The Nafs and its Diseases
In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful
The present era is the era of worshipping nafs. The majority is busy in worshipping nafs (idols of sensual desires) instead of Allah. The nafs is a veil between man and Allah and if this veil is removed, no haze remains between the two. This condition is prevailed at the stage of sanctified heart or Nafs-e-Mutmaina. Hypocrisy, malice, love for the world, lust, animosity, malignancy, jealousy, anger, gluttony, desire for worldly respect and status, unlawful sexual relations, greed for wealth, avarice, materialism, lying, slander, objection to Allah, oblivion, pride, egoism, conceit, selfishness, backbiting, prejudice, nationalism, sectarianism, sect glorifying, barbarism and atrocities, love for your origin/caste/domain, love for your religious/political leader(s) may they be Satan’s allies, are all sensual diseases. Keep in mind that Satan too diverts attention towards evil with the help of nafs. Purification of innerself is possible but the purification of Satan is not. Allah, in the Holy Quran, has declared a person successful who purifies the nafs by relieving from spiritual diseases with the guidance of the perfect spiritual guide and only then a person’s worship is acceptable in the Divine court. Allah says:
قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ تَزَکّٰی
Meaning: “He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself.” (Al-Ala-14)
قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ زَکّٰىہَا
Meaning: “He has succeeded who purifies it (baser-self).” (Ash-Shams-9)
Running after worldly desires is basically worshipping baser self which is also a type of idol worshipping. Letting worldly desires (evil, diseases) take control is polytheism and Allah has announced it to be the greatest idolatry. It is stated in the Quran:
اَفَرَءَیۡتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰـہَہٗ ہَوٰىہُ
Meaning: “Have you (Prophet Mohammad) ever seen someone who has taken as his god his (own) desire.” (Al-Jathiyah-23)
ؕ اَرَءَیۡتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰـہَہٗ ہَوٰىہُ
Meaning: “Have you (Prophet Mohammad) seen the one who treats his own desires as though they are his god?” (Al-Furqan-43)
Allama Iqbal rehmat Allah alayh too points at this:
میں جو سربسجدہ ہوا کبھی تو زمیں سے آنے لگی صدا
تیرا دل تو ہے صنم آشنا تجھے کیا ملے گا نماز میں
Meaning: When I prostrated with all the idols in my heart even the soil rejected it and stated that what reward and proximity of Allah you expect from this salat (prayer) when you are indeed a polytheist in your heart.
Fighting nafs and sanctifying soul has been regarded as the greatest Jihad by Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam. When soul is freed from all the diseases and idols, it is cleansed. Until and unless all the diseases, evil, material pleasures and lust do not vacate innerself, one’s nafs is not purified but once it is done and one is free of all corruption, heart and soul are enlightened with Divine light and one finally gets occupied with solely the worship of Lord.
But what is this nafs?
