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In the Name of God بسم الله
Kaya

Tips for 'Struggle Against The Self'

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Many people think that Jihad simply refers to fighting someone or war in the name of religion. But there is evidence to show that it can also refer to spiritual struggle within a person against his/her own ego. For example, struggling to be less stingy and more generous, or struggling to be less selfish and more kind, etc.

Hadith of the Prophet (sawa):

"Al-Sukuni relates on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (A): Verily on seeing the returning armies from the battlefront, the Prophet (S) of God said, “Blessed are those who have performed the minor jihad, and have yet to perform the major one.” When asked, what is the major jihad? the Prophet replied, “the jihad of the self” (struggle against self)."

The Prophet (sawa) refers to this type of spiritual Jihad as being superior to the first kind, as it is given the title 'Major Jihad'.

So brothers and sisters, do you try to engage in this type of struggle daily? What can we do to remove the strength of the ego and purify the heart from bad intentions? 

How do train a powerful spiritual army within ourselves and win the Major Jihad against the nafs?

-

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

“Indeed Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O you who have faith! Invoke blessings on him and invoke Peace upon him in a worthy manner” (33:56)

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa Ali Muhammad

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Salam @Shia farm girl

I've read that taking account of yourself and your actions regularly helps. For example, some people devote a certain part of their day to go through their actions in the last 24 hours and see if they are making spiritual progress or not. 

One of the Imams said, 'Take reckoning from yourselves before you are called to reckoning. Weigh your actions with the scale of your own fear of shame, before they are weighed for you.'

However, I've not had any experience with this so far, but I would love to try it for a period to see if I notice improvements.

And I think reciting certain duas daily might help. Do any of you have any daily habits like these? (of course besides the 5 daily prayers which are wajib)

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From the book "Lantern of the path" by Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS):

"Bliss belongs to the bondsman who strives for Allah against his own nature and passions: he who then defeats his passion wins Allah's pleasure, and the one whose intellect leaves behind the self which commands evil through his striving jihad, submission and humility in the service of Allah has won a great victory. There is no veil between the bondsman and Allah which is darker or more desolate than that of self and passion; there is no better weapon to fight and destroy them than total need of Allah, glory be to Him, fear, hunger, thirst in the day and wakefulness at night. When a person possessing these traits dies, he dies a martyr. If he lives according to the straight path, his end will take him to the greatest pleasure of Allah."

"And [as for] those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in our ways, and Allah is most surely with the doers of good." (29:69)

 

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10 hours ago, Cool said:

Nafs or Self, Which state of nafs do we need to fight? Lawwama, Ammara or Mutma,innah? All 3 or any one or two of these states?

Nafs-ul-ammarah and nafs-ul-lawwamah. The other one is good I think...

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12 hours ago, Shia farm girl said:

I recite various surahs when I cook, &clean,

That's a great tip in my opinion. I feel like at least 50% of the day is activities like this (cooking, cleaning, driving, taking a shower, etc.), all which can be transformed into a God-related action if you recite a surah in your mind, or make dhikr of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 

12 hours ago, Shia farm girl said:

I stream Islamic lectures whenever im driving anywhere

I also do this! 

Lately I've started to listen to dua kumayl and dua makarimul akhlaq daily, and I alternate between them from one day to the next. And also along with it one short surah from the Qur'an (usually the musabbihat surahs which are nr 57, 59, 61, 62 and 64). Apparently the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) used to recite these surahs every night before sleeping. Though reciting them all takes soo long, so I just pick go one by one each night.

I feel like reading duas and Qur'an along with their meanings really gives a spiritual boost in a persons life. 

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15 hours ago, Cool said:

Nafs or Self, Which state of nafs do we need to fight? Lawwama, Ammara or Mutma,innah? All 3 or any one or two of these states?

Salaam, nafs al ammara is the "self inciting" one, and it pushes us to do bad things..this is what is dominant in a non baligh child and its harmless to the child at that point because the child hasnt reached the age of discernment between right and wrong. Once the child becomes baligh, this aspect of the nafs becomes harmful to the the person soul because since theyve attained the age of discernment and they know what is right and wrong, they use their own free will to choose to do bad at that point, so their bad actions are counted against them, so their bad actions,  chioces, what have you begin to shape,form and affect the soul negatively, whereas before, it was harmless.

The next nafs is actually good because it guides us to improve our selves. Its called nafs al lawamma. It is the "self accusing" nafs, cuz its basically that little voice of conscience inside you that tells you that you have done somerhing bad and causes a feeling of guilt to overcome a person, therefore hopefully moving them to apologize, make ammends, and in sha Allah correct their bad behavior.

Lastly, nce a person has reached a state of total submission to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), the nafs is known as mutma'inna, which is the satisfied and at-peace nafs cuz all it does is what Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) commands. The lerson is completely submitted to Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)

So yea, our battle is to force the ammara aspect of ourselves into submission, which is done through the help of lawamma, and hopefully ending at mutma'inna.

Its been a while since ive learned about these, so if ive said anything incorrect, in sha Allah someone here can correct me, but to yhe best of ny knowledge, this is how it works.

W/s

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5 hours ago, Kaya said:

dua makarimul akhlaq

I love this supplication! Definetly at the top of my list. I used to recite it regularly. I need to get back to doing this asap.

Alhamdulilah you will benefit from it. It seems very few people are even aware of it.

