Know that all the facets of mankind's disposition are for their benefit - either directly such as the desire for food, or indirectly by preventing harm, such as the capacity for anger. However, when these natural impulses are not moderated it culminates in harm. If the desire for food is excessive it leads to gluttony.
Similarly when anger is uncontrolled it leads to transgression. The aim should be to achieve equilibrium of the soul, to allow the faithful to approach God without distraction.
The author addresses many spiritual diseases - such as:
Gluttony (Over Eating),
Vanity & attachment to this world.
He also discusses the qualities that the seeker of God must acquire - such as love, self discipline, humility, self-criticism, improvement of character, patience and truthfulness. In a simple yet effective way he shows the wayfarers how to cure their spiritual diseases and acquire the necessary qualities for their journey to Allah. This masterpiece has been divided into thirty chapters to facilitate the reader's comprehension. Important points are highlighted using anecdotes from the early righteous predecessors. The author, Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH) was an erudiate scholar of the Hanbali madhab.
About the Author
'Abu'l-Faraj Jamal al-Din Abdul Rahman ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Ibn Ubayd Allah Ibn al-Jawzi al-Qurashi al Tamimi al Bakri al-Baghdadi al-Hanbali (509/510-597) رحمه الله was the Imam of Hanbalis and foremost orator of kings and commoners in his time, whose gatherings reportedly reached one hundred thousand. A hadith master, philologist, commentator of Qur'an, expert jurist, physician, and historian of superb character and exquisite manners.
Ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله was a prolific author of over seven hundred books. He was the author of a vast number of works of which several have been printed in recent times. He was famous as a preacher and the traveller Ibn Jubair gives an enthusiastic account of two of his sermons heard in Baghdad.
He was born in 509/510 AH the city of Baghdad and grew up studying under the leading scholars of the time, He also was noted for his scholarship in the fields of history, linguistics, tafseer and fiqh. In fact, he became the leading scholar of the Hanbali Madhab of his time and played an important role in reviving and spreading it, especially after the become a favorite of the Abassid Caliph, al Mustadi
Ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله was severely tried towards the end of his life when his criticism of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani - his senior of forty years - led to accusations made against him to the Sultan al-Nasir by the Shaykh's children and supporters. He was taken from Baghdad to the city of Wasit where he remained imprisoned for five years.
Ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله passed away in 597 AH, two years after his release from Imprisonment.