Taming your wild beast: Lessons from the Qur’aan
So what is the wild beast? Look at yourself, not in the mirror but deeper, beyond those epidermal layers. What is that nagging thing, that most of the time is so conflicted and confused? What is it that pulls you away from giving into your emotions and desires, and at times deprives you of the blessed company of your Creator?
That thing that you find, is your wild beast. It is your very self: your soul. Scholars have said that the soul is like a wild riding beast. For example, when taming a horse, the rider will have to first control it and he will have to know when to jump on it, when to pull the reins, etc. If he successfully gains control over the horse, it will obey him. But if he gives up on the very first attempt, it will be next to impossible for him to tame the same horse again.
Likewise the process of gaining mastery over one’s soul is painful and arduous to say the least. Sufyan al-Thawri rahimahullaah said: “I never dealt with anything stronger against me than my own soul; it was one time with me, and one time against me.”
When hunting a wild creature, we don’t run into the woods calling out the animal to fall into the trap. But rather, we walk quietly, remaining calm we patiently wait in the woods attacking it once its spotted. The key here is patience and resilience throughout the process.
Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullaah said in al-Fawa’idh: “The more you enrich the soul, it will restrain the heart until you live a life of hardship, and the more you restrain the soul, it will enrich the heart until that heart will be delighted and relieved.” Meaning, the more you let the soul devour your desires, the harder and constricted your life would be. However, the more you keep it away from falling into the traps of Iblees (la`natullaah `alayh), the more content you would be.
And what can be a better time to spot one’s creature (soul) and tame it, than Ramadaan? Insha’Allaah in this month, I will go through ayaat from the Qur’aan, deriving lessons therein in an attempt to tame our souls. Wa billaahi-Tawfeeq.
This page will be updated with posts/lessons every couple of daysbi ‘idhnillaah.