- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Conscience Serves as a Corrective to Ego
According to the Quran, all human beings, both men and women, are born with two opposite moral constituents. The first is mentioned in the chapter Yusuf (Joseph) as al-nafs alammara (12:53) and the second is mentioned in the chapter AlQiyamah (The Day of Resurrection) as al-nafs al-lawwama (75:2).
What are al-nafs al-ammara and al-nafs al-lawwama? In psychological terms, they are the ego and the conscience—with which everyone is born. Almost all human behavior is affected by these two features. Negative behavior is the result of al-nafs alammara and positive behavior is the result of al-nafs al-lawwama.
The ego, if left uncontrolled, becomes the source of all evil, for it is a highly inflammable part of man. In a normal situation, it remains in a dormant state, but when one’s ego is negatively touched, it becomes super ego and the result is breakdown. The best way to avoid an ego problem is not to provoke it. In the absence of provocation, the ego creates no problem. But provoke the ego and it is like setting a lighted match to a powder keg.
By contrast, the conscience is the source of all kinds of good. The conscience checks you from indulging in any evil practices, and if you do indulge in any kind of misdemeanor, the conscience becomes alive and compels you to repent and amend your behavior. The conscience in this way serves as a corrective to every human personality.
This means that whenever there is any controversy, the outcome is in your own hands. If you provoke the ego of the opposite party, you are bound to taste the bitter results of your action. Your negative action will be followed by a negative reaction, and you shall have to pay the price for your own uncalled for initiatives. The best way to confront controversial situations is to be cautious and to try to activate the conscience of the opposite party. This policy will definitely work. The verdict of your rival’s conscience will certainly go in your favor. This is a simple formula for a better life.
The conscience checks you from indulging in any evil practices, and if you do indulge in any kind of misdemeanor, the conscience becomes alive and compels you to repent and amend your behavior.
No one is a born enemy. Enmity is a relative phenomenon of a personality. It is your own negative action that turns a person into your enemy. If you avoid negative action, the apparent enmity will disappear. Enmity is the product of your own wrong behavior, and through good behavior you can make people your dear friends.
The ego and the conscience are both good and healthy parts of the human personality. The ego, in the positive sense, gives you determination; it helps you to build a strong personality and, being one of your greatest strengths, it gives you the courage to face challenges. Learn the art of ego management, and the ego will prove to be a blessing for you.
The conscience is also very important for the development of your personality. The conscience instills in you the spirit of mercy and enables you to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Above all, the conscience serves as the moral keeper of your personality
Source: Quranic Wisdom