What is Nafs, a brief explanation. Khaliq
Nafs is the self, soul in its unrefined state. It is the lowest dimension of one’s inward existence. The Nafs has 7 main characteristics and each has several other related characteristics and all of them must be overcome. The main 7 are:
1.Greed (Hirs), 2.Envy (Hasad), 3.Lust(Shahwah), 4.Backbiting (Gheebat), 5.Malice(Keena) and includes hate, resentment and anger. 6. uncharitable or ungenerous(Bokhl)*. 7. inflated sense of self (Takabbur).
The struggle to overcome them continues as long as one lives.
The suggested steps to gain control on them and acquire virtues like compassion, forgiveness, patience, truth, justice etc., are described below. However before starting one needs to contemplate on all the 7 and related characteristics and decide the one you will start to work on first. Once you have started be persistent and do not hop to the next until you have gained some control on the previous one. Remember that it is a life time struggle and hence called the major or the real jihad.
Step 1: Reflection: At the end of each day, devote time to evaluate your deeds and compliance of your obligatory duties*. Continue to perform all prayers and try to do more good deeds each day. Develop a consciousness of what is right from the religious perspective and develop awareness of sin and sawab. Use your will power to shun temptations. Continue to do Zikr in your free moments whenever it is possible. You do not need tasbeeh to remember God. You can do it while waiting for a bus or while riding the subway etc. It does not need to be a specific number that you have to count. It can be as many times as time permits. Tasbeeh is good when you have time and space to do it.
Step 2: Self‑conditioning: After getting some self control by observing actions described in step 1 make a commitment to refrain from a habit, for example, backbiting, and continue exercising your will power for several days until you have achieved some control over this habit. During this process add a virtue such as forgiveness. Then proceed to other habits like inflated ego or greed and add a virtue like compassion and work on it for as many days as necessary. At the end of each day thank Allah for the progress and pray that you succeed in your struggle to purge all sinful desires and acquire virtues such as compassion, justice, truth, humility etc. It is a life long process and is a test of your patience and will power. During the process keep up the Zikr, acts of good deeds and Ibadat(prayers and devotion).