Thursday, February 03, 2005

Striving Against ones Nafs.

I begin in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most merciful.

Mujahada, which means 'striving' against ones unlawful desires and promptings (nafs) is an aspect that we have greatly confused ourselves with.

What is striving/mujahada in Islam? Firstly, let me point out, that some people believe that by praying many many surahs and countless paras of the quran one is striving. Yes, indeed such a deed is very rewarding and very beloved to the Lord, and yes, when we pray continuously, for countless hours, it does seem as though we are exerting our physical efforts and striving to the utmost limit. However, dearest readers, this is not what is considered as striving. Like I stated before, indeed praying, doing zikr, optional worship is very blessed and invokes the pleasure of Allah (SWT) but it is not considered as a form of striving.

So...What is striving in the path of Islam? To answer this in short, it is the process wherein we surpress our unlawful desires that are placed before us by shaytan and our nafs.

Let me give you an example; when we encounter a person from the opposite sex, from whom we should be keeping our gaze down, yet desire to look at, and despite the evil promptings by our nafs, we do not yeild to our desire and remain steadfast against our desire, then we are 'striving.'
The reason for this, is that, we are going against what is unlawful, even though we personally desire it, through our own difficulty and displeasure we struggle for the pleasure of our lord.

After we have adopted such a habit, it is then and only then, can we consider ourselves to be true Muslims. When one restrains their nafs, and then prays merely one surah, he/she experiences such pleasure and such a deed is wholly accepted.

Let me conclude with an analogy which will Inshallah emphasis what I have said, with greater clarity:

Consider the foundation of a building as our Imaan and the many accessories and luxuries that are placed in the building as the optional good deeds that we carry out.
Firstly, the foundation is always inspected carefully to ensure that there are no cracks and the area is safe to build on. Similarly, our foundation, which is our Imaan, has to be made firm and strong. This is done by not giving in to our unlawful desires (nafs) and instead constantly striving to avoid anything which is forbidden in Islam.
Let us first and foremost ensure the rigidity of our Imaan, by avoiding everything that Islam has prohibited and making sure we carry out our compulsory duties e.g Salaah. After that, when we carry out other nafl (optional) worship, then our Imaan will grow only stronger.

I end by making a supplication: Oh Allah, we beg you to help us to struggle efficiently against our Nafs which is constantly leading us astray. We beg you to make us righteous and obedient Muslims. Ameen.