By getting involved in these practices, a disciple gradually passes through a process of the purification of the soul that consists of three stages.
a) The Carnal soul or Nafs Al Ammara:
Nafs al-ammara is the tendency in man to disobey GOD, and to take pleasure in evil deed and thought. A disciple gradually develops an attitude of indifference towards such temptations and purification of the body, tongue, mind and the heart takes place.
b) The reproaching soul or Nafs Al Lawwama:
Once a disciple subjugates the carnal soul or Nafs al-ammara, he enters into the second stage of purification in which his ‘conscience’ takes charge of his decision making process. As a result, he starts developing qualities reflecting the compassionate nature of GOD.
c) The contented soul or Nafs Al Mutma’inna
Once the second stage has become firmly established in him, he enters the third stage of the contented soul or Nafs al-mutma’inna. In this stage, the Sufi lives in harmony with his divinity and his soul finds perfect satisfaction and contentment within and without. Here the Sufi becomes truly free from fear and grief. As it has been said in the Quran,
” Lo, indeed, the friends of GOD have no fear, nor are they grieved.”