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  • Self-criticism (muhasaba) literally means reckoning, settling accounts, and self-interrogation. In a spiritual context, however, it takes on the additional meaning of the self-criticism of a believer who constantly analyzes his or her deeds and thoughts in the hope that correcting them will bring him or her closer to God. Such a believer thanks God for the good he or she has done, and tries to erase his or her sins and deviations by imploring God for forgiveness and amending his or her errors and sins through repentance and remorse. Self-criticism is a very important and serious attempt to assert one’s personal loyalty to God… Islam introduced humanity to noble feelings and thoughts of self-criticism. For individuals who have not benefited from Islam’s resurrecting atmosphere, self-criticism and trying to control themselves is nothing but a elementary attempt at questioning the carnal soul.”1)
  • “O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety, and let every person consider what he has forwarded for Tomorrow. Keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety. Surely God is fully aware of all that you do.” (Al-Hashr, 59:18).
  • “Undoubtedly, a believer possessing a feeling of self-criticism, as well as bringing to account and coming to grips with one’s self, is a very important way of thinking with respect to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.”2)
  • “As with all issues, one has to investigate the self in a well-adjusted manner, with balance. At the outset, self-criticism should in no way be weighted toward despair.”3)
  • “One should always be alert for light currents of pride and arrogance, gently pressuring one’s carnal soul with persistent self-interrogation and criticism. The easiest way to perform this, I think, is accepting, confessing and announcing that all favors come from God. Otherwise, sicknesses like pride, arrogance and self-complacency would settle in one’s nature, and it would be impossible to remove them in the future.”4)
  • “Constant self-criticism and self-reprimand show the perfection of one’s belief. Everyone who has planned his or her life to reach the horizon of a perfect, universal human being is conscious of this life and spends every moment of it struggling with themselves. Such a person demands a password from whatever occurs to his or her heart and mind. Self-control against the temptations of Satan or the excitement of temper are practiced, and words and actions are carefully watched. Self-criticism is constant, even for those acts that seem most sensible and acceptable. A believer knits the ‘lace of his or her life’ with the ‘threads’ of self-criticism and self-accusation. Evening reviews of words and actions said or done during the day are the rule, as are morning resolutions to avoid sins.”5)
  • “In fact, avoiding a stumble and fall in the face of praises and flattery depends upon maintaining a practice of self-criticism. That is, a person must criticize himself several times a day, keep himself under self-surveillance, and adjust his relationship with God Almighty, accordingly. Thus, even if others sing his praises and extol his virtues, he still says, ‘I know myself. This can be an intervention of Satan here,’ thereby saving himself from giving into pride and arrogance.”6)

Further Reading

Other Languages


M. Fethullah Gülen, Kendi İklimimiz (Prizma-5), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2007, p. 45.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Kalb İbresi, (Kırık Testi-9), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011, pp. 150–151.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Fasıldan Fasıla-2, İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2008, p. 93.
Ibid., p. 87.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 1), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 10.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Journey to Noble Ideals, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2014, p. 156.
self-criticism.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/18 17:54 by Editor