The Purification and Adornment of Soul
Moral virtues in man gain him eternal happiness, while moral corruption leads him to everlasting wretchedness. It is therefore necessary for man to purge and purify himself of all evil traits of character and adorn his soul with all forms of ethical and moral virtues. Moreover, without having cleansed oneself of all evil habits, it would be impossible to nourish and develop moral virtues in oneself. The human soul can be compared to a mirror in this regard. If we wish to see, something beautiful reflected in a mirror, we must first cleanse the minor, so that dust and dirt do not disfigure the reflection. Any attempt to obey God’s commands would be fruitful and successful only when one has purified himself of evil habits and tendencies; otherwise, it would be like putting on jewels on a dirty and unwashed body. When self-purification has been completed and one is completely rid of all evil habits of thought, speech and action, then the soul is ready to receive the unlimited grace of God. Such reception is the ultimate reason for which man was created.
In truth, God’s grace and the Divine mysteries are always accessible to man, it is man that must purify his soul and develop within himself the necessary receptivity to benefit from the infinite grace of his Creator.
There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet (S), which says:
The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog.
How is it possible, then, for the rays of God’s grace and Divine illumination to enter a heart filled to the brim with immoral, selfish, and bestial desires? The hadith of the Prophet (S):
(Meaning, “My religion is based on cleanliness”), does not refer to outward cleanliness alone; more than that it alludes to the inner purity of the soul.
In order to attain ultimate and final perfection, it is necessary to traverse the path of struggle against selfish lusts and immoral tendencies which may exist within the soul, and thus to prepare the soul to receive the grace of God. If man sets foot on the path of self-purification, God shall come to his aid and guide him along the path:
And [as for] those who struggle in Our cause, surely We guide them in Our ways. (29:69)
Muhammad Mahdi ibn Abi Dhar al-Naraqi, Jami' al-Sa'adat, The collector of felicities, P. 9-11,