 in other words, one can not t ruly recite a prayer when the mind is wandering or listening to what is being said elsewhere. Discursive prayer or meditation includes both reflection and affection, one first reflects upon the deeds and nature of God which w i l l lead to affection in the heart, a love for H i m . F r . Ermanno summarizes it wel l , saying that Teresa insists that one should not, ...spend all the time of prayer in reasoning, but at the right moment, after due reflection on the t ruth chosen, to open the heart to God, expressing our deep gratitude to H i m for H i s infinite love, accompanied by the resolution to repay this love by a life of infidelity and of sacrif ice. 3 1 W a y , p. 129. 2 Idem. 3 Fa ther Ermanno , "The Degrees of Teres ian P raye r " in St. Teresa of A v i l a :  Studies in H e r Li fe , Doctrine and Times, edited by Father Thomas, O . C . D . , and Father Gabrie l , O . C . D . (Westminster: The N e w m a n Press, 1963), p. 79. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 35 The fourth dwelling place or room in Teresa's "interior castle" is one which involves a transit ion from "natural" to "supernatural prayer", or "active" to "passive prayer". Here, one begins to experience God's working in the soul which does not depend on any self-effort or action on the part of the mystic , but occurs spontaneously, entirely under the direction of God. This begins wi th experiencing "consolations", which are acquired through self-effort and grace, being mostly the work of the intellect. Through discursive meditation one attains feelings of devotion, joy, desires, sorrow. God's grace continues where self-effort ceases. One reflects and meditates upon God's attributes and works and H e i n turn wi l l evoke corresponding feelings. N e x t follows the "prayer of recollection", which can be either "passive" or "active". The active type "consists in that consciousness of the presence of God in us which results from our own efforts." 1 Here it is realized that God is already present wi th in and what one needs to do is collect al l faculties and enter wi th in to be wi th H i m . 2 This is not yet a supernatural state but depends upon one's volition by God's favour. This is a process involving a wi thdrawal of the senses from outward things, shutting them out, so as not to be distracted, and closing the eyes, "so as to avoid seeing them and so that the sight might be more awake to things of the sou l " . 3 Thus one focuses upon God in a form of communion by placing oneself into a consciousness of H i s presence. This is to be actively and often done so that it would become a habitual state of 1 Ibid., p. 82. 2 W a y , p. 141. 3 Ibid., p. 142. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 36 communion. The purpose of this recollection is to strive for constant union wi th God, which prepares the seeker to be receptive to supernatural prayer , a passive state of contemplat ion. 1 Ghaza l i holds some similar views to Teresa wi th respect to prayer . F i r s t of a l l , he also maintains that one should pray wi th full attention, concentration, and presence of mind, i.e. sincerely, meaning what is being said. The purpose of prayer is to remember God and that can not be done i f when one prays one is "absent-minded". 2 To pray inattentively is not to be considered as prayer , according to Ghazalr. The objective of a l l religious acts is to remember God, l ikewise wi th prayer. "If that object is not attained, there is no use in prayer, as it is very easy to move the tongue wi th inat tent ion." 3 W h e n one is not attentive in prayer the mind does not s imply remain idle but is engaged in "the thoughts of the worldly affairs wi th which i t is immediately concerned". 4 The root cause of such menta l distraction in prayer is love for things other than God, for when one loves a thing one remembers it. Fur thermore , one should be aware of God's glory and realize one's helplessness and insignificance before H i m — fearing H i m and having honour for H i m as a condition of the mind. One should also have a f i rm faith and hope in God's mercies and gifts and lastly, one should be ashamed before H i m because of one's 1 Ibid., p. 149. 2 Rev iva l , p. 171. 3 Ibid., p. 172. 4 Ibid., p. 173. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l luminat ion / 37 sins and neglect in divine service . 1 Besides prayer, Ghazal r implores the need to practice dhikr — a common practice among the Sufis — which means the remembrance, recollection of God, to invoke H i s name. H e teaches that dhikr is only of benefit when it is done attentively. A t first one w i l l find it very difficult to turn one's mind towards God and do dhikr, but w i th practice and God's grace it w i l l give birth to a lover of God and becomes a joy to do . 2 Another way of practicing remembrance of God is through meditative reflection. Ghazalr recommends that one considers one's past sins and seeks to remove them. One should also remove any obstacles to doing good deeds and to consider doing good for yourself and other Mus l ims . One should spend time reflecting over spir i tual things, the gifts of God, H i s rewards and punishments, H i s attributes and deeds. Such reflection "is the best divine service", and through it one w i l l acquire "knowledge about God as contemplation is the key to the earning of spir i tual light", and secondly, one wi l l love God more: "The fruit of meditation is acquaintance or ma'rifah. Honour grows from acquaintance and love grows from honour and deep attachment grows from love . " 3 Meditat ion "is to keep the mind towards H i m who keeps watch and to keep al l thoughts engaged to H i m . " It is a state of mind where one's heart is a lways turned towards God and kept engaged in thoughts about H i m and H i s attributes. It bears the fruit of gnosis and also induces heart and limb toward action. 1 Ibid., pp. 173-174. 2 Ibid., p. 296. 3 Ibid., p. 318. Chapter Three: The W a y of Il lumination / 38 "Pondering over good" is also an important type of meditative exercise. For Ghazalr, "good thought is the key to light, beginning of deep insight, door to various knowledge and path to ma'rifah and unders tanding." 1 One should ponder over one's vices and virtues and God's attributes and acts. D a i l y one should review one's life to see what sins have been committed, repent of them, and determine to eradicate such vices. Continual ly , one should examine and test oneself to see i f vices have been conquered. One should also consider what virtues have been acquired and which are lacking. Then one should also spend much time reflecting on God, not upon the nature of H i s existence, but upon H i s handiwork from which one can make inferences about H i s at tr ibutes. 2 The next degree of prayer, for Teresa, as one progresses along the spir i tual path, is "infused prayer" or "passive recollection". This occurs as a transition from "active recollection" to the "prayer of quiet". Here one senses a gentle drawing inward into recollection, which is not of one's own accord but comes from God. It is not a result of . the intellect th inking about God, but occurs spontaneously; when one is not even thinking of H i m , one is drawn, pulled towards H i m . This stage is less intense than that of the prayer of quiet, being an edifice for it , and usually is a prelude to greater favors, representing the threshold of contemplation. The prayer of quiet, sometimes called "spir i tual delights" by Teresa, is a supernatural state which can not be produced by one's own effort and represents the first form or beginning of contemplative prayer . Teresa describes it as a 1 Ibid. , p. 453. 2 Ibid., pp. 461-462. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 39 delightful absorption in God, resembling both "an interior and exterior swoon" . 1 A l l the "faculties are calmed" and at peace, the wi l l is captive, the faculties are not lost but s imply do not want to stir, and the soul understands in another w a y without the use of the faculties. In the Interior Castle, Teresa draws an analogy between this prayer and consolations wi th sources of water. Spi r i tua l consolations are like waters that have been gotten through irrigation, only through a process involving much self-effort, as in meditation, whereas spir i tual delights are l ike a natural spring, burst ing forth water on its own; it cannot be produced by self-effort, regardless of how great the effort. It is only given when God gives i t . 2 F r . E rmanno further expounds upon this, saying that "the divine invasion begins in the w i l l , the facultj ' which directs the other faculties...; the action of God extends from the w i l l to the other facult ies. . ." 3 A n d so at this stage, it is only the w i l l which is in union wi th God, d rawn into a restful silence and peace. Here God is known in a new way , experientially, immediately, and not s imply intellectually. Teresa's supernatural prayer seems to resemble what Ghaza l i calls the "ra in of kashf, or gnosis. The purgative process should result in preparing the heart/soul, making i t receptive to the descent of God's mercy. Ghazalr writes that a . . .servant must cultivate his mind well , make it fit for growing seeds of faith and sincerity and then wai t for the mercy of God because no 1 W a y , p. 153. 2 on. cit., pp. 323ff. 3 E rmanno , p. 88. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l luminat ion / 40 year or month passes without the descent of the mercy of G o d . 1 Although the mercy of God is continually "raining down", i f one's mind is beset wi th base desires and passions one w i l l be far away from this ra in . " I f these are not removed," writes Ghazalr, "the i l luminat ion of ma'rifah or spir i tual knowledge wi l l not come out from the recess of the heart.... The water of mercy that lies hidden in the innermost recess of the heart and which lies covered wi th refuses like worldly passions..." must be released by removing those passions. 2 Through meditation and reflection one comes to enter into the presence of God, and through a constant practice of recollecting God ("practicing the presence of God"), one can become il lumined and enabled to contemplate the V i s i o n of God. For Ghazalr, "Godliness is the gate to recollection and recollection the gate to revelation and revelation the gate to the goal of desire (al-fawz al-akbar), which is the meeting wi th God Mos t H i g h . " 3 There are three stages of recollection: w i t h the tongue, wi th the heart, and beyond both, where one is totally absorbed in God and is led to contemplation, "when the vei l is raised between the soul and God. The worshipper has entered into the sanctuary and there is no more need of p raye r . " 4 A n d so i t can be seen that Ghaza l f s emphasis on meditation and recollection is 1 Rev iva l , p. 84~ 2 Ibid., p. 85. 3 Smi th , p. 170. 4 Ibid., p. 172. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 41 s imilar to Teresa's prayer of recollection. One constantly directs a l l concerns towards God, practicing a constant state of introversion where the heart is l istening to God, attentive, "preoccupied wi th H i m , a l l the thoughts directed towards H i m , being continually conscious of H i s Presence." 1 Fo r Ghaza l i , one eventually becomes so absorbed in contemplation that one does not see or hear anything around h im because of being so completely absorbed in the presence of God. This sounds s imi lar to Teresa's states of rapture where the faculties are suspended. Fur thermore, there is an agreement wi th respect to the progression in prayer from discursive reflection to affection in the heart, going beyond both to a suspension of faculties, in a state of rapture, where one is s imply speechless, motionless, practically unconscious to the world around them and themselves, out of awe in the overwhelming presence of God. Al though Ghazalr does not explicit ly delineate this progression, it w i l l be assumed here that he is in line wi th the tradition of moderate Suf ism, of which A . Schimmel writes in her article on mys t ica l prayer in I s l a m . 2 She cites Suf i authorities who enumerate three degrees of recollection of God: wi th the tongue only, (perhaps one could include here Teresa's discursive meditation), wi th the tongue and the heart (what Teresa would regard as affective prayer), and a recollection that goes beyond this where one is 'filled wi th H i s love and awe of 1 Ibid., pp. 169-170. 2 A . Schimmel , "Some Aspects of Mys t i ca l P raye r in I s lam" in The Wor ld of Is lam , Vol .2 (1953), pp. 113-125. Chapter Three: The W a y of I l lumination / 42 H i s nearness ' 1 and the tongue is silent (Teresa's suspension of faculties in a state of contemplation). Schimmel further describes the ultimate prayer of recollection of the Sufi as being "beyond letter and thought.... To speak without tongues wi th God, the secret way being opened, is the desire of the sufi; in increasing love he becomes nothing but hear t ." 