Allah has created the human inner baser-self really strange. It is the abode of desires, it gives birth to all sorts of evil wishes and rebellious thoughts. It is the one that compels humans to go against Allah’s orders and the one that acts wild at the time of extreme lust. In rage it gets violent, pays no heed to the distinction between lawful and the unlawful when hungry and when it is contented it becomes a rebel, stubborn and proud. In times of trouble it mourns impatiently. In short, the human nafs can never be entirely happy. It is always prepared to drive humans towards mischief and heinousness, but the one who gets control over it can reach the level of “union with Allah”. To kill it, is exceptionally tough but only death of the nafs is life of the heart. What is nafs? The nafs is such a thief in the human body which does not let a person travel towards Allah. Nafs is the greatest veil between man and Allah. For the human entity, nafs and Satan are two such powers that can always lead the human nature to sin. When Satan got cursed because of not having bowed before Adam, he swore to mislead Adam and his children and to have enmity with them. When Adam’s idol was prepared, Satan egoistically and with jealousy spat on it. This spit landed on Adam’s navel which caused the birth of nafs in his being. The nafs is Satan’s ancient weapon and the trench of nafs in Adam’s children is what he uses to mislead human beings. However if this same nafs comes under the control of humans rather than that of Satan then the veil between Allah and his Slave is removed. Nafs consists of four stages or conditions:
Nafs-e-Ammarah (The ill commanding inner self)
Nafs-e-Lawamah (The repenting inner self)
Nafs-e-Mulhima (The inspiring innerself which warns before committing sin)
Nafs-e-Mutmaina (The satisfied self which never inclines towards sin or worldliness)
Gradually, in the company of the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide, when the seeker progresses in the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat the purgation of the innerself continues. First comes Nafs-e-Ammarah, which loosely translated means; the ill commanding inner self or the baser self. It is so called because it always drives humans towards sin and foul deeds. Like Allah says in surah Yusuf:
اِنَّ النَّفۡسَ لَاَمَّارَۃٌۢ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ۔
Meaning: “Indeed, Nafs-e-Ammarah is a persistent enjoiner of evil”. (Yusuf-53)
This particular type of nafs belongs to disbelievers, people who associate partners with Allah, hypocrites, transgressors, debauchees and desirers of world. If it is not corrected or rectified properly, then with its rebelliousness and disobedience its evil keeps on growing and from human it turns to animal and from animal, to beast rather to Satan. In such a situation, the internal disease of nafs becomes incurable and it ultimately dies.
Sultan Bahoo states about Nafs-e-Ammarah:
1. “Nafs (Ammarah) is the king in the realm of existence and Satan is its prime minister who all the time is planning on clever tricks and self-praising.” (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
2. “Nafs (Ammarah) has three Arabic letters: ‘ن’ (N), ‘ف’ (F), ‘س’ (S). The letter N stands for (Neeyat) bad intentions (Nalaiq), incompetent, non-seeker of Allah, deterioration of the faith, imperfect and disliked. The letter F stands for fraud, mischievous, one who brawls, mischief causing and wicked. The letter S for (Sakht) rigid, one whose opposition towards God is tougher than iron and rock. This is the reality of Nafs-e-Ammarah whose owners are unbelievers, hypocrites, liars and despotic, world desiring people.
3. In a Punjabi couplet, Sultan Bahoo states about Nafs-e-Ammarah:
صورت نفس امارہ دِی، کوئی کتا گلر کالا ھُو
کوکے نوکے لہو پیوے، منگے چرب نوالا ھُو
کھبے پاسوں اندر بیٹھا، دِل دے نال سنبھالا ھُو
ایہہ بدبخت ہے وَڈّا ظالم باھُوؒ، ﷲ کرسی ٹالا ھُو
Explanation: The face and condition of Nafs-e-Ammarah is like that of a small black dog who all the time barks of starvation and asks for delicious food to eat and drink. (Always wanders in order to fulfill and complete his desires and lusts) it is fortified on the left side of the heart and whenever the chance arises (the heart deprived of Allah’s invocation) it starts to attack. This nafs is such unlucky and a despotic one that only Allah can keep its venom from invading the soul.
