My Keynote Address on Spiritual Psychology in Counselling: Islamic Perspective

Assalamulaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

This is an example of one key-note address on applied psychology presented not long before this in IIUM: It is  as follows:

N AT1 0 N A L;, S EM I N A R
2 0
Prnrpcr >r,ur Z’rrorm National Seminar on ~~~i ralldr ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ i .
Applied Psychology
Yd – 4‘h SEPTEMBER 2005
Keynote address I
“SOULation- The concept of soul, mind and mental health”
Very Distinguished Academic Fellow- Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-
The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)
International Islamic Univei-sity Malaysia
Cultural Activity Centre (CAC)
International Islamic University Malaysia
Organised by:
Appiied Psychology Centre
Department Of Psychology
International Islamic University MaIaysia (IIUM)
In Islam the counseling prosess can be an aspect of the fundamental Qur’anic ta’lim,
tarbiah, tazkiyyah, tilawah, qira’at, tadhkirah, tadhaikkur as well as the ta’dib, tadhkirah
and others of like nature of the Sunnah, and their ramifications. These may involve
‘hikmah’, and ‘mau’izah hasanah’ of the Qur’an, among others.
In the University of Calgary(l), counseling is seen as:
“… a process of helping you use your own and other resources in answering your
questions or solving your dilemmas. Some of thte reasons students seek counselling
are for personal growth and understanding, relationship concerns, self-esteem or
body issues, anxiety, loneliness, family problems, career decisions, difficulties
managing school work or exams, just to name <I few.”
It promises: ‘ Our counsellors have extensive professional training with backgrounds
in education, therapy, and communication. Counsellors are a little more removed
frGm your personal situation and have the expefiise and knowledge that can make a
difference. ”
In a web site about university counseling (2) we can see the following question and its
What sort of issues can be helped with counsellling?
“Most personal, relationship or identity problems can be helped through counselling –
this includes anxiety, stress and depression; family and/or relationship difficulties,
sexual problems and identity issues. Counselling can also help with other issues
such as: adjusting to a new culture, dealing with dilemmas, making difficult decisions
or choices, as well as more specific problems such as addictions or eating
*Key-note address for the National Seminar on Applied Psychology; 3-4* September,
2005, in HUM.
The writer in currently Very Distinguished Academic Fellow, ISTAC HUM.
Concerning the components of a theory about counseling it is observed that:
There have been several isolated attempts to define the components of a theory.
Nelson-Jones ( I 985: 131) suggested four components,, which can be summarised as:
1 basic assumptions;
2 an explanation of how both functional and dysfunctional feelings, thoughts and
behaviours are acquired;
3 an explanation of how they are perpetuated or sustained;
4 practical suggestions for changing and modifying dysfunctional feelings, thoughts
and behaviours that are internally consistent with the preceding elements.
In relation to counseling the first three components can be regarded as the essence of a
theory of personality. Then, the links between a personality theory and the methods of
treatment derived from it are tenuous at best (Fonagy and Higgett 1984), and it is not
clear just what strategies and interventions accurately interpret a theory, or what
constitutes internal consistency. Some cognitive-behavioural approaches and new
developments in counselling, such as solution-focused brief therapy (George ef a/.
1990), in which it is assumed that attempts to understand the cause of the problem are
not necessary or even useful and that problems do not represent underlying pathology,
would be found lacking if this model of a theory were accepted.(3) (New Directions in
Counselling by Rowan Bayne, Jenny Bimrose, Ian Hoirton, Routledge, New York, 1996,
The author goes on to mention how Neimeyer (1993:141) describes the components of
a model of ‘theoretically progressive integration’ that seeks to elaborate what he sees as
a coherent theory of therapy, that attempts to provide both a conceptualisation of and a
direction for clinical practice. Neimeyer describes the structure of psychotherapy theories
in a diagram of three concentric circles around the core metatheoretical or philosophical
assumptions, and moving outwards from ‘formal theory’ about the nature of human
development, through ‘clinical theory’ that provides an organising framework for
therapeutic interventions, to the outer circle of ‘strategies and techniques’. He sees it as
highly improbable that epistemologically incompatible systems will ever converge to yield
a unified system to guide clinical practice. Neimeyer suggests that the optimal
circumstances for theoretical integration are compatibility of the core metatheory.
However, he acknowledges that functional integration may also take place at the level of
clinical theory, strategies and interventions. An earlier attempt to define the components
of a theory was put forward by Mahrer (1989). He starts from the premise that a theory
of counselling (or psychotherapy) is not the same as a theory of personality. Mahrer
emphasises what Neimeyer describes as ‘clinical theory’ and, like Beitman (1 990),
seems to regard counselling as a practical endeavour, intended to help people to
change. Mahrer’s seven components can be summarised as:
1 useful material to be elicited from the client;
3 explanatory concepts to describe presenting problems and targets for change;
4 therapeutic goals and directions of change;
5 general and more specific principles of change;
6 strategies, techniques and procedures;
7 what strategies to use under what circumstances.
_ _
— – — – 2 howand what to listen for:-
Although Mahrer describes the various cornponerits in greater depth than has been
found elsewhere in the literature, it is still difficult l:o arrive at an operational definition that
satisfactorily distinguishes between several of them (Bayne et a/. 1994: 151).(ibid.p.284-
Is lam ic pe rs pective
In the Islamic perspective, ‘counselling’ goes to thls deepest level of the human
substance, the spiritual; and this goes back to the very essence of the Islamic message
itself. The Qur’an states, to the effect, in relation to the prayer of the Patriarch in the
Abrahamic Tradition:
“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of thleir own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs
to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdorn, and sanctify them: for Thou art the
Exalted in Might, the Wise.”(4).
The significant words are: your signs, the Book, Wisdom and ‘purify them’.
The commentators mention the meaning of the purification (‘tazkiyyah’) as covering
the aspects of belief in the heart, the good moral qualities therein, and the obedience to
the Will of God in the limbs of the servants of God.
In Islamic spiritual psychology, the core of the human personality is termed as : the
heart (‘qalb’), the self (‘nafs’), the intellect (‘aql’) and the spirit (‘ruh’).(See Imam al-
Ghazali (rd), ‘Ihya’ ‘Uium al-Din’, chapter ‘ajaib alqalb9)(5)ln the Malay World this is
discussed by Shaikh ‘Abd al-Samad at-Falimbani in his ‘Sayr al-Salikin’. .Concerning this
inner core of man Imam Ghazali says:
It is by means of soul that man is the Lord of creation as it is by means of soul that man
acquires the knowledge of God and His attributes and by no other organs of the body. It
is by means of soul that man can go to the nearness of God and make efforts to realise
Him. So soul is the king of the body and its different organs are its servants to carry out
its orders and commands. It is accepted by God when it remains free from things other
than God. When it is attached to things other than God, it drifts away from God. It is the
soul which will be asked and rebuked. It becomes fcrtunate if it is purified and cleaned,
and it becomes fortunate if it is kept impure. It is the knowledge of soul which is the root
of the knowledge of God. When man does not know himself he does not know God.
Majority of men are ignorant of soul and its attributes as screen is cast between soul and
baser self. God says: “God moves between a man and his soul and controls it and its
attributes. It is between the two fingers of the Merciful. It sometimes reaches the last limit
of the devil and sometimes rises so high as to the throne of the Almighty. He who does
not enquire about hissoul is included among those persons of whom God says in-the.
following verse: They forgot God and so He made their souls forgetful 19:67. They are
the transgressors. It is therefore essential to know soul and its attributes which is the
root of religion.
What has been said in the earlier pages of this book relates to the outward organs and
bodily limbs. Now we shall narrate the attributes and evils of soul which are the subject
matter of secret knowledge.
Concerning the ‘qalb’, ‘ruh’, nafs, and ‘aql:
(IQ)A LB has got two meanings. It means first a piece of flesh in the left breast called
heart which is hollow in the interior, which is filled up with black blood and which is again
a source of Ruh or life. Heart is the centre or mine foir circulation of blood. The detailed
description of heart is to be found in Anatomy. It exists in breasts and lower animals and
appertains to the material world. We shall not refer to it in our book.