W/s

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16 hours ago, Shia farm girl said:

Even with all these actions,people places and things, I still feel like I havent moved forward as much as I would like to.

Yes that was sort of the subject of a topic I started awhile back. How does one practically track progress? Sometimes you feel you are doing "all" the right things (not really of course) but don't feel you are making progress. Or maybe I'm making progress but I just can't tell? I don't know. I think progress is in the little things/actions that we do every day. Trying to break bad habits like putting someone down or losing patience too quickly. I read somewhere that having a good marriage is about looking for ways every day to make your spouses life a little easier (ie make his coffee for him). So focusing on things like that for the sake of Allah. Serving others and treating others well in Hadith seems to be some of the best ways to progress spiritually, even moreso than duas and such (those are important too of course)

Okay sorry this is just a stream of consciousness post, probably not very cohesive but just ramblings of my mind and prob not relevant. 

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6 minutes ago, ireallywannaknow said:

Okay sorry this is just a stream of consciousness post, probably not very cohesive but just ramblings of my mind and prob not relevant. 

Your post is ABSOLUTELY relevant, because Islam is not a spectator sport, lol..we have to actually "act", and what youve suggested are actions. Supplications without actions to back them up are probably nowhere near as effective. Theyre supposed to go hand inhand, otherwise its all talk. What you suggested may seem small, but the affect these actions have exist not only in this realm, but also in the ghayb. Our existence is so much more than this physical dunya/realm, so these little actions, like making your husbands coffee, actually bring goodness in different ways into the marriage and this life as well as the affect it has in the spiritual realm, which the details are pretty much unknown, but nevertheless just as real. 

Nice addition to this thread:)

W/s

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1 hour ago, ireallywannaknow said:

I think progress is in the little things/actions that we do every day. Trying to break bad habits like putting someone down or losing patience too quickly.

Yes, and I think that you can't really count anything as progress as long as it doesn't become a habit. Because sometimes I feel like I make progress for a couple days or weeks but then negligence creeps in and I roll back any progress made.

It's like going to the gym for a couple days and then eating 2-3 cakes in one day :hahaha:

So I think we have to focus on establishing certain habits and being consistent with them, rather than progress for a while and then reverting to old ways.

2 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

I read somewhere that having a good marriage is about looking for ways every day to make your spouses life a little easier (ie make his coffee for him)

Completely agreed. And same for family members, e.g. giving your mother a call and showing you care for her etc.

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On 8/20/2019 at 10:46 PM, Kaya said:

o I think we have to focus on establishing certain habits and being consistent with them, rather than progress for a while and then reverting to old ways.

Absolutely, it's easy at least for me to forget, but yes it's about making small changes and small habits and being consistent. Not sweeping changes that never gain momentum. 

I find it helps to keep a journal. That way you can kind of look back on your thought processes, and see how you've changed. Or for jotting down things you've pondered about so that you can reflect on them again later. Or writing down knowledge you have learned so you don't forget. 

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Has anyone tried the following method of struggling against the self?

 

Reward and punishment system

"In order to be victorious in attaining self-refinement and abstinence from sins, we may use the reward and punishment method. In the beginning we must address the self: I have decide to abstain from sins, if you do not- cooperate in this matter and committed sins, I am going to punish you with such and such punishment.

That is, if you committed back-biting, I will take a fast for one day, or will speak only the minimum required for one week, will donate such amount for charity, will not drink water for one day, will deprive you from one diet, and will remain under the sun during summer, so that you should not forget about the temperature of Hell 's Fire.

After that we must watch over the self strictly so that he does not commit back-biting, and in case he commits it, we must take a bold stand against it without being lenient, and must execute the promised punishment against him. Once, the imperious-self realised that we are serious in refraining from sins and will strictly execute the punishment without least compassion, he will surrender himself before our genuine demands.

If, we implemented this program without any negligence, we may close the paths of Satan's entries, and achieve absolute domination over the self, with the condition that we must take a definite decision and must punish the rebellious-self without showing least compassion.

It is strange that regarding minor violations of civil laws, the violators are indicted and punished, but unfortunately for self-cleansing and refinement this method is not practiced, in spite of the fact that our prosperity and eternal salvation depends upon it. Many of the God’s deserving servants by utilization of the same method were able to attain self-refinement, self-cleaning, and self-domination."

 

The Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali ((عليه السلام).) said:

قال على عليه السلام: نعم العون على اسر النفس وكسر عادتها الجوع.

“Hunger is the most effective tool for achieving self-domination and breaking habits.” (Ghirar al-Hukm, p-773.)

And said:

قال على عليه السلام: من استدام رياضة نفسه انتفع.

“Whoever practices self-asceticism is bound to earn benefits.” (Ghirar al-Hukm, p-647.)

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Salam,

Filter all information that come to the self.  You hear, but not to listen to.  Let only the message from Ahlul Bayt (usually from Qur'an) to pass through and enter the heart.  The heart will not talk and will only accommondate message from Ahlul Bayt.(in reality it is from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)).

To filter from syaitan...or satanic information from entering the self... read Aauuzibillahi minas syaitani rajeem.  Further filtering, read bismillahi rahmani raheem, shahadat, salawat.  Once the message is in the heart.  Say salam to Ahlul Bayt and read continously zikrillah or remembrance of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)...

Continue doing it until the nafs (including the thinking faculty or the brain) surrenders and will only listen to the cleaned heart in order to act.  This is a struggle...

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