Dear Nafs ~ collection #2

(n.b. The “Dear Nafs” series started on 5 February 2020, though there are individual specimens dating back to 2013 [FB]. This collection covers everything between 26 February 2020 and 29 September 2022. The first collection is available here.)

Dear Nafs: So you’re worried that our friend keeps company with those beneath him? It’s safe to assume that you are one of them.

Dear Nafs: You claim “Rahmatan li-l-’alamin…” so how do you get off being so mean?

Dear Nafs: Ramadan is coming. Pointing the finger at others is going.

Dear Nafs: When your error is exposed, don’t doubling-down It’s better for everyone involved—including us—to just admit you’re wrong and you’ll do better next time.

Dear Nafs: Suck a little less in all you do every day and you will go places.

Dear Nafs: Those dark and evil thoughts that persisted throughout Ramadan long after the shayāṭīn are restrained? That’s all you. And that’s our homework for the rest of the year. Next year there needs to be less. And success is only from Allah.

Dear Nafs: your “it’s only mustahhab“ing and “it’s only makruh“ing are not signs of your fiqh-fulness but rather testaments to your inclination towards laziness and vice.

Dear Nafs: You care most about claiming that Muslim identity, a bit about carrying out what it entails, and almost none at all for knowing how to make good on either one.

Dear Nafs: Want your relationships with Allah and His Creation to improve? Cease all your “I don’t have to so I won’t”ing and your “I shouldn’t but I can”ing.

Dear Nafs: I don’t care how tempting it looks on the menu and how good it tastes on the tongue: Divulging another person’s secret against their wishes is poison.

Dear Nafs: copious, abundant amounts of dhikr are prescribed so you would have something to keep you busy since even 30 seconds of silence is too much to ask of you.

“Dear Nafs” – emojinated edition

A lot of today’s posts as well as the negative stuff of the past (i.e., #antiprotips & “Dear Nafs”) are prime examples of common cognitive biases like confirmation bias, various attribution biases, halo & horn effects. This update is a prime example of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Dear Nafs: If you haven’t benefited from the shaykh in front of you, the lessons you took, or the edition you bought – what makes you so sure moving on the better shaykh, bigger lessons, and the newer edition will be any different?

Dear Nafs: Whenever asking “Wanna know what’s killing Islamic X?” make sure you make a long & deep investigation of your own contribution. Believers are mirrors of one another; whenever you see bad in them, check that it isn’t just you reflected back at yourself.

Dear Nafs: When presented with questions like “Do you know what is killing Islamic X?” the first thing that pops into your head should be “You, silly!” since you’re either part of the problem or not enough of the solution.

Find, fix what you can at the moment, repeat until the world is perfect or you enter the grave—whichever comes last.

Dear Nafs: You trivialize the essentials. You make light of matters of grave importance. You play when you should work. And then you complain when you aren’t taken seriously.

Dear Nafs: Realize and accept that the best (and only) thing you have to contribute to most situations is an honest, sincere, heartfelt du’a. Now get busy.

Dear Nafs: If you were stuck in a tree and someone handed you a rope and clear instructions on how to use it to safely lower yourself to the ground, you would ignore the instructions and busy yourself learning how to tie nooses. You, Dear Nafs, would transform an easy means to salvation into a complex means to your own destruction.

Dear Nafs: For the next 72 hours, I demand that you write out in public the reason/ta’lil for your every social media interaction: posts (especially images), shares, comments—even likes. Notice when you end up refraining from acting. If you can’t provide a good ta’lil, you probably shouldn’t do it at all. [ta’lil for posting: develop muraqabah]

Dear Nafs: Be ever vigilant of gaslighting. External gaslighters are bad enough. Don’t do their work for them.

Dear Nafs: If you think someone has done a kabirah against you, don’t let your anger drive you to commit several certain kaba’ir of your own.

Dear Nafs: 🎵 You’re so vain… You probably think this post is about you 🎵 [props to Carly Simon]

Dear Nafs: When its a post about something positive related to scholarship you’re more silent than a proverbial possum playing dead. When it’s a post with a few negative words, you’re all SHARE! LIKE! COMMENT! And you wonder why positive scholarship doesn’t spread.

