August 5, 2007
3 Stations in the Qur’an
I was graciously taught these concepts by a good friend. Themes are very similar between the Bible and the Qur’an.
There are three stations that mankind goes through as one travels through life. These three capture the struggle and innermost desires of a person.
- Nafs al-amarah bi al-su’
This is the stage at which the bestial, carnal nature of man overrides all else. Desires, wants, lust, greed epitomise man at this point, where actions are driven by selfish nature and focus is upon self. This is the “nafs” that animals and human beings share.
2. Nafs lawamah
Based on the assumption that morality is inherent, this is the station at which humans are able to now exercise a level of conscience, and hence a struggle ensues between one’s desires and will. This struggle continues in the continuous desire to strike a balance. This is the stage at which most of us are presently in.
3. Nafs al-mutmainah
This is the final stage which most will not be able to achieve, the desired station where it takes no effort whatsoever to do good in life. Goodness is therefore the chosen natural action, needing no struggle nor the pricking of conscience upon one’s will.
Jesus, in calling the Pharisees to think instead upon the spirit of the law as opposed to the letter of the law, said to them that the most important commandment was to “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and mind and soul”, and the next was to “Love your neighbour as yourself”. These were spoken in opposition to regimented law of archaic nature, performed very much for the sake of it at the time. Inherent within this teaching is the call towards Nafs al-mutmainah. The natural desire to engage in doing good, which is a result of naturally loving one and the other. Different religions have taught these principles in different terminologies.
I am admittedly within the Nafs lawamah category at this point.
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