Means of Steadfastness: Standing Firm in Islam [2/4]

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Means of Steadfastness in Islam.

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)

Turning towards the Qur’an

The Qur’an is the foremost aid to standing firm in Islam, ft is the strong rope and clear light of Allah. Whoever adheres to it, Allah will protect him; whoever follows it, Allah will save him; and whoever calls to its way will be guided to the Straight Path.

Allah has stated that the reason why this Book was revealed in stages was to help His Prophet ﷺ to stand firm in his faith. In the context of refuting the doubts of the kuffaar, He says (interpretation of the meaning),

  “And those who disbelieve say, ‘Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once? ’ Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. And no example to similitude do they bring (to oppose or to find fault in you or in this Qur’aan), but We reveal to you the truth (against that similitude or example), and the better explanation thereof. ” [al-Furqaan 25:32-33]

Why is the Qur’an such a source of strength?

1. Because it cultivates faith and purifies the soul through contact with Allah.
2. Because these aayaat bring peace and tranquillity to the heart of the believer, so he will not be tossed about by the winds of fitnah; his heart will be content with the remembrance of Allah.
3. Because it provides the Muslim with the correct understanding and values with which he will be able to evaluate the situation around him. It also gives him the standards against which he may judge things in a proper and consistent manner, without varying from one situation or person to another.
4. Because it refutes the doubts that are stirred up by the enemies of Islam, kuffaar and munaafiqeen alike, as in the following examples from the early days of Islam:

The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),

  “Your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither forsaken you nor hated you…” [al-Duhaa 93:3]

On the heart of the Prophet ﷺ, when the mushrikoon said,

  “Muhammad has been forsaken…” [See Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 12/156]

The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),

  “…The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur’an) is a clear Arabic tongue” [al-Nahl 16:103]

The Quraysh claimed that Muhammad ﷺ was taught by a human being and that he took the Qur’an from a Roman carpenter in Makkah.

The effect of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),

  “ …Surely they have fallen into trial [fitnah]…” [al-Tawbah 9:49]

On the hearts of the believers, when the munaafiq had said,

  “Grant me leave (to be exampted from jihaad) and put me not into trial. ” [al-Tawbah 9:49 – in terpretation of the meaning]

Is it not the greatest of help, strengthening the heart of the believer, refuting doubts and silencing the voices of falsehood? Indeed, it is, by Allah.

When the believers were coming back from al-Hudaybiyah, Allah promised them much war booty which they alone would go and take (i.e., the booty of Khaybar). [He told them that] the munaafiqoon would ask to accompany them, but the Muslims would say, “You shall not follow us.” They would persist in trying to change the words of Allah, and they would say to the believers,

  “Nay, you envy us,” to which Allah responded by saying, “Nay, but they understand not except a little.” [al-Fath, 48:15 – interpretation of the meaning]

Then all of this happened to the believers, step by step, word by word.

1. From this we can see the difference between those whose lives are connected to the Qur’an, who read it, recite it, memorize it, study it, ponder its meanings and take it as their starting-point and their refuge, and those who are preoccupied with the words of man.
2. Would that those who seek knowledge would devote most of their efforts to understanding the Qur’an properly!

Adhering to the laws of Allah and doing Righteous Deeds

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning),

  “Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause to go astray those who are zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), and Allah does what He wills.” [Ibraaheem 14:27]

Qutaadah said,

  “As for the life of this world, Allah will help them to be steadfast in doing good and righteous deeds, and in the Hereafter (He will help them) to remain steadfast in the grave.” [A similar interpretation was narrated from more than one of the Salaf. Tafseer al-Qur’an al- ‘Azeem by Ibn Katheer, 3/421]

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning),

  “…but if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them, and would have strengthened their (Faith). ” [al-Nisa ’ 4:66]

I.e., it would have strengthened them in their adherence to the Truth.

This is clear, for how can you expect steadfastness on the part of those who are too lazy to do righteous deeds when fitnah raises its ugly head and calamity increases? But Allah will guide those who believe and do righteous deeds by their faith to the Straight Path. So the Prophet ﷺ used to persevere in doing righteous deeds, and the most beloved of good deeds to him were those that were started to do anything, they would persist in it, and when ‘ Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) did something, she would keep it up.

The Prophet ﷺ used to say,

 “ Whoever perseveres in doing twelve rak’ahs [i.e., the sunan rawaatib or sunnah prayers which the Prophet ﷺ did constantly], Paradise will be his right. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2/273; he said, the hadeeth is hasan or saheeh; see also Saheeh al-Nisaa 7, 1/388 and Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1/131]

According to a hadeeth qudsi, Allah says,

  “My slave will keep drawing near to me with naafil acts of worship until I love him.” [Reported by al- Bukhaari; see Path al-Baari, 1 1/340]

Studying the stories of the Prophets and following their example

The evidence for this is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),

  “And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) 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. ” [Hood 11:120]

These aayaat were not revealed at the time of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for the purpose of mere entertainment and amusement. They were revealed for an important purpose, which was to strengthen the heart of the Prophet ﷺ and likewise the hearts of the believers.

