LET US CORRECT OUR ISLAMIC FAITH

دعونا نصحّح العقيدة الاسلامية

       

 

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING HUMAN SELF, SOUL AND BODY     

 

Written   By

Shaikh Mir Asedullah Quadri

 

 

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INTRODUCTION 

    

بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم  

 الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين

 

It is important that we know who we are, what is the purpose of our creation and our relationship with this Cosmos and our Creator.

It is in Quran -  وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ [And do not be like those who forgot Allah.] (Al-Hashr -  19) 

It is in Hadith -  مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ  فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ  [The one who knows about himself, knows about his Lord.] 

There are academic differences of opinions among Ulema about the authentication or otherwise of this Hadith. However, the meanings of the Hadith are established by Quran and Sunnah.   

We need to know factual information about human self, soul and body.  The book discusses this issue in the light of Quran, Sunnah and the teachings of Shuyookh of Ihsan.  Misunderstanding of the people in this context has been clarified in the book. 

It is a book which will help its readers to understand who they are and their relationship with the Cosmos and their Lord. 
 
 

 

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HUMAN BEING 

 
 
The Cosmos and all its inhabitants are Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) creation. Among them, human beings enjoy special status as they are provided with intelligence and are rewarded with the crown of vicegerent. 
It is in Quran - وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً  [And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the Earth a Caliph.] (Al-Baqara - 30).
 
It is in Quran - يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا [ O'mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.] (Al-Hujuraat -13).
Quran also provides detail account of the creation of human beings. 

It is in Quran - وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ - ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ - ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ  [And verily We did create man from a quintessence (of clay). Then We placed him (as a drop of sperm) in a place of rest, firmly fixed. Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood (zygote). Then of that clot We made a lump (fetus). Then We made out of that lump,  bones and clothed the bones with flesh. Then We developed out of it another creature (by breathing life into it). So blessed be Allah, the most marvelous Creator.] ( Al-Mu’minun - 12-14).

It is in Hadith -  Abdullah bin Masud (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) narrates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said -  إنَّ أحدكم يُجمَع خَلْقُه في بطن أمه أربعين يومًا، ثم يكون علقةً مثل ذلك، ثم يكون مُضغةً مثل ذلك ، ثم يَبعث الله ملكًا فيُؤمر بأربع كلمات، ويقال له: اكتُبْ عملَه، ورزقَه، وأجلَه، و شقيٌّ أو سعيدٌ، ثم يُنفخ فيه الروح  [Each one of you is constituted in the womb of the mother for forty days and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him]  (Bukhari) 

The above Quranic verse and Hadith confirm that the soul enters the fetus 120 days (4 months) after gestation.  Thus, first  human body is created in the womb of the mother, and then the soul gets associated with it.  The  moment the soul gets associated with human body, the person/human being comes into existence. 

Where were we before birth? 

We all existed in Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) knowledge as His awareness. Meaning, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knew about all his creations before their birth.  Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knew horse as horse and tiger as tiger. Among humans, he knew who was believer, who was non-believer and who was apostate.   

It is in Quran وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ  [And Allah knows about everything.] (An-Noor - 64).  Meaning, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows about Himself and about His creation.  

How did we exist in Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) knowledge? 

We existed in Allah's knowledge as 'Probate Architype' (Ain-e-Thabita - عینِ ثابتہ).

What is Probate Archetype (عینِ ثابتہ)? 

A 'probate archetype' (عینِ ثابتہ) is a unit of information about every single creation of Allah.  Meaning, it is an 'individual fact' or 'innate' (ذات)' of every creature which existed in Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) knowledge. 

When Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) wanted to bring us into external existence (in this world), He first created our material body as per the requirement of this world, then associated a specific soul with it. When these two joined with our innate/person (ذات),  we came into existence. 

Thus, there are three things involved in our creation, viz., (i) the 'human self' or 'person' (ذات), the human body (جسم), and human soul (روح). 
 
Human being has been addressed in Quran with different names; like (i) Bani Adam (بنی آدم), Insan (انسان), (ii) Bashar (بشر), and (iii) Nafs (نفس). 
 
