What is Meant by Fighting Against the Nafs?

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

When scholars talk about fighting against the nafs (lower self) this is not meant literally. Harming the nafs is not what is intended. What is meant is purifying it and elevating it. Fulfilling its desires and followings its whims is what really harms it. Doing the opposite, although it may be difficult, is what really benefits it. Any dhikr performed with presence of heart also helps to purify the nafs.