TASAWWUF: ISLAM’S UNIQUE SYSTEM OF SELF-PURIFICATION!
CONTROLLING THE BEAST WITHIN! No Islah (Self – Purification) = No Aql (Intelligence)
Central to untangling the knots in one’s life, is to seriously analyse the state of one’s soul. No soul remains stagnant and inactive. Every soul is affected by the ebb and flow, the ups and downs of daily life. Man being created from clay, must necessarily absorb the effects of the daily changes which his heart is constantly exposed to. If the daily challenges of life are negotiated with Imaan, dignity and virtuous qualities, the soul will glitter until it will resemble the souls of angels. On the other hand, if the soul attemps to find salvation from difficulties in evil, it will resemble the souls of the Shayaateen residing in the human body. Says Allah, Most High: “Shayaateenal-al-Jinn wal Ins.” (Shayaaten amongst human and Jinn…) 6:112
Tasawwuf is not some mystical cult consisting of secretive rituals. To the contrary it is a system of purifying the soul from evil traits and habits. It teaches one self-control. It is an essential element in every Muslim’s life. Who is not exposed to the treachery of fame and fortune? Who is free from the perils of the greed to make a “quick buck”?
The Qur’aan Majeed has warned those who soil their souls with evil. Some of the evil qualities, which we are constantly exposed to, are hereunder mentioned:
(1) Pride (2) Vanity (3) Boasting (4) Greed (5) Craving fame (6) Deception (7) Love for the World (8) Hypocrisy (9) Harbouring distant hopes (10) Anger (11) Jealousy (12) Malice
These qualities are part and parcel of man’s natural disposition. No matter what spiritual heights he may reach, he will always be tempted by Shaytan’s “invitation cards”. Evil actions are fueled by the above repugnant qualities. If one is not greedy, one will not gamble. Similarly, if one is not proudful, one will not give vent to unjustified anger.
Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam spent the major part of his life – thirteen long years – not in teaching them how to make Ibadah, but in reforming the morals of the Sahaabah Radiallahu Anhum.
The Shariah is the system which trains and creates an ability in the Nafs to control and overcome the evil traits. Remember the following important issues:
1) These evil Shaytaanic habits are intertwined with one another in various degrees. Hence a person who suffers from pride, will most certainly readily give vent to his anger, be jealous, a miser, and display arrogance.
2) If the evil qualities are not treated or attended to, they will, like a virus, multiply rapidly.
3) Eventually the evil traits and habits, not only destroy a person’s Imaan but even his natural human disposition. Thus, despite Nikaah being an institution to safeguard one from Zina (adultery), newly married couples still indulge in Zina. A multi millionaire won’t part happily with a few hundred rands which is due to a labourer for his hard work. A learned person, despite knowing fully well that Hijaab is compulsory, will still engage and flirt with women.
4) The Nafs of all of mankind has been created with the
evil qualities mentioned. The Nafs is as inseparable from one as is one’s shadow. It is an integral part of human nature. Said Yusuf Alayhi Salaam: “And I cannot consider myself free from my Nafs…”
5) The Shariah has instructed us to control the urge to give vent to the demands of the Nafs. This becomes easier when the Qur’aan Majeed and the Ahaadeeth of Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam are reflected upon which warn of the dangers of falling prey to the invitation of the Nafs.
6) Similarly, magnificent and spectacular rewards have been promised to those who oppose the Nafs.
7) By opposing the urges of the Nafs, the power of the Nafs is substantially reduced but never ever eliminated, irrespective of the spiritual station a person may achieve. Hence the saying “If your Nafs becomes an angel, then too, be suspicious of it”.
8) There was no Shaytaan to mislead Shaytaan. His Nafs misled him. Before he became Shaytaan, he was a worshipper par excellence of Allah Ta’aala. He was an unmatched Aalim, a brilliant orator who would reduce his audience of angels to tears, a sage filled with overflowing wisdom and a ferocious Mujaahid against the rebellious Jinns. He was anointed as a Mustajaabut –Da’waat (one whose Du’aas are readily accepted) by Allah Azza-wa-Jal. By all accounts, he commanded centre stage and was looked upon with awe by the angels.
9) Aaah! How he faltered! Instead of being grateful for the Mercies of Allah Ta’aala, he focused upon himself! Self-infatuation blinded him! Self-importance blurred his intelligence! He enjoyed all the attention of the humble angels and became addicted to being adored! With each act of Ibaadah, he rose in his own estimation! With each lecture he gave, he ascended an imaginary throne of perfection!
10) Ambition drove his Nafs to the such an extent that he simply forgot that he was but a mere insignificant creature. And thus, slowly but surely, his Nafs started coveting Power. The lust for Power drove him to the point that he ultimately deemed himself fit to question Allah Ta’aala’s wisdom and instructions! He was not one to be overawed or one to keep quiet and respectfully listen! (Next issue, Insha-Allah: Al-Raheem and Ar-Rajeem) Lessons from The Great Debate)