“Allah created ego [nefs] and asked him to come to His presence; but ego went back. When Allah asked him to go back, he came nearer. Whatever Allah ordered, ego did the opposite. Allah asked him, ‘Who am I and who are you?’, ordering him to declare that he is servant to Him. But ego said ‘I am myself, you are yourself!’ Allah ordered to put ego into the prison of Hell’s fires for 1000 years. After 1000 years, He called him back and asked the same question. Ego gave the same reply. Thereupon, Allah ordered to put ego into the prison [of cold hells] for 1000 years. After 1000 years, He called ego again and asked the same question; ego again gave the same reply; ‘I am myself, you are yourself’, and not said ‘I am your servant’. Then Allah sentenced ego to hunger for 1000 years. When it was complete, Allah called him again and asked ‘who am I and who are you?’ Trembling, ego said, ‘I am your big servant; you are my Lord’ [meaning, ‘though being a servant to You, I am at least still superior to all Your other servants’]”
~ Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani
(8 March 1992 — the Peckham Mosque).
Source: A Muslim Mystic Community in Britain (2012), Tayfun Atay, page 150.