The second meaning of Qalb is soul with which we are concerned here. It is an
immaterial thing or formless Latifa or basic subtle element which has got connection with
the material heart. It is just like unseen electricity. It is the principal thing in a man. It
catches knowledge of God and spiritual world., It is punished and rewarded. The
connection of soul with heart is the connection of attributes with the bodily limbs, or a
machine with the machine man, or a house with its inmates. This connection is of two
kinds. One kind of connection is with ‘llm al-Mukashafah or spiritual knowledge. But in
this look, our object is to narrate ‘Ilm at-Mu’amalah or knowledge of worldly usages. Its
second connection requires the knowledge of the secrets of soul. The Prophet did not
throw light on this object and so we should refrain from it. We shall translate the word
Qalb in this book as soul or an immaterial thing Latifa with its attributes.
(2) RUH: It has got also two meanings. It means first a material thing within the heart
which vibrates the whole body like the current of electricity and which runs through the
veins of the body. It is called ‘life’. It has got the power of touch, hearing, sight, smell and
the power of the other limbs of the body. It is just like radiation of light of a lighted lamp
pitched in a corner of the house. It is a subtle gas or steam which creates the heat of the
heart. Our object is not that. The second meaning of Ruh is an immaterial subtle thing
which is called soul and life. God says: They ask you about Ruh. Say: It is a command
from my Lord. 17:85.
(3) NAFS: It has got also two meanings for our purpose. The first meanings is passion or
baser and lower self. Passion is a comprehensive word consisting of greed, anger and
other evil attributes. The Prophet said: Your greatest enemy is your passion lying by
your two sides. The second meaning of Nafs is soul as described above. When Nafs
assumes calmness and has removed passion, it is ‘then termed Nafs Mutmainna or
satisfied soul as God says: 0 satisfied soul, return to your Lord satisfied and satisfying
Him-89: 27.
In the first meaning, Nafs is with the, party of devil. When the calm nature of Nafs does
rebukes one for neglecting divine duties. If soul gives up protests and surrenderiFitself-fothe
devil, it is called Nafs Ammarah or passion addicted to evils. The Quran refers to this
in verse 1253.
– — not-become-perfect, it is called-hlafs La-wamah-or self-accugng sou1,assuch a soul
(4) ‘AQL: It has got many meanings two of which we shall narrate here. The first
meaning of Aql is intellect with which true nature of things of this material world is known
and its seat is in the soul. The second meaning of “Aql is the power to understand the
secrets of different sciences. It is a subtle essence called knowledge which is an
attribute. Attribute and the thing which contains it are two different things. Intellect is the
name of both. This is supported by the following Hadis. The first thing which God created
is intellect. The attribute of intellect is an immateriai thing but the attribute cannot stand
without a material thing. So the place of intellect should be created first or along with it.
Knowledge is the content of intellect and so it was created first.
Concerning what he calls the ARMY OF THE SOUL: God says in the Qur’an ( 71: 31)-
None except He knows the army of your Lord’. There are armed soldiers in soul. Their
real nature is not known and nobody knows their nulmber except He. Soul has got two
armies. One army can be seen by the external eye iand another army cannot be seen
except by the internal eye. These two armies are necessary for upkeep of the dominion
of this king. Courtiers, servants, helpers, etc. are the armies of the king which can bee
seen by the external eyes. Similarly, hands, feet, eyss, ears, tongue and other outward
and inward organs are the armies of soul. They are all servants of soul which rules over
them. They have been created to obey them. They cannot go against soul. When the
soul orders the eyes to open, they open. When it orders the feet to walk, they walk. Their
submission is like that of angels of God. The angels have been created to obey God and
they cannot go against Him. These armies are necessary for soul for its journey to God,
as conveyance and food are necessary for body. It has to cross many stations to meet
Him for which it has been created. God says: I have not created Jinn and man but that
they should worship Me-5156. Body is the conveyance or carrier of soul and its food is
knowledge. In order that it can acquire its food, the ingredients which are necessary are
goods deeds. To reach. God is impossible till the body does not remain sound.
This world is the seed ground for the next and a station of guidance. It is called Duniya
or near planet as it is the closest station out of many stations. So to acquire food in the
world is necessary.
TWO ARMJES OF HEALTH: To take food which keeps the health of body is necessary
and to avoid that which is harmful to it is to be avoided. So it is necessary to approach
two armies, the hidden army of greed for food and drink and the open army of bodily
organs. So greed for food and drink have been created in soul as they are necessary for
the upkeep of the body, and the other organs are the arms of greed. Two armies are
also necessary to remove the outer enemies who are destructive evils, such as anger
etc. with which these evils are removed.
THE ARMIES OF THE SOUL ARE THREE: (1) One asmy does benefit to the soul, the
army of greed. It can be termed also as yl. (2) The second army is pnger which
– moves the bodily organs to give the object of greed power and strength. (3) The third ‘-
army works like secret emissaries-the powers of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. b
open arms-fingers to catch, eyes to see etc. The third army is divided into two. One army ,
lives openly, such as attributes of five organs-hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. I
Another army lives secretly in the horizon of brain. They are five-(I) power of idea (2) /
power of thought (3) power of memory, (4) power of retention (5) and power of

.I L L”
rt 1
These defined powers are entrusted to different organs. For those armies, there are J t 6’ ‘. : ? 4 , .(
consolidating them together. These five powers are irr the brain and they secretly stay
the re in.
These are the armies of soul. A man of weak intellect will feel difficult to understand
them but the wise get benefit from these discussions. We shall try to make those who
are weak, in understanding these things by illustrations.
(?)The Soul is a king over body just as a king is over an empire. In the empire of the
soul, hands, feet and other organs are like different business men and industrialists in
town. Greed is a collector of revenue in that town, anger is its police, intellect is it
minister and soul is its king. The collector greed is like one who collects food and anger
is like a police who keeps guard over it. The collector greed is a downright liar and a
deceiver. It ostensibly wishes good but there is destructive poison in it. The reign of soul
over the region of body is similar. It goes on well if all organs and attributes are under
the rule of soul. When the soul takes the help of its minister intellect, it rules over greed
keeping anger in control. In order to bring anger under control, sometimes it seeks the
help of greed and then its character and conduct become good. He who goes away from
this path, becomes like one about whom God speaks in the following verse: Have you
looked towards one who takes his passion as deity-(25:43) God says: He who follows
his greed is like a dog. If you attack it, it will prolong its tongue. If you give it up, it will
also prolong its tongue-(7:176). God speaks in another verse about the person who
controlled his passion: As for such men as entertained the fear of standing before their
Lord and controlled their souls from low desires, their abode will be Paradise-(79:41).
(2) Second illustration of secret army of soul. Know, 0 dear readers, that the body is a
town and intellect or conscience rules over that town like a king. Its armies are its
external and internal senses and its subject are its organs. Sexual passion and anger
are the enemies of the region of body and soul is its guard. If it fights against its enemies
and defeats them and compels them to do what soul likes, its actions become
commendable and it returns to the Almighty. God says that He gives superiority to those
who fight with their lives and properties over those wlho worship sitting-(9:20). If the soul
acts as guard like the frontier guards and neglects the organs of the body, it is punished.
On the Resurrection Day, it will be asked: 0 dishonest guard,-you have eaten food and
drunk milk, but you have not inquired into lost animal and have not arranged for
treatment of diseased animals. To-day I will take retaliation on you for this. In the Hadis
below, such a Mujahid or fighter has been praised: You have returned from the little fight
to the greatest fight.
