Humans can deliver themself from all levels of deficiency, Imam Khomeini explained

Humans can deliver themself from all levels of deficiency, Imam Khomeini explained

Imam Khomeini through his theological works and historic speeches has time and again emphasized on this fact, and asserts that one can always speak of nurture and reform.

Therefore,   as long as man remains in this world, which is the source of the tree of primal matter with its substantial, formal, and accidental changes and transformations, he can deliver himself from all levels of deficiency, wretchedness, polytheism [shirk],and hypocrisy and attain the higher levels of perfection and spiritual felicity.

This teaching is anchored on the same definite philosophical principle of man’s changeability. More importantly, if we doubt this principle, it follows that all the missions of the prophets (peace be upon them) and the revelation of all heavenly books would be fruitless since they only make sense if we accept the fact that man is transformable. Taking this reality into account, the Imām states:

All habits [malikāt] and psychic dispositions are capable of change. As long as the soul remains in this world of change and transition, it is subject to time and renewal; and as long as it is associated with matter [hayūlā] and potentiality [quwwah], the human being can change all his dispositions and transform them into their opposites.

This claim is affirmed, besides metaphysical proof [burhān], by experience, as well as by the summons of the prophets (peace be upon them) and the true religions to noble dispositions and their restraining people from the opposite qualities.

From the Imām’s vantage point, doubt on the possibility of nurture springs from the satanic insinuations [wasāwis; sing. waswasah] and guiles of the carnal self [an-nafs al-ammārah]. These two are the brigands along the path of human perfection who, by bringing excuses such as, “Our time has already passed,” deter man from reforming the self:

Do not think that psychic, moral, and spiritual vices are not curable; this is an erroneous notion that has been inspired in you by Satan and your carnal self that want to keep you from treading the path of the Hereafter and to frustrate your efforts at rectifying your self.

Acccording to Imam Khomeini, As long as man exists in this realm of transition and change, it is possible for him to transform all his attributes and moral characteristics.
Of course, this is not to say that reforming the self and cultivating psychic perfections are always easy. We cannot deny the fact that the degrees of educability in various ages are different, and that the human being, in the initial stage of his life, is more educable and shows more flexibility.

The Commander of the Faithful [amīr al-mu’minīn] ‘Alī (‘a) points out this reality, thus: “The young heart is like an unsown land which accepts whatever you plant in it.”

The more a person advances in age, the less is he able to control his annoying habits and increasingly becomes a prisoner of his own unbecoming behavior because with every day that passes, his disagreeable attributes become more deeply rooted while his power diminishes.

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