Innerself (Nafs) and Its Cure

According to Teachings of Sultan Bahoo

It is a Qudsi Hadith:

کُنْتُ کَنْزًا مَخْفِیًا فَاَحْبَبْتُ اَنْ اُعْرَفَ فَخَلَقْتُ الْخَلْق

Meaning: I was a hidden treasure, I intended to be recognized and hence, I created the creation.

Almighty Allah created humans for His recognition and gnosis (marifa معرفۃ ) but unfortunately they have forgotten this very purpose of their creation. The aim of life is not a hard one to accomplish nor does the way to Divine vision (Deedar-e-Elahi دیدار الٰہی) goes through ‘unbreakable’ veils or an odyssey. There is ‘a veil’ between man and Divine vision but its reality is thinner than that of an onion skin. It is innerself (nafs نفس). If one is not cured of this sickness then let it be assure that Divine vision is an impossibility not only in this world but the hereafter as well.

What is innerself (nafs)?

It is written in Kashf-ul-Mahjub:

“The literal meanings of innerself are existence, reality or essence. Certainly, in idiom and sentences its simple meanings are expressed unless the contrary is implied. For some men the term means soul and strength but Sufis do not take any of the aforementioned meanings into account. They take innerself as the origin of evil and centre of vice. For some attach it to soul and like man is alive so is it.”

Sayyid Mohammad Zauqi says:

“The essence of anything is its innerself. Its reality is soul and reality of soul is Allah.” (Sirr-e-Dilbaran)

Satan was banished and became the lowest being because of the raging innerself in his inward. It made him arrogant. Now he uses it to mislead mankind.


The reality of Innerself (nafs) in words of renowned spiritual guides

It is a thief

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“Innerself is such a thief in the human body which does not let a person travel towards Allah.” (Shams-ul-Fuqara)

It is a veil

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“It is the greatest veil between Allah and man for when it is removed no distance remains between the two.” (Shams-ul-Fuqara)

It is the abode of desires

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“Innerself is the abode of desires which gives birth to all sorts of evil wishes and rebellious thoughts. It is the one that compels humans to go against Allah’s orders and the one that acts wild at the time of extreme lust. In rage it gets violent, pays no heed to the distinction between lawful and the unlawful when hungry and when it is well fed it becomes a rebel, stubborn and proud. At the times of trouble it mourns impatiently. In short, the human innerself can never be entirely happy. It is always set to drive humans towards mischief and heinousness, but the one who gets control over it can reach the level of ‘union with Allah’. To kill it is exceptionally tough but only its death is life of the inward (qalb قلب ).” (Shams-ul-Fuqara)

Following it, makes one a polytheist

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“Chasing the inner lust is like venerating innerself. It is a type of idolatry.”

Pursuing destiny is Allah’s will and pursuing desires of innerself are satanic acts

Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:

Innerself in the existence of man is in itself a sin and to cure it is an act of devotion. To follow desires is to strengthen it and to subdue them is to subdue it. Do not follow the desires of innerself. Do not strive for a thing unless Allah has written down it in destiny. (Hayat-o-Taleemat Syedna Ghaus-ul-Azam)

Pondering over cure of innerself is tougher than innerself itself

Zul-Nun al-Miṣri says:

“The resilient of all the veils is innerself and to ponder over its cure is even tougher.”

It is relieved by vices only

Bayazid Bastami says:

“Innerself is such an attribute which finds relief only in falsehood.”

Innerself does not even have the ability to recognize itself

Shaikh Mohammad ibn Ali Tirmidhi says:

“You wish to attain gnosis of Allah but innerself is still present within you. It cannot recognize itself, how is it possible to recognize anyone else?”

Innerself is idolatry

Shaikh Junayd of Baghdad says:

“To give what the innerself desires is equivalent to implanting idolatry within self.”

Opposing innerself is a great act

Suleman Durrani says:

“Innerself drives towards perfidy and stops one (from following Divine orders). It is a great virtue to oppose it.” (Kashf-ul-Mahjub)

Negate innerself as well as egotism

Moinuddin Chishti says:

“The real idolatry is following innerself and egotism and to follow the way to Allah starts after negating both.”

To sum up, innerself has diverted all the focus towards itself then how is it possible to ponder the slightest over the esoteric self. Man is in a web of deceit.


