The Muslim Woman and her Ownself

3 - Her Soul

The Muslim woman does not neglect to polish her soul through worship, dhikr, and reading Qur'an; she never neglects to perform acts of worship at the appointed times. Just as she takes care of her body and mind, she also takes care of her soul, as she understands that the human being is composed of a body, a mind and a soul, and that all three deserve appropriate attention. A person may be distinguished by the balance he or she strikes between body, mind and soul, so that none is cared for at the expense of another. Striking this balance guarantees the development of a sound, mature and moderate character.
She performs acts of worship regularly and purifies her soul

The Muslim woman pays due attention to her soul and polishes it through worship, doing so with a pure and calm approach that will allow the spiritual meanings to penetrate deep into her being. She removes herself from the hustle and bustle of life and concentrates on her worship as much as she is able to. When she prays, she does so with calmness of heart and clearness of mind, so that her soul may be refreshed by the meaning of the words of Qur'an, dhikr and tasbih that she is mentioning. Then she sits alone for a little while, praising and glorifying Allah, and reciting some ayat from His Book, and meditating upon the beautiful meanings of the words she is reciting. She checks her attitude and behaviour every now and then, correcting herself if she has done anything wrong or fallen short in some way. Thus her worship will bring about the desired results of purity of soul, cleansing her of her sins, and freeing her from the bonds of Shaytan whose constant whispering may destroy a person. If she makes a mistake or stumbles from the Straight Path, the true Muslim woman soon puts it right, seeks forgiveness from Allah (SWT), renounces her sin or error, and repents sincerely. This is the attitude of righteous, Allah-fearing Muslim women:
( Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Shaytan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, when lo! They see aright.) (Qur'an 7:201)
Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) used to tell his Companions:

"Renew your faith." He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?" He said, "By frequently repeating la ilaha ill-Allah."[46]
The Muslim woman always seeks the help of Allah (SWT) in strengthening and purifying her soul by constantly worshipping and remembering Allah (SWT), checking herself, and keeping in mind at all times what will please Allah (SWT). So whatever pleases Him, she does, and what angers Him, she refrains from. Thus she will remain on the Straight Path, never deviating from it or doing wrong.

She keeps company with righteous people and joins religious gatherings

In order to attain this high status, the Muslim woman chooses righteous, Allah-fearing friends, who will be true friends and offer sincere advice, and will not betray her in word or deed. Good friends have a great influence in keeping a Muslim woman on the Straight Path, and helping her to develop good habits and refined characteristics. A good friend - in most cases - mirrors one's behaviour and attitudes:
"Do not ask about a man: ask about his friends, / for every friend follows his friends."[47]
Mixing with decent people is an indication of one's good lineage and noble aims in life:

"By mixing with noble people you become one of them,/ so you should never regard anyone else as a friend."[48]
So it is as essential to choose good friends as it is to avoid doing evil:

"If you mix with people, make friends with the best of them,/ do not make friends with the worst of them lest you become like them."[49]
The Muslim woman is keen to attend gatherings where there is discussion of Islam and the greatness of its teachings regarding the individual, family and society, and where those present think of the power of Almighty Allah (SWT) and His bountiful blessings to His creation, and encourage one another to obey His commandments, heed His prohibitions and seek refuge with Him. In such gatherings, hearts are softened, souls are purified, and a person's whole being is filled with the joy of faith.

So `Abdullah ibn Rawahah (RAA), whenever he met one of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), used to say, "Come, let us believe in our Lord for a while." When the Prophet (PBUH) heard about this, he said, "May Allah have mercy on Ibn Rawahah, for he loves the gatherings that the angels feel proud to attend."[50] The rightly-guided khalifah `Umar al-Faruq (RAA) used to make the effort to take a regular break from his many duties and the burden of his position as ruler. He would take the hand of one or two men and say, "Come on, let us go and increase our faith," then they would remember Allah (SWT).[51] Even `Umar (RAA), who was so righteous and performed so many acts of worship, felt the need to purify his soul from time to time. He would remove himself for a while from the cares and worries of life, to refresh his soul and cleanse his heart. Likewise, Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA) would often say to his companions, when they were walking, "Let us sit down and believe for a while." [52] The Muslim is responsible for strengthening his soul and purifying his heart. He must always push himself to attain a higher level, and guard against slipping down:

( By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and by its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right - truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!) (Qur'an 91:7-10)
So the Muslim woman is required to choose with care the best friends and attend the best gatherings, so that she will be in an environment which will increase her faith and taqwa:

( And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.) (Qur'an 18: 28)
She frequently repeats du`a's and supplications described in Hadith

Another way in which the Muslim woman may strengthen her soul and connect her heart to Allah (SWT) is by repeating the supplications which it is reported that the Prophet (PBUH) used to say on various occasions. So there is a du`a' for leaving the house, and others for entering the house, starting to eat, finishing a meal, wearing new clothes, lying down in bed, waking up from sleep, saying farewell to a traveller, welcoming a traveller back home, etc. There is hardly anything that the Prophet (PBUH) did that he did not have a du`a' for, through which he asked Allah (SWT) to bless him in his endeavour, protect him from error, guide him to the truth, decree good for him and safeguahim from evil, as is explained in the books of hadith narrated from the Prophet (PBUH).[53] He used to teach these du`a's and adhkar to his Companions, and encouraged them to repeat them at the appropriate times.
The true Muslim woman is keen to learn these du`a's and adhkar, following the example of the Prophet (PBUH) and his distinguished Companions, and she keeps repeating them at the appropriate times, as much as she is able. In this way, her heart will remain focused on Allah (SWT), her soul will be cleansed and purified, and her iman will increase.

The modern Muslim woman is in the utmost need of this spiritual nourishment, to polish her soul and keep her away from the temptations and unhealthy distractions of modern life, that could spell doom for women in societies which have deviated from the guidance of Allah (SWT) and sent groups of women to Hell, as the Prophet (PBUH) indicated: "I looked into Hell, and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women."54 The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion looks where she is going and strives to increase her good deeds, so that she may be saved from the terrifying trap into which the devils among mankind and jinn in all times and places try to make women fall.