029 "The one who knows his nafs knows Allah"
I wrote in my previous article that the difficulties experienced by the people are caused by being dependent on the wills and wishes of the nafs-i ammara that orders evil things to people, and the nafs (ego) is the biggest enemy of the human. Rasulullah (s.a.w), The Sultan of Hearts, ordered in the Hadith that:
"The worst enemy of yours is the nafs surrounding you" [Daylami]
"The strongest enemy of the human is the nafs, and then comes his family." [Daylami]
The nafs is really a strong and mad enemy. It is really hard to overcome it without the help of Allah (swt). As the strongest enemy of the human is the nafs, the struggle with the nafs is the biggest one that human fights.
On returning from a Holy war Rasulullah said: "We returned from the Small Jihad, now it is time for the Big Jihad." The companions of Rasulullah asked: "What is the Big Jihad, Ya Rasulullah?" He answered, "It is the struggle with the nafs." [Daylami]
Rasulullah ordered in some other Hadiths that:
"The supreme Jihad is the one with the nafs in the way of Allah." [Abu Davud, Tabarani]
The real hero is the one who defeats the nafs." [Al-Askeri]
Dear Readers; the fight with the nafs is a hard struggle that will last until the last breath. The beginning of this important fight is "Faith".
"Faith" is the second biggest gift Allah (swt) granted human with after the gift of Reason. Faith is the beginning of all goodness. It's the entrance gate of the maturity path that makes human different and superior to many other creatures. It is the second parameter that affects the daily life of a person. The human steps in the fifth dimension through belief. In this dimension, the human comprehends the order he lives in, accepts that the order and his existence have a Creator, surrenders, and depends on Him voluntarily.
In the fifth dimension, the human experiences the second most important differentiation of his life after the reason dimension. The human accepts the existence of Allah (swt) in this dimension. He is subject to the divine training system of Him that leads to goodness. The person starts to advance to the peak of human maturity gradually with the method Allah (swt) provided for him in this dimension. The person fights with his "evil-commanding nafs" that leads him to behaviors of animals in this dimension having Allah's (swt) support. He tries to clean his nafs from the animal qualifications shaped by the wills and desires of evil-commanding nafs (bad morals) and reshape it with divine qualifications (good morals). The more sincere his belief and faith in Allah and the divine rules are the sooner the process will be completed and he will become a mature person.
Reason is the most important grace and gift that Allah granted the human. "Reason" is the first parameter that changes the human life the most and differentiates him from all other creatures in visible world. "Faith" is the second important parameter that causes the indefinable major changes in human life where the Reason acquires a new, selfless, and divine criterion by giving up the egoist natural criterion on his reasoning, evaluation, and decision. The standards based on the concept of "good" and "bad" has changed and the natural "personal benefit" standard has been replaced with a new "Right" standard he gained by the offer of Allah because of belief. If a person has good divine qualifications as honesty, generosity, equity, and humane sentiment, this person must never be blamed being an unbelieving one. One must think that his good behaviors are the signs that express the light of belief in his heart.
Dear Readers, indeed Islam is the struggle of maturity against the nafs entirely. The easiest way of this struggle is not fulfilling the wishes of the ego and making the nafs servile. It is ordered in the Hadiths that:
"The most valuable worship is not obeying the nafs" [Sehl b. Abdullah Tusteri]
"The one who makes his nafs servile, makes his religion beloved and the one who makes his nafs beloved, makes his religion servile" [Abu Nuaym]
Unfortunately, people face limitless difficulties within their struggle of the nafs in our times. "Liberal Capitalist" system, which benefits from the wildness of the souls for its today's and future existence, is one of the most important reasons for it. This is a materialist system. It is only based on "money". This system, which is based on "money", takes advantage of human and all material and spiritual values of human to earn more money. Systematized production, increased and varied good and services transformed their advertisement into a completely independent and large sector. The producers and the purchasers use incredible advertisement means to produce and sell more. An impression is created as the human is given value and the human is tried to be the focal point in this advertisement. Indeed the people are transformed into monsters that don't think anything but themselves, consuming even they need or not.
However, the improvement and maturation of the human totally depend on obeying Allah's will abandoning his ego's desires, these advertisements make people dependent to desires of their egos like a robot unaware of Allah and their creation.
Dear Brother, that's why today the right is mixed with superstitions and people just think of desires of their egos. The experts of Tasawwuf know well that the desires of the nafs are the main obstacle of knowing Allah (swt). Therefore, our faith is decreasing day by day. The process of becoming robots more or less affects us.
However, our Rasulullah ordered:
The smart person is the one who takes control of their self and acts for what which comes after death; and the foolish person is the one who simply follows their whims and then has false hopes with Allah. [Tirmidhi]
Dear Readers; I stated that the struggle with the nafs begins with belief. Of course, belief is the beginning of this process. However, it is the most important step of this struggle. The process after belief is very long. Not everyone is granted with reaching the end of this path all the time. Because everybody doesn't show the same sincere belief and effort. The principle is to adopt the system of rules and improve in the way He shows us by believing and trusting Allah who creates everything, knows all qualities, abilities and weaknesses of His creations offers us the most appropriate system. In other words, it is to be dependent on Allah not his ego's desires.
The name of this system is "Islam" and its basis is "Faith". We must believe in Allah (swt) and the conveyed knowledge He informed us by His messengers without any doubt. The doubts and hesitations for the belief just delay the training of the people and make them unhappy.How sincere one is with his belief, the more he is gifted with the benefits and mercies of Allah (swt).
There are two basic methods of this maturing path that will lead us to happiness and well-being in real world and Hereafter that our creator and Lord Allah (swt) provided for us: Riyazah and Mujahadah. "Riyazah" is avoiding the activities forbidden by Allah; "Mujahadah" is perform the activities that Allah ordered. I explained these prohibitions and orders in detail in my article named "The Golden Rules of An Eternal Happiness". One can learn and obey these rules sincerely in every minute of his life and apply them in his life. This is called "Ibadat" (worship, being a servant to Allah). Don't consider it as being a servant even it is called so. In fact, it is salvation of the human from his servile nafs and reaching the real freedom. Many people think that everything they do is for Allah. You must know that everything people do is for them. Allah (swt) is rich. It is excluded from every kind of necessity. He needs nothing! Of course, He doesn't need the service of His incapable servants.
"Whoever works righteousness benefits his own nafs;" [Fussilat, 46]
"And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own nafs" [Fatir, 18]
"Now have come to you, from your Lord, proofs (to open your eyes): if any will see, it will be for (the good of) his own nafs; if any will be blind, it will be to his own (harm): I am not (here) to watch over your doings." [Anaam, 104]
Dear Readers, being a servant of Allah will save you from being a servant of money, other people, possessions, your nafs, your desires, and bad habits. It will make you the most beloved of the visible creatures and the caliph of Almighty Allah on earth. Never forget it!!! Don't let your nafs detain you from being a servant of Allah by making you arrogant.
Dear Readers; although a person knows Allah by believing the principles mentioned in creed and becomes a Muslim, a person knows Allah (swt) in real terms by obeying His orders and prohibitions sincerely. Because whenever he tries to obey an order or a punishment, his nafs waits him there. He cannot fulfill the responsibility without struggling with his nafs. Because of this struggle, he knows his nafs better and understands how dangerous the enemy is. He learns it is the biggest obstacle between Allah and himself. Therefore, it is not possible to know Allah without knowing his nafs.
When Hz. Aishe (r.anh.) asked Rasulullah (pbuh) "When does a person know Allah?", the messenger answered "When he knows his self; as the one who knows his nafs knows Allah" [Acluni].
On the other hand, it is ordered that:
"Being saved from obeying the nafs is the biggest wealth. Because the nafs is the biggest curtain between Allah and the servant." (Abu Bakir Tamistani)
The only obstacle of knowing Allah is his nafs (ego). "The one who knows his nafs knows Allah (swt)" The one who doesn't know his nafs is attached in desires of his nafs. Consider you are offered some food. The one who doesn't know his nafs thinks of the pleasure of that food. The one who knows his nafs seize Allah and His mercy through the food.
We cannot see Allah (swt). On the other hand, we can see the works and the results of the attributes of Allah concerning His actions. The results of the Subuti Attributes of Allah as knowledge, will, power and creation, clearly shows itself in every event in the universe. The person who doesn't know his nafs is always caught by desires of his nafs so he cannot see the world in order to take lesson.
Therefore, to understand Allah truly, one must fight with his nafs and resist the desires of his nafs. He must not try to do what he wants. He must be away from what Allah forbade and be away from the unlawful activities. Even if it is hard for him, he must try to worship continuously.
It is not difficult to perform a few times of in a day for the one who are dependent on Allah sincerely. However, it is very difficult to recite Tawhid (to say Lailahe illallah) or perform ablution for the ones who are subject to his nafs. If one intends to be a servant of Allah with faith by believing Him, Allah eases his works. He starts do the things easier, which were before difficult for him. It cannot be explained through habits only. It is hard to explain these by science. It is a divine mercy. This is the beginning of spirituality. Impossible things become easy and possible with the help of Allah (swt). One must ask Allah's help at the beginning of each his worship and pray as "Ya Rabbi, please accept from me and make it easy for me".
Dear Readers; Takwa means the fear of Allah (swt). It is ordered in the verse from the Qur'an that:
"Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you." [Hujurat, 13]
Takwa means avoiding the activities He forbid by being afraid of Him. To be more precise, it means not obeying the desires of the nafs, which are unlawful, it is understood "the more you struggle with your nafs, the more valuable they are for Allah (swt)". If you struggle with your nafs, you know your nafs, and Allah hereupon. Consequently, you have a value in the sight of Allah (swt).
That's the first stage to know Allah (swt) by heart.
Be entrusted to Allah.
Dr. Ismail Ulukus