Submitting Ourselves to Allah and Overpowering our Nafs and Shaytaan


Submitting Ourselves to Allah and Overpowering our Nafs and Shaytaan

Allah Ta`alaa says:

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Human being is created weak. [1]

The weakness referred to in the verse also includes the weakness of the inner self (Nafs) which has pride, arrogance, greed, anger, argumentativeness etc.[2]. These traits lead one to evil and wrongdoings. Allah Ta`alaa says:

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Surely, man`s inner self often incites to evil. [3]

The weakness of the Nafs leading to evil is aggravated by the Shaytaan (Satan), our avowed enemy. Allah records the vow of Satan:

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Because You have sent me astray, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones. [4]

The combination of the Nafs and Shaytaan poses a huge challenge in submitting ourselves to Allah and overpowering our Nafs and Shaytaan. The human will only be able to succeed and suppress the Nafs and Shaytaan if the soul has been reformed, rectified and purified from the evils of the heart. The purification of the soul is called Tazkiyah. Allah says:

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He is successful who has purified himself. [5]

Furthermore, an individual who sows the seeds of purification and self-rectification will not only reap spiritual well-being and sweetness in faith but also the fruits of a healthy and content living in all aspects of life [6].

How often we experience grief and agony due to marital problems, commercial disputes and social ills. When we analyse the cause of our grief, the real cause is the Nafs and its mischief.

The rectification and reformation of the soul is necessary and there are different ways to achieve this. A person may reach this objective by treading the path of knowledge, sitting in the company of pious saints, engaging in the remembrance and supplication to Allah, or by taking Bay`ah.

Bay’at refers to the promise of allegiance that the Mureed (follower) takes with the Shaykh that he will adhere to the instructions prescribed by him. The purpose of Bay’at is to take support from a spiritual guide to change and reform oneself [7].

Bay’at is not a requirement for reformation. While the act of self-reformation and purifying the soul is compulsory; [8] the very customary practice of taking Bay`ah from a Shaykh to acquire this objective is desirable and an effective way [9]. The basis of Bay`ah can be clearly found in the Glorious Qur`an [10] and the Sunnah [11]. Experience proves that one of the most effective methods to acquire Islaah and self-reformation is to submit oneself to the guidance and care of a Shaikh who is an expert instructor in the field of detecting and diagnosing discrete inner maladies and imbibing desired traits [12].

The purpose of Bay`ah will be defeated if one takes Bay`ah and yet does not reform and change the mode of his life. The connection and company of the Shaykh should inculcate and develop the quality of Taqwa, motivate a person to adopt Sunnah and build the consciousness of Allah in one`s life [13].


In choosing a spiritual guide, the following will be useful:

• The spiritual guide must be knowledgeable of and practising the Qur`an and Sunnah and aversive to practices contrary to Shariah;
• The spiritual guide must have spent adequate time in the company of a spiritual guide (Shaykh) and must have earned the trust of his Shaykh[14];
• There must be compatibility between the spiritual guide and the disciple;
• The common practise of taking Bay`ah to a popular person just for the sake of following the trend is incorrect. One should choose a spiritual guide from whom one can benefit and climb the ladder of spirituality.
• It is best to maintain a contact first (Islaahi Ta`alluq) before confirming the Bay`ah in order to determine if there is compatibility and one is really benefitting from such a spiritual guide.


Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Mahmood |

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