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Seven Stages of Nafs

Seven Stages of Nafs

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Published by Imam Sedin Agić
Seven Stages of Nafs
Seven Stages of Nafs

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Published by: Imam Sedin Agić on Apr 03, 2011
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04/03/2011

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1www.imamsedin.wordpress.com 
SEVEN STAGES OF NAFS
 
We recognize them as the seven stages of consciousness or the levels of Self
(
Nafs 
, ego).The Commanding Self (
nafs al-ammara 
),The Blaming Self (
nafs al-lawwama 
),The Inspired Self (
nafs al mulhimah 
),The Satisfied Self (
nafs al mutmainnah 
),The Consenting Self (
nafs al radiyah 
),The Consent-Given Self (
nafs al mardiyyah 
),The Purified Self (
nafs al safiyyah 
).The phrase of
"states of
Nafs" 
denotes basically the "
stages of consciousness
".When the consciousness takes shape in the beginning, it considers all the carnaldesires as if they are its own desires because it recognizes itself as a physical body asa result of its database. Thus, it leads a life completely focused on the needs andpleasures of the body. This is identified as the Commanding Self. At that level ofunderstanding, the consciousness recognizes itself as a physical body. While stillaccepting himself as a body, thinking that his life will never come to an end but go on insome way after the body dies, and that he will experience the consequences of hisdeeds in this world, the Self begins to feel regret because he realizes his possiblewrongdoings while considering his future life after death. This state is described asblaming the Self.As seen above, the Self at both of these levels, that are the states of consciousness,are connected to and focused on the physical body. The consciousness at that state isnot aware of its heaven (
sama 
) yet. Its world is the earth (
ardh 
), the physical body. Allhis delights, concerns and struggles are connected with his
ardh 
that is his body.If a person's consciousness realizes that it is not in fact a body but a reflection of theuniversal oneness or an expression of the qualities possessed by the universaloneness, at the level that its capacity allows, such awareness is called as "the InspiredSelf" (
nafs al mulhimah 
) in view of its characterization because such awareness isrealized through inspirations (
ilham 
).At that level of understanding, the consciousness begins getting rid of the idea ofaccepting himself as a body. He sometimes feels himself as a body and sometimes assomething separate from the body. However, what kind of an entity he is at that state offeeling separate from the body is not clear to him yet. Also, that is not a state that canbe experienced through knowing. This stage of understanding for the consciousness isthe most difficult stage of life. There, the consciousness faces many contradictions. Hemay sometimes consider himself as a servant, other times as a God, experiencing theodd results of such sensations. The person, who sees himself as God at that stage,may even find the level of sainthood (
walayat 
) as lowering for himself. He may, thus letloose all his values and fall on a completely corporeal life.For people of true faith (
muhaqqikun 
), the act of "reading" begins to be practiced at thatlevel of consciousness. When reading the system, which is called "Sunnat-Allah", is
 
