Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness - 21 Death, Personality and the immortal soul
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness - 20 Death, Personality and the immortal soul
A little consideration will show how entirely distinct the soul is from the body and its members. …. the body which you have now is no longer the body which you had as a child, but entirely different, yet your Personality now is identical with your personality then.
It is therefore easy to conceive of it [immortal soul] as persisting when the body is done with altogether, along with its essential attributes which were independent of the body…… This is the meaning of that saying of the Koran,
“The good things abide.”
The reason of the spirit seeking to return to that upper world is that its origin was from thence, and that it is of angelic nature. It was sent down into this lower sphere against its will …., as is said in the Koran:
“Go down from hence, all of you; there will come to you instruction from Me, and they who obey the instruction need not fear, neither shall they be grieved.”
“I breathed into man of My spirit,” also points to the celestial origin of the immortal soul.
…..As regards its future existence, we have already seen that the immortal soul is essentially independent of the body. All objections to its existence after death based on the supposed necessity of its recovering its former body fall, therefore, to the ground.
Some theologians have supposed that the human soul is annihilated after death and then restored, but this is contrary both to reason and to the Koran. The former shows us that death does not destroy the essential individuality of a man, and the Koran says,
“Think not that those who are slain in the path of God are dead; nay, they are alive, rejoicing in the presence of their Lord, and in the grace bestowed on them.”
Not a word is said in the Law about any of the dead, good or bad, being annihilated. Nay, the Prophet is said to have questioned the spirits of slain infidels as to whether they had found the punishments, with which he had threatened them, real or not. When his followers asked him what was the good of questioning them, he replied,
“They hear my words better than you do.”