19 February 2014 CE | 17 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

Evil in the Self and Deeds

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us to say: “All praise is for Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and His pardon. We seek refuge in Him from the evil in our selves and from the evil of our deeds.” [Abu Dawud; Kitab an-Nikah]

There is agreement amongst those who seek Allah, despite their different schools and practices, that the self (Nafs) stands between the heart and reaching Him. Only the silencing of the self – by turning away  from it and ignoring its whims and overcoming it – can lead you into the domain of Allah and make it possible to reach Him.

Allah, the Exalted, says: “Then as for whoever exceeded the limits and preferred the life of this world, surely his abode will be the Fire; and as for whoever feared to stand before his Lord and restrained the desires of his self (Nafs), surely his abode will be the Garden.” [Quran: Surah Naziaat, Ayaat 37-41]

The self urges you to wrong actions, and to preferring this life to the next life; while Allah, the Exalted, tells His servants to fear Him, and to restrain the self from following its whims and impulses.

There are two kinds of people in life: intelligent and foolish. The foolish kind are those whose Nafs have overcome them and led them to ruin because they yielded to them and obeyed their impulses. The intelligent kind of people are those who have overcome their Nafs and made them obey their commands.

Evil lies hiding in the self, and it is this that leads it on to do wrong. If Allah were to leave the servant alone with his self, the servant would be destroyed between its evil and the evil that it craves; but if Allah grants him success and help, then he will survive. We seek refuge in Allah the Almighty, both from the evil of our selves and from the evil of our deeds.

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