B. STAGES OF NAFS
In the light of the Holy Qur'an the Muslim mystics have distinguished seven stages of nafs: namely nafs-i ammare (inordinate appetite, concuspiscence); nafs-i lavvama (the carnal mind when resisted but still submissive; the voice of conscience); nafs-i mulhima (who reveals truth to man by inspiration); nafs-i mutmaina (the carnal mind when conquered and obedient to all religious impulses; the pious and tranquil mind of a saintly person); nafs-radiyya (the contented self) ; nafs-i mardiyya (self with which God is well pleased; nafs-i qamila (perfected self); nafs-i natıka (self that encites man to commit evil acts)
Every man must check himself and see which of these nafses he is conscious of. Those he deems to possess condemnable nafses he must strive to restrain asking pardon from God and taking refuge with him. Blessed are they who have praiseworthy nafses!
"Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful." (12/53)
Verily Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; while those who reject Allah will enjoy (this world) and , eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode. (47/12)
The inordinate appetite, concupiscence is the distinctive character of this nafs. The majority of men is a prey to this nafs. Attribution of partners to God, wrongdoing, swearing, telling lies, lust, deification of the desires of nafs, mockery, arrogance, jealousy, betrayal, anger are among the said impulses that the nafs is a slave. It is the nafs of wrongdoers, infidels, hypocrites, mischief-makers, sinners; in other words, the nafs of pharaoh and of Satan. They are non-believers and wallow in ignorance; their time is taken up by evil acts and rebel against truth. These vain creatures are intoxicated by their own selves. Hey most often repeat the word 'I', a word despised by the Prophet. Such people are prone to destroy each other any moment. They are Satan's companions. Theft, calumny, slander, alcoholism, gambling, fornication, perversion and gossip are their habitual occupations. They have deified the transitory beauties of the world. Is it possible to get rid of the power that this nafs has over man? The prominent quality of nafs is its modulation, its amorphous character; it is prone to assume a laudable character, provided that his heart has not been sealed by God for its former iniquities; for asking forgiveness for such people is a rare occurrence. Yet, if he repents and asks pardon he may obtain it thanks to God's Mercy. Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (39/53)
And I do call to witness the self-reproaching spirit: (Eschew Evil). (75/2)
This nafs reproaches sometimes sternly or abusively and sometimes mildly and gently as an upbraiding the individual in question and leads him to repent. It often occurs that the result of this counsel against a fault, error, or oversight guides the individual to take refuge with the Supreme Being, although there are times that he may continue to commit sins under the influence of the nafs-i ammara. Such individuals are perfectly aware what the Prophet had said: Repent immediately and ask forgiveness and you will be considered as though you had never committed sins
Such people are acquainted with the verses of the Qur'an already although they have but a superficial knowledge of them. On the other hand they are not under the absolute domination of Satan. They lead a life in which worldly gifts have a grip on the individual; lies, concupiscence, sarcasm, arrogance, stinginess, jealousy, betrayal, anger have not left them. Their prayer is self-oriented and is directed to the promised luxurious life of the paradise where young males and females will be at their disposal and they will be aloof from the tortures of hell. It has never occurred to them that prayer is a communication between God and them and the expression of mutual contentment. The famous mystic poet, Yunus Emre had said: What they call paradise is but a house and damsels within, you better give them to their suppliants, what I need is You (o God!)
The way to get oneself rid of this nafs is to struggle against it and take refuge with God.
By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;- Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it! (91/7-10)
The nafs in question is the one that is inspired by God. The signs are wisdom, honesty, modesty, generosity, patience and resignation. The person who possesses these character traits are ready to be the recipient of divine inspiration which comes through angels. In the case of those who say, "Our Lord is Allah., and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not!" (they suggest), "Nor grieve! but receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), the which ye were promised! "We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall ye have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall ye have all that ye ask for!- Knowledge that come from within is superior to the knowledge acquired from outside. The Prophet is reported to have said: Even though the authorities may have declared to the contrary you should lend an ear to what your conscience says. This nafs is the nafs of the believer who is wise. However, this stage is but an intermediate one, since one may at any moment recede to the nafs-i ammara.
"O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! (89/27)
Enter my Garden! (89/30)
This is the stage where the nags has attained the final goal, cleansed from all suspicions and doubts and enlightened by divine inspirations. He is no longer harassed by lies, by having to attribute partners to God, by concupiscence, by deification of aspirations, mockeries, arrogance, tight-fistedness, envy and jealousy, betrayal, anger, etc. It is He Who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the Believers, that they may add faith to their faith;- for to Allah belong the Forces of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom;- (48/4) The individual in this state is in perfect harmony with himself and has attained peace and serenity. Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (13/28) These people are candidates for the paradise. They will no longer recede; they may ascend higher.
The late Muzaffer Ozak says the folowing is his treatise called Zeynel Kulup: Those who have attained to this stage are eligible to enter the Garden. The hearts of these people are enlightened by God. They have been cleansed of all the impurities of the world. They spend their whole time in praising God. On the other hand Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır makes the following statement: Nafs-i mutmaina is that nafs which having risen from the fons et origo has traversed the world of causality and ascended to the divine heights where he is in contemplation of the Supreme Being and rests in His absolute disposal What are the merits of the individual who has attained this stage? The mystics enumerate them thus: Purity of heart, resignation, generosity, asceticism, prayer, continuous thanksgiving. . Behold! ye were climbing up the high ground, without even casting a side glance at any one, and the Messenger in your rear was calling you back. (3/133) . Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- (10/62-63) These pious people have thus become perfect human beings and have found God's favor. . But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah (2/165) The following are the requirements of a pious man: beneficence, resignation, wisdom, forgiveness, faithfulness, justice and honesty, regular ritual prayers, alms giving and fasting; all these merits should be accompanied by sincerity of heart. Those are the future inmates of the paradise.
Come back thou to thy Lord, well pleased (thyself) and well pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among my Devotees! Yea enter thou my Heaven! (89/28-30)
This is well contented nafs. It is the stage of the walis (Saints). For them every happening has a well-intentioned mysterious meaning. This stage is not reached simply by the efforts of true believers, it requires God's contribution. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him). (42/13) These people are endowed with special miraculous talents and can work miracles. The tradition says: If I love my servant I become his hearing ear, his seeing eye and his grasping hand. The following what Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır says: The expression 'Return to thy Lord!'is commented by certain commentators to have reference to the possessors of Nafs-i Mutmaina, which seems to us more pertinent and useful. Neither nafs Ammara nor Nafs Lawwama are inclined to put up with what fate has in store for them. Therefore the former nafs should be one eligibl What then are the prerequisites of this nafs? Sharing one's assets, beneficence, wisdom, patience, resignation, faithfulness, regular prayers and alms giving, etc. are the main acts required. For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity. (10/64)
NAFS - I MARDIYYA
Come back thou to thy Lord, well pleased (thyself) and well pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among my Devotees! Yea enter thou my Heaven! (89/28-30) This is well contented nafs. If an individual has strictly obeyed God's injunctions, he is elevated to this rank. God favors him and he becomes the select one. He has been united with the Supreme Being. He has insight into the mysteries of he creation. Mutmaina and Radiyya are almost the same attributes, yet the Mardıyya connotes the possession of special characteristics which enable the individual in question to have a deeper insight into the mysteries of the creation. NAFS-I KAMILA This is the most perfect nafs cleansed of all impurities. It is also called Safiyya and Saliha. It is the nafs of prophets. The individual has become extinct and immersed in godhead. He is capable of visiting known and unknown worlds. He has become immaterial in that he can travel through space and is in a milieu outside time and space. His own nafs has been obliterated. He has died before he actually died, in accordance with the Prophet's tradition. Muzaffer Ozak says: Such nafses attain the stage of Safiyya. They are in close communion with God. This milieu between the individual and God is the STAGE OF MYSTERY of which the bliss cannot be described. Those who have attained it remain dumb in that respect. This stage of the prophets is referred to as KABE-KAVSEYN.O God, grant that we are among those you have elevated to this stage!
TRAINING OF NAFS