The Ego Self
Allah the Exalted said in the Qur’an:
Allah, the Exalted revealed in the noble Qur’an the ayah that means: “Whoever fears the stance of questioning that Allah has willed for him in the hereafter and forbids his self from pursuing the self’s evil temptations (40) Paradise will indeed be his abode (41)”.
Allah the Exalted is the only One Who knows the reality of what deceives the eyes and what the hearts conceal. He has the knowledge of all the states of all creatures – what is apparent of it and what is concealed. The slave who will succeed and gain, is the one who follows the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and adheres to his guidance, his instructions and advice. The slave who shall succeed and win is the slave who fears the day of reckoning. This is the meaning of:“Whoever fears the stance of questioning that Allah has willed for him”. That is, he fears the stance of the accountable questioning and has prepared for what shall be after death; unlike the people who are afraid of scandal in this world and do not prepare for the afterlife. They do not prepare for the day of questioning – for the day of reckoning. “Whoever fears the stance of questioning that Allah has willed for him”; that is,whoever is afraid of the stance of being questioned on the day of judgement and is prepared for it by avoiding what is forbidden and abstaining from all prohibitions, and performing what Allah the Exalted made obligatory upon the slaves. “Whoever fears the stance of questioning that Allah has willed for him in the hereafter and forbids his self from pursuing the self’s evil temptations” – that is, the slavefears the questioning on the day of reckoning and has restrained oneself from the inclinations of evil temptations. The condemned desire is the evil temptations that the self is more inclined towards, which is also associated with defiance from what Allah has ordered.
An example is the self’s inclination to be conceited and haughty towards others lesser than he is, such as the older sibling who denies his younger siblings their rightful inheritance and manages their wealth unrightfully, claiming that he is protecting their money after the death of their parents. This in reality is a reflection of haughtiness and superiority. Another example is the defiant wife who transgresses from her husband’s commands, because her ego loves superiority and dominance.
Similarly is the case of people who become business partners. The desire of the self is of two types – one is apparent and the other is discrete. Some business partners start their partnership on good terms and in a mutual agreement, showing apparent love for the interest of one another. Then, animosity builds up between them and they become envious of one another, leading to disputes. The divide between them grows to aggression, violence and assassinations. This is the passion for money, the drive for this world, the strong desire to dominate, which has overpowered the hearts of many.
Also, among the ego’s discrete desire (hawa) is one’s love for fame and superiority. This leads some to claim they are Sufi Sheikhs, even though they are an empty shell, in order to construct for themselves a status over others, in order for people to kiss their hands – while in reality they are of no substance – for people to shower them gifts.
Beloved Muslims, Allah the Exalted informed us that the self [the nafs] incites us to commit evil and he warned us against following it. Most people have an ego that incites them to commit evil. Some people conceal themselves with a beard, others with a cloak. Some disguise themselves with a turban, yet others with a Sufi methodology [Tariqah]. The desires of this life has reigned over such people. Those who do not seek to learn the knowledge of the religion, Satan and his human helpers shall snigger at them.