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Ma'refat of Nafs | Self Realization

Ma'refat comes from an arabic word, origin is Aref, meaning knowledge, gnosis, wisdom. Sanskrit equivalent Chit. Nafs is the self, ego identity. Marefat of Nafs can be translated as Gnosis of Self or Knowledge of Self. Since the goal of knowledge and wisdom is Realization, thus Marefat of Nafs can well be translated as Self-Realization.

'The Lantern Of Guidance & Key To Spiritual Sufficiency' - is a rare teaching manual of orthodox Sufism written about 1300s by Sheikh Ezzed-din Mahmood Bin Ali Kashani Nazanzi, the student of Noored-din Abdus-Samad Ben Ali Isfahani Nazanzi, a famous Sheikh of the school of Sahrwardi.

The word Nafs in Arabic has two meanings. One means essence or nature of something, how something reality is. However in Sufism the meaning of Nafs is the ensemble of the Latif (Indivisible Subtle & Non-material) components & faculties that may be called animal spirit or natural spirits (instincts), and the Noor (Divine Light) was shone upon this Nafs whereupon became the lofty human spirit and this Noor (Divine Light) empowered the Nafs with inspirations (instincts) for both evil as well as righteousness as was said in the Nass (Verbatim Lection) of the Majestic Words, "By the Nafs, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment (inspiration) as to its wrong and its right" (Koran, 91:7-8).

Abu Yazid said, "When the person’s Nafs dies he is wrapped in the cerecloth of mercy and buried in the grounds of benevolence, but when his Qalb (Heart) dies he is wrapped around the cerecloth of curses and buried in the grounds of punishment (Final unfavorable Judgment)".

Junaid said, "The Nafs Ammarh (Depraved inciting towards evil) invites towards exclusively many deaths and the followers of the lusts are immersed within the afflictions riddled by accusations of heinous crimes".

And the proverb says, "The strong is not the one who conquers the people, indeed the strong is the one conquering his Nafs".

Know that there is no Ma’refat (Gnosis & Cognition) nobler than that of the Divine Ma’refat and there is none more beneficial than that of human Ma’refat (Gnosis). Exclusively the human Ma’refat (Gnosis) is the precondition for Divine Ma’refat (Gnosis). As has been narrated in the Hadith (Prophetic Narration), "The one who is cognizant of his Nafs (Psyche) is cognizant of his Lord". (The word Allah was not used in the hadith instead the word Rabb (Lord) was used that means Master or Owner with a sense of administration & management e.g. head of a household. The word Allah deals with the Divine Zhaat (Essence) and this hadith is about the mastery and dealings of the Lord & the man.)

If the word Nafs in this Hadith (Prophetic Narration) carries the meaning of Zhaat (Essence) or Haqiqat (Absolute Reality) then - Allah knows best - whoever sees his Zhaat (Essence) & Haqiqat (Absolute Reality) with attributes of dominance & ascendance governing all aspects & components of his Self, and observes that all heavenly & evil militia and all Haqiqat (Absolute Reality) of the physical & spiritual existence are under the rule of his own Zhaat (Essence) within the Saghir’s (Minor’s or this world’s) Realm, indeed similarly envisions the Absolute Divine Zhaat (Essence) rules all aspects & components of all beings - physical & spiritual existence, heavenly & evil beings, human or Djin species - within the Kabir’s (Major) Realm.

Therefore if we can comprehend how our Nafs commands our life and all the components and people that are under its umbrella of influence in the minor world, then we have a paradigm for how Allah commands in the Major world. Again note the word ‘paradigm’ meaning this observation of "our own Self in command" is like a finger pointing towards the Lord.

Therefore as the segmented-Rooh (Soul), the segmented-Qalb (Heart), segmented-Nafs (Psyche) and segmented-‘Aql (Intellect) are seen as under his Zhaat’s (Essence’s) complete control, the Universal-Rooh (Soul) & the Universal-Qalb (Heart) which constitute the Divine Throne, and Universal-Nafs (Psyche) & Universal-‘Aql (Intellect) under the complete control of the Singleton Divine Zhaat (Essence), perpetually subjugated and contained.

