Drawing up our life balance sheet through self-criticism

It is necessary for an individual to pause at the end of each day that has passed, in order to check himself and run through his achievements: What has he done in the course of the day? Why has he done it? What has he omitted? Why has he omitted it?

How excellent it would be if this self-criticism were to take place before one retired to bed.

This period of self-criticism and appraisal should certainly be counted among man’s moments of progress; it is a moment when man impartially sits as a judge over himself and reviews his yearnings and inclinations, his instincts and motivations. It is a moment when the believer appoints, out of his conviction, a policeman to watch over himself, an investigator to probe him, and a judge to condemn or acquit him. In this way he progresses from the state of “the soul that incites to evil” to the state of “the self-reproaching soul” which reproaches its owner whenever he plunges into sin, or falls short of expectation. On this point, one may reflect upon Sayidina Umar’s (r.a) wisdom, when he said “Bring yourself to account before you are brought to account. And weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed.”

If a believer fails to observe this brief period of soul-searching daily, then he should at least try to do so once every few days, or once a week. In this way, he draws up his life balance sheet, depicting to him his (spiritual) assets and liabilities.

A believer should also have a longer period of this practice at the end of each month, and an even longer period at the end of the year, when he bids farewell to one year and prepares for and welcomes another. This is the time to critically review the past and plan for the future. This is the (spiritual) equivalent of his final accounts for the year.

Compiled From:
“Time in the Life of a Muslim” – Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp. 71-73

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