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Self Examination

Sep 18, 2007

Self Examination
By Sh Usaamah Al-Khayyaat (Imam of Haram)

Have you observed how a skilful and resourceful merchant constantly reflects on how his business fluctuates; about his gains and losses and the causes for both? Have you seen how he looks for how to improve his business and how to prevent its decline and downfall? This is exactly how the vigilant Muslim should be during the course of his whole life; with the passing of each of its stages. They should pause at the end of every stage in their life and cast a critical look back at whatever they have said and done. They should call themselves to an accurate account and rectify themselves as necessary.

The examination of one’s conscience and calling oneself to account with intelligence has immense benefits. Among these benefits are that a person who does this will discover their weaknesses and defects as well as their strengths, good deeds and points of excellence. This will enable them the opportunity of working towards a constructive plan which will lead to a better pattern of conduct in the future.

Is it any wonder then, that the policy of examination of one’s conscience occupied such a prominent role in the life of our pious predecessors? This policy manifested itself in their practicing it and encouraging others to do likewise.

‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab 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-Basree 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 during vacations. This is a time when a wise person will ask themselves difficult questions that need sincere answers.

What did everyone do for themselves in these days of vacation? Was this vacation a track for racing towards good and righteous deeds that are everlasting, or just another avenue to increase one’s store of evil deeds with wrongdoing? Was it an opportunity to gain additional knowledge and increase oneself in psychological, mental and physical maturity or just a period of time wasted in laziness? Were the journeys of those who travelled to various countries for the purpose of education or was it just another race towards the forbidden and harmful matters?

Was the vacationing person – during their vacation – carrying out their commitments toward their family and kith and kin, being kind to those who are unkind to them, making peace where there was discord and assisting the weak or did they just increase in negligence, rudeness and estrangement?

Dear brothers! 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 on the Day of Judgment. Allah says that which translates to, “O you who believe! Fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed Allah is acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Hashr: 18).

Brothers in faith! Examining oneself and calling oneself to account is evidence of one’s intelligence and aspiration for things that may lead one to happiness and success. Fear Allah and covetously continue to examine yourselves sincerely. Especially during these days when you are bidding farewell to your vacation, resuming your duties and opening a new chapter in your lives. You must inevitably reflect on what has passed, determine to rectify it and have a constructive plan for the remaining days of your lives.





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