The Three Selves
by Prof. M. Habib-ur-Rehman, M.A., Model Town, Lahore
The Light (Pakistan), 1st/8th August 1977 Issue (Vol. 57, Nos. 29–30, pp. 5–6)
There are three selves in man: firstly, he has a lower or baser self, secondly, he possesses a self-accusing self, and thirdly he owns a nobler self. Accordingly, men are divided into three categories.
Those people who disbelieve in God, or do not regard Him as the Supreme Being, or deviate from His teachings, are guided by the base self. Man is created weak, therefore, he urgently needs help for the realisation of his aims, projects and aspirations. The misguided people fall an easy prey to Satan. They, out of their eclipsed minds, invent idols and worship them. They are wholly and solely under the control of the devil who carries them poles apart from the right path. Since these idol worshippers do not believe in God and His commands, they are tossed about by their lower self—and commit odious sins and infamous crimes. Various apostles and messengers of God, in every age and clime, warned these idol worshippers of their devilish deeds, but worldly pleasures and sensual desires shaded their judgements. Satan wafts them on the wave of their passions by unholy paths, so their souls are completely darkened by evil deeds. The tribe of Noah grew disdainfully proud and persisted in their wickedness. So they were drowned and sent to Hell. The tribes of Thamud and ‘Ad were killed by furious blasts and roaring winds. Emperor Pharaoh and his followers were doomed to Hell by drowning in the waters of the river Nile.
There are Christians who do not believe in one God, but have coined three deities—God, Son and the Holy Ghost. Those who have gone astray and misinterpret Allah’s teachings, will meet their reckoning on the Day of Resurrection. All these are the disciples of Satan and will be cast into the flames of Hell-fire.
The people with a self-accusing self—sometimes ‘toss on the thorny bed of pain’. They commit sins and feel repentance; they accuse themselves for their misdeeds and pray to God, for the remission of their crimes. Again these fickle-minded people indulge in frivolities while their souls accuse them. Occasionally they lie prostrate before Allah believing in His boundless mercies to forgive them: they are called unwilling sinners. There is some hope for their salvation in the life hereafter. The people who have sympathy for the poor, as far as possible, do good deeds, believe in one God fall within this category. They are slack or niggardly in the performance of their religious duties, but fear God and make amends for a wrong done. Hatim Tai, though not a Muslim, persistently helped the poor with money. He was sedulously generous and kind, Pharaoh’s wife was another example of the self-accusing self. She looked down with contempt upon her husband’s actions and believed in Moses’s God.
The third category consists of those persons who possess nobler-self. They assiduously pray to God, do charitable deeds, abstain from doing harm to man. They glorify to the best of their efforts, help the poor and down-trodden people and spare no efforts in mitigating human misery, poverty and disease. They always crave God’s forgiveness, obey their Lord, seek His protection and pine for His blessings. Piety and righteousness are their guiding principles. They believe in all His prophets, His angels and His books. Some of these people are dynamic in their beliefs and actively pursue the tenets of their Lord. They are not merely preachers, but put into practice all the moral principles and God’s commands.
Fear of God ultimately fuses into love for their Creator. The higher the fervour of love, the more elevated the spiritual status of the soul. Thus the nobler self is sublimed and exalted into a saint, entitled in an eminent degree to the veneration of God.