All praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, seek help from Him and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Him from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our deeds. He who Allah guides cannot be set astray by anyone other than Him and he who sets astray cannot be guided by anyone other than Him the exalted. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone who has no partner and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and messenger.
O servants of Allah! Verily, the heart is normally accustomed to tilting towards lust and desire; therefore, it is necessary for someone to always asses and checkmates his own self, deprives himself from evil and enjoin himself towards good. Assessing one’s self must be his priority basically because it is through that someone succeeds or fails. Allah the exalted has sworn in His magnificent book that success cannot be achieved by anyone unless when they purify their selves and further explains that indulging in evil deeds yields failure, Allah says: “And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].” [91:7-10] Qatada said: He has succeeded who purifies himself with obedience (to Allah) and cleanses himself from evil and monstrous deeds.
A divine order has been given to the believers to partake in self assessment where Allah says: “O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” [59:18] Ibn Khatheer said about Allah’s saying “let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow”, it means that you asses yourselves before you are assessed, look at what you have preserved for yourselves of good deeds on the occasion of the appointed day and the day in which you would be brought forth to meet your Lord. Then he said about the last portion of the verse; “. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” This means that you should know that Allah is a knower of whatever you do, your conditions are plain before Him so nothing is concealed from Him among your small or big deeds.
Allah says: “There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, knowing.” [58:7] Allah is telling us in this verse that he surrounds His creatures with knowledge, He therefore listens to whatever they converse, and sees their positions wherever they might be.
From here, it is mandatory for each and every Muslim to answer the call of Allah the exalted and assess his own self, warning in the course of that his evil self against his shortcomings. Is it wise for a Muslim not to checkmate himself when he knows that Allah knows what eyes cannot see and what chests conceal!
Shaddad bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A wise man is the one who calls himself to account (and refrains from doing evil deeds) and does noble deeds to benefit him after death; and the foolish person is the one who subdues himself to his temptations and desires and seeks from Allah the fulfillment of his vain desires”.
And in Bukhari, Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: “You indulge in (bad) actions which are more insignificant to you than a hair while we considered them at the time of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to be great destroying sins”.
Imam Ahmad mentioned that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said: “Judge yourselves before you are judged, weigh your deeds before they are weighed for you, it is easier for you on judgment day tomorrow, to judge and prepare yourselves today. Beautify yourselves for the grand exposition. That day your deeds will be exposed, on that day you shall be exposed, not one secret of yours concealed”.
Hassan Al-Basri said: “Every believer (by Allah) you would not see him except that he blames himself, he affirms his shortcomings (between him and his own self) in every action then he regrets and blames himself. The impious one continues with his bad deeds without admonition.”
You should be O my Muslim brother among those that assess themselves and don’t be among the others. Maimoun Bn Mahraan said: “A servant (of Allah) will not be a pious one unless he becomes more serious in judging himself than judging a partner. That’s why one’s self is just like a betrayer business partner, if you don’t bring him to account, he goes with your wealth”.
O servants of Allah! You should know that assessing one’s self is of two types as Imam Ibn Al-Qaiyyim said: self-assessment before and after deed. Self assessment before a deed is to monitor your thoughts, and what you intend to do. Hassan Albasri said: “May Allah have mercy on a servant who stops by his intention and checkmate it, if the intention is to please Allah he continues with the execution of that intention and if it were for other than Allah, he delays it and eventually doesn’t execute it”.
On the other hand, self assessment after deed is for a person to look into his deeds, has he disobeyed Allah by his deeds or not? Are his deeds in congruence with Quran and Sunnah or not? Is leaving these actions not to carry them out better or otherwise?
Imam Ibn Al-qayyim explained how a servant should assess himself saying: “He should take a look at the compulsory deeds and if at all there is deficiency in its efficiency then he completes it up, he then looks at what Allah has forbade if at all he had committed any he should reciprocate it with repentance, istigfar and good deeds that erase it. Then he should assess himself on deviation he has away from the purpose of his creation (worship), if he sees that he is unmindful of that, he should meet up through the remembrance of Allah (Zhikr) and returning back to Him. He should also assess himself on the words he utters (with the tongue), the walk facilitated by the legs, the grab of the hands, the sight of the eyes, and the listening ability of the ears, has he really meant pleasing Allah by the aforementioned, who was these actions directed to and in what condition had he carried them out?”
It is also among the important things in self assessment, pondering and thinking of the questions you would be asked on the day of resurrection, and you should know that you will be asked not only a question of sinners. Allah says: “That He may question the truthful about their truth” [33:8] if the truthful ones are going to be asked by Allah on their truth what do you think about others? Allah the exalted says also: “Then we will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and we will surely question the messengers.” [7:8] even the messengers are going to be questioned.
Also, each and every one amongst us will be asked of the pleasures Allah has given him. Allah says: “Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure.”
Finally, Servants of Allah! You should know that you are travelers from this life to the afterlife (akhira), there is therefore need for provisions to embark on this long journey and the issue is a dangerous one.
May we be counted among the pious ones, those who pass their assessment on the day neither wealth nor status would be of help to anyone.