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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"By the Criticizing Self"

Bismillah wa-salaatu wa-salaam 'ala Rasulullah

Among the qualities of the believer is a helpless compulsion to criticize themself. The sincerity in their efforts to gain closeness to their Lord through amilu salih (righteous deeds) has them to find little satisfaction in their performance. An unintended tactic to persistently pursue the path of improvement. A sort of consequent motivational drive to achieve and/or sustain the great level of ihsan (i.e. perfection and beauty in doing virtuous deeds).

In any form of ibadah (i.e. worship; actions beloved to Allah commited for His sake), be it prayer, supplicating Allah in the opening and completion of every occassion, benefiting our families, fasting, showing kindness, baring times of ease and trials with patience, etc... more often than not the believer convinces themself that they could have done it better in some regard. Not that they think the intention and effort missed the pleasure of Allah, rather they remind themselves the potential to have pleased Allah even greater. This is because the true believer refuses to be content with what they have in terms of knowledge and deeds; they strive always for more knowledge and in not only doing more deeds, but perfecting them with better manners. Not merely out of the obligation binding upon them as believers, but because of the geniune love they have for Allah tabarakata wa ta'ala and the Sunnah of His beloved Rasul salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam.

A classical scholar of the Tabi'een, al-Hasan al-Basri rahimahullah, sharply expressed this point in his commentary on the second ayah of Surah al-Qiyaamah where Allah swears by this quality in saying what means:

"Say, I do swear by the criticizing self..." -Surah al-Qiyamah ayah 2

al-Basri said of this: "A believer will always be critical of himself in his food, his drink and in his speech. A sinner will NOT criticize himself. A believer is a guardian over himself; he accounts himself for Allah. Those who take account of themselves in this world will be audited lightly in the Hereafter. Those who take this issue lightly will find their auditing (in the Hereafter) extremely difficult."

May Allah azza wa jall make us among those who commit with sincerity and special care the deeds He Loves. May He make us among those who especially during this most holy and blessed month of Ramadan strive to perfect the actions we do for His sake, His Mercy, His Pleasure and reward. Ameen thumma ameen!

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