The deceitful character of the world comes out in the following ways. In the first place, it pretends that it will always remain with you, while, as a matter of fact, it is slipping away from you, moment by moment, and bidding you farewell, like a shadow which seems stationary, but is actually always moving.
Again, the world presents itself under the guise of a radiant but immoral sorceress, pretends to be in love with you, fondles you, and then goes off to your enemies, leaving you to die of chagrin and despair.
Jesus (upon whom be peace!) saw the world revealed in the form of an ugly old hag. He asked her how many husbands she had possessed; she replied that they were countless. He asked whether they had died or been divorced; she said that she had slain them all. “I marvel”, he said, “at the fools who see, what you have done to others, and still desire you.” – Al Ghazzali
Translated in 1909, the Kimiya-yi Sa’ādat (The Alchemy of Happiness) was written towards the end of Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī’s life shortly before 499/1105.
During the time before it was written the Muslim world was considered to be in a state of political as well as intellectual unrest. al-Ghazali noted that there were constant disputes regarding the role of philosophy and scholastic theology and Sufi’s became chastised for their neglect of the ritual obligations of Islam.
Upon its release, the Kimiya-yi sa’ādat allowed al-Ghazali to considerably reduce the tensions between the scholars and mystics.—
Excerpted from Kimiya-yi sa’ādat on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Chapter I: The Knowledge Of Self
Chapter II: The Knowledge Of God
Chapter III: The Knowledge Of This World
Chapter IV: The Knowledge Of The Next World
Chapter V: Concerning Music And Dancing As Aids To The Religious Life
Chapter VI: Concerning Self-Examination And The Recollection Of God
Chapter VII: Marriage As A Help Or Hindrance To The Religious Life
Chapter VIII: The Love Of God