Nafs-e Lawwamah (The Reproaching Self)

Question

What is the significance of latif (spiritual parts of human self)? Do they find a mention in the Qur'an?


Answer

The Holy Qur'an refers to a nafs-i lawwamah[1], the spiritual aspect of a human being nafs. The Book also employs the expression fu'ad [2]or qalb[3] for this entity. On the basis of this, Muslims scholars have believed in that we have a spiritual aspect of our being. Actually the Book uses the words fu'ad and qalb for nafslawwamah figuratively. Nafs lawwamah is basically the faculty of our mind blessed with the following three things:

a. Knowledge of Good and Evil, God and consciousness of test and trial.

b. Freedom to exercise the knowledge of good and evil.

c. Conscience (which censures committing evil)

This nafs lawwamah guides us like a torch where to go. Its light makes us see which path is wrong taking to evil and which is right leading to the truth. It is only our nafs which leads us to righteousness. Otherwise it is impossible to make a list of right and wrong. It is the awareness bestowed upon us by it that always leads us to a quick conclusion in distinguishing good from evil. If we opt to commit an evil it makes us repulse the act. It helps us avoid doing the act. And if we commit an evil ignoring its guidance it rebukes and censures us and thus leads us to repent.

[1] Q. 75: 2

[2] Q 17: 36

[3] Q 7: 179

About the Author

Sajid Hameed


Sajid Shahbaz Khan who writes under his pen name; Sajid Hameed was born on the 10th of October 1965, in Pakpattan, then a small town in Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan. Mr.Khan works as the head of the Education Department at Al-Mawrid. His academic endeavors include working as the head of The Department of Islamic and Religious Studies at the University of Central Punjab in Lahore. Having achieved two Master’s degrees: MA Urdu and MA Islamic Studies, he is currently enrolled as a PhD scholar at UMT, Lahore, dissertating on “Muslim Epistemology”.  His MS (MPhil) was on Islamic Jurisprudence with a thesis on “The Probable and Definitive Signification of Text in Islamic Jurisprudence”. Alongside this, he has designed a large number of courses for graduate, undergraduate and younger students. 

Mr.Khan studied the Holy Qur’an from Mr.Muhammad Sabiq, a Deobandi scholar. He gained knowledge of the Hadith through the Muwatta of Imam Malik and through Nuzhah al-Fikr, a famous work on Hadith criticism under Hafiz Ata ur Rehman: an erudite Hadith scholar. He has remained a student of advanced studies in religious disciplines under Mr. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi since 1987, granting him a deep understanding of the Qur’an, Hadith, Arabic literature and other religious disciplines.

Mr.Khan’s teaching career is highlighted by the prestigious colleges and universities of Lahore that he has taught at. Arabic language and rhetoric, Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, Urdu language, Quran, Hadith, and Muslim Philosophy are his primary subjects. Coupled with his academic and professional accolades are appearances on several televised talk shows and being the author of various religious books and research articles.