All Praise is due to Allaah the Rabb of all the Worlds and prayers and peace
upon the best creation of Allaah.
We hear many complaints from the people. Most of their complaints are related
to their souls, which command them what is evil. They also complain about the
evil of their actions. One of them says:
Indeed I have been put to trial with four, they did not afflict me
due to my misfortune and wretchedness
Iblees, the world, the soul and the
How will this end when they are my enemies, all of them
So we find some of them saying 'I have tried many times, repeatedly, to turn
my soul away from committing these specific acts of disobedience but my efforts
Another one says: 'I tried to get my soul to perform acts of obedience (to
Allaah), good and righteous deeds but I am not able to remain firm upon them, I
leave them so quickly.'
And we hear a third one say: 'I have repented from many evil actions and
promised myself that I would not commit them again. However after the passing of
time and being occupied much it did not take long before I returned to them. In
fact I fell into others and increased in them.'
If we were to look at the condition of these people we would realise that
among the reasons for their not being able to dominate and control their souls
and not being able to remain firm upon what they have promised themselves is
their lack of striving against their souls. In fact they have left the fetters
and reins for the soul so that it leads them and plays with them however it
wills. The soul is such that if it is not fought against and controlled it
commands its possessor to commit evil and obscene deeds. These people, because
they have not fought against their souls and controlled them in that which
Allaah loves and is pleased with, are not able to remain constant in their
(good) actions. For this reason it is necessary for them to control their souls
for Allaah's pleasure and His obedience. Not that it should control them and as
a result destroy them
It is vital that a person launches a war against his soul. One which is not
haphazard or aimless but rather a firm and determined one in which he uses the
weapons of faith (eemaan), sincerity to Allaah (ikhlaas), patience (sabr) and
supplication (du'a). He uses them until he is able to overcome this mischievous
enemy which is concealed between the two sides of his body [the soul, which
commands the evil]. As a result he tames and pacifies it and makes it obedient,
humble and submissive to the command of Allaah.
For this reason we find that Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) says: 'Since the jihaad
against the enemies of Allaah outwardly (i.e. physically) is a branch of the
jihaad of the servant against his own soul for the sake of Allaah...'
The jihaad that is greater and mightier than the jihaad against the
disbelievers and pagans is the jihaad of a person against his own soul for the
sake of Allaah, just as the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)
said: "The Mujaahid is the one who struggles against his own soul in
Allaah's obedience." [Tirmidhee who said it was Hasan Saheeh and
Al-Albaanee said: 'Its isnaad is good']
And when a person is not able to struggle against his own soul and overcome
it in that which Allaah loves, he will not be able to fight against the external
enemy, nor overcome it. How can he, when he is defeated and weak, both mentally
and spiritually, and cannot even gain control of his own feeble soul?
Before entering into the discussion of how to fight against the soul it is
necessary to mention a little section about the soul and its nature. Then we
shall mention the cure for the soul and the way to purify it from its desires
and lusts, if Allaah wills.
The Reality of the Soul
The soul continuously calls its owner to transgression, preference of the
world, the desires and love of the delights and pleasures. But Allaah calls His
servant to fear of Him, awe of Him and forbids the soul from its whim. He has
prepared a mighty reward for the one who follows His command. The Exalted
And as for the one fears the standing in front of His Lord and restrains the
soul from impure evil desires and lusts, verily, Paradise will be his abode.
[Soorah Naazi'aat 79:40-41]
The soul in its essence calls and commands the evil. Allaah the Exalted
Verily the (human) self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His
Mercy (upon whomsoever He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving,
Most-Merciful. [Soorah Yoosuf 12:53]
The soul was originally created ignorant and given to transgression.
Knowledge, guidance and righteousness are things that befall it due to
inspiration from its Lord and then by the struggle against it by its owner and
his nurturing it and engaging it in jihaad. Allaah the Exalted says: