Hazrat Mir Ghotbeddin continues, The powers of nafs of growth are energies of attraction, circulation, digestion and repulsion; its qualities are to increase and decrease. The nafs of sensibility (animal spirit) has the power of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching; its qualities are lust and anger. The powers of the nafs of pure intellect are thought, remembrance, awareness, patience, and its qualities are wisdom and virtue. The nafs of wholeness, Divinity, has the highest virtues: survival in annihilation; patience in misfortune; honor in poverty; and richness in adversity; the qualities of the nafs are submission and satisfaction in God. This is the nafs that the Almighty God breathes into the human being from His spirit and is the part which returns to Him. His discussion then leads to an in-depth discourse on the Sufi science of nafs which treads a delicate line between the physical and spiritual. What is interesting here is the connection between Rumi’s stages of death and rebirth and Imam Ali’s description of nafs. Rumi seems to follow the same sequence as Imam Ali’s description of nafs. And it is entirely plausible that Rumi was describing the process of purification of nafs under the guidance of divine love by analogy. Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar has said the body and soul are tightly coupled. In his address at the Songs of the Soul Festival this year, he said, “Our (physical) bodies are a demonstration and perhaps a manifestation of the eternal. It appears this (physical) stage is one of the stations of eternity. What we can see, we call body. What we cannot see, we call soul.” Dr. Kianfar reminds us that our physical bodies are not cut off from the rest of the universe; nor, we should say, from theoretical metaphysical realms. A Sufi believes in unity and one continuous, contiguous existence. Evolution may not be only a physical phenomenon; it may also be a spiritual one. Those interested in this line of inquiry may also want to pursue the metaphysics of Mulla Sadra. His doctrine of substantial motion (al-harakat al-jawhariyyah) is an area so delicate and complicated that the renowned scholar, Seyed Hossein Nasr, said he spent several months in Iran studying just one question within the doctrine. The question was: How can a body and soul be continuous with some part under the state of change while the divine aspect is, by definition, free of change and immutable? A change in the physical indicates a change in the system and affects the entire system. If God is the root and origin Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 1
A journal for people of the heart.