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The Soul and its Purification
  I Want to Fight My Soul So What Is The Way?
Author: Nawwal Bint Abdullaah
Source: Trans. Abu Iyaad
Article ID : TZK030001  [36956]  
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A person knows what his soul wants and desires. It is therefore, essential for him not to give it everything that it covets and desires. It is also vital for him to confine and straiten his soul so that he does not go to excesses in giving it what it seeks.

We know that Umar (ra), when his wife desired a sweet (dish), forbade her from it because he knew than if she asks for a sweet (dish) today, she will ask for something else tomorrow which is greater. So he closed the door upon her at the very beginning. The condition of most people however, is that a person will be generous to his soul and shower upon his soul whatever it asks of him and even what it does not even ask of him. So his soul becomes tired and fed up due to his extravagance and excess. What is our condition then, when compared to that of our Pious Predecessors? We direct our complaint to Allaah!!

The Third Way: Making the Soul Patient in Allaah's Obedience

The soul runs away often from some acts of worship because they are amongst the things it does not desire. This continues due to certain causes prevent a person from desiring these acts of worship. Amongst them are laziness in performing acts of worship (such as prayer) and the love of sleep. As a result, the opportunity to perfom much worship passes him by. It can also occur due to miserliness. A person will not give the obligatory charity or other things which are required of him so that they become endeared to the soul and the soul begins to aspire for them after it had been fleeing from them.

It is vital that there is a spiritual war, which can be intense and hard, but with a strong will, turning to Allaah, making continuous du'a (supplication) to Allaah and requesting His help in this act of obedience to Him, this matter will be made easy for him. And Allaah will lighten his burden for him until these acts (of worship) are beloved to the soul.

All of this cannot occur except after fighting and struggling against the soul. A person will find himself in many trials and intense battles along with his capability of avoiding such actions. This means that a person, even though he is in need and capable of fasting, will not fast due to following his whims and even though he is capable he will not pray and as a result please his desires and his soul which commands the evil.

However, we find that another person fasts voluntarily, although he is not in need of fasting voluntarily (to curb his desires) and neither does his soul aspire towards fasting. Yet he still declares war upon his soul and fights against it (with fasting and prayer) so that he makes it do what he desires and not let it make him do what it commands and desires.

Therefore, patience when accompanied with performing those actions (such as prayer and fasting) upon which the soul perseveres is considered the greatest and most perfect form of patience as Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) has explained. And Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) said: "Verily, having patience in obedience (to Allaah) occurs by performing an act of obedience, then guarding it and being persistent in (performing) it."

This is the thing which very few amongst us are able to do, that we show patience in continually observing obedience to Allaah and persisting in such obedience. This is because the soul gets bored with it and does not have the desire to perform it another time. At this stage showing patience and realising the great excellence this action has in the sight of Allaah is required. The actions most loved by Allaah are the ones which are performed continuously, even if they are small actions. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) used to love, when he performed an action, that he remained constant upon it.

The saying of the the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) to Abdullaah bin Umar: "Do not be like so and so who would prayer during the whole of the night and then abandoned it", was nothing but a means of encouraging him to be constant in his good actions. It is also necessary that along with being continuous in ones actions, a person also beautifies them and excels in them and this occurs with having Ikhlaas (sincerity) and dings them in accordance with the command of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam).

The Fourth Way: Fighting Against the Soul and Making it Patient in Refraining from Allaah's Disobedience

This means that a person holds his soul to account in order to make himself distant from falling into disobedience while also bearing in mind that the reasons and motives of falling into the sin are numerous. Among such reasons are the strength of ones youthfulness and manhood, since the youth are known to love the pleasures and joys of this world.

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