The expression nafs-i mutma’inna, as the expressions nafs-i emmara and nafs-i lawwama, appears once in the Qur’ân:
“(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction!” (Fajr, 89/27)
As a term, scholars and learned men living in later centuries applied it to the stages of the training of the nafs. To treat illnesses like kin (resentment), kibir (pride), hasad (envy), shahwa (lust) and riya (hypocrisy), the nafs must pass through several stages; the first of these is the nafs-i emmara:
“And I do not declare myself free, most surely (man’s) self is wont to command (him to do) evil, except such as my Lord has had mercy on, surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Yusuf 12: 53), the second the nafs-i lawwama:
“Nay! I swear by the self-accusing soul.” (Qiyama, 75/3), the third, the nafs-i mutmainna. If we include nafs-i mulhama to these stages:
“And the soul and Him Who made it perfect.” (Shams, 91/7) as the fourth, and then radiya, mardiyya and kamila, we have seven stages in all.
The first thing that the steps mentioned here tell us, from the aspect of education, is that human and religious education must be slow and gradual. The word itmi’nan (assurance, content), which is the root of nafs-i mutma’inna, is found most often in the Qur’an the word “qalb” (heart).
“Allah made it but a message of hope for you, and an assurance to your hearts: (in any case) there is no help except from Allah. The Exalted, the Wise” (Al-i Imran, 3/126)
“When Abraham said: “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, “ He replied: “Have you no faith?” He said “Yes, but just to reassure my heart.” (Baqara, 2/260)
“Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.” (Nahl, 16/106)
The connection between dhikr and this word, which means being secure and content, and thus being able to attain consistency and peace, is very clear:
“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (Ra’d 13: 28)
There are many classifications connected with the nafs-i mutma’inna, particularly in works on Sufism. It is thus that the matter of purifying the nafs has been introduced into human education and the education of the soul, with different interpretations being introduced in the matter of how to purify the nafs. With these interpretations, detailed information is given about the nafs and its degrees, the nafs and its characteristics; the roads that should be followed to ascend to the point of nafs-i mutma’inna have been indicated and the religion has been examined from a psychological aspect in great detail.
Here we will follow a different way. That is, here we will take into consideration the subjects that come to the fore in Surah Fajr, in which the term nafs-i mutma’inna appears, and we will focus on the path and means that take us to this position.
When we examine Surah Fajr from the aspect of religious education and religious psychology, three subjects come to the fore.
1. Examining nature
2. Examining history
3. Examining humanity
To examine nature means to look at Allah and at Allah’s verses. The earth is full of His manifestations.
“On the earth are signs for those of assured Faith, as also in your own selves: Will ye not then see?” (Dhariyat 51/20-21)
“We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things?” (Fussilat 41/53)
Thus, examining the earth and everything on it - animate or inanimate - means coming face to face with His signs.
Surah Fajr first draws our attention to nature and time. The Surah starts with the word fajr, which means dawn. The second and fourth verses are concerned with the night. The fifth verse poses a question:
“Is there (not) in these an adjuration (or evidence) for those who understand?”
When we look at the universe with a receptive eye, it is of extreme importance that for the training of the human, as well as their nafs and soul, that we see and hear the harmony of the universe. Human beings, who can open to infinity with the sun, moon and stars, can see, hear and feel the signature of infinite Power in flowers, insects and birds. This attainment of the point of perfection in a conscious state will be the cause of a wave of mercy and compassion that will spread throughout the universe. Those who are blessed with the breezes of this mercy will be those who see that hurting an ant is no different from hurting a flower or, indeed, another human being. They are the fortunate ones who can observe the universe with the eye of tawheed.
Secondly, Surah Fajr asks us to look upon the adventure of humanity throughout history. It speaks of the city of Iram, the subject of legends - the like of which had never been seen in the world - and the verb “create” is used for the Ad tribe, and the Samud tribe and the Pharaoh are also mentioned.
One of the subjects that develops human skills, and educates our hearts and souls, bringing us to the crux of the matter, is to be able to see and read “yesterday”. For this reason, the Qur’an frequently focuses our attention on those who came “before” and orders us to travel throughout the world. During these journeys the matter of the “eye of the heart” comes up:
“Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.” (HAJ 22/46)
The basic instruments of human education are the eyes, ears and heart.
The third group of verses in Surah Fajr illuminates potential negativities that exist in the human nafs. A person who has not yet reached the stage of nafs-i mutma’inna is deficient and at fault with psychological conditions, in particular in relation to money:
“And as for man, when his Lord tries him, then treats him with honor and makes him lead an easy life, he says: My Lord honors me.But when He tries him (differently), then straitens to him his means of subsistence, he says: My Lord has disgraced me. Nay! but you do not honor the orphan, nor do you urge one another to feed the poor, and you eat away the heritage, devouring (everything) indiscriminately, and you love wealth with exceeding love.” (Fajr, 89/15-20)
In order to attain a life full of peace and stability the nafs-i mutma’inna must have a sound footing in its relationship with money. That is, we are not the servant of money, but rather its sultan. We are not the slave of coins, but their king. Only thus is it possible that more valuable things than money, renown or fame can be presented to people and more important things please us. This happens through love of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad and the Truth. It is at this point that this person will chant along with the nafs-i mutma’inna: “May Allah be pleased with them and may they be pleased with Allah.” Another expression of this in the Qur’an is
“O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him…” (Maida,5/54)
The surah ends with Allah’s address to the nafs-i mutma’inna:
“(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!
“Enter thou, then, among My devotees! Yea, enter thou My Heaven!” (Fajr, 89/27-30)
In short, a person who has attained the position of nafs-i mutma’inna is someone with whom “Allah is pleased and satisfied with”, that is, a person who is loved by Allah. In other words, the possessor of a nafs-i mutma’inna is at peace with nature, history and humanity. Let us look at what Elmalılı Muhammaed Hamdi Yazır has to say on the matter: “the connection of the nafs only to the approval of Allah as one goes from the tabiat-i hayvaniya to the rebuke of the nafs-i ammara, to the reproach of the nafs-i lawwama, becoming freed from the mysterious concerns of the world and endowed with good morals is the resolution to gain true freedom by performing good deeds with its property and soul” (Hak Dini Kur’an Dili VIII, VIII/5816 Istanbul,1938)