Islamic Youth Leadership Program: Tazkiyah – Purification of the Soul (Part 3)

Dedicated to revive the leadership quality among the younger Islamic generation of today, Islamic Online University held the YL360 Course for public for free through the website. Here are the excerpts from the course which I will present to you all in separate posts.


So what is the difference between the battles of Badr and Uhud?

In the battle of Badr, we had a decisive victory even when we were outnumbered. Because of our taqwa, Allah gave us a stunning victory.

“And already had Allah given you victory at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah ; perhaps you will be grateful.”
– QS Ali Imran: 123

Victory was near but against what our Prophet wills, the archers came downhill during the Battle of Uhud. It was all simply because they’re afraid to lose the booties of war. They’re attracted by the dunya and forgot the real purpose. Because of this Allah humiliated us with a defeat and that was because we disobeyed our Rasul and Allah.

From here, we can understand why the purification of the soul is connected with the topic of leadership and victory of Ummah.



Fitra is a natural inclination that Allah SWT puts in our souls.

“And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.”
– QS Al A’raf: 172

The surah tells us about the covenant that we made with Allah when we were once extracted from the loins of Adam. All souls testify that Allah is our God.

The natural belief of Allah is actually already inside us, regardless that now humankind has other forms of beliefs or religions. Along the way, we are tarnished the way we live our lives in the dunya and that affects our fitra so that it became rusty, the hearts becomes blackened, and many cannot differentiate right or wrong anymore – even the truth of tawheed and shirk.

Islam is the religion of fitra. Everybody believes that cleanliness is good and dirtiness is the opposite. Honesty is good and lying is bad. Being kind to parents is good and being harsh to them is evil. Similarly that knowing Allah is one and there’s no partner is fitra itself but our faith in the dunya is oftentimes challenged and tarnished.

Islam is the deen of fitra and guides man to the true faith in Allah. By doing this, we will complete the fulfillment of our potentials and realizes that the best reward is in the Paradise, not in this world.

All prophets were sent to remind humankind about this essential knowledge from the earliest of time and taught the Islamic law as a comprehensive guidance of living. It is something that is not only applied at the masjid but also as our way of life.

It is in our fitra that we believe that Allah is one. We know about the good and bad things. We testified about this before we were born. So what the factors that caused our fitra to change? What are the reason that people start worshipping other than Allah or associating Him with partners and failed to differentiate good and evil?

Every baby is born with the tauhid to Allah but it was the parents who choose their religions for them. Other big influences came from school, society and culture, and materialistic influences.

For instance, there are cultures where women are the ones who should pay the dowry before marriage, or the belief to “cross your fingers” before doing something important. What is worse is that the latter may be categorized as shirk.



Nafs is something that is related to the soul and it could be the synonym of soul as well. There are three types of soul and there is one that we should aspire into:

Nafs al ammarah bil soo (commanding souls)

And I do not acquit myself. Indeed, the soul is a persistent enjoiner of evil, except those upon which my Lord has mercy. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.”
– QS Yusuf: 53

The soul is a persistent adviser of evil or the enjoiner of evil. So what is this nafs al ammarah bil soo?  This is the soul which is controlled by its whims and desires, where people would commit sins easily, becoming disobedient, and leads eventually to lose remorse upon committing sin after sin.

Those with this soul will lose their ability to perceive truth, their hearts hardened, and will not  be able to differentiate between good and evil anymore. At that stage, everything will be the opposite – the good becomes evil and the evil becomes good.

For example it’s like the celebration of LGBT. It was a severe sin as said by Allah but in many parts of the world, they celebrate it. Or another example is the way people dress nowadays and it becomes a norm, or at how riba is now being tolerated everywhere in the world whereas Allah said that the proponents of riba are like engaging a war with Allah and His messengers. Sadly so many Muslims are trapped with this and those who engage in this became the companion of shaytan. Nauzubillah.

That’s why we need to go back and think whenever we did something wrong. At the beginning we might feel bad, but the more we do it, the regrets will fade. So, if we’re feeling bad at doing something wrong, that is good because there’s still some heart left in us.

“No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.”
– QS Al Mutaffifin: 14

Nafs al-lawwama (reproachful soul)

“And I swear by the reproaching soul [to the certainty of resurrection].”
– QS Al Qiyamah: 2

This type of soul is constantly between good and evil. It does recognize evil deeds and feels regret after committing it. They repent after sinning and blame themselves for doing sins and for not doing more good. However, the soul still wavers between good and evil.

It is actually a good start to be at this state because the soul is still alive. Because after all, every son of Adam is a sinner. Every human being is a sinner but the best of them are those who repent. Most of us are in this stage, but we have to strive for a stage that is even better than this.

Nafs al-mutmainnah (tranquil soul)

“[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul,
Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],
And enter among My [righteous] servants
And enter My Paradise.”
– QS Al Fajr: 27-30

Allah SWT will say to the righteous followers to enter the Paradise, dedicated for them solely. How pleasing would that be if we are among those who possess nafs al-mutmainnah.


To be continued


Excerpts from the narration of Nihal Javed of Islamic Online University


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