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Sura 75
Aya 2
وَلا أُقسِمُ بِالنَّفسِ اللَّوّامَةِ

Ali Unal

And I swear by the self-accusing human soul.1
  • For the meaning of the human soul (nafs), see sūrah 3, note 37; sūrah 21, note 5.
    Self-training, or the training of the soul, has been accepted as an extremely important element of the Divine Religion. This training, according to some schools in Islam, has ten stages, and according to others and some Qur’ānic allusions, seven stages:
    If the soul lives only a life of ease in the swamp of carnal appetites, it is the evil-commanding soul (nafs al-ammārah). If it falters time and again while following the way of the Religion to attain piety and righteousness, but each time that it falters it criticizes itself and turns to its Lord, then it is the self-accusing soul (nafs al-lawwāmah). The soul which always resists evil in devotion to God and is favored with certain Divine gifts in proportion to its purity is called the soul receiving inspiration (nafs al-mulhimah). When it reaches the point where it has a relation with its Lord in perfect devotion and sincerity, such that its consciousness is at rest, it is the soul at rest (nafs al-mutmainnah). If it has reached the station where it abandons all its choices and is a representative of Divine will, it is the soul pleased with God (nafs ar-rādiyah). When its greatest aim is acquiring God’s good pleasure and approval, such that it is always acting with this end in consideration of, “I am pleased with You, so be pleased with me” – then it is the soul with which God is pleased (nafs al-mardiyyah). Finally, the soul which has been perfectly purified of all sins and evil morals and has the capacity to be completely adorned with the full manifestations of Divine Qualities and Prophetic will-power and resolution is called the soul perfected, or the soul pure (nafs az-zakiyyah or nafs as-sāfiyah).