The Book of Destructive Evils is the third book of Imam Gazzali’s world renowned master piece Ihya Ulum-id-Din or the Revival of Religious learning. This work is an attempt to translate the third part of the Ihya not too literally but in substance. This book deals with soul and its attributes, conduct, greed and passion, benefits and harms of tongue, anger and envy, attachment for the world, love for wealth and harms of miserliness, power, show, pride and erroneous beliefs.
A literal translation is avoided in order to omit some unnecessary things which were prevalent in the then society, such as arguments of sects and sub-sects and also to omit the sayings of personages and sages of less importance but it should be noted that no verse of the Quran and saying of the Prophet has been omitted in this work.
Translations of the other three books of the Ihya have by the grace of God already come out of press, namely the Book of worship, the Book of worldly usages and the Book of constructive virtues.
I pray to the Almighty Allah that He may guide the people of the world in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and the spirit in which the Ihya was written by Hujjatul Islam (proof of Islam), a title received by Imam Gazzali and about which it has been said “If all the books of Islam were destroyed, it would be but a slight loss if only the Ihya of Gazzali were preserved.”
DACCA FAZLUL KARIM
It is by means of soul that man is the Lord of creation as it is by means of soul that man acquires the knowledge of God and His attributes and by no other organs of the body. It is by means of soul that man can go to the nearness of God and make efforts to realise Him. So soul is the king of the body and its different organs are its servants to carry out its orders and commands. It is accepted by God when it remains free from things other than God. When it is attached to things other than God, it drifts away from God. It is the soul which will be asked and rebuked. It becomes fortunate if it is purified and cleaned, and it becomes fortunate if it is kept impure. It is the knowledge of soul which is the root of the knowledge of God. When man does not know himself he does not know God. Majority of men are ignorant of soul and its attributes as screen is cast between soul and baser self. God says: God moves between a man and his soul and controls it and its attributes. It is between the two fingers of the Merciful. It sometimes reaches the last limit of the devil and sometimes rises so high as to the throne of the Almighty. He who does not enquire about his soul is included among those persons of whom God says in the following verse: They forgot God and so He made their souls forgetful 19:67. They are the transgressors. It is therefore essential to know soul and its attributes which is the root of religion.
What has been said in the earlier pages of this book relates to the outward organs and bodily limbs. Now we shall narrate the attributes and evils of soul which are the subject matter of secret knowledge.
(1) QALB has got two meanings. It means first a piece of flesh in the left breast called heart which is hollow in the interior, which is filled up with black blood and which is again a source of Ruh or life. Heart is the centre or mine for circulation of blood. The detailed description of heart is to be found in Anatomy. It exists in breasts and lower animals and appertains to the material world. We shall not refer to it in our book. The second meaning of Qalb is soul with which we are concerned here. It is an immaterial thing or formless Latifa or basic subtle element which has got connection with the material heart. It is just like unseen electricity. It is the principal thing in a man. It catches knowledge of God and spiritual world. It is punished and rewarded. The connection of soul with heart is the connection of attributes with the bodily limbs, or a machine with the machine man, or a house with its inmates. This connection is of two kinds. One kind of connection is with Ulume Mokashafa or spiritual knowledge. But in this look, our object is to narrate Ulume Muamalah or knowledge of worldly usages. Its second connection requires the knowledge of the secrets of soul. The Prophet did not throw light on this object and so we should refrain from it. We shall translate the word Qalb in this book as soul or an immaterial thing Latifa with its attributes.
(2) RUH: It has got also two meanings. It means first a material thing within the heart which vibrates the whole body like the current of electricity and which runs through the veins of the body. It is called ‘life.’ It has got the power of touch, hearing, sight, smell and the power of the other limbs of the body. It is just like radiation of light of a lighted lamp pitched in a corner of the house. It is a subtle gas or steam which creates the heat of the heart. Our object is not that. The second meaning of Ruh is an immaterial subtle thing which is called soul and not life. God says: They ask you about Ruh. Say: It is a command from my Lord. 17:85.
