In the Name of God the Beneficent and MercifulSelf-Building by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
Holy Quran says "They will ask the (of Muhammad) concerning the spirit. Say: The spirit is by command of my Lord, and knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little." -the Holy Quran (17:85)
A BRIEF OVERVIEW • Meaning of Self-Building • Self-Building: Why ? • Self-Building: The Goal of Divine Messengers • Defining Human Soul • Defining Animal Self • What are Human Virtues?
Meaning of Self-Building • To cleanse one-self of all worldly-impurities so that one can achieve tha pupose of creation that Our CREATOR intended : To Be A True Human Being • To Nurture our Human Soul, so that we can control our Animal Self.
Self-Building : Why? • We must need to ask ourselves, Why do we need Self-Building... • That leads to another whole set of questions • Why are we created? • Where are we going? • Where did we come from? • Where are we going to? • No Human being in this world can go about without pausing at some time in his/her life to ask these simple Questions?
Self-Building: Why? • When we see around us, we observe that every Creation in this Universe is serving a purpose. • You can see whether it is the Sun or the Moon or Water or its a living thing, it is playing its role in the Grand Scheme of Things. • Allah swt is Almighty and Wise and it is not comprehensible that He swt will create Human Beings without any purpose. • So What is that purpose?
Self-Building: Purpose of Creation • We then see, that all forms of worship or dealings or actions that Islam prescribes, lead to one Goal : Self-Building • So that we all can get Closer to Our Lord , The Creator of this Universe. • There are many obstacles to this process of Self-Building • Obstacle 1: Internal Enemy : Our Nafs • Obstacle 2: External Enenmy: Satan and its agents • These two enemies are in collusion.
What does Self-Building do? • Self-Building purifies the soul of Human Beings • Identifies us with our purpose • And Leads us towards our Creator
Self-Building Does not mean.... • To leave everything and live like a monk • or to Stop taking care of family / job etc. • But it means that : • We continue to refine ourselves and perfect our selves, while fullfilling all our social obligations as well. Inshallah
The Goal of Divine Messengers • Why were Divine Messengers sent to mankind? • Holy Quran mentions: • “God did confer a great favor on the believers when he sent among them an apostle from among themselves rehearsing unto them the signs of God, sanctifying them and instructing them in scripture and wisdom, while before that, they had been in manifest error.”
Holy Qurans Message • Clear Message Purpose of Prophets per last Ayah: • Sanctification • Instuction in Scripture • & Wisdom
Purpose of Holy Prophet PBUH • Holy Prophet Said: • "I emphasize the importance of good morals for you because God-Almighty has sent me especially for this purpose.” -Bihar al-Anwar vol. 69, p-375. • Good Morals : The Goal of Prophet PBUH
Nobility of Human Soul Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq AS said: • "God-Almighty appointed prophets with good morals; • therefore, whoever discovers these virtues within himself should be thankful to God for this bounty, • whoever lacks these virtues must pray, cry, and shed tears before God Almighty asking for such blessing." -al Mustadarak, vol. 2, p-283.
Nobility of Human Soul Imam Ali AS; • “Self is like a precious jewel, • whoever strives for his protection, • he will help him attaining exalted positions, and • whoever acted negligently in his protection he shall pull him towards humiliation." -Gharar al-Hukm, p-226.
Nobility of Human Soul Imam Ali Again said • "Whoever knows the worth of his self • will never allow himself to be indulging into passing worldly amusements • and shameful deeds.” -Gharar al-Hukm, p-669.
A Summary : Nobility of Human Self • Human Self is Valuable, like a Jewel • Identifying the Noble Self frees oneself from all wants • We must identify this noble self • All Prophets AS came to train this noble self and to make sure that the humans identify this noble self • All our Holy Imams guided the humanity towards recognizing the nobility of human self
The Wicked Aspect of Human Nafs • There are another set of Ayat and Ahadith that identify the wicked aspect of humans that is the Nafs • All these Narrations urge the muslims to wage fight against this dangerous enemy and called this fight as • Jihad-e-Akbar : The Greater Jihad • The Goal of the Greater Jihad is to make this evils nafs submissive to Allahs will and commands
Ayat about the Nafs "But as far him who feared to stand before his lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo ! The garden will be his home." -the Holy Quran (79:40-41)
The evil Nafs defined • "But as far him who feared to stand before his lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo ! The garden will be his home." -the Holy Quran (79:40-41) • This evil nafs enjoins the human to follow lust
Evil Nafs: Greatest Enemy Holy Prophet PBUH: "Your's greatest enemy is your self, which is located between your two sides." -Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p-64. • Greatest Enemy is the Self.
Never Trust Ones Evil Self “Trusting the self provides the most dependable opportunities for devil's entrance” -Gharar al-Hukm, p-54. • What does trust mean? • What makes us trust our evil self? (Nafs-e-Ammarah)
Self makes us do evil deeds • "Self commands you continuously to indulge into evil deeds, therefore, • whoever trusted his self -he will deceit him, • whoever believed his self -he will destroy him; • and whoever is satisfied with his self –he will lead him to face worst kind of disasters.” -Gharar al-Hukm, p-226.
Prayer by Our Imam • “Oh God! I do complain to you against the self – • which continuously commands; • to indulge into sinful acts and deviations,. • Stands up against Your wrath and punishment; • and pulls me towards the path of absolute destruction." -Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 94, p-143.
Prophets Answer about Moral Conduct "A man approached the Holy Prophet (S) and asked: 'What is religion?' The Holy Prophet (S) replied: 'Good moral conduct.' The man asked the same questions from the Holy Prophet (S) alternatively by appearing from right, left, and behind the Messenger. Finally the Holy Prophet (S) took a deep look at him and said: 'Why don't you understand?' Religion is defined as never to get angry." Mohajateh al-Baiza, vol. 5, p-89.
Human Soul vs Evil Self All humans have two dimensions: a) The Animal Dimension b) The Spiritual Dimension We see in all the Teachings of Holy Quran and Ahlul Bait, that they talk about A) Nourishing the Spritual Dimension B) Controlling the Animal Dimension
Human Soul vs Evil Self • They both are mutually exclusive • You cant have both strong at one time. • The Trained Human Nafs will lead a person to the path of excellence • The Untrained Nafs will lead us to the path of destruction
Animal Traits vs Human Traits • All human being share with animals the need for • Shelter • Protection • Food • Fullfilling Other basic instincts
Animal Traits vs Human Traits • Islam does not stop a person from fullfilling those needs within the limits of Shariat. • But that is not the desired or ultimate goal of creation • Islam tries to nourish Human traits like wisdom, courage, honor, self-respect, self-control, honesty and other human traits
Self-Building: from 40 Hadith Imam Khomeni RA mentions in the book Forty Hadith' first Chapter: In the begining one need to remind everyday pause and reflect and say to oneself: "O callous self! Thou has wasted precious years of thy short life in pursuance of hedonistic and sensuous propensities! And nothing is gained except regret and sense of loss. Thou should be regretful before God for thy past deeds, and commence a new journey in the direction of His prescribed goal, the journey that leads to the life of eternity and perpetual bliss......
Self-Building: from 40 Hadith First Stage with many Steps • First Step : Daily Contemplation • Second Step: Will and Resolution • Third Step: Effort and Struggle • Fourth Step: Stipulation & Self-Examination • Fifth Step: Guarding against Evil • Sixth Step: Rememberance
Who is the most exalted and most noble? • “Who is the most exalted and most noble person?” • “The one who does not regard the world worthy of greatness of his self.” Replied the Imam -Tohf al-Aqul, p-285.