Struggle for one’s own self

“The Fighter in the Way of Allah is he who makes Jahada nafsah (Jihad against himself) for the sake of obeying Allah” – Holy Prophet Muhammad, Al-Khatam al-Anbiya (P.B.U.H)

One day when ‘Ali (as) – the Holy Lion of Allah – was in the midst of battle, when the sword of the man he was fighting broke and the man fell to the ground. ‘Ali (as) stood above him with his sword to the man’s chest and declared: “If you still held your sword in your hand, then I would continue this fight. However, since your weapon is broken, and you have fallen, I will not kill you.”

The fallen man shouted back to him: “If I still had my sword, I would cut off both your arms and legs!”

So ‘Ali (as) handed him his sword: “Alright, if you can strike me down, then do so.”

The man was astonished. He tried to strike ‘Ali (as) down but he could not make contact with him. “I am your enemy am I not? Why have you handed me your weapon?”

‘Ali (as) answered as he looked the man in the eye: “You swore that if you had a sword in your hand, then you would strike me down. But you have my sword now and I have only the sword of Faith and Iman (Certitude). Yet, you can not strike me down, nor do you truly want to. The words that came from your mouth were from your ignorance and arrogance. When one knows Allah, there is no fight or enmity between you and me. We are within the same Family. The real War is between Truth and your lack of Wisdom. It is between Truth and falsehood. You are I are just watching this battle. If I were to harm you at this point I would have to answer for it on the Day of Questioning.”

The man asked: “Is this the Way of Islam?”

‘Ali (as) replied: “These are the words directly from Allah, the Rahman (Compassionate), the Rahim (Merciful), the All-Powerful, Unique One.”

The man begged ‘Ali (as) to teach him the Kalimah. ‘Ali (as) replied: “La ilaha ill Allah, there is Nothing, only Allah.”


Similarly, at a later battle ‘Ali (as) floored his opponent, placed his foot upon the man’s chest and held his sword to his neck. Yet, again he did not kill the man. The man yelled in bewilderment: “Why don’t you just kill me? I am your enemy, yet you just stand there!” The man spit in ‘Ali’s (as) face.

‘Ali (as) became enraged, but though he wished to kill the man then and there, he removed his foot and caste aside his sword. “I am not your enemy. The real enemy are the evil qualities within. You are my Brother, yet you have spit in my face. When you did this I became angry and the illusion of division between “you” and “I” came to me. If I had killed you in the midst of battle, your blood would be upon your own hands – for you initiated this conflict. Yet if I would have killed you in this state of anger and rage, your blood would have been upon my hands. I would be a sinner, a murderer; the very thing that I fight against, the purpose of this very battle. If I would have struck you down, it would have been the illusion of “my” will rather than the ordainment and perfect Will of Allah.”

“He who among you sees something abominable, should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not the strength to do that, then he should do it by word of mouth; and if he has not the strength to do that, then he should at least abhor it within their heart.” – Holy Prophet Muhammad, Al-Khatam al-Anbiya (P.B.U.H)

The first obligatory state of Jihad is to manifest that internalized Holy War against the evil traits that first take root within ourselves. For this must be the Vanguard of the Jihad, wherein we purify ourselves from the very inward rooting of the evil which we seek to bring an end to. Such are the frontlines of the True Jihad. Beyond the obvious reality that this obligation in and of itself – if done sincerely – will rid the world of much wickedness, this is also necessary to cut away the qualities of hypocrisy within our lives. For how can we oppose evil, when evil is still manifest within our lives? In the same way, no one can rely upon the same Anti-Christ system and seek to destroy it at the same time. Iblis knows this and laughs at any attempt to do otherwise. He may allow you to gain some momentum – for the sake of his own entertainment – but in the end he will jerk you closer to him by the invisible leash attached to your soul. This is Jihad al-Qalb (Jihad of the Heart) and it must take precedence over all other manifestations of the Struggle.

“Why do you who have a board within your eye attempt to remove the speck of sawdust from the eye of your Brother? You hypocrite! First remove the board out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck of dust from the eye of your Brother.” – `Isa al-Masih (as)

“Look at your own faults. This will prevent you from finding faults with others. Never be in search of the faults of others. It’s sinful on your part to detect the faults of others which exist within you as well.” -Holy Prophet Muhammad, Al-Khatam al-Anbiya (P.B.U.H)


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