1. Think about the meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),

  “They said: ‘ Burn him and help your aalihah (gods), if you will be doing. ’ We (Allah) said: ‘O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibraaheem! ’ And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.” [al-Anbiy a’ 21:68-70]

Ibn ‘Abbaas said,

  “The last thing Ibraaheem said when he was thrown in the fire was, ‘Allah is Sufficient for me and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.’”[Al-Fath , 8/22]

Do you not feel how he stood firm in the face of oppression and torture, when you read this story?

2. Think about the aayah in which Allah tells us about Moosa (interpretation of the meaning),

  “And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Moosa said: ‘We are sure to be overtaken.’ Moosa said: ‘Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.’” [al- Shu’ara’ 26:61-62]

Do you not feel how he stood firm when he was being pursued by the hosts of Pharaoh and was surrounded by cries of despair from his own people?

3. Read the story of the magicians of Pharaoh, which is an example of a small group that adhered firmly to the truth once it had become apparent to them. Do you not see how they stood firm in the face of threats issued by the oppressor who said,

  “Believe you in him (Moosa) before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of date-palms, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Pharaoh) or the Lord of Moosa] can give the severe and more lasting torment.” [Ta-Ha 20:71 – in terpretation of the meaning]

The small group of believers stood firm, with no thought of retreat, and said,

  “We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for can only decree (regarding) the life of this world.” [Ta-Ha 20:72 – interpretation of the meaning]

4. Also think about the story of the believer in Soorat Yaa-Seen, the believer of Pharaoh’s household, the people of the Ditch (al-ukhdood ), and others, which teach us the greatest lessons we could ever learn about standing firm in our faith.

Du’aa’ (Supplication)

One of the characteristics of the believing slaves of Allah is that they turn to Allah with du’aa’, asking Him to help them to stand firm,

  “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us…”[Aal ‘Imraan 3:8 – interpretation of the meaning]; “Our Lord! Pour out constancy [patience] on us and make our steps firm… ” [al- Baqarah 2:250 – Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation]

The Prophet ﷺ told us that,

 “ The hearts of the sons of Adam are as one between the fingers of the Most Merciful, and He directs them as He wills. [Reported by Imaam Ahmad from Ibn ‘Umar; see Saheeh Muslim bi Shark al-Nawawi, 16/204]

The Messenger of Allah often used to say,

 “ O Controller of the hearts, make my heart adhere firmly to Your religion. [Reported by al-Tinnidhi from Anas. Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 6/349; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7864]

Remembrance of Allah (Dhikr)

This is one of the greatest means of being steadfast in Islam.

Think about the combination described in this aayah (interpretation of the meaning)

  “O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allah much, so that you may be successful.” [al-Anfaal 8:45]

Dhikr is one of the most effective aids to standing firm in jihaad.

  “Think about how the physical strength of the Persians and Romans let them down when they needed it most.” [Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, in Al-Daa’ wa’l-Dawaa’]

Despite the small numbers of men and weapons of those who remembered the Name of Allah much.

How did Yoosuf (upon whom be peace) stand firm in the face of temptation of the part of the powerful and beautiful woman who called him to do wrong? Did he not enter the fortress of “seeking refuge in Allah” and thus defeat the waves of temptation? This is the effect of adhkaar (remembering Allah) on making the believers steadfast.

Striving to follow the correct way

The only correct way, which every Muslim must follow, is the way of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, the path of the victorious group and the saved sect, the people of pure ‘aqeedah and sound methodology, the followers of the Sunnah and the (sound) evidence. The Muslim must be distinct from the enemies of Allah and be different from the people of falsehood.

If you want to know the value of this in standing firm, then ask yourself: Why have so many people, in the past and nowadays, been led astray? Why have they become confused? Why have their feet not stood firm on the Straight Path? Why did they not die following it, or why did they come to it so late in life, after wasting so much precious time?

So you see them, moving from one kind of misguided bid’ ah to another, from philosophy to ‘ilm al-kalaam (Islamic philosophy), from Mu’tazili thought to the way of twisting and misinterpreting the clear aayaat of the Qur’an, from one Sufi tareeqah to another…

Thus are the people of bid’ ah, confused and shaky in their faith. See how the people of ‘ilm al-kalaam are deprived of steadfastness at the time of death. Hence the salaf said, “The people who suffer the most doubt at the time of death are the people of al-kalaam.” But think about it: has any follower of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah ever turned his back on this way in discontent after he has come to know and understand it? People may abandon it because of their whims and desires, or because of doubts if their understanding is weak, but no one has left because he saw something more correct or because he thought this way was wrong.

The proof of this is to be seen in the questions posed by Heraclius to Abu Sufyaan about the followers of Muhammad ﷺ. He asked,

  “Has anyone ever left this religion out of discontent after entering it?” Abu Sufyaan said, “No.” Then Heraclius said, “This is how it is when the joy of faith fills the heart.” [Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/32]

We have heard a lot about great leaders who moved from one kind of bid’ ah to another, and others whom Allah guided and so they left falsehood behind and joined the madhhab of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l- Jamaa’ah, despising their former ways. But do we ever hear about the opposite?

If you want to stand firm in your Islam, then you must follow the way of the believers.

In the next part of this article series we will look at other means of steadfastness in Islam will be explained and described.

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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