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Purification of the Soul
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The Journey of the SOUL
Chapter 3 :
The Different States of Each Nafs
1. NAFS AL-MUTAMAINNA - the Satisfied Soul.
“0 you satisfied soul. Return to your Lord pleased with yourself and pleasing to Him. Enter among My servants. And enter My paradise".
(Soorah Al Fajr (89) :27-30)
2. NAFS AL AMMARA BIS SU' - the soul that dictates evil.
“And I do not free myself from blame. Indeed the human self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Indeed my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.”
(Soorah Yusuf v 53)3. NAFS AL LAWWAMA - the Self-reproaching soul.
“I do call to witness the Resurrection Day. And I do call to witness the self-reproaching Soul.”
(Soorah Al Qiyamah v 1-2)
The noblest of the souls is the satisfied soul, which at its last moments on earth will receive the glad news from its lord of “Enter among My servants and enter into my Paradise.” In contrast is the soul which inspires evil and disobedience. And between these two extreme states is the self-reproaching soul which checks its actions and blames itself when it commits evil. Most souls hover between these different states depending on the person’s faith and actions.1. Nafs Mutmainna
The Qur'aan explains how one can achieve the noble state of the satisfied soul.
“Indeed, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction."
(Soorah Al-Ra'd (12): 28)
The Qur'aan is the voice of Al-Rahman just as music is the voice of Satan. If the evil-inspiring soul finds solace in music, dance and its paraphernalia, the satisfied soul finds its peace and consolation in the Qur'aan, prayer and the company of the righteous. The satisfied soul has such a deep conviction in Allah and the Last Day that never is it upset by the sorrows or demands of this world.
During his return from a Jihad expedition, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) once sat down to rest under the shade of a tree far from his devout companions. A Makkan called Chawrath bin Al Harith saw his golden chance and came forward with his sword drawn: “0 Muhammad. Who is going to save you from me now?” Calm and un-fearing, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) stood tall and replied simply, “Allah!”. The man was surprised into confusion by this simple answer and unconsciously dropped his sword. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) immediately picked up the sword and asked, “Tell me who will save you now?”. The man quietly answered, "There is no god worthy of worship but Allah.”
Illness, financial worries, loss of property or death of dear ones do not cause the satisfied soul to wail, curse or lament. Whenever it faces any problems it simply say, “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return” and faces the misfortune with patience and trust in its Lord. Such are the souls described in the Qur'aan;
“Be sure, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, some loss of goods or lives or fruits of your toils. But give glad tidings to those who are patient. Those who say, when afflicted by calamity: “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.
(Soorah Al Baqarah (2): 155-156)
The satisfied soul believes that all happiness and sorrow is by the decree of Allah. It therefore feels no need to lament at misfortunes or to boast at success.
“No misfortune can happen on earth or to your soul but it is written in a decree before We bring it into existence. That is truly easy for Allah. In order that you may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult in favors bestowed upon you, for Allah loves not the vain boasters.”
(Soorah Al Hadid (57): 22-23)
No worldly anxieties upset the satisfied soul. If it fails to acquire something for which it has struggled for many years, it will accept its destiny and remember the following words of the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) :
“What has reached you was never meant to escape you and what has escaped you was never meant to reach you.”
(Muwadih by Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi)
The satisfied soul seeks its nourishment in Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah), prayer, fasting, Zakat and Hajj. It relies heavily for support on the branches of faith, the highest of which is to say and believe in ‘There is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, and the lowliest of which is to remove an obstacle from the path. Angels are present to strengthen this soul and to bless and greet it when it departs this material life, when it is resurrected and when it is admitted into the gardens of paradise. Their greeting to it is the greeting of a Muslim to his fellow Muslim: ‘Peace be unto you’;
“And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Paradise in crowds; until they arrive there, its gates are opened and its keepers will say: ‘Peace be upon you! Well have you done. Enter here and dwell forever.”
(Soorah Az Zumar (39) 73)
2. Nafs ammara bis su’
In contrast this soul which earns the company of satan because it ignores the remembrance of Allah.
“The one who withdraws himself from the remembrance of the Merciful, We appoint for him a satan to be a companion to him.”
(Soorah Az-Zukhruf (43)" 36)
Satan’s cohorts and tunes surround the evil soul day and night. It drives from one satanic act to other. You will see it lying and cheating, wasting time on leisure and sports, frequenting cinemas and concerts, listening to music and dancing.
As one contemporary writer said,
“The godless society’s motto is ‘work and play', while the motto of the god-conscious society is, ‘work and pray’ “!
3. Nafs Lawwama
The self-reproaching soul succumbs to evil inspirations but then regrets its actions and reproaches itself for being weak and vulnerable. These feelings of remorse cause it to turn back to Allah, to repent sincerely, and to receive spiritual solace. It is better for each Nafs to blame itself whenever it commits a wrong. If not, it will find itself being blamed from all those around it. Consider how the self-reproaching soul is mentioned with the Day of Resurrection in the Qur'aan.