(3) Third illustration of secret army of soul. Intellect is like a rider, greed is like a horse
and anger is like his hunting dog. When the rider is expert and his horse and dog are
trained, success-can be-obtained in hunting. When the rider is inexperien-c-e-d_, _h orse
disobedient and dog biting, then the horse does not obey the rider and the dog does not
run obeying him. Similarly, when intellect is mature rind greed and anger are submissive
to intellect, success in sure, but if intellect is immature and greed and anger are not
under control, there is surely ruin.
KNOWLEDGE AND WILL: The attributes for which man’s soul becomes fit to approach
God and honoured are knowledge and will. Knowledge means knowledge of the material
and spiritual world and reality of intellect. Then matters lie behind the knowledge gained
by the senses. Lower animals have got no share iri it. Regarding will, when a man can
understand by his intellect the result of any action and know what will bring good, then
there grows in his mind will to obtain that good and to do that action. It is not the will of
greed or the instinct of the lower animals. It is opposed to greed. Intellect wills what will
be its good in future and spends for it. There is greed of taking delicious food in illness
but intellect prohibits its eating. A wise man refrains from eating it. So soul of man is
endowed with knowledge and will and not the lower animals. Even little children are void
of these attributes. There are two stages of acquiring knowledge on the part of a boy.
The first stage is his learning of all preliminary necessary things and to know lawful and
unlawful things. He cannot gain expert knowledge at this stage but becomes close to it.
The second stage is his acquisition of knowledge by learning and thinking. He becomes
then like an expert writer.
THREE MODES OF GAINING SOUL-POWER: (IM)o de of llham or inspiration. God’s
inspiration comes on some souls “unknowingly and for that they gain spiritual
knowledge. (2) Some souls acquire spiritual power by learning and efforts. (3) Some
souls acquire spiritual power quickly and some late. There are degrees of these
acquisitions in the case of Prophets, friends of God, wise and learned men. This
advance is unlimited. There is no limit of knowledge about God. The rank of a Prophet in
this regard is highest. All secrets are disclosed to hirn without his efforts. A child in its
mother’s womb does not know the condition of a boy. A boy does not know the condition
of a grown-up-man. A grown-up man does not know the condition of an intelligent man
and his acquired learning. Similarly, an intelligent man does not know the blessings,
mercy and gifts showered by God on the Prophets. These blessings are also cast upon
those souls which remain prepared and become fit to receive them. The Prophet said:
“There is your Lord’s blowing in the days of your life. Beware and be prepared for it”. The
meaning of this preparation is to remove the impurities that have fallen on soul as a
result of commission of sins and to purify it. It
can be understood from the following Hadis: God comes down every night to the nearest
heaven and says: Is there any invoking man whose invocation I shall accept? In another
Hadis: The religious man remains eager to meet Me, but I am more eager to meet him.
In a Hadis Qudsi, God says: 1 advance one cubit for one who advances to Me half a
From this, it is understood that God does not withhold His mercy to shed the luster of
knowledge on soul , but the people themselves are to be blamed for they do not cleanse
their souls or minds from the impurities they heaped on them. As air does not enter a pot
full of water, so knowledge of God does not enter a scul or mind if it remains filled up
with things other than God. For this reason, the Holy Prophet said: Had the party of the
devil not moved round the minds of the children of Adam, they would have seen the
spiritual world. From this, it is understood that knowleclge is the special attribute of
human soul. The knowledge about God’s being, attributes and actions is the most
honorable and on that strength-a man becomes perfect and within this perfection there
lies his fortune of approaching God.
PECULIARITIES OF HUMAN SOUL: Body has been framed for accommodation of
soul which is again the house of knowledge. Divine knowledge is the human goal
and its speciality. An ass and a horse are the same for carrying loads but a horse is
superior to an ass, as horse has got additional qualities of beauty and running fast
which an ass and other animals lack in; similarly there is difference between a man
and an angel. The man who engages all his limbs, thoughts and actions to please
God is like an angel and fit to be called an angel. God says about Joseph: Surely he
is an honourable angel-12:21. He who makes effcrts only for his physical comforts
comes down to the class of an animal. He becomes then envious like an ox, greedy
like a pig, biting like a dog, eats like a camel, takes revenge like a leopard; cunning
like a jackal and clever like a devil-the embodiment of the above evils. There is no
such limb or senses which do not help a man to reach God. He is successful who
walks in that path and he is unsuccessful who is misguided.
Man’s fortune lies in attaining God’s vision as the ultimate goal, the next world as his
permanent abode, this world as his temporary abode, body as his carrier and the
limbs as his servants.
Human soul is the centre to realise them and a king over the region of body. His
power of idea works like a post office in front of his head. All news gathered by
senses are accumulated therein. The power of thinking keeping behind the brain
works like a treasurer, the tongue as its interpreter, the five senses like secret police.
Eyes have been given power to receive various colours, ears to receive different
voices, nose to smell and other limbs to receive other news and they send them to
the power of ideas which send them to the.power of thinking which send them to the
king soul.
The companion Ka’ab Ahbar said: I went once to Hazrat Ayesha and said: Man’s
eyes are his guide, his two ears are his guards, his tongue his interpreter, his two
hands are his wings, his two feet are his news carriers and his soul is his king. When
the king soul is pleased, his armies are also pleased. Hazrat Ayesha said: I heard
the Prophet say thus. Hazrat Ali said by way of illustration of human soul: God has
got many pots in this world. The dearest to God among them is that which is most
soft, pure and strong. Then he explained and said: The soul which is most firm in
religion, most pure in faith, most kind in treatment with brethren is dearest to God.
This can be seen from the following verse: They are hard upon the unbelievers and
kind to one another among them- 48:29. In another verse; God says: His light is like
a niche wherein there is lamp-24:35. To explain this verse, Hazrat Ka’ab said: The
meaning of light is the light of soul of a believer. God says: Or it is like darkness in a
fathomless sea. Hence the soul of a hypocrite has been spoken of as an illustration.
NATURES OF MEN: There are four natures of man (1) nature of the beast of prey,
(2) animal nature, (3) devilish nature and (4) angelic nature. Anger is a sign of the
nature of the animal of prey along with enmity, hatred, rebuke, attack on people etc.
His animal nature is seen when tiis sexual passion becomes Strong: He has-got –
devilish nature who has qualities like deceit, fraud conspiracy etc. He has got
angelic nature who possesses qualities such as divine service, worship of God,
doing good to all. As he has got the divine thing soul, he has got the nature of
lordship and he likes to be free from servitude and meanness.
1, – _ – – —
The roots of these four natures are in a man and centred in the human soul. If he has
got only the nature of a lower animal, he becomes like a pig or a dog. If he has got
only the nature of the devil, he becomes a devil. If he has got divine qualities, he
becomes a truly wise man. If he follows sexual passion and greed, he acquires the
evils of impurity, shamelessness, meanness, miserliness, hatred and other bad
habits. If he obeys the dictates of anger, he acquires heinous conducts such as
haughtiness, pride, love of power, self-praise, jokes, contempt for others, oppression.
If he obeys the devil, he acquires evil conducts such as deceit, deception, treachery,
fraud etc. When he controls the above evils, he is endowed with divine qualities such
as wisdom, knowledge, certain faith, knowledge of the natures of all things. When he
becomes free from sexual passion and anger, he acquires the following virtuespardon,
contentment, self satisfaction, asceticism, piety, God fear, contentment and
shame. If he keeps anger under control, he gains heroism, kindness, patience,
silence etc. . . ,. ‘ * * . . * .. .
, r : . , * .
SOUL IS A MIRROR: Soul is like a mirrohh’ which’ the above evils and virtues are
reflected. The virtues make the soul shining, resplendent and bright and the evils,
sins and guilt make it dark. The Prophet said: When God wants good of a servant,
He appoints an admonished in his soul. He said: He who has got an admonished in
his soul has got a guard from God. Zikr or God’s remembrance becomes lasting in
his soul. God says: Beware, souls get consolatiori by the remembrance of God 13:
25. The sins are like smokes full of darkness which covers the soul. One sin after
another comes over the soul like a layer of smokes till his soul gets completely ~ enWdp6d &yitdarkn,esS. As -‘a result,’soul becon’Pels t%hbved from. GodAt’is the ‘seal
on soul of vvbiGh Gqdspeaks ip yerse 83:14-r\leve~~,i.s-it s eal on 3puls for what they
have earned. God says: Had I’wished, I would have sur’ely punished them and
sealed their souls.”
