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Sufism: Rumi’s Seven Spiritual Stages & the Nafs

The inner mystical dimension of Islam, Sufism, is one of the most widespread spiritual Islamic notions. Galal Al-Din Al-Rumi claims that there are seven phases every soul should undergo to acquire what he calls the Oneness.

The first stage is the Depraved Nafs; in other words, the corrupted inner self that blames its surroundings for its own constant despair. According to Rumi, most people are entrapped in this stage, unable to move forward, as it is the most common stage for all humans. If the person grows aware of his soul’s false egotistical nature, he then will be ready to work on himself, and start blaming it instead; sometimes to the point of self-effacement. This stage is called the Accusing Nafs or laying charges against one’s own self, where an inner purification takes place. The journey that the soul travels within is key essential to evolving into the third stage: the Inspired Nafs, where the person becomes more knowledgeable and patient, yet humble. The reason why Rumi called it Inspired is that the world now seems full of inspirational signs. The Valley of Wisdom is what comes next, or as Rumi calls it: the Serene Nafs. In this stage tranquillity takes hold, where an excessive level of consciousness is reached, acknowledging generosity, having a higher sense of gratitude and accepting the suffering nature of life.

Further on, the Valley of Unity is situated, where the human is content and satisfied by any circumstances God placed him within. The aforementioned stage is called the Pleased Nafs, which is followed by Pleasing Nafs. In the Pleasing Nafs stage the person becomes the main source of energy to everyone around them, like a candlelit providing light and knowledge; rather like an idol to be followed and imitated. Serving God through helping others becomes one’s main concern. Finally, in the seventh stage, the individual effectuates the Purified Nafs, where one’s soul becomes perfect. Hence perfection belongs only to God, no one knows much about this stage, as it is only reached by prophets and their followers. 

   God created humans with bodies and souls. When we die, our bodies will decay in the soil, but our souls will be tasting death and standing in front of God on the judgment day. Our bodies were and still are studied by physicians, fashion designers, even carpenters. All the great inventions were made to ease the pain from our bodies: luxuries cars, elevators, aeroplanes, and comfortable homes and pieces of furniture. However, the notion to study psychological theories and the complicated human’s mind and how it functions mentally came later. One of the most recent studies that evolved to study the human’s brain as separate rooms full of thoughts, beliefs, and behavioural patterns that affect our personal traits, is emotional intelligence. In the Holy Quraan, God has always addressed this concept: “And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it 91:8 And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, 91:9 He has succeeded who purifies it, 91:10 And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].” It is our quest in life to keep our souls pure and shiny among all the darkness and the wickedness that we deal with every day. That’s the hardest quest ever. In order to do this correctly, a human has to always seek knowledge. God’s first word in Quraan upon prophet Mohammad PBUH is “Read.” If we read history thoroughly, we will be able to grasp the skills that we should enhance to purify our souls: Patience from Moses; love and tolerance from Jesus; and wisdom from Mohammed PBUH.

About Ola El-Wassify (30 Articles)
A word-nerd hearted person who is madly in love with English linguistics, literature, psychology, and cycling. Was raised in Cairo, physically speaking, but her heart belongs to different countries and cultures. Addicted to various kinds of music, such as Jazz, Pop, Metal, Rock, Country, Ray and Nubian music. Her soul is intertwined with dancing, Sufism, and typewriters. Writing is her passion! Poetry is her favorite, yet she gets absorbed into short-stories and novels as well. She believes we are all the sum of the books we read, the movies we watch, and the music we listen to, and that is why she loves writing. When you write and someone loves your words, you become an essential part of their memories.

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