This is a story of a pious man and was an arifin as well as a magnifying guardian (wali) of Allah, namely Imam Ahmad al-Ghazali rahimahullah.

He was the sibling of Hujjatul Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali rahimahullah, the author of the book Ihya ‘Ulumuddin which acknowledged by Imam an-Nawawi is almost like the Qur’an.

It is told in the book of Muid an-Ni’ami that Imam Tajuddin as-Subki rahimahullah said, “We have heard a story that Imam al-Ghazali led his brother named Ahmad in praying, but in the midst of the prayer, he suddenly mufaraqah (leave the jama’ah) and joined Imam al-Ghazali instead.

When the prayer was done, Imam al-Ghazali asked, “Why did you leave the jamaah with me?”

Then his brother replied, “Because you were covered in menstrual blood.”

Imam al-Ghazali realized that during the prayer he remembered a fiqh problem related to menstruation.

The lesson behind this story is about the special importance of khusyu (wholehearted) during prayer. It is indeed hard to do, even Imam al-Ghazali struggled for it.

We tend to not khusyu during pprayers because we tend to think other things than the prayer itself. Therefore, his brother, Imam Ahmad al-Ghazali, chose to leave the jamaah from him.

Prayer is not only a zahir matter, it is related to a deeper dimension, namely the matter of the mind.

Source: Hikayat Shalihin, karya Muhsin Basyaiban. Yogyakarta: Layar Creativa Mediatama.

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