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)
Imam al-Aajurree [may Allah have mercy upon him] said:
I’m going to give you a similitude with context that is not hidden from you. Know that the soul is like a fine foal from a horse, and the beholder is awestruck when he looks at it because of its good appearance and beauty. People with knowledge of its affairs say, “Benefit will not be obtained from it until it is properly trained 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 it is not disciplined, its nice looks and beauty will be useless, and its rider will not laud its results when they are required.”
If the owner of this foal adopts the advice of individuals with knowledge about its situation, he will know that their speech is sound and will then give it to a horse trainer to train. And the trainer of horses is not considered worthy of the title unless he is proficient in the process of training as well as being patient. If he is knowledgeable about training horses and knows the best course of action, the owner will profit from it; however, if the trainer is not knowledgeable about training horses nor how to discipline a horse, he will ruin this foal, exhaust himself, and the rider will not be pleased with the results. If he is knowledgeable about horse training and how to discipline a horse but lacks the patience to endure the hardship that comes with the training, desires comfort in the situation, and is careless regarding the right course of action required of him, he will ruin and mistreat this foal, making it unfit for service and unfit to gallop, causing its appearance to be inconsistent with its true reality.
If the foal’s owner was also its trainer, he will become regretful when regret will be useless owing to his neglect. And when a service is needed, he glances at another horse whose service is sought and received and gallops when required. Then he seeks the service of his horse and requests that it gallop, but neither receives a response nor does the horse agree to gallop. All of this is due to his negligence when training the horse and his lack of patience after admitting it. So, he began to blame himself, saying, ” “Why was I negligent and why did I fall short? Indeed, my lack of patience has brought on everything I despise”. And Allaah’s Aid is sought! Consider and comprehend this similitude, may Allah have mercy on you, in order to be successful and saved. [An Excerpt from Adabun Nufoos. Page 5. Slightly paraphrased]
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