Mujaahadah Explained

Those who strive in Our Path, We will most assuredly guide them towards our Paths.

(29:69- Quraan)

“The Mujaahid is he who makes jihaad (strives) in the obedience of Allah”

(Narration of Baihaqi)

The Nature Of Mujaahadah

The reality in Mujaahadah consists of the habitual practice of opposing the nafs (mans lowly desire). In other words, to check and control the physical, monetary, egoistical and mundane desires, delights and preferences of the nafs in the pursuit of the Pleasure and Obedience of Allah Ta’laa.

Two types of benefits accrue to the nafs:

  1. Huqooq- Huqooq (rights or obligations) are such benefits necessary for the endurance and existence of the physical body and life.
  2. Huzoozm Huzooz (pleasures, delights, luxuries) are benefits in excess to the Huqooq.

Mujaahadah and riyaazat (abstinence-forms of austere exercises designed to establish the control of the mind over matter) are directed towards the huzooz. In mujahaadah, reduction or total abstention from the huzooz are advocated. (Pleasures here refer to lawful pleasure and not to such pleasures which are forbidden in the Shariat). In the employment of mujaahadah, the huqooq (rights and obligations) are not destroyed, for such destruction is contrary to the Sunnat. The Hadith Shareef states:

Verily, your nafs has a haqq (right) over you....”

Destruction of the Huqooq brings about physical weakness and the health deteriorates. When this happens, one finds it difficult to execute even the necessary duties and Ibaadat.

The Need For Mujaahadah

A’maal-e- Saalihah (righteous deeds) are always accompanied by labour, toil and difficulty because such a’maal (deeds) are in conflict with the desires of the nafs. There will always be some form of opposition sometimes great, sometimes slight by the nafs against a’maal. Striving against the nafs is therefore a life-long process.

Both the mubtadi and the muntahi are at times faced with lethargy because of conflict in the a’maal. (Mubtadi a beginner in the Path of Tasawwuf. A Muntahi is one who has attained his goal in Tasawwuf). Both are in need to ward off their lethargy by means of mujaahadah. However, the mubatdi stands in greater need of mujaahadah in the initial stages, he at times becomes over-confident. But, frequently natural traits and habits return and the consequence is an urge for sinning, The nafs of the muntahi therefore also becomes lethargic at times in obedience. He, therefore, stands in need of mujaahadah at such a time.

There is, however, a great difference between the mujaahadah of the mubtadi and the muntahi. The mubatdi is like one who is seated on the back if a horse just trained. The rider of the newly trained horse has to be much more alert and exercise greater control over the horse as such a horse tends to be more mischievous and is apt to go out of control. The muntahi is like a rider seated on the back of a well trained horse. He exercises no great endeavour to maintain the horse under control. Nevertheless, he too has to be alert because even a trained horse sometimes reverts to mishieviousness because of its natural animal traits. But, the slightest warning from the rider is sufficient to check the horse. If, however, the rider is totally negligent then even the trained horse will sometimes suddenly drop him from its back. Thus, mujaahadah for the control of the Nafs is necessary for the Muntahi also.

Moderation in Mujaahadah

The purpose of mujaahadah is not to depress and frustrate the nafs, but is to habituate the nafs to difficulty and to eliminate the habit of comfort and luxury. For this purpose that amount of mujaahadah is sufficient which brings some difficulty on the nafs. It is of no benefit to impose excessive strain on the nafs and frustrating it. Excessive strain will render the nafs useless. Understand this well. Effort and trial are not always and in all conditions meritorious, It is desirable if in moderation resulting in beneficial progress. Excess in mujaahadah is contemptible, hence observance of moderation is incumbent. Shaikh Sa’di (Rahmtullahi Alayh) echoes this in the couplet:

Eat not so much that it spills from the mouth

Eat not so less that the body is overcome with weakness

Allah Ta’laa says in the Qur’aan Shareef:

“(The servants of Allah are) those when they spend, do not waste nor are miserly. But, between thses extremes of waste and miserliness) they are moderate.”

Moderation has therefore to be observed in mujaahadah. But, this moderation should not be prescribed by one’s own opinion and desire. The degree of moderation and the method of mujaahadah should be acquired from a Muhaqqiq (a Shaikh qualified in Tasawwuf and who has been authorised by some spiritual master to spiritually train others).

The Types Of Mujaahadah

There are two types of mujaahadah:

  1. Physical Mujaahadah: This is the imposition of practices upon the nafs in order to accustom it to difficulties, e.g. accustoming the nafs to Salaat by imposing upon it Nafl Salaat in abundance; reducing the greed of the nafs by means of abundance of Nafl Fasting.
  2. Opposition: In this tyoe if mujaahadah the nafs is opposed in its desires. When the nafs urges to commit sin then opposition is offered. The main type of mujaahadah is this second kind. This second kind of mujaahadah is Waajib (compulsory). The first type of mujaahadah is employed in order to acquire the second kind. When the nafs becomes accustomed to difficulties then it will develop the habit of controlling its desires.

Those who possess the ability to control their desires without resorting to physical mujaahadah (the first kind) are not in need of this type of mujaahadah. However, because such people are extremely few, the Sufiyah have stringently adopted physical mujaahadah as well. According to the Sufiyah physical mujaahadah consists of four fundementals (arkaan) as follows:

  1. Qillat-e-Ta’aam : To eat less.
  2. Qillat-e- Kalaam: To speak less.
  3. Qillat-e-Manaan; To sleep less.
  4. Qillat-e-Ikhtilaat Ma’l Anaam: To associate less with people.

One who fully acquires these four qualities and becomes accustomed to observe them, will attain the ability to control his nafs. He will be in a strong position to check the evil desires of the nafs.

Mujaahadah against the nafs in its urges for sin is acquired when the nafs is opposed to a certain degree in even its lawful desires, e.g. refusal to fulfil immediately the desire of the nafs for some delicious food, its urge for such food being rebutted and only fulfilled after vehement desire so that the nafs is not frustrated. When one becomes accustomed to oppose the nafs in things lawful then it will become relatively simple to oppose the sinful urges of the nafs. A person who grants his nafs absolute freedom in the muhabaat (lawful things) at times will not be able to suppress the urge for sinning.


Riyaazat and Mujaahadah have two fundementals (rukn):

  1. Mujaahadah Jismaani or Mujaahadah Ijmaali (i.e. the physical mujaahadah explained earlier).
  2. Mujaahadah Tafseeli or Mujaahadah Nafsaani (I.e. the mujaahadah of opposition explained earlier).

Mujaahadah Ijmhaali has four fundementals as state above. In these acts (viz. reduction in food, speech, sleep and association) it is necessary to adopt moderation in accordance with the instruction of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil (a spiritual guide qualified in this field). Neither is there to be excessive indulgence, nor should there be excessive reduction, for the consequence will physical weakness.

The second rukn (viz. Mujaahadah Tafseeli, is divided into two classes:

  1. Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah: Beautiful and virtuos qualities.
  2. Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah: Evil qualities.

Source: ‘Shariat And Tasawwuf’- Maseehul Ummat- Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Maseehullah Khaan Saheb Rahmatullahi Alaihi

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