Mar 22, 2011

The Fight of Submission : Knowing Allah and Our Enemies

By Ummi Ayesha

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.”In order to obtain this we must first have a correct understanding of the relationship between Allah (God) and creation along with knowing the nature of our four spiritual enemies.It is only then that we will be able to truly submit to our purpose as worshipers of God.


To understand that “There is no deity but God“ is to know that all of creation is connected and depended upon Him. For He is incomparable and eternal, the true origin of all existence.

“To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: it is He who gives Life and Death; and He has Power over all things. He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Hidden: and He has full knowledge of all things.” [Quran 57:2-3]

God’s omnipresence is what also makes Him so unique.

“He is with you wherever you are.”[Quran 57:4]

Traditionally, God is said to have ninety-nine names, or attributes, relating to different aspects of the divine. Although the essence of the divine is beyond human comprehension, and only known to God, these names are the means which brought the whole of creation into existence and are manifested in mankind. They have been divided into two categories based on the duality inherent in creation.

“And of each thing We created a pair.”[Quran 51:49].

The first one is feminine, also know as “names of beauty.” These include names like al-Rahman (the Merciful), al-Rahim (the Compassionate), and al-Wadud (the Loving). The second one is masculine, also known as “names of rigor or majesty.” These include names like al-Qahhar (the Conqueror), al-Mumit (the Slayer), and al-Jabbar (the Subduer). Therefore, none should associate any partners with Him. Instead, keep our hearts pure so that they may incline to Him.

“For one who associates others with God, God has prohibited paradise to him.”[Quran 5:72]


Our nafs (ego) is our first and most dangerous enemy. It constructs a self image and seeks to protect and maintain it at all cost. Since this is our nature state, we require the mercy and guidance of God to replace the negative image with a positive one. The first level is “Nafs Ammara” (the Commanding Ego). Commanded by its host of impulses and desires, it inclines towards evil to satisfy its wants. It then justifies its behavior to itself so that it may continue to fulfill its wants.

“…the (human) soul certainly incites evil…“[Quran 12:53].

The next level is “Nafs Lawwama” (the Blaming Ego). This ego is aware of God and struggles not to be controlled by its impulses. This change manifests in both the inner and outer forms as it attempts to keep it’s covenant with God.

“And I do swear by the self-reproaching soul.“[Quran 75:3].

The highest level is “Nafs Mutma’inna” (the Ego at Peace). This ego has learnt to control its impulses and ignore distractions in order to be closer to God. Then the soul becomes a place where signs of God are disclosed and manifested.

“(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction!”[Quran 89:24]

Our love for the dunya (this world) and hawaa (vain desires) are our second and third enemies. This world is merely a temporary testing place which determines our conditions in the afterlife. Part of preparing for the afterlife is taking from this world what is needed to survive and using it in obedience to God. Instead, our desires tell our nafs that what we need is what others have and more of it. More food, more materials, more money, and so on. Until we have became so preoccupied with being excessive with indulgence that we willingly neglect our obligations to God .

“O men! Certainly the promise of Allah is true, let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief deceiver deceive you about Allah.” [Quran 35:5].

Shaytan, the devil, is our fourth enemy.

“Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy…“[Quran 35:6] Formed from “smokeless fire” [Qur’an 55:15].
He is a member of the Jinn race, whose creation predates that of mankind.5 Jinns are free willed, thinking beings that occupy the earth along with mankind.6 They are capable of good and bad deeds and are obligated to worship God.

“I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.”[Qur’an 51:56].

Before being removed from Paradise, God granted Shaytan’s request of respite on mankind until the Day of Judgment. [Qur’an 7:14-15] Shaytan has proclaimed to attack mankind from every direction, but from above. [Qur’an 7:17] Although Shaytan’s tricks seem to be many, he only has one - was’ waas (suggestive whispers). As reported by Mu’adhibn ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbas said: “Satan told the Prophet Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alai-hi Wa-Sallam (may Allah honor and grant him peace),” Muhammad, I have nothing to do with misguidance; rather I am a whisperer of wicked suggestions and a tempter.”

In mankind’s battle to fully submit to God, we must gain the correct understanding and knowledge about His position, His unlimited power and our four spiritual enemies. According to Shaykh Ahmad ibn al-Mubarak, “The spiritual seeker must be genuine in resolve, effective in determination, firm in conviction, influenced by no one among the servants (of the Lord).” Without it we will become heedless creatures on the wrong path, with no chance of winning against our enemies.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)


What a well explained and beautiful reminder .JAK!!

Asakm Sister,

I loved the way this was written; an easy smoothly flowing read. Definitely beneficial!

JazakiAllah Khayr for sharing,

~ FiamaanAllah :)

beautifully written. put intelligently 

They say seek knowledge and you shall be free! I have learnt a lot from this beautiful article. Jazakallah.

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