Four Enemies of the Self –
Dunya, Hawa Nafs, Shaytan
(Material World, Desires, Ego, Satan)
From the realities of Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, as Taught by Shaykh Sayed Nurjan Mirahmadi
Audhu billahi minash Shaytanir rajeem
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
InshaAllah from the Rahma of Allah (Azza wa Jal) that we ask to be nothing, and that Allah (Azza wa Jal)’s Mercy and Rahma to dresses us, blesses us and keep us within His oceans of Rahma. That Allah (Azza wa Jal) to perfect us with the love of Sayyidina Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) under the nazar (gaze) of Awliyaullah fis samayee wa fil ardh (in heavens and on earth).
Alhamdulillah in this holy month of Ramadan, a reminder from Mawlana Shaykh that this nafs and our reality is broken by four (components). There are four enemies that are partitioning the reality of the soul which Allah (Azza wa Jal) wanted for us. These are the days in which to reflect and to understand that reality. And they extract these realities for their students.
The Knowledge of our Shaykhs are food for the soul
The Turuq and the reality of the Turuq (Islamic Spiritual path) when Allah (Azza wa Jal) says: “they feed you from their sustenance”,
76:8 – “Wa yu ta’imo nat Ta’ama ‘ala hubbihi miskeenan wa yateeman wa aseera.” (Surah al Insan)
“And they feed, for the love of Allah, the needy/indigent, the orphan, and the captive” (Holy Quran, The Human 76:8)
Means that they feed you from their knowledges. And the knowledges of our beloved Shaykhs are a food for the soul. That if you attend a majlis (association) that has no knowledge it is like an association with no food. It’s a big secret because we know the secret is within the food, whether it is the physical food and you go to associations where there is no food, so always Mawlana Shaykh says, “Serve food,”. But also by example that the association that is void of knowledge then it has its own sign. There has to be a knowledge there and that knowledge is feeding the souls of people there. Based on how deep they can go into realities, is like the coming out and feeding the students from those realities. Those students are attracted to those knowledges, dressed by those realities and blessed by them.
Their knowledge is different from book knowledge schools or scholars, where scholars read a book and they write for you a complete (book) from what they have read. They (the Shaykhs) have to take you into a practical understanding of how that reality is a haqayiq and a reality for you. It is not just that you read a book and you repeat what you read, but how is it going to implemented in your life and on your daily existence on this Earth? And how are you going to be rushd, and to be developed by that?
The Four blocks/partitions on the Soul and the Bird of Prophet Ibrahim (as)
One such understanding is the understanding of our soul; how it has been blocked and partitioned because nothing can come against the soul but these four blocks are upon it. From dunya:
1) All the dunya desires,
2) The hawa and physical pleasures and desires,
3) The nafs and all desires of the nafs [Ego] and
4) Allurement of Shaytan and how Shaytan (satan) is playing with the body.
It means that these four realities are blocking the soul. From Awliyaullah when they extracted realities from Holy Qur’an, that when Sayyidina Ibrahim (alayhis salaam) was asking from Allah (Azza wa Jal), “Yaa Rabbi how do you revive the dead?” And this is Khalilullah (intimate friend of Alah), from his nearness and dearness, he asked “Yaa Rabbi how do you revive the dead?” Allah (Azza wa Jal) asked: is it that you don’t believe, that you are asking such a thing? “No yaa Rabbi I believe, but I want yaqeen, I want certainty.” Allah (Azza wa Jal) gave an example to Sayyidina Ibrahim to take that bird and cut it into four sections and to put each quarter on a (different) corner and when I give you permission call that bird back to your presence.
2:260 – “Wa idh qala Ibraheemu Rabbi arinee kayfa tuhyeel mawta, Qala awalam tu min, Qala bala wa lakin liyatma inna qalbee, Qala fakhudh arba’atan minat tayri fasurhunna ilayka thumma aj’al ‘ala kulli jabalin minhunna juz an, thumma ad’uhunna ya teenaka sa’yan, wa ‘alamanna Allaha ‘Azeezun Hakeem.” (Surah al Baqarah)
“And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but just to reassure/give certainty to my heart.” [Allah] said, “Take four birds and draw them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them, cut them into pieces] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them back- they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Holy Quran 2:260)
Immediately Sayyidina Ibrahim placed the four pieces of the bird (in different corners) and called the bird to his presence and that bird came to life and flew into his presence.
