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Soul - Nafs

نفس

Be a Man: Will Power and Resolution

Dear friend: try to be a man of strong will power and resolution, so that you may not go from this world as a person without resolution, and hence rise on the day of resurrection as a brainless-being, not in the form of human being.

For the otherworld is the place where what is hidden is unveiled and secrets are exposed.

One’s audacity to commit sin, converts him little by little into a man devoid of will power, and takes away the noble essence of humanity from him.

More than anything else, giving the ears to the sounds of music and songs, steal from men their will power and the power of resolution.

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Refrain

{Refrain from following your own desire, so that you don't deviate (from justice) - if you distort or neglect justice (if you turn away from truth), Allah is fully aware of what you do.}
4-135

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Willpower (over the nafs, which is commanding evil) is achieved by following the laws of Islam and the example of the Prophet, ﷺ (sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam- the blessings and peace of Allah upon him), the best of humankind ever to walk the earth!

(… be a man: will power and resolution = be a woman with will power and resolution.)

Allah ﷻ also says

{ By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.
He will indeed be successful who purifies it (causes it to grow), And he has failed who instills it [with corruption] (who corrupts it).}
(91- 7-10)

The Self (Soul), Ignorance and Desire

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{ Indeed (man's) self (soul) is wont to command (him to do) evil.}.
(Quran 12-53)

Tafsir Al-Tustari

Clarification and commentary on this verse by Sahl al-Tustari.

{ Yet I do not exculpate my own soul; verily the soul is ever inciting to evil…} He (Sahl al-Tustari) said:

Truly, the [evil-]inciting self (nafs ammāra) is lust (shahwa), which is the role played by man’s [basic] nature (ṭabʿ); ‘…unless my Lord shows mercy’, is the role played by the [divine] protection (ʿiṣma). The self at peace (nafs muṭmaʾinna) is the self of gnosis (nafs al-maʿrifa).

God, Exalted is He, created the self and made ignorance its nature (ṭabʿ) and made desire (hawā) the closest thing to it. He also made desire the door by which man’s ruin enters. Sahl was asked about the meaning of [a person’s] nature (ṭabʿ) and how one might necessarily acquire protection from it. He said: Human nature (ṭabʿ) comprises four natural dispositions (ṭabāʾiʿ):

  • the first is the animal disposition (ṭabʿ al-bahāʾim), that of the stomach and genitals;
  • the second is the satanic disposition (ṭabʿ al-shayāṭīn), that of play (laʿb) and diversion (lahw);
  • the third is the sorcerous disposition (ṭabʿ al-saḥara), that of delusion (makr) and deception (khidāʿ); and
  • the fourth is the devilish nature (ṭabʿ al-abālisa), that of refusal (ibāʾ) and arrogance (istikbār).

[Divine] protection (ʿiṣma) against the animal disposition is through faith (īmān). Safety (salāma) from the satanic disposition is through glorification (tasbīḥ) and sanctification (of God - taqdīs), which is the natural disposition of angels. Safety from the sorcerous disposition is through truthfulness (ṣidq), sincere counsel (naṣīḥa), equity (inṣāf) and graciousness (tafaḍḍul). Safety from the devilish nature is through taking refuge (iltijāʾ) in God, Exalted is He, by humbly imploring him (taḍarruʿ) and crying out to Him (ṣarākh).

The nature of the intellect (ʿaql) is to have knowledge, but the nature of the lower self (nafs) is ignorance. The natural disposition of [human] nature is [to make] pretentious claims (daʿwā).

altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp

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{He will indeed be successful who purifies it (causes it to grow), And he has failed who who corrupts it.}
(Quran 91-- 9-10)

Regarding the soul, the Prophet of Allah ﷺ - the blessings and peace of Allah upon him said:

”Your most hostile enemy is your soul, enclosed between your two sides.”
Al-Bayhaqi

Your enemy

Hasan al-Basri, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Your enemy is not the one you are relieved from if you killed him. Rather, your true enemy is your own soul, between your two sides.”
Al-Tabari

عن الطبري قال الحسن البصري رحمه الله لَيْسَ عَدُوُّكَ الَّذِي إِنْ قَتَلْتَهُ اسْتَرَحْتَ مِنْهُ وَلَكِنَّ عَدُوَّكَ نَفْسُكَ الَّتِي بَيْنَ جَنْبَيْكَ

Tahdhīb al-Āthār Musnad ‘Umar 2/812
https://abuaminaelias.com/dailyhadithonline/2018/08/09/jihad-greatest-enemy-nafs

Struggle Against Your (Lower) Self

Sort Yourself Out - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Regarding the ongoing internal conflict in the human soul.