When sins accumulate in soul, it becomes blind to good things of religion. The sage
Maimun-b-Mehran said: When a man commits a sin, a black spot falls in his soul.
When he makes repentance, it blots out.. Again when he commits sin, the spot
increases. Thus if sins are committed one after another, the soul becomes dark and
that is the seal on soul. The Prophet said; The soul of a believer is bright and there is
a bright lamph h:-Th&sobl of an unbefiever ik’bldck arld blind?The polish of soul is
obedience to God with opposition to*pass/on,*Sins,a re; impurities on soul. He who
proceeds towards sins makes hjs soul dark. , , , ~., ‘
8 ‘ * ‘ * .I, . .
CONCERNING THE FOUR KINDS OF SOUL: The Prophet said: Soul is of four
kinds. The first kind of soul is bright in which there is a lighted lamp. It is the soul of a
believer. (2) The second kind of soul is black and it is the soul of an unbeliever. (3)
The third kind of soul is confined within cover and it is the soul of a hypocrite. (4) The
fourth kind of soul is mixed with faith and hypocrisy. Faith in such a soul is like a
plant which the water grows and if there is other liquids like blood and pus, its growth
is retarded. God says: When a party of the devil attack those who are God fearing,
they remember God and-they keep on looking 7;201. The;brightness of 9oul;is
gained by iikr’which fin’ds’cohhlation in ‘a perso6 who’has gof’God-fear. So Godfear-
is athe of’Eikr Which is again the gate’of. K M f hr’inn’er reveIati6n-whjc) *
again the gate of salvation and the gate of having the fortune of Divine vision.
ILLUSTRATION OF SOUL: Soul is a container of knowledge. As a mirror has got
connection with figure and form, so also a soul has got connection with objects of
knowledge. In other words, picture, or figure can be seen if placed in front of a mirror.
So also different objects of knowledge are reflecteld in soul. A mirror assumes the
colour of a figure placed before it. Similarly soul assumes the colour or nature of an
unknown object of knowledge. Every object of knowledge has got a nature and every
nature has got a figure. That figure is reflected in the mirror of soul and is clearly
visible. Mirror is a thing figure is a different thing and its shadow in the mirror is a
different thing. Similarly a man has got three different things-(I) soul, (2) real nature
of a thing, (3) and the knowledge of its real nature. Soul is the name of a thing with
which knowledge is gained. Shadows of everything are reflected in it. So the
container of knowledge, object of knowledge and knowledge itself are inter
connected. For instance, to catch a shield is an action. Here there are three things
(Ih)a nd, (2) shield and (3) catching. These three things connected together produce
an action. Similarly knowledge is a thing which is connected with soul with the
shadow of the thing therein and the falling of that shadow therein. Knowledge does
not arise unless the object of knowledge falls in soul. Fire cannot be said to fall in
soul to produce knowledge of fire. Shadow of fire in soul is sufficient to produce it.
The real man does not remain in mirror. The shadow of his real self remains in
mirror. Similarly real shadows of all things fall in soul and that is called knowledge.
hurdles which prevent real pictures in a mirror. A picture cannot be seen in a mirror if
the thing with which the mirror is made is spoiled or if impurities fall in the mirror, or if
the mirror is not directed towards the picture, or there is something between the
mirror and the picture, or if the picture is not in front of the mirror. Similar is the case
with human soul. It has got five obstacles. Human soul has got the fitness to receive
true pictures of everything, but if it cannot do its function, it will be understood that
knowledge cannot come owing to the five obstacles.
(IT)h e first obstacle is a natural defect of soul as the souls of boys.
(2) The second obstacle is the impurities of sins owing to greed, passion and low
desires. If the impurities of sins are not removed just like the impurities in a mirror,
truth is not reflected in it. The Prophet therefore said: The intellect of a man who is
accustomed to commit sins goes away. It never comes back to him. In other words,
rust falls in his soul unless it is removed by a good deed and repentance. If dust falls
on a mirror, it can be removed by a duster. Soul becomes bright if it does not follow
low desires and urge of passion. God says:’ I shall show My paths to those who
strive hard about Me’(-29:69 ).The Prophet said: God grants such wisdom to one
who does not possess it if he acts up to his learning which he has. – (3) Third obstacle of soul. As nothing can be seen if a mirror is not directed towards
a figure or picture, so real picture of a thing does not fall in soul if it is misguided from
the real object of research and enquiry. Brightness of truth is not reflected in soul
owing to the object of enquiry not being directed towards soul although it is clean and
pure. The picture of an object about which a man thinks falls in his soul. He who
– – confines-his thoughts-and efforts to the different modes of health gains. health; So he –
who engage his whole attention and energy to the attainment of Divine love can
acquire it. But he whose attention is diverted only to worldly pursuits gets them no
doubt but is not blessed with divine love and grace. It is an obstacle and a hurdle to
acquisition of Kashf or secret divine knowledge.
(4) Fourth obstacle of soul. If there is something between a mirror and a picture or
figure, the figure cannot be seen in mirror.
– –
So also if there is screen between a human soul and. a thing desired, its true picture
cannot be reflected in soul. Truth cannot come cut from a screened soul. Whose
follows his passions and low desires, screen falls in his soul. The beliefs which take
root in early years of life from the surrounding erivironments paint the future of a man
and create obstacles in finding out the truth of a thing. This is also true in case of
open Taqlid or blind faith in a sect. Such a man does not accept what is opposed to
his belief although it is true and correct.
(5) Fifth obstacle of soul is ignorance. This ignorance occurs in connection with a
special object. As a result, defect is cast upon the object of enquiry. For instance if a
student enquires about an unknown subject it willl be impossible too know it until he
ponders over the thing connected with the object of enquiry and that pondering is not
along the prescribed mode of the learned, as the object of enquiry is to be known on
the basis of other learnings. Mixture of two learnings produces knowledge of a third
kind, as a young one of a camel is obtained owing to the cohabitation of a camel and
a she camel. He who wants to get a young one of a horse, he can’t get it if he unites
and ass and a camel, but he will get it when a horse and a she horse cohabit. Similar
is the case with every knowledge. It has got two roots and there is prescribed mode
of the union of the roots. Knowledge cannot arise unless the mode of union is not
known. If one does not stand in front of a mirror, tie cannot see his face therein. If the
mirror is kept in front of face, he can’t see his back. So there is certain methods of
acquiring know ledge.
So there are five hurdles in the reflection of truth in souls for which we hardly see
truths. Soul is a celestial thing and it has got natural attribute of knowing truth. God
says about this soul.’ I have placed this trust upon the heavens and the earth and the
mountains, but they all refused to carry it and feared it, but only man has borne it.
Surely he is oppressive, ignorant-(33:72 a). It appears from this that soul has got
such a special attribute which the heavens and the earth and the mountains do not
possess. For’ that they have been made subservient to man. This trust is Ma’rifat or
Divine knowledge and Tauhid.
However, soul is naturally fit to bear this trust, but it cannot reach its real nature
owing to the obstacles narrated above. For this reason, the Prophet said: Every child
is born in the state of primordial purity (fitrah), but his parents make him a Jew, or a
Christian or a Magian. The prophet said: If the party of the devil did not move in the
soul of the son of Adam: he could have seen the divine realm. It appears from this
Hadis also that the above five obstacles prevent a man from seeing the divine realm.
The Prophet was once asked: Where is God-in earth or in heaven? He said ;God is
in the soul of a believer. In another Hadis, there is this: The Prophet was asked Who
is the best man? The Prophet replied: The believer whose soul is Makhmus is best.
