A person’s lower self is open to all sorts of negative feelings. Being angry, getting upset, sulking, getting offended, getting sad, getting jealous and being vindictive; all of our lower-selves are made to feel these emotions as a requisite of the test we’re being subjected to. The superiority of a faithful, God-fearing person who loves God intensely would be recognized by the willpower he shows against those feelings.
The prompting one is given is to show a reaction in line with what one feels in his lower-self. If one is bored, he is taught to sulk. When he is angry, he is taught — if not with words but with a general demeanor — to shout and do uncontrolled movements. People are instilled with the idea that crying when feeling sad is normal.
When people watch those around them from their childhood, responding to those feelings in such a common language, they naturally adapt these reactions into their lives as well. And all through their lives they suffer the pain of these negative feelings.
God has given us all negative feelings, emotions and desires for us to be tested in our lower-selves. But at the same time, He also has given us a conscience to refrain from them: “...(by) the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or piety. He who purifies it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed.” (Qur’an, 91:7-10)
God wants us to use our good conscience and show the most beautiful, most noble morality with which we will attain His love the most. In one sense, life is sort of a constant struggle, one carried out by using one’s good conscience against the evils instilled by his lower-self. If our good conscience gains the upper hand in this struggle, we both feel the constant inner peace of pleasing God and strongly hope to attain the endless life in the heaven after death. But if a person constantly turns a deaf ear to what his good conscience tells him and gets defeated by his lower-self, he might both suffer the Wrath of God in this world and might be rewarded with something he didn’t expect in the Hereafter.
Struggling with the lower-self is easy for those who believe, but some people still think that it would cause them pain, since they convince themselves that it is a very difficult struggle. Such people imagine that it is almost impossible to forgive someone when they fume at someone. They believe that apologizing would be insulting for them. Taking revenge is like an irresistible instinctual desire for them. Yet hissing at someone, quarrelling, raising one’s voice, lovelessness, having spite against someone, lying, offending someone, being hostile towards another person are all personality traits that would distress a person deeply and would literally darken his soul. On the other hand, being resolute in the good morality God defined in the Qur’an is quite easy, joyous and restful.
In the Qur’an, God has told us how to give a struggle against and train our lower-selves. For instance, He teaches us how to behave when we feel angry. God describes Muslims as “those who control their rage and pardon other people.” (Qur’an, 3:134)
Consequently, controlling rage and approaching others with forgiveness is a beauty of good morality.
A Muslim would never accept being in such a state of weakness to be dragged into a fit of fury or to be weak enough to be defeated by that rage.
A person who is able to think that everything takes place under the control of God in times of anger would also know that God is testing him and that he will attain much merit in the Hereafter for the good behavior he will be showing. Someone who is aware of the fact that he is actually watching the course of destiny unfold would instantly think that if he were given an opportunity and were allowed to rewind his life to relive it, the same thing would certainly be repeated exactly as it did in the first place and he would never forget that there is good in everything God has created within destiny. Such a person would most definitely display the most appropriate attitude according to the Qur’an.
In the Qur’an, God openly informs us that He doesn’t like a disputative spirit that constantly forces others to accept his opinions and constantly insults others while doing so. A moderate attitude that recognizes everyone’s right to speak up, and that calls to truth with kindness and love, is the one described in the Qur’an. When one speaks with an attitude that avoids offending others, that constantly honors and highlights the other side’s rightful attributes, he would lay the grounds for swiftly settling disputes between two parties and avoid unnecessary discussions. Actually God draws attention to the necessity of taking mutual love, respect, compassion, forgiveness, unity and solidarity as basis in order to avoid separation and corruption among Muslims numerous times in the Qur’an.
It is in human’s nature to argue about everything. Getting angry, being sad, getting offended, getting upset and being dragged into materialistic ambition and competition are all feelings embedded in the lower-self. All these are negative traits everyone knows, recognizes and harbors in his lower-self but a wise, rational, strong willed Muslim would never let his lower-self lead him into these negative traits.
Such a person would be well aware of the fact that those negative instincts in his lower-self would be harmful for both himself and for those around him. He abides by the Qur’an and aims to be a servant of God who is worthy of His love and never lets himself be dragged into a weak frame of mind.
Instead of behaving as he has learned in his childhood, he thinks in line with the Qur’an and instantly decides what he should be doing in good conscience and behaves in the way that most pleases God.
A Muslim always focuses all his attention on keeping his soul strong and his lower-self under control. Consequently, he always acts wisely and uses his will power to behave in accordance with the Qur’an.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Arab News & The Gulf Today: