Yawma yab‘athuhumu-llāhu jamī‘an fayunabbi’uhum bimā ‘amilū.
On the day when Allah will raise them up all together, then inform them of what they did: Allah has kept account of it while they have forgotten it.
(Sūratul Mujādilah, No.58, Āyat 6)
This verse talks about the Day of Judgment. Continuing from the verse before it says that those who reject faith will be raised on the Day of Judgement and informed of what they did. This form of accounting will be for all human beings on that day and everyone will receive the record of their deeds.
It is Allah who will order the resurrection and all human beings from the beginning of creation will come forth to be judged. Then He will inform them of their actions. Allah is the Chief Judge on that day. He is aware of their actions and the intentions and faith [or lack of it] behind them. In obedience to His command, the angels have recorded every tiny detail of the actions of each human being. This comprehensive record will be brought forth and there will be no scope for arguing and debate as the evidence will be sealed in the book. The last part of the verse reveals an astonishing truth – human beings will have forgotten what they did but Allah has kept a complete account of it.
Belief in resurrection is part of the roots of faith (usūl al-dīn). It gives meaning and focus to life. Every Prophet of Allah warned his people about that day and urged them to prepare for it. Imagining ourselves on that day is a great deterrent to sin and helps keep us on the straight path. To avoid being completely surprised by what Allah informs us on that day we must do some self-accounting daily while in this world. Allah enjoins this in the Quran: O you who believe, be God conscious and let every soul consider what it sends ahead for tomorrow (Q 59:18). Imam Zaynul Ābidīn (a) says: O son of Adam, you will continue to thrive as long as you are an admonisher for yourself and as long as accounting of yourself is one of your concerns (Tuhafal ‘Uqūl, p. 220).
Taking account of the self, helps us be much more alert and aware of ourselves. It creates a consciousness of what the record might include and could lead to changes. Accounting should be done daily, or as often as possible. It can be done mentally, or through writing in a notebook -a great way of keeping a tangible record of one’s progress.
The end of the year is an opportunity to take account of your deeds. How many sincere actions were performed? How much was achieved in terms of progress to that which really matters? How was it different from the year before? What new levels of spirituality and perfection were reached? These and similar questions can be part of the self-appraisal process. It should be done before, as the verse tells us, that day when Allah Himself informs us about our accounts.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Muhammad Rayshahrī, Scale of Wisdom.