Photo: Three dervishes from Istanbul; late 19th century. Photographer: Pascal Sebah.
He who buries his head deep into a nosebag full of food cannot hope to see the invisible world.
If thou wouldst preserve a sound body, use fasting and walking; if a healthful soul, fasting and praying; walking exercises the body, praying exercises the soul, fasting cleanses both.
Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.
The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself.
[W]hen the faculties are empty, then your whole being listens.
Fasting cures diseases, dries up bodily humors, puts demons to flight, gets rid of impure thoughts, makes the mind clearer and the heart purer, the body sanctified, and raises man to the throne of God.
(Athenaeus of Naucratis)
Fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.
'Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires: Books XXII and XXIII of the Revival of the Religious Sciences'
By Abu Hamid Muhammad Ghazali (Author), T. J. Winter (Translator)
The spiritual life in Islam begins with 'riyadat al-nafs', the inner warfare against the ego. Distracted and polluted by worldliness, the lower self has a tendency to drag the human creature down into arrogance and vice. Only by a powerful effort of will can the sincere worshipper achieve the purity of soul which enables him to attain God's proximity. This translation of two chapters from "The Revival of the Religious Sciences" ("Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din") details the sophisticated spiritual techniques adopted by classical Islam. In the first step, "On Disciplining the Soul," which cites copious anecdotes from the Islamic scriptures and biographies of the saints, Ghazali explains how to acquire good character traits, and goes on to describe how the sickness of the heart may be cured. In the second part, "Breaking the Two Desires," he focusses on the question of gluttony and sexual desire, concluding, in the words of the Prophet, that 'the best of all matters is the middle way'. The translator has added an introduction and notes which explore Ghazali's ability to make use of Greek as well as Islamic ethics. The work will prove of special interest to those interested in Sufi mysticism, comparative ethics, and the question of sexuality in Islam.