There are two kinds of desires within the soul or heart of human being, namely, good desire and bad desire. The examples of good desire are helping others, being friendly, being generous, and so on. Meanwhile, bad desires are anger, jealousy, greed, cruelty, and so on. Following bad desire always leads to regret because it ends with disaster, materially and immaterially.
The most common bad desire that people do is anger. We often get angry over many things, even over small issues. We get angry when the bus comes late.. We get angry when we can't find things we want at supermarket. We get upset when our children disobey us. We are crossed when our friends laugh at us. We are infuriated when traffic jam lasts longer than expected… and the lists continue…
Since anger is common occurrence in daily live, it is considered normal and humane to be angry. However, is it true…?
The Holy Qur’an is the manual book for leading our lives on earth. It is a guide so that human can survive both in the world and in the hereafter. Therefore, all the rules in the Qur’an, the dos and donts are for the benefit of human being. God says in the Qur’an chapter 79 verse 40, 41: “And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the heaven.” Thus, whoever restrains from the low or bad desires, the reward will be heaven. We can rephrase the verse above that whoever satisfies their low desires, their abode will be the hell. Is anger low or bad desire? Absolutely. So, by saying that restraining from low desire will earn the heaven, Allah (God) actually commands us NOT to get angry. If we disobey, we simply increase our chance for hell.
Not only anger but other bad or low desires such as jealousy, envy, arrogance, pride, showing off, negative thinking, and greed undoubtedly have negative impact on our mind, nerve, and soul. So, how to deal with bad desires?
Conventional approach for dealing with bad desires is to control them. So, when there is something that triggers our low desires, we control ourselves for not following the desires. Anger, for example… If there is something that triggers anger, we deal with it by telling to ourselves "don't be angry, don't be angry" many times or we might take a deep breath, close our eyes, bite our lips, so that anger doesn't burst out. Yet, based on experiences, such an approach works temporarily and it is mentally exhausting.
However, there is an approach which is much better, if not the best, to deal with low desires. That is making the desires calm or composed. What is the difference between the two approaches? Controlling bad desires merely changes the behavior. The approach doesn’t target the soul but focuses on the behavior through a series of practicing, thus, the ability to ignore the bad desires is temporary. If a person is about to get angry, he quickly goes out of the room or changes his position from sitting down to standing up to get rid of the anger. If a person is about to backbite about others, he bites his lips. If envy attacks, he takes a walk trying to enjoy the scenery so that he doesn’t feel envy anymore. It might works for a while but one day he can’t bear with it any longer and he will burst out his low desires.
Making bad desires calm is about changing the perceptions or beliefs in our heart. In order to calm the bad desires, the heart or soul must be filled with Godly beliefs or beliefs from the Qur’an. That’s because ungodly beliefs are very good means for bad desires to breed. Therefore, the only way to make bad desires calm is to have as many Godly beliefs as possible so that low desires can't grow. When a person has many Godly beliefs, he has made his bad desires calm. A person with many Godly beliefs has righteous soul. A righteous soul definitely has righteous desires.
Some behaviors of a righteous soul or a person with many Godly beliefs in his heart are as follows:
- When someone slaps his face, he is not angry and he doesn’t slap back as he believes that he gets reward from God for not being angry.
- When his friends backbite about him, he is not upset as he believes that when they backbite, they actually earn their own sins. Backbiting is sinful.
- When he gets sick, he doesn’t complain as he realizes that sickness can erase some of his sins.
- When his child passes away, he is not carried away in sadness as he realizes that it is God Who Owns the child, not him.
- When his friend doesn’t pay the debt, he will remind his friend nicely to pay, and when he finally doesn’t pay, he will not be upset at all as he realizes that the person who doesn’t pay will have to be responsible in the hereafter.
- A parent always behaves gently to the children as he realizes that children are trusts from God.
- Whenever he is tempted to be dishonest, he realizes that God takes into account every action he does and that he will be responsible for every action he takes.
It is not difficult to have righteous soul. However, it is difficult to change our old perceptions or beliefs into Godly beliefs or beliefs according to the Qur’an. Due to strong influence from the beliefs in the society, most of us don’t want to change the old beliefs into the ones favored by God Almighty. However, we MUST change them now so that we have righteous soul and deserve the heaven.
“(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord, well pleased (thyself) and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among My devotees! Yea, enter thou My Heaven!” (Qur’an chapter 89 verse 27-30)
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