Dear Nafs: If you can’t remember the last time you interacted with Allah through worshipping Him and constant adherence to His Shari’ah, any thoughts you have of being privy to what He shares only to His friends should be immediately dismissed as delusions.

Dear Nafs: You’re no advocate of Divine or Prophetic models of justice and mercy if the only time you’re willing to get involved is when you personally have $om€thing to £o$€.

Dear Nafs: If you want forty to pray your janazah, you’ll need to cut down on isolation and alienation.

Dear Nafs: You can’t pray your own janazah.

Dear Nafs: You alone cannot execute, conduct, or constitute a marriage.

Dear Nafs: The easiest way to effect an immediate and dramatic improvement in the average quality of ṣuḥbah is to remove all the bad ones.

Dear Nafs Allah has encouraged us to pursue what increases our benefits in the afterlife as much as possible while encouraging us to restrict our pursuit of worldly benefits to what is necessary and needed. In practice, we restrict our pursuit of the afterlife to what is necessary and needed, while pursuing this world as much as possible.

Dear Nafs: Just as acts related to this world are divided into necessity, need, and supplementary, so are acts related to the afterlife.

Necessary – performing obligations and avoiding prohibitions
Needed – performing affirmed sunnan
Supplementary – recommended acts

Your preference for worldly supplementary acts over afterworldly necessary acts is a sure sign of your completely messed up set of priorities.

Dear Nafs: Your willful ignorance of Allah’s commands and prohibitions vitiates your frequent claims of seeking & being concerned with spiritual excellence [iḥsān] and exposes them as nothing but pretense.

Dear Nafs: Your assignment for the day is to monitor your curiosity and rein its pursuit of information whose primary use would be unlawful.

Dear Nafs: Adding “neo” or “lite” to a rotten idea’s name does no more to remove its rottenness than hiding a puss-filled pimple beneath makeup. It might help avoid some public embarrassment and shame, but it doesn’t change its true reality or fool the only One who truly matters.

Dear Nafs: If you consider it a personal obligation but are concerned about your intention, mend your intention but don’t abandon the act altogether. Purifying intentions and developing sincerity are life-long projects.

Dear Nafs: Hoping to grow closer to Allah while knowing your deeds fall short is a form of tawakkul. Expecting to draw closer to Allah by doing nothing because your niyyah isn’t perfect is a form of tawĀkul.

Dear Nafs: If He is not to be found there, neither should You.

Dear Nafs: Allah-free activities lead to Allah-free lives. If intention can’t bring Him in, leave it or accept being left.

Dear Nafs: Instead of sobbing about the lack of connection, how about exchanging your now-dull scissors with tape and glue?

Dear Nafs: Regret for doing wrong is at the core of repentance [tawbah]. Not regret for getting caught, not “Oops, my bad!,” not stopping out of exhaustion or boredom or bad PR.

Dear Nafs: If you truly regret misinforming& misguiding the masses, you would explicitly denounce it to those same masses to limit additional harms and strive to reverse the damage you caused. If incompetence led you to misinform and misguide, regret alone doesn’t render you competent.

Dear Nafs: Now that you’ve practised saying “No!” to so many of Allah’s commands and prohibitions, how about you apply this well-developed skill of yours to Shaytan’s whispers and your own evil inclinations? (edited)

Dear Nafs: An insidious trick of the wishy-washy ihsanists is to spend more than 1% of their efforts learning new things about ihsan & less than 99% of their efforts applying what they already know.

Dear Nafs: Do it because He commands it. Not because you can concoct some rational cause that hasn’t yet been rejected by whoever’s approval you so desperately seek and that portrays you as a partner in the trend or narrative of the day.

Dear Nafs: If a popular Muslim figure doesn’t credit Allah or Islam in their achievement nor adhere to personal obligations, why laud them and their worldly achievements as though they are a major credit to Islam or the Ummah?

Dear Nafs: If you contribute to the impression that distancing oneself from Allah and Islam are how to get ahead in life, don’t be surprised when the impressionable masses follow suit.

Dear Nafs: The cure for feeling alienation from the created is to remove your alienation from the Creator. (n.b. If only it was that easy…)

Dear Nafs: Few things say “I want people to think I care but I really don’t” better than frequently sending salams through intermediaries but never sending them yourself.

