Tazkiya-e-nafs, or purification of the soul, is a central theme of the Quran. A lot has been written on this topic, but I think that to date it remains a mysterious concept. This is because the Quran uses certain terms which were understandable in the seventh century. Now, that is, fourteen hundred years later, the vocabulary has changed. So, tazkiya-e-nafs will rightly be translated as personality building. Personality building means to convert negative thinking into positive thinking. This can be further clarified by realizing that the present world is meant for test. Therefore we will be faced with unpleasant situations from time to time. In this state of affairs, when a person develops negativity he will have to awaken his thinking to revive his positivity. Saving one’s mind from negative thinking is like preserving one’s divine personality. One should be able to explain events to oneself in such a way that one’s divine personality remains preserved. This can happen if we develop creative thinking in ourselves and awaken our thinking process.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan