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Sunday, January 11, 2009

WHY NAFS IS CREATED?

Question: If Allahu ta’ala did not create the nafs [1], then people would have been free from being deceived. Nobody would have committed bad deeds and all would have gone to Paradise. Would it not be better?

Answer: The creation of the nafs is intended for man’s living, multiplying and working in the world, and for their earning thawab [2] of Jihad for the Hereafter. Allahu ta’ala created the nafs for many reasons. On the other hand, pitying all men, He created ’aql (reason, wisdom) in them. He also sent down commands and prohibitions so that everyone could stop following his nafs, control it, avoid its harms, and thereby live in comfort. The ’aql is a power which examines and distinguishes the good and bad influences coming from the brain, satan, and the nafs. During this process, if it can choose the good, it is called ‘’Aql-i salim’. Allahu ta’ala, by means of sending prophets, also informed His born servants of what is good and useful, what is bad and harmful, and that all the desires of the nafs are bad. The aql can discriminate between the desires of the nafs and the things which were determined to be useful by the Prophets, and communicate this realization to the heart. If the heart prefers the thoughts which came from the aql, the desires of nafs are not fulfilled; that is, you will not let your limbs do that action. If one prefers and wishes to do the deeds which are said to be good according to the Shari’at [3], one will attain happiness. The process of preferring and wishing good or evil with the heart is called ‘Kasb.’ Human limbs of movement depend on the brain, and the brain depends on the heart. They act compatibly with the orders of the heart. The heart is a centre wherein all the influences coming from the sense organs, the spirit, the nafs, and Satan are accumulated. Therefore, if the heart follows the ’aql, creation of the nafs will not prevent people from attaining eternal blessings.].

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GLOSSARY
[1] nafs: a force in man which wants him to harm himself religiously; an-nafs al-ammara. A negative force within man prompting him to do evil.
[2] thawab : reward.
[3] Shari’at: (pl. of Shari’a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.

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