Author: Imam Harith al Muhasibi; Imam Zaid Shakir (translator)
Publisher: New Islamic Directions (2008)
Pages: 249 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Imam Abu Abdullah al-Harityh bin Asad al-Muhasibi, who was born in the Iraqi port city of Basra in 165/781, and passed away in 243/857 at Baghdad, is one of the most important scholars of the formative period of the Islamic sciences. His most important contribution is in the area of character reformation, and formulating a spiritually-based moral psychology. In this translation of his, Risala al-Mustarshidin (Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance), along with a lucid commentary, Zaid Shakir makes one of the formative works in Muslim intellectual history accessible in the English language.
“Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance is a classic of early Islamic literature. It provides us with a document that testifies to the fundamental principles, attitudes, and incumbent conduct of Islamic moral psychology from the formative period. This work, from the pen of Imam Harith al-Muhasibi (d. 243/857), the mentor of Junayd, is one of earliest examples we have of the role these principles played in constituting the moral thought and action that constitutes that fabric of Muslim society. This translation in Imam Zaid’s own words is, “a layman’s guide to Islamic spiritually” and as such is a key text to our understanding today of the multiple faceted framework behind the principle themes of the teacher/disciple relationship and testifies to the manner in which these principles have become integrated within the process of Islamic spiritual orientation. Among the salient characteristics of Treatise for The Seekers of Guidance is the care Imam al-Muhasibi has taken to structure the discourse of the treatise on the foundations of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in such a manner that he provides us with a clear and coherent criteria for both the theoretical and practical aspects that comprise the Islamic view of human development in general and salvation in particular.
Imam Zaid Shakir has accompanied this text with an in-depth commentary based upon the Qur’an and Hadith that enriches and contextualizes the concise prose of Imam al-Muhasibi within the social milieu of our times. He employs language that is accessible and free of technical terminology. His translation thus provides sound guidance to anyone who is seeking in the midst of the uncertainties of social turmoil and personal struggle, a whole and integral path, a unity of form and substance, self-effecting comportment, and intimate knowledge of God. In short this is a work that no one’s library should be without.”