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Aql (Intellect) And Nafs (Ego) Can Have A Positive And Negative Contribution Towards One's Spiritual Development

1632 words - 7 pages

Accordingly one must align the aql and nafs so that each are gearing positively in the right path, these two faculties need to be orchestrated vigilantly for this to transpire. The aql has been given to man so they can exercise their intelligence and reasoning to understand the Revelation given from God (Nasr, 1979). It is used to attain and absorb knowledge (Akhir, 2012). Gulen (2009) mentions how reason pursues light, a spiritual light, and therefore one gains aql. According to Nasr (1979) it is the Revelation that illuminates the light, which in turn sets intellect and reason in a person and permits it to function to its full potential. It’s crucial to go to depths of a spiritual nature, and permit the aql to absorb this light, which in turn will give its ability to decipher God’s Revelation. It is the aql that can make sense of how magnificent this universe has truly been created, or at least try to grasp that concept, by reading the Qur’an. As previously mentioned, the aql, part of the practical faculty is the source of man’s behaviour (Akhir, 2012). Hence, if it is disciplined towards its religious duties, it will not be led astray by other entities, like the nafs. The nafs cannot remain dormant in its lowest form, and should aspire to advance in good, which will in turn, sync itself with the aql, therefore be guided and disciplined to pray and remember God. Understanding these obligatory duties and practicing them are part of each Muslim’s positive spiritual journey. This will encourage the nafs in the right direction, deterring it from its ill feelings and desires, and both faculties can remain focused on what is truly fundamental in their spiritual journey (Gulen, 2009). One must aspire to cleanse the nafs so it can be of its highest position to follow God’s Revelation and be on par with the aql. What makes a person different to another depends on the level of their nafs they have accomplished, it can be done so through a purifying process, hence you can see if they’ve utilised their aql for good in directing the nafs (Akhir, 2012).
More importantly purifying the nafs (soul), advertently cleansing it, counteracting of its negative state is required, and the aql should assist the nafs concurrently in achieving this process. One must not remain dormant in the negative characteristics of the nafs, and overcome stages, like, the commanding self (nafs al-ammaarah). Nafs (ego) can contribute positively in one’s spiritual development by the process of ‘purifying of the soul’ (tazikyah al-nafs) thereby overcoming its worldly desires (Gulen, 2009; Zarabozo, 2002). Jihad an-nafs is known as the internal battle within, it needs to be recognised and must be overhauled, to abstain from our negative ego (Nawawi, n.d). Our aql should be showered in wisdom and spiritual intelligence to recognise if the nafs is dormant in its negativity and regulate it to worshipping God (Akhir, 2012). It could potentially take many years of coaching as portrayed by Imam...

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