"Al-Ghazali on the Manners Relating to Eating" is the eleventh chapter of the "Revival of the Religious Sciences" (Ihya Ulum al-Din), which is widely regarded as the greatest work of Muslim spirituality. In "Al-Ghazali on the Manners Relating to Eating", Abu Hamid al-Ghazali helps to bring to light the religious and spiritual dimensions of one of the most basic of human needs: eating and the conduct connected with it.---First, Ghazali discusses what a person must uphold when eating by himself: that the food is lawful, that both the person and the surroundings should be clean, that one must be content with what is available, and how the person should conduct himself while eating and after eating. Ghazali then proceeds to discuss eating in company and says that to all the above should be added the necessity of courtesy, conversation and the proper presentation of food. Finally, Ghazali expounds the virtues of hospitality and generosity and the conduct of the host as well as that of the guest. Other topics that are discussed are: abstention from food, fasting and general health.
Whilst the focus of this chapter of the "Revival" is upon the question of eating, Ghazali also presents the importance of aligning every aspect of one's life with religion and spirituality. Referring extensively to the example of the Prophet and to that of the early Sufis, Ghazali illustrates how the simple activity of eating can encourage numerous virtues that are themselves necessary for the remainder of the spiritual life.---In this new edition, the Islamic Texts Society has included the translation of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali's own Introduction to the "Revival of the Religious Sciences" which gives the reasons that caused him to write the work, the structure of the whole of the "Revival" and places each of the chapters in the context of the others.