(3) NAFS: It has got also two meanings for our purpose. The first meanings is passion or baser and lower self. Passion is a comprehensive word consisting of greed, anger and other evil attributes. The Prophet said: Your greatest enemy is your passion lying by your two sides. The second meaning of Nafs is soul as described above. When Nafs assumes calmness and has removed passion, it is then termed Nafs Mutmainna or satisfied soul as God says: O satisfied soul, return to your Lord satisfied and satisfying him — 89:27. In the first meaning, Nafs is with the, party of devil. When the calm nature of Nafs does not become perfect, it is called Nafs Lawwamah or self-accusing soul, as such a soul rebukes one for neglecting divine duties. If soul gives up protests and surrenders itself to the devil, it is called Nafs Ammarah or passion addicted to evils. The Quran refers to this in verse 12:53?
(4) AQL: It has got many meanings two of which we shall narrate here. The first meaning of Aql is intellect with which true nature of things of this material world is known and its seat is in soul. The second meaning of Aql is power to understand the secrets of different learnings. It is a subtle essence called knowledge which is an attribute. Attribute and the thing which contains it are two different things. Intellect is the name of both. This is supported by the following Hadis. The first thing which God created is intellect. The attribute of intellect is an immaterial thing but the attribute cannot stand without a material thing. So the place of intellect should be created first or along with it. Knowledge is the content of intellect and so it was created first.
ARMY OF SOUL: God says in years 71: 31 — None except He knows the army of your Lord. There are armed soldiers in soul. Their real nature is not known and nobody knows their number except He. Soul has got two armies. One army can be seen by the external eye and another army cannot be seen except by the internal eye. These two armies are necessary for upkeep of the dominion of this king. Courtiers, servants, helpers, etc. are the armies of the king which can bee seen by the external eyes. Similarly, hands, feet, eyes, ears, tongue and other outward and inward organs are the armies of soul. They are all servants of soul which rules over them. They have been created to obey them. They cannot go against soul. When the soul orders the eyes to open, they open. When it orders the feet to walk, they walk. Their submission is like that of angels of God. The angels have been created to obey God and they cannot go against Him. These armies are necessary for soul for its journey to God, as conveyance and food are necessary for body. It has to cross many stations to meet Him for which it has been created. God says: I have not created Jinn and man but that they should worship Me — 51:56. Body is the conveyance or carrier of soul and its food is knowledge. In order that it can acquire its food, the ingredients which are necessary are goods deeds. To reach God is impossible till the body does not remain sound.
This world is the seed ground for the next and a station of guidance. It is called Duniya or near planet as it is the closest station out of many stations. So to acquire food in the world is necessary.
TWO ARMIES OF HEALTH: To take food which keeps the health of body is necessary and to avoid that which is harmful to it is to be avoided. So it is necessary to approach two armies, the hidden army of greed for food and drink and the open army of bodily organs. So greed for food and drink have been created in soul as they are necessary for the upkeep of the body, and the other organs are the arms of greed. Two armies are also necessary to remove the outer enemies who are destructive evils, such as anger etc. with which these evils are removed.
ARMIES OF SOUL ARE THREE: (1) One army does benefit to soul, the army of greed. It can be termed Will also. (2) The second army is anger which moves the bodily organs to give the object of greed power and strength. (3) The third army works like secret emissaries — powers of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. These defined powers are entrusted to different organs. For those armies, there are open arms — fingers to catch, eyes to see etc. The third army is divided into two. One army lives openly, such as attributes of five organs — hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Another army lives secretly in the horizon of brain. They are five — (1) power of idea (2) power of thought (3) power of memory, (4) power of retention (5) and power of consolidating them together. These five powers are in brain and they secretly stay therein.
These are the armies of soul. A man of weak intellect will feel difficult to understand them but the wise get benefit from these discussions. We shall try to make those who are weak, in understanding these things by illustrations.