He was asked: What is Makhmus? He said: That soul is Makhmus which is Godfearing,
in which there is no deceit, deception, treachery, contrivance and hatred: For
this reason, the Prophet said: When God-fear lifted from my soul the screen (of sins),
my Lord saw my soul? Whoever lifts up the screen of sins from his soul, the pictures
of unseen things are, disclosed in his soul. Then he can see paradise which extends
in heaven and earth. Unseen world is outside of external eyes. When this world of
sight and the unseen world are united at a time, it is termed Hazrat Rabubiyat or the
presence of, God’s being which can encompass everything. There is no existence of
anything except that of God, His actions and His sovereignty. His servants are
included within His actions. The object of all actions is to make soul pure and bright.
The Quran says: He who purifies it will get saIvation-(91:8Q.) The object of purity of
soul is to gain light of faith therein or to enkindle the light of divine knowledge,
Regarding this, God says: God expends the breast of one for Islam whom He wishes
to guide. God says: Whose breast God has expanlded for Islam, he is on light from
his Lord-(39: 22.)
THREE STAGES OF LIGHT OF FAITH: This light of faith in soul has got three
stages. In the first stage, the light is that of faith of ordinary man. It is the light of blind
faith. In the second stage, it is the light of faith of the followers of Fiqh or
jurisprudence. It is mixed with some sort of proof. In the third stage, it is the light of
faith of the friends of God. It is the dazzling ray of certain faith. Take for instance the
stay of Zaid within his house. It can be proved in three ways. The first kind of proof is
belief on hearing. If you have belief in a certain man and you know that he does not
speak lie, you will believe his word that Zaid is in his house. This is the belief of
ordinary man based on hearing only. When the little boys attain maturity, they hear
from their parents and relatives that there is God, that He is almighty, Creator of
everything, that He sent apostles with books. They believe them on hearing. This
belief will be the cause of salvation in the next world. But they will be in the first stage
of the fortunate but not included within the near ones, as there is no opening of their
inner eye (Kashf) with the help of certain faith and no expansion of breast, and there
may be defects in-heresay.
The second kind of proof is as follows. That Zaid is within his house can be guessed
from a hearing of his voice and talks coming from his house. So this belief is stronger
than that of heresay. There may be also mistake of voices and words. The third kind
of proof is to enter into the room and see Zaid with open eyes. This is real knowledge
gained by direct sight. This knowledge is like that of the friends of God and near
ones. There is no mistake in this belief.
There are however degrees of this knowledge or Kashf among them. If Zaid is seen
in front in light or sunlight, it is perfect sight. If he is seen in the house from a great
distance or like his figure at night, it is less perfect. Similarly there are different
degrees of spiritual vision and knowledge.
?WO KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge which thus falls in soul is of two kinds
knowledge concerning intellect and concerning religion. The former is also of two
kinds-natural knowledge and acquired knowledge. Acquired knowledge is also of two
kinds worldly knowledge and next worldly or spiritual knowledge. We understand by
knowledge concerning intellect basic natural and necessary knowledge. It is not
acquired by blind faith or heresay. It is that which is gained but not known how and
from where, for instance the knowledge that the same person cannot stay in two
different places at the same time and that the same thing cannot be at the same time
old and new. This preliminary knowledge is imprinted in a boy’s mind in his earliest
years, He does not know wherefrom this knowledgie comes. The acquired knowledge
concerning intellect is gained by learning. These tvvo kinds of knowledge is called
intellect or wisdom.
The Prophet said with regard to the natural intellec:t from birth: God created nothing
more honourable to Him than intellect. With regardi to the second kind of intellect on
heresay, the Prophet said to- Hazrat Ali: ‘When the people come close to God by
good deeds, you will be able to come close to Him by the
Vol-Ill The Book of Destructive evils 21
help of your intellect. It is not possible to come close to God by natural intellect. It
has to be acquired. So human soul has got power of sight like that of external eyes.
As there is power of sight in eyes, so also there is power of as on in human soul.
One of its names is intellect or wisdom. The power of vision is a basic Ingredient
which in not found in a spiritually blind man. It is found only in a person having inn&
sight though he closes his two eyes or remains in darkness. All things are seen by
the eye of knowledge. There is delay in the rise of knowledge till one attains maturity
as the tablet of soul does not become prepared then for light of knowledge. Pen is an
instrument to depict pictures of knowledge as God says: He taught with pen. He
taught men what he knew not-8: 2Q God’s pen is not like the pen of man as His
attributes are not like the attributes of man. His pen is not made of material or other
things. So there is distinction between inner vision and outer sight.
SOULS VISION AND BLINDNESS: The vision of soul is subtle essence or Latifa with
which spiritual things are seen. This essence is like a rider and its eye is like a
conveyance. For it, the blindness of the rider is more harmful than the blindness of
the conveying horse, that is the blindness of soul is more harmful than the blindness
of eye. These two things have got no connection with each other. Still there is some
similarity between external sight and internal sight. God explained the sight of soul in
this verse: Soul has not disbelieved what it saw-!53:1 I. Here it has been said that the
soul has got power of sight God says in another verse: I showed thus the sovereignty
of heavens and earth to Abraham -6:75.H ere external sight has not been spoken of
as others also have been given this power, but there is mention here of internal sight.
Opposite to it is the internal blindness God says: ‘Who so is blind in this world will be
blind in hereafter-17:71. This is the blindness of soul. This is the narration of
knowledge concerning intellect.
KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING RELIGION: This knowledge is acquired by blind faith
in the words of the prophets. It can be earned after studying the Quran and Sunna of
the Prophet or hearing them For salvation of soul, even though knowledge
concerning intellect is necessary, it is not singly sufficient. As for health of body,
some measures are necessary, but they are not alone sufficient without their actual
application. Special
22 Soul and its Attributes Vol-Ill
methods of medicines for cure should be learnt from the physicians. Only intellect is
not sufficient. He who calls towards blind faith only without application of intellect is a
fool. On the other hand, he who relies on intellect only after giving up the Quran and
Sunna is a proud man. The two must be kept together. Education concerning
intellect is like food and religious education is like medicine. A diseased man meets
with harm if he takes only food after giving up medicine. Similar is the case with
diseased soul. Its cure is not possible without profitable medicine of Shariat. The
medicine of Shariat is the duties prescribed by the Prophets for purity of soul. He
who does not treat his diseased soul by the medicine of divine service as ordained
by Shariat and thinks the leanings of intellect as sufficient faces ruin.
SCIENCE IS NOT OPPOSED TO RELIGION: Sorne think that science is opposed to
religion. This is not at all correct. Such a man sets up one learning of Shariat against
another. The reason is his failure to co-ordinate the two. As a result, such people go
out of religion. Such man is just-like a blind man who stumbles down againstfurnitures
of a house and says: Why have these furnitures been kept in the path
way? The house owner says: They are in their proper places. It is your blindness
which is responsible for your stumbling. This is alsio the case with one who thinks
that science is opposed to religion.
TWO KINDS OF SCIENCE: There are two kinds OF science, material and spiritual.
Medical Science, Mathematics, and other technical sciences belong to the leanings
of this world. The religious sciences are the education concerning soul, God, His
attributes and actions. He who makes efforts with regard to the worldly sciences and
becomes expert has shortcomings in most cases in being expert in religious
sciences. For this reason, Hazrat Ali cited three illustrations to explain this. He said:
This world and the next world are like two scales or like the east and the west or like
two co-wives. You will find that he who is intelligeiit in worldly matters and expert in
Medical science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Geometry etc. is fool in the religious
sciences, He who is experienced in the religious sciences is inexperienced in the
worldly learnings. For this reason, the Prophet savd: Most of the inmates of Paradise
are indifferent.’ In other words, they are inattentive in worldly matters. Hazrat Hasan
Basari said: We have seen such a people whom you would think if you had seen
vol-Ill The Book of Destructive evils 23
them as insane and mad. If they had seen you, they would call you devils. So the
worldly educated men deny any wonderful event of religion. God says: Those who do
not hope to meet Me and remain satisfied with this world’s life get consolation
therein. God says” Whoso is heedless of remembering Me and does not wish except
this world’s life, it is the limit of his knowledge. It is; only the Prophets who combined
in themselves the knowledge of this world and the! next. They were helped by the
Holy Spirit and given divine powers.