Note that there is no Zhaat (Essence) of any beingness in the entire cosmos that has such attribute i.e. the link to the Divine Ma’refat (Gnosis), except the Zhaat (Essence) of the human being. In conclusion, human Ma’refat (Gnosis) is a Dalil (Sign, Token, Evidence, Guide) for the Divine Ma’refat (Gnosis).

If the word Nafs carries the meaning "human psyche" then the above Hadith (Prophetic Narration) is interpreted as follows - and Allah knows best - Man is cognizant of his own Nafs (Psyche) that demands 'ubudiyaat (Serfdom & Servitude) similar to his cognizance of the Lord’s Rububiyat (Divinity). (Ceaselessly we want to be loved, adored, respected, praised, our dissatisfaction to be feared and in short you may say we want to be worshiped just like the Lord. And isn’t this demand of our Nafs the source of all our sorrow and distress?)

The reasoning is as follows: Nafs (Psyche) perpetually claims the false-godship (i.e. to be served), and assigns falsely to his Self the Divine attributes that are exclusive only to the Haqq (Absolute & True Reality, the Lord) beyond association to any creature, and believes in his imagination that all these Divine attributes are indeed exclusively his!? (Allah subjugates & controls all objects in the universe; nothing moves or acts without Its Divine Dictate and no one dares to oppose the regality of the Royal Highness. Somehow we want the same godship i.e. to be obeyed and stay in complete control. But looking at the list of the Divine Sifaat (Attributes) we find some of those attributes in a minor way within us e.g. power, mercy or generosity and therefore proper management of these attributes can shed light on the cognition of the Divine.)

And the darkness of this false claim can never be taken away unless by the effulgence of the Divine Rays of Tajalli (Manifestation) e.g. "And say: "Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished" (Koran 17:81) or the call, "The light is made manifest and thus void is the fake & the false". Dervish you are not going to understand the meaning of these attributes within you and you will never comprehend why & how you are reacting to them. Until such time when the rays of the Divine Manifestation hits you, the falsehood vanishes the fake thoughts and edicts that you passed about your Self made null & void, and you are left with a peculiar sense of cognition as follows.

In other words, once the Haqq (Absolute & True Reality) manifests one of Its Divine attributes upon the human Nafs (Psyche), the allegations of possessing that attribute which was placed upon the Nafs (Psyche) by the Nafs shall arise, and the human Zhaat’s (Essence’s) attributes e.g. submission, humility, humbleness, incapacity, lowliness and poverty shall confess to the matrix of ignorance.

[>] Further Read:
Lantern of Guidance
Ma'refat - Divine Gnosis
Section 2: Ma'refat of Nafs
Section 3: Ma'refat of Some Attributes of Nafs
Section 4: Divine Ma'refat & Ma'rfat of Nafs
Section 5: Ma'refat of Rooh (Soul)

# Credit: Untired with Loving

O Allah! One who did not recognize You, achieved nothing! And one who recognized You achieved everything.

You have enlightened the hearts of Your beloved saints by Your recognition. They recognized You fully and confessed Your Oneness. May You bestow Your recognition upon us.
- Imam Husain ibn Ali

O Allah introduce Your Self to me, for if You do not introduce Your Divine Self to me, I will not recognize Your Prophet. O Allah make me recognize Your Prophet, because if I do not recognize Your Prophet, I will not recognize Your Proof (the Imam, the chosen leader of last days). For, if You do not make me recognize Your Proof, I will deviate from my realization (religion).
- Imam Jafar as-Sadiq

# credit: Dua e Marefat e Imam


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Technology of the Heart: Ma'refat of Nafs | Self Realization
Ma'refat of Nafs | Self Realization
Technology of the Heart
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