How many souls are their who control and lead their owners into the darkness
and then into destruction and refuge is sought from Allaah! Let a person
therefore, be the leader, the commander and the forbidder of his soul and not
the soul of him.
And Al-Hasan (rh) said: "A believer is a guardian over his soul. He
calls his soul to account for the sake of Allaah. The reckoning on the Day of
Judgement will be light upon a people who call themselves to account in the
world and the reckoning on the Day of Judgement will be hard on a people who
take this matter lightly."
And Ibn Katheer (rh) said: "The believer (constantly) returns to his
soul (holding it to account) so he says: 'What did I intend by this action?!
What is for me and what is for it?! By Allaah I shall never return to it.' If it
is an act of disobedience for example, it is a way of guarding his soul. He asks
it constantly and calls it to account with an intense and hard reckoning in this
world so that the reckoning on the Day of Judgement is easy."
How Do I Call Myself to Account?
Holding oneself to account is of two types: One before the action and the
other after the action.
The First Type: It is necessary for the one who calls himself to account
before he engages upon saying something particular or a particular action or any
action for that matter, that he stops and looks with clear insight, not with his
whim or desire, at this action. Is this action in itself good for him, will he
acquire recompense and reward for it from Allaah? Or is this action disobedience
which will lead to earning evil and increasing ones burdens?
If he sees that this action is good and there is benefit in it for his
religion, his life and the Hereafter he then moves onto another matter.
And this is to see whether Allaah's Face, His pleasure and the home of the
Hereafter is desired by this action or is it merely for showing off, fame and
seeking to be heard of? If he had desired Allaah's Face by it then he should
proceed with this action, whilst relying upon Allaah and seeking help from Him.
When he has finished from his action it is still necessary for him to call
himself to account after he has acted. This enables him to see whether he made
it sincerely and purely for Allaah or whether he was deceived (into thinking
that it was) and satisfied with just merely performing the action, perhaps due
to the praise of people. Then he forgets his initial desire and intention which
was seeking the Face of Allaah. Was it better for him to perform that action or
to fall short in executing it and abandoning it?
For this reason we find that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) has
strongly encouraged us to be quiet if we do not find any good and useful words
to speak. He said: "Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day let him
speak good or remain silent." [Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim] Imaan
an-Nawawi said: "When a person desires to speak, if there is definite
goodness in his words for which he will be rewarded then let him speak and if it
does not appear to him that there will be good in his words and that he will be
rewarded then he should refrain from speaking."
When a servant is strict and hard upon himself in such a way he will travel
upon the path of goodness and success as a result of it. However, if he abandons
his soul and neglects it he will be lead to the path of destruction and ruin by
it, and into committing sins very easily without having the desire to seek
forgiveness and repent from them.
The Second Type: Calling the soul to account after the action has been
completed. This itself is of three types:
The first: A person brings the soul to account for an act of obedience
which was performed and which fell short in fulfilling Allaahs right.
This means that it was not performed in the best possible way. The right of
Allaah upon the servant in every act of obedience consists of six matters:
- Sincerity in the action (for the sake of Allaah alone) ,
- Pure devotion to Allaah in it,
- Following and imitating the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) in
- Seeing and observing excellence in it
- Seeing Allaahs Benevolence in it
- Seeing ones shortcomings (in performing this action) after all of
So a person will call himself to account. Has he considered all these things
with care and attention, the way they ought to be? And did he fulfil them all in
The second: A person calls himself to account for every action that he
did, the abandonment of which would have been better for him than actually doing