Dr Aisha Utz in her book, Psychology from the Islamic perspective explains that “the soul spreads throughout the physical limbs and to every part of the body”. She further elaborates that the soul “drives the physical body’s feelings, movements and volition. When the soul is removed, life ends for the human.”1

Reminders about the soul are therefore very important for every Muslim.

In fact, success for the believer is linked to having a pure soul. Prophet Muhammad saw who is the best example for mankind, had as an important part of his mission – the purification of the soul. 2

You need to care for your soul in much the same way you care for your physical self.

When you are able to purify your soul, it leads to actions which are virtuous and beneficial.  You will also be easily inclined towards tawheed, which is the pure natural fitrah; and become more mindful of your daily actions.

Ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah describes the body as a vehicle for the soul.

When the soul is contaminated, the foundation of your faith becomes weak. And this will eventually affect the heart and ultimately the physical limbs. It is therefore important to take heed, when you notice signs of your soul in an impure condition and take appropriate action to find the right remedy it needs for growth and development.

“And [by] the soul, and He who proportioned it and inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness…” (Ash-Shams, 91:7-10)

Here are 11 warning signs to watch our for, so you can begin taking the right action towards purification of your soul.

Inward Signs
1. Having wrong intentions, all for worldly reasons not for Allah’s sole Pleasure.
2. Belittling the importance of seeking knowledge and transmitting it.
3. Feeling distant or disconnected from Allah swt (1) and His book.
4. Feeling above the need to seek forgiveness from Allah swt (1).
5. Deep love and attachment to temporal pleasures of this dunya; while neglecting preparation for death and events of the next world.

Outward Signs
1. Arrogance in behavior and speech.
2. Enjoying company of those who are far from Allah swt (1).
3. Carrying out actions to get the admiration and praise of others.
4. Having a hard heart with actions constantly evil, deceitful and corrupt.
5. Spiritual demotivation [Your acts of worship become a burden and do not go beyond physical motions].
6. Turning away from what is beneficial and healing to the soul (e.g Quran and tawheed) and instead embracing what is harmful and destructive (e.g shirk and innovation).

If you are experiencing any of the above signs, it’s time to purify your soulTake responsibility and strive for success in both worlds, starting todayHere’s a checklist to guide and help you take yourself into proper account.

Purification of the soul checklist

> Correct your intention for carrying out all permissible acts.
> Seek beneficial knowledge and remain constant on that path.
> Recite and reflect on the Quran daily.
> Remember death often and prepare yourself for the akhirah.
> Seek Allah’s swt (1) forgiveness through the day and repent for wrong actions with your heart and tongue.
> Take yourself into account for your thoughts, speech and deeds.
> Keep regular company of the righteous and pious.
> Have a deep longing to serve Allah swt (1) and please Him in all matters.
> Do good, kind and compassionate deeds and shun all evil and corrupt deeds.
> Remember Allah swt (1) through dhikr, reciting the Quran, praising Him, thanking Him, remembering His names and attributes.
> Incline yourself towards all that is beneficial and healing by reading the Quran often.

Make your choice

Allah swt (1) in His infinite wisdom created you with the potential for good and bad. He also gave you free will, intellect and reasoning to make choices regarding your beliefs and actions – those you can develop or build upon and those you must suppress or wipe out completely.

“Whoever does righteousness – it is for his [own] soul…” (Fussilat, 41:46)

Truly living Islam entails regular purification of your mind, body and soul.

If you desire success in both worlds, you need to start by purifying your soul. You can achieve this by:

Maximising what is best within the soul e.g., submitting to Allah swt (1) inwardly;
Minimising what is bad within the soul e.g., associating partners with Allah swt (1).

Ultimately, you must invest in the purification of your own soul if your goal is meeting with Allah swt (1) and earning His pleasure. Make sure you have your purification-of-the-soul checklist with you all the time.

Over to youHow will you go about your purification of the soul from today?


Ahmad Farid (1996). The Purification of the Soul according to the earliest sources. Compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. Al-Firdous Ltd, London.


  1.  Utz, A (2011). Psychology from the Islamic Perspective. International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  2.  Al-Jumu’ah, 62:2



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