1. Dunya (The Material World) – The First Enemy of the Soul
The Soul is Oppressed in the Physical World
What Awliyaullah understood from that reality is that Allah (Azza wa Jal) from the Malakoot and timeless realities doesn’t care for the bird, but that bird was symbolic of the soul of the believer. That the soul of the believer is blocked from what Allah (Azza wa Jal) wants for it. Allah (aj) wants that soul to fly, means it is coming from the Malakoot and the Heavens and it is encaged in the physical world. It is oppressed in the physical world. That which Allah (Azza wa Jal) dressed and blessed is being oppressed in dunya by that which is the worst, means the physical form and the physicality, which has to do with Shaytan and satan’s rule on this Earth, it is running the body. So it means this angers Allah (Azza wa Jal). That of Mine that is yours from Paradise is trapped within that satanic being and all this satanic desires. So the seekers whole path is to destroy the physicality and the grip the physicality has upon the ruhaniyat, upon the spirituality of insaan (humans).
So they took from that understanding that yes, we are blocked by four. And we are not able to fly because of that block that Shaytan is putting upon us. Then the servant has to understand the hub ud dunya, “the love of the material world”, which is now at its greatest peak. That everything is based on the love of the material world. From the material world is the love of pleasurable desires. Everything that makes the physicality to be happy, from every contentment, every pleasure, and every leisure, that we’re giving to the physicality, it is blocking the soul from its reality.
Then imagine the soul is like a light and as soon as the dunya desire approaches, it is like cutting the sheet through its head and blocking the reality. So then all the Turuq and all the ways of haqayiq is how to lower the material desire, by the Zikr and the attendance at Zikr, and the different awraads, practises, that are being given. The most powerful in these times is the Dalail al Khayrat. The Dalail al Khayrat is going to destroy the dunya desire and begin to destroy all the hawa within the person.
When they are faced with the desires that they can’t control, which are anger and sexual lust, those can only be controlled by Dalail al Khayrat and salawaat on Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).
(Dalailul Khairat: Transliteration and English translation PDF file.)
Association of Zikr (Divine’s Remembrance) is a Cleansing
It means that the attendance in the Zirk has a tremendous cleansing and that is why it is so difficult to attend the majlis of Zikr. It is not an easy association to attend. Those who are attending and able to watch via internet, via association, or being in the actual attendance of the Zikr, it is a tremendous ni`mat from Allah (Azza wa Jal).
Zikr is a tremendous gift from Allah because He is allowing you to attend and be cleansed which is the biggest cleansing against the dunya desire of the body; it is like a swords from Paradise, because they describe: these are the halaqas (Circles) from Paradise, and they are dressed by the angels of Paradise.
[quote]Ibn `Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them.” The Companions asked: “What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?”
He replied: “The circles of dhikr. There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely. They call each other and encompass them in layers until the first heaven – the location of which is in Allah’s knowledge.” [/quote]
As soon the Zikr starts the angels begin to attend the association with swords of light and they begin to spin the swords of light and begin to clean out insaan (human beings). What insaan doesn’t understand is that he is a physical being like a bus, that everywhere we go we are picking up passengers whom we wanted to pick, but mostly those whom we didn’t want to pick up. If you don’t have the ability to push your energy and control your energy, and control what is coming on to this bus, then you must know that your body is like a car which you drive that has no doors.
You go up and down Hastings Street, -Hastings Street has a very poor area [in Vancouver] where there are people who are mentally not well– if you drive around a car that has no doors, and if you go slowly, you will pick up many passengers. And they warn you on the [E. Hasting] street that there are many who want to come into your car. But many want to jump in front of your car, so they can claim an insurance after you run over them, God forbid. So they have a sign there, “Be careful, people are crossing” and they jump into your car. This is an example of what Allah (Azza wa Jal) is teaching for us that: you are dayeef, you are very weak,. That if you overestimate your strength you have already lost the battle.
My dunya desires and everything that is coming into me; I am all these beings, and energies that are jumping unto me and overtaking me. If enough of them jump unto the being, they begin to alter the energy of the person. If we don’t understand that we are an energy Creation, then we fall into difficulties because you are picking up, picking up, picking up all these ‘beings’, they begin to come inside the person. If you have ever seen a schizophrenic person that is your example. Schizophrenia means ‘they’ (negative energies) have completely overtaken the body and overtaken the mind and they begin to talk to you, twenty different people inside that person will begin to talk to you. Means the passengers have overtaken the bus driver, they are now in control yelling and screaming.
Your Shaykh Knows You better than you know Yourself
Any (trained) shaykh understands that, from the firasah (spiritual vision) that Allah has given to them, and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has given to them, and you must know that the shaykh knows you better than you know yourself. His shaykh knows all the atomic realities of everything that Allah (Azza wa Jal) has given. But if you are in their presence, your file has been given to them – they know you better than you know yourself! Every imtihaan (test) that comes into the Center, or via the internet, wherever you are watching and are looking from, your file has been transferred to them. You have no permission to watch them unless you are under their nazar (gaze).
Allah (Azza wa Jal) says “Everything is in a hisaab perfectly accounted for.”
وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا ٢٨…
72:28 – “…wa ahata bima ladayhim wa ahsa kulla shay in ‘adada.” (Surat al Jinn)
“… and He has encompassed whatever is with them and has enumerated all/every thing in number. ” (The Jinn 72:28)
There is no randomness with Allah (Azza wa Jal), absolutely no randomness especially for His `Ibaad ur Rahmaan for the servants that are under the control of Allah (Azza wa Jal) and they are working for Allah (Azza wa Jal). It means if you see them, they see you. If you see them, your file is with them; if your file is with them means that everything in your life is going to be an imtihaan and a test to reach these realities. They want to take away these four partitions so that your soul can reach its perfection and begin to fly the way that Allah (Azza wa Jal) wants it to fly.
When they make their nazar, their tafakkur (meditation), their soul is free.
عِبَادُ الرًحْمَانْ، فِيْ كُلِّ زَمَانْ
لَهَمُ الْاَمَانْ يَاسِيدِيْ، مُطْمَئِنٍيِنَا
‘Ibaadur Rahman, Fi Kulli Zamaan x2
Lahamul Amaan Ya Sayyidi Mutma inneena
Ya Sayyidi Mutma inneena, Allah Allah
Servants of the Most Merciful
At all time have safety and certainty,
O’ my Master, they have certainty
The dunya desire (in people) is the strongest right now, (the soul) is constantly under bombardment from Shaytan and all the television (shows) and every type of desire. Then the biggest fight against those desires is the majlis of Zikr, the majlis of praising of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), the awrad (prescribed prayers), and the Zikr and the wazifa that you are doing. That you praise Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) as much as possible, so that you will be under the nazar (gaze) of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).
Every imperfection of our character will Show in Zikr Association
And that every test that is coming, is exclusively for you, not for somebody else. It is for myself that I understand that everything that is coming, Allah (Azza wa Jal) wants me to understand. That if I have a character where I am critical of everything, they want that to be under control. Don’t be critical of anything, don’t make judgement upon anything, this is a big shirk (making partnership) with Allah (Azza wa Jal). Allah (Azza wa Jal) is the Best of Planners. Means every imperfection of our character will come (be identified), through those associations. Allah knows best, who is arrogant, who has pride, who has inability to listen, who has inability to submit. Who has judgement and is making association with Allah (Azza wa Jal), constantly second thinking and thinking they know best, when they don’t even know themselves and they don’t know their names in the Divinely Presence. How can we be anything when we don’t even have any basic information? That comes against the dunya desire.
2. Hawa (Physical pleasures/desires) – Second Enemy of the Soul
Then they come into the hawa and they say everything that you are putting upon yourself, that this pleasurable desires have to be brought down. That is why they encourage the difficulty upon oneself. That implement difficulty upon yourself, be uncomfortable at times, sleep in an uncomfortable position at times. Constantly struggle against yourself so that you can break the bars that are encaging the soul. That is why in all our [Eastern] cultures, we always had a bird within a cage, and 50-60 years ago every bazar had a bird in a cage. It was symbolic, that that bird is your soul and it is singing so beautifully and it wants to be free. But this cage and the bars are so tight and so strong, that bird will never be free and it dies a prisoner within that body.
The Turuq come to teach that: no, no, with their teaching, and implementation of their teachings, those bars will become thin and weakened, and begin to move so that bird is free to fly where Allah (Azza wa Jal) wants it to fly; to drink from Allah (Azza wa Jal) oceans of Rahma, to see from Allah (Azza wa Jal)’s oceans of Rahmah (mercy), to be dressed from those blessings and then come back into the body with all of its knowledges and all of its realities.
Struggle and Hardship Destroys the Hawa
They begin to teach, “Be hard upon yourself,” sit into positions that are not comfortable for yourself. Don’t try to live a life of ease because that life of ease is again going into the soul and block everything. That is why when Ramadan comes and people say [complain], “O you know I get a headache by 8 o’clock,”. But that is good because you don’t get a headache at any other time. These times are difficult. And when we live a life where everything is resolved by Tylenol and Advil, we actually experience no difficulty any more. That difficulty and hardship makes us to realize we are alive, we are very much alive. And a little bit of struggling in Allah’s Way goes a long way in Divinely Presence. So the struggle is important for us, those difficulties and hardships are important for us and that destroys the hawa.