2 Ul t imate ly the state is reached where "the recollector has forgotten a l l but God, he even forgets recollection, since the cry " 0 God" involves the consciousness of subject and object, i.e. of separation. He therefore calls: 'Keep God in remembrance t i l l self is forgotten, that you m a y be lost in the caller, without distraction of caller and c a l l . ' " 3 We see here a replica of the experience and teaching of Teresa regarding the progression or degrees of prayer . Fo r both Teresa and Ghazalr, the purpose of dhikr, mental prayer, discursive meditation and recollection is to br ing the seeker into such a state of mind and heart where one is so conscious of God's presence in the soul that one is left in speechless awe of that fact. God Himse l f then manifests Hi s reali ty to the soul, and the mystic comes to experientially know the real i ty of God and H i s presence, irrespective of what dogma proclaims. This is the beginning of experiencing union wi th God. 1 Ibid., p. 119. 2 Ibid., p. 120. 3 Ibid. , p. 121. IV. CHAPTER FOUR: THE STAGE OF UNION The process of purgation prepared the seeker for being receptive to i l lumination, or supernatural experiences of God. In turn, these divine disclosures further prepared the seeker — transforming h i m , turning h im into a true lover of God from the heart, captivating his w i l l , his whole being. In the previous stage — when the myst ic sought to love God above al l else — it was done through a great deal of self-effort, being a difficult task, for it was something counter to his previous nature. Whereas now, after such divine disclosures, i t would be difficult for the myst ic not to love God wi th his whole being. The disclosures he has received have changed h im into a lover of God no longer through self-effort. This transformation which has occurred and continues to occur is the beginning of the stage of union with there being several degrees to at tain. Complete transformation which remains permanent is an a r r iva l at the goal of complete union. It needs to be asked, though, exactly what is a l l meant by "union wi th God" , and wha t do Teresa and Ghazalr mean by this term. It seems that i n general there are two types of myst ic i sm which can be described as dualistic and monistic, or wha t M . F a k h r y delineates as the two prototypes of Sufism — "the vis ionary and the un i t a ry" . 1 "In the first var iety, the mystic seeks vision, apprehension, i l luminat ion; in the second, he seeks union, appropriation, identif ication." 2 F a k h r y wri tes that Ghazalr is one of the principal exponents of the former-type, and we could add that Teresa is l ikewise. Here , he M. F a k h r y , "Three Variet ies of M y s t i c i s m in Is lam", in the International  Journa l for the Philosophy of Religion, 2 (1971), pp. 193-207. 2 Ibid., p. 203. 43 Chapter Four : The Stage of Union / 44 continues, the myst ic aims be at one wi th God, by becoming dead unto himself and alive unto God. . . . In this condition of oneness, however, the myst ic should not lose sight of the absolute distinction (ifrad) of the eternal and the temporal, the Creator and the creature. . . . 1 W i t h respect to Is lam, he must come into a full and certain apprehension (yaqfn) that God is the cause of a l l , the only Agent/Doer, and hence, "the only genuine Real i ty" . This realization does not mean that the myst ic has become identified wi th God: A t the pinnacle of the myst ica l vision (al-mukashafah) only God remains and the mystic recognizes his own non-entity ifana'); but in this recognition there is no substantial identity, only cognitive unity, no loss of personal real i ty , only loss of consciousness or selfhood. 2 The second type of myst ic i sm, i n contradistinction to the above, maintains that "the highest stage of the mys t ica l experience is not epistemic, but substantial u n i o n . " 3 This type culminated in the metaphysical monism of Ibn ' A r a b i (d. 1240), where any distinction between Creator and creation became eliminated. We could include here as an example from Chr i s t i an myst ic i sm Jacob Boehme. Keep ing in mind, therefore, the type of myst ic i sm we are dealing wi th , and what the term "union" connotes for Teresa and Ghazalr, I shal l proceed to discuss this stage of union. For Teresa, i t is in the Fifth dwelling place where one begins to experience the 1 Ibid. , pp. 203-204. 2 Ibid., p. 204 3 Ibid., p. 205. Chapter Four: The Stage of Union / 45 lowest degree of union, the highest being in the seventh dwelling place c?Jled Spiritual Marriage. The First union, called a "union of wills", is one where, with God's help, one keeps one's will fixed on doing, and being in harmony with, God's will. It is necessary that one dies at a cost to one's self, which requires a great deal of effort, with one constantly affirming, "not my will but Thine be done". God does not have to grant great delights in order for someone to attain to this union. All that is needed is provided for in His Son Jesus, writes Teresa, Who taught us the way, which is to love God and one's fellowman. By striving to observe this with perfection one will be doing His will and so will be united with Him. 1 If one truly loves God one will love one's fellow man — that is the test. And so union is not simply an experience in prayer but consists of works of love for others. Such a union of wills is a prerequisite to the next degree of union — the "delightful" or "infused" prayer of union. Here, no self-effort is required, it being totally an act of God where the soul finds itself placed in God, so totally absorbed in Him that the soul enjoys and loves God without knowing how. All the faculties are suspended, as if they were asleep: There is no need here to use any technique to suspend the mind since all faculties are asleep in this the things of the world and to ourselves. ...(D)uring the time that the union lasts the soul is left as though without its senses....2 In prior dwelling places and prayers there was room for doubting that one was actually in union with God. Characteristic of this particular prayer is that there 1 Interior Castle, p. 35 L 2 Ibid., p. 336. Chapter Four : The Stage of Union / 46 is no doubt whatsoever. Furthermore, no matter how great of an effort one m a y exert to b r ing this prayer about one would never succeed. God alone can produce it and br ing one into such a state, for "He does not want our w i l l to have any part to play, for it has been entirely surrendered to H i m . Neither does He want the door of the faculties and of the senses to be opened... ." 