Similarly, looking at the different states of certainty, we can say the first corresponds to the knowledge of certainty (ilm al-yakeen). He who knows himself will know his Rabb… “Mubdi marifah” corresponds to the eye of certainty (ayn al-yakeen) and ‘death before dying’ corresponds to the reality of certainty (haqq al-yakeen), showing how the reality of certainty can be reached.

Considering that saints who have reached the state of ‘haqq al-yakeen’ are very very few it is very unlikely and unrealistic for someone to claim, “I have overcome the conditions of the names and am now one and whole with them.”

This state of becoming one with the names can only be attained by those who have reached the state of ‘haqq al- yakeen’. Grasping the mechanics of creation is described in the Perfect Man as those who give the due right of the names and actualize them. To state of certainty accrued through the process of dying before death entails servitude to Allah! To serve Allah in respect of existence, not the names.

In his Perfect Man, the section on the ‘Form of Muhammad’, Abdulkareem al-Jili explains the necessity of overcoming one’s compositional make-up in order to escape hell:

“The bodily nature in the world is similar to this: One becomes ecstatic and captivated by Allah and goes into a state of self-restraint and abstinence to purify and cleanse himself of his bodily conditions. In the end, if you say ‘his bodily nature has been annihilated” it is true. If you say, “His bodily nature has become inactive by the purification of divine light” this is also true.”


Because abstinence and self-restraint require the performing of certain actions, which in turn activate specific names enabling you to manifest their meanings.

The only way to activate and express the dormant inactive names in one’s composition is through self-restraint and abstinence. Otherwise they remain dormant, passively forming your “nature” which generates your hell. In this case you may say it is inactive beneath the divine light but you may not say the bodily nature is totally annihilated.

Did you manifest certain names? Yes, you did. When those names became manifest did the other names, those forming the nature of your composition, disappear? No. They are still present.  

They are still present and active but because the new expressions are stronger their effectiveness has subsided, they no longer play an active role in driving the persons actions. In fact, due to manifestation of the new names expressed via new actions we may say the other names are now ‘covered’. To put it simply, at the level of acts, the person has broken his habits by taming his bodily nature. 

One is a description at the level of acts, the other is at the level of the names.

In the end, the names that form one’s nature never become totally annihilated. They continue to exist.

They only lose their strength and effect over the person, as new names are expressed at stronger degrees, they lose their executive power, and this leads to a change in one’s composition.

This is also known as “the clear manifestation of divine light”.

As for the laborious and burdensome practices such as self-restraint and abstinence…

The only reason something feels laborious and burdensome is because it goes against your nature… When you are ‘comfortable’ you are aligned with your nature. That which causes discomfort and disturbs you challenges your bodily nature. 

Such laborious actions take the place of the suffering the people of hell will encounter in hell. Since there are many degrees and variations of suffering in the afterlife, all spiritual practices such as dhikr, prayer, alms, abstinence and self-restraint are necessary.

Unless one totally suppresses his bodily nature the purification of the body-nature cannot take place. One must be determined and put in a lot of effort!

One must be conscious at all times. 

One must constantly consider the consequences of his bodily inclinations and consciously do the opposite. One must never succumb to his addictions or habits. One must never act out of automation or the natural inclination of his bodily nature. This requires serious effort and strenuous exercise!

Those who don’t have strong desires don’t have to observe extreme measures of abstinence of course. The deeper and stronger desires are rooted in one, the more effort one needs to put in order to be cleansed of it. A little inclination may be eradicated with a little effort. Such is the position of those who will go to hell for a temporary time before going to heaven.

Some will suffer more in hell and some only little.

Depending on how rooted your habits are and how strong your natural programming is, the degree of your suffering will change.

People can’t even give up their habit of smoking! The very thought of it gives them torment! Obviously, the suffering on the other side is going to be a lot harder for such people… Same goes for excessive eating, sex, and other bodily habits… the more addicted and inclined one is to such things the harder it will be to let go, and thus the more the suffering.

Dhikr, constant self-restraint and abstinence, are the pleasures of the people of Allah.

Only the servants of Allah, as opposed to the servants of their Rabb take immense pleasure from such practices.

They perceive every practice that help them overcome their identity as a means of getting closer to Allah and take immense pleasure!

They take pleasure from self-restraint, abstinence, dhikr and everything that goes against their identity (nafs)!

This pleasure is the pleasure of getting closer to Allah and observing Allah! If one can’t take pleasure from such practices then he is still the servant of his Rabb!

As the verse points out:

And there is none among you who He will not pass through (experience) Hell! This is, by your Rabb, a definite decree.[1]

Everyone until a certain age, in terms of their birth, formation, composition etc. is subject to the bodily life. This is the entrance to the life of hell! If one can overcome this in the world, he will be exempt from hell in the hereafter!

If on the contrary one can’t overcome his bodily nature with spiritual practices like dhikr, abstinence and self-restraint, then with death he will enter the hell of the grave, and after a certain period of suffering, he may eventually be purified and enter paradise! Otherwise it is not possible to go to paradise…

But if one can overcome this in the world he will not be prone to the suffering of hell in the hereafter.

The suffering one endures in this world corresponds to some form of suffering of the hereafter. 

As Rasulullah (saw) says:

“Ague is a delight of hell for the believer”.

If ague, malarial fever, is likened to the fire of hell, then you imagine what abstinence and self-restraint feels like! Yet this self-combat is more powerful and more intense than anything. It is more painful than the most painful experience one has. As, it is an extremely toilsome process to outroot habits and tendencies that have been established over many years… It requires tremendous effort and willpower. And it is a continuous process, as thirty, forty, fifty years of conditioned, programmed, constructed identity needs to be cleansed and dissolved! Hence it is extremely intense until the self finds its essential purity… then the difficulty will begin to subside…

This is why Rasulullah (saw) referred to self-combat as the “greatest of combats”!

And comparatively, he referred to physical war as a ‘small combat’.

Indeed, it is much easier to draw your sword and fight with an enemy than it is to war with oneself!


[1] Quran 19:71

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