Did the prophet perform spiritual accounting?

The Details of the Question

Did the prophet perform spiritual accounting too? If he did, will you give examples of his spiritual accounting?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- Spiritual accounting does not mean seeing the mistakes of one’s soul and thinking about one’s sins only. There are so many subtler degrees of taqwa along with them. It will be useful to note them in the notebook of the heart.  

- We have not been able to find a clear expression stating that the Prophet (pbuh) performed spiritual accounting. However, his life shows that he performed spiritual accounting.

It will be useful to attract attention to the following points regarding the issue:

1. Hz. Aisha narrates: I asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): Are the people mentioned in the verse “And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord” (al-Muminun, 23/60) ‘those who drink and steal’? The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘O daughter of Siddiq! They are those who perform prayers, fast and give sadaqah. They fear that their good deeds will not be accepted. They are the people who compete one another to do good/charitable deeds.’ (see Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 23/3175; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 20)

This hadith shows that spiritual accounting is not limited with sins and that it can be related to whether good deeds will be accepted or not; it also shows that the Prophet (pbuh) performed such spiritual accounting since he explained the verse like that.

2. Hz. Aisha narrates: The Prophet (pbuh) would worship until his blessed feet swelled at night. I asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Why do you get tired so much though Allah forgave your previous and future sins?" The Prophet said, "O Aisha! Shall I not be a slave who thanks Allah?" (Bukhari, Tahajjud, 6; Muslim, Kitabu Salatil-Musafirina wa Qasriha, 18) With that sentence, the Prophet stated that he performed prayers like that due to love of Allah and pleasure of worshipping, not due to fear of Allah.

3. The invocations and supplications of the Prophet (pbuh) in Jawshan al-Kabir, which is a prophetic invocation, and in his many other invocations and what he mentions in his invocations and supplications show that he performed spiritual accounting.

4. That the Prophet repented and asked for forgiveness a hundred times a day shows how seriously he performed spiritual accounting.

According to a narration, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There is (at times) some sort of shade upon my heart, and I seek forgiveness from Allah a hundred times a day.” (see Muslim, Dhikr, 41; Abu Dawud, Witr, 26)

The above statement of the Prophet (pbuh) shows his distinguished place in worshipping and his meticulous understanding of responsibility.

- According to some scholars, the hadith above states that the Prophet (pbuh) sometimes forgot some dhikr, wird and meditation that he performed every day – as a human being – and hence he repented and asked for forgiveness.

According to some other scholars, the Prophet (pbuh) sometimes assumed such a state in the knowledge of Allah that he would be overwhelmed with dhikr and tawhid or his heart would be covered by solemnity, peace and tranquility; and he would repent and ask for forgiveness as gratitude due to this nice state, which he regarded as a great blessing.  

According to some other scholars, the Prophet (pbuh) progressed on the steps of worshipping all the time. When he ascended one step up, he would repent and ask for forgiveness because of being on the previous step. (see Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, 11/101-102)

They all show that the Prophet (pbuh) performed spiritual accounting more than everybody else since he feared Allah more than everybody else.

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