(1) Soul is a king over body as a king over an empire. In the empire of soul, hands, feet and other organs are like different business men and industrialists in town. Greed is a collector of revenue in that town, anger is its police, intellect is it minister and soul is its king. The collector greed is like one who collects food and anger is like a police who keeps guard over it. The collector greed is a downright liar and a deceiver. It ostensibly wishes good but there is destructive poison in it. The reign of soul over the region of body is similar. It goes on well if all organs and attributes are under the rule of soul. When soul takes the help of its minister intellect, it rules over greed keeping anger in control. In order to bring anger under control, sometimes it seeks the help of greed and then its character and conduct become good. He who goes away from this path, becomes like one about whom God speaks in the following verse: Have you looked towards one who takes his passion as deity — 25:43? God says: He who follows his greed is like a dog. If you attack it, it will prolong its tongue. If you give it up, it will also prolong its tongue — 7:176. God speaks in another verse about the person who controlled his passion: As for such men as entertained the fear of standing before their Lord and controlled their souls from low desires, their abode will be Paradise — 79:41.
(2) Second illustration of secret army of soul. Know, O dear readers, that the body is a town and intellect or conscience rules over that town like a king. Its armies are its external and internal senses and its subject are its organs. Sexual passion and anger are the enemies of the region of body and soul is its guard. If it fights against its enemies and defeats them and compels them to do what soul likes, its actions become commendable and it returns to the Almighty. God says that He gives superiority to those who fight with their lives and properties over those who worship sitting — 9:20Q. If the soul acts as guard like the frontier guards and neglects the organs of the body, it is punished. On the Resurrection Day, it will be asked: O dishonest guard, you have eaten food and drunk milk, but you have not inquired into lost animal and have not arranged for treatment of diseased animals. To-day I will take retaliation on you for this. In the Hadis below, such a Mujahid or fighter has been praised: You have returned from the little fight to the greatest fight.
(3) Third illustration of secret army of soul. Intellect is like a rider, greed is like a horse and anger is like his hunting dog. When the rider is expert and his horse and dog are trained, success can be obtained in hunting. When the rider is inexperienced, horse disobedient and dog biting, then the horse does not obey the rider and the dog does not run obeying him. Similarly, when intellect is mature and greed and anger are submissive to intellect, success in sure, but if intellect is immature and greed and anger are not under control, there is surely ruin.
KNOWLEDGE AND WILL: The attributes for which man’s soul becomes fit to approach God and honoured are knowledge and will. Knowledge means knowledge of the material and spiritual world and reality of intellect. Then matters lie behind the knowledge gained by the senses. Lower animals have got no share in it. Regarding will, when a man can understand by his intellect the result of any action and know what will bring good, then there grows in his mind will to obtain that good and to do that action. It is not the will of greed or the instinct of the lower animals. It is opposed to greed. Intellect wills what will be its good in future and spends for it. There is greed of taking delicious food in illness but intellect prohibits its eating. A wise man refrains from eating it. So soul of man is endowed with knowledge and will and not the lower animals. Even little children are void of these attributes. There are two stages of acquiring knowledge on the part of a boy. The first stage is his learning of all preliminary necessary things and to know lawful and unlawful things. He cannot gain expert knowledge at this stage but becomes close to it. The second stage is his acquisition of knowledge by learning and thinking. He becomes then like an expert writer.
THREE MODES OF GAINING SOUL-POWER: (1) Mode of Ilham or inspiration. God’s inspiration comes on some souls “unknowingly and for that they gain spiritual knowledge.” (2) Some souls acquire spiritual power by learning and efforts. (3) Some souls acquire spiritual power quickly and some late. There are degrees of these acquisitions in the case of Prophets, friends of God, wise and learned men. This advance is unlimited. There is no limit of knowledge about God. The rank of a Prophet in this regard is highest. All secrets are disclosed to him without his efforts. A child in its mother’s womb does not know the condition of a boy. A boy does not know the condition of a grown-up-man. A grown-up man does not know the condition of an intelligent man and his acquired learning. Similarly, an intelligent man does not know the blessings, mercy and gifts showered by God on the Prophets. These blessings are also cast upon those souls which remain prepared and become fit to receive them. The Prophet said: “There is your Lord’s blowing in the days of your life. Beware and be prepared for it.” The meaning of this preparation is to remove the impurities that have fallen on soul as a result of commission of sins and to purify it. It can be understood from the following Hadis: God comes down every night to the nearest heaven and says: Is there any invoking man whose invocation I shall accept? In another Hadis: The religious man remains eager to meet Me, but I am more eager to meet him. In a Hadis Qudsi, God says: I advance one cubit for one who advances to Me half a cubit.
From this, it is understood that God does not withhold His mercy to shed the luster of knowledge on soul, but the people themselves are to be blamed for they do not cleanse their souls or minds from the impurities they heaped on them. As air does not enter a pot full of water, so knowledge of God does not enter a soul or mind if it remains filled up with things other than God. For this reason, the Holy Prophet said: Had the party of the devil not moved round the minds of the children of Adam, they would have seen the spiritual world. From this, it is understood that knowledge is the special attribute of human soul. The knowledge about God’s being, attributes and actions is the most honorable and on that strength a man becomes perfect and within this perfection there lies his fortune of approaching God.
PECULIARITIES OF HUMAN SOUL: Body has been framed for accommodation of soul which is again the house of knowledge. Divine knowledge is the human goal and its speciality. An ass and a horse are the same for carrying loads but a horse is superior to an ass, as horse has got additional qualities of beauty and running fast which an ass and other animals lack in. Similarly there is difference between a man and an angel. The man who engages all his limbs, thoughts and actions to please God is like an angel and fit to be called an angel. God says about Joseph: Surely he is an honourable angel — 12:21. He who makes efforts only for his physical comforts comes down to the class of an animal. He becomes then envious like an ox, greedy like a pig, biting like a dog, eats like a camel, takes revenge like a leopard; cunnings like a jackal and clever like a devil — the embodiment of the above evils. There is no such limb or senses which do not help a man to reach God. He is successful who walks in that path and he is unsuccessful who is misguided.
Man’s fortune lies in Taing God’s vision as the ultimate goal, the next world as his permanent abode, this world as his temporary abode, body as his carrier and the limbs as his servants.
Human soul is the centre to realise them and a king over the region of body. His power of idea works like a post office in front of his head. All news gathered by senses are accumulated there. The power of thinking keeping behind the brain works like a treasurer, the tongue as its interpreter, the five senses like secret police. Eyes have been given power to receive various colour, ears to receive different voices, nose to smell and other limbs to receive other news and they send them to the power of ideas which send them to the power of thinking which send them to the king soul.
Hazrat Ka’ab Ahbar said: I went once to Hazrat Ayesha and said: Man’s eyes are his guide, his two ears are his guards, his tongue his interpreter, his two hands are his wings, his two feet are his news carriers and his soul is his king. When the king soul is pleased, his armies are also pleased. Hazrat Ayesha said: I heard the Prophet say thus. Hazrat Ali said by way of illustration of human soul: God has got many pots in this world. The dearest to God among them is that which is most soft, pure and strong. Then he explained and said: The soul which is most firm in religion, most pure in faith, most kind in treatment with brethren is dearest to God. This can be seen from the following verse: They are hard upon the unbelievers and kind to one another among them — 48:29. In another verse, God says: His light is like a niche wherein there is lamp — 24:35. To explain this verse, Hazrat Ka’ab said: The meaning of light is the light of soul of a believer. God says: Or it is like darkness in a fathomless sea. Hence the soul of hypocrite has been spoken of as an illustration.
NATURES OF MEN: There are four natures of man (1) beastly nature, (2) animal nature, (3) devilish nature and (4) angelic nature. Anger is a sign of beastly nature along with enmity, hatred, rebuke, attack on people etc. His animal nature is seen when his sexual passion becomes strong. He has got devilish natures like deceit, fraud conspiracy etc. He has got angelic nature such as divine service, worship of God, doing good to all. As he has got the divine thing soul, he has got the nature of lordship and he likes to be free from servitude and meanness.
The roots of these four natures are in a man and centred in human soul. If he has got only the nature of a lower animal, he becomes like a pig or a dog. If he has got only the nature of the devil, he becomes a devil. If he has got divine qualities, he becomes a truly wise man. If he follows sexual passion and greed, he acquires the evils of impurity, shamelessness, meanness, miserliness, hatred and other bad habits. If he obeys the dictates of anger, he acquires heinous conducts such as haughtiness, pride, love of power, self-praise, jokes, contempt for others, oppression. If he obeys the devil, he acquires evil conducts such as deceit, deception, treachery, fraud etc. When he controls the above evils, he is endowed with divine qualities such as wisdom, knowledge, certain faith, knowledge of the natures of all things. When he becomes free from sexual passion and anger, he acquires the following virtues — pardon, contentment, self satisfaction, asceticism, piety, God fear, contentment and shame. If he keeps anger under control, he gains heroism, kindness, patience, silence etc.
SOUL IS A MIRROR: Soul is like a mirror in which the above evils and virtues are reflected. The virtues make the soul shining, resplendent and bright and the evils, sins and guilts make it dark. The Prophet said: When God wants good of a servant, He appoints an admonished in his soul. He said: He who has got an admonished in his soul has got a guard from God. Zikr or God’s remembrance becomes lasting in his soul. God says: Beware, souls get consolation by the remembrance of God 13:25. The sins are like smokes full of darkness which covers the soul. One sin after another comes over the soul like a layer of smokes till his soul gets completely enveloped wit darkness. As a result, soul becomes removed from God. It is the seal on soul of which God speaks in verse 83:14 — Never, it is seal on souls for what they have earned. God says: “Had I wished, I would have surely punished them and sealed their souls.”
When sins accumulate in soul, it becomes blind to good things of religion. The sage Maimun-b-Mehran said: When a man commits a sin, a black spot falls in his soul. When he makes repentance, it blots out. Again when he commits sin, the spot increases. Thus if sins are committed one after another, the soul becomes dark and that is the seal on soul. The Prophet said: The soul of a believer is bright and there is a bright lamp in it. The soul of an unbeliever is black and blind. The polish of soul is obedience to God with opposition to passion. Sins are impurities on soul. He who proceeds towards sins makes his soul dark.
FOUR KINDS OF SOUL: The Prophet said: Soul is of four kinds. The first kind of soul is bright in which there is a lighted lamp. It is the soul of a believer. (2) The second kind of soul is black and it is the soul of an unbeliever. (3) The third kind of soul is confined within cover and it is the soul of a hypocrite. (4) The fourth kind of soul is mixed with faith and hypocrisy. Faith in such a soul is like a plant which the water grows and if there is other liquids like blood and pus, its growth is retarded. God says: When a party of the devil attack those who are God fearing, they remember God and they keep on looking 7:201. The brightness of soul is gained by Zikr which finds consolation in a person who has got God-fear. So God-fear is the gate of Zikr which is again the gate of Kashf or inner revelation which is again the gate of salvation and the gate of having the fortune of Divine vision.