MEANS OF ACQUIRING SPIRITUAL POWERS: Know, o dear readers, that there
are different conditions of knowledge which are not all necessary. Some of them fall
suddenly in mind called llham and some of them are acquired by efforts. Knowledge
not acquired by efforts is of two kinds. One kind of such knowledge is not known
from where it comes or how it comes. Another kinld of such knowledge comes
through an angel who throws it into one’s soul. That is called Wahi or revelation. It is
revealed c my to the prophets. llham of the first kind is thrown on the souls of
Prophets as well as other religious personalities. In short, human soul is the place of
disclosing truths of all things, but the obstacles mentioned earlier stand as screens.
Those are screens between al-Lauh al-Mahfuz (Guarded tablet) and the mirror of
soul. Picture of everything that will occur up to the Resurrection Day have been
preserved in this Guarded Tablet. Real condition of every affair is reflected in the
mirror of soul: That is like the picture in front of a mirror. If there is no screen
between the two, it is see in the mirror of soul from the Guarded Tablet. The wind of
Latifa or essence sometimes removes the screen from the mirror of soul, so as to
disclose what is in the Guarded Tablet. Sometimes the future events can be seen in
,dream. By death, all the screens are removed: In wakeful state also, sometimes the
screen is removed provided secret mercy is showered on soul. Then gusts of
knowledge spring forth in soul from unseen things. It lasts for a short time. llham and
Wahi (inspiration and revelation) cannot be obtained by human will. God says: It is
not for a man to talk with God except by means of Wahi or from behind the screen or
by means of a means of a messenger who reveal:; with His permission what He
MERITS OF- KNOWLEDGE BY ILHAM: The Sufis love knowledge through llham or
inspiration. For this reason; they do not like to’have education or read books or hold
arguments. They say that the primary source of acquisition of knowledge is
the saving of oneself from the condemnable evils, severing all connections and
directing all efforts towards God. When’ it is earned,’God Himself becomes the
caretaker of human soul. He saves it by enkindling the light of knowledge in soul.
When God takes care of his soul, mercy falls in it, light sparkles, breast expands and
the secrets of spiritual world are disclosed to hiin. By God’s help, screens of
darkness are removed from the upper portion of his soul and real nature of divine
affairs comes to him. So it is the duty of God’s servant to purify his soul and to make
efforts with true and sincere intention. These matters are opened to the prophets and
friends of God. Lights flow over their breasts. It is not due to their acquired
knowledge by efforts, but it is due to their asceticism, to their full freedom from
worldly connections and to full direction of their lenergies towards God. God becomes
for one who becomes for God. To them the first step is to cut off all worldly
connections, to make the soul vacant for God, to give up all efforts for family,
property, children, houses, name and fame and then to confine themselves in
performing compulsory and optional duties and sit in meditation with a mind
absolutely free from everything. Their thoughts are centred only in one Being. Even
they become free from interpretation of the Quraln, Hadis and other books and
matters. They sit in lonely places and invoke only Allah, Allah with humility of mind till
they reach such a stage, when they give up even the movements of their tongue.
Then the influence of their tongue enters their soul which recites Allah, Allah. The
pictures of words are then effaced from their souls are only their meanings remain
the rein.
It is your option to regain this stage., You, have got no power. to claim mercy of God,
rather you may be fit to receive its blowing. At this time, sparkling ray of truth may
sparkle in your soul first like attracting electricity lbut it may not last or it may last. You
will then continue to purify your soul and hope to receive God’s blessings. This mode
is very troublesome and its fruit is time-consuming. If you can gain one stage, it is
difficult for you to stay in it as the devil will constaintly mislead you. the Prophet said:
The heart of a believer is more changing than a pot (of hot water). During this time of
efforts and trials, health may deteriorate.
llham and acquired knowledge. Know, o dear readers, that the wonderful action of
soul is outside the knowledge gained by the senses as soul is outside the knowledge
of the senses. So to understand the actions of soul, some illustrations of the material
world are necessary. Only two of them are cited here.
FIRST ILLUSTRATION: Take for instance that a well has been dug underneath the
ground. There are two ways of pouring waters in it, one way through pipe or canal
and another way is to dig the well very deep, so that water may gush forth from its
bottom. The second mode is better as water obtained in this way is more pure and
lasting. Similarly soul is like a well, knowledge is like water and the five senses are
like pipes or canals. Knowledge like water comes to the soul through the help of five
organs like pipes or canals. If you wish to get pure knowledge, you shall have to shut
up the five senses as you shut up the pipes or carials to get pure water into the well
and dig it very deep so that pure water may gush lorth from the bottom. The filth in
the bottom of well must be cleared to allow pure water to gush forth from the bottom.
So also in order to get pure and unadulterated knowledge, you shall have to shut up
knowledge gained by the five senses because such knowledge is full of harasses,
superstitions and errors.
– Question. How can knowledge come out of soul wlhen it remains without knowledge?
Answer. These matters are the wonderful actions of soul. It is difficult to get them
from the worldly learnings. It may however be mentioned that real condition of
everything was recorded in Lauhe Mahfuz or Guanded Tablet. That was recorded
also in the souls of angels who are near God. As an architect prepares a plan before
building a house and then builds it according to his plan, so also the Creator
recorded His plan in the Guarded Tablet of everything of His reaction in the heavens

and earth from first to last. Thereafter He takes oult everything according to that
prepared plan.
There are four stages of this material world-(I) its existence in the Guarded Tablet
before creation of the world; (2) this material world comes into being according to this
plan, (3) the world of ideas follows this material world, and (4) the world of intellect
follows this world of ideas, that is its pictures fall in human soul. Some worlds are
material and some immaterial. In the immaterial worlds also, one is more spiritual
than another. These are strategy of God. Look at the eye-ball. Though it is small, the
pictures of the heavens and the earth fall in it. Then it comes within ideas and then it
falls in soul. Man does not take cognisance of it till it reaches the soul. Praise be to
God who created wonderful power in soul and eyes and He also made soul and eyes
of some blind.
So pictures of the world fall in soul sometimes by the help of five senses and
sometimes by the help of the Guarded Tablet as picture of the sun falls in eyes.
Again picture of the sun falls in water as it falls in eyes. When obstacles are removed
from between soul and Guarded Tablet, soul can see many things and thus
knowledge arises therefrom. Then no help of senses necessary for such knowledge.
It is just like the gushing forth of water from the deep bottom of a well.
TWO DOORS OF SOUL: One door of soul is open towards the spiritual world which
is the world of angels and the Guarded Tablet. Another door of soul is open towards
the five senses and it is connected with the material world. The former door open to
the spiritual world can be better understood from dreams in which one can see some
matters of future and past events. One can tell them without the necessity of
knowledge gained form his five senses. That door is. open to one who remains
engaged in solitude in remembrance of God. The Prophet said: the dwellers of
solitude have preceded. He was asked: 0 Prophet of God, who are the dwellers of
solitude? He said: Those who have been made pure by the remembrance of God,
those whose burdens have been taken down by the remembrance of God and those
who will come on the Resurrection Day free of buirdens. Then he described their
virtues and read these words of God: I kept My face in their front. Do you know in
whose front I have kept My face? Does anybody know what I will give them? Then
God says: first I throw light in their souls. As a result, they broadcast the news they
get from Me.
