Nafs: Between Passion and Determination
“And so We have bestowed the Book as a heritage unto servants that We choose and among them are some who sin against themselves; and some who follow a middle course (between right and wrong) and some who by the permission of Allâh are foremost in deeds of goodness. That indeed is the highest grace” (35:32)
Allâh has blessed man with the potential to do good as well as the ability to do wrong. Human beings are not inherently sinful… they are equally capable of both good and evil. They have been blessed with passion and emotion together with resolve and determination. These attributes are located within the nafs. Those that yield to the impulses of the nafs become slaves of their desires while those who are able to overcome the dictates of the nafs become the vicegerents of Allâh.
The strength to overcome the dictates of the nafs does not come from physical ability or capacity, but from strong willpower. “Great souls have strong willpower; feeble ones have only great wishes.” Wish-making is a passive activity which generally flows from belief in luck, whilst a strong will is dynamic action based on belief in a higher purpose of our existence – on the love of Allâh and fear of giving account for our deeds in His court.
Three stages of development of the nafs:
The first stage: An-nafs-ul-Ammârah [the self that tempts (to evil]
The second stage: An-nafs-ul-Lawwâmah [the self that blames] or ‘the self-reproaching conscience’.
The third stage: An- nafs-ul – Mutma’innah [the Soul at Peace]
The first stage: Nafs: An-nafs-ul-Ammârah ‘the self that tempts (to evil)’
"The soul is certainly prone to evil" (12:53) The raw state of the soul is that it coerces us into fulfilling all our wants, impulses, desires, appetites, habits, fears, and angers. This is the Nafs that by its very nature directs us towards evil and vice. Shaitaan is considered to be the ally of this soul. One of the reasons of fasting during the month of Ramadan is to tame the nafs by exercising moderation and restraint with regards to human bestial and carnal desires.
The second stage: An-nafs-ul-Lawwâmah ‘the self that blames’ or ‘the self-reproaching conscience’.
"And I do call to witness the soul that rebukes" (75:2). This Nafs cannot rest in any one state. It often changes, it remembers and forgets, it submits and opposes , it loves and hates, it rejoices and become sad, it accepts and rejects, it obeys and rebels. When it succumbs to desire, it is consumed by guilt. This nafs is engaged in an inner struggle referred to as the ‘greater jihad’ – The inner battle between passion and determination.
The third stage: An- nafs-ul – Mutma’innah – ‘the Soul at Peace”
"O Soul in complete rest and satisfaction!" (89:27) This nafs is tranquil as it finds great solace and peace in the certitude of reward and Divine pleasure. It waits for its time of departure from this physical world into the everlasting reality of life after death. It submits itself to the will of Allâh never dissatisfied or complaining, and never wavering in its faith.
Ibn al-Qayyim Rahmatullâhi ‘alaihi states that: "The Nafs is a single entity, although its state may change…” It may regress to a lower state or may progress to a higher level depending on the level of struggle against it. Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam once asked his companions Radhi-Allâhu 'anhum: “What do you think about a companion who, if you treat him nicely, feed him, clothe him, still he would throw you in all sorts of troubles – and if you insult him, and keep him hungry and naked, he would do what is good for you?
The Sahâbah (Radhi-Allâhu 'anhum) said: O’ Prophet of Allâh! There cannot be a companion worse than him in this whole world!” He replied: “By Him in whose hands rest my life, your nafs is such a companion.” (Qurtubî) He further said: “A strong person is not the one who overcomes people, but one who overcomes his nafs.” (Majma' ul-Zawâ'id)
The three stages of the nafs ultimately determine the three levels of our relationship with the Qur’ân. “And so We have bestowed the Book as a heritage unto servants that We choose and among them are some who sin against themselves; and some who follow a middle course (between right and wrong) and some who by the permission of Allâh are foremost in deeds of goodness. That indeed is the highest grace” (35:32)
1. Those who wrong themselves:
They are subjugated by the An-nafs-ul-Ammârah -the self that tempts (to evil)’ They are unable to submit to ‘what is right’ and abstain from ‘what is wrong.’ They are generally indifferent to Qur’ânic teachings and justify their wrongdoing. They see the Qur’ân as a collection of ancient tales – A Book containing law that is irrelevant or irrational.
