Human Body and Soul with Arabic , Dr Emdad Khan
We as human being has a body and soul. We eat, drink, sleep and work to take care of our body. But what keeps the body intact, the unseen soul. And also we have mind or mood or attitudes. Man has attempted to explore and understand the phenomenon of the soul – that mysterious power which activates and is the engine of the human body.
- The Makkan non-believers asked the Prophet (PBHU) about the soul. In reply, God in the Quran revealed:
وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلرُّوحِۖ قُلِ ٱلرُّوحُ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّى وَمَآ أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلاً۬ (٨٥) سُوۡرَةُ الإسرَاء
And they ask you about the soul (Ruh). Say, “The soul is something from the command of my Lord, and you are not given from the knowledge but a little.” (17.85) Al-Israh
- God created 1st Human Being Adam from clay and then blew the Ruh, (soul) into his body and became a living human being.
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ ءَادَمَۖ خَلَقَهُ ۥ مِن تُرَابٍ۬ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ (٥٩)
Surely, the case of ‘Isa, in the sight of God, is like the case of ’Adam (AHS). He created him from dust, then He said to him, “Be”, and he came to be. (3.59) El-Emran
- There is some difference in the way the words ‘Ruh’ and ‘Nafs’ are used. The ‘Ruh’ is the subtle spirit, which resides in the heavens and needs a physical body to carry it on the earth. When this spirit/Ruh is given into a body in womb of the mother after 4 months , life begins and it is described as ‘Nafs’.
- The word ‘Nafs’ is used in a number of ways by the Qur’an, all of which imply the meaning of a soul with a body.
- ‘Nafs’ meaning “Self.”
– ۥۚ تَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى نَفۡسِى وَلَآ أَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى نَفۡسِكَۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّـٰمُ ٱلۡغُيُوبِ (١١٦) سُوۡرَةُ المَائدة
a1) (Isa AHS replied to God — –You know what is in myself, and I do not know what is in Yourself. You alone have full knowledge of all that is unseen. (5.116) Al- Maida
وَٱذۡكُر رَّبَّكَ فِى نَفۡسِكَ تَضَرُّعً۬ا وَخِيفَةً۬ وَدُونَ ٱلۡجَهۡرِ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ بِٱلۡغُدُوِّ وَٱلۡأَصَالِ وَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ ٱلۡغَـٰفِلِينَ (٢٠٥) سُوۡرَةُ الاٴعرَاف
a2) Remember your Lord in yourself with humility and awe (mildly), and without speaking loudly, in mornings and evenings, and do not be among the heedless. (7.205) Al-Araf
- ‘Nafs’ meaning “Blood”. “The (insect) which has flowing Nafs (blood).” Like blood coming out during women monthly cycle, is called Nafusa, as it has potential for a life
- Nafs as a strong force, a desire in human, which can push him either towards good or evil.
وَنَفۡسٍ۬ وَمَا سَوَّٮٰهَا (٧) فَأَلۡهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقۡوَٮٰهَا (٨) قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّٮٰهَا (٩) وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَن دَسَّٮٰهَا (١٠) سُوۡرَةُ الشّمس
And by the soul, and the One who made it well in due proportion, (7) Then inspired it with its (instincts of) evil and piety, (8) Success is really attained by him who purifies it, (9) And failure is really suffered by him who pollutes it. (91.10) As-shams
The nafs as human desire or human ego has been used in the Quran frequently. That the nafs is referring to a specific part of our self and it is that part of our self that has desires, appetite, or ego.
This strong nafs has anger, passion, lust, desire, all these things. This nafs is not part of the Ruh, its part of the physical human being. So some physical part of our creation is our body and our nafs .The Almighty has also put inside ourselves an inner or spiritual part of our creation, that is our Ruh. This nafs is part of our physical self, even though its not part of our physical body.
