The inner self continuously inspires the individual to do evil and wicked acts except for Allah’s Will. One can only be saved from these evils of the inner self through establishing a sincere and deep connection with Almighty Allah. One of the most effective ways of this connection is to pray to Him. A person may ask Almighty Allah to cleanse his inner self, open his mind and have a deep faith, by knowing that He answers to the prayers of His sincere servants as revealed in Surat al-Baqara, 186. However, the ways of establishing a close connection with our Lord are not limited to prayer. The inner self can be cleansed from ambitions, fears (fear of the future and fear of losing) and selfish desires, by thinking about His Might, the perfection of His Creation, talking about the blessings He granted, citing His name and glorifying Him and worshipping Him.
Giving Things Loved and Being Self-Sacrificing
One’s inner self is inclined to gather and collect possessions, to be stingy, not to share these with anyone, to think of oneself as a priority, to be selfish and to avoid self-sacrifice. A person has to abide by the commands of the Qur’an revealed by Almighty Allah completely in order to be saved from these weaknesses. However, Almighty Allah reveals that the most auspicious way to put off the feelings of selfishness and stinginess in the inner selves is to give things:
“So have taqwa of Allah, as much as you are able to, and listen and obey and spend for your own benefit. It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful.” (Surat at-Taghabun, 16)
Condemning the Inner Self
One of the most effective methods of cleansing the inner self is to continuously condemn it. As believers know they will be truly saved and rewarded with Paradise by condemning their inner selves, they check themselves and their actions by asking questions like “What did I mean with this word? What was my purpose in doing this act? What do I hope to gain from this thought inside my heart?” When they do a mistake or wrong action, they share this with other believers and so try to prevent them from falling into the same mistake and also criticize the inner self to torment and crush it which is something it does not like due to superiority complex. Because the inner self is very inclined “to give itself individuality” and to embrace these mistakes as a result of this sense of self and to cover evil acts in this way.
It would not do any good to a person, who followed the wicked desires of the inner self and did not condemn and cleanse it in the world, to condemn his inner self in the Hereafter. However, Almighty Allah swears an oath on the inner self which continuously condemns itself following the Day of Judgment:
No! I swear by the Day of Resurrection! No! I swear by the self-reproaching self. (Surat al-Qiyama, 1-2)
Listening to the Voice of One’s Conscience
Conscience is a great blessing Almighty Allah grants to His servants to be saved from the evil and wicked acts of the inner self. It directs the person to Allah, the truths revealed by religion and goodness, and ensures the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. In a sense, conscience is the voice of Allah directing us to the truth. If the person listens to this voice and fully understands the basic principles revealed in the Qur’an, he would be directed to the right path. When a believer is stuck to make a choice from a couple of alternatives in his daily life, he listens to his conscience when he chooses the alternative that complied with Allah’s Will the most and that is the most useful for the benefits of the religion. It is the conscience that steps in the first and inspires the person as to which alternative is most appropriate for Allah’s good pleasure. However, in the second phase, the inner self steps in and tries to direct him towards other alternatives. To do this, it generally whispers excuses to people. However, Almighty Allah heralds that He will save those who listens to their consciences instead of the whispers of the inner self that brings no benefit to the person:
But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the lower self its appetites, the Garden will be his refuge. (Surat an-Nazi‘at, 40-41)