Bodily desires are generally expressed as ‘natural’ desires. Some even attribute these to the ‘soul’ (nafs) and claim such behavior pertains to the soul, whereas what we mean by the soul is simply the ego; the sense of ‘I’. When the soul is veiled from this reality, it falsely identifies itself with the physical body, hence attributing all bodily states, desires, etc. to itself.
To clarify the matter a little further, let’s temporarily use the word ‘consciousness’, in place of the word ‘soul’. When our consciousness is at this lower state of frequency, we become occupied primarily with the pursuit of bodily pleasures, thus preventing the soul from actualizing its reality.
Many people have faltered at this point and indeed have fallen into the pharaoh-like state of the ego, attributing divinity to themselves and succumbing to physical pleasures or addictions, eventually causing their own demise.
The first strike to the antichrist comes from the Mahdi.
Mahdi is the guide to the truth. That is to say, it is knowledgethat counteracts the antichrist. The knowledge of the truth stands up against the illusory self and says:
“Do not be confused by the belief you have derived from your illusion, that your soul is God with your physical body. Your consciousness is an abstract concept! Your body, on the other hand, is a physical being bound to the conditions of the physical dimension in which it resides. Abandon the false belief that you are your body and realize that you are far beyond the body; you are consciousness!”
This calling does not always eradicate the antichrist’s claim: “I am God; I’m free to live as I please”. Thus, it becomes necessary for Jesus to descend from the heavens, or in other words, to emerge from the implicit realm to the explicit realm, in order to kill the antichrist! Despite the fact that the Mahdi emerges with the Knowledge of Reality, it isn’t sufficient to exterminate the antichrist of the illusory-self, not until Jesus descends from the heavens and disposes with divine Power!
Jesus, descending from the heavens, is symbolic of divine power opposing the antichrist, i.e. the illusory-self, or, the fake identity. As Muhammad (saw) says:
“Upon encountering Jesus, the Antichrist will become extinguished immediately.”
That is to say, when divine power becomes disclosed, the act of ‘dying before death’ becomes manifest and the realization becomes ever clear, that we are only existent in terms of our consciousness. Thereafter, we become enabled to forego our attachment to our bodies, ascending our consciousness to the saintly state at the level of The Contented Self (Nafs-i Mutmainna).
This is the point when the illusory self no longer defines itself as a body, and what the Sufis refer to as ‘uniting with Allah’ occurs.