Allah, the Almighty, said:

{O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow.} [al-Ḥashr 59:18]

قَالَ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ "اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ"

One will truly begin the task of self-reckoning only after having the resolve to repent. This resolve has three pillars:

وَإِنَّمَا يسْلُكٌ طَرِيقَ المُحَاسَبَةِ بَعدَ الْعَزِيمَةِ على عَقدِ التَّوْبَةِ. والْعَزِيمَةُ لَهَا ثَلَاثَة أَرْكَان:

First: comparing between His favors and your transgressions; this is difficult for one who lacks the following three qualities:

  1. the light of wisdom 50

  2. suspicion of oneself51

  3. the ability to distinguish between favors and trials 52

أَحدهَا أَن تقيس بَين نعْمَته وجنايتك وَهَذَا يشق على من لَيْسَ لَهُ ثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء:

  1. نُورُ الْحِكْمَةِ

  2. وَسُوءُ الظَّنِّ بِالنَّفْسِ

  3. وتَمييزُ النِّعْمَةِ مِنَ الْفِتْنَة

Second: sorting out that which belongs to the True One from that which belongs to you or comes from you, so that you may realize that:

  1. the offense was a plea against you

  2. the obedience was a favor to you

  3. the decrees were not excuses for you, but rather evidences against you53

وَالثَّانِي تَمْيِيزُ مَا للحَقِّ عَمَّا لَك أَو مِنْكَ فَتَعْلَمَ:

  1. أَن الْجِنَايَة عَلَيْك حُجَّة

  2. وَالطَّاعَةَ عَلَيْكَ مِنَّةٌ

  3. وَالْحُكْمَ عَلَيْكَ حُجَّة مَا هُوَ لَكَ مَعْذِرَة

Third: recognizing that:

  1. every act of obedience you were content with is against you 54

  2. every act of disobedience by which you disgraced your brother will be yours 55

  3. you must not let the scale of your time slip from your hands 56

وَالثَّالِث أَن تَعرفَ أَنَّ:

  1. كُلَّ طَاعَةٍ رَضِيتَها مِنْكَ فَهِيَ عَلَيْكَ

  2. وكُلَّ مَعْصِيّةٍ عَيَّرْتَ بِهَا أَخَاكَ فَهِيَ إِلَيْكَ

  3. وَلَا تُضِع مِيزَانَ وَقْتِكَ مِن يَدَيْكَ

50 This is beneficial knowledge: the knowledge that resides in the heart after it has been processed by one’s intellect. It is the knowledge that helps us sort out truth from falsehood and that will keep us from disrespecting authority; it will also keep us from surrendering blindly to anyone short of the Infallible.
51 If you think good of yourself, you will not look carefully for your faults and aggressions. However, one must not be overly harsh or unfair to oneself, either. It is important that one recognize Allah’s favors on them to promote them and use whatever talents and skills He bestowed on them for His cause.
52 Think of wealth. Is it a favor or a trial? It was a favor for Sulaymân (peace be upon him) and a trial for Qâroon. Think of the power that was given to both Pharaoh and Dhul-Qarnayn.
53 He is warning you against using qadr as an excuse. It was destined against you only because you deserved it. This applies to nations as well as individuals. Without absolving any transgressor of guilt, do not blame anyone but yourself for your failures.
54 It is unbecoming of a wise believer to become overconfident with his or her good deeds, because they cannot be certain of their acceptance. If they are, it is a sign of conceit and self-deceit.
55 Gloating over the calamities that befall others is one of the satanic qualities. Falling into sin and walking away from Allah are the worst calamities that may befall human beings.
56 This points out the importance of measuring any benefit you accrued and any loss you suffered in your time. It makes you utilize your present and plan for your future in the best way. To be able to gauge your progress, you must have goals, structure, and frequent re-evaluations.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj