Introducing Captured Thoughts by Ibn al-Jawzi
Captured Thoughts, the translate of a book written by Imam Ibn al-Jawzi — a Muslim scholar iconic in the 12th century. Captured Thoughts is the translated version, as the original text was written in Arabic—Saydul Khatir. The complete title is: “Captured Thoughts: A Collection of Thought-Provoking Gems, Persuasive Eye Opening Wisdoms, Insights About Religion, Ethics And Relationship.”
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi was renowned for his preaching and alluring words—attracting worshippers to his lectures from different corners of Bagdad and beyond. His beautiful speech is evident in his written word, as many people who read Capture Thoughts will attest.
To put it simply: Captured Thoughts are thoughts that crossed through Ibn al-Jawzi’s mind; rather than letting them go, he captured them using ink and paper which later become an entire book.
Captured Thoughts’ Plot Summary
In this book review, there’s no plot to cover, but I will explain the structure of Ibn al-Jawzi’s Captured Thoughts. The book is complete with three hundred and sixty-five chapters, 1,054 pages.
The book has a structure of short chapters, each chapter being a thought that occurred. For example, the second chapter is called Worldly Pleasures vs Pleasures of the Hereafter. An analogy he uses in this chapter, “[To explain further], the example of the innate nature of humans and its inclination to this worldly life is like running water that is always befitting to travel downward because going upward requires (strenuous) exertion.”
All the chapters are easily digestible, to any given reader. This allows the books to be a quick read in comparison to another book that’s over 1,000 pages.
My Praise for Captured Thoughts
I can go all day praising this book. Not only for its content, but the words, the metaphors/analogies, real stories from people he interacted with and so on. The content is very inspiring. It allows the reader to pursue the ultimate purpose of life—the purpose God created humans. He includes direct verses from the Qu’ran to support the content, and ultimately, his thoughts.
The way he puts words together, the way he formulates sentences into paragraphs, makes the reading so sweet to the tongue and light for the mind. It makes the mind want more of it, as if reading would cure some sort of sickness within the body.
As for the metaphors and analogies, they are at the core of his writing. He makes hard concepts—that even a practicing Muslim—can easily grasp. I believe the analogies and metaphors are beautifully placed as if he picked out those places with care.
And finally, certainly not the least, the stories of people he knew and the friends of his friends. They add a logical aspect to Capture Thoughts because some of the miracles that are highlighted cannot be refuted. Ibn al-Jawzi includes stories that occur to support his own thoughts.
My Critique for Captured Thoughts
I really can’t think of a critique for Captured Thoughts. It’s the greatest book I’ve read, written by man.
For the recommendations: I believe the book is great for any Muslim seeking a deeper understanding of Islam. No matter your age, male or female, this book is worth reading.
As for a non-Muslim, I believe you’ll learn more about Islam from this book than you would from the media. A PDF version of Captured Thoughts is available for free online, or you can purchase a hardcover on Amazon.
Be sure to check out my other book reviews!