*TRAINING AND TAMING THE NAFS IN RAMADAN

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By *Mufti Zubair Bayat حفظه الله تعالى*
Allah Ta’ala has placed in every human being a ‘nafs’. In the Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala makes mention of the different states of the nafs. Nafs Ammarah, Nafs Lawwamah and Nafs Mutmainnah. The characteristic of the nafs is that it constantly seeks the satisfaction of its desires. Like the demands of a child or the incessant waves of the ocean, these desires will never cease.
The dominant culture of the world is hedonism, which is to obey and fulfil every desire of the nafs regardless of the consequences. When we obey our haram desires (hawaa’) there are dire consequences and severe punishment. The one who commits zina will be stricken with poverty no matter how much of wealth he has. The punishment in this world is so painful, so what is in the Hereafter will be far worse!
Allah Ta’ala has ordained the beautiful system of Shari’ah to restrict the nafs not only from haram acts but also from over indulgence in halal matters.
Mujahada against the nafs is to restrict permissible desires. This is a major objective of Ramadan. We stay away from food, drink and carnal desires during Ramadan to train and tame the nafs! A true mujahid is one who fights the nafs in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala, through which he secures a lofty rank. How can we then go to haram when in Ramadan we abstained even from halal? If we strive in the path of mujahadah, He will open up the pathways of guidance for us (ayat).
Nafs is consistently seeking the satisfaction of desires. Like the never ending waves of the ocean, the desires of the nafs are never satisfied.
Ramadan is to restrict the desires, even the permissible desires of the nafs so that we do not become the slave of the nafs. Look, listen, eat, hold and enjoy things that are halal, but in moderation.

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