As He Breathed His Last – Imam al-Ghazali’s Last Poem

From the Healing Hearts blog

Imam Al Ghazzali woke up one early morning and as usual offered his prayers. He then enquired what day it was and his younger brother, Ahmad Ghazzali replied,”Monday.”

He asked him to bring his white shroud, kissed it, stretched himself full length and saying “Lord, I obey willingly,” breathed his last.

Underneath his head rest they found the following verses; composed by him, probably, during the night:

“Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead,

Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow,

‘Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself,

In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I,

I am a spirit, and this is naught but flesh,

It was my abode and my garment for a time.

I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid,

Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine,

I am a pearl, which has left it’s shell deserted,

I am a bird, and this body was my cage,

Whence I have now flown forth and it is left as a token,

Praise to God, who hath now set me free,

And prepared for me my place in the highest of the Heavens,

Until today I was dead, though alive in your midst.

Now I live in truth, with the grave – clothes discarded.

Today I hold converse with the Saints above,

With no veil between, I see God face to face.

I look upon “Loh-i-Mahfuz” and there in I read,

Whatever was and is, and all that is to be.

Let my house fall in ruins, lay my cage in the ground,

Cast away the talisman, it is a token no more,

Lay aside my cloak, it was but my outer garment.

Place them all in the grave, let them be forgotten,

I have passed on my way and you are left behind,

Your place of abode was no dwelling place for me.

Think not that death is death, nay, it is life,

A life that surpasses all we could dream of here,

While in this world, here we are granted sleep,

Death is but sleep, sleep that shall be prolonged

Be not frightened when death draweth nigh,

It is but the departure for this blessed home,

Think of the mercy and love of your Lord,

Give thanks for His Grace and come without fear.

What I am now, even so shall you be,

For I know that you are even as I am,

The souls of all men come forth from God,

The bodies of all are compounded alike,

Good and evil, alike it was ours.

I give you now a message of good cheer

May God’s peace and joy forever more be yours.”