It's all about struggling with your passions, which stem from your bestial nature. And you struggle with the help of your reason, and when someone attempts NOT to do something that is wrong and struggles against those impulses, then he is using a higher power, and this is the `aql, the intellect.

Intellect in Arabic means that which constrains you or that which prevents you from doing something that will lead you astray.

→ So the essence of the intellect is that it prevents a human being from going astray.

Those people who don’t listen to the intellect - Allah says about them, ”they are like animals or worse.” The aim of all of it is to get close to (and to experience) Allah سبحانه و تعالى . The cost of the spiritual path is some pain of sacrifice and dedicated work, the price is greater and more beautiful than what man (or woman) can imagine!

Sort Yourself Out - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ikPhI08LFc

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The Most Important Task

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An Enemy With the Appearance of a Friend

Know that the soul is an enemy with the appearance of a friend. Its guile and deceit are unbounded, and to repel its evil and subjugate it is the most important of tasks. For it is the most hostile of all enemies, more so than demons, infidels, and the life of this world.

• Of course the most important task is the worship of the One who deserves undivided worship, while following the example of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. But true worship is not possible without knowledge of the self/ soul - worship in awareness of the human situation and the demands of the Divine.

Restoring the Soul to a State of Rectitude

Thus, to train the soul and to restore it to a state of rectitude, and to advance it from the attribute of commanding [evil]** to the degree of tranquility*, is a great task. The perfection of human happiness lies in the refinement of the soul, and the completion of man's wretchedness lies in abandoning the soul to the demands of instinctual nature.

Hence God Almighty said, after invoking a multiple oath: {Truly he prospers who refines it, and he fails who corrupts it.} For the refinement and training of the soul yields knowledge of the soul, and knowledge of the soul leads to knowledge of God: ”He who knows his soul knows his Lord.” This knowledge is the summit of all felicity.

** see above, Sura 12-53

* Sura 89-27
{O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction!}
This highest stage of the soul is called the nafs al-mutma`inna (the soul at peace).

The Path of God’s Bondsmen; Najm al-Din Razi

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NB:

We have to guard against ”a confusion that is very widespread in the modern world, namely, the confusion of the psychic and the spiritual domains. …This confusion assimilates the spiritual to all that is most inferior in the psychic order; it is therefore extremely serious in every case.”

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Freeing our heart from all other than Allah
Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqoubi

Prophetic Hadith

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.

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Heavy

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The Disease of the Heart Is Worse…

Imam Ali ( كرم الله وجهه ) said: “The disease of the heart is worse than the disease of the body.”
Al-Nawawi said: “This hadith [above] was used as proof that the seat of the mind is the heart ( al-ʿaql fi-l-qalb ) and not the head.”
 About The Pure Heart - On The Science Of The Heart

A heart [it is the spiritual heart which is meant above] that has become diseased can no longer function, making it harder for the truth to be recognized. - 21:36, 21:38,

4 Diseases of the Heart to Start Healing Today!
https://productivemuslim.com/diseases-of-the-heart

Healing the Heart

The Perfection of Human Happiness Lies in the Refinement of the Soul.

1st step is accepting that there is no god but Allah, the One, the Real, the Majestic and the Mighty, Who is in need of no-one, while we human are in constant need of something, in need of everything, not the least in need of air, water, food, love and life.

Everything that is existent is a manifestation of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, (may His Majesty be exalted). Everything which is not He is non-existent and cannot come into existence.

We humans did not bring ourselves into this life, it is Allah (may His Majesty be exalted) who brought us here and now.

Our task is to mend our heart, because only sound hearts will be accepted by Allah, and He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate towards the faithful.

 

The refinement of the soul cannot be done by mental exercise, although the activities of intellect are important. A guide is needed because the traps are many.

Guide #1 is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ the blessings and peace of Allah upon him - , then the leaders of our community, the scholars, imams, the sincere friends of Allah سبحانه و تعالى. To have met even one of them is better than reading 1000 books, they are the transferers of barakah (divine grace), by Allah's permission.

{ The day on which property will not avail, nor sons; except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.} (26-88/9)

Mending the heart - after finding it - is the project of our life, at least it should be, and the rewards are immense, as we are told in the revelation of the Quran.

The doctor of the lost hearts is Prophet Muhammad, - the blessings and peace of Allah upon him, he is the guide, example and foremost interpreter of the Quran. He understood the complexity and vulnerability of the human condition.

The aim then is the the soul at peace ( nafs al-mutma`inna )
Mentioned in this verse in sura 89-27/8

{O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction!
Return unto thy Lord, content in His good pleasure!}.

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Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad - Loss Of God & Loss of Self

On ”identity and selfhood” and the inability of coming to terms with ”the soul/ the self” in the current postmodern era.

Shorturl of this page: http://bit.ly/_soulnafs

UTC

  • from June 1998