4 spiritual enemies


Assalaamu alaikum

Dear Shaykh,

I would like to ask you to please explain the difference between Shaytan, Nafs, Hubb ud Dunya (Love for this world) and Hawa (Desire). I thought that Shaytan is the one who makes people to have bad nafs, hubb ud dunya and hawa or are they each seperate?
Also, do we believe that nafs is by itself evil and how does this differ with Christians who talk about original sin that all men are born with sin. Why do human beings follow evil desires so easily because I think Allah created us with Fitra, natural desire to do good.is this not correct?

JazaakAllah for your help and guidance.


`Alaykum as-Salam,

The hadith you implied does not stop there but continues: “Every human being is created upon fitra (primordial disposition = islam) but then their parents turn them into a Christian, a Jew or a polytheist….” (Sahih Muslim)

All four enemies (dunya, hawa, nafs, shaytan) have different meanings and contexts as mentioned in the Qur’an. These meanings show that they can be brought under the control of the one who strives to surrender to Allah Most High, so:

nafs – the nafs al-ammara becomes a nafs mutma’inna;

dunya – “dunya is cursed except dhikrullah and whatever is connected with it….” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi), and “What a wonderful mount dunya is, so ride it for truly it allows you to reach the next life!” (Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Islah al-Maal);

hawa – “None of you truly believes until his likes and dislikes (hawa) are in line with what I have brought” (Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Sunna, al-Nasawi and al-Nawawi both in their Forty Hadiths, all with a fair chain according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari);

shaytan – and the hadith in Sahih Muslim stating that the jinn-companion (qarin) of the Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, became Muslim.

The above explanations have a simplicity and coherence which illustrate their true Divine origin unlike non-Muslim doctrines.

See also: Ghazzali on Jihad an-Nafs
Hakeem Tirmidhi on Jihad an-Nafs

Hajj Gibril

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