|Imam Zijad’s Corner: AL MUHASABAH: SELF-INVENTORY OR SELF-ASSESSMENT
We all have (or should have) our short, middle and long-term – daily, monthly and yearly or 5 to 10 years goals. For one who is serious about his or her plan(s), what is needed is regular calls for self-accountability, self-inventory and self-assessment.
It is necessary for an individual to pause at the end of each day that has passed, in order to check himself/herself and run through his or her achievements: What has been done in the course of the day? Why has he/she done it? What has he/she omitted? Why has he/she omitted it? What could be learned? How excellent it would be if this self-criticism or self-inventory or assessment were to take place before one retired to bed. How excellent it would be if we applied this model of assessment every day, every week, every month or a year.
This period of self-criticism, self-inventory, assessment and appraisal should certainly be counted among our moments of progress! Indeed, if we do so, it is a moment when we impartially sit as a judge over ourselves and review our own yearnings and inclinations, instincts and motivations.
It is a moment when believers appoint, out of the conviction, a policeman to watch over themselves, an investigator to probe themselves, and a judge to condemn or acquit themselves. In this way we progress from the state of “the soul that incites to evil” to the state of “the self- reproaching soul” which reproaches its owner whenever he or she plunges into sin, or falls short of expectation. And this is all for the sake of us attaining the state of “the soul at peace.”
‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab said, “Call yourselves to account before you yourself are called to it and weigh your deeds before the day when they shall be weighed for you.”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “The true believer is a guardian of his own self and continuously calls his soul to account for the sake of Allah. The reckoning of the Day of Resurrection will only be difficult for those who live the life of this world without ever examining their conscience and calling themselves to account.” He then explained that the essence of self-examination is when a believer pauses after having performed a deed and notices that he is negligent in a matter and then addresses himself saying, “What did I intend with this deed? I swear by Allah that I will not be excused for it. I swear by Allah that I will never do it again, Insha Allah!”
Among the issues that desperately need self-examination in the view of intelligent people nowadays is the examination of one’s deeds at the end of the done task or a completion of a day, a month or a year. These are the times when a wise person will ask themselves difficult questions that need honest and sincere answers.
Self-examination after each act and every stage in our lives is vital if we want our affairs to be upright and proper and we wish to have a good ending. If we all did this then we would all have a great victory in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah says that which translates to, “O you who believe! Be mindful of Allah. And let every soul (person) look to what he/she has put forth for tomorrow, and be mindful of Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Al Hashr 59:18).
Examining oneself and calling oneself to account is evidence of one’s intelligence, seriousness and aspiration for things that may lead one to happiness, success and lasting peace.
Be mindful of Allah and comprehensively and sincerely continue to examine yourselves. Especially during these days when you are bidding farewell to your last year, resuming your duties and opening a new chapter in your lives at the beginning of 2018 in a few days.
This is yet another opportunity given to us to inevitably reflect on what has passed, determine to rectify it and have a constructive plan for the remaining days of 2017 and the coming years of your lives, Insha Allah.
May this coming 2018 year be happy, successful and blissful for you, your family, Canadian Muslim community, our Canadian society and the world!