The following is a translation from the Q&A archives:
Answers to questions: The Islamic Nafsiyah, aware obedience and human behaviour.
The Islamic Nafsiyah is where the inclination (mayl) for things and actions is built upon the basis of Islaam. Therefore when passing judgement upon a particular person in respect to him possessing an Islamic Nafsiyah or not, if that person had an aversion to Islaam in terms of his inclinations towards things and actions then it could be judged that he does not possess an Islamic Nafsiyah. However if that person made his inclinations (muyool) towards things and towards actions built upon the basis of Islaam and yet there were gaps existing within him that occurred from him on some occasions like if he was to not pray Fajr before the rising of the sun due to sleep and then made Qadaa for it, or if he glanced at a woman and took delight in that glance extending and repeating it but then regretted that and pulled himself away or if he was to act wrongly in some of his dealings with people but then retracted them or if he was prone to lying in small issues amongst other similar actions, then these gaps (Thugrah) must be treated but they do not at the same time make the Nafsiyah of that person un-Islamic. This means that it is not permissible for a Muslim to accuse the like of this person by saying that his Nafsiyah is not Islaamic. Rather his Nafsiyah is an Islamic Nafsiyah which has gaps in it that must be treated because if they were to be repeated and if they remained within him his Nafsiyah would then become un-Islamic in the future due to his aversion to Islaam (in those issues). However, as long as these remain (only) as gaps then his Nafsiyah would remain as an Islamic Nafsiyah. A number of gaps have been related in relation to the Sahaabah (rah) so for instance there is the example of the relations some of the Sahaabah had with their wives in Ramadhaan and the performance of the associated Kaffaarah (act of expiation) and there is also the example of the incident when the Messenger (saw) turning the head of Fadl Bin Al-'Abbaas away from a young woman when he saw that he was repeating his glance towards her with desire. There are numerous examples of incidents that occurred which revealed gaps in the conduct of the Sahaabah (rah) and yet these did not lead to their Nafsiyahs being discredited in any way or make them people possessing un-Islamic Nafsiyahs. Therefore, just as being silent over the gaps is incorrect whilst be necessary to treat them, accusing those who have gaps of their Nafsiyahs being shed or stripped of Islaam and accusing them of possessing un-Islamic Nafsiyahs is (also) incorrect. It is a danger for the Da'wah and the Hizb to demand from the people to be angels because that is impossible and similarly it is dangerous to take that as a weapon to justify focusing with determination upon the gaps because of the fear that they would lead to an aversion to Islaam. Rather the Hizb attempts to treat every individual in which these gaps exist by alerting him and by pursuing him and then if he is does not rectify himself in the manner that Allah has commanded and they are not removed from him then the Hizb will leave him completely (i.e. administratively).
The aware obedience:
Understanding the meaning of a thing or matter in a correct manner accompanied by the belief (I'tiqaad) that the understanding is his, makes the person proceed towards it in accordance to his understanding of it whilst understanding the meaning of the State (Dawlah) makes the existence of the conduct based on obedience indispensable in itself. Similarly understanding the meaning of the Ummah makes the existence of conduct based on obedience indispensable in itself just as understanding the meaning of the Hizb makes the existence of conduct based on obedience indispensable in itself. The obedience is a fundamental matter for the existence of discipline and order whether this is within a State, the Ummah or the Hizb and it is from the most important manifestations indicative of the Hizbiy discipline and keeping order or the general discipline and order within the State and the Ummah.
For this reason the Qur'aan came with numerous Aayaat urging and exhorting obedience despite the presence of the Wahi (divine inspiration/revelation), miracles, the Message and the personality of the Messenger (saw) which are all sufficient to instil obedience. And the obedience which the Qur'aan came with is obedience that the entity of the State, the Ummah and the Hizb are all established upon its basis. At the same time it explains the characteristic of obedience, this is when it becomes a natural attribute to undertake the obligation of obedience whenever it is possible to do so in addition to being an attribute that forbids obedience at the time when this obedience would be harmful to the Ummah and to the ruler. So we find the Qur'aan when mentioning the nature and character of obedience stating:
أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ
And obey Allah and the Messenger.
فَاتَّبِعُونِي وَأَطِيعُوا أَمْرِي
So follow me and obey my command.
Hear and obey.
وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ
And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be entered into gardens beneath which rivers flow.
مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ
Who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.
وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ
And whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger then they are those whom Allah has bestowed his favour upon.
