Following the Salaf in Taking Ourselves to Account

Following the Salaf in Taking Ourselves to Account
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Our Salaf (righteous predecessors)  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them would admonish themselves and hold themselves to account, while we on the other hand, who are far worthier of such reproach, are utterly heedless of this, despite committing actions that are destructive and despite being afflicted with diseases of the heart and soul that require major reformation.

We must ask ourselves the following questions:

- Do we fear Allah as He should be feared?

- Do we cry out of fear of Him as our Salaf  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them would do?

- Are we moved when we hear verses of the Qur’aan being recited?

- Do our hearts shiver and tremble from fear when Allah is mentioned and therefore rush to obey and please Him?

Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“Allah has sent down the best statement: a consistent book wherein is reiteration. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance [i.e., mention] of Allah…”} [Quran, 39: 23]

Calling ourselves to account frees the soul from being captive to its desires and lusts; it frees it from the darkness of misguidance and maintains it upon the Straight Path. Allah The Almighty encourages Muslims to do this by saying (what means): {“O you who have believed! Fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow…”} [Quran, 59: 18]

Examples of the Salaf in calling themselves to account

‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Call yourself to account when you are in bliss before the reckoning of that severe Day, for whoever calls himself to account when he is in bliss will win the pleasure of Allah and achieve happiness, and whoever allows his life and desires to occupy all his attention and cause him to be negligent will be a regretful loser.”

While he was the caliph, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would call himself to account. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated, “One day I was walking in the company of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, then he entered a garden by himself; I overheard him from behind a fence of the garden saying to himself: `O son of Al-Khattaab! I swear by Allah that either you maintain yourself upon piety, or Allah will punish you.'”

Maalik bin Deenaar  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Allah will be merciful with the slave who asks himself: `Didn’t you do such and such?` and reproaches himself for doing so, then forces himself to adhere to the commandments of Allah and leads himself to righteousness.”

Maymoon bin Mahraan  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “A pious believer holds himself to account more severely than a stingy man does with his business partner."

Once Imaam Al-Maroozi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said to Imaam Ahmad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him “How is your morning?” He  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him replied, “My morning is that of one whose Lord is commanding him to fulfil his obligations, whose Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is demanding him to apply his Sunnah (tradition), who has two angels requesting him to reform his actions, whose lower self is leading him to give in to his desires, who has Satan beautifying sin and immorality for him, who has the angel of death awaiting the command to take his soul, and whose family is asking for provision.”

How many times do we hear the mention of Hellfire without being moved? Does it not contain all forms of punishments or terror, the mention of which would rent asunder a mountain, if it were to hear it, out of fear of Allah The Almighty?

A Muslim should rebuke himself for not being moved or affected when hearing verses that address the Hereafter, punishment in Hellfire, and the general mention of Allah The Almighty and His might. Undoubtedly, we are busy with our worldly concerns and our sins are too many, and therefore we must exert far greater effort in holding ourselves to account.

Our Salaf  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them would prefer hiding their good deeds from others, as this helps a person maintain his sincerity of intention. Conversely, people nowadays like to show off and love others praising them for the good deeds that they witness them performing; this is certainly something that requires self-rebuke in order to straighten our hearts and souls.

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