The Means To Istiqâmah

There are many forces and pressures upon a person that attempt to drive him away from the path of istiqâmah. Satan and his allies will do their utmost to make believers stray from the Straight Path. Therefore, before concluding the discussion of this hadîth concerning istiqâmah, some of the ways and means that help a person remain along the Straight Path should be mentioned.

Briefly stated, the following, Allâh willing, are beneficial to keep a person along the Straight Path:

1. Turning to the Qur’ân, reading benefiting from its teachings: Reading the Qur’ân strengthens a person’s îmân, reminds him of Allâh and of the Hereafter. It reminds him of his real purpose in life and the fleeting nature of this world. All of these aspects are very important in helping a person stay along the Straight Path. They will make the person realise that there is nothing in this world that is so desirable or necessary that one should risk straying from the Straight Path. Furthermore, reading the Qur’ân will show the person what the Straight Path actually is so that he may avoid swerving by avoiding innovations, heresies and incorrect beliefs or practices.

2. Continually checking oneself and reviewing one’s deeds: Allâh has said in the Qur’ân:

“O believers! Fear Allâh and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what you do.” [Al-Hashr 59:18]

It has also been reported that ‘Umar bin al-Khattaab stated: “Reckon yourself before you are reckoned and weigh yourself before you are weighed.”

3. Striving to improve oneself: Everyone should keep in mind that his deeds are not sufficient for the reward of Paradise in the Hereafter. In addition to performing the proper deeds, the person must strive after Allâh’s mercy and grace. If this idea is firm in a person’s mind, he will not be content with the deeds that he is performing. Instead, he will always seek to do even better, especially better in quality and with respect to sincere intention.

4. Sincerely supplicating to Allâh: For example, when the person says: “Guide us to the Straight Path,” in every rak’ah of his prayers, he should mean that sincerely. He should think about what he is saying and ask for it with full conviction and hope.

5. Acquiring sound Islâmic knowledge: This is one of the keys to avoiding innovations and straying from the Straight Path. It is only through sound Islâmic knowledge that one can first recognise the Straight Path that he is trying to adhere to from all of the other paths.

6. Studying and following the examples of the earlier prophets: Satan tried his best to make the prophets stray from their mission. Allâh has shown their examples in the Qur’ân and how they responded. This should make the heart of the believer firmer in belief and make it easier for him to adhere to the Straight Path. Allâh has said:

“And all that we relate to you of the news of the messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this has come to you the Truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers.” [Hûd 11:120]

7. Sticking to the Islâmic Community and associating with pious people: The Prophet [sall-Allâhu ‘alaihi wa sallam] said:

“You must stick to the congregation for the wolf eats the sheep that is off by itself.” [1]

8. Thinking about the Hereafter with its pleasures and punishment and remembering death often: When one thinks about the Hereafter and remembers death, one puts this world in it’s prosper perspective. Again, the result of this should be that the person will realise that there is nothing here of importance in comparison to remaining steadfast and adhering to the Straight Path.

One should also be aware of the environment he is surrounded by and how its different components affect his ability to stay along the Straight Path. There are many different atmospheres that encourage a person and help him stay along the straight path. However, many times one is surrounded by – even bombarded by – influences that call him to stray from the Straight Path. Sometimes the person himself does not realise what all of these influences are and then he cannot understand why he is finding it so difficult to abide by the sharî’ah in his life. In his work on istiqâmah, ad-Daryuwaish highlighted the importance of the following different environmental influences in one’s life: [1] one’s house and family, [2] one’s school, [3] the mosque, [4] the society as a whole and, finally, [5] the surrounding media in all its forms. [2] One’s workplace should also be added to those environments ad-Daryuwaish mentioned. Every Muslim should think about these influences in his particular life. He should try to find the positive influences and frequent them most often. He should identify the negative influences and do his best to remain away from them. In this way, he will be helping himself, by the will of Allâh, fulfil this important condition of istiqâmah.

By Jamâl ad-Dîn M. Zarabozo
Commentary on the Forty Hadîth of Imâm an-Nawawî, Vol. 2, Pgs. 841-843

Footnote:

1. Recorded by Ahmad, an-Nasâ’î and Abû Dâwûd. According to al-Albânî, it is hasan. See al-Albânî, Sahîh al-Jâmi’, Vol. 2, P. 994. In Sunan an-Nasâ’î, one of the narrators, as-Sâib, stated that: “The congregation,” here means the congregation in prayer. However, there are other hadîth of a general nature that make it clear that the point

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One response to “The Means To Istiqâmah

  1. Assalamu Alaykum

    Ma’shallah a great article. May Allah Bless You Akhi… Ameen.

    Wassalam

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