Scholars classify, nafs in three: Ammara bis su, Nafs lawama, Nafs Mutmainaa
- ‘Nafs al Ammara bis Su‘(‘Nafs’ which encourages evil)
۞ وَمَآ أُبَرِّئُ نَفۡسِىٓۚ إِنَّ ٱلنَّفۡسَ لَأَمَّارَةُۢ بِٱلسُّوٓءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّىٓۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ (٥٣) سُوۡرَةُ یُوسُف
“And I do not free myself from blame. Indeed the human soul is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Indeed my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Qur’an Yusuf : 12.53)]
So this refers to that nafs that is ruling over the human self. This nafs Ammra commands us and tells us what to do. So when the nafs Ammara has any desire, any wish, any appetite, it simply commands us, it dominates us. This nafs ammara is sovereign over a human being, it means we are subjugated by it, we are sub-ordinate to it. We listen and follow all of its dictates and commands. This is the first type of nafs ammara and the sign that a person has this type of nafs ammara is that they do evil willingly, blatantly, in any way that they ever want.
In modern society, this concept is glorified, people say ”you should do whatever makes you happy, do whatever pleases you, do whatever your heart desires”. Many people, in east or west, even Muslims, are doing what our passion desires.
This Nafs ammara bis su’ soul which earns the company of Satan because it ignores the remembrance of Allah.
وَمَن يَعۡشُ عَن ذِكۡرِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ نُقَيِّضۡ لَهُ ۥ شَيۡطَـٰنً۬ا فَهُوَ لَهُ ۥ قَرِينٌ۬ (٣٦) سُوۡرَةُ الزّخرُف
“The one who withdraws himself from the remembrance of the Merciful, We appoint for him a Satan to be a companion to him. ( Az-Zukhruf 43:36)
Satan surrounds the evil soul day and night. It drives him from one satanic act to other. We will see it lying and cheating, wasting time on bad leisure and gambling, frequenting cinemas and concerts, listening to music and dancing. “The modern society’s motto is ‘work and play & enjoy life, no matter what.
- ‘Nafs al Lawwama’(‘Nafs’ which blames itself, the Self-reproaching soul.
The self-reproaching soul some time submits to evil inspirations but then regrets its actions and reproaches itself for being weak and vulnerable. These feelings of remorse cause it to turn back to God, to repent sincerely, and to receive spiritual solace. It is better for each Nafs to blame itself whenever it commits a wrong. If not, it will find itself being blamed from all those around it. Let us see how the self-reproaching soul is mentioned in the Quran with the Day of Resurrection.
- لَآ أُقۡسِمُ بِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ (١) وَلَآ أُقۡسِمُ بِٱلنَّفۡسِ ٱللَّوَّامَةِ (٢)
“I do call to witness the Resurrection Day. And I do call to witness the self-reproaching Soul.” (Al Qiyamah: 75.1-2)
The Nafs al Lawwama is an inner court of justice within each person; when he acts wrongfully. his conscience or soul rebukes him, and it is then up to him to pay heed to it or to ignore it. Besides placing an inner court of justice within each person, the Creator has also prepared a larger Court, which will operate on the Final Day and will mete out justice to all mankind.
How to rectify after making a mistake, let us take examples
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ (٢٣) سُوۡرَةُ الاٴعرَاف
- Adam/Hawa: They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (7.23)
وَذَا ٱلنُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَـٰضِبً۬ا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقۡدِرَ عَلَيۡهِ فَنَادَىٰ فِى ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ أَن لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى ڪُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ (٨٧) سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاءya
- Prophet YOUNIS: And (remember) Dhunnun (the man of the fish, namely Yunus (A.S)), when he walked away in anger and thought that We would never put him to trouble. Then, he called (Us) in depths of darkness saying, “There is no god but You. Pure are You. Indeed I was among the wrongdoers”. (21.87)
۞ قُلۡ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡرَفُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ لَا تَقۡنَطُواْ مِن رَّحۡمَةِ ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغۡفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ (٥٣) سُوۡرَةُ الزُّمَرh Az-Zumar
- Say (on My behalf), “O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful. (39.53)
- ‘Nafs al Mutmainna’ (‘Nafs’ which is contented, the satisfied soul)
The noblest one is the satisfied soul, which at its last moment on earth will receive the glad tiding, “Enter among My servants and enter into my Paradise.”
يَـٰٓأَيَّتُہَا ٱلنَّفۡسُ ٱلۡمُطۡمَٮِٕنَّةُ (٢٧) ٱرۡجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً۬ مَّرۡضِيَّةً۬ (٢٨) فَٱدۡخُلِى فِى عِبَـٰدِى (٢٩) وَٱدۡخُلِى جَنَّتِى (30-89.27)
“0 you satisfied soul. Return to your Lord pleased with yourself and pleasing to Him. Enter among My servants. And enter My paradise”. (Qur’an Al Fajr 89: 27-30)
In contrast to the soul, nafs ammara which inspires evil and disobedience. And between these two extreme states is the self-reproaching soul, nafs lawwama which checks its actions and blames itself when it commits evil.
