The word ‘ego’ is regularly used. Both here, as in ETTV.
In Islam there is a similar term; Nafs.
Man’s struggle with the Nafs is called Jihad, or the big Jihad.
And of course…. It is a feminine word. :-P… What else could it have been ?
Rumi compared the Nafs with a disobedient camel… Now I do not know if people have experience with these animals, but from what I hear this can be quite a struggle.
One might conclude that Islam is not talking very positively about the Nafs. It is considered to be the cause of all blameworthy actions. Mohammed (saws) believed it to be ones worst enemy.
Now it seems that spiritual teachers in Islam always felt a need for identifying stages. Based up on the Quran and the Hadith.
The first stage being Nafs al Ammara (bi su); “The soul commanding to evil” (Q 12:53)
The second; Nafs al lawwana; “The blaming soul” (Q 75:2)
The third; Nafs mutma inna; “The soul at peace” (Q 89:27)
The three stages go from a stage where the ego is fully in control, to a self that becomes conscious of the ego to the last stage where peace is found.
Interesting (I believe) is that Muslim’s also refer to the Nafs as ones shaytan. (Ones demon or devil) When asked about his shaytan, the Prophet (saws) said; “My shaytan became a Muslim” (Aslama Shaytani)
It is interesting in two ways; Firstly because it gives us a glimpse of the different nature of shaytan compared to the Christian picture were, I believe, the devil seems to be almost as a the opposite of God. I believe this is not the case in Islam where shaytan is portrayed more like a whisper in one’s heart. But it also shows that ones intention should not be to “kill” ones Nafs. It should be trained and put to use in the service of God.
The main means of training the Nafs are supposed to be; “Little food; Little sleep and little talking” Some interpreted this as an ascetic life. Even though the Prophet clearly stated that Islam is a middle road. Fasting should be nothing more than a means to an end. Not a goal in it self.
Maybe people now recognize that Ramadan is far more than simply “not eating”. It is in fact a month of training. Training of the Nafs.
Greetings from Holland.
And if people like these little personal explanations… Please say so…