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(Masnavi Book 1: 13) The Holy War against the Flesh

Commentary on (the Tradition) “We have returned from the lesser Jihád to the greater Jihád.”
O kings, we have slain the outward enemy, (but) there remains within (us) a worse enemy than he.
To slay this (enemy) is not the work of reason and intelligence: the inward lion is not subdued by the hare.

1375. This carnal self (nafs) is Hell, and Hell is a dragon (the fire of) which is not diminished by oceans (of water).
It would drink up the Seven Seas, and still the blazing of that consumer of all creatures would not become less.
Stones and stony-hearted infidels enter it, miserable and shamefaced,
(But) still it is not appeased by all this food, until there comes to it from God this call—
“Art thou filled, art thou filled?” It says, “Not yet; lo, here is the fire, here is the glow, here is the burning!”

1380. It made a mouthful of and swallowed a whole world, its belly crying aloud, “Is there any more?”
God, from (the realm) where place is not, sets His foot on it: then it subsides at (the command) Be, and it was.
Inasmuch as this self of ours is a part of Hell, and all parts have the nature of the whole,
To God (alone) belongs this foot (power) to kill it: who, indeed, but God should draw its bow (vanquish it)?
Only the straight arrow is put on the bow, (but) this bow (of the self) has (its) arrows bent back and crooked.

1385. Be straight, like an arrow, and escape from the bow, for without doubt every straight (arrow) will fly from the bow (to its mark).
When I turned back from the outer warfare, I set my face towards the inner warfare.
We have returned from the lesser Jihád, we are engaged along with the Prophet in the greater Jihád.
I pray God to grant me strength and aid and (the right of) boasting, that I may root up with a needle this mountain of Qáf.
Deem of small account the lion (champion) who breaks the ranks (of the enemy): the (true) lion is he that breaks (conquers) 6himself.

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