واِنْ همـا مَحَّضَـاكَ النُّصحَ فاتَّهِـم
وخالِفِ النفسَ والشيطانَ واعصِهِـمَا
- And oppose (your) self (nafs) and shaytan and disobey them both.
- And if both of them give you sincere advice regard it as lies.
Another brief selection from the commentary of Imam al-Bajuri which caught my attention. May Allah (Most High) give us all tawfiq to follow its content. He said in explanation of the verses mentioned above (p.31-32):
His words: “And oppose (your) self (nafs) and shaytan…” Meaning if your self and shaytan order you with a thing, or your self or shaytan forbid you from a thing, then oppose them for they both are your enemy.
His words: “disobey them both” He indicated by it that it is not sufficient to merely oppose them both, because he may oppose them both to that which they both are pleased with, rather it is necessary to disobey them…
The author preceded the mention of the self before the shaytan because it (the self) is more harmful than him, and its tribulation is greater than his tribulation, because it is an enemy in the form of a friend and person is not aware of the plots of a friend, and also it is an enemy from within as opposed to the shaytan, for he is a clear enemy. And it is said: Escaping from the self is the greatest blessing because it is the greatest veil between a person and Allah (Most High).
One of the Shaykhs was questioned regarding Islam, he replied: ‘Slaughtering of the self with the sword of opposing it’.
Sahl bin Abdullah said: ‘Allah has not been worshipped with a thing like the opposing of the self and desire’.
So generally, the opposing of the self is the peak of worship, and the first of the levels of felicity. Look to the action of shaytan with your father, he swore that he was a sincere advisor to him, and how is he with you when he has sworn to misguide you!
His words: “And if both of them give you sincere advice regard it as lies” Meaning if they both offer you advice…such as they both say to you: ‘Fulfil this desire so that you may focus towards obedience with an untroubled heart’, or they both say to you: ‘Be gentle with yourself in worship so that you are able to be consistent in it’, or to increase your worship so as to attain high ranks or its like. Be suspicious of them by attributing them to treachery because their aim by this is deception and plotting…as nothing emanates from them except deception, thus it is said: ‘Shaytan opens for a person ninety nine doors of good so as to land them in one door of evil’.
The speciality of this verse and the one after it is: The one who is persistent in their (recitation) will overcome his self and his shaytan, and will be blessed by Allah by protection from them both Allah (Most High) willing.
Note: Rough draft under revision