The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) warned that those who learn sacred knowledge to gain the admiration of other people would be among the first to be thrown into the Hellfire. (Muslim) Take this course to learn how to be sincere in your quest for sacred knowledge by: (1) avoiding the sins of the outward limbs, (2) avoiding the sins of the heart, and (3) having good character with other people. This the second of a two-part course that covers a primer on Islamic spirituality by Imam al-Ghazali.

Curricular Context

  • This is a second-level course in Step One
  • Before taking this course, take The Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi) or The Absolute Essentials of Islam (Shafi‘i)
  • Take this course before all courses in Step Two

Course Outline

  • LESSON 1: Introduction to the Sins Committed By the Limbs
  • LESSON 2: Sins of the Tongue
  • LESSON 3: Sins of the Tongue (Continued)
  • LESSON 4: Sins of the Stomach, Private Parts, Hands, and Feet
  • LESSON 5: Envy and Ostentation
  • LESSON 6: Conceit, Arrogance, and Pride
  • LESSON 7: Etiquette of Companionship With the Creator and Creation
  • LESSON 8: Etiquette With the Book of Allah
  • LESSON 9: Etiquette of the Teacher
  • LESSON 10: Etiquette of the Student
  • LESSON 11: Etiquette of Dealing With People You Don’t Know
  • LESSON 12: Duties With Brothers and Friends

What You Will Learn:

  • Distinguish between true religious knowledge that is beneficial and ostensibly religious knowledge that is not
  • Identify instances of the sins of the limbs (particularly those of the tongue)
  • Identify instances of the sins of the heart
  • Complete a regimen of protecting your tongue from sin
  • Improve your character with your teachers, relatives, friends, and strangers
  • Appreciate the spiritual value of good company

Course Requirements:

Course Format: 12 downloadable lessons, plus live sessions.

About the Course Text

This course is an exposition of Bidayat al-Hidaya (“Beginning of Guidance”), the greatest scholar of his time and arguably the most famous scholar of Islam who ever lived, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 505 A.H. / 1111 C.E.). Imam al-Ghazali is unanimously regarded as the renewer (mujaddid) of Islam of his century, first for his intellectual defense of traditional Islamic beliefs against Avicennan philosophy, and then for his powerful spiritual reinvigoration of the Islamic sciences through his magnum opus, the 40-part Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din (“Revival of the Religious Sciences”). The textbook for this course, Bidayat al-Hidaya, one of his last works, is written for students who are beginning their religious studies to warn them against the dangers of ostentation, and to teach them how to use their religious knowledge towards their own benefit for eternity.

Significant Dates

Registration Opens: September 30, 2019

Registration Closes: November 25, 2019

Note: Course material will be available on the first day of classes, October 21, 2019.

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“Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward”– The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)