We all say. “I said to myself or “My mind told me” (or. my intellect). But what is ‘you’ and what is your ‘self? And what is your mind? Even though these things are still not clear to us, and 1 am not going to discover something unknown, I shall attempt to give a tangible example, The human body is in constant change, and cells which lived in it years ago no longer exist (like the water flowing in the river at any point, changes every moment but river stays). The self is the same: its hopes, aspirations, pains and sufferings are constantly changing. At this point you may well ask which part of the ‘I’ is unchanging? It is the ‘soul’ and your next question may be “What is the soul?” God has revealed knowledge to us about many mysteries of the human body: the functions of our limbs and cures for many diseases. He has also informed us about sicknesses of the human self (nafas). He has told us that some selves (nafas) are more prone to doing wrong (nafas amara), while others are self-critical (nafase lawama); in contrast, other selves are completely satisfied and peaceful (nafase mutminah). He has also told us that every human (self, nafas) tastes death. But the Almighty has not disclosed anything concerning the human soul, as this knowledge belongs only to God. The soul is not affected by limits of time and space. For example, a person in your presence may drop off to sleep for fifteen minutes. And yet in that time may have ‘traveled’ to America or India, lived there for twenty or thirty years and experienced tremendous joys and sorrow. But how could a span of twenty years or more possibly be contained in fifteen minutes? This example shows how we can undergo great suffering or enjoy blessings beyond the grave. The soul itself is not affected by anything ~ not even disease or health. It was in existence before it was committed to this body and to this self and it will remain even after we depart from our bodies and after the self has vanished.

Conflict of the Mind and the Self:

Here is another example of the conflict between the mind and the self: You may be warm and cozy in bed, fast asleep on a cold night when the alarm goes to wake you up for dawn prayer. At that moment an inner voice in you tells you to get up and pray. Just as you’re about to get up, you hear another inner voice which says “Why don’t you sleep for a bit longer?” “But prayer is better than sleeping,” the first voice intervenes. “It would be lovely to go on sleeping,” the second voice retorts, “and there’s plenty of time. You can be a few minutes late.” And so the battle between the two voices continues: “Sleep!” “Get up!” “Sleep!” “Get up!” The former is the mind and the latter is the self. This kind of situation shows up in many shapes and forms. It is the kind of hesitation that comes over a person who wants to jump across a wide ditch. He would like to get across, but is afraid of falling. He hears two different voices in his inner self: “Jump!” “Don’t jump -turn back!” If he responds to the voice that tells him to jump, he will get to the other side. But if he hesitates and waits for the voice that tells him to turn back, and then decides to jump, he is bound to fall into the ditch. ‘In every situation like the ones above, we find ourselves having to make a choice. At times like this, good reason can only prevail if we have faith. It is only when we have Iman (faith) that we can achieve victory of the mind over the body. The force of Iman is proportional to the victory of the power of your mind. However, this does not mean that the mind can always conquer the desires of the body, and that a Muslim will never make mistakes.


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Islam-A General Introduction: “Ta’rif-e-Aam bi-Din il-Islam” By: Shaikh Ali Al-Tantawi تعریف عام بدین الاسلام