Al-Ghazali on Intention, Sincerity & Truthfulness is the thirty-seventh chapter of the Revival of the Religious Sciences. It falls in the section dealing with the virtues. Here Ghazali deals with the very important subject of intention, which is of crucial importance in Islam. He asks: ‘How can someone ignorant of the meaning of intention verify his own intention; or how can someone ignorant of the meaning of sincerity verify his own sincerity; or how can someone sincerely claim truthfulness if he has not verified its meaning?’
In the Book of Intention, Sincerity & Truthfulness, Ghazali gives a response to each of these questions by expounding the reality and levels of intention, sincerity and truthfulness, those acts which affirm them and those acts which mar them. As in all his writings, Ghazali bases his arguments on the Qur’an, the example of the Prophet and the sayings of numerous scholars and Sufis.
Dr Anthony Shaker holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from McGill University and is the author of Thinking in the Language of Reality: Sadr al-Din Qunawi and the Philosophy of Reason. He writes on the philosophical traditions of Islam, contemporary developments around the world, and is a professional consultant and researcher.