If the correction and purgation of this nafs is initiated, it gradually internally succeeds towards Alam-e-Malakut and leading a pure life the nafs upgrades from Ammarah to Lawamah. Lawamah means the one who reproves. In the sense that the nafs reproves, when indulging in sinful deeds, it makes the person regret because this nafs has been bestowed upon, unseen favors and Divine guidance as help from Allah, hence on behaving sinfully it makes the person penitent. Such a nafs always remembers death, the Day of Judgment and requite. Therefore, Allah, as reported by His dearest Prophet, swears to this nafs as that of Day of Judgment and says:
ٓ اُقْسِمُ بِالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَۃِوَلَا لَآ اُقْسِمُ بِیَوْمِ الْقِیٰمَۃِ
Meaning: “I swear by the Day of Judgment and I swear by the Nafs-e-Lawamah (the repenting innerself).” (Al-Qiyamah 1-2)
Afterwards when this nafs is further corrected, it advances to Mulhima. This nafs with the help of Divine favors, warns the person before sinning and makes him think twice that he should be afraid of Allah so as to refrain himself from indulging in sinful acts. Allah has explained the idea of such a nafs in the following verse:
وَاَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّہٖ وَ نَھَی النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْھَوٰی۔فَاِنَّ الْجَنَّۃَ ھِیَ الْمَاْوٰی
Meaning: “And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the garden.” (Naziat 40-41)
This Nafs-e-Mulhima stops the person from sinning and doing wrong deeds either with the help of the unseen Divine favors while he is acting upon his planned sin, or through Divine intuition, which can be done in various ways. At times holds back the person by having proper argument and thoughts in the mind. Some have intuitions by the unseen, silent revelations, and at times the person is informed in his dream which inculcates in him a fear of Allah so he keeps himself from being part of sinful acts. After which when the nafs is further purged and succeeds inwardly, it becomes “Nafs-e-Mutmaina”. Hence, it gets rid of the eternal looter that is Satan, sets itself free from its diseases and finds shelter in the form of life goals that it has reached by fulfilling its spiritual purposes of existence. Which is the stage of لاتخف ولاتحزن (from fear and sorrows to a level of peace).
َاَلَاۤ اِنَّ اَوۡلِیَآءَ اللّٰہِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَلَاھُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡن
Meaning: “Unquestionably, (for) the friends of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve”. (Yunus-62)
A traveler on this path with such a nafs gets close to Allah and becomes His friend. Allah is pleased with him and he is pleased with Allah. Allah states about this person with Nafs-e-Mutmaina:
یٰۤاَیَّتُہَا النَّفۡسُ الۡمُطۡمَئِنَّۃُ۔ارۡجِعِیۡۤ اِلٰی رَبِّکِ رَاضِیَۃً مَّرۡضِیَّۃً ۔ فَادۡخُلِیۡ فِیۡ عِبٰدِیۡ ۔وَ ادۡخُلِیۡ جَنَّتِیۡ
Meaning: “O’ reassured soul (Nafs-e-Mutmaina), return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing (to Him), and enter among My (righteous) servants and enter My paradise (of union).” (Al-Fajr 27-30)
Such pure nafs only belongs to Prophets, Sufis and Saints. This internal attribute of nafs is very high and elevated. And all these levels are reached through invocation (zikr) and contemplation of Allah’s personal name (Ism-e-Allah Zaat) and company of Murshid Kamil Akmal Noor-ul-Huda or else the nafs cannot upgrade to this level only through physical worship no matter how hard one tries. Rather the nafs adds to its ego and pride if physical worship is done in excess. The example of Satan is a common one.
Sultan Bahoo mentions about Nafs-e-Mutmaina:
Nafs-e-Mutmaina too has three Arabic letters N (ن(, F (ف), S (ن). The letter N (ن) for (Nalad) someone with fear of Allah in his heart, day and night, (Nahi) is the one who does not indulge in forbidden acts rather spreads virtuousness, (Nan-e-Hilal) is the person who earns lawful money and spends it in a lawful way, someone who is obedient to Allah and does not show off, whose faith is intact, is the person who has been helped by Divine guidance, who contemplates and invocates Ism-e-Allah Zaat with which his soul is engrossed in meditation, Marifat (Divine knowledge), observation of Noor which is Divine light. When Noor of Allah fully penetrates into the nafs, it is elevated to the stage of Mutmaina, indeed Allah is the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
The letter F (ف) for (Fakhr-e-Deen) one who differentiates between infidelity and Islam. A Divine quotation is: “This is because the Lord of Momins (the faithfuls) is Allah and the lord of infidels is no one.” People with Nafs-e-Mutmaina, after experiencing the Truth, are designated at the level of Haq-ul-Yaqeen and the possessor of this Faith is one who has been engrossed in the Truth and is not diverted to what is false. The Truth is Islam and infidelity is falsity. The building blocks of Islam are Faqr and Divine knowledge and that of infidelity is worldly wealth. The corruption of religion is initiated because of love for the world, and the foundation for righteousness is love for Allah.
