The Soul that Greatly Commands Evil
by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaq Al-Abaad
Taken from Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan pg.109-111
This is its nature and that is its trait, except for the soul that Allaah grants tawfeeq(guidance) and which He makes firm and assists. None has been saved from the evil of his soul except by the tawfeeq of Allaah, as Allaah says relating from the wife of al-Azeez:
“And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the soul does indeed incline greatly to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Soorah Yoosuf 12:53)
“…..And had it not been for the Grace of Allaah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure…” (Soorah an-Noor 24:21)
Allaah also says to the most honorable and beloved creation to Him:
“And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little.” (Soorah al-Israa 17:74)
Furthermore, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaiyhi wa salam) used to teach them (i.e.., the people) the ‘Speech of Need’ (Khutbah al-Haajah): ” All praise is for Allaah; we praise Him, seek His aid and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our souls and from the wickedness of our actions. Whosoever Allaah guides, then none can misguide him and whosoever Allaah misguides, then none can guide him…” (related by Aboo Daawood)
Thus, evil is concealed within the soul and it necessitates actions of evil. If Allaah lets the servant have his own way with his soul, he will perish at the evil of his soul and the evil actions that it sanctions. If Allaah on the other hand, grants the servant tawfeeq and assists him, he will deliver him from all of this.
Allaah has made in contrast to this soul, a soul that is content. If the soul that constantly commands evil urges the servant with something, the content soul prohibits him from it. The person at times obeys this soul, and at other times obeys the other; he himself is one of the two that is prevalent over him.
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, states: “Allaah has assembled two souls: a soul that greatly orders evil and a soul that is content, and they are hostile towards one another. Whenever one diminishes, the other strengthens. Whenever one takes pleasure in something the other suffers pain as a result of it. Nothing is more difficult for the soul that constantly encourages evil than performing deeds for Allaah and preferring His pleasure to its own desire and there is nothing more beneficial to it than Allaah. Likewise, there is nothing more difficult upon the content soul than performing deed for other than Allaah and that which the incentives of desire bring about, and there is nothing more harmful to it than desire…. and the war is continuous, it cannot come to an end until it completes its appointed time from this world.”
Hence, there is nothing more harmful to a person’s eemaan and religion than his soul that constantly commands evil, whose standing and description is such. It is a primary reason and effective and active constituent that weakens eemaan, unsettles it and impairs it.
As such, it becomes imperative for the one who seeks to safeguard his eemaan from diminution and weakness to tend to the matter of calling his soul to account, admonishing it and to increase in censuring it, so that he can deliver himself from its adverse and devastating consequences and ends.