Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nafs / Self / Inner Voice

A neo-pagan asked: I am curious, Samiya, what you may think regarding our inner voice that we are considering as a voice of spiritual, perhaps divine, guidance that leads us ever to follow a higher (?) path. This inner voice is not quite free will, but something other. It is some manner of beacon within our hearts that calls us to our more noble and compassionate destinies. Abraham Lincoln once referred to it as "our better angels" in suggesting that it is a divine voice that always urges compassion, kindness, love, caring, giving, and sacrifice for others. 

As you have read in our posts, I'm sure, we have labeled it with more names than are useful, due to our obvious confusion and uncertainty about just what it may be. ... What is the, or more likely what ARE the, Islamic views and comments on this idea of an inner voice. Is it our soul/spirit speaking to us? Is it the voice of God, or some quality he has bestowed upon us to give us direction through life? It is also possible, though I doubt it, that Muslims reject the notion of any such 'inner guidance' (?). 

Reply: The Quran uses the word NAFS to describe the SELF. This SELF is described by various adjectives, such as NAFS-e-AMMARRA, NAFS-e-LAWAMMA and NAFS-e-MUTMAINNA 
The NAFS-e-AMMARRA is the SELF which urges us to evil []
The NAFS-e-LAWAMMA is the SELF which we speak of as our conscience []
The NAFS-e-MUTMAINNA is the SELF who's conscience is clear and is satisfied and contented with God, and God is pleased with this SELF. [
Copied below are the last four verses of Quran Chapter 89. To read the entire chapter, please visit: 

The SELF is a real entity, something which the Quran informs us is taken by God when we sleep, and returned to those for whom death has not been decreed, and withheld from those whose death was decreed while they slept. 

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ
Transliteration 27: Ya ayyatuha alnnafsu almutmainnatu
Pickthal 27: But ah! thou soul at peace!

ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً
Transliteration 28: IrjiAAee ila rabbiki radiyatan mardiyyatan
Pickthal 28: Return unto thy Lord, content in His good pleasure!

فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي
Transliteration 29: Faodkhulee fee AAibadee
Pickthal 29: Enter thou among My bondmen!

وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي
Transliteration 30: Waodkhulee jannatee
Pickthal 30: Enter thou My Garden!

... please note that I only respond with my current understanding of what the Quran states; it may or may not represent popular Muslim belief. I would request you and all who read my emails and blogposts to please crosscheck with the original texts and other people's perspectives. 

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