New Age Islam
Sun Jul 14 2024, 05:23 PM

Spiritual Meditations ( 25 March 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Jihad al-Nafs: Jihad Against One's Own Self Or Negative Ego Is The Most Virtuous Act In Islam

By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

25 March 2021

 To understand how Jihad against our own self or negative ego actually transforms our inner self, we have to study some authentic Ahadees and verses from the Quran.

There is a saying in Persian “Khud Ra Fazihat, Deegran Ra Naseehat”, translated as ‘It's easier to preach than act’. This I have mentioned because I have noticed everyone talking big on the subjects, social or religious, when actually they themselves do not understand it. This is because they do not understand their own weaknesses. In most of the cases the weakness is their inability to fight against their own self, that is called in Islamic terminology ‘Jihad al-Nafs. Understanding our own self is the most difficult of all the duties we perform.

Therefore, our foremost duty is to purify ourselves by fighting against our Self (Nafs), in order to understand our weaknesses and overcome them. This will create a sense of love, respect for all and understanding of pluralism, the principles Islam is based on.

The Holy Quran says there are three kinds of Jihad:

Jihad Against The Self

The Jihad Against Devil And

The Jihad Against An Open Enemy

The first two Jihads are called the Greater Jihad and the last one is called the lesser Jihad. To achieve the best results in this world and hereafter we have to go for the Greater Jihad 'the Jihad against the Self'. Jihad al-Nafs will take us to Jihad against Devil and if we succeeded in these two greater jihads, I pray to Allah that there is no need for the lesser Jihad, The Jihad Against An Open Enemy, as Insha’Allah then we will be able to conquer their hate and anger against us.

Consider the following Hadees, which calls the fighter against the self as a Mujahid

الْمُجَاهِدُ مَنْ جَاهَدَ نَفْسَهُ

And I heard the Messenger of Allah () saying: “The Mujahid is one who strives against his own soul.”

Tirmidhi 1621

Everybody in his or her own desire wishes to serve Islam as a Mujahid. Well and good. But fighting against the enemy of Islam is a lesser Jihad than fighting against our own self.

Jihad al-Nafs will teach us to keep control on our anger and hatred and will take us in a world of Self-Silence. Self-Silence is a mode of mind where we find no one else in our surrounding and introspect our deeds. In this mode we are our own advocates and our own judge. We argue pro and against and in the end pass a verdict, which is more often than not correct. More often than not because the devil among our self is less powerful that the goodness among our heart. Therefore we need not be in a hurry and argue till our goodness wins, because we are created more with good effects that the bad ones.

Once we are able to hear our own created silence, we will be able to hear others untold words and understand other's feelings. Jihad al-Nafs may show us that others, whom we wanted to teach are more learned and much better in understanding the world and the hereafter than we do and as a result it brings and end to all evil ideas and influences from our  soul.

Consider the following verse:

... By the soul and (by) Him who made it perfect, and then inspired it to understand what is wrong and what is right for it. Truly is successful the one who purifies (his soul). (Holy Qur'an, 91: 7-9)

The above mentioned verse from the Holy Quran should inspire us to go for the Jihad against the Self in order to introduce us to pluralistic ideas and reconciliation for better and  peaceful societies we are living in, either as a majority or as a minority.

Consider the following, what Hazrat Ali, Kramullah Wajhu says:

 Imam Ali (a) said: “One who struggles against himself so as to obey God, in the eyes of God, his station is that of a pious martyr.” [Al-Amidi, Ghurar ul Hikam wa Durar ul Kalim, hadith # 3546]

To keep evil thoughts and deeds away and station ourselves as a pious martyr we must follow the Hadees of Hazrat Imam Ali (KW), mentioned above.

And Allah Knows the Best


Arman Neyazi is a columnist with


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism