Longing for Spirituality
by Dr. Shahid Athar
from Vol. 9, No. 3
by Amineh Amelia Pryor
from Vol. 8, No. 2
by Amineh Amelia Pryor
from Vol. 8, No. 3
14 Commercial Blvd.
Tel: +1 415 382 SUFI
Tel: +1 415 382 7834
Sufism Journal is a publication
of the International Association of
Sufism, a non-profit organization
affiliated with the United Nations.
various articles presented
here represent the individual
views of their authors. SUFISM
does not imply any gender bias
by the use of feminine or
masculine terms, nouns
Sufism Journal and the
International Association of
Sufism. All rights reserved.
our bookstore to order!
Hazrat Mir Ghotbeddin Mohammad Angha,
a Sufi master as well as a scientist,
discusses nature and beyond
from the organization of molecules
to the anatomy of the soul; a treatise
that explores the human experience
"from fetus to paradise."
20th century Persian Sufi)
Amir al Momenin Ali in the suburb of Kufa, a city of Iraq, asked:
"Show me my nafs and help me to become aware of it."
is a singular term that has been translated as self, nature
and also as ego.
al Momenin Ali replied,
which nafs are you eager to become aware?"
"Is there more than one nafs?" asked Komeil.
"Yes, explained Amir al Momenin Ali, there are four: nafs
of growth; nafs of sensibility (animal spirit); nafs
of pure intellect; and nafs of wholeness and Divinity.
Each one of the nufus (plural of nafs) has powers
and qualities of its own.
powers of nafs of growth are energies of attraction, circulation,
digestion and repulsion; its qualities are to increase and decrease.
The nafs of sensibility (animal spirit) has the power of
seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching; its qualities are
lust and anger. The powers of the nafs of pure intellect
are thought, remembrance, awareness, patience, and its qualities
are wisdom and virtue. The nafs of wholeness, Divinity, has
the highest virtues: survival in annihilation; patience in misfortune;
honor in poverty; and richness in adversity; the qualities of the
nafs are submission and satisfaction in God. This is the
nafs that the Almight God breathes into the human being from
His spirit and is the part which returns to Him.
are the Clear Book in which
every letter manifests a true meaning."
-Amir al Momenin Ali
discussion on human spirit will take us beyond the realm of dust
into the realm of celestial, from body to spirit. It is said our
spirit represents our identity. This is what we must come to know
if we are to appreciate our personal identity. If we enter this
realm of spirit, then we need to discuss corporeal appearances,
physical manifestations, and qualities and stages which exist in
the transition between the world of physical manifestations and
the ultimate realm of inner meaning, all of which are explained
in the teachings of Islam: in verses of the Holy Qur'an and the
teachings of the Prophet.
is important to remember that no matter how we categorize the "construction"
of a human being, a human being is not merely a structure of heavy
physical and fine spirit. There are many levels and stages between
the absolute matter and that of the absolute soul; many gradation
between the dense material world and the fineness of the spiritual
world exist in the human being.
cultures and spiritual beliefs have ascribed to the levels and stages
of the human soul, including the existence of souls after physical
death until one arrives as the level of the holy spirit. Muslim
philosophers and thinkers have written volumes of interesting and
most fascinating books on this subject. While relying on the verses
of the Holy Qur'an, they have offered their discoveries to the readers.
Ghazzali says: "You are created of body which can be seen by
the physical eye and an inner being, or meaning, which can be loosely
called nafs, heart, or life. Your inner being and reality
can be understood by your insight or clear-sightedness. The meaing
of inner being is the reality of a human being, and the physical
system is like the object to this King." This reality is called
heart, and sometimes nafs. the heart is the seat of Divine
understanding. This heart is not a physical heart, it is not a heart
similar to that of other animals. Rather, it is a spiritual heart,
a heart that is eternal; a center to understanding God. . .
To read the rest of this article,
press the subscribe button below and order
Volume 8, Number 1 from our Archive Page,
and while you are there you can subscribe
so you never miss another issue!
To the righteous soul,
O, you in complete satisfaction, return to your Lord, well pleased
and well pleasing to Him.
Enter you, among My devotees, enter My Heaven.