Dear Nafs: Let your own good deeds go unpublished. Ponder how your social media habits feed the vices of boasting [tasmiʿ] and showing off [riyā]. If you do share your own good deeds, do so with a sincere intention of encouraging others & gratitude to Allah.

Dear Nafs: Patience is among the duties of the heart: patience in His obligations, His prohibitions, and His tests.

Dear Nafs: You cannot learn from your mistakes if you refuse to even recognize or acknowledge that your potential for making them is frequently actualized.

Dear Nafs: Our limbs would speak a very different story if vice and wickedness were not so firmly rooted in our being.

Dear Nafs: Who are you to demand anyone look at our heart when our limbs reek with the stench of wickedness? Dear Nafs: When’s the last time you curled up with a starving python to show others how friendly they can be when they’re well fed?

Dear Nafs: As the modified adage says: If you fail to plan for your akhirah, you plan to fail for your akhirah.

Dear Nafs: Share! Share frequently and share far! Because the only reward you’ll get from all the social-media spiritually-inspirational sufistic-stuff you read is if something you share somehow reaches that truly rare individual who actually bothers to act.

Dear Nafs: Pick your battle and your battlefield. Exchange what refuses to change [in your environment] so you can focus on changing that which cannot be exchanged [your nafs].

Dear Nafs: The command to employ ḥusn al-ẓann falls upon the ẓanner, not the ẓannee. Any ẓanner who employs sū al-ẓann to rid himself of its burden compounds the wrongness he does against himself and the ẓannee.

Dear Nafs: Open your favorite online marketplace. Check your last ten purchases. Reflect upon how they fit with {أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ}.

Dear Nafs: That we today leave a single Muslim to beg others for their survival or to supplicate Allah for their own death OUGHT to keep us up at night, pleading with Allah to forgive us. And yet we sleep soundly.

Dear Nafs: There are homeless in the streets and hungry begging for food, while houses are left empty and surplus food is left to rot. And instead of doing something—even despising the situations, supplicating for it to end, and being thankful for what you have—you whine that the local store doesn’t have your favourite comfort food and how long it takes to get resupplied.

Dear Nafs: If you must express complaints about this year’s trials and difficulties, do so in a way that does not lead to discontentment with Allah and His decree. Do not let frustrations and impatience… (cont’d) #edited

Dear Nafs: It is not for you to explain to Allah how things are & how they’re going to be. Rather, your duty is to listen to Him explain how things ought to be and then striving to do your best.

Dear nafs: Death saves you not from your wicked deeds: you will be reviled, your reputation destroyed; you will be cursed & prayed against. (n.b. this is probably my earliest “Dear Nafs” post.)

Dear Nafs: Being blessed with good innate traits means little if you blemish and defile them with unlawful and bad acts and habits. Likewise, bad innate traits need not hold you back if you conceal and adorn them with praiseworthy behaviors and habits.

Dear Nafs: Before blaming Islamic institutions for failing us, maybe we ought to take few minutes to ponder the role our own actions had in bolstering or undermining their success. My hunch: Those institutes failed us only after a period of neglect & ill will.

Dear Nafs: Fetishizing the innate & unobtainable is a sickness of the heart of individuals & of societies as a whole.

Dear Nafs: Winning the lineage lottery won’t get you into Paradise on its own, just like losing it won’t bar you.

Dear Nafs: The wounded nafs may find temporary relief and satisfaction by externalizing its anguish via displays of anger and in pursuit of revenge & lusts—but none of those will make it whole or restore its health. For that, the nafs itself must be treated. And those treatments fall within the discipline of tazkiya&tasawwuf.

Dear Nafs: Instead of feeling sadness or anger when others fail to address you with the title & praise you wish you deserved, rejoice that they didn’t title & shame you as you know you actually do deserve.

Dear Nafs: There will be days where it’s a major struggle to muster enough motivation & strength to attempt even the most trivial voluntary task. On such days, even a silent, mindless, going-through-the-motions dhikr can make a difference.

So distract your nafs with your nafas [breath]. Your every breath is a blessing Allah decreed just for you, so with each exhalation repeat “Al-Hamdu li-Llah.” And may Allah ease our affairs & grant us success.