And the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
مَنْ يُطِعِ الأَميرَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَنِي
And whoever obeys the Ameer has obeyed me.
In these Aayaat and this Hadeeth Allah (swt) has commanded obedience in a Mutlaq (absolute and unrestricted) manner. The command of obedience has therefore come without restriction and qualification however the Messenger (saw) whilst explaining obedience to them (the Muslims) he made them understand that what is intended by obedience here is the obedience based upon awareness and not blind obedience.
So he (saw) said:
لَا طَاعَةَ لِمَخْلُوقٍ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ الخَالِق
There is no obedience to the created in disobedience to the creator.
Therefore the aware obedience is the obedience which is within the bounds and limits of Islaam. When he (saw) explained the obedience that is required ne made clear that it is the aware obedience the meaning of which is obedience which is within the limits of Islaam and not the obedience in the matter in which the person undertaking it is convinced and is in agreement with it. The fact that it is aware is that it is understood that he obeys within (the bounds of) the ideology and this is the meaning of the statement of the Messenger (saw): 'There is no obedience to the created in disobedience to the creator'.
As for when Islaam demands the obedience it demands it in absolute way (Mutlaqan). So it says: 'Obey' and it does not restrict it by anything and as such when it demands the obedience it demands the absolute obedience without restriction of qualification. It is obligatory on Muslims to understand when it is demanded from them that it has been demanded in an absolute and unrestricted manner. However he (saw) focused in their minds that the meaning of this absolute obedience is the aware obedience i.e. the obedience within the limits of Islaam. Islaam did not suffice requesting the obedience from the Ummah so that the moral characteristic of obedience would be natural within her but rather it also forbade her explicitly from some forms of obedience.
Allah (swt) said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنْ تُطِيعُوا فَرِيقًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ يَرُدُّوكُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ كَافِرِينَ
O you who believe if you obey a group from amongst those who have been given the Book they would turn you back after your belief so that you become disbelievers.
وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا
And do not obey the one whom we have locked his heart from our reminder and who follows his desire whilst his affair was ever in neglect.
وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
And if you were to obey most of those upon the earth you would be misguided away from the path of Allah.
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ
So do not obey the disbelievers.
وَلَا تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ آَثِمًا أَوْ كَفُورًا
And do not obey from amongst them the one who is sinful or ungrateful.
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
So do not obey the deniers.
وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَهِينٍ
And do not obey every wretched oath maker.
All of these Aayaat forbid obedience to people of specific characteristics or descriptions.
Allah (swt) has made this clear to us so that the obedience is shaped and formed within us in a manner that brings a general order and discipline. This is so that this general order can become manifested within the reality of any body or entity whether this is the Ummah, the Hizb or the State. And it is also so that we distance the discipline from those areas in which discipline will lead to harm for the entity or body if the obedience was present. For this reason the Muslim must when responding to the command of Allah to be obedient, to abstain from the obedience to those whom Allah has forbidden obedience to. In this way the entity or body will be shaped and formed in a sound manner and the general discipline and order will exist soundly. Islaam did not find this alone to be sufficient but rather it addressed the ruler and made clear to him the limits of his obedience to the Ummah in regards to the danger that can harm her. So it forbade him from obeying her or obeying individuals from her in that which he sees to be harmful for her.
Allah (swt) said:
لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ
If he obeyed you in many matters then you would surely be in trouble (Al-Hujuraat 7).
So He (swt) negated obedience of the Messenger (saw) to them in many of the matters as a protection and to prevent hardship and difficulty from befalling them. Therefore when the obedience has been commanded it is absolute and not restricted to the agreement of the one being commanded or his disagreement whilst the one being commanded understands that he obeys within the limits and bounds set by Islaam. When he knows that he is obedient he must understand about the obedience that it is the obedience that Allah has commanded him with and this is the obedience of the one who has been given the authority and right to be obeyed. 'And whoever obeys his Ameer then he has obeyed me'. And he must understand that obedience to the disbelievers and those who lead astray cannot be allowed to happen because it would mean the worst of harms. As for the Wali Al-Amr (the one who is in authority) then he acts in accordance to that which is in the interest (Maslahah) of the Ummah and he does not obey them in what he sees to be against their interest however all of this must occur within the limits set by Islaam. What is intended by the limits of Islaam is that which is Qat'iy (decisive/definite) to be from Islaam whilst that which is Zhanny (indefinite) is not considered being from these limits. Therefore if for example the person in authority viewed that leasing land was not permitted whilst the one under his authority viewed that it is permissible, then when the one in authority forbids the leasing of land it is obligatory for the one under his command to obey him and even if it was contrary to his opinion. This is because the command of the Imaam raises (removes) the dispute and analogy is made for all those who are in (legitimate) positions of authority. Therefore it is not said that this command is contrary to Islaam and as such I will not obey it in the case where he may be truthful in that he views that it is contrary to Islaam whilst the person in authority views that it is from Islaam. This cannot be said because this is considered to be Tamarrud (rebelliousness/insubordination) but rather it is obligatory for this command to be obeying as long as it has a Shubhat-ud-Daleel (semblance of an evidence) connecting it to Islaam as perceived by the one in authority who has commanded it upon that basis. Insubordination and being rebellious or disobedient to the one in authority is a great sin as explained in the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah (saw): 'Whoever obeys the Ameer then he has obeyed me and whoever disobeys the Ameer then he has disobeyed me' and it is established that every group of three (embarking on a journey) choose an Ameer for themselves making obedience to him obligatory.
