Stages of the Nafs

Nafs-i-Ammara: The Soul Commanding to Evil

Murshid – ‘The ordinary ego is called Ammara, which means a mechanical reaction of mind which is conditioned to react against something to the same extent: tooth for tooth and measure for measure.’

Murshid – ‘The first grade is called Ammara in Sufi terms, and it denotes a person who is coarse and crude, thoughtless and ill-mannered. And ill manner is connected with ill luck, and so whenever there is thoughtlessness there is failure connected with it; whenever there is blindness there is always disaster. This is the first kind of person.’

Nafs-i-Lawwama: The Reproaching Soul

Murshid – ‘And when either suffering has developed the ego, or a person has learned to be different in life, then he becomes what the Sufis call Lauwama, which means self-disciplined. A person who wants to talk back, but thinks that it would perhaps be better if he did not; a person who would like to hit back, but at the same time thinks, ‘Better let it go this time’, shows that he is not acting mechanically but by exerting his will….his action is directed by this will.’

Murshid – ‘When a (person) is a little more evolved then there comes a certain consideration; a civilized manner, a refinement, a choice of action. This is called Lawwamma.’

Nafs-i-Mutma’inna: The Tranquil Soul

Murshid – ‘When the ego is developed still more it becomes Mutmaina. This is a certain rhythm of the mind, where the mind has risen above chaotic motion and the mentality has become rhythmic, and where the reaction of the mind is not only a control but a deliberate control. This condition of the mind is like a calm sea; all the agitation that belongs to the ego has been suppressed.’

Murshid – ‘A person who has advanced to the third stage, Mutmaina, is still further developed. It is not only that s/he is thoughtful but s/he is sympathetic, it is not only that s/he is considerate but s/he is kind, it is not only that s/he has civilized manner but s/he has a natural politeness, it is not only that s/he is refined but s/he is tender-hearted.’