The third: A person calls himself to account for a matter that is mubaah
(permissible - with no reward or punishment resulting from it). Why did he do
it? And did he desire the Face of Allaah and the home of the Hereafter by it so
that he will have profited and succeeded? Or did he desire by it, the world and
its temporary rewards and delights as a result of which he loses that
A person will call himself to account so that one day when he is sixty years
old he will be counting his days and will find that they are twenty-one thousand
and six-hundred in number. He lets out a scream and says: "Woe be to me, I
will meet my Lord with twenty-one thousand sins. How will it be when there are
thousands of sins in a day?!" Then he falls to the ground unconscious, and
Let us therefore, look at the strictness and intensity of the way he called
himself to account and the way in which he saw his sins to be against him. What
then, will our condition be?!
One amongst the Salaf would choose a certain time, late at night, to call his
soul to account. He would ask himself about the obligatory duties first and if
he found any deficiency in them, he would complete them, either by fulfilling
them or by making up for them.
Then he would call his soul to account with respect to the forbidden matters
since he did something which the Sharee'ah has forbidden or which the Prophet
(sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) warned against. So he would make up for it by
seeking forgiveness from Allaah and then being remorseful and repenting from it.
Then he would hold his soul to account for its heedlessness. If he had been
heedless of what he had been created for he would make up for it with the
remembrance of Allaah, directing his attention towards Him and performing His
worship. If he had been heedless with respect to a certain sin and went on to
commit it, he would return to Allaah, seeking forgiveness from Him, repenting to
He then goes on to call himself to account about what he said and uttered on
a certain day, or to what his feet walked towards or what his hands grasped or
what his eyes saw or what his ears heard and so on. He would therefore, see
whether his action was in agreement with what Allaah is pleased with and whether
he desired Allaah with his action and made it sincerely and purely for Him. Or
did a blemish or impurity mix with his action such as showing off or seeking to
be heard of, or opposing the command of Allaah (in the way that he performed his
Therefore, he throws against every one of his actions or his words two
questions: For whom did I do it?! Was it for Allaah or other than Him? This a
question about sincerity to Allaah. The other question: How did I do it?! Was it
in agreement with the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah? Was it in agreement with
the Sharee'ah or did it oppose and contradict the Sharee'ah (this is a question
about following and imitating the way of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu
There are Great Benefits in Calling the Soul to Account
Amongst them are:
1. Realising the shortcomings and weaknesses of the soul. Whoever does not
know the weaknesses of his soul will not be able to put an end to them.
We can observe this quality in our Pious Predecessors. Due to the intensity
with which they called their souls to account, they knew all their shortcomings
and faults. Yoonus bin Ubaid said: "Indeed, I know of a hundred
characteristics from among the characteristics of goodness and I do not know
whether I possess a single one of them." Therefore, we find him to be the
most knowledgeable of people of his own self. He knows what his soul is in need
of and what it hopes for and other such matters.
And Muhammad bin Waasi' said: "If sins were to produce a smell, no one
would be able to sit next to me"
2. Knowing the right of Allaah upon oneself. This will instill in the servant
hatred of his own soul and its contempt. It will purify him from being amazed
with his actions and also from showing off. Ibn al-Qayyim said: "Verily,
hatred of the soul for the sake of Allaah is one of the characteristics of the
Siddeeqoon (the truthful and the sincere)."
Imaam Ahmad has mentioned in his book az-Zuhd that Wahb (ibn Munabbah) said:
"It has reached me that the Prophet of Allaah, Moosa, passed by a man who
was calling upon Allaah and was humbling himself. He (Moosa) said: O my Lord,
show mercy to Him as I have shown mercy to Him. Then Allaah inspired to him: If
he calls upon me until his...... I would not respond to Him until He looks at My
right over Him."
Looking at the right of Allaah opens the door towards submission, humility
and defeat in front of Allaah. The one who reflects about the condition of the
people nowadays will find that most of them do the opposite of this. They look
at their own rights upon Allaah, at their needs from Him but do not look at the
right of Allaah upon themselves.