Monday, 19 April 2010


I am currently reading Parenting Skills: Based on the Qur'an and Sunnah by Dr Ekram and Dr Mohamed Rida Beshir. Something that surprised me was that they did not start with childcare tips, or parenting advice but with the idea of self-review or “mohasabah”, or reviewing what you have done every day. Although this was highlighted as an important concept in Islam, it was not something that I heard or thought about before.

The Commander of the Faithful, 'Umar bin al-Khattab used to say: "Criticize and appraise yourselves before you are criticized and appraised on the Day of Judgment, and weigh out your deeds, before they are weighed out for you."

"On that Day will men proceed in groups, sorted out, to be shown their Deeds. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it." (Qur'an 99:6-8)

It strikes me that this is an essential concept if we are to strive to please Allah (SWT) and to be productive in our everyday lives both in our ourselves and as parents and spouses. The book encourages us to ask questions every day to see how we have used our time and resources. Although the book offers some sample questions, it also encourages us to think up some of our own.

I felt that this was a particularly good exercise to help with some of the things I worry the most about – what kind of a mother, wife, sister and daughter I am, the state of my iman (faith), how little I have done to please Allah (SWT), the extent to which I have taken steps to achieve my personal dreams and goals. Looking back over the day helps to pick out where you are going wrong, where you are wasting time and where you did something right. It helps you to gauge whether you are giving the right amount of time to your priorities – for instance I realised I spent too much time at work and not enough in the kitchen and that I would like to spend more with my children. Being clear on this helps you to then think about what steps you need to take to change the situation (so I am looking at options of working compressed hours or working from home one day a week for instance).

I listed the following question as being useful to me to review how I had spent my day:

  • Have I done anything today which could be considered as forbidden by Islam or disliked by Allah (SWT)?
  • Did I try to bring consciousness of Allah (SWT) to my prayers and did I take my time with them?
  • Have I tried to make time for worship over and above the fard prayers?
  • What effort have I made to be a good wife? What could I have done better/differently?
  • What effort have I made to be a good mother? What could I have done better/differently?
  • Have I made the time to really listen to my children?
  • Have I done anything today that could have hurt another person?
  • What steps have I taken today to achieve my personal goals or dreams?
  • How much time have I spent on the internet/computer? How much of this was productive?
  • Where have I wasted time or resources today?
  • Did I do something for myself today?

I have found writing these questions down on an index card and keeping them by my bedside helpful. If you are entirely honest with yourself, sometimes the answers to these questions are not very nice or easy to accept, but those unpleasant answers do act as a trigger to try and do things differently the next day.

I wonder if it might be useful to have a similar set of questions to ask myself in the morning that look forward instead and help me to prioritise. Will have a think and write down my thoughts.

Insh’Allah, when I finish the book a full review will be up on Mum and Muslim magazine.


  1. Jazakallah sis! While reading your post I was thinking of asking you to do a review of the book for M&M. But alhamdulillah you have already mentioned it. Looking forward to read the review insha-Allah. Thanks :-)

  2. Love this book! I look forward to your full review and will comment more on the book there.


  3. This is a great reminder, jazakAllah :)

  4. Shukrun for this. And I really mean that. I never thought about evaluating my own deeds. And inshallah, I will make this a habit...even by writing things down to remember both good and bad. May Allah bless you in this life and the next.

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