قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا
He has succeeded who purifies it,
qadaflaha man zakaha
Qad – Already happened. Absolute certainty.
aflaha – he succeeded.
Similar word is najaha.
aflaha – iflaah – farmer who is about to reap harvest.
falaah – aflaha – attain success after long duration of labour/work.
So efforts have to be made. What efforts?
The one who has (sincerely) engaged in cleansing ones self has already attained success.
zakaha – tazkiyyah (taf’eel) – verb seems to be affecting oneself (intransitive), affecting others (transitive) – he purified it (the nafs) – almost as though the Nafs is outside of you.
When it comes to the corruption of the Nafs – you have to try to clean it and rectify it. As though you have to clean it as your job.
This purification consists of different things; preventing yourself from sins, shameless acts etc.
We need to try to purify ourselves – then Allah will purify us of our sins. This is important because we try our best to avoid sin, then we hope Allah will forgive us.
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰThose who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.
A Du’a [prayer/invocation] which Allah’s Messenger would pray;
وعن زيد بن أرقم رضي الله عنه قال: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: “اللهم إني أعوذ بك من العجز والكسل، والبخل والهرم، وعذاب القبر، اللهم آت نفسي تقواها، وزكها أنت خير من زكاها، أنت وليها ومولاها، اللهم إني أعوذ بك من علم لا ينفع ومن قلب لا يخشع، ومن نفس لا تشبع، ومن دعوة لا يستجاب لها”. ((رواه مسلم1479 ))
Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would supplicate: “Allahumma inni a`udhu bika minal-`ajzi wal-kasali, wal-bukhli wal-harami, wa `adhabil-qabri. Allahumma ati nafsi taqwaha, wa zakkiha Anta khairu man zakkaha, Anta waliyyuha wa maulaha. Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min `ilmin la yanfau`, wa min qalbin la yakhsha`u, wa min nafsin la tashba`u, wa min da`watin la yustajabu laha`
[O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the inability (to do good), indolence, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude and torment of the grave. O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied, and from prayer which is not answered].”
[Sahih Muslim and Riyad us-Saaliheen – Chapter on Prayers/Invocations].
Conclusion of the Similarities of the Sun and the Nafs
Allah in the earlier parts of the Surah described the Sun, and how its brightness and glory is covered by the night.
The Sun benefits the people through its light which provides guidance for mankind. The Nafs when it is purified benefits mankind through its good,however – in moments of conflict and weakness – it can be covered up in the darkness of sin and misguidance temporarily. However, Allah can allow the brightness of the sun to return again and overcome that darkness.
al-Bicaa’i; During the dark times of fitnah/trials and tribulations, the glow of purity can still be shone through the moon – providing guidance to others in the darkest of times.