We learn from the Quran that man is born with two distinct and often opposing faculties: Nafs Ammara (12:53) and Nafs Lawwama (75:2). Today’s terminology is more familiar to us as ‘ego’ and ‘conscience’.

In normal circumstances, one’s ego lies dormant, but when pro­voked, the egoistic temperament being one of rebelliousness, leads us into all manner of evils. It has been said that “when one’s ego is touched, it turns into superego, resulting in a breakdown.” However, the side of one’s nature, which is ruled by conscience—Nafs Lawwama—is the opposite because of its inherited function of distinguishing between right and wrong. One whose conscience is truly alive experiences pleasure in doing what is correct and shame in doing wrong. Our conscience opens all the doors to success. Our ego only leads us to destruction.

According to the Quran, the conscience is the creation of God and, as such, is changeless. We must learn to look upon it, there­fore, as a Master Key. If we succeed in finding it and using it judiciously, all the doors which seem at the moment to be so irrevocably closed to friendship and cooperation will at once be thrown open to mutual understanding and harmonious social living.



You can pacify it by exercising patience. Patience is not a passive attitude. Patience is another name for controlled behaviour. You have to control your feelings rather than be controlled by them. This is an elevated intellectual exercise. Do not succumb to your emotions and you will be able to manage the situation quite easily.

Speaking Tree | TOI | May 8, 2011


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