In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower o f Mercy.
Imaam Al-Aajuree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “If one says, ‘Through what should I strive against my soul until I overcome it?’ It is said to him, ‘Strive against it until it fulfils the duties obligated by Allaah and keeps away from what Allaah has forbidden’. If the person says, ‘Describe for me the traits that are not good which the soul tends to incline towards so that I can be cautious of them, hate them and strive against them if I know that there is something of these traits in my soul’, it is said to him, ‘The (evil of the) soul is deserving of being hated for the sake of Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic], and whoever hates (the evil) of his soul for the sake of Allaah, it is hoped that he will be saved from being hated by Allaah, just as it has been reported from Imaam Fudayl Ibn Iyaadh [may Allaah have mercy upon him] that he said, ‘Whoever hates (the evils) of his soul for the Sake of Allaah is saved from being hated by Allaah’.
If someone said, ‘Clarify the ugly traits of the soul for me’, it is said to him, ‘They are traits that may have already settled in the soul and does not love to be separated from them, and if a person examines his soul he might find them as well. Indeed, it is a soul that follows (evil or excess) desires and is engaged in (evil or excess) pleasures of the worldly life. It has prolonged hope for that which is shot lived and does not show little concern for a lifespan that will inevitably come to an end. It has a fervent desire to love this worldly life and when it loves it (by preferring it over the afterlife), the heart becomes hard and turns away from an abode whose bliss will never come to an end (i.e. paradise). It loves traits which it knows will harm it tomorrow, laughs and rejoices, enjoys itself with that which its Lord has forbidden, and grieves – morning and evening – for that which was not decreed for it of those things it hopes for from the worldly life. It is a soul facilitated with ease to seek after the (good) things of the worldly life, finds enjoyment in falling short in good deeds which its Lord calls to (or commands), desire to spend wealth in obedience to Allaah, but Satan threatens it with poverty, so it inclines towards that which Satan calls to. Allaah promises it forgiveness and bounty, but it neither has certainty about it nor pleased with it. It has firm hope in the promises of the people, but reluctant when the threat of its Lord reaches it. It pleases the people at the expense of Allaah’s anger and hesitates to please its Lord.
Allaah calls it to have patience during calamities – a means of consolation and means to solace, but it does not accept. It pretends in the presence of the people that it fulfils obligations, but fulfils little of that which Allaah obligates on it. It abandons disobedience after being able to do so out of being shy of the people, but has little shyness whilst Allaah [The Most Great] watches it. It gives little thanks to the innumerable blessings of Allaah. It utilises the blessings of Allaah [The Most Generous] – day and night – as an aid to disobey Him. It finds it easy to sit with idle people, but finds it difficult to sit with the scholars. It obeys [or follows] a deceiver, but disobeys the most sincere advisers. It hastens to evil desires, but delays repentance today and tomorrow. Whoever realises these traits in his soul and other than them, he should hasten to discipline it through good behaviour in order to return it to that which is more worthy regarding fear of Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]- in private and public – having great regret, refrain from the repugnant traits which he knows for sure is with him and continue upon rectification throughout his lifespan”. And Allaah is the Bestower of this affair.
The Imaam also said: “I am going to give a similitude whose affair is not hidden from you. Know that the example of the Nafs is like a fine foal from a horse and the beholder is amazed when he looks at it due to its good appearance and beauty. The people who have insight regarding its affair say, ‘Benefit will not be acquired from it until it is trained properly and disciplined, then it will be of benefit- good enough to gallop and be of service, and thus its rider praises the outcomes of its training and discipline. But if not disciplined, its good appearance and beauty will be of no benefit and its rider will not praise its outcomes when in need of it.
If the owner of this foal accepts the advice of those who have insight regarding its affair, he will know that their speech is sound and then gives it to a horse trainer to train it, and the horse trainer cannot be worthy of being a trainer unless he is well-acquainted with the method of training as well as having patience. If he has knowledge of horse training as well as knowledge of the right course of action, the owner will benefit from it; but if the trainer neither has knowledge of horse training nor knowledge of how to discipline a horse, he will ruin this foal, exhaust himself and the rider will not praise its outcomes.
If the trainer has knowledge of horse training and how to discipline a horse, but he has no patience to bear the difficulty accompanied with the training, wishes for comfort in the affair and negligent regarding the right course of action required of him, he will ruin this foal and treat it badly, and thus it neither becomes worthy of service nor good enough to gallop, so its appearance will not be in conformity with its true reality. If the owner of the foal was its trainer, he will become regretful when regret will be of no benefit due to his negligence. And at a time in which a service is needed, he looks at another horse whose service is sought and received, and gallops when required; then he seeks the service of his horse and requires it to gallop, but neither receives a response to the service nor does the horse accept to gallop. All of that is due to his negligence whilst training the horse and his lack of patience after acknowledging it. Then he blames himself, saying, ‘Why was I negligent and why did I fall short? Indeed, my lack of patience has brought on me everything I hate’. And Allaah’s Aid is sought! Give thought to this similitude – may Allaah have mercy upon you – and understand it, so that you will be successful and saved”. (1)
Finally, we ask Allaah saying: [اللهم كما حَسَّنْت خَلْقِي فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي – O Allah! Just as You made my external form beautiful, make my character beautiful as well]. https://salaficentre.com/2021/07/31/o-allah-just-as-you-made-my-external-form-beautiful-make-my-character-beautiful-as-well/
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Adabun Nufoos. Page 3-5]