A’uzubillahi minashaitonir Rojeem, Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allahuma Solli wa Salleem ‘ala Sayidina Muhammmadin wa aalihi wa sohbihi…
…One of the ‘arifin or gnostics who was sincere (to his Lord) organized his time such that he would go jihad in the Way of Allah (fighting infidels) a year and on another year he would rest and seek knowledge, do dhikrullah and other ‘ibadah. However, in one year, contrary to the previous years, he found it easy to go out for jihad so he suspected and became wary of the wickedness/guile of his nafs or lower self. He said(to lower self), “Maybe you want to be famous and to have repute, so I shall take you to a place where no one know your name.” Similarly, he foud this easy to dothe he said again, “I’ll expose you to death and danger!.” Still he found his lower self obeying him, he found it easy.
In his confused state he lamented, “O my Lord (Rabbi)! I don’t know what the motive of my lower self is, in its eagerness to go out (for jihad) this year, whether it is for something other than You!” Later he dreamt in which his lower self was shown to him, it took a form and said to him, “You in your work/act (of ‘ibadah, seeking knowledge, dhikr, mujahadah) expose me to death several times in a day so it was easy for me to go out this year (for jihad) so I might be killed once and for all.” When this reality was made clear to him, he decided to remain in these acts (of seeking knowledge, doing dhikr and other mujahadah) which kills the lower self several times in a day and delay the jihad for next year.
Prior to its purification, the ego is the seat of blameworthy traits. All this traits (showing off, envy, egoism, pride, delusions) are connected to the ammarah. The most opaque of them is pride or ‘ujub which is extremely subtle and is concealed from the elect of those of inner vision. In a hadith Rasulullah s.a.w. said that, “Riya’ among my community is more subtle than the creeping of an ant, however, ‘ujub(vainglory) is even more subtle.” This is the feeling that creeps into a person making them feel that they are more favoured or have more virtue, forgetting all at once the reality of his origin and outcome and that all virtue and favour is that of Allah.
Thus if vain-glory coincides with love of the world which is the source of every sin and the meaning of ‘dunya‘ (world) is everything that distracts one from Allah ta’ala or prevents one from doing that which brings one closer to Allah s.w.t. or causes one to fall into sin. If vain-glory (ujub) coincides love of the world and the lower self becomes attached to them, then the chains of these veils between the servant and Allah ta’ala have become firmly established.
A man from Bani Isra’il engaged himself in many acts of devotions till he was known as ‘The ‘abid‘ or the worshipper/devout of Bani Isra’il. While another engaged himself in every sin and was known as the ‘corrupt’ of Bani Isra’il. So the story goes that they met along the road and the heart of the corrupt man felt humbled and low upon seeing the devout man and he said to himself, “i’m the corrupt man of Bani Isra’il and here is the devout of Bani Isra’il, I’m gonna draw closer to him perchance Allah s.w.t. might show mercy on me by just being near to him,”
As he did this, ujub or vain-glory creeped unsuspectedly into the heart of the devout man. He said, “What’s wrong with you?! You’re the corrupt one of Bani Isra’il and me, I’m the devout, get away from me.” At this Allah ta’ala revealed upon the heart of the Prophet of the time to tell these two individuals that the sinner has been forgiven and that the devout has his deeds nullified or erased completely…
Another of the darkest veils is Envy or hasad which is dislike/upset to see others gain blessing from Allah s.w.t. Similarly backbiting is a big sin that is often deem insignificant (or taken lightly by people who have little taqwa) One cannot gain awareness of these diseases of the heart, these veils without keeping company of the shaykhs. Thus the prohibition of keeping company of the corrupt and non-mahram.