Oh Nafs! Isn’t it true…?

One great scholar in a classical piece of writing addresses his nafs (soul) and says ‘Oh Soul! Admit! Isn’t it true that when I recite the Qur’an you feel fatigue, tiredness and you remind me of the need for the body to rest. You feel the desire to go away and lie down. You remind me of the obligation of having mercy on my body. You make me feel tired and worn out. Oh nafs! Isn’t it true that you make me yawn. All of this when I’m reciting the words of Allah. However, nafs isn’t it true at the same time that when I do take pity on my body and on myself and I close the Qur’an or I stop reciting and I retire to rest, oh nafs isn’t it true that the moment I think of a couplet of poetry or I think of some other form of speech all of a sudden oh nafs you and I both find energy, renewed vigour, excitement and isn’t it true oh nafs that you make me (the body) sway in joy and in excitement.

This poem is an example which helps us understand the following ayah (verse):

وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ

When Allah alone is mentioned the hearts of those who do not believe in the hereafter shrink and shrivel in distaste and when others beside Allah are mentioned all of a sudden they rejoice in glee and happiness.

[Surah al Zumar, 39:45]

[This excerpt is based on a dars (lesson) on Ramadhan delivered by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 30th July 2010].

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