Imam al-Ghazali used many metaphors and imaginary tales to best illustrate very profound concepts and ideas. The Ant and The Pen, for example, is a story which tries to help explain how God knows and plans everything which will happen to us. The Imam uses the image of small plants which grow in our hearts into magnificent trees to illustrate how doing beautiful deeds will nourish inner growth and later produce beautiful fruits. His metaphor for polishing the heart makes it very easy for us to imagine the process of self-observation and correction.
In the Book of Knowledge, we were able to create stories which could best explain Imam al-Ghazali’s ideas to children. In Book Two, however, he presents very profound concepts about belief and the afterlife. A friend in Abu Dhabi suggested that young Muslims love heroic figures, and that Imam al-Ghazali would make an excellent addition to the great personages in the Islamic world for young people to admire.
Also, he suggested that children enjoy such magical ideas as “time travel.” It was therefore decided that in the Book of Belief, the Imam would make an imaginary visit to the children in order to answer their questions. It is for this reason that we have included the Imam in such a fashion, using such a metaphor for his timeless message coming to our children.
But the reason why the Publisher has chosen to transport Imam al-Ghazali to our world is not only to engage the imagination of children but to underscore the point that real learning and truth are ageless and not bound by concepts of time and space. Al-Ghazali and his message still live with us today.