Whilst taking a walk through
a park one morning, accompanied by some friends, we passed by a
sign which is generally found in many parks. It read :
NO DOGS ALLOWED EXCEPT ON LEASH
Considering a deeper meaning to the sign, I mentioned to my companions: Our
nafs (ego) is akin to a dog. The nature of an undisciplined, unleashed
dog is that it barks, relieves itself anywhere, devastates and lays
waste the delicate flower beds as it tramples them, attacks or spoils
people’s picnics, and runs after that which it should not.
Without its leash and without training, it can scare, harm and bite
others, as well as cause damage. Therefore the Parks Board insists
that dogs be on leash.
A dog, well trained, will obediently remain on leash, under the
control of its master and will not cause inconvenience or damage.
It will walk along its master and do as he commands.
The temperament of the nafs (carnal self/ego) is like that
of the dog. It also needs to be disciplined and trained, and it
also requires a leash. This leash is the leash of Shariah, the love
and fear of Allah Ta’ala, and fear of accountability on the
Day of Judgment, tied tightly and securely around its neck.
Without this leash, the person will break the commands of Allah
Ta’ala and violate the rights of creation. The person will
steal, gamble, fornicate, suppress, oppress, abuse his wife, children
or parents, and perpetrate various other crimes. Malice, greed,
jealousy, pride and other filthy, vile qualities will also be found
in the person’s heart. People will distance themselves from
such a person for fear of being harmed or troubled.
The person who has disciplined his nafs and controls it with the
leash of Shariah, will find that it becomes submissive and compliant
to the instructions of its Master. The person then finds it easy
to fulfill the rights of Allah Ta’ala as well as creation,
since the nafs is compliant to its Master’s commands. The
person will want to do good deeds, assist people, invite others
to Deen. …He will not cause harm to people; rather he will
benefit them. People will then love such a person.
When there is a need to go to
the shops, factories, airports, hospitals, etc., the person will
first leash the nafs with the Khauf (fear) and love of
Allah Ta’ala and then go about the fulfillment of duties.
Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam) said : “The
intelligent one is he who suppresses his desires and practises for
what is after death, and the foolish one is he who makes his nafs
follow its desires and (he) places (baseless) hope on Allah.”