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Confronting One’s baser self (Nafs al-ammara)

Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi


One’s baser self (Nafs al-ammara) is more damaging than even the influence of the Satan! One who is able to control his baser instincts for the fear of the Day of Judgement, will be eligible for entry to the Heaven. On the Day of Judgement Satan would tell those who were misguided by him: Was I your monarch that you obeyed my orders? Why do you blame me? Blame your own baser self! Fighting with Satan and Nafs al-Ammara is more than confronting mortal enemies in Jihad! The Jihad of the psyche (Mujaheda al-nafs) is keeping away from the baser urges of the mind for doing things that are contrary to the norms of Shariah.
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) narrates that the Prophet of Islam (S) sent his men for Jehad. When they returned, he said, “I am happy, you have accomplished the Minor Jehad. Now you have to make the Major Jehad!” The people asked, “What is the Major jehad?” The Prophet (S) said, “The biggest Jehad is the struggle against one’s baser instincts (Jehad al-Nafs).”
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) narrates that the Prophet (S) said to Abu Dharr, “O Abu Dharr! Allah has not created any Prophet (S) but for teaching his people to be honest, pious, righteous, truthful and punctual in offering prayers. But the most important thing for them is their behavior with the fellow human beings. If they are right in this, they will earn their place in the Heaven. When a person entrusts his valuables to another, Satan will have an opportunity to influence the mind of the person who has the trust of the valuables! If the man resists Satan’s temptations, it is Jehad al-Nafs! This Jehad is more valuable than the Jehad with weapons!”
“O Abu Dharr! If a person tortures his own psyche by doing undesirable things harmful to his own person, Allah might punish or forgive him! But the injustice that a person does to other humans is not at all pardonable in the eyes of Allah!” “O Abu Dharr! There are three types of tyranny (Zulm). The first type is pardonable in the eyes of Allah. Here a person inflicts it on himself because of his baser instincts. The second type of tyranny is that which Allah never forgives. Here a person adopts polytheistic tendencies. The third type of tyranny or injustice is that which is caussed by a person to fellow human beings. This sin is not pardonable in the eyes of Allah!”

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