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skin by: Jane
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 12:29 AM
Good Vs Evil

Tazkiyatun Nafs: Purity of the inner self and personality. Every human being has some good and some evil in varying proportions, which is exhibited as Nafs meaning self or personality. Developing the personality is a difficult and time-consuming long-term exercise. It does not have a quick-fix solution such as reciting some extra prayers or supplicating a given number of times or visiting a priest, a grave of a saint or any other form of escapism. It needs constant effort and correction of mistakes, to be undertaken as a serious spiritual project while persistently seeking Allah’s assistance. Such an effort may take months or years. During all this time, we must examine ourselves and strive to pick and discard the undesirable traits and improve on whatever good qualities we have, while bearing God’s presence and pleasure in mind. This is the only way we enhance our personality and gain plus marks in our spiritual ledger for the Hereafter. The progress of human self takes place through the development of divine attributes in the inner self, leading towards perfection.Allah created good and evil both and designated particular actions as virtuous or as evil. Then He left it to us to choose freely and do whatever we wanted. A good act can enhance the personality while an evil one would diminish our spiritual status. By not following in Satan’s footsteps which so courteously escort us to indecencies and shame (Q.24:21), the person or self (Nafs) gets purified (Q.91:7-10). Glorification of Allah’s name combined with prayer aids in purification of the self and leads to prosperity (Q.87:14-15). Allah grants mercy, compassion and purification to those of us who are kind to parents and not rebellious. He also showers peace all the way in this life, then through death via Barzakh, and finally into eternity of the Hereafter (Q.19:13-15). Disbursing the Zakāh also purifies the self, besides purifying the balance of the wealth (Q.92:18). Wearing the Ihrām after bathing during Hajj confers a state of ritual purity to the person. Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit (Q.35:18) and for his own spiritual advancement and prosperity (Q.87:14). But, however much we try to sanctify ourselves, in the final analysis, it is Allah Who purifies whom He pleases (Q.4:49).Allah showers His mercy on us after adversities have touched us (Q.10:21). Various ailments which we are afflicted with are not a calamity but a mercy from Allah. Man develops immunity by suffering many infectious diseases. We have developed antibodies to many viruses because we have suffered from diseases caused by them. When we undergo hardships and misfortunes, the Nafs (person) gets purified. Illness for a believer is like a detergent for the human Nafs. It purifies the Nafs from the burden of sins so that it can eventually qualify to reflect in whatever little way Asmā al-Ḥusnā: the beautiful Attributes of Almighty Allah.Most people have a feeling of inner peace and satisfaction with themselves and with their Creator when they are actively involved in relieving the miseries of the poor and the under-privileged, be it through distribution of money or any other form of Sadaqah such as proper advice, guidance and assistance in any form whatsoever. Righteous deeds such as giving charity and other Sadaqas meant to relieve distress from fellow-human beings confer peace and tranquillity to the donor. This inner peace and purity of the donor is paralleled by peace with the Creator, possibly due to the neural connections in the spiritual pathways of the brain, which secrete encephalins, endorphins, serotonin and other neurotransmitters, responsible for the peace, tranquillity, well-being and satisfaction. A continuous flow of encephalins and endorphins in the body requires a continuous state of Taqwā or God-consciousness in life. If such a state of inner peace and bilateral satisfaction between man and Allah continues till the time of death, then it fulfils the main objective in the Du‘a: Wakhtim Biṣ Ṣāliḥāti A‘mālina. “Oh Allah, seal with righteousness our deeds”. It is postulated that this tranquil state may accompany the person through Barzakh into the Hereafter when he appears before his Mālik on the Day of Judgment. The angels tell those whose lives they take in a state of purity; “Salāmun ‘Alaikum! Enter Jannah, because of the good you did” (Q. 16:32).The word “Jihad” is derived either from the Arabic word “Jahd”, meaning exhaustion or the word “Juhd” which means striving. A Mujahid is one who strives in the Cause of Allah and strives his best even to the point of exhaustion. Jihād is an effort to establish a world order where all human beings can live in peace and harmony. Man is constantly fighting a duel in his mind, swinging like a pendulum between the dual areas of good and evil. His striving to improve the self is called the inner jihād, which aims at the ideal in achieving good and overcoming evil. The broader meaning of Jihād may involve doing one’s very best in Allah’s cause. It includes several things such as sacrifice of wealth and talent, suppression of greed, carnal and other desires, fighting for defence of religion and all current evil forces, assisting the oppressed against the oppressor etc. Those who die while engaged in Jihad are considered martyrs. Their bodies need not be washed as they are considered to have died in ceremonial purity.