1 The result of this prayer is supernatural transformation of the soul for which the ground has been laid by the obedience demonstrated in the union of the soul's wi l l to God's. To quote this passage a second time, When the soul is, in this prayer, t ru ly dead to the world, a little white butterfly comes forth. Oh, greatness of God! H o w transformed the soul is when i t comes out of this prayer after having been placed wi th in the greatness of God and so closely joined wi th H i m for a little whi le . . . . 2 The nearest correlate to Teresa's first degree of union is what Ghazali calls "God-reliance" or "trust" (tawakkul). It represents the beginning of the experience of union wi th God. It is based upon tawhid, to believe that there is no god but God and that H e is omnipotent. To (1) confess this wi th one's mouth and (2) believe it in one's heart is not enough. One mus t (3) see it by gnosis, by way of kashf, by that inner light of intuition that indeed God is the Cause of al l events, that He alone is the Doer of al l acts, before one can enter that state of God-reliance. The (4) highest state belongs to the one who sees nothing but God, where one even forgets about himself, being totally conscious of God alone. This 1 Ibid., p. 340. 2 Ibid., p. 343. Chapter Four : The Stage of Un ion / 47 is the stage of the truthful called ifana' ft tawhid).1 Ghazalr writes, When you believe that there is no master of an action, besides God, that H e is A l l powerful and A l l knowing. . . , he must re ly on H i m and w i l l not look to his own power and strength as there is no power except i n G o d . 2 Teresa uses marr iage as a metaphor to describe myst ica l union. In the fifth dwelling place previously discussed, the prayer of infused union is experienced. She describes it as being like a meeting between the soul and her Spouse, for it passes i n such a short time. Through this prayer such a knowledge of, and love for, God develops, as well as self-consecration, that i t is like a bonding that occurs between a couple before they become betrothed. In the s ix th dwell ing place the Betrothal occurs, a prayer of "intense union". This is a t ime of great tr ials and suffering, for the soul is tested and purified so that it can enter the highest stage of union — Spir i tua l Marr iage . The soul is left so wounded for love of her Spouse after every meeting that she strives a lways to meet w i th H i m , determined to r id a l l obstacles to this union. However , the L o r d wants her to desire Betrothal more than anything else and to realize that it can occur only wi th great cost and testing. There are various ways in which the L o r d prepares the soul before He belongs to i t completely in marriage. God awakens the soul by various means, called 1 Rev iva l , pp. 237-239. 2 Ibid., p. 254. Chapter Four: The Stage of Union / 48 jewels (as gifts to a bride) by Te resa . 1 Fo r example, when one is forgetful of or distracted from God, He wi l l inflict a deep, painful, yet sweet, wound upon the soul, as i f an arrow were drawn out of the depths of one's being. Or , while in vocal prayer , a "delightful enkindling" unexpectedly comes, where one is moved by God to love and worship H i m . One wi l l experience locutions, where one is being spoken to by God, or a certain k ind of intellectual vision, where one wi l l experience God's presence in a unique w a y — as i f He were bodily there but remained invisible. One may have an imaginative vision of some k ind which wi l l never be forgotten but wi l l a lways be unexplainable to someone else. The L o r d awakens the soul through various kinds of rapture. One m a y enter an ecstatic state of suspension and be revealed secrets, and receive interior understanding without the use of the faculties, being taught a great deal in a short time. One m a y experience a "flight of the spir i t" where i t seems as though one is carried off in spir i t at a great speed to another place. There also are times of intense overwhelming jubilation from God, as wel l as intense suffering, over sins, offending God, and the weariness of life. The effects of these raptures are tremendous. They leave "so much virtue, peace, ca lm, and improvement in the soul" that, for Teresa, i t would be impossible for them to be the work of the imagination or the devil. There are three things in par t icular that are left in the soul "to a very sublime degree: knowledge of the grandeur of God. . . ; self-knowledge and humil i ty . . . ; the third, little esteem of ear thly things save for those that can be used for the service of so great a 1 Interior Castle, p. 390. Chapter Four : The Stage of Union / 49 G o d . " 1 F r . Ermanno describes this stage' as being full ecstatic, where one's absorption in God is so intense "that the external senses appear to be riveted on H i m . . . . The soul is no longer conscious of being in the body," and can therefore appear to be dead. 2 Raptures, such as flight of the spirit , seem so sudden and powerful because "the soul has reached the point where it can give itself completely to God and is now free from any at tachment. . . ." 3 The soul has now entered full union with God, where all the faculties are totally absorbed i n God, but this is only a t ransi tory state. It is in Spir i tua l Marr iage where this becomes permanent. Jus t as Teresa writes of the intense longing the mystic has for her Spouse, so too does Ghazalr write of the state of longing one experiences for God. It is a part of loving God, for, writes Smi th , ...every lover longs for the Beloved when absent. W i t h i n his heart is the image of the Beloved and he longs that the image should be perfected by vision. The lover of God knows that perfect revelation can be attained only in the life to come, when his contemplation w i l l be uninterrupted and his joy increase evermore, and for that he longs, but he knows that much m a y be revealed here and now, and he longs to see more of the Beauty and the Glory of God and to attain to perfect union with the Be loved . 4 However, one progresses past this longing to a higher degree of union. 1 Idem. 2 Ermanno, p. 96. 