3. Nafs (Ego) – The Third Enemy of the Soul
Then the nafs and the understanding that the nafs is the big shareek (partner) with Allah (Azza wa Jal). That everything of the Turuq is based on destroying the nafs (ego). If you don’t destroy that nafs, that is the one that becomes shareek with Allah (Azza wa Jal) not the soul. The soul will never goes near that and there is no way to be partner with Allah (Azza wa Jal). But the nafs wants to be a partner with Allah (Azza wa Jal), it partners with Shaytan to plan against ar-Rahman (The Most Compassionate). Means everything it does will come against Allah (Azza wa al); it comes against what Allah (Azza wa al) wants.
That is when you take your path seriously and every thought that is coming to you, begin to think, “Why don’t I want to fast?” It’s not for your soul, it’s because your nafs wants to be in charge of your body. If you give enough for your nafs, it is going to come against Allah (Azza wa Jal). “Why don’t I want to give, why don’t I want to pray, why don’t I want to participate?” It is not the soul; the soul wants (that) to be crushed, the soul wants that you destroy everything so that we will be free with Allah (Azza wa Jal). So anything that is complaining, and any voice that is coming to you by complaint is from the nafs (ego).
If you become aware and conscious that why am I complaining now? That is my nafs! I can only find fault in everybody but, I find no fault in myself. “O this is a big zalim (oppressor), this is like a Fir’aun (pharoah).” MashaAllah your eyes are so strong that you can see problems of everybody but, you can’t see any problems of your own. This is the worst of character. My kids can have that character and that is not a rijal, that is not somebody who is developed in Allah (Azza wa Jal)’s Way. The one who is developed in Allah (Azza wa Jal)’s Way, inherits from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). That Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: if you find your brother, find 70 excuses for him, don’t say something bad about your brother.
Do Not Judge Allah’s Creation – Find Excuses for them
Means the perfection of character of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was describing what RijalAllah should be like. RijalAllah (Men of Allah) if they go and they find everything to be horrible, they don’t speak a word about it. They say, “Yaa Rabbi there must be something good, they are all much better than I am, I am seeing an imperfection that is within me, not within them.” Means never to find something wrong with Allah’s Creation. Allah (Azza wa Jal) created that Creation. The good character and the good adab that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) wants is that: inherit from my Hadith, inherit from my way, that find 70 excuses to excuse them because maybe you are misunderstanding something and don’t get into judging Allah’s Creation and that is the way.
Now who can achieve that? Very few, but that is our understanding that yaa Rabbi let me come against my nafs and all my bad characteristics. If I don’t know myself how is it I can know anybody else and I am with myself all the time and I don’t know myself? What are your seven names? You have a name in each Paradise, what are they? You don’t know your names. If you don’t know your names, how could you comment on other people. That “this one is good, this `amal is bad.” You don’t know any of your names, then you don’t know yourself, and there is no way you know your Lord. Again there is another Hadith from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) “Who know himself will know his Lord.
مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهْ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ
“Man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu”
“Who knows himself, knows his Lord.” Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
Then if you don’t know yourself, you don’t know your Lord. Lordship means you don’t know your Rabb. You don’t know what governs you, what manipulates you, what is oppressing you. If you don’t know all that, how are you going to know Allah (Azza wa Jal) Most High? That is the nafs.
Control Your Nafs (Ego) by Coming Against it
Then the Way is based on destroying the nafs (ego). Every time I hear something, you meditate and contemplate, “Why is it like that?” I am going to come against that. “Why am I making bad whisperings?” I am going to come against that. “Why am I not having clean desires in an association of Zikr?” I am going to come against that. “Why do I want something when I come into the Circle of Zikr instead of only wanting Allah and His Rasul (saws)?” If coming into the association and whispering, and gossiping, and thinking ‘somebody is whispering about me, someone is thinking about me’, no, Shaytan is playing with you. The only one you have to focus on is yourself and why you are not reaching your reality? That is the big struggle.
4. Shaytan (Satan) – The Fourth Enemy of the Soul
If the dunya can be fought, if the hawa can be fought, and the understanding of the nafs to be fought and asking for the madad and support of Awliyaullah, then the fight against Shaytan can begin. At that time only the fight begins to pursue Shaytan until a time that Allah says: that servant is a mukhlis and you have no reach on them. Shaytan said: I want to attack them, to their front, to their right, to their left, behind them, above them and below them. Allah (Azza wa Jal) said: attack whom you want except My mukhlis. My mukhlis (sincere servant) you have no reach upon them.
It means only at that time when Allah (Azza wa Jal) sees that the battle against oneself is good, that servant is coming against their dunya desire, coming against their hawa, coming against their nafs, then Allah (Azza wa Jal) grants them a support to come against Shaytan and Shaytan’s hand is not to reach to them, or touch them.
Subhaana rabbika rabbil izzati `amma yasifoon wa salaamun `alal mursaleen wal hamdulillahi rabbil `aalameen.
[Special thanks to sister Saira and sister Hafsa for their help with transcribing this suhbat.]