Naf’s in Islam

NAF’S AND ITS TYPES:

 

Naf’s is an arabic word meaning Ego or Soul. But the Sufi’s (and also many scholars) have defined “Naf’s” as Ego which is the lowest state of a persons inward nature. The scholars have always tried to classify Naf’s, and based on the revelation and Ahadith, they have classified it as follows:

 


SUFI CONCEPTION OF NAF’S:


1) Al Naf’s Al Amm’arah: The Naf’s which incites us to commit evil, like it is stated in the Qur’an, Al Yusuf, Verse 53, “Verily the Naf’s incites to commit Evil“.
2) Al Naf’s Al Luwwa’Mah: The Naf’s of self conscience. Due to this, the person asks for forgiveness for his sins. It is mentioned in the Qur’an, Al Qiyamah, Verse 2, “And I swear with the reproaching (disappointment in self actions) soul”.
3) Al Naf’s Al Mutma’inah: It is the Naf’s at peace. This is the most ideal state of Ego during which the person is firm in faith and leave bad manners. It is mentioned in the Quran, Al Fajr, Verse 27, “and it will be said to the righteous, O reassured Soul”.
Interestingly, The “IKHWAN AL SAFA”[1] has given a totally different classification of Naf’s. 
 
It is mentioned in Ra’sail Al Ikhwan As Safa, that the soul is drowned in the Sea of Matter, imprisoned in its body/physicality with its desires, pleasures and pains. The soul has three dimensions, three levels:
1) Naf’s Shehwaniyah: The lustful soul, bound by its own nature to love eating, drinking and mating/ reproduction.
2) Naf’s Ghadabiyah: The animal soul, bound by its own nature to love power, control and domination.
3) Naf’s Natiqa: The rational soul, bound by its nature to love the acquisition of knowledge and virtues, and to ascend above the physical material world.
*There are two kinds of people in the world:
1) The general masses or common people and
2) The wise men or the elite. 

The Naf’s Shehwaniyya is the dominant part of the Naf’s in the common people, who are contented with this material world and its physical pleasures. 
The Naf’s Natiqa is the dominant Naf’s in the elite, the wise men. When these wise people look at this world they see beyond it to its Wise Maker, Knowledgeable Creator and Merciful Sculptor, and attach themselves to Him and yearn for Him.
[1] Ikhwan Al Safa: Also known as Brethren of Purity, was aSecret Organisation of Muslim Philosophers located in Basra, Iraq. The Structure of this organisation and its member’s have never been clear. They wrote a total of 52 Ra’sail which greatly influenced Muslim philosophy. 
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