Aoudhubillahi minahs shaitan nirrajeem Bismillahirrahmanirraheem
TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF NAFS OR EGO:
Why do the man like prohibited acts? It can be observed that the man normally develops yearning towards the forbidden acts. There is an online game because of which many youth are committing suicide. Effective measures are being taken to stop this game but people watch with more vigor. The zeal towards the forbidden acts is in proportion to the strength to prevent these acts. Adam (AS) was prohibited from eating the fruit of a certain tree. There were many trees that he (AS) could eat from but he chose to eat from the forbidden tree. When a man is prevented from an act, he becomes greedier of that act. Careful observation show two reasons behind this human behavior:
The nafs or ego does not tolerate imprisonment. The nafs is already imprisoned by the physical body and when it is further constrained spiritually, it becomes furious. Voluntarily a man will stay in a house for a month but the moment he was ordered to not come out of the house, he would find it difficult to oblige even for a day as his nafs would become enraged feeling imprisoned and will pressurize him to move out of the house.
It is not the tendency of the nafs to obey others and it finds submission and obedience very difficult. Physically it can do the most strenuous acts but mentally it finds it very difficult to submit to any simple command. This is why the biggest religion in this world is worshipping nafs whereby people obey the nafs. In fact the people of this world can be broadly divided into two groups: One group who live by the command of the Lord and the other group who live by the command of their nafs.
It is because of these two characteristics of the nafs, the man finds pleasure in forbidden acts but not in permitted acts. Growing beard is very easy and it does not utilize man’s time, energy or money and it does not even hurt his skin but he finds it difficult to grow whereas he will take much effort and spend time, money and go through the pain to cut off the beard which is forbidden. Shariah has freed man from following unnecessary customs in getting married making it easy for him but he finds it difficult to oblige. On the other hand, the man will spend time, energy and waste his hard earned money which he laboriously saved for years in following the customs to please the people suiting the desires of his nafs. Do people really get pleased? Nay! He only earns up jealous people who will harm him. He finds it easy to do the most strenuous acts which will make one wonder because it pleases nafs but the simple easy acts become difficult for him as it goes against his nafs. This is the tendency of the nafs.
GO AGAINST THE NAFS AND ENJOY THE JANNAH RIGHT HERÈ IN THIS WORLD:
Irrespective of the difficulty endured by the nafs, the struggle we put to go against the nafs to please Allah SWT is what will make us attain Jannah. When we struggle against our nafs, Allah SWT will ease our path. If we go after the desires of nafs, there is hell behind its veil and if we abide by Allah’s SWT commands, definitely it is difficult for the nafs but there is Jannah behind its veil. I am not just talking about the Jannah awaiting in the akhirah but we will be able to taste the Jannah right in this world after a period of time if we go against our nafs. When we apply medicine to the wound, initially there will be stinging pain but later we will enjoy the health. Similarly, tolerate the displeasure of nafs in the beginning and later you will enjoy the Jannah of this world. If you do not apply medicine for the wound fearing the momentary pain, the wound will start rotting from inside leading to intolerable pain. Know that if you tolerate the difficulty and displeasures of nafs for Allah SWT, it will bring in the taste of Jannah like how the medicine brings health.
SINS WILL MAKE THE LIFE HELL:
If you want to see the life of hell, look at the lives of sinners. Depending on the depth of the sin committed, deep is the hell life of the sinner. There are countries which are called paradise of this world but their inhabitants are committing suicide. Why do they commit suicide? Their anxiety, worries and difficulties are so severe like those of inmates of hell who will cry, “Alas! We wish we are dead and become dust and extinct”. Just like these inmates of hell, the sinners of this world become exasperated desiring for death and commit suicide. Can you imagine the level of desolateness, anxiety, insecurity and worries they are experiencing in their lives? In spite of having beautiful weather, house and comforts, why do they commit suicide? Depending on the severity of sins in one’s life, he will feel the heat of the hell in his life. The heat will be less when sin is small and will be more if the sin is big but for certain sins make the life that of the hell. This is as clear as a day brought out by the sun. One cannot be deceived by huge houses, factories or cars as for sure the sins committed by a person would make his life hell.
FORBEAR THE STINGING PAIN OF THE NAFS:
The Quran commands one to save himself, his women and children from the fire. This command was descended on the most intellectual people that ever came on the earth, i.e. the companions of the Prophet SAW. They were commanded to save themselves from the fire of the sins. This fire is not good for your women or children and you cannot overlook their sins. Children are unaware and ignorant of the consequences of sins meted out by their environment but they are heading towards the fire. Believing in Allah SWT and following His SWT commands will definitely be difficult for the nafs but there is health behind this stinging pain and the taste of worldly Jannah behind this difficulty. Those people who are blessed with tahajjud salah or solitude worship in the late nights and in the mornings find them more pleasurable than the tastiest food. The coolness, the tranquility and the pleasure that one feels from these ibaadat (worship) are incomparable.
When Hazrat ibn Taymiyyah (RA) was imprisoned and taken towards the prison, he exclaimed, “Wow! How wonderful it would be to spend my time in prison in solitude! Now I will enjoy my time of Jannah here.” When the prison guard wondered at his words, he said, “My Jannah is in my heart and it is with me wherever I go.” Who can snatch away Jannah from the hearts granted by Allah SWT? When Allah SWT bestows one deen and purity outwardly and inwardly, he has attained the Jannah of this world. Allah SWT says that such people will have tranquility in their hearts and tranquility is experienced in Jannah too. In the Jannah of this world, the man remains peaceful all the time and in every single state. This is pleasure. So have patience over the difficulty of the nafs when obeying Allah SWT for this pain is only temporary like applying medicine on the wound which will be followed by the enjoyment of eemaan (faith). The heart might desire to backbite and see forbidden things but stop the tongue from maligning others honor through backbiting and stop the eyes from seeing forbidden things. Definitely the nafs would find it tormenting but soon you will feel the coolness.
HOW TO CONTROL THE NAFS?
Deal with the nafs just like how a smart patient would deal with the medicine. He aims for good health and eats the bitter medicine and if it is too bitter, he still convinces himself to consume it by adding little sweetness to it or eats something sweet immediately after the medicine so his body accepts it. Do not obey the nafs but deal with it like a smart patient. It also happens that the nafs itself would not like eating certain delicious food because it knows well that it will prevent him from enjoying all other delicious foods. So teach the nafs about the severe loss it would incur if it commits a sin and losing the blessings it is enjoying. This is how a smart believer will hold his nafs. He will fully have the control of the bridle and will not lose the rope from his hand. Sometimes he loosens the rope but will have control over it. As long as the nafs is on the straight path, he will be lenient with it and when it tries to deviate from the path, he tries to bring back with a soft approach and if it doesn’t respond well, he will bring back sternly. He will deal with the nafs like how he would deal with an ignorant wife. When she shows her weakness intellectually, he entertains her by being very considerate. When a wife becomes disobedient, the husband first advices her gently and if the advice fails, he keeps her away from him on the bed and if she still persists in her behavior, he becomes little stern on her. There is no whip greater than firm determination to control the nafs. Be determined that you will not disobey Allah SWT and there is no better whip than determination for the nafs. Let Allah SWT grant His divine help to lead a life pleasing to Him SWT. Ameen!