How to attain Nafs Mutmainaa:
The Qur’an explains how one can achieve the noble state of the satisfied soul.
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَتَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ (٢٨)
The ones who believe and their hearts are peaceful with the remembrance of Allah. Indeed, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction (Al-Raad 13.28)
If the evil-inspiring soul finds solace in music, dance and evil deeds, the satisfied soul finds its peace and consolation in the Qur’an, prayer and the company of the righteous people.
The satisfied soul has such a deep conviction in God and the Last Day that it does not get upset by the sorrows or demands of this world. Illness, financial worries, loss of property or death of dear ones does not cause the satisfied soul to wail, curse or lament. Whenever it faces any problems it simply say, “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return” and faces the misfortune with patience and trust in its Lord.
Such are the souls described in the Qur’an;
وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ وَٱلۡجُوعِ وَنَقۡصٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَمۡوَٲلِ وَٱلۡأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٲتِۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ (١٥٥)ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَـٰبَتۡهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ۬ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيۡهِ رَٲجِعُونَ (١٥٦) سُوۡرَةُ البَقَرَة
“Be sure, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, some loss of goods or lives or fruits of your toils. But give glad tidings to those who are patient. Those who say, when afflicted by calamity: “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. (Al Baqarah 2: 155-156)
The satisfied soul believes that all happiness and sorrow is by the decree of Allah. It therefore feels no need to lament at misfortunes or to boast at success.
مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ إِلَّا فِى ڪِتَـٰبٍ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِ أَن نَّبۡرَأَهَآۚ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ۬ (٢٢) لِّكَيۡلَا تَأۡسَوۡاْ عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمۡ وَلَا تَفۡرَحُواْ بِمَآ ءَاتَٮٰڪُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ۬ فَخُورٍ (٢٣) سُوۡرَةُ الحَدید
“No calamity befall on earth or to your own selves (soul) but it is written in a decree (pre-destined) before We bring it into existence. That is truly easy for Allah (22). In order that you may not despair over matters that pass (escaped) you by, nor over exult ( extremely happy and boastful) in favors bestowed upon you, for Allah loves not the vain boasters (self –admirer or over -proud).” (Al Hadid 57: 22-23)
No worldly anxieties upset the satisfied soul. If it fails to acquire something for which it has struggled for many years, it will accept its destiny and remember the following words of the Prophet of Allah (saws): “What has reached you was never meant to escape you and what has escaped you was never meant to reach you.” (Muwadih by Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi)
Results Based on Action
One who believes that there is no after life and will not be accountable in a divine court becomes a slave of this world. For comforts and luxuries, and will break any laws and not differentiate between halal and haram.
In contrast, one who believes in God and the Last Day, the belief in paradise and hell guides his entire life. To him this world is a short journey, the destination is the Hereafter. He directs most of his efforts towards earning Paradise and devotes only part of his time to earning his bread.
Belief in the Hereafter is the catalyst which stimulates the souls seeking a better future.
وَمَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَآ إِلَّا لَهۡوٌ۬ وَلَعِبٌ۬ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱلدَّارَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ لَهِىَ ٱلۡحَيَوَانُۚ لَوۡ ڪَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ (٦٤) سُوۡرَةُ العَنکبوت
This worldly life is nothing but an amusement and play, and the Last Abode is the true real life indeed. Only if they know! ( Al Ankabut 29: 64
The Ultimate Success is not in amassing fortunes, being famous or having a fantastic career, but success is in escaping the fires of hell.
كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ ذَآٮِٕقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوۡنَ أُجُورَڪُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِۖ فَمَن زُحۡزِحَ عَنِ ٱلنَّارِ وَأُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ فَقَدۡ فَازَۗ وَمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَآ إِلَّا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡغُرُورِ (١٨٥) سُوۡرَةُ آل عِمرَان
“Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgement will you receive your full recompense. The one who is saved from the Fire and admitted into Paradise will have attained success, for the life of the world is nothing but the goods of deception. ( Aal Imran 3:185)