The following is taken from the transcript of a talk by Mawlana Dr. Waffie Mohammed.
In almost every mosque, in every country of the world, the imam closes his Friday sermon with a reminder to the people with the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
Allah Commands justice, the doing of good… (Surah an-Nahl:90)
Again Allah Says:
…Be just: that is next to piety… (Surah al-Ma’idah:8)
To be just is a general, universal Command; and it incorporates many dimensions in a person’s life. One of these is justice to oneself. As the human personality is made up of two dimensions; the physical self which is the jasad, and the non-physical self, the ruh; it is the duty of every person to take care to nurture both of them, by giving to each one of them what is necessarily required to ensure that they grow healthy and strong.
Because the nafs is the energy produced by the working of the physical body, it thrives on the satisfaction of the physical desires. The ruh, on the other hand, can be sustained with deeds and actions relating to spirituality and exercises focusing on God-consciousness. The individual is required to be just to both dimensions of the personality by engaging in permissible physical and spiritual exercises which will result in true representation of Allah (s.w.t.) here on earth.
The majority of human beings however, concentrate on taking care of the physical self and some do not even think that they need to sustain the spiritual. The unfortunate consequences of such a lifestyle will be a materialistic outlook of life that will benefit the individually, to some extent, materially and it will end with death.
As a representative of Allah (s.w.t.) here on earth, He wants us to behave like Him in our own humble way. He Says:
So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has Made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard religion: but most among mankind understand not. (Surah ar-Rum:30)
Behaving like Allah (s.w.t.) means to cultivate some of the qualities of the Divine Attributes in our physical lives. These include glorifying His Holy Name and displaying qualities, like compassion, forgiveness, and such when relating with our fellow human beings.
In addition to the physical manifestation of the Godly Qualities in dealing with other human beings, we are required to be just to our souls by keeping them polished, bright and shining. Many people spend all their time and energy taking of the body, and completely neglect their souls. They spend all their wealth in material things and forget that they must send some for use in the next phase of life. They do not have time for worship, taking care of the poor and needy, only do and eat what is halal, and such like. Such people are neglecting the Qur’anic Command of being just to oneself. Such people will regret what they did and some of them will ultimately say they wish they were dust, as Mentioned in the Qur’an:
Verily, We have Warned you of a Penalty near― the Day when man will see (the deeds) which his hands have sent forth, and the unbeliever will say, “Woe unto me! Would that I were (mere) dust!” (Surah an-Naba’:40)
We all should make every effort to nurture and cultivate both dimensions of our personalities, if we are to be just to ourselves. Islam gives us the recipe for so doing, beginning with the five fundamental principles, and extending to all the other injunctions which we are required to uphold if we want to be truly just to ourselves in every possible way.