(i) Bani Adam (بَنِي آدَمَ)
 
(a) It is in Quran -  يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا ۖ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ  [ O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember. ] (Al-Araaf - 26)
 
(b) It is in Quran -  يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا ۗ إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ  [ O children of Adam! let not the Satan cause you to fall into affliction as he expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their evil inclinations, he surely sees you, he as well as his host, from whence you cannot see them; surely We have made the Shayateen to be the guardians of those who do not believe. ] (Al-Araaf - 27)
 
 
(ii) Insan (انسان)
 
(a) It is in Quran -  وَخُلِقَ الْاِنْسَانُ ضَعِيْفًا  [And man has been created weak.] (An-Nisa - 28)
 
(b) It is in Quran -  اِنَّ الْاِنْسَانَ لَظَلُوْمٌ كَفَّارٌ  [Surely, man is very unjust and ungrateful.] (Ibrahim - 34)
 
 
(iii) Bashar (بشر)
 
(a) It is in Quran - قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ [She (Maryam - عليها السلام) said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?] (Aal-i-Imran - 47) 
 
(b) It is in Quran - قَالُوا أَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ بَشَرًا رَّسُولًا  [They said, "Has Allah sent a human Apostle?] (Al-Isra - 94)
 
 
(iv) Nafs (نفس)
 
(a) It is in Quran - وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ [And do not kill a person who Allah has forbidden. ] (Al-Isra -33)

(b) It is in Quran - وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ  [And when the Nufoos are joined.] (At-Takweer - 7)

On the day of Resurrection, all people will be joined together in front of their Lord to answer for their deeds. 

(c) It is in Quran - اللَّهُ لَآ إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَمَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثاً  [Allah, there is no god but He – He will most certainly gather you together on the Day of Resurrection, there is no doubt in it; and who is more true in word than Allah? (An-Nisa - 87) 

   

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NAFS  (نفس)

 

When we ponder over Quranic verses, we realize that the word  Nafs (نفس) has been used in different shades of meanings, as follows.

(i) To mean a 'Person' or 'Self'; like,  (a) 'Myself' (Nafsi - نفسي), (b) 'Himself' (Nafsuhu - نفسه), (c) 'Herself' (Nafsaha - نفسها), (d) 'Yourself' (Nafsik - نفسك), (e) 'Yourself' (Anfusikum - انفسكم),  (f) 'Themselves' (Anfusuhum - انفسهم  / Anfusihinna - انفسهنّا), and (g) 'Ourselves' (Anfusana - انفسنا) .

It is in Quran -  لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا  [Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) gives hardship to a person as per his capacity.] (Al-Baqara - 284) 

It is in Quran -  قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ  [They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.] (Al-A'raaf - 23) 

(ii) To mean 'one' in pronominal combinations, like (a) someone, (b) everyone, (c) anyone, (d) no one, and (e) oneself.

It is in Quran -  وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تَمُوتَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ كِتَابًا مُّؤَجَّلًا  [And it is not (possible) for one to die except by permission of Allah at a decree determined.] (Aal-i-Imran - 145)

It is in Quran - وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنَ الْغَمِّ  [And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation. ] (Taa Haa - 40)

It is in Quran - كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ [ Every one will taste death.] (Aal-i-Imran - 185) 

(iii) To mean a person's innermost self, conscience, mind, or heart, as described in the following verses.

It is in Quran - رَّبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا فِي نُفُوسِكُمْ [ Your Lord knows best what is in your minds.] (Al-Isra - 25).

It is in Quran - وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ  [And We have already created man and know what his Nafs whispers to him, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein] (Qaaf - 50).   

(iv) Human beings are chosen ones in Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) creation as they are complete within themselves in the sense that both virtue and evil are inherent in them. However, they are required to strive to prevail  virtue over the evil.  This aspect has been described in the following verses. 

It is in Quran - وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا - فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا - قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا - وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا  [And the 'self' (نفس) and the completeness given to it. Thus was given awareness of its evil and its virtue. He succeeded who purified it and he failed who corrupted it.]  (Ash-Shams - 7-10)
 
It is in Quran   -  وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ ، فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ   [As for whoever exceeded the limits and preferred the life of this world, surely his abode will be the Fire; and as for whoever feared to stand before his Lord and restrained the desires of his self, surely his abode will be Jannah." (An-Naaziaat - 39-40)
 

(v) Nowhere in Quran the word Nafs (نفس) has been used to refer to human soul or his body. 

Some translators of Quran have translated the word Nafs (نفس) as Soul (روح) in their translations which is not correct.  

 

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SOUL (روح)

 

Everything existing in this cosmos that possesses dimensions of length, width and depth  and develops as per the demands of its nature,  is regarded as 'living'. 

It is in Quran - تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا [The skies and Earth, and all beings therein invoke (glorify) His praise and there is not a single thing but invokes His praise and yet you do not understand their invocation of His praise. Verily, He is Oft forbearing, most forgiving.] (Al-Isra - 44).

From the above verse it is clear that everything in the Cosmos is busy in praying Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and doing His Zikr.  It also clear that from a tiny molecule to the magnanimous heavens, all are provided with individual souls.  Because until a soul and a body (as per the requirements of existence) are provided, nothing can come into existence.  And once a thing is created, it is required to remember and invoke the magnanimity of his Creator.

Why some people will be subjected to torment (عذاب) in Hereafter? Because they rejected and spent their lives against the purpose of their creation.

It is in Quran - وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ  [And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.  (Adh-Dhaariyat - 56)

 

What is Soul?

Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) existence is absolute (His own).  Other than Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), everything else is dependent upon Him.  This is the reason He is called 'Independent Being' (واجبُ الوجود) and 'true worshipable' (حق معبود).  He has other attributes as well.  He is 'Living' (حيّ), 'Knowledgeable' (عليم), 'Hearing' (سميع), 'Seeing' (بصير), 'Powerful' (قدير).  He has 'will' (اراده), and He can speak (كليم). He also commands.

To create a thing, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) gleams the refulgence (تجلی) of His attributes and epithets (اسماء و صفات) on the probate archetype and commands the (probate archetype) "Be" (كُن), and there it comes into existence.    

It is in Quran -  إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَيْءٍ إِذَا أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ [ For anything which We (Allah) have willed, We say, ‘Be’ and it is there! ]  (An-Nahl - 40).

What is created by the command "Be"? The soul (روح) comes into existence from this command and gets associated with the Probate Archetype.  

It is in Quran - وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ ۖ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي  [And they ask you about the soul. Say (O'Prophet - صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) the soul is the command of my Lord.] (Al-Isra - 85).

It is in Quran -  فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُوا لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ [And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him (something out of) My soul, then fall down in front of him in prostration.] (Al-Hijr - 29).

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is addressing the angels saying  when He completes the body of Adam (عليه السلام) and associates his soul with his body, Adam (عليه السلام) will come into life. 'At that moment all of you (angels) bow down in front of him in prostration as a mark of respect'.

From the above it is clear that when Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) wants to bring us into external existence (in this world), He first creates our material body as per the requirement of this world, then associated a specific soul with it. When these two are joined with our innate/person (ذات),  we come into existence.  Thus, there are three things involved in our creation, viz., (i) the 'human self' or 'person' (ذات), the human body (جسم), and human soul (روح). 

 

The process of life in the Cosmos

When different molecules in the Cosmos mingle and develop into specific shapes, this results in the evolution of specific natures.  Once these natures are developed as per their facts/innate (ذوات), corresponding souls are associated with them.

The compounds and mixtures rule over their individual molecular content.

When molecules of matter mingle with each other in various proportions, specific mineral natures are developed. Corresponding souls, then get associated with each of these minerals.

Natures of metals like iron, gold, silver are different.  Therefore, their souls are different.  When different elements mix with each other in various proportions, specific natures are developed.  Like brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.

In the same way, botanical mixtures or compounds become totally different from their elements.  Like trees, which develop growing and reproductive capacity.  Some of the trees develop food content in them, like fruits and flowers.  In view of these specific natures, specific souls are associated with them as per their exigencies.

Over a period of time, some of these formations develop movement and sensing capabilities. These are known as animals. Once these capabilities are developed, corresponding animal souls are associated with them.  

When we look at an animal, like cow, we know that its life is a combination of its innate (ذات),  its physical body and its soul. 

Similarly human being is the combination of (i) the human 'self' or his 'person' (ذات), the human body (جسم), and human soul (روح). 

It is in Quran - وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم  [There is no animal that walks upon the Earth nor a bird that flies with its two wings but (they are) species like yourself.]  (Al-an'aam - 38).

Thus, everything in this Cosmos is dependent upon Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) support in the shape of their souls. When this support is taken back, their dependent existence gets vanished.

 

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BODY (جسم)
 

All living beings are provided with their respective bodies as per their requirement and environment in which they are slated to live. Since our body is made up of matter, its attributes are actually the attributes of matter. 

