Topic: Explanation of 'Umar's statement: Bringing Yourself to Account Before you are taken to Account; Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed

yasin3683    -- 05-06-2009 @ 11:33 PM
Bismillaah Al-Hamdulillaah wa salatu wa salaamu 'ala rasulullaah
Amma ba'd

Explanation of 'Umar's statement: Bringing Yourself to Account Before you are taken to Account; Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed

[These are notes taken from a khutbah given by Hassan as-Somali, who was reading from the book Igathat al-lahfan by Imam Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah)]

'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallaahu 'anhu) said:
Hasibu anfusakum Qabla antuhasabu "Bring yourself to account before you are taken to account." And 'Umar added: Wazinu anfusakum Qabla antuzanu "Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed."

This issue of questioning oneself and taking oneself to account was practiced by the Salaf of this Ummah. Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullaah) said, "You will never meet a believer except that he brings himself to account."

The evil, wicked, wretched individual will never bring himself to account, will never question himself. Allaah (subhanahu wa taa'ala) said about this kind of individual: wa kanna 'amruhu furatah (words that mean): "And his affair has been lost." (Al-Kahf, aya 28)  

Hasan al-Basri said, "The slave will never cease to be in a state of good as long as he admonishes himself."

Ibnul Qayyim said taking account of oneself is one of the ways of treating the sick heart.

Ibnul Qayyim said taking account of oneself is of two types:

1- taking yourself to account before an action
2- taking yourself to account after executing an action

So how does one take himself to account before an action?

Firstly, you should pause at the first thought and intention - stop, take a step back, think and ponder, and do not rush to perform that deed - and do not proceed until it becomes clear that it is more beneficial to do the action than to abstain.  

Hasan al-Basree said, "May Allaah have mercy upon the slave who pauses at the thought of doing an action and, if the action was for the sake of Allaah, he proceeds; and if it was for other than the sake of Allaah, he abstains."
So here is Ibnul Qayyim's four-step plan.

Step One: If the nafs (oneself) moves and wants to do an action, the slave steps back, pauses, looks and ponders. Then he asks: Is this something that is feasible or possible that can be accomplished, or is it not possible? If it's not possible, then he stops and does not proceed, because he recognizes he cannot do it.

Step Two: If it is possible, then he pauses again and asks: Is performing this action better than leaving it? If it's better to abstain, then he doesn't proceed.

Step Three: If it's better to do it, then he pauses for a third time, and looks and asks: Is the reason and intent behind this action that he is seeking the Face of Allaah and His reward, or does he want some position or wealth or praise from the creation? And if your reason is purely seeking the Face of Allaah, wa lillaah il Hamd (to Allaah belongs all praise). But if you realize that the intention is to seek a position or praise or wealth from the creation, then you stop and do not proceed. And why do you stop? Why do you hold back? Ibnul Qayyim says so that your nafs does not get accustomed to ash-Shirk, and so it doesn't become simple to perform an action for other than Allaah. And making it easy to do an action for other than Allaah will make it difficult to perform an action purely for Allaah.

Step Four: And if he finds that the action is for the sake of Allaah, he pauses again (the fourth time). The 'abd (slave) pauses, looks and investigates, checking himself, bringing himself to account before even doing the action and asks: Will he be aided in doing this action? Does he have supporters if the action is in need of that? If he needs supporters, and he doesn't have any, then he stays back from it; he refrains. Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said, "The slave refrains like the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) refrained from Jihaad while in Makkah."  

Brothers, this is fiqh (correct understanding); this is one of the doctors of the heart. Don't listen to the Soofiyah, who try to treat the matters of the heart with bid'ah. This will only harden the heart. This is the doctor of the heart, meaning one who treats the sick hearts with the Book of Allaah ('azza wa jall) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) upon the understanding of the Salaf of this Ummah.

So if he finds support, then he proceeds, and surely he will be from the victorious. No one is ever deprived of success except the one who lacks one of these [four] qualities.
Success will never be missed if all these qualities and points are joined.

These are four stages one needs to go through and satisfy before performing any action. These steps should be memorized and implemented.  


Now, the second type of taking oneself to account: taking yourself to account after executing an action. This is broken into three categories.

First Post-Stage: The first of them is checking the nafs (oneself) about a matter of obedience due to falling short with the right of Allaah, The Most High. This is since he did not carry out the action in the way it was befitting.

Ibnul Qayyim said:
And the rights of Allaah that have to be carried out by the slave during an act of worship are six matters:

1- al-Ikhlaas in this action  
2- That you have a nasihah to Allaah in this action  
3- You follow the Messenger's Sunnah in this action
4- Having al-Ihsan in performing this action
5- Recognize the favor of Allaah upon you
6- Recognize the deficiency in falling short in this action, after all of the above

Did the slave fulfill all six of these rights of Allaah?

Second Post-Stage: Is that you monitor your nafs after every action, and ask yourself: What is better to abstain from it?

Third Post-Stage: then the slave brings his nafs to account again, and asks: Why did he do this action? Did he seek the pleasure of Allaah and the hereafter, or did he seek the wordly life and that which exists now? If he did seek pleasure of Allaah and the hereafter, he will be successful. If he sought the wordly life and that which exists now, then he will be in a state of loss and will lose that bliss.

So this is the sharh (explanation) of the statement of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallaahu 'anhu): Bring yourself to account before you are taken to account; Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed.

So, after all this, someone may ask what are the consequences if me - 'Abdullaah or Khadijah - was to leave taking myself to account? What is wrong with this?

Ibnul Qayyim explains the evil consequences of checking your nafs, or monitoring your nafs, taking account of your nafs.  

The most dangerous thing for a person is to be negligent of taking himself to account. It is the most dangerous thing that he is relaxed, paying no mind to checking the nafs. This will surely lead to a person's destruction. This is the state of the people who are deluded and deceived, and fooled by shaytan because they are heedless, negligent; they don't bring themselves to account. They shut their eyes at the end result, meaning they don't look at the reality of the situation. Then it becomes comfortable for him to sin. They don't consider that this action carries such a reward, or "if I commit this sin, I may be punished." They rely solely upon being forgiven. They are deluded, because they don't check their nafs. If a person doesn't check himself - take himself to account - then it becomes easy for that person to sin, and it is comfortable for him to sin.    

Imagine the [success of a] man who brings himself to account for every deed.

The person who doesn't bring himself to account will have a difficult time leaving sins, like someone having to wean himself from a habitual act, or like weaning a baby from his mother. And if he only came to his senses, then he would understand that protection is easier than weaning. Why not protect yourself? Don't fall into it [at all]. Protecting yourself from it is easier, because it is difficult to stay away from that which you are used to, and that which is habitual.

Bring yourself to account firstly regarding the obligatory acts. [And then the CD cut off at exactly the 30-minute mark; Allaah knows best if the khutbah ended at this point. If there is a full CD, and you have it, share for the sake of Allaah. Either way, there is much benefit in this highly beneficial nasiha, maa shaa` Allaah. May Allaah allow us to learn and implement this. Ameen. Wa sallallaahu wa saalim 'ala nebeena Muhammadin wa 'ala aaleehi wa ashaabihi ajma'een.]  

Subhanak Allaahuma wa bihamdika ash-hadu anlaa illaaha illa anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk  

If I said anything correct, then it is from Allaah (subhanahu wa taa'ala), and if I erred, then that is from me and shaytan.

SalafiTalk.Net :