The Battle of the Nafs
By Ibna Idris
Indeed the best speech is the speech of Allah (swt) and the best guidance is the guidance of prophet Muhammad (saw).
Prepare for the battle
No battle takes place without the presence of weapons. The victory belongs to those who are well equipped with not only the best of weapons but also the best of skill and strength.
Surely, Shaitan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire. [Quran, 35:6]
Allah(swt) constantly reminds us that Shaytan is our enemy. He (swt) orders us to treat Shaytan as an enemy. And how we treat an enemy should certainly differ from how we deal with friends.
In addition, Allah (swt) makes it clear for us that the only enemy that humanity has is the Shaytan and his likes. For this reason, favoring what makes Shaytan rejoice and detesting what fills Shaytan with rage is a form of misguidance and foolishness.
When our souls detest whatever brings joy to the Shaytan, and when we love to infuriate him and his allies, the victory is heading our way. When it’s the other way around, only destruction awaits us, both in this world and the next.
Know his tricks
If we are to distinguish our friends from our enemies we need proper and authentic knowledge originating from Quran and the Sunnah. As mentioned earlier, our weapons are our knowledge, our skill is our faith, and our strength is our courage and determination to succeed in this battle.
[Iblis (Satan)] said: “O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all.” [Quran 15:39]
In order to overpower us, Shaytan strives against us while opposing all that we put into the battle. For instance, to deprive us of knowledge he beautifies ignorance; to deprive us of faith, he beautifies disbelief; and to deprive us of our courage and determination, he beautifies cowardice, laziness and hopelessness.
Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You). [Quran, 7:17]
Shaytan’s most secret yet powerful weapon is to inflict our lives with discontentment until we feel that there is absolutely no contentment to be found anywhere in the whole of this world no matter what we do or where we go. Thus he beautifies ungratefulness, depression, and hopelessness, putting many on the road to suicide.
Shaitan (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower. [Quran, 2:268]
There awaits a free one-way ticket straight to Jahannam, reserved in Shaytan’s company, for those who follow his path.
(Allah) said (to Iblis), “Get out from this (Paradise) disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.” [Quran, 7:18]
Strive, struggle and sacrifice
The best and most superior deed in Islam is jihad (striving and struggling against evil) after firm faith in tawheed, and the best jihad is jihad an-nafs— the inner jihad, battling with satanic thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions to prepare a sound (clean) heart to meet Al-Mighty Allah(swt).
Fighting, striving and struggling against these bright glamorous sparks of the fires of Hell will surely hurt and may require us to bear some painful burns.
Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)? [Quran, 3:142]
However, when we compare the eternal torment with the slight pain of the heart, the mind, and all the temporary uneasiness we come across day in and day out, no pain would feel too severe to continue our battle to its victory.
So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers. [Quran, 3:139]
Many glad tidings about this victory are given to us from Al-Mighty Allah through His speech.
And We shall remove from their breasts any (mutual) hatred or sense of injury (which they had, if at all, in the life of this world); rivers flowing under them, and they will say: ‘All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this, never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us!’ [Quran, 7:43]
These! For them will be ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens); wherein rivers flow underneath them, therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine and thick silk. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good is the reward, and what an excellent Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)! [Quran, 18:31]
Don’t become disheartened
- No matter what temporary trial and uneasiness you face during this battle, remain content and grateful to your Lord
- No power is greater than the power of Al-Mighty Allah, so trust Him, seek His help, and depend only on Him
- Nothing happens without His will or knowledge. The good that may result from the temporary difficulty you may be in is worthy to strive and struggle for.
May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to gain and implement authentic knowledge of His Deen, strengthen our faith, and guide us to be determined to win the battle of our nafs. Ameen.