On Overcoming the Excuses of Your Lower Self

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

It is difficult for me to oppose my nafs (lower self). How do I overcome its excuses?

You must strive against it with insight. Better than this is to be under the watchful eye of someone who calls to Allah out of insight. Such a person is able to help you overcome your lower self. However strong the lower self is, Allah’s power is greater. Seek refuge in Him and oppose your lower self and caprice. Do not listen to its excuses and be hard on it sometimes, and gentle at other times, meaning you give it some of what it needs and loves. Sometimes being harsh is the very essence of mercy. Someone who is wise disciplines a child for playing with matches, and does not worry that the child cries because he does not want him to burn himself. This is mercy and not harshness.