Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

‘IFFAH –  عفة  


Literally: Keeping one's self clear of sin. Innocence; especially chastity.

As an Islamic term: Using al-quwwa ash-shahawiyyah (the power of animal appetites) within the bounds of wasat, in as-sirât al-mustaqîm. Desiring what is halal and shunning away what is haram. It is as follows:


الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ : Know that as-sirât al-mustaqîm is justice (‘adl) and the summary of hikmah, ‘iffah and shajâ'ah which are the wasat in the three degrees of man's three powers (quwwa).

To explain: Allah (‘Azza wa jalla) housed the rûh in man's changing and needy body exposed to dangers. He entrusted three powers (quwwa) to it in order to preserve the rûh.

The First: al-quwwa ash-shahawiyyah al-bahîmiyyah, the power of animal appetites to attract benefits.

The Second: al-quwwa al-ghadhabiyyah as-sabui’yyah, the predacious power of anger to repulse harmful and destructive things.

The Third: al-quwwa al-aqliyyah al-malakiyyah, the power of mind pertaining to the malâikah to distinguish between benefit and harm.

However, in accordance with His hikmah that necessitates mankind achieving perfection through the mystery of competition, Allah did not determine limits on these powers in man’s fitrah, although He did on the powers of animals. Through the Sharî’ah, He determined limits on them and prohibited ifrât and tafrît and ordered the wasat. This is what is clearly ordered by the âyahفَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَٓا اُمِرْتَ 1 . Since there is no fıtrî limitation in these three powers, three degrees occur in each: the degree of tafrît, which is deficiency, the degree of ifrât, which is excess and the degree of wasat, which is justice (‘adl).

Here, the degrees of al-quwwa al-aqliyyah:

1. Tafrît in al-quwwa al-aqliyyah is gabâwah and foolishness.

2. Its ifrât is deceptive jarbaza and over-meticulousness in trivial matters.

3. Its wasat is hikmah.2 وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ اُو۫تِىَ خَيْرًا كَث۪يرًۜا 3

Know that just as these powers vary in these three degrees, so does each of their branches. For example, in the matter of the creation of actions4 , the wasat is the madhab of ahl al-Sunnah5 between the Jabriyya6 and the Mu'tazila7 . And, in the matter of belief, the madhab of tawhîd is the wasat between the denial of the attributes or existence of Allah (ta'til) and anthropomorphism (tashbîh). The examples can be made further on this analogy.

The degrees of al-quwwa ash-shahawiyyah:

1. Tafrît in al-quwwa ash-shahawiyyah is khumud which is having no longing for anything.

2. Its ifrât is fujûr, which is to desire whatever is encountered, whether halal or haram.

3. Its wasat is ‘iffah, which is desiring what is halal and shunning away what is haram.

Compare the branches of this quwwa, such as eating, drinking, dressing, and so on, with the root of this principle.

The degrees of al-quwwa al-ghadhabiyyah:

1. Tafrît in al-quwwa al-ghadhabiyyah is jabânah, which is fear of what is not to be feared and having wahm.

2. Its ifrât is tahawwur8 , which is the source and father of despotism, domination and dhulm.

3. Its wasat is shajâ'ah, which is giving freely of one’s rûh with love and eagerness for the defence of the laws of Islam and the upholding of the Word of Tawhîd.

Compare its branches with it.

The six extremes are thus dhulm and the three wasat are justice (‘adl) which is as-sirât al-mustaqîm and is to act in accordance withفَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَٓا اُمِرْتَ 9 . Whoever passes along this bridge of as-sirât al-mustaqîm will cross the bridge of sirât suspended over the Fire.

  The Sign of Miraculousness-53



1 (Stand firm in istiqâmah as you are commanded!)

2 (The explanation of these three degrees in the translation of Abdulmajid Nursi:

Gabâwah is not knowing anything. Jarbaza is to have a deceptive mind to the degree that can show bâtil as haqq and haqq as bâtil. Hikmah is the degree of the power of mind that knows haqq as haqq and conforms to it, the bâtil as bâtil and abstains from it.) (Tr.)

3 (He, who has been given hikmah, has been given great khayr.)

4 (The matter of qadar and juz al-ikhtiyarî, which is about who is the creator of the actions of man and animals.) (Tr.)

5 (The wasat explanation of ahl al-Sunnah on the matter of qadar and juz al-ikhtiyarî has been explained perfectly in the Twenty-Sixth Word, The Risale on Qadar.) (Tr.)

6 (Jabriyya: A bâtil madhab fell into dhalâlah by denying juz al-ikhtiyarî of man and claiming that qadar controls man outside his free will and choice.) (Tr.)

7 (Mu’tazila: A bâtil madhab fell into dhalâlah by claiming that man is the owner and the creator of his actions without the interference of the qadar and the creation of Allah.) (Tr.)

8 (The explanation of tahawwur in the translation of Abdulmajid Nursi: not having the fear of any ma’nawî or material thing.) (Tr.)

9 (Stand firm in istiqâmah as you are commanded!)

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