What is matter?  Matter is a substance which has mass and occupies space.  All physical objects are composed of matter.  And this matter  is termed as "Being" (وجود), or "Existence" (ہست). 

When we say 'Human Being' by looking at a person, we mean that he is 'Human' who is existing in a 'Body' which is his 'Being' (وجود).

Then what is human?  Human is the essence or person who is existing in the body and is dependent on Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) support in the shape of his soul. 

Human body consists of many parts,  internal and external, and every part is 'living' and is associated with its individual animal soul. When we are hungry, we feel cramps in our stomach.  What is this?   The stomach is shrieking that food should be provided to it. Similar are  the demands of other parts of our body.

It is in Quran -  فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذَنبِهِ إِنسٌ وَلَا جَانٌّ   [On that day (of Judgement) no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin.] (Ar-Rahman - 39).

The meaning of the above verse is, on the day of Judgement questions will not be asked from people as to what sins they committed.  The limbs and other parts will speak to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and inform Him of the sins they committed.  This understanding is based on the following Quranic verse.

It is in Quran -  إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا   [Verily, the ear and the eye and the heart - everyone of them shall have to answer for, in regard to the way it has functioned.]  (Al-Isra - 36)

Human being is provided with intelligence to understand and deduce things. Therefore he is made responsible for all actions of the body and is also subject to torment (عذاب) or recompense (ثواب) depending upon his deeds.

Some people consider that the human soul is subjected to recompense or torment.   This is not a correct understanding. 

As we have described above, the soul (روح) is a bestowal or command or support system of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) for our existence which remains with humans all the time, even in Jannah or Hell.  It is the person or self (نفس) of the human being who will be rewarded or tormented for his deeds.  Even in Heaven or Hell, the soul and a body will be associated with the dwellers and the pain or happiness will be felt by themselves (نفوس) and not by their souls.  Soul is Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) command and His support, how can it be punished?  

It is in Quran -   لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ اَسَاءُُ بِمَا عَمِلُوْا وَيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ اَحْسَنُوْ بِالحُسْنَي  [So that sinful persons get the punishment for their sins and virtuous persons get retribution for their good deeds.] (An-Najm - 31).

The animals do have knowledge and partial sensitivities but they do not enjoy the common sense to distinguish between good and bad. Therefore, they are not subject to torment or recompense.

 

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PURIFICATION OF SELF (تزكية النفس) 
 

As compared to other creatures, humans are complete within themselves in the sense that they are provided with intelligence with which they can differentiate between good and bad. To be successful in their lives, humans are required to reform themselves and strive for virtue over evil inclinations. This aspect has been described in the following verse. 

It is in Quran - وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا - فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا - قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا - وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا  [And the 'self' (نفس) and the completeness given to it. Thus was given awareness of its evil and its virtue. He succeeded who purified it and he failed who corrupted it.] (Ash-Shams - 7-10)
 

Tazkiah (تزكية) is an Arabic word meaning purification. Here Nafs means a person's  innermost self, conscience, mind, or heart. To be successful in both the worlds, we need to purify ourselves, leaving carnal desires and submitting to  Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) 'will'. 

The purification process starts from Islamic Shahadah, ie., belief in Allah - لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ [There is no god except Allah], and belief in Prophet - مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ [ Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) is the Apostle of Allah].

After the Islamic testimony (شهاده), we are required to learn Islamic teachings (Sharia - شريعه) and follow the path (طريقه) shown by Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), Khulafa-e-Rashideen,  A'imma and Awliya Allah.  Walking on this path (طريقه), we reach to the stage of 'Ihsan' as described in the following Hadith. 

 
It is in Hadith -   Abu Huraira (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) narrated - One day while the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) was sitting in the company of some people, (angel) Gabriel (عليه السلام) came and sat, folding his knees like a student sits in front of a teacher and asked, "What is Iman?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, ‘Iman is to believe in Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), His angels, (the) meeting with Him (on the day of judgment), His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.’ Then he asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, "To worship Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the compulsory charity ‘Zakat’ and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he further asked, "What is Ihsan?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, "To pray as if you see Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and if you cannot see Him then you must consider that He is looking at you." (Bukhari – part of the Hadith).
 
The above Hadith, clarifies that the first and foremost requirement is Iman.  If there is problem in your Iman, your Islamic deeds are of no value. Quran describes these people as follows. 
 
It is in Quran -  وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّـهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ  [Among them (Muslims), there are people who say that they believe in their Lord and on the Last Day (of Judgment) even though they are not believers.
 
It is in Hadith - The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said  'My Ummah will be divided into 73 sects.  All of them will be in Hell, except one  [who follow the path (طريقه) shown by me, my Khulafa-e-Rashideen, their taba'een Aimma and Awliya Allah.] (Abu Dawood, Ibn Maja, Tirmidhi)
 
Thus, there are three categories of people among Muslims.
(i) People of Iman - Those who are good at Iman, but not good at Islamic deeds.  People of  Iman (believers) will  get salvation in Hereafter, either after some punishment or after Prophet Mohammad’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) intercession.

(ii) People of Islam -  Those who are not good at Iman but are good at Islamic deeds.  They are faithless Muslims even though they recite Kalima Tayyiba, claim themselves to be Muslims, and act upon Islamic deeds.
It is in Hadith - Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated - Allah’s Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said ‘there will appear some people among you whose prayer will make you look down upon yours, and whose fasting will make you look down upon yours, and they will recite Qur'an (in melodious voices and memorize it) but Quran will not go down their throats (they will misunderstand and misinterpret the meanings of Quran) and will go out of Islam as the arrow goes out of the bow. (Bukhari ). 
Some people consider that people belonging to all Muslim Sect will get salvation on the day of Judgment.  This is not correct understanding because the first and foremost requirement is Sahih Iman.   A person who dies without the light of Iman in his heart, lived in darkness in this world, will remain in darkness in Hereafter as well. His Islamic deeds will not be of help in his salvation.
It is in Quran -  وَمَن كَانَ فِى هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أَعۡمَىٰ فَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَعۡمَىٰ [ The one who is blind (about Sahih Iman) in this world, will be blind in Hereafter] (Al-Isra - 72).    
(iii) People of Ihsan - Those who are good both in Iman and Islamic deeds.  These are the people who are successful in both the worlds. They are the ones who will get innumerable bounties of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in Hereafter.
It is in Quran -  إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ  [ Allah is with those who have abstinence (تقوه) and practice Ihsan. ] (An-Nahl - 128).

It is in Quran -  إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ   [Allah loves those who practice Ihsan.]  (Al-Baqara - 195; Aal-i-Imraan - 134, 148;  Al-Maidah - 13, 93).  

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) loves the people of Ihsan.  They are known as the friends of Allah (اولياءالله).  

It is in Quran -  أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ - الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ - لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ   [Behold the friends of Allah.  On them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.  These are they, who have believed in Allah and are mindful of Him and are abstinent (abstain from everything evil). To them tidings come.  This in itself is a great felicity.  (Younus 62-64). 

Followers of some Muslim Sects make fun of Awliya Allah and consider their pious graves as places of polytheism.  They call them lieing (laying) Idols and equate them with the idols worshiped by idol worshipers.  Muslims who visit their graves to pay respect are called by these sects as ‘Grave worshipers’.  The followers of these sects do not realize that it was the practice of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and Sahabah who used to visit the graves of Muslims on regular basis. There are many Ahadith in this context in almost all authentic Ahadith books.  By calling Awliya Allah as Idols, followers of these sects surely invite the wrath of Allah (قہرِ الٰہی).

It is in Hadith - Whoever takes a Wali of mine (ولي الله) an enemy, I will wage a war on him (Bukhari, part of the Hadith).
The emphasis on ‘Wali of mine’ in the above Hadith shows that Awliya Allah (the people of Ihsan) are the chosen ones among believers.  
 
 
How Sahabah were trained and purified by Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) ? 
It is in Quran - لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِين   [Certainly did Allah confer (a great) favor upon the believers when He sent among them an Apostle from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.] (Aal-i-Imran - 164).
Three things; teaching, training and purification, have been mentioned in the above verse.  The process of training and purification of Sahabah was as follows.
(i) Sahabah first accepted Islam on the hands of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).  They gave promise of allegiance (Ba'it - بیعت) by reciting Islamic testimony (کلمہ طیّبہ).
It is in Quran - "إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ ۚ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا" [ Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, (O'Mohammad - صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) - they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. So he who breaks his word only breaks it to the detriment of himself. And he who fulfills that which he has promised Allah - He will give him a great reward.] (Al-Fath - 10)
Sometimes, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) took promise of allegiance (بیعت) as repentance for one’s past wrong doings.  Sometimes the pledge (بیعت) was taken to shed the last drop of blood in the cause of Islam, as it happened  at the time of the conflict of Hudaibiya. The Promise of allegiance was also taken from women. 
(ii) After Sahabah became Muslims, Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) taught them Quran.  
 
