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Human-soul and Animal-self

The verses of the Holy Quran and narrations about human-self could be divided into two categories. Some of the verses define human-self as a precious valuable jewel possessing Heavenly excellence, descended from Heaven, which is the source of all superior characteristics and human virtues. These verses recommend that human beings must strive for achieving self-refinement and self-perfection through training, and must be careful for its protection, never to loose such a precious Heavenly gift. For example God-Almighty in Holy Quran defines this precious jewel as follows:

"They will ask the (of Muhammad) concerning the spirit. Say: The spirit is by command of my Lord, and knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little." -the Holy Quran (17:85)

In the above verse the spirit has been defined as an existence belonging to the celestial world that is superior than the material world. The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (A) about the self said:

“Self is like a precious jewel, whoever strives for his protection, he will help him attaining exalted positions, and whoever acted negligently in his protection he shall pull him towards humiliation." -Gharar al-Hukm, p-226.

And said:

"Whoever knows the worth of his self will never allow himself to be indulging into passing worldly amusements and shameful deeds.”  -Gharar al-Hukm, p-669.

And said:

"Whoever discovers the nobility of self shall guard him against lowness of passions and false desires."  -Gharar al-Hukm, p-710.

And said:


"Whoever possesses the nobility of self will have more compassion." -Gharar al-Hukm, p-638.

Also said:

"Whoever possesses the nobility of self will become free from Wants." -Gharar al-Hukm, p-669.

From the above quoted verses and narrations whose examples are frequent, it can be derived that human self is a valuable and precious jewel which should be carefully guarded protected and nourished.

The second category of verses and narrations defines the self as something wicked and dangerous enemy responsible for all sort of evils, against whom we are supposed to wage a great struggle (Jihad-e-Akbar) till it becomes completely submissive, otherwise it will inflict terrible misfortune and cruelty upon the defeated person.

Following are some examples:

"But as far him who feared to stand before his lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo ! The garden will be his home."  -the Holy Quran (79:40-41)

The Holy Quran quotes from Prophet Joseph (A):

"I don't exculpate myself Lo! the (human) soul enjoineth unto evil, save that whereon my Lord hath mercy. Lo! My Lord is Forgiving, Merciful."  -the Holy Quran (12: 53)

The Holy Prophet (S) said:


"Your's greatest enemy is your self, which is located between your two sides." -Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p-64.

Imam 'Ali (A) said:

"Self commands you continuously to indulge into evil deeds, therefore, whoever trusted his self -he will deceit him, whoever believed his self -he will destroy him; and whoever is satisfied with his self –he will lead him to face worst kind of disasters.” -Gharar al-Hukm, p-226.

He further said:

“Trusting the self provides the most dependable opportunities for devil's entrance” -Gharar al-Hukm, p-54.

source : http://www.islamicecenter.com/e-library/logic_islamic_rules/logic_islamic_rules_makarem_subhani_03.html
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