The Soul That Greatly Commands Evil
from the book: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan by
Shaykh Abdur-Razaaq al-'Abbaad, pgs.109-114; Publ. Al-Hidaayah.
This is its nature and that is its trait, except for the soul that Allaah grants tawfeeq and which He makes firm and assists. None has been saved from the evil of his soul except by the tawfeeq(capability) of Allaah, as Allaah says relating from the wife of al-'Azeez:
Thus, evil is concealed within the soul and it necessitates actions of evil. If Allaah lets the servant have his own way with his soul, he will perish at the evil of his soul and the evil actions that it sanctions. If Allaah on the other hand, grants the servant tawfeeq(capability) and assists him, he will deliver him from all of this.
Allaah has made in contrast to this soul, a soul that is content *. If the soul that constantly commands evil urges the servant with something, the content soul prohibits him from it. The person at times obeys this soul, and at other times obeys the other; he himself is one of the two that is prevalent over him.
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, states: "Allaah has assembled two souls: a soul that greatly orders (evil) and a soul that is content, and they are hostile towards one another. Whenever one diminishes, the other strengthens. Whenever one takes pleasure in something the other suffers pain as a result of it. Nothing is more difficult for the soul that constantly encourages evil than performing deeds for Allaah and preferring His pleasure to its own desire and there is nothing more beneficial to it than Allaah. Likewise, there is nothing more difficult upon the content soul than performing deeds for other than Allaah and that which the incentives of desire bring about, and there is nothing more harmful to it than desire... and the war is continuous, it cannot come to an end until it completes its appointed time from this world." [Al-Jawaab al-Kaafee of Ibn al-Qayyim, pg. 184-185]
Hence, there is nothing more harmful to a person's eemaan and religion than his soul that constantly commands evil, whose standing and description is such. It is a primary reason and effective and active constituent that weakens eemaan, unsettles it and impairs it.
As such, it becomes imperative for the one who seeks to safeguard his eemaan from diminution and weakness to tend to the matter of calling his soul to account, admonishing it and to increase in censuring it, so that he can deliver himself from its adverse and devastating consequences and ends.
As for the first type, it is to take a stance when one first has an intention and desire, and not to embark upon the action until it becomes clear to him that performing that action outweighs leaving it.
The first is to call it to account over any obedience in which it has fallen short with regard to the right of Allaah, whereby it has not performed it in the manner required.
The sum and substance of this is for the person to first call himself to account over the obligatory duties. If he finds deficiency in this regard, he amends this either by repayment or rectification. He then calls himself to account over prohibited matters. If he knows that he has perpetrated something prohibited, he amends this through repentance, seeking forgiveness and enacting good deeds that wipe such bad deeds away. He then calls himself to account over heedlessness. If it is the case that he has been careless of that which he was created for, he amends this through remembrance and turning to Allaah. He then calls himself to account over what he has spoken, or where his feet have taken him, or what his hands have struck out at or what his ears have listened out to: What did you intend from this? Who did you do it for?
He must know that for every movement and utterance he makes, two registers have to be set up: a register titled 'Who did you do it for?’ and (the second register titled) 'In what manner did you do it?'
The first (register) is a question on sincerity and the second is a question on conformity (to the Sharee'ah).
If the servant is responsible and accountable for everything: his hearing, his sight and his heart, it is therefore very becoming of him to call himself to account before the account is examined (ultimately, by Allaah). The obligation of calling oneself to account is established by His saying:
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "The soul invites to destructive matters, assists enemies, yearns every vulgarity and follows every evil. It, by its nature, adopts a course of violation.
The blessing that is unequalled, is to come away from the soul and to be free of its yoke, for it is the greatest partition between the servant and Allaah. The most knowledgeable people of the soul have the greatest contempt and abhorrence to it" [Ighaathah al-Lahfaan, 1/103]
We ask Allaah that he give us refuge from the evils of our souls and from the wickedness of our actions. Indeed, He is the most Munificent, the Generous.
* i.e., not another soul but a different characteristic of the same soul. Al-Qaadee Ibn Abee al-'Izz al-Hanafee, may Allaah have mercy upon him says in his commentary to al-Imaam at-Tahaawee's treatise on 'aqeedah: "Many people have recorded that the son of Aadam has three souls: a content soul (mutma'innah), a soul that reproaches much (lawwaamah) and a soul that greatly orders evil (ammaarah), and that some people are characterized by a particular one and others by another one. As Allaah has said:
"O (you) soul that is content (mutma'innah)..." [al-Fajr (89):28]
"And I swear by the self-reproaching (lawwaamah) soul." [al-Qiyaamah (75):2]
"...Verily, the soul does indeed incline greatly to evil..." [Soorah Yoosuf (12):53]
The precise determination however is that it is one soul, which has (different) characteristics. Thus, it greatly encourages evil. If it becomes opposed by eemaan it becomes one that reproaches often; it commits a sin then censures its doer and reproaches with regard to doing or not doing an action. If the eemaan strengthens, it then becomes one that is content..."
Refer to Sharh al-'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah by Ibn Abee al-'Izz al-Hanafee, pg. 569. Checked by Dr. Abdullaah Ibn 'Abdul-Muhsin At-Turki and Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot, 2nd print 1413 H, Mu'sassah Ar-Risaalah, Beirut.
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