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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0405-PURIFICATION OF THE SELF, (TAZKIYAT AL NAFS)

Synopsis of Kuliah Subuh at the 5th Scientific Meeting of the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia held in Penang 26-28th May 2004 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Deputy Dean Kulliyah of Medicine International Islamic University Malaysia EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com

PERSONALITY, al nafs

Personality is the totality of behavior of an individual. People’s personalities differ. An individual has both positive and negative personality traits. The exceptionally good and strong personalities are rare. The essence of a person and personality is the nafs and not the physical body. A human being is born in a natural state of purity, fitrat al Islam. The potential to do good or bad exists at the beginning. It is the early environment that determines how those potentials are enhanced. The states of the nafs in increasing grades of perfection are: nafs ammarah, nafs lawamah, and nafs kamilat that manifests in 5 ways: nafs mulhamah; nafs qanu’ah, nafs mutma’inna, nafs radhiyah, and nafs mardhiyat. Besides the nafs, personality is determined by biological inheritance, the physical environment, the culture, socialization, group and unique individual experiences. Basic personality is established early in life and only minor modifications can be made to it in later life. This underlies the importance of education and training in childhood when personality is still malleable. Personality improves through spiritual and intellectual development. Personality can be polluted by diseases of the heart such as covetousness, passion, pride, evil, hiwa al nafs, and waswasat. These pollutants may have inner promptings within the human that are encouraged by external social influences.

 

CONCEPT OF TAZKIYAT

Prophets were sent to ensure tazkiyat for humans. Tazkiyat is fulfillment and return to the first covenant between humans and Allah. Tazkiyat, as a basis for development and improvement of personality, is a long, pro-active, and uphill task whose road map is the Qur’an. Correct and firm ‘aqidat, ‘ibadat, avoiding the forbidden, generally being conscious of the creator, and constant meditation about creation are paths to tazkiyat that lead to development and improvement of personality, good character, good behavior, assertiveness, and self-confidence. Living in a righteous community is necessary to motivate and encourage tazkiyat. Islam is a practical religion. Achievement of purity is through action.

 

METHODOLOGY OF TAZKIYAT

Tazkiyat is based on ikhlaas, sidq, istislam, and  tadharu'u. Tazkiyat is answering the call of Allah by sticking to the straight path, renouncing materialism, constant vigilance against shaitan. Tazkiyat can be achieved by dhikr, isti'adhat, istighfar, tasbiih, tahmiid, tahliil, dua, and physical ‘ibadat: salat, saum, and  infaq.

 

MODELS OF TAZKIYAT: PROPHETS and KHULAFA

Prophets were sent as human models of tazkiyat whose practical life experiences showed that a human can overcome inner weaknesses and evil tendencies to succeed in attaining a high level of purity. The Prophet Muhammad lived an exemplary life so that the companions could see and emulate the best behavior. He had the best character and his character was the Qur’an. He lived a simple life. Abubakr was the best person after the Prophet. He was siddiq and his faith was so strong that it would outweigh the faith of the rest of the ummat. Omar comes after Abubakr in virtue. Omar was so strong that the shaitan feared to follow his path. He lived a simple and hard life away from luxuries. Othman was a generous and pious who was so modest that the angels were shy of him.

 

MODELS OF TAZKIYAT: BELIEVERS

Believers of all generations and all places have manifested noble traits of purity of personality than can be emulated. The Qur’an has described traits of believers because Allah wanted to put before all humanity a model that could be emulated. The believers have the following spiritual traits: believing Allah's signs, responding to the call of Allah, obedience of Allah, repentance, reform, surrender to Allah, commitment, reliance on Allah, and fear in the hearts. The believers have the following social traits: keeping away from lahw, keeping the private parts from sinning, keeping promises and trusts, humility, enjoining good, forbidding evil, attesting the truth, patience, kindness, forgiving when angry; undertaking jihad, and mutual consultation. They avoid the following evil acts: homicide, fornication, false witness, friendship for those who fight Allah and the Prophet, and committing major sins. The ‘ibadat traits of believers are: dua to Allah only, establishment, maintaining, and regularity of salat, khushu'u in salat; salat at night, giving zakat and sadaqat to the poor while being moderate in giving.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. May 2004