On Overcoming the Desire to Disobey Allah

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

How can someone overcome the desire of their lower self which strongly calls them to commit acts of disobedience?

Such a person should remind himself of the consequences of wrongdoing. He should remind himself of Allah’s rewards and punishments and reflect upon the return to Allah and upon the fact that he will stand in front of Him to be taken to account. He must cultivate a strong will to leave that which is harmful to his religion, and be firm and determined in this, regardless of the calls of his lower self or the Devil. He must constantly renew his determination to refrain from falling into sin and seek Allah’s assistance in remaining upright. He must thereafter choose good company, as this will help him. He must also busy himself with a variety of good works, the greatest of which is the remembrance of Allah and the occupation of the heart with this, until it is filled with Allah’s remembrance. He must truly return to Allah and seek to approach Him. All of these are effective means in overcoming the desires of the lower self. Imam al-Ghazali says that the desire of the lower self must be controlled by the force of anger, which he likens to a fierce dog.


How can someone remove the pleasure of committing acts of disobedience from their heart?

Remember the punishment and end result of these acts and the fact that they constitute disobedience to the Creator Who treats you with kindness and constantly bestows His gifts upon you. Someone may enjoy a certain type of food but if they were informed that there was filth or poison in it, the pleasure would immediately disappear.