Dear Nafs: The nuts & bolts of halal & haram are an essential foundation. The way you treat them reflects your esteem for their legislator.

The status of an act is based upon the sources of law and the methodologies for interpreting those sources (aka uṣūl al-fiqh). I have yet to see “trendy with sinners & non-Muslims” mentioned as a potential source of law, nor “but it’s trendy with sinners & non-Muslims” as a linguistic device for introducing a particular or an exception to a general rule.

When a sinful act becomes trendy with non-Muslims, there are always a few folks who announce that they, too, engage in that sin and then pop out articles & books explaining how it has always been present amongst Muslims and, therefore, ought to be accepted as normal Muslim behavior.

Well… apostasy, murder, intoxication, fornication, and theft have also been present in Muslim communities throughout Muslim history. All of them are crimes whose status is necessarily known as part of the religion and attacks against the overall objectives of Islam (i.e., religion, life, intellect, lineage and honor, and property). And just as the “This sinful act exists, therefore it’s normal acceptable Muslim behavior” argument doesn’t work for these, it also doesn’t work for normalizing the trendy sin of the day.

p.s. Many of those folks who employ sort of reasoning for normalizing acts deemed unlawful in Islam are quick to cry foul whenever anyone else argues against their fave perversion using a fallacious “is-ought”

Dear Nafs: One of the branches of faith is unwaveringly clinging to the religion of Islam.

From Shaykh Muhammad Nawawi al-Jawi’s Qāmiʿ al-ṭughyān, a commentary related to the branches of faith.

“The sixteenth branch of faith is unwaveringly clinging to the religion of Islam, such that committing murder and being placed into the fire [as punishment for that murder] is more beloved to you than entering into disbelief. It is knowing that one’s religion is dearer to him than all his progeny and wealth.

The Arabic original doesn’t exactly say “unwaveringly clinging”. Instead, it has “al-bukhl” which is typically translated as stinginess, miserliness, and withholding something from others.

How many of us can truly say that our Islam is our most prized possession and we would cling to it even if it was the very last thing we had to left to trade in this world? Before raising your hand and excitedly saying, “Me! Me! Me!,” think back to the last time you opted to take the easy way when faced with a contentious or questionable matter instead of exercising piety and precaution. Because that’s one of the many ways we give away our Islam. And in this, we generously give when we should stingily withhold.

And guidance and success are only with Allah.

Dear Nafs: Today’s assignment is to express gratitude & thanks to Allah & to whoever does you a good deed. Acknowledge the true source of your blessings & the apparent agent who delivers them.

Dear Nafs: —The plural of “ghaybah” is not “tawatur.” —A few unnamed people demanding you take their word that something is tawatur is also not tawatur to you even if it was to them.

Dear Nafs: —The plural of “majhul” is not “mashur.” —One majhul reporting to another isn’t just majhuler—it’s exponentially majhuler since probabilities multiply.

Dear Nafs: Empathy for others is a religious duty. It is not a luxury or weakness; it does not negate a Muslim’s manliness or chivalry. No one truly believes until he loves for others what he love for himself, and dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself. This requires empathy. Since means have the status of their ends & whatever an obligation requires is itself obligatory; go develop & flex your empathy muscles.

Dear Nafs: Take heed. One of shaytan’s biggest coups of the 21st century is getting folks to accept social media monetizability & karma as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.

Dear Nafs: Never confuse studying about Islam with studying Islam. The point of the former is to talk about it. The point of the latter is to live it.

Dear Nafs… is it wrong to address you directly?

Dear Nafs: …it’s a good question.

When’s the last time you pardoned someone who wronged you? That, too, is one of the branches of faith.

Dear Nafs: Before you demand of others what the Sacred Law recommends of them, I recommend we treat our own arrogance and selfishness as the Sacred Law commands of us.

Dear Nafs: While #Ramadan is over and it’s forbidden to fast from food on the days of #Eid, do remember that maintaining the fast from the unlawful and the blameworthy is a year-round obligation.

Dear Nafs: Bad things happen to good Muslims. Don’t be one of them.

Dear Nafs: Strive to be a good thing that pulls people out of a bad spot instead of that bad thing that puts people into one.

