By Sadia Dehlvi
Nov 03, 2016
Describing the day of reckoning, the Quran says, “Your soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.” While we are alive, we collect and benefit from God’s bounties, but often forget that we receive is not really meant just for us alone. We are like cashiers that have to distribute from the bounties received, as in the end the receivers will have to account for the goods.
Those who are selfish and tight-fisted and lack in showing compassion to those less fortunate; remain in danger of being rejected from God’s boundless mercy and compassion.
Shaykh Ibn al Arabi, the great 12th century Sufi scholar from Andalusia once said, “There is no higher reward that a human being can achieve from God than the felicity awarded to whoever shows compassion to humanity.” According to him, the essence of morality is compassion. On advising how to reach a high station with God, he writes how we need to evaluate on a daily basis, not just our actions but feelings and thoughts as well.
He adds, “May God open your inner eye, so that you can see and remember what you have done and said. Remember, that you will have to account for it on the Day of Judgment.” So see yourself and close your accounts. The only way to salvation is to clear and clean all debts. Listen to Prophet Muhammad who said, “Make your accounting before it is made for you. Weigh your sins before they are weighed for you. Weigh your transgressions against your good deeds while you still have time.”
There are three things that often keep us away from examining ourselves. The first is being unconscious and blind to the state of our souls. The second is the imaginary pleasures that one gets through the deception of one’s ego. The third is being a slave to one’s habits.
Shaykh Ibn al Arabi practised contemplation all through his life. He wrote of his teacher who wrote down on a piece of paper what all he did, said and felt though the day. At night the teacher made an accounting for the day’s words and actions. If he had done wrong, he repented and if he did a good deed, he offered thanks to God.
The Sufi believed in showing respect and kindness to all human beings and interacting with them with the best of intentions. He says, “Treat everyone equally whether they are kings or paupers, old or young. Know that humankind is one body and individuals are its members. A body is not a whole without its parts. The right of the man of knowledge is respect, the right of the ignorant is advice, the right of the heedless one is to be awakened, the right of the child is compassion and love. Treat well your family and friends, people who work for you, animals in your care, plants in your garden. They have been put under your trust from God, and you are under God’s care. Always show love, generosity, compassion, delicacy and protection towards everyone.”
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.