ISLAAH OF THE NAFS

Question
Currently I have many Islaahi issues.
Greed and coveting desire: The desire for bestial pleasure and zina of the eyes exists to a very large degree within me and it is a very difficult struggle to fight against these desires. Also, I find it very difficult to do good deeds, even the fardh ones such as Salaat.
Anger: I think because of my arrogance/ego I get angry when someone says something bad about me or even if they correctly criticise me. I can also be impatient because of my ego which leads me to get angry.
Falsehood: Sometimes I make jokes and include falsehoods in them to make others laugh more. Sometimes I lie to avoid getting in bigger trouble.
Ostentation/show: I get happy when I am praised for something. I clearly I lack Ikhlaas. Also I get happy on the inside when people see me praying in the Masjid. I have a desire that people think I am pious.
Vanity: I like to let others know the accomplishments I have made and think I am very great because of them. I wish that others hear of my accomplishments and respect me. I forget that it is only because of Allah that I have been able to achieve anything.
Pride: I find it very difficult to consider myself worse than people when I see them committing sins publicly even though I know this is the wrong attitude. I definitely suffer from pride and think I am more intelligent than others etc. I sometimes do not let others speak and instead speak over them because I think I am better than them. My pride also leads to anger as I think that nobody should be able to criticise me.
Love for Fame: I wish that others honour and respect me and listen to me and I wish to be the leader in situations. Sometimes I commit sins just so that I can ‘fit in’ with others (for example backbiting). I care about others’ opinions of me and want attention from others.
Love of the world: I have strong desires to ‘have fun’ in life which is basically by hankering after the world and wasting time enjoying myself with friends instead of focusing on the real purpose of life. I wish to purchase the newest gadgets and I also joke and laugh too much. I also engage in futile talk and waste precious time.
Hypocrisy: I act in such a way that others think I am pious when in reality I am one of the worst of sinners.
These are just the Islaahi issues which I can think of presently. There are definitely more which have not come to mind or I am not aware of. I humbly request advice and guidance. Please suggest a daily routine for me.
ANSWER AND
NASEEHAT
The spiritual maladies listed by you are to be found in most people. To initiate the process of Islaah (moral reformation) for curing these maladies, you have to engage in Muraaqabah-e-Maut and Qabr. While it is imperative to apply pressure and struggle (make mujaahadah) against nafsaani desires, it is essential to cultivate fear for Allah Ta’ala. Such fear will simplify the process of Mujaahadah against the nafs. Fear will open up the blinded spiritual eyes. Then one will be better able to understand and see the realities of the evils of the nafs and the snares of Iblees.
Every night spend a few minutes in seclusion and meditate on the unbearable pangs of Maut and the torments of the Qabar. By doing so nightly on a regular basis, Insha-Allah, fear will develop in you.
All the ills listed by you are generally the effects of a kind of ‘atheism’ which lurks in the heart without one realizing it. A Muslim claims verbally that Allah Ta’ala is Omnipresent – that He sees and watches us every moment. The Muslim believes that there are two Recording Angels alongside him 24 hours of the day. Despite these verbal professions, when the urge develops to sin, he selects to become spiritually blind of the Presence of Allah Ta’ala and the Recording Angels. This is the evidence for the ‘atheism’ in his heart. This spiritual corrosion can be cured by Muraaqaba-e-Maut and Qabr which generates Fear.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Remembrance of Death (Maut) polishes the heart by eliminating the spiritual corrosion which darkens the heart and blinds its vision.
Regarding a daily routine, start off with permanent Thikrullaah. In all states, whether walking, sitting, reclining or working, keep the tongue engaged in the Thikr of Laailaha il lallaah. Keep strict guard of the tongue and eyes. Most spiritual pollution which contaminates and ruins the Baatin (spiritual heart) enters via these two avenues. Whenever the urge for sin develops, immediately engage the tongue in Thikrullaah and focus on the Presence of Allah Ta’ala Who is watching you, and understand that the two Angels at your side are ready to record your misdeeds.
Spend a few minutes in seclusion and recite Laailaha il lallaah 500 times. Be punctual with Ishraaq and Chasht Namaaz. Strive to always be with Wudhu. Make Tahajjud incumbent on yourself. If you are presently so weak as not to be able to wake up after midnight, then before sleeping perform four Rak’ats with the niyyat of Tahajjud. Drastically reduce your association with people. Meet them only when necessary.
Stay away from all jalsahs and functions. Today all jalsahs/functions are merrymaking ploys and plots of shaitaan. These bid’ah haraam functions are plastered with some deeni hues and presented as Deeni programmes when in reality they are bestial at the behest of the nafs. Israaf, Riya and Takabbur are their hallmarks. May Allah Ta’ala guide and protect you.
The above-explained prescription is a bare outline or skeleton. The struggle against the nafs is a life-long process. It is essential to constantly read the life stories, episodes and advices of the Auliya. From their anecdotes you will gain a better understanding of what is expected of a person in the Path leading to Allah Ta’ala.

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