Three Stages Of Spiritual Development Of Soul Age
Nafsul Ammara: The Passionate Soul
"I do not absolve myself. Lo the (human) soul is prone to evil, save that whenever my Lord has mercy. Lo, my Lord is forgiving; merciful". (Qur'an 12:53)
This soul inclines toward sensual pleasure, passion and self gratification, anger, envy, greed, and conceit. Its concerns are pleasures of body, gratification of physical appetite, and ego. In a hadith we are told, "Your most - ardent - enemy is your evil self which resides within your body". (Bukhari)
If this evil soul is not checked, it will lead to unusual stress and its resultant effects.
Nafsul Lawammah: The Reproaching Soul
"Nay, I swear by the reproaching soul" (Qur'an 75:1)
This soul is conscious and full aware of evil, resists it, asks for God's grace and pardon, repents and tries to amend and hopes to achieve salvation.
"And (there are) others who have acknowledged their faults. They mix a righteous action with another that was bad. It may be that Allah will relent toward them. Lo Allah is relenting, merciful". (Qur'an 9:102)
"There are two impulses within us. One, spirit, which calls towards good and confirms the truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it comes from Allah. Another impulse comes from our enemy (devil), which leads to doubt and untruth and encourages evil. He who feels this should seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil" (Hadith).
This soul warns people of their vain desire, guides and opens the door to virtue and righteousness. It is a positive step in spiritual growth.
Nafsul Mutma 'innah: The Satisfied Soul
"O (you) soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction. Come back to your Lord, well pleased (yourself) and well pleasing unto Him. Enter you then among My devotees, enter you in My heaven". (Qur'an 89-27-30)
This is the highest state of spiritual development. A satisfied soul is in the state of bliss, content and peace. The soul is at peace because it knows that in spite of its failures in this world, it will return to God. Purified of tension, it emerges triumphant from the struggle and resides in peace and bliss.
What Should We Do In Panic And Despair?
In panic situations non-believers behave differently from believers. They have no one to turn to, to ask for mercy and forgiveness, they know and believe not in nay life other then this worldly life, over which they have no control. Naturally they get more depressed which in turn leads them to even more wrong doing. If they were used to casual drinking, after drinking, they will increase their consumption of alcohol and end up as alcoholics or habitual criminals.
In a state of depression a believer, on the other hand, is advised to do the following:
Increase Dhikr (remembrance of God).
"He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence - Those who have believed and whose heart have rest in the remembrance of God. Verify in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest". (qur'an 13:27-28)
Be constant in their prayers.
"O you who believe, seek help with steadfastness and prayer. For God is with those who are steadfast". (Qur'an 2:153)
Pray to God for Forgiveness.
"And I have said: Seek forgiveness from your Lord. Lo He was ever forgiving". (Qur'an 71:10)
In addition to the above believers are also expected to constantly struggle to better ourselves.
"Surely God does not change the condition in which people are until they change that which is in themselves". (Qur'an 13:11)
Qur'anic Recitation In Reducing The Stress
"O mankind! There has come to you a direction from you Lord, and a healing for (the disease in your) heart, and for those who believe a guidance, and mercy. (Qur'an 10:57)
The echo of sound has a medical effect, and is now widely utilized. The recitation of Qur'an or listening to the same has a wholesome effect on the body, the heart and the mind. It is said that the letter 'alif' echoes to the heart and latter 'ya' echoes in the pineal gland in the brain. Dr. Ahmed El Kadi of Akbar Clinic, at Panama City, Florida, conducted and has published the effects of listening to the Qur'anic recitation on physiological parameters i.e. the heart rate, the blood pressure and the muscle tension and reported improvement in all, irrespective of whether the listener is a Muslim or a non- Muslim, Arab or non-Arab.2 Obviously it can postulated that those who can understand and enjoy the recitation, with a belief in it as word of God, will get maximum benefit.
Prophet Muhammad's Prayer During Stress
All the prophets, being human beings, had to undergo tests and trials which resulted in temporary stress. They constantly remembered God and received peace through His remembrance. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for example, himself used and advised his followers to use the following D'ua (prayer) in times of distress.
"Allah is sufficient for us, and He is an excellent guardian, and we repose our trust in Allah."
"Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shell we return. O Allah, I beseech you for the reward of my hardship. Reward me, and compensate me for it with something good."
Dr. Shahid Athar is a Clinical Associate Professor at Indiana University. He has written and published over 110 articles on Islam, authored "Peace Through Submission" and edited "Islamic Perspective in Medicine". He is a frequent speaker at many Muslim institutions, mosques, universities and churches all over the USA.