Nafs (Souls) Mentioned in the Quran

Although some scholars have classified the Nafs up to 7 stages, there is agreement among Ulama’ that in the Qur’an, Allah has described at least 3 main types of the Nafs. There are two kinds of people, one are those who Nafs have overcome them and led them to ruin. Because they yielded to them and obeyed their impulses. The other kinds are those who have overcome their Nafs and made them obey their commands. A human being can go through all three stages at one point in their life.

In the Quran, Allah Subhana Wa Tala, has described 3main types
1)Nafs al`Ammara Bissua (The Nafs that urges evil)
2)Nafs al`Lawwama (the Nafs that blames)
3)Nafs al`Mutma`inna (The Nafs at peace)

Lets start explaining in detail what Nafs al`Ammara Bissu is. This is the Nafs that brings punishment to its self. By its very nature it directs its owner towards every wrong action. No one can get rid of its evil without the help of Allah. As Allah refers to this Nafs in the story of the wife al`Aziz and Prophet Yusuf (alakyam salam).

“The human soul is certainly prone to evil” Quran (12:53)

“And had it not been for the grace of Allah and his mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure. But Allah purifies whomever he wishes, and Allah is All Hearing and All Knowing” Quran (24:12)”

Nafs al`Ammara Bissu, resided in the world of the senses and is dominated by earthly desires and passions. It has Shaytan as its ally. He promises it great rewards and gains, but casts falsehood into it. He invites it and entices the soul to do evil.

We seek refugee in Allah the Al-Mighty, both from the evil in ourselves and from the evil of our desires. Ameen.

2) Nafs al`Lawwama (soul the blames). This Nafs is conscious of its own imporefections. The Believer might make a sin but soon after they repent to Allah. They’ll start asking themself, “Why did I do this”, “How could I allow myself to do such a thing”. And the Scholars say this is good, its good to blame yourself. Thats the start in which allows change to happen.

Allah mentions this Nafs in the Quran, “And I do call to witness the nafs tha blames” (75:2)

Nafs al`Lawwama is the one, which cannot rest in any one state. It often changes, remembers and forgets, submits and evades, loves and hates, rejoices and become sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels. It isalso the Nafs of the believer….It has also been mentioned that the Nafs blames itself on the Day of Qiyamah — for every one blames himself for his actions, either his bad deeds, if he was one who had many wrong actions, or for his shortcomings, if he was one who did good deeds. All of this is accurate. (Madarij as-Salikin fi Manazili Iyyaka Na’budu wa Iyyaka Nasta’in, vol. 1 pg. 308)

3. Nafs al-Mutma`inna (the Soul at Peace): This Nafs is tranquil as it rests on the certitude of Allah. Allah refers to this Nafs,

“O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction!” (89:27).

Imam Baghawi says,“The Nafs al-Mutma`inna has an angel to help it, who assists and guides it. The angel casts good into the Nafs so that it desires what is good and is aware of the excellence of good actions. The angel also keeps the self away from wrong action and shows it the ugliness of bad deeds. All in all, whatever is for Allah and by him, always comes from the Soul which is at Peace.
“It is the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allah has promised. Its owner is at rest and content with his knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), and with what He has said about what awaits the soul after death: about the departure of the soul, the life in the Barzakh, and the events of the Judgment day which will follow.” So much that a believer, such as this can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allah and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his afflictions make him despair — for he knows that they were decreed long before they happened to him, even before he was created”