Muhasabah… Confronting our own weaknesses and mistakes

© Muhammad Haniff Hassan, January 2002

The annual PERDAUS Muhasabah in December saw various viewpoints, suggestions and pointers coming from our activists. May Allah give us the strength to learn and improve on our previous mistakes and weaknesses, and continue with our efforts. Our thanks go to all the activists who came and contributed their ideas as well as those who did not attend the session but prayed for our cause.

Now it’s time to proceed with the follow-up actions that have been outlined. An action plan is not a document set in stone. Modification and amendments will have to be made as we monitor the process. This is muhasabah – a trait that every Muslim is enjoined to adopt as stated in the Quran.

“O you who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that you do.” (Al-Hasyr:18)

This reminder was also emphasised by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh),

“A wise person is one who constantly checks on himself and strives for the Hereafter. A weak person is one who follows the dictate of his nafs and yet still expect his wishes to be fulfilled by Allah.” (Narrated by At-Turmuzi)

Saidina Omar (r.a) was recorded to have said,

“Keep an account of yourself before you are audited and weigh your own deeds before you are judged.”

Muhasabah is a religious responsibility that is relevent for both individuals and organisation. Just as a Muslim reflects on his own deeds, so too should he perform a muhasabah on the organisation that he is involved in. In fact it will have a greater impact as we will be accountable to members and the public just as we are to Allah. What is important is that we practice ihsan (kindness) and itqan (diligence) in the process of muhasabah.

Allah taala says in the Quran,

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good” (An-Nahl:90)

According to the Messenger of Allah,

“Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.” (Narrated by Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah also said that Allah likes for His servant to carry out something with itqan (diligence).

It would be impossible for a person to achieve ihsan and itqan without making muhasabah on himself with the objective of self-improvements. Muhasabah is a manifestation of the requirement that one’s deeds today should be better that it was yesterday and so on.

Nevetheless muhasabah would only be meaningful if it is based on certain principles such as:

• Sincerity on the part of the person making the muhasabah and its recipients.
• Objectivity and the willingness to accept one’s own weakness.
• Amanah and responsible in improving current situations and to carry out plans that have been agreed upon through consensus.

Often it is not difficult to identify weaknesses and mistakes or to identify the persons responsible for them as it is inherent for mankind to look for the mistakes of others. What is more of a challenge is to admit one’s own weakness and mistakes especially before others. Often we slip into a state of denial and start looking for a scapegoat.

In the process, we will start looking at the weaknesses of everyone around us. In looking for one weaknesses, we’ll probably end up with 10!

After this muhasabah session, we should try to look at our mistakes and weaknesses and turn them into constructive actions. Rest assured that should they go undetected in this world, our mistakes will never be covered in the Hereafter.