One evening an Old Man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two (2) wolves inside us all.” One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Imam Husain (a.s) the grandosn of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) said: In absence of your friend you should talk about him in such a way as you like that He should talk about your self in your absence.
Struggle against the Self (Jihad al-nafs)
A human’s soul is the scene of a struggle of two competing powers. Divine power attracts him towards heavenly spheres, and inspires him to acts of goodness. Satanic power tempts him towards realms of darkness and shame, and invites him to acts of evil. When the divine forces are victorious, a person emerges as a virtuous and blessed being, in the company of prophets, saints, and the pious. When, however, the satanic forces dominate, the person becomes rebellious and vicious and is grouped with infidels, oppressors, wrongdoers and those who are cursed.
What is the struggle against the self?
Jihad al-nafs is the struggle against evil ideas, desires and powers of lust, anger, and insatiable imagination, placing all of them under the dictates of reason and faith in obedience to God’s commands, and finally, purging all satanic ideas and influences from one’s soul. This struggle is considered as the Major struggle (al-Jihad al-Akbar) as it is much more difficult than fighting in the battlefield, for in the struggle against the self, one has to constantly battle enemies that are hosted inside his own existence. Islamic ethical teachings indicate that the one who succeeds in this struggle can rise above and beyond the level of angels, and one who fails in this struggle will descend to a level lower than the level of animals, and may even be grouped among the legions of the devil.
Every living being in this Universe is within the range of His divine vision, so remember God and all His favours, and don’t disobey Him. He fulfils all our needs without having any need of our adoration. Whether you observe His commands or transgress them makes no difference to Him. It is for the sake of our own benefit that He has enjoined good and forbidden indecency. Overpower satanic ideas and convert the spheres of your mind into divine realm by driving out the evil forces and inviting the divine hosts, so that God may help and protect you in the dangers threatening to befall you in this battle. Do not have any expectations from anyone but God. With all humility and all the tears your eyes can offer, pray to God and seek His assistance to emerge victorious in this crucial battle against the self.