3 Idem. 4 Smi th , p. 180. Chapter Four: The Stage of Union / 50 Returning to Teresa, she teache--, that the distance between Spiritual Betrothal and Marriage is "very great". It is in the seventh dwelling place where the soul reaches the goal of Christian Perfection, which is full and perfect union with God. Here, the union becomes permanent, continuous. As Dicken writes, it "is no longer a divine irruption into a soul.... God is now the soul's own possession...."1 For the most part, there no longer occur ecstatic experiences, for this union with God "occurs without disturbing the normal exercise of the faculties" for it is now a continuous state.2 The faculties are no longer suspended, and herein lies a major difference between this stage and all previous ones. Here, God "...desires to remove the scales from the soul's eyes and let it see and understand, although in a strange way, something of the favor He grants it." 3 This union is continuous, and is experienced as follows: Each day this soul becomes more amazed, for these Persons never seem to leave it anymore, but it clearly beholds...that they are within it. In the extreme interior, in some place very deep within itself perceives this divine company.4 Previously, the favour of union would pass quickly and afterwards the soul is left without the divine company, just as two candles which are joined become one flame but can again be separated into two candles with two flames. In Spiritual Marriage, however, the union that occurs is permanent, the soul always 1 E.W. Trueman Dicken, The Crucible of Love: A. Study of the Mysticism of St.  Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1963), p. 426. 2 Ermanno, p. 99. 3 Interior Castle, p. 450. 4 Ibid., p. 430. Chapter Four : The Stage of Union / 51 remains in the company of its L o r d i n the very centre of the soul, like a s t ream which enters the ocean can no longer be separated from i t . 1 Teresa understands this to be the meaning of Paul ' s words that whoever is united to the L o r d becomes one with H i m and that now to live is Chr is t , the self has fully died. This wi l l be seen to be a l i teral reali ty and one w i l l powerfully experience "that it is God who gives life to the s o u l " . 2 A major difference in this dwell ing place from all others is that there "are almost never any experiences of dryness or interior disturbance of the k ind that were present at times in a l l the other dwelling places, but the soul is almost a lways in quiet ." 3 The soul "does not move from that center nor is its peace los t ." 4 However , "it should not be thought that the faculties, senses, and passions are a lways in this peace; the soul is, yes . " 5 Sometimes there is a relapse from this state of peace to the tumultuous state one na tura l ly was in before. However , this would only be for a brief time to keep one humble and not forgetful of what a great favor this union is. A s the longing of Teresa's betrothed became satisfied, Ghazal r l ikewise writes of the fellowship and satisfaction the lover finds wi th God. The longing of the seeker for the absent Beloved is replaced wi th joy over the in t imacy and nearness of God's presence. Ghaza l r writes, 1 Ibid., p. 434. 2 Ibid., p. 435. 3 Ibid., p. 441. 4 Ibid., p. 435. 5 Ibid., p. 437. Chapter Four : The Stage of Un ion / 52 'No one enters into fellowship wi th God but one who has given much time to the recollection of H i m , for perfect fellowship means that the mind and the understanding have become absorbed in the joy of inward converse wi th their L o r d , as one who talks wi th his Be loved . ' 1 The result of entering into such acquiesence in the Divine W i l l " . 2 For and H i s good pleasure are what he yet he is sat isf ied." 3 communion is satisfaction, "his complete "the lover of God, the wi l l of the Beloved seeks and i f he suffers affliction thereby, Such complete surrender to and joy in God's wi l l w i l l result in a heart completely at peace and in joy. This comes from an inner light of certainty, and when the excellence of God's ordering of things is made plain and dissatisfaction and disgust find no place. The heart is at rest when it is filled wi th the sweetness of love, for the true lover is satisfied wi th al l that is done by the Beloved, and it seems to be his own desire. 4 Both agree that there is no one w ay of a t ta ining this goal of union, although the general features outlined w i l l most l ikely be present. However , because the most important factor in this journey is God's grace, the seeker may attain the goal in a flash or not at all in this life. Ghaza l i writes that, ...some of them did not in their ascent follow the gradual process we have described, nor was the ascent long for them. A t the very beginning, outstripping their compeers, they attained to a knowledge of 1 Ghazalr as quoted by Smi th , p. 182. 2 Idem. 3 Ibid., p. 183. 4 Ibid., pp. 184-185. Chapter Four: The Stage of Union / 53 the All the Holy and the Divine transcendence. They were overcome at the first by what overcame others at the last.1 Just as Teresa had several brief experiences of union which eventually became a permanent state in what she calls Spiritual Marriage, Ghazalr describes a similar experience: This absorption at First will be like a flash of lightning, lasting but a short time, but then it becomes habitual, and a means of enabling the soul to ascend to the world above, where pure and essential Reality is manifested to it...and at last it looks upon God face to face.2 Here it is seen that union is consummated through what is called the Beatific Vision. For Ghazalr, Gnosis is made perfect in the Vision of God and the contemplation of Him within the heart. This is contemplation in its perfection, for that measure of contemplation which was granted to the traveller who was mid-way, was but "permission" to enter upon the way which leads to Union, but this is "finding" (wajd) what was sought, it means entering in and the actual experience (dhawq) thereof.3 Teresa writes that she entered into this Spiritual Marriage through a vision: When the soul is brought into that dwelling place, the Most Blessed Trinity, all three Persons, through an intellectual vision, is revealed to it...., and through an admirable knowledge the soul understands as a most profound truth that all three Persons are one substance and one power and one knowledge and one God alone.... Here all three Persons communicate themselves to it, speak to it, and explain those words of the Lord in the Gospel: that He and the Father and the Holy Spirit will come to dwell with the soul that loves Him and keeps His 1 Ibid., pp. 192-193. 2 Ibid., p. 191. 3 Ibid., p. 187. Chapter Four : The Stage of Union / 54 commandments. A s union transformed Teresa's soul and led to an unshakable peace of the spirit , regardless of tumultuous surroundings and circumstances, so too for Ghaza l i , the soul has become tranquill ized (al-nafs al-mutma'innah). The soul that has completely returned to its L o r d is now at res t . 