The Four Barriers of a Student of Knowledge - From Imam Al-Ghazali

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(Taken from Imam Al-Ghazali's Ihya)

Whoever wishes to acquire bliss in the next world should observe some rules, holding firmly to the Qur'an. Obstacles in the path of religion should be removed as they may prevent one from spiritual progress.

Allah ﷻ says, "We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see" (Qur'an, 36:9).

There are four barriers before a religious disciple: a barrier of wealth, a barrier of honor, a barrier of sectarianism and a barrier of sins.

(1) A barrier of wealth

The barrier of wealth can be removed if wealth is spend on only the bare necessities of life.

(2) A barrier of honor

The second barrier of honor and rank can be removed by shifting from a position of honor, name and fame.

(3) A barrier of sectarianism

The third barrier is differences of opinion in religious matters.

Blind faith in a sect must be removed from the heart, and one should firmly believe that there is no deity but Allah ﷻ and that Muhammad ﷺ is His messenger and best guide.

(4) A barrier of sins

The fourth barrier is sins, which can be removed by repentance for past sins, restraint from acts of oppression, and compensation to the oppressed.

When these four obstacles are removed, one becomes like a person who prepares for prayer by performing ablution.