(iii) Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) then trained Sahabah in their day to day living.  He also taught them wisdom.  
 
It is in Quran -  لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا [Indeed in the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) you have an excellent example to follow;  for him who hopes in (the meeting with) Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and the Last Day and does Zikr of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) extensively.]   (Al-Ahzaab - 21)
 
(iv) When Sahabah sat in the company of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) their worldly thoughts and ordinary consideration got extincted from their minds and they became exceptionally pious.  This aspect is referred in the above Quranic verse as 'وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ'. 
 
It is in Hadith - Hanzalah Al-Usayyidi (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) said, "O'Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), when we are in your company, and are reminded of Hell-fire and Jannah, we feel as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but when we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds." Thereupon the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, "By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in the Zikr of Allah, the angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your roads. (Muslim - part of the Hadith).
(v) After Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) left this world, the teaching, training and purification of people was carried out by Khulafa-e-Rashideen, Sahabah, Aimma and Shuyookh of Ihsan. 
 
 

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DISTINCT STATES OF SELF (نفس)  

 
Self (نفس) in the meaning of 'conscience', 'mind' or 'heart' is actually the 'innermost self' and is a single entity.  However, its states change from  (i) The Animal Self (Nafs-e-Ammara - النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ), to (ii) The Moral or Reproaching Self  (Nafs-e-Lawwama - النَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ), to (iii) The Satisfied Self (Nafs-e-Mutma'inna - النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ).  These states have been described in Quran.
 
(i) Nafs-e-Ammara - ( النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ)
 
In this state the person leans towards animal natures of its body parts.  Based on these inclinations, he gets involved in sensual pleasures, lust and blameworthy morals. He behaves irrationally and often becomes the cause of disturbance in human society.  
 
It is in Quran -  إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ [Certainly (man's) self is inclined to command (him to do) evil.]  (Yusuf - 53).
 
(ii)  Nafs-e-Lawwama ( النَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ) 
 
In this state the person becomes self reproaching.  This is the state of 'believer'.  He resists evil deeds  and seeks forgiveness from his Lord for his sins. He realizes the negative effects of his  wrong doings and enters into the cycle of erring, regretting and seeking forgiveness.  He undergoes a massive battle within himself between good and bad.
 
It is in Quran - وَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ [ And I swear by the reproaching soul.] (Al-Qiyaama - 2)
 
(iii)  Nafs-e-Mutma'inna - (النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ)

After extensive training and purification under a Shaikh of Ihsan, when all faculties of a seeker get subordinated to Sharia, he finds a way towards Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).  Now, whatever movement is there, it is 'towards Allah' (الی اللہ) and 'with Allah' (مع اللہ).  When the person becomes cultured, he gets associated with the following divine command. 

It is in Quran - يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ - ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً [ O'satisfied Self, return to your Lord, well pleased and well pleasing.]  (Al-Fajr – 27-28)

 

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TRAINING UNDER SHUYOOKH OF IHSAN

 

From the above, it is evident that people are required to be trained and purified under the able guidance of Shuyookh of Ihsan.   The Shuyookh adopt various methods  in teaching, training and purification of their students/Murideen.
 
There are famous Sufi orders (Salasil - سلاسل) like (i) Quadri, (ii) Chishtee, (iii) Shadhuli, (iv) Naqshbandi, (v) Suharwardi, etc., who train and purify their Murideen in their specific ways.  Most important aspect in the training and purification is 'Remembrance of Allah' (ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ).  
 
It is in Quran -  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا - وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا  [ O'you who believe, remember Allah with frequent remembrance and glorify Him morning and evening.] (Al-Ahzaab - 41-42).
 
It is in Quran -  فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ  [Remember Me and I will remember you, and thank Me and do not be ungrateful to Me. ] (Al-Baqara - 152).
 
It is in Quran -  أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ  [The hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah. ] (Ar-Ra'd - 28)  
 
Shuyookh of Ihsan  have played a big role in training and purification of Islamic Ummah. The Shuyookh recognize the ability and requirement of individual student/Murid and train and purify him accordingly.
 
