In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
“It is obligatory for the one who hears this from Allah to be more careful or cautious about his Nafs than an enemy who wishes to murder him, take his wealth, or violate his honour. If someone asks, “Why do you obligate this precaution on me regarding the Nafs until you put it in a circumstance more dangerous than an enemy whose enmity is unquestionably very manifest?” Then it should be said to him, “The enemy who wants to harm you, take your wealth, or violate your honour, if they succeed in doing so, Allah will forgive some of your sins and elevate you. (footnote a) However, this will not be the case with the Nafs because if the Nafs dominate you through what you desire—that which you have been forbidden—then you will face ruin in this world and the next, humiliation and terrible punishment in this world and evil in the Sight of Allah”. (footnote b)
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 it does not love to be separated from them- numerous traits, 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 the (evil or excess) pleasures of the worldly life. It has prolonged hope for that which is short-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 (through sin or excess), the heart becomes hard and turns away from an abode whose bliss will never come to an end (i.e. Paradise).
It loves traits that 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), desires to spend wealth in obedience to Allah, but Satan threatens it with poverty, so it inclines towards that which Satan calls to.
Allah promises it forgiveness and bounty, but it neither has certainty about it nor is pleased with it. It has firm hope in the promises of the people but is reluctant when the threat of its Lord reaches it. It pleases the people at the expense of Allah’s anger and hesitates to please its Lord. Allah calls it to have patience during calamities – a means of consolation and solace, but it does not accept.
It pretends in the presence of the people that it fulfils obligations, but fulfils little of that which Allah obligates on it. It abandons disobedience after being able to do so out of being shy of the people but has little shyness whilst Allah [The Most Great] watches it.
It gives little thanks for the innumerable blessings of Allah, utilises the blessings of Allah [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 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 Allah [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 Allah is the Bestower of this affair. (1)
Imam Al-Qahtaanee [may Allah have mercy upon him] said:
And You (Allah) have placed love for me within the hearts….And the affection from You is through mercy and kindness….And You have spread – amongst the people – good about me… And conceal my acts of disobedience from their eyes…And you have made my good mention amongst the people common (or widespread)…until you made them all my brothers….By Allaah, if they knew the repugnance of my secret affairs (or inner self)….The one who meets me would have refused to give me Salaams…And they would have turned away from me and loath my companionship…And I would have brought disgrace upon myself after being honored…But you conceal my faults and deficiencies…And you dealt with my sins and transgression with forbearance (i.e. gave me an opportunity to repent)…So all praise and commendations- by way of my thoughts, limbs, and tongue- is Yours…. (2)
We ask Allah:
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغيثُ أَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِيَ كُلَّهُ وَلاَ تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ
O Ever Living! O The Self Subsisting, Upon Whom Everything Depends! By Your mercy I seek assistance; rectify for me all of my affairs and do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye. [Imaam Albaani declared it Hasan in Silsilah As-Saheehah Number 227]
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/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Admonitions-of-The-Scholars-Regarding-Good-Manners.pdf
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لِي دِينِي الَّذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي دُنْيَايَ الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَاشِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي آخِرَتِي الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَادِي
وَاجْعَلِ الْحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لِي فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ
وَاجْعَلِ الْمَوْتَ رَاحَةً لِي مِنْ كُلِّ شَرٍّ
O Allah! Rectify my religion for me, which is the safeguard of my affairs; rectify my worldly [affairs], wherein is my livelihood; and rectify my Afterlife to which is my return; and make life for me [as a means of] increase in every good and make death for me as a rest from every evil.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ العافِيَـةَ فـي الدُّنيا والآخِرَةِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ العَفْوَ والعافِيَـةَ فـي دِيني ودُنْـيايَ وأَهْلِي ومالِي، اللَّهُمَّ اسْتُـرْ عَوْراتِي، وآمِنْ رَوْعاتِي،
اللَّهُمَّ احْفَظْنِـي مِنْ بَـيْنِ يَدَيَّ، ومِنْ خَلْفِي، وعَنْ يَمِيـنِـي، وعَنْ شِمالِي، ومِنْ فَوْقِي، وأَعُوذُ بِعَظَمَـتِكَ أَنْ أُغْتالَ مِنْ تَحْتِـي
O Allaah! I ask You for well-being in this Dunyaa and the Aaakhirah. O Allāh, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religion, my worldly affairs, my family and my wealth. O Allaah! Conceal my [faults, shortcomings etc] and safeguard me against everything that will bring me fear and sorrow. O Allaah! Protect me from in front, from behind me, from my right and my left, and from above. And I seek refuge with Your Magnificence from being swallowed up from beneath me.
Footnote a: The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Indeed, the bankrupt one of my Ummah will come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting and Zakah (in his account), but he comes along having abused this one, slandered that one, unlawfully took the wealth of this one and shed the blood of that one, and beaten that one. So this one will be given from his good deeds, and that one will be given from his good deeds. And if his good deeds finish before the judgment is made on him, some of their sins(i.e. the ones he wronged) will be taken and cast onto him, then he will be thrown into the Fire.” [Reported by Muslim. Number: 2581]
Footnote b: Imam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allah have mercy upon him] said: The sinners [i.e. those who die whilst committing sins lesser than shirk] are under the will of Allah- if Allah wishes, He will either punish them or forgive them straight away or He enters them into hell for some time and paradise thereafter, just as Allah said:
[إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُۚ – Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases]. [Surah An-Nisaa’ Aayah 48] https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/28307/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%AD-%D8%AD%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AB-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%AE%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A9-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%85
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Adabun Nufoos, page 4. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Refer to first lines of Al-Qahtaanee’s Nooniyyah]