Dear Nafs: Whenever you learn of someone’s misfortune, ponder why He made you aware of their situation. Don’t assume it was only to awaken your slumbering gratitude.

Dear Nafs: Don’t be the type of Muslim who, instead of defending another creature from abuse, joins in.

Dear Nafs: Take a moment to thank and supplicate for all the individuals who fulfil communal duties and remove their responsibilities from our necks.

Dear Nafs: Never become desensitized to the severity of an unlawful or immoral act.

Dear Nafs: Tawbah might erase the sin for the act itself and some of its immediate consequences, but it doesn’t erase the fact that it happened nor its ongoing effects.

Injuries are not automatically undone—especially spiritual and moral injury. Memories and experiences are not automatically undone or replaced with happy thoughts.

Dear Nafs: Shaykh Muhammad Nawawi al-Jawi al-Bantani, Al-Futuhat al-madaniyyah, §74 “Loving for every believer what one loves for oneself”

“Be jealously-protective [ghuryūran] for the sake of Allah (Most High is He), since the one who is jealously-protective of religion for the sake of Allah become jealously-protective when Allah’s inviolable ordinances are violated for himself and for others. Just as he would be jealously-protective of anyone fornicating with his mother, he is also jealously-protective of anyone fornicating with someone else’s mother; and the same for daughters, sisters, wives, and maids. For every women who is fornicated with might be mother to one person, daughter to another, sister to another, wife to another, and maid to another. And none of them want anyone to fornicate with his mother, nor his sister, nor his daughter, nor his wife, nor his maid—just as someone who is jealously-protective of religion for the sake of Allah.

Thus, if someone fornicates with one of the aforementioned and claims to be jealously-protective of religion or having decorum [murūʾah], he is a liar in his claim since someone who despises something for himself but does not despise it for others has no decorum [murūʾah], and his jealous-protectivity is not religious, but rather natural [and] animalistic.”

Shaykh Muhammad Nawawi al-Jawi al-Bantani, Al-Futuhat al-madaniyyah, §74 “Loving for every believer what one loves for oneself”

p.s. How quickly would you put a wolf on the minbar after catching him trying to sneak his way into the hen house? Tawbah might erase the sin, but it doesn’t erase the fact that it happened, damages that cannot be undone (especially those related to spiritual and moral injury), nor memories of the experience.

Dear Nafs: Some animals hunt to survive. Give them their own food supply and they’ll stop hunting.

Some animals hunt for fun. Give them their own food supply and they’ll keep hunting.

It’s similar to with your nafs:
Feed its natural urges and it will be satisfied.
Feed its unnatural lusts and it will just demand more and more.

Never hand the keys to the hen house over to a wolf—even if he has now acquired his own hen house.

Dear Nafs: The point of learning from unpleasant experiences is to avoid them altogether, not so we can strive to make them even more perfectly unpleasant the next time around.

Dear Nafs: Sometimes your struggle will be desperately du’aing for a better day; lather, rinse, repeat until those du;as are answered.

Dear Nafs: Not everything I post about you will be directed at you or even mention you.

Dear Nafs: Learn to identify when you need to stay far away from social media. Develop the self-discipline to restrain yourself during those times.

Dear Nafs: ﷺﷺﷺ until the anxieties, frustrations & other negativities depart.

Dear Nafs: #iḥsānology

(n.b. start with this…)

Dear Nafs: Ground your every act and decision in this religion. What are you engaged in? How can it promote or violate īmān, islām, and iḥsān? How can it promote or violate the various branches of faith/shuʿab al-īmān? What effect is it expected to have on your akhirah?

Dear Nafs: Ground your every moment in this religion. How, in this moment, do you promote or violate īmān, islām, iḥsān, and the various branches of faith/shuʿab al-īmān? What effect is it expected to have on your akhirah?

Dear Nafs: If you don’t know the legal status of what you do, you need to stop what you’re doing until you do.

Dear Nafs: Always be clear whether something is a MEANS or an END, and whether that END furthers your AKHIRAH or is confined to your DUNYA. And make sure you don’t turn dunyawi-means-to-dunyawi-ends into a lifestyle or obsession.

Dear Nafs: When someone persists in acting contrary to the Sunnah even after you explained it: Is that anger you feel because they contradict the Sunnah of the Prophetﷺ or because they contradict you? Be honest.

