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WHAT PROPHET MUHAMMAD SAID ABOUT SOUL SALVATION BY STRIVING

MIT
5/14/2017
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Praises and thanks are due and belong to Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon the holy Prophet Muhammad, his family and all companions.

The most important battle a Muslim needs to fight is the battle within him against sinful desires (jihad an-nafs). The word Nafs in Arabic is a very comprehensive terminology that assumes different connotations in other languages such as English. It can be used in reference to the soul, the self, the spirit and desires.

Ability to reign victorious over one’s soul (or self)  submitting it to Allah’s commandments serves as the prelude of one’s salvation and success in this world and hereafter as depicted by the Glorious Qur’an:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِۦ وَنَهَى ٱلنَّفْسَ عَنِ ٱلْهَوَىٰ

فَإِنَّ ٱلْجَنَّةَ هِىَ ٱلْمَأْوَىٰ

But as for him who feared the Standing of his Lord, and restrained the self from desires. Then Paradise is the shelter.” (An-Naazi’aat:40-41).

The glorious Qur’an defined the success and failure of mankind using the purification and corruption of the soul as the basic parameters. It says:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّىٰهَا

وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّىٰهَا

Successful is he who purifies it (the soul). Failing is he who corrupts it.” (Ash-Shams: 9-10)

It comes in the wake of the above Qur’anic injunctions the concept of salvation in Islam. it is simply an effort to win the pleasure of the Almighty Allah through striving against the soul and its evil desires. The holy Prophet Muhammad( may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) who was sent as the last and final Prophet in the chain of previously sent Prophets for the salvation of mankind, taught his immediate companions the way of achieving salvation by striving against the wanton desires of the soul. These teachings were recorded and memorized by his companions to later serve as the basic principles of salvation.

Readers at this juncture may yearn to discover some of the sayings of the Prophet –peace be upon him- about salvation through striving against the soul, however, it must be made clear that this strive against the soul revolves around making effort to purify the soul from greed for worldly pleasures, hypocrisy and insincerity, hatred and envy, arrogance and pride, vanity and narcissism, and other evil traits which Satan uses to lead us into destruction. The sayings of the Prophet to be listed below prohibit the above qualities in an effort to ensure purity of the soul.

1-The Messenger of Allah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) said,“The [true] Mujaahid is the one who strives against his own soul.” [-Tirmidhi and ibn Hibaan.).

The mujahid is the one who fights in the holy war of Jihad against infidels who fight Muslims and seeks to prevent them from practicing their religion. It is one of the greatest acts of worship and one of the lofty ways of seeking nearness to Allah. In the above hadith, we are informed that the true Mujahid is someone who really strives against his own soul to bring it into par with the commandments of Allah and the tradition of His Prophet-peace be upon him. In fact, there are various types of jihad. Unfortunately, many times people go to extremes by stressing one at the expense of the others. For example, there are many in this wold today, given the current plight of Muslims, who stress jihad against the disbelievers. At the same time, they fail to recognize the importance of jihad against any evil inclinations in the soul, which probably lie at the root of the matter leading to the current plight of the Muslims. On the other hand, some stress jihad against the soul and ignore, downplay or deny the validity of any other form of jihad. Although both of these extremes are to be avoided, the overall importance of “victory” in the jihad against the soul needs to be emphasized. 

2-Prophet Muhammad use to specifically seek refuge with Allah from any evil inclination in the soul. He-peace be upon him-told his dear Companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him): “Say: O Allah, creator of the heavens and earth, knower of the unseen and seen, Lord of everything and its Sovereign, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except You. I seek refuge in You from the evil in my soul and from the evil of Satan and his ascribing of partners to Allah. [I also seek refuge from] acquiring any evil for myself or bringing such upon any Muslim.”..(Ahmad and Abu Daawud)

3-The Prophet also said, upon him peace: “The strong one is not the one who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his nafs (soul and its evil inclinations)”. Al-Haythami declared it authentic in Majma` al-Zawa’id.

4-one of the ways of striving for the purification of the soul is to strive to eschew arrogance and pride. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone said, “But a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people. (reported by Muslim)

5-the holy Prophet-peace be upon him- warned his followers from hypocrisy and described to them the traits of the hypocrites, he said:

The signs of a hypocrite are three, even if he fasts and prays and claims to be a Muslim: when he speaks he lies, when he gives a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he is treacherous. (Bukhari and Muslim).

No doubts these qualities lead to the corruption of the soul, hence, striving to abstain from them is one of the ways of seeking salvation through purification of the soul.

Allah knows best, and may His salutations be upon our blessed Prophet and Messenger, his family and all followers.






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