Dealing with our own nafs or soul isn't an easy job. We need to put a huge effort and a lot of struggles in order to defeat our own nafs. A strong WWE wrestler maybe can defeat 10 opponents at the same time. But when he needs to 'wrestle' with himself, there is no 100% guaranty that he would success.
That is why concerning spiritual struggle or mujahadah, the Prophet , said:
al-mujahid man jahada nafsahu fi ta'ati'Llah – 'The warrior is the one who strives against his lower soul in obedience to God.'
(Ibn Hibban, Sahih, no.4707; al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, no.1671, who said the hadith is hasan sahih.)
Ramadhan is just a perfect time as fasting is one of the effective ways to tame our nafs. It is a perfect 'school' to educate ourselves. And hopefully, after Ramadhan School ends, we will graduate as a true warrior. InshaAllah..
Speaking about nafs, here i got a good article on Nafs for you.
Know Your Soul, Know Yourself
Author: Abu Aliya
Many passages in the Qurʾān extol the significance of the soul or nafs. In one celebrated passage, it says:
By the soul and Him that formed it, then inspired it with its wickedness and God-fearingness. He is truly successful who purifies it, and he is indeed ruined who corrupts it. [Surah Ash-Shams, 7-10]The Qur'ān also offers this glad-tiding:
But those who feared the standing before their Lord and curbed their soul's desires, the Garden is their abode. [Surah An-Nazi'aat, 40-41]
The Qurʾān describes the human soul (nafs) as possessing three potentials or degrees which are present within it simultaneously.2
The first and the lowest degree is al-nafs al-ammarah bi'l-su' – “the soul that constantly incites to evil”. The Qurʾān says:
…The soul does indeed incite to evil… [Surah Yusuf, 53]
As the believer strives to purge his soul of blameworthy traits (radha'il) and labours to replace them by their praiseworthy opposites (fada'il), the nafs al-ammarah is gradually weaned away from heedlessness and disobedience to God, and thus begins to give way to al-nafs al-lawwamah – “the reproachful soul.” The Qurʾān declares:
No! I swear by the reproachful soul. [Surah Al-Qiyamah, 2]
After much inward striving and discipline, the nafs al-lawwamah is further purified of any opposition to God's will or shari'ah, and is ever receptive to heavenly outpourings. Here the nafs al-mutma'innah – “the soul at peace” or “the tranquil soul” then begins to predominate. It is this soul that is most worthy of divine assistance and acceptance. It is about this that the Qurʾān says:
O tranquil soul! Return to your Lord, pleased and well-pleasing. Enter among My servants. Enter My Paradise. [Surah Al-Fajr, 27-30]
In all of this, four factors are crucial and have a significant bearing in purification of the soul: (i) one's inborn nature; (ii) his upbringing; (iii) spiritual striving (mujahadah) and self-discipline (riyadah) in adulthood; and, of course, (iv) God's tawfiq or enabling grace.
Concerning spiritual struggle or mujahadah, the Prophet , said: al-mujahid man jahada nafsahu fi ta'ati'Llah – 'The warrior is the one who strives against his lower soul in obedience to God.'6So let us roll-up our sleeves and let the work begin.
Our Lord! Grant piety to our souls and purify them.
You are the Best of those who purify;
You are their Guardian
1. Al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra, no.7275. Its chain is sahih - as per al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma'arif, 1987), no.1046.
2. Cf. T.J. Winter (trans.), al-Ghazali, Disciplining the Soul and Breaking the Two Desires(Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1995), xxviii-xxix.
3. Al-Jurjani, al-Ta'rifat (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 2000), 239; no.1931.
4. ibid., 239.
5. ibid., 239.
6. Ibn Hibban, Sahih, no.4707; al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, no.1671, who said the hadith ishasan sahih.