By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh)
Whilst taking a walk through a park one morning, accompanied by some friends, we passed by a sign which is generally found in many parks. It read :
ALL DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH
Considering a deeper meaning to the sign, I mentioned to my companions: Our nafs (ego) is akin to a dog. The nature of an undisciplined, unleashed dog is that it barks, relieves itself anywhere, devastates and lays waste the delicate flower beds as it tramples them, attacks or spoils people’s picnics, and runs behind people, frightening them. Without its leash and without training, it can scare, harm and bite others, as well as cause damage. Therefore the Parks Board insists that dogs be on leash.
A dog, well trained, will obediently remain on leash, under the control of its master and will not cause inconvenience or damage. It will walk along its master and do as he commands.
The temperament of the nafs (carnal self/ego) is like that of the dog. It also needs to be disciplined and trained, and it also requires a leash. This leash is the leash of Shari'ah, the love and fear of Allah Ta’ala, and fear of accountability on the Day of Judgment, tied tightly and securely around its neck.
Without this leash, the person will break the commands of Allah Ta’ala and violate the rights of creation. The person will steal, gamble, fornicate, suppress, oppress, abuse his wife, children or parents, and perpetrate various other crimes. Malice, greed, jealousy, pride and other filthy, vile qualities will also be found in the person’s heart. People will distance themselves from such a person for fear of being harmed or troubled.
The person who has disciplined his nafs and controls it with the leash of Shari'ah, will find that it becomes submissive and compliant to the instructions of its Master. The person then finds it easy to fulfill the rights of Allah Ta’ala as well as creation, since the nafs is compliant to its Master’s commands. The person will want to do good deeds, assist people, invite others to Deen. …He will not cause harm to people; rather he will benefit them. People will then love such a person.
When there is a need to go to the shops, factories, airports, hospitals, etc., the person will first leash the nafs with the Khauf (fear) and love of Allah Ta’ala and then go about the fulfillment of duties.
Nabi (Sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said: “The intelligent one is he who suppresses his desires and practises for what is after death, and the foolish one is he who makes his nafs follow its desires and (he) places (baseless) hope on Allah.”