Steadfastness on the Deen

Literally, “Al-Istiqāmah” means steadfastness. Ibn Qayyim (May Allaah be merciful to him) defined it as an encompassing word which entails everything that Allaah has commanded, worshipping Allaah in truthfulness and fulfilling the oath made to Allaah whose basic is the testimony of faith (Kalimatush-Shahādah).

Allaah says; “Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),” and then they remain steadfast, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” [Sūratul Fussilat verse 30]. If we truly understand this verse, we would know that proclaiming the testimony of faith alone is not enough. After recognizing Him as our Lord, we don’t stop there but strive to become steadfast.

On the authority of Abu `Amr — Sufyaan bin Abdullah ath- Thaqaafee (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I said, “O Messenger of a Allaah, tell me something about al-Islaam which I can ask of no one but you.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Say I believe in Allaah — and then be steadfast.”(Hadith 21, 40 Hadith of Imām an-Nawawi). It is also indicated in this hadith, the need to strive towards being steadfast. As a Muslim, if you value your Eemaan, you will strive to maintain steadfastness upon your religion. And among the ways of maintaining steadfastness is keeping righteous companions who will have positive impact on you. If you are not progressing in your religion, it means you are stagnant or regressing.

Ways of losing Istiqāmah (Steadfastness)

We recite the opening chapter of the Glorious Qur’ān (Sūratul Faatihah) approximately 17 times a day and we repeat; “Guide us to the straight path(verse 5)”. Even though we are already Muslims, that doesn’t mean we should stop asking for steadfastness from Allaah. “The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray”(6). In the exegesis of the scholars on this verse, those who Allāh’s anger is on, are the Jews and those who are astray are the Christians.

Allāh’s anger is upon the Jews because they know the truth but fail to act by it. Therefore, if as a Muslim you also acquire knowledge but fail to apply it, you share from the anger of Allaah. The Christians on the other side are astray because they are ignorant. They know not what they practice, nothing is guiding them. They have the freewill to do what they like because they are not bind by anything. So if as a Muslim you also want this, then know you are threading the path of the Christians who are misguided.

In this our religion ( Al-Islaam), knowledge precedes action and the essence of acquiring knowledge is to act by it. Therefore, a Muslim must strive to evaluate himself from time to time, are you part of them or not? Are you stylishly threading the path of the Jews by knowing something but fail to act by it? Are you learning about your religion or not? Do you know the requirements of the testimony of faith and do you act by them? These and more are necessary for a Muslim to be concerned with. At this age of technology, we have no excuse to not learn about our religion because it is easily accessible.

The enemy of Istiqāmah is Shaytaan as Allaah has clearly told us. Allaah says; “Surely, Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” [ Sūratul Fātir verse 6]. Shaytaan will want us to fall into these five (5);

• Shirk (Polytheism); Shaytaan is not relenting in making us fall into this because this is the greatest of sins and he has promised not to be the only dweller of Jahannam but to lure others with him.

• Bid’ah (Innovation); This is among the ways Shaytaan uses in making a Muslim lose steadfastness. He wants us to practice a religion different from that which the prophet (Salla Llāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) brought by innovating other acts into it. And once an innovated act becomes common among people, to separate it from the authentic ones will be difficult. Therefore, we as Muslims must move away from innovations into the Deen of Allaah in every ways. Also, seek clarification from righteous Islamic scholars before doing any act of worship.

• Kabaa-ir (Major sins); These are sins that requires seeking sincere repentance from Allaah to erase them.

• Sagaa-ir (Minor sins); Shaytaan waylay us here by making us take sins with levity claiming they are after all not major sins not knowing when they stated to accumulate.

• Among the ways Shaytaan utilizes to make us lose steadfastness is by making us not see some acts as sins which they are. He will whisper to us that they are harmless whereas, it is a trick of his to lure us into disobeying Allaah.

Ways to attain Istiqāmah.

• Making du’aa to Allaah, asking Him for steadfastness. The prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) usually make this du’aa; “ ALlāhummah yah Muqallibal qulūb thabbit qalbīy ‘alā dīnik”. (Oh Turner of the hearts, affirm my hearts on your religion), “Yah Musarrifal qulūb, sarrif qalbīy ‘alaa tā’atik” (Oh Allah! Controller of the hearts, direct my hearts towards Your obedience). Therefore we should also cultivate the habit of seeking steadfastness from Allaah for the Prophet has said the hearts are between the two fingers of Allaah and He turns them about as He wills.

• Learn more about your religion so as identify the truth and differentiate it from the lie. Also, in order to quickly identify the deception of Shaytaan and be careful of falling into it.

• Ensure to apply the knowledge you might acquire no matter how little it seems in order not to be among the Jews whose anger of Allaah are upon.

May Almighty Allaah grant us steadfastness upon His religion and safeguard us from the deceptions of Shaytaan.


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