8. READING THE INCIDENTS OF THE AMBIYA AND THE PIOUS
Amongst those things which help man control his desires is to read and ponder over the incidents of our pious predecessors – how they controlled their desires and realised the presence of Allah Ta’ala. Consider, for example, the incident of the Nabi of Allah, Yousuf (alayhis salaam). It is an amazing and strange incident. All the means and requirements of temptation which had not gathered for anyone before, gathered for Yousuf (alayhis salaam) . He was an extremely handsome young unmarried slave. She (Zuleikha) was a lady of beauty and dignity. Yousuf (alayhis salaam) was living in her house, etc. Despite all this Yousuf (alayhis salaam) preferred the Pleasure and Fear of Allah Ta’ala over all these temptations. He chose the prison instead of fornication. Allah Ta’ala says: “He (Yousuf alaihis salâm) said: “The prison is more beloved to me than that towards which they call me.” (Sura Yousuf, ayah 33)
Similarly, consider the incident of those three people who were closed in a cave. One of them made dua’a that he had a paternal female cousin whom he loved the most. When he influenced her and sat upon her as a husband would sit upon his wife, she reminded him of ALLAH TA’ALA. Consequently, he turned away from her even though he still loved her the most.
Such types of incidents must be read. In doing so a person will understand the extreme fear our pious predecessors possessed for Allah Ta’ala . A person should make an effort to follow these pious personalities in abandoning their desires and seeking the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala says: “In their stories (i.e. the stories of the Ambiyâ) there is a lesson for men of intelligence.” (Sura Yousuf, ayah 111)
9. OCCUPYING THE NAFS WHEN DESIRES DOMINATE
When there is a persisting inclination to commit this bad habit, a person should make it compulsory upon himself to occupy his nafs in whatever way possible. For example, he should leave his home to visit one of his friends if the time is appropriate or he should mix with his family members. He should not remain alone. He should recite the Qurán, make Zikr (remember Allah Ta’ala) or he should do some prescribed physical exercises, etc. The important thing is that he should not be driven towards sin by these evil and bad thoughts.
10. RECOLLECTION OF DEPRESSION AND SORROW AFTER THE FULFILMENT OF DESIRES
A person drowned in desires should reflect upon his condition after he has fulfilled and satisfied his desire. He should ask himself: Have I found the pleasure and comfort I am searching for after fulfilling my desire? It is the Wisdom of Allah Ta’ala that whenever a Muslim fulfils a forbidden desire, he feels unhappy, distressed, depressed, miserable and ashamed to such an extent that these feelings compel him to repent. Thus a sinner is afflicted with an unending sadness, misery and disgrace.
Ibne Mubarak (RA) has said:
“I have seen sins deadening the heart. Its addiction causes disgrace. The abandoning of sins is life for the hearts It is best for you to oppose your nafs. Hence, an intelligent person will sacrifice temporary pleasure which results in unending misery for eternal pleasure.