ILLUSTRATION OF SOUL: Soul is a container of knowledge. As a mirror has got connection with figure and form, so also a soul has got connection with objects of knowledge. In other words, picture, or figure can be seen if placed in front of a mirror. So also different objects of knowledge are reflected in soul. A mirror assumes the colour of a figure placed before it. Similarly soul assumes the colour or nature of an unknown object of knowledge. Every object of knowledge has got a nature and every nature has got a figure. That figure is reflected in the mirror of soul and is clearly visible. Mirror is a thing figure is a different thing and its shadow in the mirror is a different thing. Similarly a man has got three different things — (1) soul, (2) real nature of a thing, (3) and the knowledge of its real nature. Soul is the name of a thing with which knowledge is gained. Shadows of everything are reflected in it. So the container of knowledge, object of knowledge and knowledge itself are inter connected. For instance, to catch a shield is an action. Here there are three things (1) hand, (2) shield and (3) catching. These three things connected together produce an action. Similarly knowledge is a thing which is connected with soul with the shadow of the thing therein and the falling of that shadow therein. Knowledge does not arise unless the object of knowledge falls in soul. Fire cannot be said to fall in soul to produce knowledge of fire. Shadow of fire in soul is sufficient to produce it. The real man does not remain in mirror. The shadow of his real self remains in mirror. Similarly real shadows of all things fall in soul and that is called knowledge.
FIVE OBSTACLES OF GAINING DIVINE KNOWLEDGE: There are five obstacles or hurdles which prevent real pictures in a mirror. A picture cannot be seen in a mirror if the thing with which the mirror is made is spoiled or if impurities fallin the mirror, or if the mirror is not directed towards the picture, or there is something between the mirror and the picture, or if the picture is not in front of the mirror. Similar is the case with human soul. It has got five obstacles. Human soul has got the fitness to receive true pictures of everything, but if it cannot do its function, it will be understood that knowledge cannot come owing to the five obstacles.
(1) The first obstacle is a natural defect of soul as the souls of boys.
(2) The second obstacle is the impurities of sins owing to greed, passion and low desires. If the impurities of sins are not removed just like the impurities in a mirror, truth is not reflected in it. The Prophet therefore said: The intellect of a man who is accustomed to commit sins goes away. It never comes back to him. In other words, rust falls in his soul unless it is removed by a good deed and repentance. If dust falls on a mirror, it can be removed by a duster. Soul becomes bright if it does not follow low desires and urge of passion. God says: I shall show My paths to those who strive hard about Me — 29:69 The Prophet said: God grants such wisdom to one who acts up to his learning which he did not know before.
(3) Third obstacle of soul. As nothing can be seen if a mirror is not directed towards a figure or picture, so real picture of a thing does not fall in soul if it is misguided from the real object of research and enquiry. Brightness of truth is not reflected in soul owing to the object of enquiry not being directed towards soul although it is clean and pure. The picture of an object about which a man thinks falls in his soul. He who confines his thoughts and efforts to the different modes of health gains. health. So he who engage his whole attention and energy to the attainment of Divine love can acquire it. But he whose attention is diverted only to worldly pursuits gets them no doubt but is not blessed with divine love and grace. It is an obstacle and a hurdle to acquisition of Kashf or secret divine knowledge.
(4) Fourth obstacle of soul. If there is something between a mirror and a picture or figure, the figure cannot be seen in mirror. So also if there is screen between a human soul and. a thing desired, its true picture cannot be reflected in soul. Truth cannot come out from a screened soul. Whose follows his passions and low desires, screen falls in his soul. The beliefs which take root in early years of life from the surrounding environments paint the future of a man and create obstacles in finding out the truth of a thing. This is also true in case of open Taqlid or blind faith in a sect. Such a man does not accept what is opposed to his belief although it is true and correct.
(5) Fifth obstacle of soul is ignorance. This ignorance occurs in connection with a special object. As a result, defect is cast upon the object of enquiry. For instance if a student enquires about an unknown subject it will be impossible too know it until he ponders over the thing connected with the object of enquiry and that pondering is not along the prescribed mode of the learned, as the object of enquiry is to be known on the basis of other learnings. Mixture of two learnings produces knowledge of a third kind, as a young one of a camel is obtained owing to the cohabitation of a camel and a she camel. He who wants to get a young one of a horse, he can’t get it if he unites and ass and a camel, but he will get it when a horse and a she horse cohabit. Similar is the case with every knowledge. It has got two roots and there is prescribed mode of the union of the roots. Knowledge cannot arise unless the mode of union is not known. If one does not stand in front of a mirror, he cannot see his face therein. If the mirror is kept in front of face, he can’t see his back. So there is certain methods of acquiring knowledge.
