A. POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF NAFS
There are about 12 basic negative aspects of the nafs: covert attribution of partners to God; wrongdoing; suggesting untruths; concupiscence, deification of nafs; mockery and gossip; overweening pride; profligacy, miserliness; jealousy and envy, treachery and unfaithfulness; anger and hatred.
OPEN ATTRIBUTION OF PARTNERS TO GOD
Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created? (7/191)
Take not with Allah another object of worship; or thou (O man!) wilt sit in disgrace and destitution. (17/22)
Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right). (The Pagans), leaving Him, call but upon female deities: They call but upon satan the persistent rebel! (4/116-117)
Attribution of partners to God - who is the One, the Unique having no precedence and being in need of nothing - by people who are not necessarily atheists, is a capital offense, unless the offender recants and asks to be forgiven. There are various ways of expression of this. Before the islamization of Mecca the Kaaba contained an infinite number of statues, mostly of female gender, whom the male population adored. There were also statues of gods and goddesses that spread fear and anxiety. The population worshipped also the sun and the stars. Upon the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet had all the idols broken and destroyed.
COVERT ATTRIBUTION OF PARTNERS TO GOD
And most of them believe not in Allah without associating (other as partners) with Him! (12/106)
Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors other than Allah (say): "We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah. " Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But Allah guides not such as are false and ungrateful. (39/3)
There are many people who attribute partners to God that they do not deny, because of ignorance. They believe that certain idols and persons will intercede for them. It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (50/16) …Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth?... (2/255) The Prophet is reported to have said: “What I am afraid of is not the open attribution of partners to God but of covert ones”. In another tradition he is reported to have said: “The covert attribution of partners to God is like the footsteps of ants; they do not emit any sound. ” God is averse at intercessors: Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone!- (74/11) What is covert attribution of partners to God? To begin with it is religious hypocrisy. . Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)? Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness), And encourages not the feeding of the indigent. So woe to the worshippers Who are neglectful of their prayers, Those who (want but) to be seen (of men), But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs. Worship of saints also is a kind of covert attribution of partners to God. Visits to tombs is permitted as a token of commemoration. Man's transgressions that deify his assets is also a covert attribution of partners to God. Another type of such an attribution is the attribution of the epithet 'Son of God' to Jesus Christ.
… "As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong." (3/57)
… Allah guides not people given to wrong-doing. (28/50)
… And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers. (5/45)
Wrongdoing connotes injustice, maltreatment and torture. Wrongdoers will not be among the winners.
REJECTION AND WICKEDNESS
He loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked. (2/276)
For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him: They will not believe. (8/55)
The person referred to in the above verses is related to ungrateful persons who cover up realities and deny the existence of God.
… if he be a liar, on him is (the sin of) his lie … Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies! (40/28)
It is those who believe not in the Signs of Allah, that forge falsehood: it is they who lie! (16/105)
The prominent mystics have declared that the worst act of the evil nafs is lying which covers up many a wrongdoing.
Allah doth wish to Turn to you, but the wish of those who follow their lusts is that ye should turn away (from Him),- far, far away. (4/27)
But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts soon, then, will they face Destruction,- (9/59)
Concupiscence and lust are a longing of the soul for what will give it delight or for what is agreeable especially to the senses; which involves sexual desire especially of a violent self-indulgent character. Lechery and lasciviousness are other synonyms. This feeling must not be entirely condemned, for its moderate use is essential for the perpetuation of life upon the earth. It forms the motive power in the individual to work and produce. The individual should be able to check this impulse in him and make optimum use of it.
DEIFICATION OF DESIRES GENERATED BY NAFS
Then seest thou such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight. Who, then, will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will ye not then receive admonition? And they say: "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us." But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture. (45/23-24)
But if they hearken not to thee, know that they only follow their own lusts: and who is more astray than one who follow his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah. for Allah guides not people given to wrong-doing. (28/50)
Individuals dominated by such impulses claim that this world is the one we know of, there is no other world; therefore, let us make the best of it. They do not realize that this world is transitory and that the real life is in the next world. Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals (To return to). (3/14) As it has already been pointed out to benefit of the worldly gifts is necessary for the perpetuation of generations. The individual who makes use of them must not be oblivious of the fact hat they have been granted by God to whom thanks are due. Sex, procreation, gold and silver, money and wealth, automobiles, fame, pleasures of the table and insatiable desire to amuse oneself must not be deified. All these may be considered as attribution of partners of God, the greatest of sins. Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed. (4/48)
MOCKERY, GOSSIP AND SCEPTICISM
O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong. (49/11)
O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (49/12)
Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and-backbiter. (104/1)
The Qur'an warns against suspicion which is the act or an instance of suspecting: imagination or apprehension of something wrong or hurtful without proof or on slight evidence; doubt concerning but not necessarily denial of the basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, revelation. On the other hand, rumor, report, tattle, or behind-the-scenes information especially of an intimate or personal nature must be avoided; for it is a great sin. Yet, if one speaks about the iniquities of a given person who constitute a threat, this should not be considered as malicious gossip or calumny. Mockery also is condemned. One must beware to laugh at people who may not be as rich as one or reputed like him.
And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster. (31/18)
Such as fear not the meeting with Us (for Judgment) say: "Why are not the angels sent down to us, or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Indeed they have an arrogant conceit of themselves, and mighty is the insolence of their impiety! (25/21)
Pride is the quality or state of being proud; as an inordinate self-esteem or an unreasonable conceit of superiority (as in talents, beauty, wealth, rank). It is a sickness of the nafs . Narcissism is the overevaluation of one's own attributes or achievements or of those of one's group, a despicable attribute.
PROFLIGACY AND MISERLINESS
(See What God does not favor)
JEALOUSY AND ENVY
They said: "Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we: But we are a goodly body! really our father is obviously wandering (in his mind)! "Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown) land, that so the favour of your father may be given to you alone: (there will be time enough) for you to be righteous after that!" (12/8-9)
Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could Turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become Manifest unto them… (2/109)
Or do they envy mankind for what Allah hath given them of his bounty? but We had already given the people of Abraham the Book and Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom (4/54)
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn, From the mischief of created things; From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; From the mischief of those who practise secret arts; And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy. (113/1-5)
Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition. (16/90)
Jealousy is hostile rivalry which has its degrees that intelligence and reason cannot mortify, while envy is painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, accompanied by a desire to possess the same advantage.
PERFIDY AND FAITHLESSNESS
Contend not on behalf of such as betray their own souls; for Allah loveth not one given to perfidy and crime: (4/107)
…, and that Allah will never guide the snare of the false ones. (12/52)
Perfidy is the quality or state of being dishonest or disloyal, deceit, treachery or betrayal Self-betrayal is deceiving one's own nafs.
Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;- (3/134)
O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. (3/118)
The destructive character of nafs is translated as a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism. It is a strong enraged feeling expressed vehemently and accompanied by bitterness, malignancy, or condemnation. “Shun anger, it is an ember in the heart of a believer which .s prone to be enlivened. Hatred is a general attitude of prejudiced hostility and vengeance is the taking of revenge, infliction of punishment in return for an injury or offense or retributive action.
STAGES OF NAFS