JIHAD AL-NAFS [FIGHTING THE EGO]

HAKEEM TIRMIDHI (d. 320 H) ON JIHAD AL-NAFS [FIGHTING THE EGO]
Translated from his book ‘Aadaab al -muridin’ [Rules of Conduct for
the Seekers of God] Ed. Abdulfattah Abdullah Baraka, Cairo: Matba`at
as-sa`adat, 1976.

I. Concerning the Murid (seeker) and What Helps or Hurts Him in His
Journey to God Most High, and What His First Step Ought to Be

There are two types of murid:
Those that seek God’s Grace by worshipping Him, fulfilling His
commands and avoiding His prohibitions, then turning to perform as
many voluntary good works as they can, seeking through them salvation
from the fire and attainment of the rewards He has prepared for His
workers.
Others approach God in worship, fulfill His commands and avoid His
prohibitions, then turn to examine their inner self, and they find in
their hearts many diseases, such as love of the world (dunya), lust
for power, honor, and greatness, greed, the furnace of desires
(shahawat), the chatter of vain passions (hawa), ambition, envy, love
of praise and compliments–all of them worldly bonds blinding the
heart.

Such a heart can never find the way to God bearing those stains,
because in loving the world he parts with His Lord. He is in love
with something God has removed far from Himself and despised. To ask
for greatness is to compare oneself with God Most High; in the
furnace of desires one faces the greatest seductions; and in the
chatter of vain passions lies tyranny itself and aversion to the
rights of God the Lord of Might and Majesty. That heart is veiled
from wisdom and from the understanding of how God disposes His
affairs.

Such a person is a prisoner of his ego (asir an-nafs). He performs
obligations while attached to the world, he avoids prohibitions while
attached to the world, and he generally worships God at his own
convenience. This is a servant who must try to found upon sincerity
every matter, every action, and every moment, by working on his ego.

Whoso desires the reward of God the Lord of Might and Majesty, let
him keep to this battle, and let him be sincere in every matter in
order to purify his worship.

For whoever seeks God Most High, must take pains and ask for
sincerity in the secret of his heart until the door is opened for
him. When the door opens and the gift is given, at that time the cost
of his journey will be repaid in full. He will be strengthened and
continue on his way, and the further he goes the more his gift is
increased for him and he continues even further. This does not stop
until he reaches God through his heart (hatta yasil ilallah qalban).
At that time God appoints him according to his degree and he becomes
a Friend of God (waliyyullah). He has made his heart stand still in
the presence of God wherefore he received his ap- pointment. From
that point he proceeds to works with a heart strong with God’s
strength and rich with God’s wealth, with a faultless ego free from
sins and devils. He has parted ways with vain passions and the
pursuit of honor and he has purified himself.

We have dealt with these topics in two books:
The Training of the Ego (Riyadat an-nafs) and The Practice of the
Saints (Sirat al-awliya’), in which are found, with God’s permission,
cures for all who aspire to knowledge in this matter.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:12 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Alhamdulillah! Indeed the greater jihad is the most difficult. Thank you, brother, for posting this excellent excerpt.

    Ya Haqq!

  2. Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family :)

    Ya Haqq!

  3. Salman
    i never read this post – very nice
    thanks bhayya

  4. That’s the real battle all right. If enough of us win that one, external wars will end.

  5. Qadri Attari Network


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