The letter S (س) means سر راستی راہ با استغراق الہ ser rasti rah ba Istaghraq Elah someone travelling on the right path, absorbed in contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat who apparently is busy in physical worship but inwardly annihilated in Allah. Only Prophets, Faqeers and a few Saints have such perfect nafs with these beautiful attributes. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Nafs-e-Mutmaina is a ride which has access to the Divine Secret and this visual experience leads to oneness of Allah (Tauheed).
Meaning: The obedient nafs (Mutmaina) is better of a friend than one’s dear life. What do ignorant know of the nafs? (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Sultan Bahoo expresses about Nafs-e-Mutmaina in one of his Punjabi couplet:
ایہو نفس اساڈا بیلی، جو نال اساڈے سِدّھا ھُو
زاہد عالم آن نوائے، جِتھے ٹکڑا ویکھے تِھدّا ھُو
جو کوئی اِس دی کرے سواری، اُس نام اَﷲُ دا لِدّھا ھُو
راہ فقر دا مشکل باھوؒ، گھر ما نہ سیرا رِدَھا ھُو
Explanation: This nafs now has become our friend by upgrading to Mutmaina and is now with us on the Sirat-e-Mustqeem (path of righteousness). Even though this same nafs at the stage of Ammarah had turned many scholars, devotees and noble men into seekers and desirers of the worldly riches and fame. Through contemplation and invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat given by the perfect spiritual guide, this nafs made the journey all the way from Ammarah to Mutmaina. There come many harsh obstacles, stations and paths in the way of Faqr, it is not like a mothers’s cuisine where you will be served without having to make any effort.
He also states:
When a seeker is at the level of Shariat in Alam-e-Nasut, his nafs is Nafs-e-Ammarah so Allah orders him to kill his enemy nafs. O’ Allah! Bless me with the eyes which can see and recognize the enemy so that I may kill it. When the seeker progresses spiritually and reaches the level of Tareeqat in Alam-e-Malakut, his nafs becomes Nafs-e-Lawamah. On reaching here, one must leave the pleasures of nafs, crush all its appetites and become independent of all its desires. Then his level is raised to ‘Haqeeqat’ in Alam-e-Jabrut where his nafs becomes Nafs-e-Mulhima. It should be burnt in the fire of Ishq and invocation of Allah so that it approaches the level of موتوا قبل ان تموتوا i.e. death before dying. Then the seeker reaches the next level i.e. Marifat in Alam-e-LaHoot where his nafs becomes Nafs-e-Mutmaina. It repents from everything other than Allah and becomes the perfect believer of Oneness of Allah, sincerely obedient, the distinguished one and confidant of the secrets of Prophet Mohammad. Allah says:
Meaning: O’ our Lord! We seek Your forgiveness and to You (we all) have to return. (Al-Baqarah-285)
What is achieved by the seeker at the level of Nafs-e-Mutmaina? The perfect observation of Faqr Fana Fillah at the station beyond all stations. Then, the maliciousness of the evil nafs comes to an end.
Meaning: O’ dear! The nafs (nafs-e-mutmaina) is an intimate friend. Be with this friend and never be neglectful of it. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
The correction of nafs goes side by side with reconciliation of heart, disclosure of core of the soul, and the destination of Faqr is also being reached. A detailed memorandum of this is written by Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani in his book Sir’r-ul-Asrar, the gist is as follows:
Stage of nafs
Level of soul
Display of theophany
Stage of wisdom
The level of heaven on success
The material world (Nasut)
Ammarah (baser self)
Soul with physical body (Jismani)
Disclosure of signs
Wisdom of wealth
Garden of abode (Jannat-ul-Mawah)
The spiritual world (Malakut)
Lawamah (the repenting innerself)
Tareeqat (spiritual knowledge)
Soul with celestial light (Noorani)
Disclosure of deeds
Wisdom of the hereafter
The garden of delight (Jannat-ul-Naeem)
The connecting world (Jabrut)
Mulhima (the innerself which warns before sinning)
Haqeeqat (knowledge of Divine Reality)
The kingly soul (Sultani)
Disclosure of the attributes
Wisdom of the spirituality
The highest garden of paradise (Jannat-ul-Firdous)
The world of Absolute Divinity (LaHoot)
Mutmaina (the satisfied innerself)
The Divine soul (Qudsi)
Disclosure of The Essence
Totality of wisdom
The garden of proximity to Allah (Jannat-ul-Qurb)
For the purgation of one’s innerself, Saints and Sufis mention various methods, exercises, observations and asceticism but the method of our Holy Prophet is incomparable and the best. Sanctification of the nafs has no better way than that of Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam.
 The satisfied self which never inclines towards sin or worldliness.
 For detail study of diseases of nafs read the book “Purification of innerself in Sufisim”.
 Blessings upon him (prayer for passed away Saint)
 Peace be upon him (Blessings and salutation for the Holy Prophet).
 For detail study, read the book “Purification of Innerself in Sufism”.
 The Divine name which represents the Divine Essence and all Divine attributes.
 This is a realm in Sufi cosmology. This is the spiritual world of symbolic forms of bodies which cannot be touched, like that we see in dreams.
 The perfect and accomplished spiritual guide who possesses the Divine light of guidance.
 Faith gained by experience. This is the final level of faith.
,12 Shariat, Tareeqat, Haqeeqat and Marifat are four levels of Divine closeness. People at the level of Shariat follow the shariah of Prophet Mohammad perfectly and sincerely to attain closeness of Allah. They are people of physical prayers and deeds. When they reach the level of Tareeqat they toil to gain inward purity by taking bayat of Murshid Kamil. On attaining the inward purity they reach the level of Haqeeqat where they find the Reality through the Ishq of Allah. Ishq of Allah leads to the next level of Marifat where they get the Divine knowledge after having vision and closeness of Allah.
,14 Discussed in citation 11 and 12.
The Prophetic Way of Purgation of The Innerself
It is narrated by Hazrat Hanzala razi Allah anhu that once Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique razi Allah anhu met him and inquired about his health, “O Hanzala, how are you?” I said, “Hanzala has become a hypocrite.” He replied, “What are you saying?” I explained, “When we are present in the company of Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam and when he talks about heaven and hell, we feel like we are watching it all with our own eyes and the state of faith in our hearts is such that we do not remember anybody except Allah and our hearts are filled with love for him, but when we are not anymore present in the company of the Messenger and divert our minds towards home, family and wealth then this feeling and state of heart do not remain same as are our feelings towards Allah”. Upon hearing this Hazrat Abu Bakr razi Allah anhu agrees that he is in the same condition. Hazrat Hanzala narrates that he and Abu Bakr left and showed up in the presence of the Prophet. I stated, “O Prophet of Allah! Hanzala has become a hypocrite?” He asked “how?” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! When I am present in front of your eyes the condition of my heart is different but as soon as I leave your company and go home or to work I am unable to feel the same emotion in my heart.” So the Messenger responded, “I swear by the Divine Being Who has control over my life, if the state of your heart remains, as is when you are with me or in my assembly, all the time, the angels will shake hands with you while you rest and on the ways you travel, but O Hanzala! This moment is a rare blessing.” (like the feeling is blessed upon you only when you are present with me or in front of my sight).
Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam once told Hazrat Umar Farooq razi Allah anhu that none of you can have your faith perfected until your love for me overpowers your love for your life, wealth and children. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar replied, “Your Highness! I do not feel any such sentiment in my heart.” The Messenger placed his hand on Umar Farooq’s shoulder and asked, “What do you feel now?” Hazrat Umar Farooq within a fraction of seconds spoke up, “O Prophet of Allah! Now I feel your existence is dearer to me than any other thing in the entire universe.”