2. Those who sit on the fence:
Then there are those who see-saw between obedience and disobedience. They are at the second stage of development – An-nafs-ul-Lawwâmah – ‘the self-reproaching conscience’. They display a lukewarm commitment to the teachings of the Qur’ân, wavering between obedience and disobedience, even though have a conscience that drives them to feel remorse and regret each time they rebel against the law of Allâh.
3. Those who are foremost in the doing of good:
Lastly, there are those who possess “An-nafs-ul-Mutma’innah’ – ‘the Soul at Peace.” They are moderate in temperament but extreme in following principle. They demonstrate a wholehearted commitment to the teachings of the Qur’ân in the belief that the Qur’ân contains law that is most perfect and most just.
May Allâh Ta’âlâ purify our souls and may He grant us the ability to be among “Those who are foremost in the doing of good.” Âmîn
A special delegation from the ACJU consisting of Ash Shaikh M.M.A. Mubarak - General Secretary, Ash Shaikh A.L.M. Khaleel - Treasurer, Ash Shaikh M.S.M. Thassim - Assistant Secretary, Ash Shaikh Farood and Ash Shaikh Farhan visited the Viharathipathi of Vidayalankara Temple - Kelaniya and Vice Chancellor of Sabaragamuwa University, Ven. Professor Kamburugamuwa Vajira Thero, who was injured in a recent accident in Mawanella on the 02nd of March.
A visit was made by a delegation from 'Raf' - A Humanitarian Services Organization - Qatar, to the ACJU Head office on the 27th of February.
ACJU Hilaal Division participated in the Hilaal sighting meeting of Jumaadal Aakhirah, conducted at the Colombo Grand Mosque on the 27th of February.
ACJU Education Division Events
Assessment exams for Grade 5 Scholarship students, were conducted at Al Hakeem (Primary) Aluthkada & Al Hijra Maha Vidyalaya (Kuppiyawatta) on the 24th of February.
A Spiritual motivation program was conducted at Al Ameen Maha Vidyalaya on 'Respecting Elders' on 27th of February.
A special meeting with 32 Muslim Govt. School Principals in the Southern District was and conducted at the Jaffar Haj Building, Weligama regarding the projects of ACJU Education Division on the 28th of February.
A meeting was held with 'Nolimit' officials regarding implementation of Baithuz Zakaat programs at selected Masjids, was organized by the ACJU Islamic Economics & Finance Division (ACJU-IEF) on the 27th of February at the ACJU Head office.
ACJU Propagation Division Events
The representatives of the ACJU Propagation Committee and local Masjid Trustees visited some Temples in Welimada on the 26th of February as a part of the Coexistence program.
ACJU Propagation Division conducted a motivational program for the Masjid Trustees in Welimada on the 25th of February and for Masjid Trustees in Matale on the 26th of February.
ACJU CCC Division Events
ACJU Council for Coordination & Cooperation (CCC Division) and ACJU Galewala Divisional Branch organized a program on 'Introduction of ACJU and Introduction on the Samaaja Sanwaada Book Series' at the Galewala Jumu'ah Masjid on the 24th of February.
And Special Programs on Coexistence were conducted at:
-Nabadagahawatta Jumu'ah Masjid on the 24th of February
-Galewala Town Jumu'ah Masjid on the 24th of February
On the 27th of February The CCC trained Ulama and a representative of ACJU CCC Division visited:
-Ven. Abanwala Ghanaloaka Thero of Veragoda Purana Viharaya in Sedawatte, Kollonnawa,
-Sivasri Sivanesha Gurukkal Sri Sellavinayakar Aalayam in Sedawatte, Kollonnawa,
-Father Jayantha & Father Gamini - Church of Ceylon, Bauddaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07.
ACJU Hilaal Calendar Jumaadal Aakhirah 1438