It must be clear that the origin of the Sulook (conduct/behaviour) is the Taaqah Al-Hayyawiyah (vital (life) energy. It is the vital energy that drives and demands satisfaction and so the human undertakes movement, speech or action for the sake of satisfaction. This is the origin of the Sulook (behaviour) and so the Sulook is satisfaction. However that which specifies this behaviour is the concept (Mafhoom) and not just the Fikr (thought) alone. This is because the Fikr (thought) does not have an effect upon the behaviour unless the person believes in it and binmds this belief to the energy i.e. unless it becomes a concept from amongst the concepts held by the person. Therefore the statement that the behaviour or conduct (Sulook) of the person is in accordance to his concepts is a statement that is certain and not open to doubt. This is because belief in the thought (Fikr) when it is bound and connected to the energy (Taaqah) means that it is not possible for the behaviour to not be in accordance to it. However there are some thoughts, the belief in which is tied to the energy in a strong way which make it hard to believe in another thought that would remove them or it is difficult to remove their effects except after the passing of some time. In this case the thought would remain without being transformed into a concept or it is transformed in a manner that is not smooth or in an intermittent way. This is most often the case with the most deeply rooted concepts and these require extra attention and effort whilst possibly requiring some time.
Following on from this, the Fikr (thought) is the result of the 'Aql (mind) and it is not the Sulook (conduct) and the Sulook is the result of the Taaqah (energy) and it is not the Fikr (thought), just as the thinking was not the inclination and the 'Aqliyah was not the Nafsiyah. So there exists an energy (Taaqah) that requires satisfaction and there is a mind that thinks. They are two different matters but when they are tied where the conduct is in accordance to the thought it would represent the personality (Shakhsiyah). If however they were not bound and remained disconnected and separate then there would merely have been inclinations and thoughts.
However the behaviour being in opposition to the thought happens most often in respect to the partialities and as such do not have an effect upon the Shakhsiyah (personality). Rather it has an effect upon some of the behaviours on some occasions. In the expedition of Bani Mustalaq the Ansaar called against the Muhaajiroon whilst the Muhaajiroon called against the Ansaar when the pride of tribalism and partisan prejudice manifested in the two groups. On this occasion the Sulook (conduct) was disconnected from the Fikr (thought) where the concept held by these two groups was at this time not a concept i.e. it was separated from being tied to the energy (Taaqah). This led to each of the groups conducting themselves and behaving in accordance to their inclinations (Muyool) and not in accordance to their thoughts reflecting that their deep-rooted concepts had been agitated. This however did not change or have an effect upon the Shakhsiyah (personality) of the Ansaar or the personality of the Muhaajiroon and it was not long until the concept returned to being a concept and not just a thought alone. Therefore the disconnection of the conduct from the thought on some occasions does not have an effect upon the Shakhsiyah (i.e. as being distinct and remaining Islaamic).
As for the statement regarding the human possessing two opposing and contradictory concepts towards a single thing or matter then this is an incorrect statement. The person cannot have except one single Mafhoom (concept) and that is the thought (Fikr) which its belief is connected to the Taaqah ((Vital) energy). As for the other (i.e. reason for the conflict) then it represents a thought and not a concept in this situation i.e. that which is related to the behaviour and conduct. Similarly the statement that the person has two viewpoints in life is also an incorrect and erroneous statement. The person does not have except a single fundamental concept about life and this is the fundamental thought that transforms into a concept and there is none other than this. If something else is found other than that then it merely represents a thought and not a concept.