Source: Forty Gems of Beauty
Narrated by Ḥaḍrat Wābiṣa bin Ma‘bad, Allāh be pleased with him: Said the Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him):
Seek the guidance of thy soul! Seek the guidance of thy soul! Seek the guidance of thy soul! The virtuous deed is one whereby thy soul feels restful and thy heart contented, and sinful act is one which rankles in thy soul and which contracts thy heart even though the other people endorse it as lawful. (Musnad Aḥmad)
This observation of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) is based on the eternal truth that God the Excellent, who is the Creator of nature, has endowed every man with a pure nature. It is the later developments that mislead it in the wrong direction and cover up this pure nature with impure superimpositions. Still the basic goodness of nature and the light of conscience do not die out totally and serve man throughout his life as a torch of guidance. Even when persons deeply involved in worldly filth reflect calmly, in moments of solitary retirement, on their own condition, their nature, tearing through the meshes of worldliness, starts reproaching them.
This blessed observation of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) is based on the foundational guidance of this natural light. He says that in general matters of principle a sensible man need consult no outside judge, for, his own heart is for him a jurist; he should consult his own heart in respect of evil and good and seek the light of his own conscience. For, virtue produces a feeling of expansiveness and restfulness and contentment in the heart, while vice contracts the bosom and weighs down on the soul. In such a predicament, it is useless to seek the false support of guidance from others; instead, one should listen to the voice of one’s conscience and, if in respect of a certain matter, the conscience hesitates and the heart feels contracted, then one should desist from it, notwithstanding the favorable views of doctors of law, and should accept the verdict of the light of conscience which is in fact, the guidance given by the Creator of nature Himself.
But, as in the words (consult thy mind), the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace of Allāh be on him) has hinted, it is necessary that, in order to consult the mind, one should reflect in retirement, away from others, and should consult it in a spirit of righteousness, as, otherwise, the opinions of others would overpower the conscience and shut out the light of nature. But if a person consults his mind, in retirement, free from all external influences, the natural light of his heart will serve him as the torch of guidance, which has been eternally gifted with the power to discriminate between virtue and vice. On reflection one would discover that this natural sense of discriminating between virtue and vice is a weighty argument in support of the existence of God. For, if there is no God (God forbid that we entertain such a view), then whence comes this innate sense of discrimination between virtue and vice, which resides in the depths of the souls and provides means of guidance to man? Reflect and ponder well!
Reference: Forty Gems of Beauty
— The Muslim Times (@The_MuslimTimes) November 6, 2014