The Seven Nafs (seven Kinds Of The Soul)

1-NAFS-I AMMARAH: (Soul that commands evil):

"Vema öberriü nefsi innennefse leemmaratün bissui - Do not think that self is away from wickedness! Carnal soul guides the work of the treacherous." (Yusuf, 53)

Carnal soul is a kind of living being which is inclined to wickedness and sensitive. It was put into man by God. It bears resemblance to hot, black smoke. It is a stain or a defect for a human who is created very beautifully. Carnal soul (Nafs) means fleshly desires and feelings. Nafs has another meaning, which is the whole being of a person. This meaning should not be confused with the natures that are called as "Ammarah, Lawwamah, Mulhamah etc." God created man as a reflector of Himself and His names. He put into man all the things, which are the signs of His Mighty and Merciful attributes. He revealed this truth by saying:

"I created man with My two hands." (Sad, 75) and "I created man from mixed-turbid water." (Al-İnsan: 2)

Man is the essence of both the good and the bad sides of everything. All the material and spiritual elements exist in man. Spirit is Divine (Rahmani) and self is Mighty (Kahri). For this reason, God warned the man whom He loves very much to fight and struggle against the carnal self and its fleshly desires and soul’s vagaries that are accepted as the soldiers of the self. (Al-Tawbah, 41), (Ankabut, 6)

God smeared the dirt of the self into man in order to calm the Devil, which is jealous of man and an enemy of him and also the Angels who slightly envy man. This stain or dirt looks like the fault on the face of a beautiful woman. Opposite groups have been calmed with it but the Devil, which is the wrathful power, was not satisfied with it as he was very jealous of man. This subject should be remembered because it has already been explained. God said,

"I covered every self with itself." It means each self sees itself and it cannot get rid of it easily. Rivalry is based on this mystery. They are also the creatures of God and given an identity and not created in vain.

Everyone does his own duty and in charge of his own task. Spirits, Angels, Devil, self and all the creation are the signs and manifestations of the Merciful and Wrathful names of God. All of them are His forces. They do not have a real presence. God is the real presence, who is infinite, eternal, limitless Divine Light. They are told us in this way to be understood by us. All things are like the moving pictures on the white curtain. In fact, there are not any pictures or figures on the white screen. The spiritual -holy and the low beings are just like these figures and pictures in the rays of light that are sent to the white screen. They are also lights. God told and explained them in the Koran and in the other holy books for us in order not to comprehend Him from one point of view but to know Him with all His merciful and wrathful attributes and to be aware of the Truth.

Angels, Devil and similar low beings and the self, which is the combination of the wild animals reflected as wicked feelings and bad morals in man, are from the names of God but not from the Divine Light of God's person. God is one and His attributes are two kinds: Jalal and Jamal (His power or His majesty and His beauty or His mercy). Opposite beings are manifested and distinguished because of this mystery and also God and His opposite attributes are clearly understood by means of it. God is generous so He wished to be known entirely by us and He enabled man to acquire the superiority of knowing the whole Truth. Man reflects both God's Person and all His beautiful, merciful and wrathful attributions (Jamal and Jalal).

The other beings know God as the only attribute they have been created from and remember (ziqr) Him with that beautiful name of God. Man knows God with all His attributes and remembers Him with all the beautiful names of Him. Man is called "Mir'atullah - the Mirror of God" and "Nüsha-i Kübra - the great book". Man has a universal aspect because he has gathered the essence of everything in him. God said:

"Man is My mystery and I am his mystery too." The Prophet Muhammad said:

"He who knows himself - man - knows God." God Most High said:

"Venefehtü fihi min ruhi - I breathed (inspired) into man from My spirit." (Sad, 72)

"Vealleme Ademe esmae külleha - I taught man all My names (My attributes)." (Al - Baqarah, 31)

"Fesecedel melaiketü küllühüm ecme'un - My angels one and all prostrated themselves before man." (Al - Hijr, 30)

"Veizkalellahül melaiketiscüdü li Ademe fesecedu illa iblis -God told His angels to prostrate themselves before Adam (man), all His angels prostrated themselves except Satan." (Al -Baqarah, 34)

God explained with the above verses that man is the most sacred and the most scholarly manifestation of Him after Himself. Man is complete, the rest are the fragments (parts). One of the expressions in the Nativity Poem of the Prophet states this matter in a very artistic and beautiful way:

"I acquired your exalted person my mirror, I even wrote My name with Your name."

God is the only one who is able to praise the superiority of the Greatest Perfect Man, the Prophet Muhammad very beautifully. "Lâ ilahe illallah Muhammadün Resulullah -There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger."

God wanted us not to obey our lower instincts and to destroy them by struggling in order to clean this stain of the self from our face and to get rid of it. He told us to change our fleshly desires into good deeds and He informed us that we would be in our first pure state and feel the happiness of being close to Him as a result and reward of it.

"İnnel müttekine fi cennatin ve neherin fi mak'adi sidkin inde melikin muktedirin -The righteous (the Believers who are afraid of God) - who do not obey their bad, fleshly desires and wishes -shall dwell in gardens watered by running brooks, honorably seated in the presence of their Mighty Master God." (Al- Qamar, 54 -55)

He also says that whoever obeys his lower instincts (nafs) will make the enemy of man Satan called the Devil and the wrathful manifestation of God, pleased. For, Satan was dismissed from the Heaven - from the presence of God - and he will be in the Hell together with Satan in a dark and bewildering world. Nafs-i Ammarah is represented by the wolf among the other animals. It represents a wild, sadistic and violent power that attacks the weak and helpless people. This nafs bears and orders all kinds of wickedness, disbelief, cruelty, sexual desire, alcoholic drinks, lies and treachery. Because of that, it is called "Nafs- i Ammarah -the soul inciting to evil-" It is the lowest state.