Dear Nafs: Never underestimate the impact practising the Sacred Law has on your heart. Outward acts influence inward states by countering vices and instilling virtues. Giving charity [act] counters greed [vice] and instills generosity [virtue].

Dear Nafs: Your responsibility is to aim towards perfection, then strive to approach it according to your ability & circumstances. You will fall short; you will stumble. When you do, pray for guidance & forgiveness, dust yourself off, then keep moving forward. Repeat as needed.

Dear Nafs: Progress towards Allah is progress towards Allah. If you must ditch the guide, ditch the guide but don’t ditch the progress.

Dear Nafs: Finishers-in-the-making bring their finite, imperfect aspirations & selves closer to their goal by striving, struggling, persevering, and patience. Quitters settle for changing and moving the goal, then declaring themselves victorious.

Dear Nafs: You become a better Muslim through self-improvement, not by lowering the standards of what it even means to be a good Muslim.

Dear Nafs: Despite social programming to the contrary, it’s totally fine to feel good & happy about being a Muslim & practising īmān, islām, and iḥsān.

Dear Nafs: Cherish each and every favour you receive knowing you deserve nothing. Everything is His: from Him it comes, and to Him it returns.

Dear Nafs: Love for all is among the branches of faith/shuʿab al-īmān. Let me know how that fits in with dismissing a Muslim or their actions based solely on their nationality, ethnicity, race, colour, or sex, or for being a convert.

Dear Nafs: Righteousness is a goal. It requires work, just like every other goal. Stop treating it like an exhibit at the Museum of Lost Islamic Culture.

Dear Nafs: Receiving His love, mercy and beneficence says little about us yet shouts volumes about Him.

Dear Nafs: Receiving His mercy is not because we possess some good quality that makes us worthy or deserving, but rather because the absolute goodness of His quality extends it even to the likes of us.

Dear Nafs: Perhaps it’s because Allah values your ikhlāṣ even more.

Dear Nafs: The relationship you & your acts have with Allah is far more important than the relationship others have with you & your acts. You are responsible for the former, not the latter.

Dear Nafs: In our alienation from them, we seek & find our connection to Allah. In our despair from them, we seek & find hope in Him. In our anxiety from them, we seek & find tranquillity in Him. Our every negative interaction with them coaxes us towards & reminds us of Him.

Dear Nafs: If the only time you show up is when blood is in the water to join the feeding frenzy, know that your inclinations are those of predatory beats like sharks and piranhas and not those of the Prophetﷺ who was sent as a mercy to all the worlds.

Dear Nafs: If the only time you show up is to argue, chances are fair that this hadith concerns you:

The Messenger of Allahﷺ said, “Whoever seeks knowledge so that he can contest fools, vie with the scholars, or attracts attention toward himself occupies his seat in the Fire.” Al-Tirmidhī related it from the account of Kaʿb ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) that states, “…it puts him into the Fire.” [Al-Bazzār, Ibn Mājah, al-Tirmidhī]

Dear Nafs: Discontentment with you is not discontentment with Allah. I am content with Allah knowing & willing you to be the evil-inciting nafs you are now. I am also content with His commands that I strive & struggle to transform you into the serene nafs He wants you to become.

Dear Nafs: Any moment that isn’t oriented towards bringing us closer to Him is a moment misspent.

Dear Nafs: Enthusiasm prompts more, criticism prompts improvement, apathy saps wills and strangles morale and stifles interests. Harness enthusiasm & criticism to move forward. Don’t let apathy hold you back.

Dear Nafs: Treat others as the righteous Muslim you want and hope them to become, not as the wretched sinner you know you already are or fear yourself becoming.

Dear Nafs: “Hear and obey” ~ not sneer and disobey.

Dear Nafs: Spend more time reading the works of the ʿulamaʾ of the past and far less time being seen & taking selfies with the Famous Fulans of today.

Dear Nafs: Allah knows & is aware of each and every Famous Fulans you encounter. You don’t need to broadcast (or even take) a pic of the event or turn it into a photo op to ensure you get your barakah points.

Maybe it’s time to question whether individual biological adults fulfil the conditions for taklīf: ʿaql and rushd seem awfully lacking in our age. There’s a “Dear Nafs” in there somewhere.