In the Holy Quran the Prophet’s way of purgation of the inner self is stated like so:
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ بَعَثَ فِی الۡاُمِّیّٖنَ رَسُوۡلًا مِّنۡہُمۡ یَتۡلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ وَ یُزَکِّیۡہِمۡ وَ یُعَلِّمُہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ وَ الۡحِکۡمَۃَ
Meaning: “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them (with His perfect spiritual sight) and teaching them the Book and wisdom (Ilm-e-Laduni, the inspirational knowledge)”. (Al-Jumu’ah-2)
This verse proves that the Prophet first used to educate his sacred Companions about the Quran then with his perfect spiritual sight purify their souls so their hearts could be sanctified and become capable of absorbing the Noor of Quran. And when the nafs is purged the heart side by side is automatically cleansed and the sight of the Reality is reflected clearly upon the mirror of the heart which makes it remain restless to have this sight again. This restlessness is basically the beginning of Ishq (Divine love) for Allah and this spark of love is flared up only through sacred company. Likewise in the company of the Prophet his Companions were blessed with invocation of Allah through which they had their outer and inner selves purified and sanctified and in their hearts grew the desperation for Marifat (gnosis) so the lord of both the worlds (Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam) had them get down the drink of joy, blessings and mercy. This made them succeed at the stage of purification and once they were purified it enabled them to get to the level of learning the Book and Ilm-e-Laduni which made their hearts so clean and vast that the pure and sweet essence of Marifat and wisdom of Allah and the Holy Quran together was filled in till the tops.
“Reciting to them His verses and purifying them”, the “and” in this verse of the Holy Quran makes it clear that purification of the nafs is one thing and education of the Quran is another. Because in this verse, “reciting to them His verses” mean that the Prophet used to give them the knowledge of the Quran about purgation, and “purifying them” suggests he also used to purge their nafs and bestow upon them the state of purgation. There is a marked difference between the knowledge of purgation and the state of purgation of the inner self, and only the two together can make aimed wonders happen. The incidents of bestowing the state of purgation upon people have been mentioned above.
And then they are taught the knowledge of the Book and inspirational knowledge. After the purification of the nafs, Marifat of Allah is received and the entire universe comes under their control. An example is that of Hazrat Barkhiya who presented the throne of Bilqis (queen of Sheba) in Prophet Solomon’s royal court within the blink of an eye. Quran states the incident of Hazrat Barkhiya as ‘he had the knowledge of the Book’. This is the state of “teaching them the Book and wisdom (Ilm-e-Laduni)” that is achieved after the purgation of nafs.
And then we hear about a lot of worried and anxious people who recite the Holy Quran, rather learn it by heart and possess knowledge of sorts specially the knowledge of purgation of the inner self and also know of the paranoia the nafs and Satan can cause, who even write lengthy texts and deliver speeches about this. Still they are unable to focus during worship and cannot get rid of the satanic perceptions and imagination while they are at it because although they have the knowledge of purgation, however are not blessed with the state of purgation.
Likewise there are numerous people towards mysticism who have gained the knowledge of purification of the nafs either through books or by listening to discussions between seekers of Allah and their Divine spiritual guide, or even took bayat (oath of allegiance) at the hands of a guide but because of their imperfect desire could not travel the path of righteousness and had no spiritual observation. These people too have the knowledge of purgation but have not been bestowed upon with the state of purgation of the inner self.
The sacred Companions had the purgation of their inner selves done in the presence and spiritual sight of the Holy Prophet and he announced that my Companions are like stars, whoever you choose to follow shall lead you to success. That’s how this treasure of Noor of Marifat got transferred, only by sitting in their presence and company, from the sacred Companions to Tabi’un and Tabi al-Tabi’in. Because the Prophethood of Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam shall remain till the end of existence, he made Faqeers and Arifs (Knowers of Allah) his vicegerents and blessed them with the light of knowledge of purification of the nafs so the rest of his ummah (nation) could also benefit from them.
Just like it is proven in latest medicinal research that one cannot cure their own disease no matter how much capable and learned they are in the field, they will have to see a specialist for their treatment whatsoever. So how is it possible that without the spiritual guide and merely by knowing the Quran and Sunnah one can purge their inner self? And really there is no such knowledge in the world that can be gained completely through mere books, there is always the need for a teacher. If studying the books was the only requirement then why would Allah send such a long chain of Prophets?
The argument presented above proves this much that merely the recitation of Holy Quran could not cure the diseases of the nafs of even of the sacred Companions, in fact they too had to visit Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam in order to get their inner selves purged and to gain the inspirational knowledge through his spiritual sight.
To quote Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam:
The last era of my ummah shall receive guidance just like you are receiving it from Me. (Muslim)
Whoever dies without being bound by the oath of allegiance (bayat), dies the death of an ignorant.” (Sahih Muslim 1851)
He who dies without knowing (through intuition) the Imam (leader) of his time, dies the death of ignorance.
Prophet Mohammad has stated: “There will always be a group amongst my ummah on the path of Haq, abandoning them will not harm them at all, until the order of Allah is given and they will remain resolute.” (Muslim, Bukhari)
The people who will help and support them will be the guardians and helpers of the religion and the ones who choose to serve them as slaves will indeed succeed towards betterment.
There is no part of the world void of Saints, Arifs and Faqeers who are not showering their spiritual bounties upon people through their company and spiritual sight and attention, correcting their nafs, attitude, manners and beliefs and purifying their faith. These are practical and rapturous qualities which can be owned through connection at heart, obedience, spiritual efficacy and following.
Countless such incidents are mentioned in Hadiths, teachings of Saints and this should clear out the misconception of people who believe they can sanctify their hearts, purify their nafs and purge their souls totally on their own, and with mere recitation of the Quran and Hadith can get rid of these inner self diseases because in the book and Sunnah there are various types of cures for these diseases of the soul but only a doctor (spiritual guide) can explain the application of these cures.
Sultan Bahoo has declared spiritual guide as a doctor.
“Murshid (spiritual guide) is the example of a doctor while the seeker is an example of a patient.” (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Which suggests that the diseases of the nafs can be fought only by the Divine Universal Man (Insan-e-Kamil) with his perfect spiritual sight.
Sultan Bahoo says:
کامل مُرشد ایسا ہووے‘ جیہڑا دھوبی وانگوں چھَٹے ھُو
نال نگاہ دے پاک کریندا ‘ وِچ سجی صبون نہ گھتے ھُو
میلیاں نوں کر دیندا چِٹا‘ وِچ ذَرّہ میل نہ رَکھے ھُو
ایسا مرشد ہووے باھوؒ جیہڑا‘ لوں لوں دے وِچ وَسے ھُو
Explanation: He says that the spiritual guide should be like a washerman. Like a washerman does not let a stain remain on the clothes and cleans dirty garments completely, likewise the perfect spiritual guide never asks of his seeker to make daily recitals, litanies or forty days seclusions or makes him go through any meaningless hardships rather shows him the way of invocation of Allah’s personal name (Ism-e-Allah Zaat) and purifies his nafs with his spiritual sight, expels all diseases from his inner self, gets him rid of any worldly desires and those of nafs, cleanses his heart of worldly loves and replaces it with Divine love. Such a spiritual guide dwells in every part of the seeker.
Allama Iqbal states:
دین مجو اندر کتب اے بے خبر
علم و حکمت از کتب دیں از نظر
Translation: “O’ oblivious man! Don’t look for faith in books. Knowledge and wisdom are indeed in books but faith is in the spiritual sight.”