2-NAFS-İ LAWWAMAH (Blaming Soul): This nafs is also very bad like "Nafs-i Ammarah". It is very close to it. It bears greed and meanness. It is inclined to material riches, property and wealth and it incites man to be greedy and mean. The person who bears this nature is always unhappy for the anxiety of living and he struggles to get the material riches and does all the harm to achieve it. It is represented by the wolf as it is very greedy and cunning.

3-NAFS-İ MULHUMAH (Inspired Soul): This nafs which represents anger, annoyance and sexual desire is also a bad nature because the person who has it is aggressive, snob and proud. It is represented by the wild dog and the bear.

4-NAFS-İ MUTMAİNNAH (Soul at peace): This nafs seeks the good and the right things. He contents himself when he finds them. He symbolizes the person who believes in God. He is always in favor of goodness and truth. He tends towards perfectionism by searching and criticizing. It is the nature of the Muslim that submits the truth. The person who has this nature is at peace and he is soft and safe. God protects him and calls him to Himself:

"Ya eyyetühennefsül mütmeinneh, ircii ila Rabbiki radiyeten merdiyyeh, fedhüli fi ibadi vedhüli fi cenneti!- O serene soul! who found the truth and became contented. Return to your Lord who is your origin, joyful and pleasing -willing and contented-.Join the pure servants whom God chose and enter My paradise. See me!” (Al-Faajr, 27-30)

This nafs is the good soul that God sent good news with the above verses. It is represented by the sheep, the ram and the dove.

5-NAFS-İ RADİYAH (Consented Soul): It is a nature that is inclined to goodness. He seeks God's consent and he is contented with Him. He likes favor, justice and kindness. He does his best to help the others. He does not get angry with anybody and he tries to love everybody. It is a soul of the person who wants to advance in this path. It is represented by the ram and the dove again.

6-NAFS-İ MARDİYYAH (Perfected Soul): This nafs also looks for the consent of God just like Radiyyah and he has advanced very much in this aim. He is away from the wickedness and inclined to devote himself to God. He is a candidate to be a Perfect Man. It is a good soul represented by the ram and the dove.

7-NAFS-İ SAFİYYAH (Clarified Soul): It is a perfect soul purified from all kinds of disbelief, treachery and fleshly, infernal desires. He acquired the quality of meeting God. Unless you are purified, there is no way to embrace God because God is pure and He likes the pure. The person who has this nafs gained the right to the eternal life and eternal happiness. He has learnt himself and his God who is his essence. He represents the Perfect Man. He is one of the true servants and the beloved of God.

This nafs got rid of the carnal self by melting and perishing in the Divine presence of God same as a piece of ice melted in a hot sea. He reached the reality said by the Prophet as "Qualify yourself with the qualities of God!" and "Be a sea but do not get changed."

He obeyed the verse "Fefirru illallah - Escape to Allah!" (Al -Dhariyat, 50) and he met his God. He is qualified with the qualities of Him.

Another name of this soul is "Zakiyyah - pure, virtuous". It is also honored with the rank of King (Shah, President).The full perfection of this soul is to be perished and annihilated in "Nafs-i Natıqa" which means the Universal Divine Spirit of the Great Prophet Muhammad, who is the father of all the spirits. Nafs-i Safiyya (Clarified Soul) is not a nafs anymore because he became a Holy Spirit. His exterior became interior and his interior became the exterior.

"I created man from mixed water. We try him." (Al-İnsan/Dehr), 2)

He passed the examination told in the verse above because he beat the wickedness and became a good person.

A seed is destroyed in two ways. Firstly, it is planted in a field and destroyed. However, in this destruction it is re-existed and extended out to infinity because seven branches grow from this seed, there are seven ears in each branch and if God wishes, there can be 100 grains on each ear and if 700 grains are planted again it will stretch to infinity bearing more and more grains. Numbers begin with one and continues to infinity, as there is no limit to numbers. One dominates the infinite numbers. Each number consists of ones and becomes infinite. This fact also proves the oneness and the infinity of God. God is one, He likes one, Divine Unity, order and peace. He does not like duality, divisibility, intrigue and anarchy.

"He comes one by one, goes one by one, remains one

No doubt, no misgiving, all is one, God is one." (Mustafa Yardımcı)

He who completes the stage of "Nafs-i Safiyya" has been qualified with good morals or praised qualities. The prayer of that person is accepted as he does favors and prays for favors. We hope that God deserves us the prayers of these people. Whoever mortifies his lusts, he meets his God and reaches the eternal prosperity and happiness.

The seven nafs mentioned above have also four stages of each. They can be passed over slowly struggling with the carnal self and by "seyr-i süluk -special religious training" like the slow motion of a shadow and the slow growth of trees and children.

We have said that a seed is destroyed in two ways and the first way has already been explained. Secondly, a seed is destroyed in a storehouse being rotten in itself. In this destruction, there is no re-existing after being destroyed like the first one in the field because it is perished being rotten in a grain cellar and in itself.

Similarly, if a person is annihilated and becomes perished in his God, he finds the presence of God in this annihilation again. He dives into an infinite sea, becomes infinite like an infinite drop. If not, he will be decayed and perished like a seed in a storehouse, because his inner structure becomes rotten in his outer structure and he loses the eternal life as a result of it. The place God informed as Hell has different stages. The inner structure of cruel people who belong to the lowest stage decays in a deep darkness same as the decaying of a seed in a grain cellar after suffering great torture. It becomes perished and matter like a piece of stone and the quality of liveliness is taken back from him.

May God protect us from the danger of being one of the cruel!