Aql (intellect) and Nafs (ego) Can Have a Positive and Negative Contribution towards One's Spiritual Development

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Accordingly one must align the aql and nafs so that each are gearing positively in the right path, these two faculties need to be orchestrated vigilantly for this to transpire. The aql has been given to man so they can exercise their intelligence and reasoning to understand the Revelation given from God (Nasr, 1979). It is used to attain and absorb knowledge (Akhir, 2012). Gulen (2009) mentions how reason pursues light, a spiritual light, and therefore one gains aql. According to Nasr (1979) it is the Revelation that illuminates the light, which in turn sets intellect and reason in a person and permits it to function to its full potential. It’s crucial to go to depths of a spiritual nature, and permit the aql to absorb this light, which in …show more content…
More importantly purifying the nafs (soul), advertently cleansing it, counteracting of its negative state is required, and the aql should assist the nafs concurrently in achieving this process. One must not remain dormant in the negative characteristics of the nafs, and overcome stages, like, the commanding self (nafs al-ammaarah). Nafs (ego) can contribute positively in one’s spiritual development by the process of ‘purifying of the soul’ (tazikyah al-nafs) thereby overcoming its worldly desires (Gulen, 2009; Zarabozo, 2002). Jihad an-nafs is known as the internal battle within, it needs to be recognised and must be overhauled, to abstain from our negative ego (Nawawi, n.d). Our aql should be showered in wisdom and spiritual intelligence to recognise if the nafs is dormant in its negativity and regulate it to worshipping God (Akhir, 2012). It could potentially take many years of coaching as portrayed by Imam Yahya Al-Nawawi in ‘Fighting the Ego’. Many verses in the Qur’an specify the importance of purifying the soul, “Indeed he succeeds who purifies it [that is, his own self] (al-Shams 9)” (Zarabozo, 2002, pg. 70). The spiritual aql must be intact with reason and intellect to understand God’s words and direct the nafs towards good. The aql allows one to

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