The reality of innerself according to teachings of Sultan Bahoo

Satan and innerself always conspiring to arouse ego

Sultan Bahoo says:

The inciting innerself (an-nafs al-ammarah) is the king in the existence and Satan is its vizier who are always conspiring and planning to arouse ego and conceit. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)

Satan, innerself and world is an abhorrent trio

Sultan Bahoo says:

What is the relation between innerself, Satan and world? Innerself is the king, Satan is its vizier and world is the mother of both which nourishes them. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

Innerself attacks like a wolf

Sultan Bahoo says:

نفس دانی چیست دیو بس بزرگ

بر مسلمان تاختہ مانند گرگ

Explanation: What do you know of innerself? It is a humongous ogre which attacks Muslims like a wolf. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Innerself wastes precious time which can be utilized to reach the Divine Essence

A beautiful couplet of Sultan Bahoo goes as:

دِل بازار تے منہ دروازہ، سینہ شہر ڈسیندا ھُو

روح سوداگر نفس ہے راہزن، جیہڑا حق دا راہ مریندا ھُو

جاں توڑی ایہہ نفس نہ ماریں، تاں ایہہ وقت کھڑیندا ھُو

کردا ہے زایا ویلا بَاھُوؒ ، جان نوں تاک مریندا ھُو

Explanation: Inward is like a bazaar which holds Divine Truth, tongue is its gate which leads to this Reality and chest is like a city where is hidden the entire universe. Soul (secret of Allah) is the trader of this city and bazaar of Truth but innerself is such a cruel thief who plunders before one can reach there. It is crucial to kill it because unless it had purified it will keep on wasting time by remaining oblivious to Allah. It wastes precious time till death which one can spend to reach the Divine Essence. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

Innerself is a beast which makes one a devil

Sultan Bahoo says:

There is nothing more mischievous and wicked than the inciting innerself in both the worlds. The person who has accomplished gnosis has indeed trampled the innerself by annihilating his existence. A person who befriends it ultimately becomes its prisoner. He becomes lustful and drowns in its desires. Such an innerself which is always dominated by self-conceit is called ‘the rebellious horse’. In the eyes of people he is a man but for the Creator he has become a hog, donkey, dog and monkey like beast. He has face of man but character of a beast. It is not appropriate to talk to such a beast. Rather more proper is that such a man is worse than thousands of devils, hence, keep distance from him. Only Allah! Everything other than Allah is lust. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Satan, innerself and world is a trial

Understand the fact that Allah created innerself, world and Satan for the trial of man which are rather dreadful but one must conquer them. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)


The different stages of innerself

There are four stages of innerself.

Sultan-ul-Faqr VI

Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali defines them as:

“Innerself has four conditions and stages. Inciting innerself is engaged in sins, evil deeds, vices, hypocrisy and arrogance and the person at this stage of innerself does not even feel for his wrongs but when he starts contemplating Ism-e-Allah Zaat under the guidance of the perfect spiritual guide then this is converted from inciting to repenting, meaning a man repents after he commits sin. Its third condition is inspiring when Allah Almighty does not even let a person commit any sin. Last and the most elevated is innerself at peace and this is of Prophets, Mystics and truthful men. This innerself is completely under the control of man and it is no longer a hurdle and veil between Allah and His slave.” (Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Life and Teachings)

Innerself at the different spiritual stages of sharia, tariqa, haqiqa and marifa

Sultan Bahoo mentioned about the innerself:

When a seeker is at the station of sharia in this world, his innerself incites him, so Allah orders him to kill this enemy. O Allah! Bless me with the eyes which can see and recognize the enemy so that I may kill it.

When the seeker progresses spiritually and reaches the station of mysticism in the realm of angels, his innerself becomes repenting. On reaching here, one must leave the pleasures of innerself, crush all its appetites and become independent of all its desires. Then his level elevates to the station of Reality in realm of power where his innerself becomes inspiring. One must burn it in the fire of Allah’s love and His invocation so that it approaches the level of ‘death before dying’.

Then the seeker reaches the next station of gnosis in realm of Divinity where his innerself achieves peace. It repents from everything other than Allah and becomes the perfect believer of His Oneness, sincerely obedient, the distinguished one and confidant of the secrets of Prophet Mohammad. What the seeker achieves at this level of innerself at peace? The perfect observation of Faqr and annihilation in Allah at the station of no station. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

What people have inciting innerself?

