Introduction

The Soul and The Self

The Soul and The Self

Who sees the dream, the soul or the self? People are divided in opinion
concerning the subject of the soul (ral!) and the self tnafe), Some say that they
are both the same thing (e.g., man and human being), while others hold a
different view. The first group argues that the self (nafs) means blood. For example,
the Arabs say: “Nafasat-il mar’a,”when a woman discharges blood during
her menstrual period. Also when a woman gives birth they say: “Nafsa, ” because
of the blood discharge that accompanies the delivery of a newborn. They also
argue that blood is the only thing that leaves the body of a deceased person. Thus,
when referring to death, they used the term: “Siilat nafsuhu,” meaning his blood
was exuded or that he died. Also in the English language, one can find the term
‘bloodless’ to mean dead. In this sense, the term nafs is used in the Arabic
language to mean life or blood.
Others argued that the nature of the (ral!) soul is cold, and that the nature
of the inafs) self is warm. That is why, in their opinion, there was a need to blow
the soul into the body to animate it and to give life to it. The Arabs also called
the act of blowing, ‘Rull.’They say: ‘~’taha riihan,” meaning blew life into it or
gave life to it. In this sense, to blow into the fire means to ignite it, and to blow
the soul into the dead bodies means to resurrect them or to make them rise from
the dead. Thus, in their opinion, the soul means life. Another group of people
considered the soul to be a light spirit, while others may called it an angel or a
spirit.
However, despite people’s attempts to ascertain such opinions, God Almighty
has kept the meaning of the soul in His sole knowledge as He says: ”They ask
thee about the soul. Say: ‘The soul comes by command of my Lord, and
of knowledge, you were given only a little.” (Qur’an 17:85)

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