2 This is because he has finally attained union through having passed away from himself into God, called fana' ft tawhid, i.e. "losing oneself in the U n i t y " . At t a in ing this, he becomes one of "those who A t t a i n " (al-waslun), to whom a l l veils hiding God have been rendered and separation is replaced wi th union. A m o n g "those who A t t a i n " , there are two classes. Ghazalr writes that, ...for one class the whole content of the perceptible is consumed away — consumed, obliterated, and annihilated; yet the soul i tself remains contemplating the absolute Beauty and Holiness. . . . In them, then, the seen things, but not the seeing soul, are obli terated. 3 H e continues, saying that there is a second class that surpasses this, . . .among whom are the F e w of the Few; whom...the majesty of the Divine Glory obliterate; so that they are themselves blotted out, annihilated... . Nothing remaineth anymore save the One, the Real ; and the import of H i s word, ' A l l perisheth save H i s countenance' becomes the experience of the soul.. . . Such is the ult imate degree of those who A t t a i n . 4 1 Interior Cast le , p. 430. 2 Smi th , p. 174. 3 Ghaza l i , M i s h k a t a l -Anwar , translated by W . H . T . Gairdner (London: Roya l Asia t ic Society, 1924. Reprint ed., Lahore , Pakis tan: Sh . M u h a m m a d Ashraf , 1954), pp. 172-173. 4 Ibid., p. 173. Chapter Four : The Stage of U n i o n / 55 This is a state where the seeker has "' passed away from himself that he feels nothing of his bodily members, nor of what is passing without, nor what passes wi th in his own m i n d ' " . 1 H e continues, saying that i f any thought or awareness of one's state of absorption exists, he has not journeyed far enough: ' "Fo r perfect absorption means that he is unconscious not only of himself but of his absorption. F o r fana' from fana' is the goal of fana'."'2 To be totally oblivious to a l l else correlates quite wel l wi th Teresa 's ecstatic states of rapture where she seemed to be in a state of unconsciousness. Fana' could also be seen as a correlate to Teresa's experience of dying to one's self in order to live in Chr is t , where one loses a l l self regard. The directing principle of one's life is no longer one's self or one's higher good but God and H i s w i l l . A s one dies to self in order to live in Chr is t , so too for Ghaza l i , one passes away from one's self in order to subsist i n God (baqa'). Fo r h im, one is to see everything through the eyes of God, from the standpoint of the t ru th of Hi s U n i t y , that He is the Cause of everything. These saints, or friends of God, writes Ghazalr, ...see naught but H i m in this world or the world to come.... I f any form presents itself to their outward gaze, their inward vision passes beyond it to H i m . . . they are disturbed only for H i s sake, their joy is i n H i m alone.... Thei r grief is only in H i m and their longing is only for that which is to be found in H i s presence, they are aroused only for H i m , from H i m is a l l that they hear and it is to H i m that they give heed, since H e hath closed their eyes to al l but Himse l f and hath made them deaf to al l words save H i s . 3 1 G h a z a l r as quoted by Smi th , p. 190. 2 Idem. 3 Ibid., pp. 196-197. Chapter Four : The Stage of U n i o n / 56 Shehadi distinguishes three aspects of what Ghazalr means by union wi th G o d . 1 F i r s t of a l l , this union can be understood in terms of qurb, or "likeness". M a n should seek to live out the "image of God" that is in h im, by becoming like God in terms of his moral character to the point where nothing w i l l remain in his character that is not "God-like", and it is as i f only God (i.e., H i s character) is wi th in h im . Teresa would call this becoming "Chris t - l ike" . Secondly, there is a subjective tawhid w i th God, where the myst ic has continually sought to turn away from the world towards God. H e not only seeks to become like God, but seeks to shut off his attention from al l else but God, and passes away from his self to be entirely absorbed with God. It is a state of union wi th God which occurs in man's consciousness where God remains as the sole content of his consciousness, the sole object of his love. A s has been seen, Teresa strongly admonishes that one should a im for this as wel l . Las t l y , there is an objective tawhid, where the mystic realizes the t ruth that only God real ly exists, that "there is no he but He" . It is the realization that God is the sole necessary existent and all else is contingent. A l l else has no real i ty in the ultimate sense, although it does exist, which "means that in themselves...they do not have the principle of their existence wi th in them, but depend on H i m . " 2 A n d so objective unification occurs when one attains to this intuitive theocentric perspective of seeing that only God is ul t imately real . However , this does not mean, for neither Ghazalr nor Teresa, that m a n l i terally 1 F . Shehadi, Ghazalr 's •Un ique~and Unknowable God (Leiden: E . J . B r i l l , 1964), pp. 31-33. 2 Ibid., p. 31. Chapter Four : The Stage of Un ion / 57 becomes God and is identified wi th H i m . It is in this latter aspect of union, understood i n terms of the Islamic doctrine of tawhid, where there is a divergence in the thoughts of Teresa and Ghazal i . Here , the emphasis is on experientially knowing that God is the sole Doer, the only true Agent, of an act. A l l that occurs is the wi l l of God, and nothing happens that is not. The Sufi seeks to be content wi th that w i l l , accept it, be thankful for it no matter what i t may entail . Fo r Teresa as a Chr i s t ian , on the other hand, there is not^-such a strong emphasis on Divine determinism. Not everything that occurs is the direct w i l l of God, even though i t m a y be allowed to occur. M a n has the freedom to do or not to do God's w i l l . The a im for the myst ic is to bring his wi l l into complete alliance wi th God's for there are many agents and doers. Likewise , Ghazalr 's "V i s ion of God" differs from that of Teresa — the U n i t y of God versus the Tr in i ty . A n d so it is seen that the content of the Beatific Vi s ion and what is meant by union is informed by dogma, and hence differences appear. However , ul t imately, Ghazalr maintains that it is better to leave the myst ical experience unarticulated, for i t is beyond human language. H e writes that the Sufis, the means of this contemplation...rise by degrees to heights which human language cannot reach, which one cannot even indicate without fall ing into great and inevitable errors.... Chapter Four: The Stage of Union / 58 Those who have reached that stage should confine themselves to repeating the verse: What I experience