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In the Name of God بسم الله

Describe Tazkiyah Nafs/purification Of The Soul

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As-salaam mulaikum. Please describe tazkiyah nafs and how to achieve it in four or five sentences or more, based on your understanding, research, knowledge, and even post hadiths or even links to small articles for us all to benefit. Advices, phrases from ulama highly recommended.


I will start:


Making arrangements to guard oneself from the haraam and moving towards the good. The process of tazkiyah nafs can be started after achiving piety and one sign of a pious man is one who avoids the haraam as mentioned in this hadith


         "Piety prevents from committing prohibited acts", Imam Ali (as)


Another important hadith by Imam al-Baqir (as), "Allah Almighty has said, 'O son of Adam, refrain from what I have forbidden to you and you will be the most pious of people'. Al-Kafi, V.2, P.77, No.7

Edited by race

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Acting / practicing  what you know. Otherwise everything else is futile.


Primarily going against one's desire and practicing self control in all situations.


Ignoring the doubts that arise within you and remembering Allah swt and the goal you are trying to reach.


Recognition of doubts, and recognizing your faith is deficient. Recognizing that faith is not in the mind, it should be in the heart.


Eating as prescribed by the Ahlulbayt, i.e. not to full stomach and stopping while still desiring food.


Salatul Layl.


Constant remembrance of Allah swt.

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I would like to describe the tazkiyah nafs / purifiction of the souls as "a journey".  A journey toward Allah swt (that never ending)


1.  The Prophet (saw) and Imams are the "purified nafs"...represent the final destination of a nafs, when and how it should be. 

2.  We are not capable of purifying our souls unless through the guidance from the already "purified souls"  (the Prophet and Imams).

3.  Getting closer or holding to "purified souls" will indeed give us the opportunities to experience the beauty of purifying the souls in the real sense.  The feel is long lasting.

4.  To let the purified souls to lead our souls all the time is the best way of taskiyah nafs.  The souls of our Prophet and Imams are not death, but alive.

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The term tazkiyah originally means pruning the plant – to remove what is harmful for its growth. It is the task of a gardener to trim and remove the harmful and unnecessary branches and to provide what the plant needs to grow. There is something to be cut off and there is something to be given to it.  These dimensions are to be taken into consideration when it comes to human beings as well. When the term is applied to the human personality, it means to beautify it and to remove from it all evil traces and spiritual diseases that are obstacles in getting close to Allah. In Islam, the ultimate objective of religion and shari'ah (Islamic law) and the real purpose of raising prophets from among mankind is to teach people and help them purify themselves.

Let’s not forget that man acts of his own choice and free will. This is one of the basic differences between a tree when it is pruned and a human who is taught to purify himself. The tree has no intention or volition of its own. It is the gardener who attends to the plant as he desires.  But human beings are not as such. Men are rational agents and they cannot be forced to accept something. Something is moral when one acts arbitrarily of his own free will.  The Quran says:

إِنَّكَ لا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَ لكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشاءُ وَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way.  [28: 56]

The Quran says, God purifies whomever He wants.

بل الله یزکي من یشاء.

Some people may think that if God is purifying us, why should we make efforts?  That is a misconception on the part of some people. We are free and we act of our own free will but we should not think that we are acting independently of Allah.

Another difference between tazkiyah in terms of pruning and tazkiyah in terms of purifying the human soul is that man can engage in self-purification while a tree or plant cannot do so. It needs to be taken care of by someone. A person should not always wait for someone to teach and nurture and help him. He should purify his soul and embellish it all by himself.


Edited by Jawid Akbari

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Just to add to what all dear members have already said; it is the enlightening of the heart. Sins put little dark dots on our hearts and good deeds and acts of piety make them either go away or make the light of the heart more bright than the darkness. It is the unburdening of the soul of sins, the pre-balancing of the scales on the Day of Judgement, the unshackling of the chains of Shaytaan and the binding of the rope towards Allah.

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