Who is Shaikh of Ihsan?  Shaikh of Ihsan is a person whose heart is purified, mind is illuminated and he is inspired with Islamic wisdom.  He sees facts of things precisely. He is the friend of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and an expert in both ‘theory and practice’ of Islam. His perpetual focus is on the Unity of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). He walks on the foot steps of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). As an efficient Doctor of Islamic intrinsic reality, he diagnoses the ailments of our Nufoos and suggests appropriate remedies. He shows to people the rightful practices of Islam, purifies their minds, cleanse them from worldly desires and helps them to get close to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and His Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). He is Islamic doctor who explains Islamic faith and practices to people with irrefutable evidence from Quran, Sunnah and from apparent happenings in the Cosmos. He exposes the ill gotten views of Non-Muslim theosophists and misguided Muslim sects. The main opponents of the Shaikh of Ihsan are Non-Muslim Theosophists / Gurus and scholars of  misguided Muslim sects.  

Since human being is required to lead his life as Servant of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in total submission to His 'will', he cannot fulfill this requirement until the vigor (energies) of the organs in his body are moderated to act as per Islamic  Sharia.

As we have described above each organ in human body is 'living' and has its exigencies.  Sufi Shuyookh have identified certain organs in human body, that, if impulsed upon by invocation of ‘La Ilaha Illallah or Allahu (لَا اِلٰهَ اِلّآلله  يا الله), a movement is generated in them and a specific colored light is spotted which results in corresponding changes in human deeds.    

Shuyookh of Ihsan attempt to reform and purify 'vigor of rage' (Quwwat-e-Ghazabi - قوتِ غضبی), Vigor of carnal passions' (Quwwat-e-Shahwi - قوتِ شہوی) and 'vigor of intelligence' (Quwwat-e-Aqli - قوتِ عقلی), in human beings.

The Sufi Shuyookh have identified that the 'vigor of rage' (Quwwat-e-Ghazabi - قوتِ غضبی) is related with 'Heart' (Qalb - قلب).  The 'vigor of carnal passions' (Quwwat-e-Shahwi - قوتِ شہوی) is related with 'Liver' and 'the vigor of intelligence' (Quwwat-e-Aqli - قوتِ عقلی) is related with brain.   

All these vigors (energies) are required to be moderated to avoid  any excess or inadequacy in them. 

From the excess of vigor of heart (Quwwat-e-Qalbi - قوتِ قلبی), intrepidity (Tahavvur - تہور), meaning, unwarranted bravery and cruelty is developed.  From its decrease, fearfulness, cowardice and pusillanimity  is developed.  And from its moderation, bravery, self honor, courage and prevalence is developed. 

From excess of 'vigor of carnal passion' (Quwwat-e-Shahwi - قوتِ شہوی), avidity, greed,  passion for luxury and immodesty is developed.  From its decrease, depression, inertness, laziness and idleness is developed. And from its moderation, chastity and continence is developed. 

From the excess of 'vigor of intelligence' (Quwwat-e-Aqli - قوتِ عقلی), cunningness, contrivance, plotting and diplomacy is developed.  From its reduction, stupidity, foolishness, ignorance and folly is developed. And from its moderation wisdom, strategy, gracefulness, steadfastness and perseverance is developed.

Sufia-e-Karam impulse upon these organs by recitation (ذکر) of the Epithets of Allah (Asma-e-Elahiya - اسماء الٰہیہ).  These recitations (ازکار) are done under the guidance of Shaikh-e-Tareeqat over a considerable period of time. Later, when these are moderated and the human being learns to subordinate itself to the 'Will of Allah', many things of the subtle world are opened for him.  At this time it is said that the Nafs is reformed or annihilated.  Now the person/self is satisfied (النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ), in that he is happy with Allah (سبحانه و تعالى )  and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is happy with him. 

When all vigors of human beings become subordinated to Sharia, they undergo a sea change and even their names are changed accordingly. Like 'Heart or rage (Qalb ya Ghazab - قلب یا غضب) is called 'subtlety of Latent' (Lateefa-e-Sir - لطیفہ سِر);  the animal self or lust (Nafs ya shahwat - نفس یا شہوت) is called the 'subtlety of Hidden' (Lateefa-e-Khafi - لطیفہ  خفی); and Comprehension and intelligence is known as 'subtlety of Recondite' (Lateefa-e-Ikhfa - لطیفہ اخفیٰ).
  

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السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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