Inciting innerself always drives humans towards sin and foul deeds. Like Allah says in Quran:

اِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَاَ مَّارَۃٌ بَالسُّوْٓئِ. ( سورہ یوسف۔53)

Meaning: Certainly, the inciting innerself commands much evil. (Yusuf 53)

This particular innerself belongs to disbelievers, polytheists, hypocrites, transgressors, debauchees and desirous of the world. Moreover, if it is not corrected or rectified properly, then with its rebelliousness and disobedience its evil keeps on growing and from human it turns to animal and from animal to beast, rather to Satan.

The different states of inciting innerself

The inciting innerself behaves like a beast in the state of anger and becomes (stubborn and ignorant like) a child while committing sin. Whereas when blessed with riches, it becomes proud like Pharaoh, where generosity is required it becomes miser like Korah. Indeed, when kept hungry, it acts like a mad dog and when it is full, it walks heedlessly like a vain donkey. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

What the letters of innerself in Arabic mean

The Arabic word for innerself is an-nafs written as نفس. It has three Arabic letters: ن (NA), ف (F), س (S). ن (NA) refers to the fact that the intention of the inciting innerself is always evil, it is good for nothing, runs after food, killer of faith, imperfect and undesirable. The letter ف (F) means that it is fraud, trouble maker, ignominious and sinful. The letter س (S) is that it is hard like stone, friend of Satan and opponent of Allah. This is the reality of inciting innerself which is possessed by the infidels, hypocrites and the worldly people who are cruel and liars. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)

Innerself is a beast

صُورت نفس امّارہ دِی ، کوئی کتا گلّر کالا ھُو

کُوکے نوکے لہوِ پیوے، منگے چرب نوالا ھُو

کھبّے پاسوں اندر بیٹھا ، دِل دے نال سنبھالا ھُو

ایہہ بدبخت ہے وَڈّا ظالم بَاھُوؒ ، اللہ کَرسی ٹالا ھُو

Explanation: The appearance and condition of inciting innerself is like that of a small black dog who at all the time barks of starvation and asks for delicious food to eat and drink (always wanders in order to fulfill its desires and lusts). Moreover, it had fortified on the left side of the inward and whenever the chance arises (the inward deprived of Allah’s invocation) it starts to attack. The inciting innerself is such a wretched and despotic one that only Allah can save its venom from poisoning the soul. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

The purification of innerself

Undoubtedly, Allah is benevolent and the most Compassionate who through the mediation of his pious and elevated men purifies inciting innerself of sinners. It means that when the perfect spiritual guide corrects the rebellious inciting innerself then it ascends to the realm of angels (alam al-malakut) where it purifies to repenting innerself (an-nafs al-lawwamah).

What is repenting innerself?

Allah guides the person through inspiration and esoteric help hence the innerself is ashamed to sin. It recalls doomsday, everyday. Allah says:

لَآاُقْسِمُ بِیَوْمِ الْقِیٰمَۃِ وَ لَآ اُقْسِمُ بِا لنّفْسِ اللَّوَّ امَۃِ۔  (القیمۃ۔2-1 )

Meaning: I swear by the Judgment Day and I swear by the repenting innerself. (Al-Qiyamah 1-2)

What is inspiring innerself?

Repenting innerself is still impure and not destined for union with the Beloved. Consequently, when innerself further purifies it progresses from repenting to inspiring innerself (an-nafs al-mulhimah). Inspiration saves man before he commits a sin. Allah says about such an innerself:

وَاَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَا مَ رَبِّہٖ وَنَہَی النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْھَوٰی فَاِنَّ الْجَنَّۃَ ھِیَ الْمَاْ وٰی ۔ (النازعٰت۔41.40)

Meaning: But as for him who feared standing in the presence of his Lord and forbade (inciting) innerself its appetites and lusts. Paradise will surely be (his) abode. (An-Naziaat 40-41)

What is innerself at peace?

When innerself elevates esoterically it becomes purest. This pure innerself is the innerself at peace (an-nafs al-mutmainnah). It has been totally relieved from the eternal looter, Satan and reached the destination of union with Allah. It is the station of peace from fear and grieve. This innerself is of Prophets and Saints. It is in Quran:

اَلَآ اِنَّ اَوْلِیَآ ءَ اللّٰہِ لَا خَوْ فٌ عَلَیْھِمْ وَلَا ھُمْ یَحْزَنُوْنَ۔ ( یونس۔62)

Meaning: Beware! Verily, the Saints will not have any fear, nor will they grieve. (Yunus 62)

یٰٓاَ یَّتُھَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّۃُ ارْ جِعِیْٓ اِ لیٰ رَبِّکِ رَاضِیَۃً مَّرْضِیَّۃً فَا دْخُلِیْ فِیْ عِبٰدِیْ  وَادْ خُلِیْ جَنَّتِیْ۔ (الفجر27-30)

Meaning: O innerself at peace! Return to your Lord in such a state that you are both the aspirant to, and the aspired of, His pleasure. So join My (perfect) servants. And enter My Paradise. (Al-Fajr 27-30)

نفس مرکب مطمئنہ راز بر

می رساند حق بہ توحیدش نگر

Explanation: The innerself at peace is the medium to reach the secret of Divinity, it takes to the Truth and grants the vision of Oneness. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)

What the Arabic letter of innerself at peace depicts?

Sultan Bahoo says in Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan:

The innerself which has elevated to peaceful also has three Arabic letters: ن (NA), ف (F), س (S).

The first letter

ن (NA) means that it laments day and night with the fear of Allah, leaves the forbidden and follows the commands of Allah, eats legitimate food, keeps the faith perfect by true obedience. The Divine favour helps it and is engrossed in the Divine deeds like invocation, reflection, gnosis, meditation and Divine observations. When the innerself reaches the Divine light, it becomes the innerself at peace and its possessor is completely forgiven. Verily, Allah is the most Forgiving and the most Compassionate.

The second letter

The letter ف (F) means that the innerself at peace is Faith’s pride and distinguishes the true religion Islam from infidelity. Allah says:

“That is because Allah is the Protector and Helper of those who believe, and for sure the disbelievers do not have any protector and helper.” (Mohammad 11)

The possessor of peaceful innerself is at the final level of certainty gained through experience. One is at the level of immersion in truth and never looks towards falsehood.

“Islam is the truth and infidelity is falsehood.”

Faqr and gnosis of Allah are the foundation of Islam while worldly wealth is the foundation of infidelity. The foundation of heresy is love of the world while foundation of right guidance is the love of Allah.

The third letter

The letter س (S) means that it is the secret of righteousness, engrossed in Divinity, outwardly busy in worships while inwardly annihilated and drowned in Allah. These attributes of peaceful innerself are of Prophets, Fakirs and a few Saints. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)

Innerself at peace is the dearest friend

ایہو نفس اساڈا بیلی، جو نال اساڈے سِدّھا ھُو

زاہد عالم آن نوائے، جِتھے ٹکڑا ویکھے تِھدّا ھُو

جو کوئی اِس دی کرے سواری، اُس ناں اللہ دا لدّھا ھُو

راہ فقر دا مشکل بَاھُو ، گھر ما نہ سیرا رِدّھا ھُو

Explanation: The innerself now has become our friend by elevating to one at peace and is now with us on the straight path. The same self at the stage of inciting had turned many scholars, devotees and noble men into seekers and desirers of the worldly riches and fame. Not to mention, where there are chances of gaining wealth and riches these people trade religion for the world. Whereas through contemplation and invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat given by the perfect spiritual guide, this innerself makes the journey all the way from inciting to peaceful. There come many tough obstacles and stations in the way of Faqr, it is not like mother’s cuisine where you will be served without having to make any effort. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

Innerself can be purified but not Satan

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“The innerself is more powerful than Satan but it can become righteous on sanctification. By way of contrast, purgation of Satan is not possible, hence it is only evil.” (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen)

Always remain alert of the attacks of innerself

Sultan Bahoo says:

“The seeker of Allah must always go against the desires of innerself and beware of it every moment because it is an infidel.” (Ain-ul-Faqr)

The lives of Companions of the Prophet and Saints

If one studies the enlightening biographies of Companion and Saints, keenly then it will become quite obvious that they were constantly engrossed in the purification of their innerselves in earthen bodies to travel to the realm of Divinity (alam al-LaHoot).

