Changing what is in oneself -1-

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Changing what is in oneself and adopting the moral perfection which is worthy of Allah’s good pleasure endows a believer with bliss and Paradise, the eternal Abode of believers. These are surely very great blessings. Almighty Allah relates this fact in the Qur’an as follows:

‘O self at rest and at peace, return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My slaves! (Surat al-Fajr, 27-30)

In the Qur’an, Almighty Allah relates that one measure by which He increases or reduces His blessings upon people is “changing what is in oneself.” This verse gives the good news of a very important secret. If a person makes a truly  sincere and profound  change in himself, this will, Insha'Allah (if Allah wills it to be so), be rewarded in the best way in Allah’s Sight. Allah knows the sincere change in His servants, and as a result of this sincere change, Allah promises an absolute increase in blessings.

In contrast , not appreciating the blessings one possesses may end up in the reduction of blessings. This again is  a promise related in the Qur’an as stated in the following verse:

Allah makes an example of a city which was safe and at peace, its provision coming to it plentifully from every side. Then it showed ingratitude for Allah’s blessings so Allah made it wear the robes of hunger and fear for what it did. (Surat an-Nahl, 112)


“Purifying one’s lower-self from Desires and Passions eases the Change”

What primarily needs to be done in order for a person to change himself is to be delivered from the wickedness of the lower-self. Almighty Allah inspires man to purify himself from evil and attain the frame of mind with which He is pleased. Our Lord imparts us this fact as follows:

And the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or fear of Allah, he who purifies it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed. (Surat ash-Shams, 7-10)
 

Almighty Allah created man with a tendency toward  moral perfection. For this reason, when one approaches his lower-self  with utmost sincerity and honesty, he finds it easy  to recognize  its demands which are incompatible with the morality of the Qur’an. What needs to be done at this point is not to surrender  to these desires and passions that are irreconcilable with the morality of the Qur’an, but rather, a  purification of the lower-self, subduing and disciplining it.  To  this end, a person must never consider his lower-self as a part of him, never take sides with it nor  advocate for it. He must be aware that—apart from what our Lord protects him from with His mercy— the lower-self is always unjust, that its inspirations are incompatible with the morality of the Qur’an, that it is the voice of satan, and accordingly assess the words coming from it within this scope.


Reproaching and criticizing the lower–self helps a person to change himself

An effective way of changing oneself is to reproach the self. Aware that believers cannot attain true salvation and Paradise without reproaching their lower-selves, they control their attitudes and acts with questions like, “What did I mean with this word?” “What was my intention to do this?”, “What do I want to accomplish with these thoughts in mind?” When they err or do something wrong, they share it with other believers so that they can help them not to fall into the same error. In this way, they also degrade their lower-selves by criticizing it, which is something the self hates. That is because what the lower-self most desires  is “to attribute individualism to itself” and as a result of this false feeling, to prevent people from confessing these errors. This is the manner in which  the lower-self tries to convince the person that he is faultless and hence lends support to cover any evil of the self.

Reproaching the lower-self in the Hereafter will not be of any benefit to someone who abides by the wicked desires of his self, and thus does not lend himself to purify it and reproach it in this world. Allah draws our attention to the importance of this subject as follows:

No! I swear by the Day of Rising! No! I swear by the self-reproaching self. (Surat al-Qiyama, 1-2)

 
A way to change what is in oneself: Getting rid of superficiality

We need to sincerely and scrupulously think over the secret of the verse: “That is because Allah would never change a blessing He has conferred on a people until they had changed what was in themselves. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Surat al-Anfal, 53) That is because the kind of change Almighty Allah relates in this verse is not a “superficial change.” What is referred to here is a heartfelt change a person makes with fear of Allah, faith, zeal and sincerity.  Surely when looked at from outside, the great effort a person makes may be obvious. But ultimately, what really matters is to make that change deep within one’s self. Sometimes people are unable to ascertain the superficiality in their souls and understand why their endeavors have not brought about any results. In truth,  the reason for this is  quite obvious: because he has not pondered deeply and given due attention to the subject, he could not have made a profound change in his morality. But because he is not properly conscious of this weakness, he thinks that he has failed despite his best efforts. (Surely Allah is beyond that)

The fact is however he is in a great delusion. In the Qur’an Allah relates us that “no self will be wronged in any way.” (Surat al-Anbiya, 47)

Consequently, a person of such a frame of mind must be aware of Allah’s infinite justice and think, “Surely Allah is infinitely just and compassionate. If Allah has not changed my state, this means that I have still significant weaknesses. In this case, what weaknesses do I still posses ?” and search  for the answers again in the Qur’an.

2011-06-11 10:15:39

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