“I do call to witness the Resurrection Day. And I do call to witness the self-reproaching soul.”
(Surah Al Qiyarnah v 1-2)
There is a common factor between these two entities, which is that both are courts of justice. The Nafs al Lawwama is an inner court of justice within each person; when he acts wrongfully. his conscience or soul reprimands him, and it is then up to him to pay heed to it or to ignore it. Besides placing an inner court of justice within each person, the Creator has also prepared a larger Court which will operate on the Final Day and will mete out justice to all of mankind.
Chapter 4 :
Consequences of IMAN
A student studies hard for his final examinations, researching in libraries, practicing past papers and revising his notes because he wants a university degree which will help advance his career.
A businessman invests much of his time, energy and money into a commercial venture in the hope of large profits in the future.
A farmer ploughs his land, sows it, waters it and tends it regularly in the hope of a good harvest.
They all know that success does not come down on a plate but has to be achieved through hard work. Man does certain things in life for certain results, and he avoids other acts because of their consequences. An adult will not put his hand into a naked flame because he knows that fire burns, but a child will do so as he is unaware of the consequences. The most important Belief and Knowledge that should dictate our actions is that Allah Almighty exists, that He is the Creator and Provider, and that none can benefit nor harm us except with His permission. If a person’s Iman (faith) in Allah is firm and unyielding, he will be able to direct all his worship and obedience to Allah and will feel no fear of false deities or worldly powers.
Consider the encounter of Pharaoh’s court magicians with Prophet Musa as described in the Qur'aan. Before meeting the Prophet, they pleaded with Pharaoh for a substantial reward were they to defeat Musa in a duel using magic.
"So the sorcerers came to Pharaoh and said, 'Of course we shall have a suitable reward if we win."
(Surah Al-A'raaf v113)
Pharaoh accepted their plea and promised them not only a reward but also positions at court. When the encounter with Musa began, the magicians realized quickly that while their own display was simple magic, Musa’s display was extraordinary and much more than any human could conjure up. So overawed were they by Musa’s miracles that they all fell down in sajda (prostration) saying,
“We believe in the Lord of the Worlds. The Lord of Musa and Harun,”
(Surah Ta Ha v 70)
Pharaoh was stunned by their declaration of faith in Allah and shouted :
“Have you believed in Him before I gave you permission? Be sure, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and then I will crucify you on trunks of palm trees. So shall you know which of us can give the more severe and lasting punishment.”
(Surah Ta Ha v 71)
These threats did not frighten the magicians. These men who had just been begging Pharaoh for more gold coins now became so fearless because of their faith in Allah that they answered him back easily.
“Never shall we prefer you over the Clear Signs that have come to us and Him who has created us. So decree whatever you wish to decree. For you can only decree concerning the matters of this world. We have believed in our Lord; may He forgive us our faults and the magic to which you did compel us, for Allah is the Best and forever abiding".
(Surah Ta Ha v 72-73)
What You Sow you will Reap.
The man who believes that there is no afterlife and that he will not be accountable in a divine court becomes a slave of this world. He hankers after its comforts and luxuries, and will break any laws that stand between him and success. In his desperate quest for more wealth, he will refuse to differentiate between halal and haram. The tyrants and criminals of this world operate in the same manner. If to achieve their goals requires murder and violence, then so be it. The Bosnian Serbs were among the twentieth century’s worst examples of barbarity and tyranny; led by a pathological lust for more land, their evil knew no bounds.
In contrast is the man who believes in Allah and in the questioning of the Last Day. He fears his Creator’s wrath and desires his Lord’s favors. Certainty of belief in paradise and hell guides his entire life, not just the moments spent in prayer. To him this world is merely a short journey, the destination of which is the Hereafter. Thus he directs most of his efforts towards earning Paradise and devotes only part of his time to earning his bread in this world. He is constantly aware of his divine mission to call the misguided people around him to Islam and so he buries himself in da’wah work.
Belief in the Hereafter is the catalyst which stimulates the souls seeking a better future and its importance has been emphasized in the Qur'aan repeatedly. The true believers have been described as those who have firm faith in the Hereafter, because that will be the true life.
“What is the life of this world but amusement and p lay? But indeed the home of the Hereafter is the true Life, if only they knew.”
(Surah Al Ankabut v 64)
The Ultimate Success is not in amassing fortunes, being famous or having a fantastic career, but success is in escaping the fires of hell.
“Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgement will you receive your full recompense. The one who is saved from the Fire and admitted into Paradise will have attained success, for the life of the world is nothing but the goods of deception.
(Surah Aal Imran v 185)
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) declared that wise is the man who reminds himself constantly of the accountability on the Day of Resurrection and so works hard for the life succeeding death. And stupid is the man whose only concerns are the transient desires and comforts of this life.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) also described this world as a farm for the 'Akhira.' (Hereafter). Whatever you sow in this world, you shall reap in the Hereafter. In order that people may not become complacent that the Day of Judgement is far away in the distant future, he advised each person to remember that his Judgement will begin on the day he dies
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