Point 7 described two possible ways to “measure” one’s success in spiritual purification (Tazkiyah) and promised to provide two measures in the subsequent Tazkiyah tip. So, here are the 3rd and the 4th measures:

3. How do we spend our time when we are alone? Let us imagine a very close friend that we cannot wait to be alone with, as his/her company is so enjoyable. Do we enjoy the company of God when we are alone with Him and no one else is there to interrupt? In fact, do we even realize that He is there and we can never be alone? It seems quite easy to be mindful of God and to get engaged in His remembrance when we are in the company of others. In the best scenario, this is because being in the company of God fearing, or at least God-aware people, encourages us to remember the Lord. In the worst scenario, this is because we like showing off. However the real test and therefore the real measurement tool is when we are alone and have some time available to spend as we wish. In that situation, do we spend the time in disobeying God, or do we spend it in ignoring him? Or do we spend at least some of the available time “with Him”?

4. How much of our spiritual energy is spent on dealing with “anger”, “taking offence easily”, “worrying”, “jealousy”, “being suspicious of others”, “being pessimistic” and so on? Each of these is an indication of a defect in our soul and deserves special attention. The person who is in the path of Tazkiyah has such a big heart, such a clear thought and such passion to move on in this path that he will rarely become angry for a personal reason and will hardly become offended by a fellow human being. Likewise, he does not go to extremes in worrying about and over-analyzing his worldly affairs, for he appreciates the purpose of his life, he is aware of the fact that he is a servant of God and that everything happens under the control of the One who knows everything and is all Wise.

For such a person, feeling jealousy is one of the most shameful and disappointing weaknesses that requires immediate rectification. The beauty and peace that arises due to being in the path of Tazkiyah brings about a generally positive and optimistic spirit to the person that it never allows him to be suspicious of others. In addition, others find it to be a pleasure to be around him due to his enjoyable personality and in particular his optimistic (but not unrealistic) perspective of life and the affairs of life.

Each of the above mentioned spiritual defects could be significantly influential in damaging a person’s efforts in the path of Tazkiyah. On the other hand, the degree to which a person has been successful in avoiding these spiritual defects is a fair indication of his or her success in Tazkiyah.

(Dr Abdullah Rahim)