It was quoted that Allah Says: (Qur'an 79:40)
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
The last word (in blue) is: al-hawaa.
What are al-hawaa? This is from a root whose original meaning has to do with falling, and, as in English, extends to falling for... (smile) such as falling for someone or something. It therefore is not surprising that this root yields words with meanings of love, affection, desire, inclination, wish, liking, bent, craving and fancy.
According to the nice folks at http://corpus.quran.com , words from this root occur 38 times in the Qur'an, including 79:40.
There are many translations of this ayah. I personally feel that Muhammad Asad's comes the closest to capturing the intent of the Divine Text. If you read the context of this ayah, you may see what I mean. I have therefore posted translations of ayat 34-41. (smile) Of course, if you read the whole Qur'an, you'll get even more context, but for the purposes of this comment, I will restrict myself to these ayat.
And so, when the great, overwhelming event [of resurrection] comes to pass - 34
on that Day man will [clearly] remember all that he has ever wrought; 35
and the blazing fire [of hell] will be laid open before all who [are destined to] see it. 36
For, unto him who shall have transgressed the bounds of what is right, 37
and preferred the life of this world [to the good of his soul], 38
that blazing fire will truly be the goal! 39
But unto him who shall have stood in fear of his Sustainer's Presence, and held back his inner self from base desires, 40
paradise will truly be the goal! 41
From the context, then, as well as the indications from the root of the word, collapsing the meaning of al-hawaa into the more restricted sense of the English word “lusts” (as some people do) is obviously not optimal. Human beings, if they are to struggle to become truly Muslim (of those who surrender their will to God's), are supposed to be restraining themselves in much broader terms. We must try to restrain our greed, our envy, our laziness, our sexual desires, our arrogance... there are an awful lot of weaknesses that we need to restrain!
In this context, it seem to me, al-hawaa would be better understood as referring to all the whims and impulses that the human nafs is prone to.
There is also much said about ahadith such as the following:
Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ)said, "I am not leaving behind me a more harmful trial for men than women".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
وعنأسامة بن زيد رضي الله عنهما عن النبي صلىالله عليه وسلم قال:"ماتركت بعدي فتنة هي أضر على الرجال منالنساء"((متفقعليه)).
Arabic/English book reference
: Book 1, Hadith 288
So what is the meaning of the Arabic word fitnah (which I have highlighted in red)? A pondering of the entries in Lane's Lexicon (as well as a general “feel” from the Qur'an as a whole) leads me to surmise that the best understanding of this word resides in the following sentence: A difficult test whereby a person's true self can be distinguished, where the good and the bad are made clear.
(smile) And this is a summary! Basically, I believe that what this hadith is saying is that for men, the true test of their mettle is how they behave with women. (smile) Now some people try to collapse this as meaning in a purely sexual sense, but I think this is too limited. Because relations between men and women are about a lot more than just sex.
We women are less physically strong, in general. We are also more vulnerable, especially when we are pregnant or nursing. We have natures that are more geared to getting on with other people, to being nurturing, gentle. Men, by nature, are physically stronger and more geared towards hunting and fighting against predators.
Allah has Decreed that men should use their strength, predatory and combative abilities in the protection of women... but of course, there is always the temptation for men to use these abilities to use and harm women. How tempting it can be to bully someone weaker than oneself! How tempting to use tactics to prey on women for fleeting entertainment or for gain! How tempting to loose the winds of war and break all the social conventions that usually apply (and in which women and children are often the ones who will be harmed the most)!
Because women are more vulnerable (generally), it can seem so easy to use them for money, fame, pleasure, work (that is, to benefit from their hard work so that a man can be lazy), children...
Ardianto has stated that he was taught by his Islamic teachers that the key element to consider is that we ourselves need to work on restraining ourselves. However, (smile) there is a human tendency is to look to blame anyone and anything except ourselves for our wrongdoing. And so, is it surprising that many people like to interpret Revelation and Prophetic guidance in such a way that casts the responsibility for their wrongdoing on another, perhaps weaker, party?
Yes, I believe that women are the greatest source of testing for men. But mostly because we are the potential source of so many benefits, and because we are often more vulnerable than men.
O men! Just as you must be especially aware of the temptations of taking advantage of the poor, the weak, the orphans and the foreigners in your midst, so must you resist the temptation to take advantage of women.
Restrain yourselves. Prove yourselves of those that are real men who are good and just and pure. Protect yourselves from the harm that you inflict on your own selves through your weaknesses.
So that you may enter Paradise.
May Allah, the Bringer of Judgment, have Mercy on us all (men and women), and Help us to restrain ourselves and therefore be of those who may enter Paradise.