I shall not try to say: Call me happy, but ask me no more.1 1 Ghazalr's Deliverance from Error, translated by Claud Field as Confessions of Al-Ghazalr (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1909. Reprint ed., Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1981), p. 55. CONCLUSION I shall now summarize the Findings presented in this research. It has been seen that Ghazalr and Teresa teach a s imi lar progression along the spir i tual path, identifying s imilar issues, methods, experiences and goals, to the degree that a type of synthesis of their teachings could be presented as was done here. F i r s t of a l l , they teach that spir i tual i ty has to be built upon orthodoxy. One first has to be an orthodox Chr is t ian or M u s l i m before one can embark upon the spir i tual path. Furthermore, one can never reach some "higher" spir i tual state which wi l l sanction an abandoning of orthodoxy. Secondly, the most crucial factor for progress of any kind is God's grace. Spir i tua l growth is seen to be the work of God wi th man's help. I f God does not chose to d raw the seeker to Himself , and disclose H i s presence, the seeker w i l l remain in the dark — God can not be manipulated. They teach that the beginning of the path is essentially ascetic in tone — revolving around the purging of one's self of a l l love and attachment to things that gratify the self, which includes the world . Such egocentricism is seen as sinful and in need of repentance. Then i t is to be renounced, the seeker resolving to love God above everything else wi th his whole being. This exchange of one's self and the world for God is demonstrated through a life of constant and perfect obedience to God's w i l l . Once one chooses God over a l l else, they teach that one has entered a battlefield, where the spiri t w i l l be war r ing against the flesh. Over time through constant mortification — both exterior and interior 59 / 60 — the spiri t gains the victory. The vices which are rooted in a love of the flesh are replaced wi th virtues rooted in a love of God. The result is that through such obedience and discipline the seeker restores the "image of God" , or becomes "Chris t - l ike" . The eradication of vice releases the angelic qualities in m a n to rule, for Ghazalr, or the divine nature that one partakes of, for Teresa. The result of this process of purgation is a soul that w i l l be prepared for, and receptive to, divine disclosures. This process of purgation continues unti l the soul is permanently purged of its egocentricity and has become completely theocentric. The stage of i l lumination can be said to begin when the seeker begins to experience supernatural encounters w i th God which happens, by the w i l l of God, when the soul is detached enough from the world and devoutly seeking after God. A t this point, the seeker is content enough, delighting in loving and obeying God, irrespective of whether or not he receives "supernatural favours". Nevertheless, he is obligated to obey and love God no matter what happens, even i f he never receives a supernatural touch. S imi la r degrees of and progression in prayer is seen. Both teach that one needs to pray wi th attentiveness and sincerity — not "absent-mindedly". One progresses from formal, vocal prayer to meditation, discursive prayer — reflecting over God's deeds and attributes which w i l l evoke affection — a love for and praise of God. A n d so prayer begins with the mind but then moves to the heart. Through the practice of recollection, or the remembrance of God (i.e. "practicing the presence / 61 of God") one eventually realizes the reality of His presence. One then begins to experience supernatural encounters with God. Here, no self-effort is involved, God draws the seeker to Himself, who becomes absorbed in God as though he were in a swoon. Prayer progresses then from the mind to the heart and then beyond both to contemplation, where one is absorbed in God in a state of rapture. Here, one is in such a state of awe before God, that he is practically unconscious to the world about him. These divine disclosures further transform the seeker. Previously, he sought after God out of self-effort, but now it is the work of God. After such encounters, one cannot help but love God completely. This is the beginning of the stage of union. These encounters are sporadic and brief, leaving the soul with an intense longing for God. Longing becomes replaced with satisfaction in union where there no longer is any separation. For Teresa, the "Divine Company" never leaves the soul, just as a river which has entered the ocean can no longer be separated from it. For Ghazalr, the soul enters peace, is "tranquillized", when it finally is illuminated to the perfection of God's will. It then no longer is dissatisfied but rejoices over whatever God does, as though it were his own desire. Both agree that union first comes in brief periods, eventually becoming habitual and permanent. Also, it is agreed that God can bring one there suddenly or gradually. Finally, they teach that it is through a vision of God that one attains to complete union. The effect of union on the soul is that it is completely / 6 2 transformed to being theocentric as opposed to its natural egocentric state — the self no longer lives lives/fana' but Christ lives/baqa'. It was seen that there were points of differences. Besides what was seen with respect to repentance, the major difference was seen in the discussion of union with God. There was common ground between them when union was understood in terms of the seeker becoming completely absorbed in God's presence, becoming theocentric in his outlook, transformed so that the ruling principle of his life was no longer himself but God. However, there were different emphases. Ghazalr understands union from the perspective of the Islamic doctrine of tawhid. Union with God means that the seeker has become illumined and intuitively, experientially realizes the fact that God alone is God, that He is the sole Doer/Agent. He sees moment by moment how every event is of the hand of God, how all that occurs is His will. It is this vision of God as the sole Actor which is the goal for Ghazalr. The degree of this vision provides the "measuring stick" for determining one's proximity to the goal. For Teresa, it is the degree to which one loves one's neighbor that is such a canon. She emphasizes that the goal is to completely love God, as proven by perfect obedience in doing His will, which revolves around laying down one's life for another. It is assumed here that not everything