Man has a lustful desire / power that incites him/her to the opposite gender. What is the real nature of it?

The Details of the Question

Man has a lustful desire / power that incites him/her to the opposite gender. What is the real nature of it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Three centers equipped with feelings were created in man to enable his spirit to live. The first one is “the power of animal appetites to attract benefits”. This feeling is presents in all animals as something common. The second one is “the power of angelic intellect to distinguish between benefit and harm”.  The boon of intellect, which is a trait peculiar to angels, was also given to humans and jinn. The third one is “the power of savage passion to repulse harmful and destructive things”. This trait is present in humans but it is present in wild animals in a more comprehensive sense.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi describes the power of animal appetites” andthe power of savage passion”, which are among the powers that he shows to be the effective source of intellect, as follows in brief:

The power of animal appetites is the power to get and obtain useful things like sexual desire, eating, drinking, sleeping and talking. However, this power has three degrees. Deficiency in the power of animal appetites is apathy and want of appetite called ‘humud’. Such a person feels no desire (lust) toward haram and halal things. Its excess is profligacy (fujur), which is to desire whatever is encountered whether lawful or unlawful. Its middle way is uprightness (iffah), which is desiring what is licit and shunning what is illicit.”

The power of savage passion is the feeling of rejecting harmful things. Deficiency in the power of savage passion is cowardice; a person who has such a feeling makes life a kind of prison for himself by fearing almost anything.  Its excess is uncontrolled anger, which can be said to be the progenitor of despotism, domination, and tyranny. And its middle way is courage, which is giving freely of oneself with love and eagerness for the defense of his religious and worldly rights. However, he does not interfere in illegitimate things.”

According to what is understood from the explanations above, when the excessive level of the feeling of savage passion, which depends upon the principle of paying no importance to rights, unites with the excessive level of animal appetites, which does not pay attention to halal-haram things, the rights of the innocent people, especially weak people, will be violated and the honor of chaste people will be harmed. These feelings, which are in compliance with man’s being the most honorable creature and a perfect being, are restricted by the religion but they are not limited by nature and creation. In other words, the control of these feelings given to man, is left to the will of man. If man cannot maintain the moderate way (middle level) and goes to extremes, it is clear that he will fall into ethical weaknesses.

From another viewpoint, the phenomena of belief, worship and ethics are human attitudes and states that cannot be separated from one another and that need to be in interaction all the time. That is, ethical principles are beyond abstract orders and rules that people are expected to obey and are threatened to be punished when they do not obey. In this sense, they are not only orders that limit people’s deeds and perceptions and that are applied from outside by force but also deep, conscientious and living principles of life that show the way of being a mature and virtuous person. In addition, it is a kind of worshipping to obey them. Worshipping means a state that elevates man’s spirit, develops his talents, cleans his inclinations, realizes his goals, expands and systemizes his ideas and limits his lustful and animal desires.

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