As we’ve understood nafs in our tradition, nafs is your individual identity. The sense that you have that you exist as a discrete, separate being. But the root condition of our individual existence – for all human beings is exactly the same.
Deen isn’t culture. It’s a filter for culture, which means Deen is a codification of fitra. It gives you access to fitra. It gives you a way of understanding what your intuitive sense of right and wrong is and what is appropriate in the moment.
As human beings we inhabit structures. We inhabit walls. We put ourselves inside confinements and boxes. These confinements and boxes are in two senses. The walls inside ourselves are carried by our internal dialogue, the self-talk that goes on, on an ongoing basis that leeches attention out of the moment that confronts you. The external walls are those walls that are built to protect us from things as they are. The world as it is.
We have two basic modalities that we exist in as human beings. The one modality which is the predominant modality for most people is that they function under the assumption that they exist separately from and somehow contra-distinct to the world. The other modality is that you recognize that you are not separate from the world but that there’s a oneness which connects you with all things.
Given that man is the only physical creature, as far as we know, to be endowed with an intellect, and has been searching for so long, is it not amazing that he has still not made much headway as to finding the answers to those essential questions?