Dear Nafs: There is some point where all these rationalizations of yours add up to belittling—if not rejecting—Allah’s commands and prohibitions.

Dear Nafs: While you’re free to choose what commands and prohibitions you accept, know that your choice will not free you from the consequences of your choices, including that choice to brazenly disregard the seriousness of ignoring & violating His commands & prohibitions.

Dear Nafs: Cherry-picking Islamic quotes doesn’t promote Islam. It promotes you.

Dear Nafs: Beware of claiming to measure by “agrees/disagrees with Allah and His Messengerﷺ” but then measuring by “agrees/disagrees with me, my nafs, and I”.

Dear Nafs: Don’t let past sins prevent you from doing good. Don’t let past deeds ease your way into doing bad.

Dear Nafs: Do not think yourself learned & tricky when you foolishly imitate shuyukh by responding to every question with “فيه خلاف” lest you do the same when asked “هل الله موجود”. p.s. yes, I am repackaging a well-known story…

Dear Nafs: You can’t bluff your way through creed. The stakes are simply too high.

Dear Nafs: Misplaced values and rejecting Allah’s decree are forms of self-harm.

Dear Nafs: Few things say “I really don’t know my dīn and I really don’t care to” like brazenly showing off your ignorance of personally obligatory/fard al-ayn fiqh.

Dear Nafs: If fasting is a workout for the nafs, Ramadan is having a fully-stocked household gym with dozens of on-call personal trainers. Your growth & gains are commensurate with your efforts.

Dear Nafs: a life-long recitation habit that leaves you yearning for a bit more trumps a short-lived binge that leaves you satiated, exhausted and—نعوذ بالله—disinterested.

Dear Nafs: Never confuse your own MEqasId for the maqasid.

Dear Nafs: If your cause impels you to lie, you need a new cause. Especially if that cause is related in any way to the transmission & practice of Islam.

Dear Nafs: You will be held accountable for the intent you had with your every deed, no matter how minor or major the act. Make sure yours is clear and worthy of reward before clicking post, share or like.

Dear Nafs: While you are excused from knowing the intents & motives of others and are not accountable for their acts—you have no excuse for being willfully oblivious & indifferent to your own intents & motives, and most definitely will be accountable for your own acts.

Dear Nafs: Never claim khilaf to cover up your ignorance.

Dear Nafs: Khilaf is not a device for covering your own ignorance.

Dear Nafs: Live the Shariʿah you aspire others to follow. When you don’t, accept that you and they both need to improve. Let your frustrations be with your shortcomings as a practitioner and deliverer, and not the receptivity of the recipient. You cling desperately to Allah’s promise of mercy for your shortcomings as a recipient, so don’t you dare deny it from others.

Time is so precious to some ʿulamāʾ that they shorten “al-salāmu ʿalaykum” to “salāmun ʿalaykum”. Dear Nafs: Before considering the above, you need to reduce your daily distractions and entertainments to 1 hours instead of 5.

Dear Nafs: Stop gazing at Islam through someone else’s optical devices.

Dear Nafs: Strive to prove that the malāʾikah were wrong about us in Q2:30.

Dear Nafs: Be virtuous for Allah, not for its recipient. A virtue tends to remain virtuous even when the recipient refuses it or engages in a relative vice.

Dear Nafs: Make sure Islam is a part of your daily life and not just a writing prop.

Dear Nafs: Resist Shaytan’s promptings to take advantage of the inclinations, interests and abilities Allah has placed in each of us. They are complementary strengths to be nurtured and combined; not detrimental weaknesses to be abused and exploited.

Dear Nafs: Never forget that the real enemy is Shaytan and not your fellow Muslim, Islam is a guidance for all and not a weapon against the guided, and the Prophetﷺ is a mercy for all of creation for friend and foe alike.

Dear Nafs: Habituate yourself to be charitable during times of plenty, and it’ll be far easier to be charitable during times of need.

Dear Nafs: Sins witnessed by others are never just between the perpetrator and Allah.

Dear Nafs: Your reaction to someone renouncing Islam should be to make du’a that they come back. It most definitely should not be to praise them and, in doing so, risk joining them.