Those who Take Vain Desires and Passions as god
In the previous section, we analyzed the two aspects of the soul: the one inspiring evil, and wicked deeds, and the other guarding against every inculcation of evil. In the Qur’an the word “hewa” is used to express the evil side of the soul. Hewa is defined as “desire, passion, sexual desire, lust, and all negative internal factors spoiling man”.
The unique guidance for unbelievers is this negative and evil side of the soul, namely the hewa. Satisfying vain desires and passions becomes a way of living for them. Consequently, all their mental faculties and efforts are focused on the gratification of whims. In such a state of mind, it becomes almost impossible for an unbeliever to comprehend the teachings of religion. The Qur’an recounts this fact:
And among them are men who listen to you, but in the end, when they leave you, they say to those who have received knowledge, “What is it he said just then?” Such are men whose hearts Allah has sealed, and who follow their own lusts. (Muhammad, 16)
One who surrenders himself to the evil side of his soul turns to his soul whenever he needs to arrive at a judgment. In this sense, whims and desires become the basis upon which to judge between right and wrong. This is also a clear manifestation that a person worships his own soul, or to put it another way, his ego. In the Quran this state is called “taking one’s own vain desire as one’s god” in the following verse:
Then do you see such a person as takes as his god his own vain desire?Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and hs heart and understanding and put a veil over his eyes.Who, then, will guide him after Allah has withdrawn His guidance? Will you not then receive admonition? (Al-Jathiya,23)
In the Qur’an, one who is guided by his passions and desires, and is thus lacking in a sound mind capable of thinking, is characterized as “deaf and blind.” Believers, on the other hand are endowed with a sound mind, with which they can judge between right and wrong, and an insight with which they have a full grasp of all happenings around them. In the following verses people and societies devoid of understanding due to their following their own lusts as mentioned:
Say: “O people of the Book! Exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the straight path. (Al-Maeda, 77)
Following lusts and vain desires makes the individual blind to his faults. Such a person rapidly meets with eternal disaster.