An-nafs (One’s self)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم       


In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful


It is a continuous Jihad a Muslim must deal with on a daily basis. It is a struggle that lives with him always. He must struggle to learn and practice what he has learned and to call to it and remain patient from the harm that may come to him when he calls to the truth.

Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said:

Jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self) is of four kinds:

1 – Striving to learn the teachings of Islam without which one cannot attain success and happiness in this world or in the Hereafter; if this is missing then one is doomed to misery in this world and in the Hereafter.

2 – Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned. Simply knowing without acting, even though it may not cause any harm, is not going to bring any benefit.

3 – Striving to call others to Islam, teaching those who do not know about it. Otherwise one will be one of those who conceal that which Allaah has revealed of guidance and teaching, and it will not benefit him or save him from the punishment of Allaah.

4 – Striving to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allaah and the insults of people; bearing all that for the sake of Allaah.

If a person achieves all these four levels, then he will be one of the rabbaaniyyeen (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach to others as is stated in the Quran: It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allâh has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: “Be my worshippers rather than Allâh’s.” On the contrary (he would say): “Be you Rabbaniyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.” (Surah  `ali- ‘Imraan 3:79). The salaf were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called a rabbaani unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it and teaches it to others. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge and has knowledge, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Imam al-`ajurri (رحمه الله) said:

If someone were to say: what evidence is there for disciplining the nafs? The answer is: The Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the words of the Muslim scholars. (Adab an-Nufoos, p. 9)

He also said (p. 17): How bad is the situation of the one who neglects to discipline his nafs and train it on the basis of knowledge; and how good is the situation of the one who pays attention to disciplining his nafs and knows what Allah has enjoined upon him and what He has forbidden to him, and is patient in going against the whims and desires of his nafs, and seeks the help of Allah the Almighty in doing so.

He narrated in his book (p. 13) that ar-Rabee‘ ibn Anas said, concerning the verse “Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell)” (Surah at-Tahreem 66:6): Discipline and train yourselves and your families to adhere to the commands of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.

And he narrated (p. 14) that Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr said: that is: proper etiquette and manners.

Then he (رحمه الله) said (p. 15): Do you not see, may Allah have mercy on you, that your Lord Most Generous is urging you to discipline yourself and your families. Pay heed to Allah and make yourselves adhere to that. 

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