By Rameen Arshad
What kind of desires do we have in today’s world? Desire to have never ending wealth. Desire to own as many luxuries as a human on this planet can. Desire to be loved by the masses. To be famous. To live life in a way that people wish to be in our place.
What is the center of all our desires?
All our desires revolve around our own nafs.
Where do all our desires come from?
All our desires come from inside our own nafs.
What brings us to the situation where we are ready to do any sort of impermissible, immoral or illegal activity to get our desires fulfilled?
It all comes from our own nafs.
What is this “nafs” which makes us do anything to get our desires fulfilled?
Nafs is a built-in feature which every human possesses, having 3 sub-elements.
- Nafs ul Ammara:
This is the virus which affects all the functioning of our software. It gets the software involved in such activities that the software, after that, is not able to bring out any good. According to one of Imams, this nafs is like a wild horse. It will take you where you can’t imagine.
- Nafs ul Lawama:
This feature (generally called Zameer) makes you feel ashamed when you commit a sin or see something evil. Like an antivirus, it notifies you when there is any questionable activity going on. It keeps the Haya activated so that you are not swept astray.
As the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said “One of the sayings of the early Prophets which the people have got is: If you don’t feel ashamed (Haya, pious shyness from committing religious indiscretions), do whatever you like.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari: 6120)
- Nafs ul Mutma’inna:
This is the state of satisfaction. When everything is working fine; when you’re fully charged after doing anything good. When you’ve tried to be a blessing for others and people are receiving khayr (goodness) from you. Be it quality time, be it any sort of help, or any act of kindness without any intention to show it off to the people.
The usage of these features depends on the user and his/her capacity to understand in which direction each of them leads. The reason for this is that a person is the trustee of his/her free personality, which it accepted at its own risk.
Allah SWT says that;
Verily We proposed the Trust to the Heavens and to the Earth and to the mountains, but they refused to bear it and they feared from it, the human undertook to bear it. Indeed he was unjust and ignorant. (33:72)
There are different opinions of scholars about what the “trust” exactly is but all have agreed on the point that it refers to the responsibility to act upon the commandments and prohibitions by Allah. One who will obey the commandments and will stay away from prohibitions will be rewarded and the one who disobeys will be punished.
Turned out that the human was forgetful. After accepting the trust by its own will, it forgot the purpose of its creation.
He was supposed to be the representative of Allah on this earth. But he is, today, busy with making his own life look like paradise, forgetting that he was sent here to work to earn the Paradise which has already been created for him, not to make his own world paradise.
He is today busy in satisfying his own nafs forgetting that obeying Allah in this world will get him the most beautiful satisfaction in this world as well as in the hereafter.
It is very important for each one of us living in this age of Fitnas to have a constant dose of Tazkia-e-Nafs (Self Purification).
Just give it a try and start with yourself. Have a Q&A session with yourself.
Why am I here?
What does Allah expect from me?
Who am I supposed to be?
Who have I become?
Have I lost myself?
How am I doing with my life?
Am I wasting my life?
Who am I faking myself for?
Spend time thinking, so that you can hear yourself. Get yourself out of all worldly matters for a while. Set a “me time” and start hearing that inner voice which we usually keep suppressing. We need to find our own selves. The human who came to this earth was so motivated and dedicated. We need to bring that human out.
The need is to control our nafs from getting fascinated by Duniya and focus on the rewards promised by Allah.
It requires hard work. It requires patience.
You’ll be tested. Everyone who chooses the way of Allah gets tested. Difficulties will come your way, maybe from somewhere you could hardly imagine. But remember the promises of Allah for those who were tested and they remained patient. Remember that Prophets were the most tested people on the face of this earth. Remember that Allah is not unjust. Remember that He says “Allah doesn’t burden a nafs more than its capacity.” (2:286)
You just need to have that firm belief and love of Allah in your heart which is above all your worldly desires knowing that He will ultimately fulfil all your desires if you will follow the way guided by Him. Even if your desires don’t come true, be sure that there must be something better for you planned by Allah.
The age we are living in is all grey. The concept of black and white has now mixed up. We are confused over our Deen.
The best solution to all our confusions is to trust Allah. Trust the Quran and Sunnah. Take the commandments from there. Check the prohibitions from there. Whether you understand or not, just accept it and act upon it because the source it’s coming from, never lies.
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