There is difference in the knowledge of the prophets and friends of God and the
knowledge of the learned and the scientists. Knowledge of the prophets and the
friends of God come out of that gate of souls which remains open towards the
spiritual world, and the knowledge of the learned isnd the come out of that gate of
souls which remains open towards the spiritual world, and the knowledge of the
learned and the scientists comes which remains open towards the spiritual world,
and the knowledge of the learned and the scientists comes out of that gate of souls
which remains open to the material world through the help of five senses. So it is
impossible for the latter to acquire spiritual knowledge. This illustration will make
one to understand the difference between the two work.
SECOND ILLUSTRATION: The destination between the actions of the learned and
of the-friends of God will make one to understand the second illustration, as the
learned learn the basic principles of learnings and the bright and pure. The spiritual
knowledge of a believer is everlasting as the soul of a believer has got no death. At
the time of his death, his knowledge does not go. Hazrat Hasan basari said: Earth
cannot eat the place of faith, but it is a means to gain nearness of God. The rank of
the fortunate is different according to the degree of Ma’arfat and faith as there is the
difference of the rich men is respect of the difference of their riches. So Ma’arfat or
– –
knowledge of God is a light without which the believer will not be able to secure
divine vision. God says: Their lights will run in their front and their back -57:12.
There is difference in the degrees of light. The Prophet said: If the faith of Abu Bakr
is measured with that of the people of the world except the faith of the prophets and
apostles, the balance of his faith will be heavier. This like the saying of the man who
says: If the lights of all lamps are weighed with the rays of the sun, the rays of the
son will be heavier. The light of the faith of the prophets and apostles is like the rays
of -the sun, the light of the Siddiqs is like that of the moon, the light of the friends of
God is like that of the stars and the light of the glsneral believers is like that of a lamp.
The rays of the sun illumine the whole world and the light of the lamp gives light to a
room. Similarly there is difference in the case of expansion of breasts of the prophets
and ordinary believers. For this reason, there is in Hadis that on the Resurrection
Day it will be said that whoever has got faith in his heart to the weight of an atom will
be taken out of Hell. God said: You will be victorious if you are believers -3:38.
In this verge, superiority of the believers over the Muslims has been spoken of. Here
the believer means the believer with great spiritual knowledge and not Muslims with
outward faith. God says: God will raise those in rank who are believers among you
and who have been given knowledge-58: 12. Here those who have got blind faith
have been spoken of and then those believers wiho are learned have been
mentioned. God says: Those who have been given learning have got ranks. Hazrat
Ibn Abbas explained this verse by saying: God will keep the learned believers over
the ordinary believers by seven hundred degrees above, the distance between every
two degrees is as the distance between heaven and earth. The Prophet said:
Majority of the inmates of Paradise are simple, but the wise will live in the highest
Paradise. The Prophet said: The superiority of a learned man over a worshiper is like
mine over an ordinary man among my followers, in another narration as the
superiority of the full moon over the stars. It can be understood from the above that
the difference of the ranks of the inmates of Paradise will be according to the
difference of their souls in divine knowledge.
Al-Ghazali also deals with what he calls the ‘doors through which the evil one enters
into the human personality to cause its destruction. These are :
DEVIL’S ENTRY INTO SOUL: Know, dear reader:;, that soul is like a fortress and the
devil wishes to enter it and commit havoc. In order to save it from the devil, one must
guard the doors of this fort. It is impossible for him to guard them unless he knows the
doors which mean his character and conduct.
(1) Anger and sexual passion. A great door for devil’s entry is anger and sexual passion.
When intelligence is weak, the forces of the devil attack it. Whenever any man gets
angry, the devil plays with him _- – – . – . _ ” …
(2) Hatred and greed. Another great door of the devil to enter soul is hatred and greed.
When a man has got greed for anything, it makes him deaf and blind, as the Prophet
said : Your love for anything makes you deaf and blind.
(3) Eating too much. Another door of the devil is eating to one’s heart content though the
food is lawful and pure, as it makes sexual passion strong
HARMS OF EATING WITH SATISFACTION. Eating too much creates six harms: (1)
God-fear goes out of the heart of such a man, (2) kindness for the people goes out of his
heart, (3) he feels difficulty in doing divine service, (4) he does not feel humility when he
hears words of wisdom, (5) when he gives sermon, it does not enter into the hearts of
the audience and (6) many diseases grow in him.
(4) Love for fine things Another door of the devil is love for fine dresses, houses and
furnitures. When a man loves fine dresses, he loves tlo embellish his house and decorate
it with fine and beautiful furnitures and things. He loves also to paint his building with
variegated colours and its roofs and walls.[leading to conspicuous consumerism ,greed,
e nv i r o n m e n t a I d is d a s t e r e t c]
(5) Dependence on people. Another door of the devil is dependence on the people and
to cherish hope to get their favours. For that, he assumes show and artificial methods.
Thus greed becomes his deity.
(6) Hastiness and absence of steadiness. Hastiness iii action and to give up firmness in
actions are another door of the devil. The Prophet said : Hastiness comes from the devil
and delay comes from God, God says : Man has been created with Hastiness-21: 37Q.
man loves hastiness
(7) To possess wealth beyond necessity: Another great door of the devil is to have
wealth and properties beyond one’s necessity [over indulgence in luxury, effeminacy etc
with harm , finally for human civilization].
(8) Miserliness and fear of poverty. Another great door of the devil is miserliness and
fear of poverty, as they prevent charity and expense, encourage hoarding and create
greed for wealth. Khaisamah-b-Abdur Rahman said : ‘The devil says : Man will hold
control over me, but he will not be able to prevail over me in three matters-(I)
misappropriation of money unjustly, (2) spending it un#justly(3 ) and not to pay the dues
of others.
(9)Staying in huts and bazars. The devil lives in huts and bazars. The Prophet said :
When the devil came down to the earth, he said: 0 Lord, give me -place for habitation.
God said : I give you bath room for habitation. The devil said : Give me place for
assembly. God said : For that I give you huts and bazars and centres of pathways. The
devil said : Give me food. God said You are given food over which God’s came is not
taken. The devil said : Give me drink. God said : I give! you drink which produces
intoxication. The devil said : Give me an inviter. God said : I give you instruments of
song [excessive entertainment culture] . The devil said : Give me a Quran. God said : I
give you [ misguided ]poetry. The devil said : Give me a book, God said : I give you
pictures of animals. The devil said give me Hadis. God said : I gives you false talk. The
devil said Give me a game. God said: I give you avoid harms in settled
habit at ions].
(10) Love for sect and hatred for opponents. Another door of the devil is love for mazhab
or sect or party and hatred for those who oppose and hold him in contempt. These are
such faults for which the religious men [and others in various fields] are ruined, because
to disclose the faults of others is the lastly conduct of man. Those who follow their own
sect or party think that it is the best and they cherish hatred for other sects or parties.
Some of them support Hazrat abu Bakr though they do not follow him, speak falsehood
and create disturbance. Had Hazrat Abu Bakr seen them he would have been their first
enemy. Some of them support Hazrat Ali but do not follow his character and conduct …
Those who love Imams Abu Hanifah, Shafeyi, Malek and Ahmad should remember the
above principle.
(1 I) Ordinary men becoming leaders of religion. One of the great doors of the devil is
that those who have got no learning an education arid who do not ponder over the
mysteries of creation and actions of God claim to be the leaders of religion. They
entertain doubt in the basic principles of religion. The Prophet did not recommend
argument on the above line as the learned do not face it except the ordinary men.
(1 2) Bad opinion about Muslims. One of the great doors of the devil is bad ideas and
opinions about Muslims, God said : 0 those who believe, give up many conjectures as
some conjecture is sin. 49 :12. The devil gives encouragement to backbite one about
whom a bad ideal is entertained
These are the twelve great doors of the devil through which he enters into the hearts of
men and commit tremendous havoc and ruin.
MEANS TO DRIVE OUT THE DEVIL: The means to shut up the doors to prevent the
entry of the devil into human soul or heart is by purification of soul from the evil
attributes. The devil is like a hungry dog which shall come to you. Drive it out repeatedly.
If you, cannot drive a dog take a place of meat and throw it to it and it will go away.
