Take account of yourself – audit time! Part 2

Umar(RA) would say: ‘Take account of yourselves before you are audited (by someone else). Weigh your deeds before they are weighed (by someone else).’
Maimoon bin Mahran (rh) said: ‘No one can be among the muttaqoon until he checks himself more than he checks his (business) partner.’
Imam Ahmed (rh) narrates from Wahab ibn Munabbah (rh): ‘It is written in the wise sayings of the family of Dawood – peace be upon them : ‘An intelligent person should not be distracted on four occasions: when he is supplicating his Lord; when he is auditing himself; when he is being informed by his friends about his shortcomings and when he is alone with himself.’
Abu Darda says: ‘No one can achieve complete understanding of Islam until he condemns people for the sake of Allah and then returns home and condemns himself even more.
Yunus ibn Obaid (rh) says: ‘I found that there are a hundred qualities of goodness. I did not find a single one of those qualities in myself.’
Yahya ibn Mu’adh (rh) says: ‘Congratulations to those who leave the world before it deserts them ; to those who build their graves before they enter them and to those who please their Lord before they meet Him.’
Shaqeeq Balkhi (rh) says: ‘Hold firm to five issues: worship Allah as much as you need to worship Him; take from the world according to your stay in it; sin according to your stamina to absorb its punishment; take provisions from the world according to your stay in the grave and work for Paradise as much as your desire to stay there.’
Look at the example of the Prophet(SAW) in his humility and self-accounting. Prior to the battle of Badr, he (SAW) was examining the rows of the soldiers and he had a stick to straighten them. And there was one sahabi, Suath, who was out of line so the prophet PBUH poked him to get in line “Straighten up oh Suath”. Suath said “Ya rasulAllah you have poked me and caused pain without any cause. And Allah sent you with truth and justice, so I demand justice”. Can you imagine – they are about to have a battle! The prophet PBUH is just poking but Suath says “I demand justice”. Immediately drops the stick, raises his shirt and says “here is qisaas (retribution)”. SubhanAllah. The prophet PBUH said “you have a point”. And Suath immediately bowed down and hugged and kissed the skin of the prophet PBUH that was exposed and the prophet PBUH said “What is this?” Suath said “Ya rasulAllah you see the situation was in, so if I die I wish my last breath/time be that my skin touch your skin before my death”. So the prophet PBUH made dua for him and asked Allah to bless him.
Even the khalifah when he went to the court he was judged to being wrong. The famous story of the jew and Ali (RA), when the courts judged against Ali, the jew immediately became Muslim because he said “this must be the true religion” based on the honesty, fairness and humility of the early Muslims.

What’s an audit?

The Battle of Uhud was one of the most testing times for the Muslims of the time. The Prophet(SAW) was badly injured. Nearly 70 prominent early Muslims were killed in the Battle of Uhud, including Hamza (RA) – the uncle of the Prophet(SAW) and Mus’ab ibn Umayr (RA). Abdur-Rahman bin Awf received more than 20 wounds including damage to his leg causing a limp for the rest of his life.

Some years later, when Islam had flourished and the situation was far improved for the Muslim community, Abdur-Rahman bin Awf (RA) was about to break a fast. He was one of the most wealthy of the companions – the self-made millionaire who left Makkah with nothing. His servant brought him a good meal to break his fast but he (RA) held back, saying the following words:

Hamza was better than me and he became shaheed in Uhud.

Mus’ab b Umayr was with me in Uhud and he was shaheed and he was better than me.

But this world has opened its treasures to us – maybe this is our only reward.

On this, he began to weep worrying about whether he was going to be deserving of any reward from Allah(SWT), despite his many sacrifices.

Every one of us should look within and ask ourself – how have I used these blessings which I enjoy every day? Where do I stand with Allah(SWT)? How is my relationship with Allah(SWT) – is it secure? Can I rely on it when everything falls apart?

Look, think, ponder.

Will this moment be pleasing to Allah(SWT)? Reflect. Sit after salaah and ask yourself – will this be accepted?

O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and have taqwa (fear, mindfulness) of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
– Surah Al Hashr 59:18

Allah(SWT) begins the Qur’an telling us this is a guide for the muttaqeen – those who have taqwa. So we should all seek TAQWA – but what exactly is it?

The balance sheet of life

Many of us are familiar with financial audits and our own self-reflection isn’t too different, as:

  • Birth is your Opening Stock.
  • What comes to you is Credit.
  • What goes from you is Debit.
  • Your ideas are your Assets.
  • Your bad habits are your Liabilities.
  • Your character is your Capital.
  • Your happiness is your Profit.
  • Your sorrow is your Loss.
  • Your knowledge is your Investment

Even if we’re not financially minded, we all ask ourselves basic questions – do I have enough money for a Panini? Can I get those FIFA points? Can I make it home when the petrol light has come on?

Even a child can do it

A little boy went into a drug store, reached for a soda carton and pulled it over to the telephone. He climbed onto the carton so that he could reach the buttons on the phone and proceeded to punch in seven digits (phone numbers). The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation.

Boy: ‘Lady, Can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?

Woman: (at the other end of the phone line): ‘I already have someone to cut my lawn.’

Boy: ‘Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price of the person who cuts your lawn now.’

Woman: I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.

Boy: (with more perseverance): ‘Lady, I’ll even sweep your curb and your sidewalk, so on Sunday you will have the prettiest lawn in all of Palm beach, Florida.’

Woman: No, thank you.

With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced the receiver. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.

Store Owner: ‘Son… I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.’

Boy: ‘No thanks.’

Store Owner: But you were really pleading for one.

Boy: No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the Job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!’

Be true to yourself

When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see a person of Jannah or a person who’s making their way slowly to Jahannum?

And be not like those who forgot Allah , so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
– Surah Al Hashr 59:19

One day the son of the wazir (Khalifahs advisor) Muhallib, passed by Maalik b. Dinaar (rh) walking haughtily with a proud, affected gait. So Maalik b. Dinar advised: “Oh son! How good it would be if you gave up arrogance.” The man retorted “Dont you recognise me?” Maalik responded: “Why not! I know you very well. Your beginning was an impure drop and your end is a stinking corpse and your intermediate condition is that you walk around with filth inside you. On hearing this, Muhallib lowered his head and repented [Al-Mustaraf]

Sometimes the hardest person for us is to correct is ourselves. There is no shame in being wrong, the shame is in choosing to stay wrong.

A mistake that makes you humble is much better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.

Fix things between you and Allah(SWT). The time is now.

Look to your day ahead

It is reported that the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, said prior to passing away from cancer “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something…almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
 If we struggle to evaluate our day like Abu Bakr(RA) at the end of every day, then perhaps we too can review the day ahead. Right now, think about your plans for the day and ask yourself “If I am to meet my Creator this night, would I be pleased with what I have earned this day?”
59:18
“O you who have believed, 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.” [Surah Hashr: 18]
Abu Bakr (RA) would say: ‘Whoever enters his grave without any provisions is like the one who mounts the sea without a ship.’

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