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Nafs is an Arabic word (cognate of the Hebrew word "Nefesh" נפש ) which occurs in the Qur'an and means self, psyche,Nurdeen Deuraseh and Mansor Abu Talib (2005), "Mental health in Islamic medical tradition", The International Medical Journal 4 (2), p. 76-79 ego or soul. In its unrefined state, "the ego (nafs) is the lowest dimension of man's inward existence, his animal and satanic nature." ''Nafs'' is an important concept in the ic tradition, especially within and the discipline of gnosis () in .

Three principal stages of nafs

There are three principal stages of nafs which are specifically mentioned in the Qur'an. They are stages in the process of development, refinement and mastery of the nafs.

The inciting nafs (nafs-i-ammara)

In its primitive stage the nafs incites us to commit evil: this is the nafs as the lower self, the base instincts. In the eponymous of the Qur’an, the prophet says "Yet I claim not that my ''nafs'' was innocent: Verily the ''nafs'' of man incites to evil." Here he is explaining the circumstances in which he came to be falsely imprisoned for the supposed seduction of .

Islam emphasises the importance of fighting nafs because the...
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