Hawā is the inclination of one’s nature to what suits it and that should not be criticized when what is sought after is lawful. However, it should be dispraised when one is excessive in following Hawā. That said, when Hawā is criticized in an absolute manner, it is because most of it is either impermissible, or because people usually interpret lawfulness, and hence indulge in it in excess.
Know that part of the inner self is intellectual, the virtue of which is wisdom, the vice of which is ignorance, part of it is elicited, the virtue of which is poignancy, the vice of which is cowardice, part of it is lustful, the virtue of which is chastity and the vice of which is unrestrained Hawā. Exhibiting patience in the face of vice is a merit of the inner self by which a person endures both goodness and evil. Therefore, whoever lacks patience and allows his Hawā to lead his mind has then made the follower be followed and the led a leader. That said, it is expected that everything he desires will return to him and that he will be harmed from where he expected to benefit; he will be saddened by that which he expected happiness to come from.
Indeed human beings are favored over beastly animals with the mind (intelligence) that is designated to restrain one from following Hawā, therefore when a person does not accept the judgement of his mind and abides by the judgement of his Hawā, the beastly animal becomes better than him. From the indicative signs through which the excellence of contradicting Hawā is proven is the honoring and the superiority of hunting dogs over other dogs, which is due to their ability to contradict their Hawā and to keep what they hunt for their master out of fear of punishment or as a show of appreciation.
Know that the example of Hawā is like rampant flowing water leading the ship of one’s nature. A person of sound mind should comprehend, enduring hardship when contradicting his Hawā is much easier than enduring what comes from following it; for the least to be expected when one follows his Hawā is being in a state in which one neither can enjoy it nor possess the ability to prevent oneself from following it, becoming accustomed to something allows it to become an addiction; such as those addicted to sexual intercourse or alcohol.
Contemplating these matters makes it easier for a person to reject his Hawā. From amongst what makes Hawā despicable to a person is the deep reflection of oneself, upon which one will deduce that he was not created to act in conformity with his Hawā.
- Transcribed from: Disciplining the Soul; Tibb al-Ruhāni | Ibn al-Jawzi