The First Step: Not purifying the soul.

THE FIRST STEP: As the verse, Therefore, do not justify yourselves suggests, it is to not purify the soul. For on account of his nature and innate disposition, man loves himself. Indeed, he loves himself before anything else, and only himself. He sacrifices everything other than himself to his own soul. He praises himself in a manner befitting some object of worship. He absolves and exonerates himself from faults in the same way. As far as he possibly can, he does not see faults as being appropriate for him, and does not accept them. He defends himself passionately as though worshipping himself. Even, using on himself the members and faculties given him as part of his nature in order to praise and glorify the True Object of Worship, he displays the meaning of the verse, Who takes as his god his own desires.1 He considers himself, he relies on himself, he fancies himself. Thus, his purification and cleansing at this stage, in this step, is to not purify himself; it is not to absolve himself.

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1. Qur’an, 25:43; 45:23.

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Second Step: To think of yourself when it comes to death and service of others, to forget yourself when it comes to pleasure and desires.

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