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Riyâzat And Mujâhada (Part 1)

Two types of struggle (jihâd) against the nafs is employed in order to prevent the nafs from transgressing against the guidelines set by Islam. The first one is called "riyâzat". "Riyâzat" is a person's resistance against the temptations of his nafs. This is accomplished by utilizing two means: wara' and taqwâ. "Taqwâ" means not doing forbidden actions, or in other words, it is a way of living wherein one does not commit forbidden actions in one's daily affairs. Wara' means abstinence not only from harâms (forbidden acts) but also from a superfluity in the mubâhs (acts, enjoyments and flavours which Islam permits). The second type of struggle (jihâd) against the nafs requires performing things that the nafs dislikes. This is called mujâhada. All the acts of worship are mujâhada because the nafs does not like to perform acts of worship. These two types of struggles tame the nafs and mature human beings and strengthen their souls and lead them to the way of Siddîqs (people who have attained the highest degree of piety), martyrs (Shahîds) and pious (Sâlih) Muslims. Allâhu ta'âlâ is not in need of the worships of His creatures. Transgression of His creatures will by no means harm Him. He commanded these things mentioned in order to tame the nafs and in order to make a struggle against the nafs.