And those who strive in Our way We shall guide them to our paths and verily
Allaah is with the doers of good (muhsinoon). [Soorah Ankabut 29:69]
Allaah Azzawajall guaranteed the one whom He found trying and striving
(against his soul) that He will be with him, will help him and will bring into
reality his wish or desire (of domination over his soul). What then can a man
desire after that?
And Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) said: "The travellers to Allaah, in all their
different paths and diversity of their ways are agreed that the soul is a
barrier between the heart and Allaah and that it (the heart) will not come close
to Him, the Sublime, or arrive to Him except after killing his soul , abandoning
it by opposing it and being victorious over it"
For this reason, it is obligatory upon us to fight and strive against it in
order to travel (by this striving) in the straight path and to the clear success
which Allaah Azzawajall has prescribed for us and which the best of the creation
of Allaah, Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) has explained to us.
Know that striving against the soul does not occur except by four ways.
Whoever follows them and applies them to his soul will have fought against it
and protected it with the help of Allaah. Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) has mentioned these
ways and they are as follows:
Firstly: By holding the soul to account
Secondly: By opposing
it and not following its whims and desires
Thirdly: By making it
patient in Allaah's obedience
Fourthly: By making it patient in
refraining Allaah's disobedience
The First Way: Holding the Soul to Account
The destruction of the soul and the heart and their corruption is due to the
neglect of calling the soul to account. There are very few amongst Allaah's
servants whom you will find calling their souls to account. One will ask it
constantly: What did I intend with that word of mine, or that advice I gave, or
when I called unto Allaah or when I commanded the good and forbade the evil (on
a particular occasion)? Was that word which my tongue engaged upon and which my
mouth uttered a word sincerely for Allaah? Did I desire the Face of Allaah with
it? Or did I desire a portion of the world with it? What did I desire with that
action, whether it was prayer, charity, fasting or putting and end to a certain
evil? What did I hope for from it and what was the desire behind it? Did I hope
for reward from Allaah for it and His pleasure, or was my hope for reward and
praise from Allaah's creation, showing off and seeking to be heard of?
In such a way does he question his soul and hold it to account for every
word, movement and moment of rest. What did I hope for from it? And what did I
desire by it?
May Allaah show mercy to Al-Hasan al-Basree who said: "You will not find
a believer except that he is (constantly) holding his soul to account. What did
I intend with that word of mine? What did I intend with my food? What did I
intend with my drink?"
Imaam Ahmad wrote: "The intelligent person is the one who controls his
own soul (calls it to account) and acts (in preparation) for what comes after
death...", and what is after death? After death is the barzakh. After death
there is accountability and punishment. After death are the Scales (upon which
the deeds are weighed) and the Siraat (the bridge over Hellfire) and then it is
either Paradise or Hellfire. So what have we prepared for what comes after
death?! "...and the incapable person is the one who makes his soul follow
its whim and has many expectations from Allaah."
Such a person is the one who says 'Allaah will forgive me, Allaah will show
mercy upon me', he covets all these things from Allaah and yet he does not
perform the righteous actions and falls into many sins and acts of disobedience.
Righteous actions are one of the means of entering Paradise. It is not
sufficient for someone to have expectations (from Allaah) without making some
effort and sacrifice and striving with his soul to perform righteous actions.
Allaah Azzawajall frequently links eemaan with righteous actions and it is also
one of the ways of entering into Paradise. We ask Allaah to grant us His
Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: "Call your souls to account before you are
called to account and weigh your souls (i.e. your actions) before you are
weighed for it will make the accountability easier for you tomorrow if you call
your selves to account today" [Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad]
Maalik ibn Deenaar (rh) said:"May Allaah show mercy to a servant who
said :'Are you not the perpetrator of this action? Are you not the perpetrator
of that action? Then he rebukes it, strikes it and confines it to the Book of
Allaah and is becomes its master and guide.'"