As the test of this life entails-unless otherwise willed by Allah-the lower-self was created to continuously invite men to commit evil deeds. One of these evil deeds is to act insincerely. In order to destroy sincerity, the lower-self directs itself in a way as to encourage all kinds of evil thoughts. As indicated in the verse quoted below, the wicked side of the soul is comprised of "incessant sin and evil."
And the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or with its sense of duty. (Surat ash-Shams: 7-8)
However, Allah also inspires man ways to avoid this incessant evil and to cleanse and purify his soul.
The subsequent verse maintains that those who corrupt their souls will fail and those who purify them will be among those who succeed as follows:
He who purifies it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed. (Surat ash-Shams: 9-10)
Certainly, the one who aims to acquire sincerity and to be among the pious servants of Allah should make such a choice. Allah calls attention to the genuine efforts made by the true believers in the following verse:
And among the people there are some who give up everything, desiring the good pleasure of Allah. Allah is Ever-Gentle with His servants. (Surat al-Baqara: 207)
However, what is important is that one should conduct himself with honesty and sincerity, and should in no way pity nor support the wicked side of his soul. Thus, he must train himself to this effect, purifying his soul of evil, and rendering it submissive. Therefore, he should never confuse the wicked side for his real soul, nor ever support it. He should know that the wicked side of his soul is always wrong, opposes the Qur'an, and acts as the devil's speaker. One should evaluate anything received from it with this understanding.
Just as one feels no pity towards another person's lower-self, or feel compelled to defend it or prove that it is in the right, he should act similarly in regards to his own self. He should treat the wicked side of his soul as an alien and take opposing side to it. He should admonish it when it encourages evil, and should listen to his conscience's voice, without submitting to the evil compulsion. Only in this way could he detect any deceptive methods used by his lower-self, evaluate it objectively, and judge it on the basis of the Qur'an. Only then could he acquire sincerity and Allah's consent. Allah informs us of this truth in a verse as follows:
But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the lower self its appetites, the Garden will be his refuge. (Surat an-Nazi'at: 40-41)2009-08-17 21:13:03