So there are five hurdles in the reflection of truth in souls for which we hardly see truths. Soul is a celestial thing and it has got natural attribute of knowing truth. God says about this soul. I have placed this trust upon the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they all refused to carry it and feared it, but only man has borne it. Surely he is oppressive, ignorant — 33:72Q. It appears from this that soul has got such a special attribute which the heavens and the earth and the mountains do not possess. For that they have been made subservient to man. This trust is Ma’arfat or Divine knowledge and Tauhid.
However, soul is naturally fit to bear this trust, but it cannot reach its real nature owing to the obstacles narrated above. For this reason, the Prophet said: Every child is born upon nature, but his parents make him a Jew, or a Christian or a Maginan. The prophet said: If the party of the devil did not move in the soul of the son of Adam: he could have seen the divine realm. It appears from this Hadis also that the above five obstacles prevent a man from seeing the divine realm. The Prophet was once asked: Where is God — in earth or in heaven? He said: God is in the soul of a believer. In another Hadis, there is this: The Prophet was asked Who is the best man? The Prophet replied: The believer whose soul is Makhmus is best. He was asked: What is Makhmus? He said: That soul is Makhmus which is God-fearing, in which there is no deceit, deception, treachery, contrivance and hatred: For this reason, the Prophet said: When God-fear lifted from my soul the screen (of sins), my Lord saw my soul? Whoever lifts up the screen of sins from his soul, the pictures of unseen things are, disclosed in his soul. Then he can see paradise which extends in heaven and earth. Unseen world is outside of external eyes. When this world of sight and the unseen world are united at a time, it is termed Hazrat Rabubiyat or the presence of, God’s being which can encompass everything. There is no existence of anything except that of God, His actions and His sovereignty. His servants are included within His actions. The object of all actions is to make soul pure and bright. The Quran says: He who purifies it will get salvation — 91:8Q. The object of purity of soul is to gain light of faith therein or to enkindle the light of divine knowledge. Regarding this, God says: God expends the breast of one for Islam whom He wishes to guide. God says: Whose breast God has expanded for Islam, he is on light from his Lord — 39:22.
THREE STAGES OF LIGHT OF FAITH: This light of faith in soul has got three stages. In the first stage, the light is that of faith of ordinary man. It is the light of blind faith. In the second stage, it is the light of faith of the followers of Fiqh or jurisprudence. It is mixed with some sort of proof. In the third stage, it is the light of faith of the friends of God. It is the dazzling ray of certain faith. Take for instance the stay of Zaid within his house. It can be proved in three ways. The first kind of proof is belief on hearing. If you have belief in a certain man and you know that he does not speak lie, you will believe his word that Zaid is in his house. This is the belief of ordinary man based on hearing only. When the little boys attain maturity, they hear from their parents and relatives that there is God, that He is almighty, Creator of everything, that He sent apostles with books. They believe them on hearing. This belief will be the cause of salvation in the next world. But they will be in the first stage of the fortunate but not included within the near ones, as there is no opening of their inner eye (Kashf) with the help of certain faith and no expansion of breast, and there may be defects in heresay.
The second kind of proof is as follows. That Zaid is within his house can be guessed from a hearing of his voice and talks coming from his house. So this belief is stronger than that of heresay. There may be also mistake of voices and words. The third kind of proof is to enter into the room and see Zaid with open eyes. This is real knowledge gained by direct sight. This knowledge is like that of the friends of God and near ones. There is no mistake in this belief.
There are however degrees of this knowledge or Kashf among them. If Zaid is seen in front in light or sunlight, it is perfect sight. If he is seen in the house from a great distance or like his figure at night, it is less perfect. Similarly there are different degrees of spiritual vision and knowledge.