Similarly the soul which is free from the food of the devil can be filled up with constant
Zikr or remembrance of God, but when passion and grreed are strong in soul, the spirit of
Zikr roams round the soul. When the soul is heedless of Zikr, machinations of the devil
come in
asked: What is the matter with us that we invoke but our invocation is not accepted,
although God says: Invoke me and I will accept your invocation-2 :I861 He said: The
cause is that your hearts have died. He was asked: What thing has caused their death?
He said: Eight conducts bring the death of heart. (IY)o u know the duties towards God
but you do not do them. (2) You recite the Quran but you do not look to its promise of
punishment. (3) You say that you love the Prophet but you do not follow his actions. (4)
You say that you fear death but you do not become prepared for it. (5) God says: The
devil is your enemy but you take his help in sinful acts. (6) You say that you fear Hell-fire
but you keep your body immerged in it. (7) You say that you love Paradise but you do
not act for it. (8) When you get up from bed, you throw your sins by your back and
disclose the sins of the people, thereby you cause the displeasure of your Lord. How can
He respond to your invocation?
So God will punish for will and intention. Pride, self-praise, show, hypocrisy, hatred and
other evil thoughts of mind will surely meet with punishment. Soul is the root and so it is
fit for punishment. The Prophet said: God-fear is here, pointing out to the heart or soul.
God says: God does not accept blood and meat of a sacrificed animal but He accepts
from you God-fear. The Prophet said: The thing which irritates is sin. He said: What
gives consolation in mind is virtue though it gives you decision. If a man finds a woman
in his bed in darkness and thinks that she is his wife and as such cohabits with her, he
commits no sin, but if he cohabits with his wife thinking that she is a strange woman, he
commits sin. So every action is not an action of the organs, but an action of the mind.
CONSTANT CHANGE OF MIND: Effect on mind comes from different sources. Mind is a
target to which arrows are shot. When anything falling in mind creates some effect, the
opposite thing changes that effect. If the devil calls towards passion, the angel removes
it from mind, God says: I change their heart and sights. God created human mind as an
wonderful thing. When the Prophet took oath, he somt~timess aid: No, by oath of the
Changer of mind. He often used to say, 0 Changer of imind, keep my mind firm on Thy
religion. The companions asked: Do you fear, 0 Prophet of God? He replied: Who will
give me assurance when the mind is within the two fingers of the Merciful? He changes
it as He likes.
examples of mind. He said: Mind is like a sparrow which He changes every moment. He
said: Mind is like water in a pot when it is made hot in the matter of change. he said:
Mind is like a wing in an open field to be turned over and again by wind. Mind is of three
kinds from the point of view of virtues, vices and doubtful things. The first kind of mind is
made up of God fear nurtured by divine services and free from bad conducts. Therein
fall good thoughts from the unseen treasure house of spiritual kingdom. Wisdom leads
the good thoughts falling on it to know the subtle affairs and gives clue to the secret
matters of fortune. One knows it by the light of insight ;and commands that there is no
alternative but to translate it into action. The sight of angels falls in such mind. He sees it
naturally pure, cleansed by God-fear, nurtured by the rlays of intellect or polished by the
sparkling light of Ma’rifat or divine knowledge. The angels help such a mind. God says: If
a man gives charity, fears God and does good deeds, I shall make his path easy-5 : 92.
Such a mind is blessed with five virtues gratefulness, patience, God-fear, poverty,
asceticism, love, containment, reliance on God, good thoughts and other good qualities
and becomes free from vices and evils. God speaks of such a mind: Behold, hearts find
consolation by the remembrance of God. In another verse: 0 satisfied soul, return to Thy
Lord well-pleased and pleasing Him(-89:27.)
The second kind of mind or heart is full of passions, low desires and other evils. The
doors of the devil remain open towards it and the doors of angels remain shut up against
it. Regarding such mind, God says: Have you seen one who takes his passion as his
deity? They are like beasts – (25 : 44). It is all the same if you call him towards guidance.
He will – not hear you.
The third kind of mind or heart is a mixture of good and evil. Sometimes good leads one
towards guidance and sometimes evil deeds towards misguidance and error. Intellect
helps him in his guidance and misguidance. The forces of the devil and the forces of
angels fight in his mind till either of them becomes victolrious.
In the most fundamental sense there is the need far counseling because of the
deterioration of the human substance in the flow of the passage of time.The Qur’an
states (6)
By the token of time [throughout the ages]
Truly mankind is in a state of loss
Except those who believe and perform good deeds
And exhort one another as to the Truth
And exhort one another as to the virtue of patience! and constancy
Modern counseling mentions the factors making people go for counseling :
for personal growth and understanding, relationship concerns, self-esteem or body
issues, anxiety, loneliness, family problems, career decisions, difficulties in managing
school work or examinations, anxiety, stress and depression; family and/or relationship
difficulties, sexual problems, adjusting to a new culture, dealing with dilemmas, making
difficult decisions or choices, as well as more specifk problems such as addictions or
eating problems.
It can be observed that the above issues are really symptoms , at the fundamental and
profound. levels, of those related to the soul and the spirit mentioned by al-Ghazali and
Muslim sages and thinkers. Even ibn Khaldun rh, the famous thinker on civilizational
and societal issues , discusses these profound levelrs in his ‘Suha’ al-Sa’il Ii Tahdhib al-
Masa’il’, (7)
And the manner of approaching these issues in counseling may involve (8): . Encouraging the client to talk about the feeling by using listening
= Validating the feeling with reflective listening
Letting the client pour out all the grief or other‘ emosions disturbing him or her, . Providing missing information about the situation in which the client is involved.
= Talking about the client‘s view of goals and viision and then helping him or her
make the appropriate choices.
9 Communicating what it takes to get to the goals to be achieved. . Observing signs of trouble and prepare for possible violence and threats
m Encouraging client to develope positive energy and strength towards devising
the solution within the appropriate worldview.
Establishing regular schedule for follow-up discussions and give feedback
9 Agreeing on what steps to take to change the situation for the better.
And all these require knowledge about the nature of the human soul and its inclinations
and behaviour as well as the methods to be utilized ,as mentioned for instance by al–
Ghazali rd almost nine hundred years ago. Field work. and modern writings on the
subject may be necessary for extra aid in making the counseling effective in
contemporary times.
Combination of both as seen in the work of Prof Dr llilalik Badri of IlUM is extremely
useful and instructive like his work on ‘Contemplation’..
Another thing which should be mentioned is the central importance of the correct
worldview and values in mainstream intellectual discourse. If non-believers are involved
then universal values can be utilized as guides in helping clients to solve their
Thus we can observe that human soul needs to be counseled so as to achieve the state
of wholeness and health. At lead-people should be helped in solving their emotional
stress and lack of mental peace so that they can carry out their duties in the most
appropriate manner befitting their useful roles in the society. If they can be strengthened
to achieve total wholeness of spirit as envisaged in the authentic spiritual method and
doctrine, then that is the ideal to be striven for, because this is the ultimate end of human
blessedness. Wallahu a’lam.
(I) h t t p : / /w.u
(2) htt p://www. counselling. cam . ac. uk/g en info. ht m I ) :
(3) New Directions in Counselling by Rowan Bayne, Jenny Bimrose, fan Horton,
Routledge, New York, 1996, p.284.
(4) al-Baqarah. 129.
(5) Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din tr Maulana Fazl al-Karim in
htt~://~.~hazali.or~/ihva/en~lish/ihva-vohl3tm-C w1i.t h some minor editing involving
the translation of terms and phrases.
(6) )Surah of Time -al-’Asr,verses 1-3
(7). ed at-Tanji(lstanbu1 1957).
– __ . – – – — – _ _ _
Additional note:
I . . –
There is an interesting case available in the ‘Islamonline’ web page:
( ’ )
What suggestions can you give to some one who wants to study child development
psychology and education.( books, particular psychologists, what theories to watch
out from)


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