By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam
12 July 2021
Quran and Other Religious Books Value Introspection as A Way to Forgiveness
1. Self-reflection is the door to self-spiritual awakening.
2. Introspection is a virtual teacher that guides human beings to life here and hereafter.
3. Allah has blessed us with wisdom to introspect ourselves and reach the reality that directs us to a successful life here and hereafter.
4. The spiritual awakening of our soul is possible if we introspect our abilities, positivities and negativities honestly.
Self-reflection (خود شناسی) is the door to self-spiritual awakening that introduces self to self and opens the locked spiritual gateway to God. Introspection is a virtual teacher that guides human beings to life here and hereafter, exclusively and brings worldly success in general. Although it is said that a teacher is needed to acquire knowledge as the following Kabir Doha says:
Without the Guru, no one obtains spiritual knowledge or achieves salvation.
Without the Guru, no one can see Truth or have his doubts removed. (Kabir)
(Photo courtesy: Quotes.pub
But as far as introspection is concerned, Allah has blessed us with wisdom to introspect ourselves and reach the reality that directs us to a successful life here and hereafter. Our creator has embedded our soul with all the positivities needed for a righteous life. There are innumerable instances of people getting on top of the success ladder without any guidance from a virtual teacher. Thus, the spiritual awakening of our soul is possible if we introspect our abilities, positivities and negativities honestly, and listen to our inner voice. Dishonesty in introspection is not possible as the inner self does not lie to the inner self.
Introspection is not negative. It clears the self-made mist hovering over our thoughts and we can see exactly where we belong to. Self-reflection reflects both the good and the bad of the character that makes us realise our fault lines and enables us to find out the needed medicines for its permanent cure. Like the disease, introspection also needs to be re-examined after a certain period. It guides our soul to reflect on where the symptoms of the disease are creeping into. Self-reflection or introspection on every level is necessary to understand the changes occurring in our thought process as we go for total medical check-ups once in a while.
Religions teach us not to be adamant about our thoughts. Religious ethics are all about introspection to let the people know the root of the deviation from the righteous path. Religions are all about human beings selfless service to society and fulfilment of the duties towards the creations of Allah the Most Gracious. As the world is an examination hall and Shaitan or the devil is to try and deviate us from the righteous to the wrongs. Introspection now and then is like an alarm bell that awakens us to our duties.
Those who do not introspect are the ones who exercise self-goals and blame others for their fault. Once it is a goal, it is a goal, it cannot be retracted. In the same fashion once we made a mistake it cannot be retracted but religiously speaking we have a way of forgiveness as Allah the Almighty always forgives the people who ask for His forgiveness. And introspection provides us with an opportunity to come back to our duties towards the human being and the Creator with new zeal and enthusiasm.
Quranic Verses and Prophetic Traditions Value Introspection as A Way to Forgiveness
“When any evil suggestion from Satan touches those who fear God, they are instantly alerted and become watchful.” (7:201)
“That is the recompense for those who purify themselves.” (20:76)
“When any evil suggestion from Satan touches those who fear God, they are instantly alerted and become watchful” (7: 201)
Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)'s, farewell sermon)
According to the second rightly-guided Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA): “Assess and adjudge yourselves before you are adjudged and assessed on the Day of Judgment, and weigh out your deeds before they are weighed out for you”.
Umar, a man of his word, reportedly used to whip his right foot at night and say to it “What have you done today?
“All of the children of Adam make mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are the ones who repent.” (Tirmidhi)
Christianity Believes Introspection is Key to True Religion
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! - Lamentations 3:40
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. – 1 Corinthians 11:28
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? - Luke 14:28
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! - 2 Corinthians 13:5
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9
Hinduism and the Importance of Self-Realisation
...Realize that which pervades the universe is indestructible; no power can affect this unchanging, imperishable reality. The body is mortal, but he who dwells in the body is immortal and immeasurable. Therefore, Arjuna, fight in this battle. - (C2, v16-18)
Considering your dharma, you should not vacillate. For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil. ... - (C2, v31-33)
Arjuna, now listen to the principles of yoga. .... - (C2, v39-40)
.... Established in meditation, they are truly wise. ... - (C2, v56-57)
One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. - (Bhagavad Gita: 6 - 5)
“For man, the mind is the cause of bondage and the mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.” (Amrta-Bindu Upanishad 2) Therefore, the mind which is always engaged in Krishna consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation. - Bhagavad Gita: 6 -4)
Sikhism and Importance of Introspection
Those are pure, Who know what they are. - (Guru III, Vadhans Rag)
O slave, devoid of any virtue! Realize your intrinsic value. - (Guru I, Gauri Rag)
God is ever near, Do not think He is far away: Through the Word of the Guru, Recognize Him in yourself. - (Guru III, Majh Rag)
Just as there is fragrance in the flower, And reflection in the mirror, Similarly, God lives within; Search Him in thy heart, O brother. - (Guru IX, Dhansri Rag)
Introspection Needed to Bring Peace and Tranquility in the World
Whatever be the reason but the whole world is riddled in a war of supremacy forgetting that ‘war is no solution’ and resultantly harming the people they are supposed to provide peace and tranquillity. The only way out of this mayhem is ‘introspection’.
The nations, the communities and the individuals need to introspect to understand what their actual duty towards humanity is. It is not one religion or one community that advocate the necessity of introspection every once in a while. All the religions, religious communities and religious leaders believe that introspection introduces to God in such a spiritual way that accepting the past mistakes and promising self to do away with all the misdeeds, becomes easy. It is neither difficult nor too late for any individual or a community or a nation to perform introspection and to regain their real self.
The only lesson that true introspection teaches is to confess, ‘I was wrong.’ The most difficult for an unspiritual human being is to accept his wrongdoings. Being adamant on the belief that ‘I am not wrong’ is the root of the evils that destroy our life here and the eternal life hereafter. Introspection cleans one’s heart of all the dirt that engulfs the real spiritual soul of the self and thus the darkness of adamant behaviour gives way to bright sunshine.
All the religions, all the religious beliefs and all the religious and spiritual leaders prescribe ‘introspection’ as the only medicine for the cleanliness of heart and mind and cure of all the evil habits ravaging one’s spiritual character.
How Scholars Explain Introspection
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. - Aristotle
The unexamined life is not worth living. - Socrates
“You can't lie to your soul.” ― Irvine Welsh, Porno
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. - Carl Jung
Wisdom can only come through honest introspection. - Nirmala Srivastava
There are times when those eyes inside your brain stare back at you. - Charles Bukowski
“The deeper I go into myself the more I realize that I am my own enemy.” ― Floriano Martins
Introspection is a confession of guilt with a faith that God will forgive and show the righteous path that is a success here and hereafter.
And Allah Knows the Best.
Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.
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