Weeding a Field: The Importance of Self-Examination. By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

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In a field, besides the crops that the farmer has sown, there are also numerous weeds that grow on their own. They cause damage to the crops, by consuming water and manure, and in this way not allowing the crops to grow fully.
If a farmer allows the weeds to grow as they like, they will ruin his crops. He will then never be able to reap a decent harvest. That is why he regularly weeds his field. He removes each weed so as to clear the field of them and give his crops the chance to grow fully. Every farmer knows that it is not enough simply to sow seeds in his field. Along with this, it is also essential to pluck out every weed. Otherwise, he will not be able to get the harvest that he hopes for.
This weeding of a field is what every individual should do with regard to his own self. In the terminology of the Islamic law or shariah, this is called muhasabah. As in a field where crops grow along with weeds, whenever one obtains something good, along with it a ‘weed’ begins to grow, all on its own, from inside. It is important to be aware of the presence of this ‘weed’ and to remove it from inside oneself and throw it away. If you do not do this, you will face the same predicament as a field that is left without being weeded.
If someone acquires a lot of worldly goods and means, he gets puffed up with an unwarranted sense of self-reliance. If he obtains political power, it engenders conceit. Likewise, wealth leads to miserliness, knowledge to pride, fame to pomp, and social respect to showing-off. All of these are, as it were, ‘weeds’ that, if not removed, will completely eat up or destroy one’s virtues. And so, one should become one’s own watchman, and whenever one spots a ‘weed’ growing within oneself, one should pluck it out and throw it away.
If you do not engage constantly in this sort of introspection, you are bound to face ruin. You will become like a field whose crops have been over-run and destroyed by weeds that have been left to grow unchecked.

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