2www.imamsedin.wordpress.com initiat
ed for such a consciousness, then the "why of “what” RasulAllah brought is opens
to him at the level of realization known as "certainty through
Haqq 
(
haqq ul yakeen 
)".He becomes
khaneef 
(worship-free of a God) at that station. His is "actual belief" in theone named as "ALLAH" at that level. He is purified from the spiritual power of "heartlessdiscovery, unveiling" (
kashf-i zulmani 
) and possesses the spiritual power of "caringdiscovery" (
kashf-i noorani 
). He begins to perceive the secrets of the Qur'an that rule tillDoomsday. He who experiences that spiritual state is called as "
arif" 
(Aware -Gnostic).Almost all the persons whose believers (
ahl-al taqlid 
) among common people assumethem to be saints (
awliya 
) and even regard them suitable for the spiritual status of
Ghawth 
,
Qutb 
(chief center authorities of spiritual influence) and are at that realm ofconsciousness. Those persons may sometimes think themselves as real possessors ofthose spiritual positions (
martaba 
) due to their level of comprehension, whereas theirs isyet no more than a small accumulation of water coming down from the fountain ofsainthood (
walayat 
).
MAM NAWAWI ON JIHAD AL-NAFS
 Bustan al-'arifin
(The Garden of Gnostics),Beirut: Dar al-kitab al-arabi, 1405/1985 p.53-54.
, may God have mercy on him:
"Only the sincere one
(
mukhlis 
)
knows hypocrisy
(
riya' 
)." This means that it is impossible to know the reality ofhypocrisy and see its hidden shades except for one who resolutely seeks (
arada 
)sincerity. That one strives for a long time (
yajtahidu azmanan 
) searching and meditatingand examining at length within himself until he knows or knows something of whathypocrisy is. This does not happen for everyone. Indeed, this happens only with thespecial ones (
al-khawass 
). But for a given individual to claim that he knows whathypocrisy is, this is real ignorance on his part.I shall mention in this book a chapter, God willing, in which you will see a type of wonderthat will cool your eyes. To illustrate the great extent of the concealment of hypocrisy weonly need relate the following from the Teacher and ImamAbu al-Qasim al-Qushayri[the sufi shaykh], may God have mercy on him, from his '
Risala 
' with our isnadpreviously mentioned.He said: "I heard Muhammad ibn al-Husayn say: I heard Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn Ja'far say: Iheard al-Hasan ibn 'Alawiyya say:Abu Yazid al-Bistami,may God be well pleased withhim, said: I was for twelve years the blacksmith of my ego (
haddadu nafsi 
), then for fiveyears I became the mirror of my heart (
mir'atu qalbi 
), then for a year I looked at what laybetween the two of them and I saw around me a visible belt [i.e. of kufr = thevestimentary sign of a dhimmi]. So I strove to cut it for twelve years and then lookedagain, and I saw around me a hidden belt. So I worked to cut it for five years, looking to
 
3www.imamsedin.wordpress.com see how to cut. Then it was unveiled for me (
kushifa li 
) and I looked at creation and sawthat they were all dead. So I recited the funeral prayer over them."I say: That hypocrisy should be as inscrutable as this to the peerless master in this path[i.e.
tasawwuf 
] is enough to show how greatly hidden it lies. His phrase: "I saw themdead" is the apex of worth and beauty, and seldom do other than the Prophet's words,Blessings and Peace be upon him, gather up such wealth of meanings. I shall touchupon its meaning briefly. It means that after he had struggled long and hard (
lamma jahada hadhihi al-mujahada 
) and his ego had been disciplined (
tahadhdhabat 
) and hisheart illumined (
istanara qalbuhu 
), and when he had conquered (
istawla 
) his ego andsubdued it (
qaharaha 
) and achieved complete mastery over it (
malakaha mulkan tamman 
), and it had subjected himself to him totally, at that time he looked at all createdbeings and found that they were dead and completely powerless:1. they cannot harm nor can they benefit;2. they cannot give nor can they keep back;3. they cannot give life nor can they give death;4. they cannot convey nor can they cut off;5. they cannot bring near nor can they take away;6. they cannot make happy nor can they make sad;7. they cannot bestow nor can they deprive;8. they possess for themselves neither benefit nor harm,9. Nor death, nor life, nor resurrection.This, then, characterizes human beings as dead: they are considered dead in all of theabove respects, they are neither feared nor entreated, what they have is not coveted,they are not shown off to nor fawned upon, one does not concern oneself with them,they are not envied nor disparaged, their defects are not mentioned nor their faultspursued and exposed, one is not jealous of them nor thinks much of whatever God-given favors they have received, and they are forgiven and excused for theirshortcomings, although the legal punishments (
al-hudud 
) are applied to them accordingto the Law. But the application of such punishment does not preclude what we havementioned before, nor does it preclude our endeavoring to cover up their faults withoutdisparaging them in the least.This then is how the dead are viewed. And if someone mentions human beings in adishonorable manner we forbid him from entering into that subject in the same way thatwe would if he were going to examine a person who died. We do not do anything fortheir sake nor do we leave Him for them. And we no more stop ourselves from fulfillingan act of obedience to God on their account than we do on account of a dead person,and we do not over-praise them. And we neither love their own praise for us nor hatetheir insults, and we do not reciprocate them.In sum, they are as it was non-existent in all the respects we have mentioned. They areunder God's complete care and jurisdiction. Whoever deals with them in such a way, hehas combined the good of the next world with that of the lower world. May God the

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