On the Soul - Nafs 3

النفس

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Soul Is Ever Inciting to Do Evil

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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

Successful Who Purifies

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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

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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

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Struggle Against Your Lower Self

 Sort Yourself Out - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Imam al- Barkawī (rahimahu-Allah) said:
Spiritual struggle (jihād ) is: weaning the soul and forcing it to go against its base desires at all times.
 Spiritual Struggle, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir ʿIsa

Ongoing Internal Conflict in 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!

Shaykh 'Abd al-Ghanī al-Nablūsī said: "Striving against the ego is an act of worship and it is not acquired save through knowledge. It is individually obligatory on every legally responsible adult."
 Purifying And Striving Against The Ego (nafs), Sh 'Abd al-Qadir 'Isa

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Beware of illegal earning

Beware of illegal earning, for we can bear hunger and hardship, but we cannot endure the Fire.