Get out of the way.
What do we say? What is the thing to do?
Does it say put your nafs [ego] in the way? No.
Get That Thing Out Of The Way!
Do you understand that?! Okay, that is the thing to do. Do not try to make your nafs good. OUT! DIVORCE!
There is one shaykh. He says that, “I tried to tame my nafs, I fasted so many days. And then I subjected it to fire, I subjected it to this, I subjected it to hardship, did not mean anything. Then what I did, I divorced it. That’s it.”
La yukallifullahu nafsan illa wus’aha. Laha ma kasabat wa ‘alayha maktasabat. Rabbana latu akhizna in-nasina aw akhta’na. Rabbana wa la tahmil ‘alayna isran kama hamaltahu ‘alallazina min qablina. Rabbana wa la tuhammilna ma la taqata lana bihi. Wa’fu’anna waghfir lana warhamna, anta mawlana fansurna ‘alal qawmil kafirin.
Allah does not load a person with more than they can carry. Everyone will get whatever good they earn and whatever bad they earn. “Our Rab, please do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes. Our Rab, please do not lay on us such a burden as You did on those before us. Our Rab, please do not lay on us (burdens) that we do not have the strength to carry. Forgive us, absolve us and tolerate us, and have mercy and be kind to us. You are our Mawla [Protecting Master], so give us victory over the community of kafirin [unbelievers].”
Who is “‘Alal qawmil kafirin,” do you think? Who is “‘Alal qawmil kafirin“?
Your nafs. Nafs is the “‘Alal qawmil kafirin”.
Yes. See, Nafs-i Ammara. What is in Nafs-i Ammara? Kafir. Kufr. I rest my case.
“And I am not trying to exonerate myself. There is no doubt that Nafs-i Ammara orders us to do evil, except those on whom my Rab shows mercy and kindness. Truly, my Rab is Ghafur [Absolving and Tolerant] and Rahim [Full of Mercy and Kindness].” (Yusuf:53)
Do you believe in Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi? Do you know Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi? And all these shaykhs and shuyukhs, they say Moses and Haman. Haman is the nafs and like, the king, Ramesses, the Egyptian king, what do you call him? Pharaoh. Pharaoh is you and Haman is nafs. That is the simile. Each time Pharaoh wants to believe, each time he is about to believe, Haman said, “But.” The same thing, Prophet’s uncle and grandfather. What would the women of the thing say? “See, everybody is worshipping you and now are you going to worship somebody else?” He changes his mind and Allah punishes him again and again and again. At the end, Haman is dead, he cannot tell him anything. And then he is getting drowned and then he says, “Oh I believe You.” Then Allah saves his body.
Wa nafsin wa ma sawwaha.
Fa al hamaha fujuraha wataqwaha.
Qad aflaha man zakkaha.
Wa qad khaba man dassaha.
And by the nafs [self; person] and The One Who completed it,
And by the inspiration (of Nafs al Mulhama) to distinguish wrong from right.
Whoever strives to grow in good behavior and understanding, which bring them closer to Allah, is successful,
And whoever corrupts (their own nafs) has failed.
What He is talking about, He is talking about the soul here, right? If it is nafs, nafs means three things. One is person, the other is nafs as we call in the nafs. Here He is talking about the person. And they can be also nafs. And they say it is the nafs, corporeal soul is also nafs, they are saying, I am not believing in it but they are saying like that, translating like that. “And inspired it with conscious, what is wrong for it and what is right for it,” this is not the nafs we are talking about. Because the nafs we are talking about does not know anything about right or wrong. The person, we are talking about, the person they are. You!
So what does this mean? Does this mean that the nafs becomes good? Or you come over your nafs, and you carry this to a different level that Allah is pleased. This does not mean nafs is good.
Murid: No, it means you work on it.
Shaykh Taner: That is what we are saying, that is what Sufism is all about. Why are we Sufis?
Are we making our nafs good? That is what I want to hear from you.
Thank you very much. That is what we have been saying…
1. Nafs-i Ammara, Nafs al Ammara: Dominant Self
2. Nafs-i Lawwama, Nafs al Lawwama: Blaming Self
3. Nafs-i Mulhama, Nafs al Mulhama: Inspired Self
4. Nafs-i Mutma’ina, Nafs al Mutma’ina: Tranquil Self
5. Nafs-i Radziyya, Nafs al Radziyya: Satisfying Self (heart is happy)
6. Nafs-i Mardziyya, Nafs al Mardziyya: Satisfied Self (brain is happy)
7. Nafs-i Safiyya, Nafs al Safiyya: Purified Self
Fi’il-i Muhammad: the example shown in Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) daily actions of how human beings should live in accordance with Allah’s wishes; Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) implementation of sharia; tariqa
kafir: rejecter; denier; disbeliever; unbeliever; infidel; disputer; dissident
kafirin, kafirun, kufara: plural of kafir
kufr: disbelief; rejection of the truth
nafs: lit., breath; self; person; egoistic or animalistic nature; personal life
tariqa: path; Sufi order
tazkiyyah: purification; developing good manners that bring one closer to Allah
This is an edited excerpt of a Sohbet given on May 10, 2008 by Murshid Shaykh Taner Vargonen Ansari and published on October 30, 2023. The translation of the Qur’an verses are also from Murshid Shaykh Taner Vargonen Ansari.
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Ya Wadud Ya Salaam Ya Jami Ya Nafi