Analogy of life

Analogy of life

Once a Traveller asked Imam Ghazali, ‘How do you see life?’ Imam Ghazali replied using an analogy, he said:

Once a man was walking through the jungle, a roaring lion ran towards him. The man, fearing for his life, ran as fast as he could to escape from the lion. Shortly, he saw a well and jumped inside hoping to escape from the lion. As he jumped into the well, he grabbed onto some rope hanging off it. The man was relieved but when he looked down, he saw a snake at the bottom of the well. It had its mouth wide open, ready to swallow. The man, now fearing that he may fall or not hang on for long, looked up to the lion once more, seeing it prowl. He then saw two mice nibbling at the rope; a black mouse and a white mouse.

The man’s heart was pounding as he wondered how he could escape from this predicament. Then he noticed a honeycomb in front of him which was overflowing, he could see sweet yellow honey dripping from it. He put his finger out to taste some of the honey. The honey was so delicious that he forgot about the lion, the snake and the two mice. He continued eating the honey without any anxiety or fear whatsoever.

The traveller did not understand any of this analogy so Imam Ghazali explained: The lion is the Angel of Death, It is always chasing you and one day will get you. The snake is your grave, waiting for you too fall right in, so it can enclose you. The mice are the day and the night, eating away at your life and the honeycomb is the worldly desires.

The man enjoyed the world so much that he forgot about his surroundings, about death and how short life is.


by Imam Ghazali

Analogy of life

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