Self-assessment

Motivational Moments #12
by Mufti Ismail Menk

Self-assessment is not something many of us do often. As most of us are not self-aware, we tend to look to others for approval, giving rise to the vicious circle of expectations, entitlement and ego.  Many of us do not reflect at the end of the day, why we did what we did. We hardly check our intentions. And that is a dangerous thing because actions are judged by intention. This is why we need to constantly assess ourselves.

In order to be truly honest with ourselves, we have to remove the masks that block us from being able to look in the mirror. Unfortunately, many of us are busy blaming others for most things that happen in our lives. Learn to take ownership of your problem, assess your strength and weakness. Remember not to focus solely on the wrongs as it can become demoralizing. But we need to recognize our faults.

Only by acknowledging our wrongs and weakness can we make true repentance and get back on track.

For serious self-diagnosis to take place, we need honesty, faith and hope. Don’t make excuses for our shortcoming, admit our flaws and pray that the Almighty sees us through it all.

We have to accept that we are human and these shortcomings are part of our nature, yet we can overcome them with help from the Almighty.

It has been a almost a year since Motivational Moments was launched and I have been writing these short notes to you, with the hope that you read them, reflect on them and make the necessary change to your lives.

We started Note 1 with the topic “Change” and now twelve months later we are ending with Note 12 on “Self-Assessment.” I pray it has made a difference.

 

Piety

Motivational Moments #11
by Mufti Ismail Menk

Piety or Taqwa is defined as the action of restraining oneself from disobeying the commands of the Almighty.

Simply put, Taqwa is to be present in a place the Almighty has ordered and to be absent from a place He has prohibited.

Is it any wonder that the word “Taqwa” is mentioned 251 times in the Noble Qur’an?

In Islam, Taqwa is the quality of those who protect themselves from all that is considered as wrong and sinful. In stating this, there are two kinds of Taqwa: the first is just to avoid facing situations where sins may be committed. This is a passive approach and leads to seclusion and isolation, while the second is to face challenges and remain persistent and consistent in faith.

Certainly, consciousness of the Almighty or Taqwa is the medicine for our hearts, the cure for the ailments of our bodies, the rectifier of all evils and the light that illuminates our path.

In fact, Taqwa is said to be beneficial for all the difficulties and hardships of human life. Taqwa is one of the pillars of a person’s life, whether in one’s personal or social life. The whole basis of life would be unstable without it.

The process of attaining Taqwa takes time and grows with the strengthening of faith in the heart of a believer until he becomes convinced that the Almighty is aware of everything he does and each word he utters.

In the famous Hadith of Jibril (aleyhis salam) when he asked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ about Islam, Iman, and Ihsan, the Prophet ﷺ responded about Ihsan, saying it is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you can’t see Him you know that He sees you. That is the highest level of faith.

In order to fear the Almighty, a believer needs to remember death often, as well as life beyond this Dunya (world), our life in the Hereafter. This is one of the fruits of reciting the Qur’an often, reflecting on its verses and chapters. The many reminders of the Hereafter will help put the heart in the right state.

Remember we are fully reliant on Him. He can take us at any time.

So we must be conscious of the Almighty and totally submit to Him and obey His commands lest we are taken whilst we are indulging in sin and face the torment of the grave and His everlasting wrath.

Love

Motivational Moments #10
by Mufti Ismail Menk

Islam is the religion of love.

Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ was sent to guide us to love and to make clear that love is the cornerstone of our religion.

No religion urges its followers to adopt mutual love and affection like the religion of Islam. Islam encourages showing affection and love towards each other at all times.

Love in Islam is all-encompassing; it is not restricted to one form only, which is love between a man and a woman. At the centre of it all is love for the Almighty and His Messenger (pbuh), the Companions, may He be pleased with them and the love of good and righteous people.

Islam enjoins the general concept of love between mankind as well. This is first and foremost done by promoting the love of the Almighty amongst us.

Learn to love that which the Almighty loves and do not stop remembering Him. Serve and worship Him alone and don’t associate with Him any other and be ever conscious of Him.

Many of us find it easy to express love for the Almighty verbally but unfortunately our actions don’t reflect that love for Him. How can we claim to love Him when we take what He has revealed lightly, don’t follow His commands, and fail to behave in a way that pleases Him? Many times we find that love missing from our hearts because our hearts are filled instead with doubts, vain desires, and temptations of this temporary life.

To counter these, we need to firm up our beliefs. We need a better overall spiritual perspective in order to counter desires and temptations. We also need to clear those doubts that hinder the instilling of the love for the Almighty by learning more about our Deen (religion)  and seeking knowledge from reliable and approved sources.

Many of us spend a lot of time and effort to gain the love and pleasure of others and sometimes we may do it at the expense of disobeying the Almighty’s commands. We should realize that such things are futile and don’t last. They will earn us nothing but His wrath and displeasure. On the other hand, if we focus on cultivating His love in our hearts, we will not only get His love but He will instill our love in the hearts of others as well.

Love is so central to Islam that without it there can be no real faith. The relationship of love between us and our Creator, between us and others, and between us and all of creation is essential to reaching our full potential as human beings. When we nourish our hearts with love, when we manifest His love in our lives; with our families, with our friends, in our work, in our prayers, in everything that we do, the entire meaning of life changes.

May the Almighty bless us with His love and the love of those who love Him. May He fill our hearts with love. Amen.