Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I recently realized that my nafs is enticing me mostly with evil thoughts (arrogance, pride, competing with Allah, I can do what Allah can do). It started with whisper 5 months ago. How to train my nafs in this condition? Is this necessary to work under a sheikh or a sufi?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
Thank you for your question. Firstly, this realisation that you have had is a huge blessing from Allah Himself. One of the righteous one remarked that ‘When Allah wants good for a servant He makes him aware of his faults so the servant can repent from them.’ You should thank Allah for this and turn to Him seeking His help in getting over this hurdle.
It is superior to resort to a master of Islamic Spirituality in matters of purification of the heart, as he is usually someone who has experienced and overcome the challenges people face on the path to drawing closer to Allah, and an external observer usually sees things which you may not. The first step, however, is to ground yourself in the knowledge you need to practice your religion, and you may find that many of your issues fall away due to the blessings of Sacred Knowledge. Thereafter, if you feel inclined to finding a teacher of Tasawwuf you should ask Allah by means of the Prayer of Need (Salah al-Haja) and the Prayer of Choosing and Facilitation (Salah al-Istikhara). Allah, out of His tremendous generosity, will show you someone who is right for you.
The first thing to do with an unwanted, intrusive thought is to not identify with it and to hate the feeling of arrogance, competing with Allah etc, in your heart. You should sincere repent from the thought and dismiss it if it returns. The best solution is ignore them after that and should go away. Focusing on them and worrying about them is a means of empowering them.
If they persist regardless, you may have a mild form of OCD which can be remedied through basic therapy. An effective, and easy therapy is E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique); it can be learned by anyone in a few minutes and many a time the issues will disappear fairly quickly. If the issue is deeper then you should consider finding a practitioner and wprking through the issue with.
May Allah facilitate for you all the means to attaining His pleasure.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.
Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.