that occurs is the will of God, but rather, one needs to unite one's will with His. This involves a struggle for one's carnal nature is egocentric in character and resists action that is "selfless". Ghazalr would agree but the difference is that for him, to unite one's / 63 w i l l wi th God's means that one realizes that a l l that occurs is God's w i l l — the emphasis is on realization instead of action. Fur thermore , there seem to be different emphases wi th respect to God's disclosures to the soul. Teresa emphasizes a personal, relational encounter wi th God, whereas for Ghazalr, the encounter is of a noetic nature. Teresa does not use the term "gnosis", and only occasionally describes her supernatural experiences as being a reception of divine knowledge. The revelations which she receives are of God Himself . In contrast, Ghazalr writes of these disclosures as being a reception of gnosis, spir i tual insight, and knowledge of divine things. Overa l l it appears that dogma circumscribed spiri tual experience for both mystics , because both sought not to violate orthodoxy. However, since spir i tual i ty focuses upon the subject instead of the object of religious experience (as discussed in the Introduction), the realm of dogma resided in the background. The result seen here is a close affinity in the teachings of Ghaza l i and Teresa in the area of spir i tual i ty . V. BIBLIOGRAPHY This bibliography consists of only those sources actually used in the writing of this thesis. It is in no way intended to be a comprehensive bibliography of the writings of St. Teresa and al-Ghazalr or of the commentaries thereon. A. PRIMARY SOURCES Al-Ghazali, The Alchemy of Happiness. Translated by Claud Field. London: J. Murray, 1910. Reprint ed., Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1964, 1983. The Beginning of Guidance. Translated by W. Montgomery Watt, in The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazalr. London: Allen and Unwin, 1953. Reprint ed., Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1981. Deliverance from Error Translated by Claud Field. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1909. Reprint ed., Confessions of al-Ghazalr. Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1981. Translated by W. Montgomery Watt, in Th _e_ Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazalr. London: Allen and Unwin, 1953.  Reprint ed., Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1981. The Revival of the Religious Sciences. Translated by Bankey Bahari. Vrindaban: Mata Krishna Satsang, 1964. Reprint ed., Pakistan: Islam Mission, 1971. Book XX of al-Ghazalfs Ihya' 'Ulum al-Dm. Translated by L. Zolondek. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1963. Mishkat al-Anwar (The niche for lights). Translated by W.H.T. Gairdner. London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1924. Reprint ed., Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1952. St. Teresa, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, 2 vols. Translated by Kieran Kavannaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. Washington, 64 D . C : I C S Publishers, 1976. Bibl iography / 65 B. S E C O N D A R Y SOURCES Anderson, Margare t , Arabic Mater ia l s i n Translat ion. Boston: G . K . H a l l & Co. , 1980. Bouyer , Louis , et a l . , eds., _A His tory of Chr is t ian Spir i tual i ty , 2 vols. N e w Y o r k : Desclee Co. , 1963. Cooke, Stanley A . , "Religion" in The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , vol . X , pp. 662-693. Edited by James Hast ings. N e w Y o r k : Charles Scribners Sons, 1961. Davies , R. Trevor , The Golden Century of Spain (1501-1621). London: M a c M i l l a n & Co. , 1937. Dicken, E . W . Trueman, The Crucible of Love: A. Study of the Mys t i c i sn of St. Teresa of Jesus and St . J o h n of the Cross. N e w Y o r k : Sheed and W a r d , 1963. Duquoc, Chr i s t ian , ed., Spi r i tua l i ty i n Church and Wor ld , vol . I X of Conci l ium:  Theology in the Age of Renewal . N e w Y o r k : Paul is t Press, 1965. Ede, D a v i d et a l . , eds., Guide to Is lam. Boston: G . K . H a l l & Co. , 1983. Ell iot t , J . H . , Imperial Spain: 1469-1716. London: E d w a r d Arno ld Publishers, L t d . , 1963. El lwood, Robert S., J r . , M y s t i c i s m and Religion. Englewood Cliffs , N e w Jersey: Prentice H a l l , 1980. Ermanno , Father , "The Degrees of Teresian P raye r " in St. Teresa of A v i l a : Studies in Her L i fe , Doctrine and Times. Edited by Fa ther Thomas, O . C . D . , and Father Gabr ie l , O . C . D . Westminster: The N e w m a n Press, 1963. F a k h r y , Maj id , "Three Variet ies of M y s t i c i s m in I s lam" in The International Bibliography / 66 Journa l for the Philosophy of Religion, vol. 2 (1971), pp. 70-81 and 193-207. Goldziher, Ignaz, Introduction to Islamic Theology and L a w . Translated by A n d r a s and Ru th H a m o r i . Princeton: Princeton Univers i ty Press, 1981. Peers, Edgar Al l i son , Mother of Carmel : _a_ portrait of St. Teresa of Jesus, second edition. London: S C M Press, 1946. Rahman , Faz lu r , Is lam, second edition. Chicago: Univers i ty of Chicago Press , 1979. Schimmel , Annemar ie , "Some Aspects of M y s t i c a l P raye r i n I s l am" in The  W o r l d of Is lam, vol . 2 (1953), pp. 112-125. Sheikh, Saaed M . , "Al-Ghazal r : M y s t i c i s m " and "Al-Ghazalr : Influence", in A . Hi s to ry of M u s l i m Philosophy, vol . I. Edited by M . M . Sharif . Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowi tz , 1963. Shehadi, Fadlou , Ghazalr 's Unique and Unknowable God. Leiden: E . J . B r i l l , 1964. Sherif, M u h a m m e d Ahmed , Ghazalr 's Theory of Vi r tue . A l b a n y : State Univers i ty of N e w Y o r k Press, 1975. Smi th , Margare t , Al-Ghazal r : The Mys t i c . London: Luzac , 1944. U m a r u d d i n , M . , The E th i ca l Philosophy of A l -Ghazza l i . Lahore , Pakis tan : Sh . M u h a m m a d Ashraf , 1970. Upper , Claudia Reid, "Al-Ghazal r ' s Thought Concerning the Nature of M a n and U n i o n with God" . The M u s l i m Wor ld , vol. X L I I (1952), pp. 23-32. Wainbr ight , W i l l i a m J . , M y s t i c i s m : A_ Study of its Nature , Cognitive Value , and  M o r a l Implications. Madison , Wisconsin: Univers i ty of Wisconsin Press, 1981. Wat t , W . Montgomery, M u s l i m Intellectual: A. Study of a l -Ghazal i . Edinburgh: Bibliography / 67 Edinburgh University Press, 1963. Zaehner, R .C, Mysticism: Sacred and Profane. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957 (reprint 1971). 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items