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1. Nafsi Ammara -The Evil Commanding Self

In this first level of the development of man, the rational self and human conscience have been overtaken by carnal desires. At this stage, our self does not recognize the rational or moral limits on the way to achieve what it wants. This first level expresses itself in selfishness, arrogance, hardness of heart, oppression of others, lack of gratitude, ambition, stinginess, envy, anger, cynicism, laziness and stupidity etc. It is the lowest level of the self. In ithis level, there is an extreme desire for immortality and sovereignty.

Thus, the self on this level is attached to the worst of characteristics against which we have been warned by Allah and His Prophet, for instance; self-admiration, arrogance and pride, hardness of the heart, oppression of creatures, fondness for exposing the faults of others, lying, gossip, back-biting, envy, jealousy, criticism, undeserved self-praise, bitterness, attachment to what belongs to others even if it possesses something better, lack of contentment, constant complaining, lack of gratitude, blindness to blessings, wishing for increase without effort, extreme selfishness, greed and covetousness that knows no limit, love of control, and love of self and its desires, hatred for those who criticize it even if it is for its own good and love for those who praise it even if it is in hypocrisy, rejection of advice and counsel, and only talking about itself.

Originally, the nafs (the false ego) was one of the Creator’s gifts to man. But because we allow the nafs to lean towards material values, to take pleasure only in worldly life, our nafs has become almost animal-like, while its shape remains that of a human being.

This nafs is our worst enemy, who is living inside us, dominating and tyrannizing us and keeping our human soul imprisoned and forgotten in the depths of our subconscious.

On the level of commanding nafs, influences are very heavy. Unless somebody wise and strong holds you by your hand and takes you out, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of these influences.

When we follow our rational decision and are rescued from our misery by a strong teacher, then we may rise to the second level- Nafsi Lawwama (the blaming self). Thus, the soul is pulled out from the dark dungeon of the ego to the light of conscience, and we will see our arrogance being transformed into humility, vengefulness and hate into love, anger into kindness, lust into chastity. If Allah so wills.

The remembrance that is appropriate for its treatment is La Illahe Illa Allah (There are no idols, no gods except Allah).