Al-Ghazali, the author of The Alchemy of Happiness, was a Persian theologian, philosopher, and prolific Sunni Muslim author, and is regarded as one of the great thinkers of Islam. The work emphasized the importance of observing the ritual requirements of Islam, the actions that would lead to salvation, and the avoidance of sin. The factor that set the Alchemy apart from other theological works at the time was its mystical emphasis on self-discipline and asceticism. Sa’āda (happiness) is a central concept in Islamic philosophy used to describe the highest aim of human striving. Sa’āda is equated with “ultimate happiness”, namely that of the hereafter. It is achieved only after a human being has liberated his/her soul completely from its corporal existence, achieving “active intellect”. The teachings were to help man to live a life in accordance with the sacred law, and by doing so gain a deeper understanding of its meaning on the day of Judgement.
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