Prophet Joseph’s prayer

He prayed:

وَمَآ اُبَرِّیُٔ نَفْسِیْٓ ج اِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَاَ مَّارَۃٌ م بَالسُّوْٓئِ اِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّیْ۔ (یوسف۔ 53)

Meaning: And I do not (claim) absolution of my innerself. Certainly, the innerself commands much evil except the one on whom my Lord bestows mercy. Surely, my Lord is All-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful. (Yusuf 53)

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Aisha said:

“My father, Abu Bakr, said on his deathbed, ‘I hold Umar dearest to me.’ Then suddenly he asked, ‘O Aisha! What did I just said.’ I replied word by word. He then added, ‘I meant among the living I hold Umar the dearest’.”

Anyone can guess very well that Abu Bakr Siddiq corrected the minuscule of an error in his speech. (Kimya-e-Sa’adat)

Umar ibn Khattab

Umar ibn Khattab said, “O people! Before the time comes when your deeds will accounted for in the Divine court, account them yourself.”

He scourged his feet every night when he would come home and asked himself, “Tell all what you did today?” (Kimya-e-Sa’adat)

Shaikh Hasan of Basra

He said, “Repenting innerself means to repent like, ‘Why you did (a particular) deed or ate that?’ To put it another way, the accountability of innerself is crucial.” (Kimya-e-Sa’adat)

 It is a form to worship to account innerself unless it purifies completely and reaches its highest degree of innerself at peace. One gains this state by endeavours and without its purification one cannot become unified with Allah. It is the negation of innerself which relieves oneself from mortal world.




Sultan Bahoo laments on the condition prevalent among Muslims that they find the Lord who resides within them in the world outside. Therefore, he advises to find Him within by first purifying the blackness of innerself from the inward. In his teachings, he calls the invocation (dhikr ذکر ) and contemplation (tasawur تصور ) of Ism-e-Allah Zaatاَللّٰہُ  ) the cure of innerself.

Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the cure of innerself

Sultan Bahoo says:

  • By the exercise of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, the inciting innerself of the seeker gets severely ill just like a person gets ill with measles. Hence, the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat keeps it in pain and restlessness so much so that it loses its existence and becomes obedient. Then it always obeys the orders like a slave. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
  • The seeker whose innerself is headstrong in the beginning and is at the level of inciting innerself, improves by the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and becomes the repenting innerself and then gradually elevates to the inspiring innerself. Subsequently by doing continuous exercise of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, it becomes the peaceful innerself. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
  • When Ism-e-Allah Zaat is engraved inwardly, the theophanies of this name envelop and grip the inward and the innerself is subdued. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

Alongwith Ism-e-Allah Zaat the spiritual glance of the perfect spiritual guide is also compulsory

Sultan-ul-Faqr Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:

“The only way of killing the innerself is the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the spiritual glance of the perfect spiritual guide.” (Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Life and Teachings)

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

“Excessive prayers indulge the innerself in arrogance, conceit and egoism making it stronger and more rebellious but by performing the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat under the supervision of the perfect spiritual guide and remaining in his beneficent company, the seeker gains spiritual elevation and his innerself progresses on the journey of purgation.” (Shams-ul-Fuqara)

The importance of the perfect spiritual guide

First the seeker of gnosis of Allah has to purify his inward which is impossible without the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat acquired from the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide of the Sarwari Qadri order who is the absolute light of guidance.

Sultan Bahoo tells about the sign of the perfect spiritual guide:

“The perfect spiritual guide is the one, who not only blesses the seeker with invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat but also grants its contemplation. In contrast, the spiritual guide who cannot give (invocation and contemplation of) Ism-e-Allah Zaat to the seeker is not a true spiritual guide.” (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)


Concluding words

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the spiritual heir of Sultan Bahoo. Therefore he is the manifestation of the Universal Divine Man (al-Insan al-Kamil الانسان الکامل ) and he elevates the seekers of Allah throughout the world to Divine gnosis by first purifying them to innerself at peace. I pray to Allah that the seekers of Allah no matter from where they belong find the blessing of an enlightened inward and a purified innerself through his humble and illuminating company. (Ameen)


This blog is English translation of an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of February, 2019. The title of the Urdu article is:

Nafs ki haqeeqat aur ilaj Sultan-ul-Arifeen ki taleemat ki roshni mein ( نفس کی حقیقت و علاج سلطان العارفین کی تعلیمات کی روشنی میں ).

Originally penned by Anila Yaseen Sarwari Qadri from Lahore is presently in English by Sahibzadi Muneeza Najib Sarwari Qadri, exclusively for websites. Do not forget to visit the original article to which you only have to click the link

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