Allah subhanahu wata’ala says in ayah 7 of Surah ash-Shams:
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا
And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it.
Sawwaa comes from taswiya, which gives the meaning of taking something that is uneven and balancing it so that it becomes perfectly organized and structured. Here, Allah is asking us to ponder upon two very important concepts: 1. How remarkably well our soul is balanced and 2. How remarkable is the One who balanced it. When we do something wrong, it’s in our nature to feel bad or guilty afterwards. We have both the inclination to do good and bad inside of us. Allah says in another verse, that this Ruh (soul) of ours is from the amr-command of Allah and we have not been given but very little knowledge of it. Doing good deeds makes our soul inclined to do more good whereas opening the door to one bad deed, makes it easier to sin again and fall deeper. It’s interesting to note that Islam isn’t the only belief system with this notion of good and evil. Yin and Yang are an example of the same type of internal forces others have come up with to try and grapple with this phenomenon. This is actually at the core of many psychological studies.
Our conscience is what directly makes us remember Allah, the Most High. So the One who gave us this conscience has not only programmed it in a balanced way, but He is also watching what we do with it.
Watch your inner thoughts…
“Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.” [Sahih Muslim]
In the following verse, Allah subhanahu wata’ala says:
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness
Ilhaam refers to a form of inspiration placed in the heart that is firmer than fact, also known as a ‘gut feeling’ – Allah has made the soul aware that it has an evil inclination inside it and the guilty conscience we have is a mercy from Allah in that it is proof that there is indeed, an All-knowing Master. Otherwise, why would we feel bad? Ash-Shawkaani states that Allah has made the human being in a way that it clearly recognizes the beauty in Taqwa and the ugliness in Fujoor (a faajir is one who deliberately and overwhelmingly transgresses the bounds, complete rebellion). al Farraa’ comments that Allah has made the soul know its worst evil (Fujoor), and its best protection (Taqwa). So its not just about good [khayr] and evil [sharr], its about the soul wanting to benefit itself. Allah says in another ayah, إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا – “If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves.” The nafs is greedy in that it has an urge to protect itself from doing something bad and having to suffer a punishment as retribution for that evil.
In the previous Surah, Allah mentioned najdayn–the two paths. Here we understand what these two paths are within the Nafs–fujooraha (its evil) wa taqwaaHa (its protection).
Source: Bayyinah Notes