The Nature Of The Lower Self
In man, there exists the capacity for desire. This capacity is termed the lower self (nafs). This capacity includes both virtue and evil. It desires goodness as well as evil. In its development the lower self passes through three stages: the lower self that incites to evil (nafs ammara); the lower self that denounces evil (nafs lawwama); and the lower self that is well pleased (nafs mutma’inna).
Nafs Ammara – At this stage, the lower self is overpowering in desire for evil, and it feels no regret for its evil acts. This lowly stage is also termed hawa’l-nafs.
Nafs Lawwama – At this stage, the lower self suffers remorse and regret when afflicted by evil desires.
Nafs Mutma’inna – At this stage, the lower self is tremendously desirous of virtue.
[Path to Perfection]