خرد کے پاس خبر کے سوا کچھ اور نہیں ہے
تیرا علاج ’’نظر‘‘ کے سوا کچھ اور نہیں ہے
Meaning: Intellect has nothing but verbosity, the cure lies in the spiritual sight of the perfect spiritual guide from diseases of the soul e.g. jealousy, rancor, greed, lust, backbiting, slander etc. Thereafter filling the heart with the Ishq of Allah.
فقط ’’نگاہ‘‘ سے ہوتا ہے فیصلہ دل کا
نہ ہو نگاہ میں شو خی تو دلبری کیا ہے
Meaning: The perfect spiritual guide’s powerful Divine sight opens the mystic path, leading a devotee to the secrets of Allah. If one cannot purify the nafs with his spiritual sight what is the point to be called a spiritual guide. It is only the way of the perfect spiritual guide.
The perfect and accomplished spiritual guide should be the one who not only has the knowledge and authority over Ism-e-Allah Zaat but also possesses the personal name, attributes and Zaat (Divine Self). Sultan Bahoo under the presence of the same spiritual guide talks about contemplation of Ism-e-Allah zaat:
“A person whose nafs is rebellious and Ammarah in the initial stage, upgrades to Lawamah after practicing the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, then to Mulhima and finally reaches the level of Mutmaina.” (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
“Contemplation of Ism-e-Allah zaat weakens the nafs inside the body as though it is suffering from measles, this invocation unlocks such restlessness upon the nafs that it remains fidgety and impatient all the time, to be precise, its sole existence diminishes and expires. This disobedient nafs (Ammarah) turns obedient (Mutmaina) and then like a slave remains under control forever.” (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Just like Prophet’s company, sight and attention develop Noor and trust in his Companions’ hearts and spark the fire of faith in their nafs and elevate their souls higher than those of the sacred angels, keep their hearts free of all material foulness, and keep them blessed with vision of Allah, the same way his vicegerents’ company, sight and attention can purge the souls and sanctify hearts and make people recall their Lord. Being distant from such people can cause hearts to go ignorant, turn towards worldly matters and increase attention so as to achieve this transitory world. No human is free from the diseases of the nafs nor can he diagnose them on his own. No human is free from these sensual diseases like hypocrisy, malice, love for the world, lust, animosity, malignancy, jealousy, anger, gluttony, desire for worldly status, unlawful sexual relations, greed for wealth, avarice, materialism, lying, slander, objection to Allah, oblivion, pride, egoism, conceit, selfishness, backbiting, prejudice, nationalism, sectarianism, sect glorifying, barbarism and atrocities, love for their origin/caste/domain, love for their religious/ political leader(s). Until and unless all of these idols are not broken, none of their acts of worship is accepted.
Yet the situation of man today is such that he considers himself superior and flawless in religion, faith and piety which is absolute ignorance, like a Divine quote puts:
قُلْ ھَلْ نُنَبِّئُکُمْ بِالْاَخْسَرِیْنَ اَعْمَالاً ۔ اَلَّذِیْنَ ضَلَّ سَعْیُھُمْ فِی الْحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنْیَا وَھُمْ یَحْسَبُوْنَ اَنَّھُمْ یُحْسِنُوْنَ صُنْعًا
Meaning: “Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds! Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.” (Al-Kahf-103-104)
Leader of the truthfuls Hazrat Abu Bakr’s following quote verifies the fact that no other method of self-sanctification over shines the Prophetic way of purgation of the innerself:
لَاۡ یُصْلِحْ آخِرِ ھٰذِہِ الْاُ مَّۃِ اِلَّا بِھَا صَلَحَ بِہٖ اَوَّ لِھَا
“The final part of the ummah shall be rectified the same way the initial part of the ummah was rectified.” (Imam Malik)
Keep in mind!
Purgation… is an inner self power. The person who desires to become philanthropic, righteous and virtuous shall always require the power of purgation to begin with. Purge your soul first and correct yourself, purgation and correction of others is not something you should be concerned about at this point.