Towards Self-Reform

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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The path of self-reform primarily begins with having an intricate knowledge of the shortcomings within us and our imperfections – by recognising the diseases of our souls and our hearts – before the process of abandonment and detoxification treatment can begin. This is achieved in four important ways, as mentioned by the late Sh. Dr. Uthman ibn Jumaa al-Dhumayri (may Allah have mercy on him).

الطريق الأول: العلم الذي يبصرنا بذلك ويوضح الطريق أمامنا، فهو الكشاف الذي يكشف لنا خبايا العلل وسبيل ذلك والطريق إليه هو: مصاحبة كتاب الله تعالى ومدارسته، ومدارسة حديث الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم والتأسي به واتباعه

The first way: Building our knowledge base that permits us to see all those (faults and) and clarifying the way ahead for us. It is like a scout with a searchlight revealing to us the ambiguity (and secrets) of our ills. And the path (in attaining that) is accompanying the Book of Allah and the school of hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, and by reviving it and following it (as per our righteous predecessors).

والطريق الثاني: أن تطلب لك أخاً ناصحاً شفيقاً، وصديقاً صدوقاً، يبصرك بعيوبك، ويرى أن ذلك واجب عليه يفرضه الإسلام عملاً بقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام: “الدين النصيحة” قالوا: لمن يا رسول الله؟ قال: لله ولكتابه ولرسوله ولأئمة المسلمين وعامتهم . وقد كان أمير المؤمنين الفاروق عمر رضي الله عنه يقول: رحم الله امرءاً أهدى إلينا عيوبنا . ولنذكر أن المؤمن مرآة أخيه المؤمن

The second way: Seeking the counsel of a well-tempered and empathetic brother and a righteous friend who sees your faults. He sees looking our ofr his brother as a duty obligated on him by Islam, as per the words of the Prophet ﷺ, “The Deen is Naseehah” [in showing sincerity]. It was asked, “To whom O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “To Allah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common people.”  [Saheeh Muslim, #55]

And in the words of Ameer’ul Mu’mineen, Al-Farooq ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) who said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who shows to us, our faults/shortcomings.” Let us remember that the believer is a mirror of his believing brother.

الطريق الثالث: أن تنظر إلى ما يقوله فيك خصومك، فإنهم يتلمسون لك المعايب، فلا تأس على فعلهم ذاك، فإنهم بهذا يعرفونك بعيوب نفسك التي قد تغفل أنت عنها، أما هم فلا يسكتون
وقديماً قال الشاعر: وعين الرضا عن كل عيب كليلة… ولكن عين السخط تبدي المساويا

The third way: Looking at what your adversaries and opponents are saying. They sense and perceive (what you don’t), so don’t be aggrieved by that, for by doing so, they will highlight your defects that you may have overlooked. They won’t keep quiet about it either; as the poet said: “The eye of pleasure (seeks) after every fault (even at) night… And yet the eye of discontent shows its equivalent (opposite).”

والطريق الرابع: مخالطة الناس ومعايشتهم، فإذا رأيت منهم ما لا تحمده من الصفات التي نهى الله تعالى ورسوله عنها فخذ نفسك بالابتعاد عنها والحذر منها، وتحل بمكارم الأخلاق ومحاسن الصفات التي تحبها في الناس وتحببك أنت إليهم

And the fourth way: Associating with people and seeing how they live their lives. If you see from them, any qualities that Allah and His Messenger forbade, do not applaud them and remove yourself away and beware of them. Only consolidate and settle for the lofty akhlaq and beautiful qualities that you love in people and they love you for.

فهلا حاولت ذلك أيها المسلم وجربت وجاهدت نفسك ليكتب الله تعالى لك الهداية إلى السبيل الأقوم وإلى الفلاح والفوز في الدنيا والآخرة (والَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهدِيَنَّهُم سُبُلَنَا وإنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ المُحسِنِينَ)

Therefore, endeavor to implement this and experience and strive in fulfillment of personal reform so that Allah Almighty may write for you guidance upon the path of people who are successful and triumphant in the dunya and akhirah. As Allah Said, “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Al-Ankaboot, 69]

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Reference:
Adapted from an article entitled: على طريق الإصلاح النفسي (as found in the channel of Sh. Muhammad ibn Abdullah bin Jaber Al-Qahtani).

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