When you are watching, when you are a watcher, you identify the sign or the answer or the direction. That’s the biggest thing- identification. “Is this a message from ALLAH?” Confusion and doubt can come in. “Is this from my nafs or is this from Allah?” Did you know it two minutes before? How do you know it now? If your nafs knew this, it would have told you a long time ago.
Your nafs is selfish. Your nafs only wants to be the boss, he wants to be powerful, he wants to be respected, but not to give respect. He wants people to be generous to him, but he doesn’t want to be generous to anybody. He is selfish, egotistical, self-indulgent- all these things. He wants to dominate. All this is nafs. When you are not sharing, this is all from nafs. All good things come from Allah. You have to distinguish the good from the bad.
First you have to know what’s good and what’s bad, then you’ll know if it’s your nafs or its Allah. That’s why there are rules of right and wrong. If there’s something you want that’s against the rules of Allah, then it’s your nafs. It is hard to accept this. You can go around it, rationalize it all you want, still it’s your nafs. But is all your nafs bad? I’m not saying it is. Allah wants you to take care of your nafs too, but within these limits. Your nafs is in your body. You want to eat. Yes, you have to eat, but not too much because it’s not good for your body.
That’s why there are the correct criteria of right and wrong, so that you can stay in the path on good terms with Allah. That’s how you know you are on good terms, by these rules and regulations. Although we oppose them a lot, still we need these rules and regulations.