We will find one of them when he is inflicted with a calamity or misfortune
on account of what his own hands have committed, angry, irritated and grumbling.
He does not even ask his ownself: What is the cause of this misfortune, this
calamity? And he is not aware that it is due to his sins and his disobedience to
Likewise we find that many amongst mankind have been cut off from Allaah and
their hearts have been veiled from knowing Him. To Allaah then, is the complaint
and there is no power nor movement except by Allaah.
The Second Way: Struggling Against the Soul by Opposing it and not Following
Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) says: "And this is by not following its desires and
opposing what the soul desires. Opposing the soul occurs by opposing its desires
and its desires do not arise except by following Shaytaan. Therefore it is vital
to oppose Shaytaan and seeking refuge in and recoursing to Allaah from his
whisperings and his plans. Shaytaan enters upon the soul and penetrates into it
with two matters or from two doors. It is necessary for us to know them, oppose
them and to close them tight in the face of Shaytaan the Accursed and
The First: Due to excessiveness and squandering. This happens by giving ones
soul whatever it desires of food, speech, sleep and other such matters which the
soul makes its owner aspire for, what it cannot do without and what it loves.
Therefore it is incumbent upon a person that he does not give his soul its need
and desire in its entirety. He should not be extravagant and excessive in giving
it food, sleep and other such delights and pleasures. When he shuts this door,
against his own soul and against Shaytaan he will acquire peace and
Thus, we will find that a person has been forbidden from excessive food and
speech, letting the gaze wander too much, mixing with people and accompanying
them in excess since giving the soul whatever it desires is among the things
which if done excessively and continuously hardens to heart and makes it
heedless. This leads to the hearts death and refuge is sought from Allaah! Thus,
the door of fasting has been opened and we have been urged to fast. Even
voluntary fasting has been strongly encouraged. Fasting puts an end to the
desire and excessive eating. Thus Islam has encouraged fasting and made it
beloved to its adherents.
Likewise, there is an excellence attached to the night prayer (tahajjud). It
prevents a person from excessive sleep. A person will strive against his soul
and wage war against it in order to pray during the night and fast during the
day. He will continue in this until his soul submits and humbles itself to these
acts of worship. The soul will then find the joy and delight of fasting and
praying at night.
It is also, from the wisdom of Islam that urges the muslim to be silent
unless he has something beneficial to say. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu
alaihi wasallam) said: "Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let
him speak good or remain silent." Perhaps, due to his excessive speaking
and shouting he will not be on his guard from the danger of falling into
backbiting, lying, slandering and other such matters.
The Second: Being ignorant and heedless of Allaah's remembrance. Shaytaan
exhausts himself in gaining mastery over the soul so that he can prevent it from
Allaah's remembrance. The one who remembers Allaah is in a strong fortress,
protected from Shaytaan as long as he does not forget or become heedless.
Whoever becomes heedless, he will open up a small gap for the enemy by which he
can get to him and then penetrate into his soul and whisper to it. This is why
there is a strong encourangement and recommendation for making the various
supplications and reciting portions of the Qur'an during every moment and in
every place until they become a sanctuary and a preventive measure for the one
who uses them.
There exist, for example, supplications for the evening, the morning, for
entering into the house and leaving it, for sleeping and awakening and others
besides them. Fighting against the soul occurs by checking and curbing the
defiance of its desires and its lusts. And with the abundant remembrance of
Allaah a preventive barrier is set up against every destructive lust or
Abu Hafs said: "Whoever does not oppose his soul at every moment and
situation and does not make it perform those things which it dislikes, at all
times, is deceived and has destroyed it (his soul)."
Al-Hasan (rh) said: "A believer becomes amazed with something (that he
likes) and says: By Allaah, I desire you and you are certainly one of my needs.
But by Allaah, there is no way towards you. How far you are, there is a barrier
between me and you!"