Encouragement and Deterrence

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali says in Kitab Kasr al-Shahwatayn:

“Know that man has been made subject to sexual desire for two beneficial reasons. The first of these is that by knowing its delight he is able to draw an analogy which suggests what the delight of the Afterlife must be like. For the delight of the sexual act, were it to last, would be the greatest pleasure of the body, just as the pain of a burn is the body’s greatest  agony. Encouragement and deterrance [al-targhib wa’l-tarhib], which drive people towards their saving happiness, can only be brought about by means of palpable pain and pleasure, since what cannot be perceived through experience will never be greatly desired. The second reason to that it allows the human race to continue and the world [‘alam] to abide. Such are its benefits.”

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