TWO KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge which thus falls in soul is of two kinds knowledge concerning intellect and concerning religion. The former is also of two kinds — natural knowledge and acquired knowledge. Acquired knowledge is also of two kinds worldly knowledge and next worldly or spiritual knowledge. We understand by knowledge concerning intellect basic natural and necessary knowledge. It is not acquired by blind faith or heresay. It is that which is gained but not known how and from where, for instance the knowledge that the same person cannot stay in two different places at the same time and that the same thing cannot be at the same time old and new. This preliminary knowledge is imprinted in a boy’s mind in his earliest years. He does not know wherefrom this knowledge comes. The acquired knowledge concerning intellect is gained by learning. These two kinds of knowledge is called intellect or wisdom.
The Prophet said with regard to the natural intellect from birth: God created nothing more honourable to Him than intellect. With regard to the second kind of intellect on heresay, the Prophet said to Hazrat Ali: When the people come close to God by good deeds, you will be able to come close to Him by the help of your intellect. It is not possible to come close to God by natural intellect. It has to be acquired. So human soul has got power of sight like that of external eyes. As there is power of sight in eyes, so also there is power of as on in human soul. One of its names is intellect or wisdom. The power of vision is a basic Ingredient which in not found in a spiritually blind man. It is found only in a person having inner sight though he closes his two eyes or remains in darkness. All things are seen by the eye of knowledge. There is delay in the rise of knowledge till one attains maturity as the tablet of soul does not become prepared then for light of knowledge. Pen is an instrument to depict pictures of knowledge as God says: He taught with pen. He taught men what he knew not — 8:2Q. God’s pen is not like the pen of man as His attributes are not like the attributes of man. His pen is not made of material or other things. So there is distinction between inner vision and outer sight.
SOULS VISION AND BLINDNESS: The vision of soul is subtle essence or Latifa with which spiritual things are seen. This essence is like a rider and its eye is like a conveyance. For it, the blindness of the rider is more harmful than the blindness of the conveying horse, that is the blindness of soul is more harmful than the blindness of eye. These two things have got no connection with each other. Still there is some similarity between external sight and internal sight. God explained the sight of soul in this verse: Soul has not disbelieved what it saw — 53:11. Here it has been said that the soul has got power of sight God says in another verse: I showed thus the sovereignty of heavens and earth to Abraham — 6:75. Here external sight has not been spoken of as others also have been given this power, but there is mention here of internal sight. Opposite to it is the internal blindness God says: Who so is blind in this world will be blind in hereafter — 17:71. This is the blindness of soul. This is the narration of knowledge concerning intellect.
KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING RELIGION: This knowledge is acquired by blind faith in the words of the prophets. It can be earned after studying the Quran and Sunna of the Prophet or hearing them For salvation of soul, even though knowledge concerning intellect is necessary, it is not singly sufficient. As for health of body, some measures are necessary, but they are not alone sufficient without their actual application. Special methods of medicines for cure should be learnt from the physicians. Only intellect is not sufficient. He who calls towards blind faith only without application of intellect is a fool. On the other hand, he who relies on intellect only after giving up the Quran and Sunna is a proud man. The two must be kept together. Education concerning intellect is like food and religious education is like medicine. A diseased man meets with harm if he takes only food after giving up medicine. Similar is the case with diseased soul. Its cure is not possible without profitable medicine of Shariat. The medicine of Shariat is the duties prescribed by the Prophets for purity of soul. He who does not treat his diseased soul by the medicine of divine service as ordained by Shariat and thinks the leanings of intellect as sufficient faces ruin.
SCIENCE IS NOT OPPOSED TO RELIGION: Some think that science is opposed to religion. This is not at all correct. Such a man sets up one learning of Shariat against another. The reason is his failure to co-ordinate the two. As a result, such people go out of religion. Such man is just like a blind man who stumbles down against furnitures of a house and says: Why have these furnitures been kept in the path way? The house owner says: They are in their proper places. It is your blindness which is responsible for your stumbling. This is also the case with one who thinks that science is opposed to religion.