Istiqaamah is the key!
Giving brief answers to difficult questions is the hallmark of wisdom.
You might have heard people narrating their bitter experiences of they seeking some naseeha (advice) from such and such Imaam or an ‘Aalim, and having regretted later for seeking advice from such a boring person!
Some of us even stop going to the masjid should we encounter some lecturing ‘naseeha’ from an uninspiring Muslim.
The glorious Prophet Muhammad, sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, is ‘uswatun hasana’, ‘the best role model’ for all Muslims.
This hadeeth is an excellent example of giving brief and yet comprehensive naseeha should anyone seek advice from you!
Now let us proceed to learn what exactly did the Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam say:
It is narrated on the authority of Sufyan b. ‘Abdulla al-Thaqafi that he said:
“I asked the Messenger of Allah to tell me about Islam a thing which might dispense with the necessity of my asking anybody after you. (In the hadith of Abu Usama the words are: other than you)
He (the Messenger of Allah) remarked:
Say I affirm my faith in Allah and then remain steadfast to it.”
The companion is seen here asking a serious and a deep question:
Tell me something after which I need not feel the necessity to ask anything from anyone?
Came a more serious an answer in the most concisest a manner:
Say Aamantu billaahi, thummas’taqim!
Istiqaamah, therefore, is an important concept in Islam.
But what is Istiqaamah?
It means ‘to go straight’ ‘to become upright’, ‘to follow the correct path’, ‘to remain true to something’.
We can interpret the Prophet’s glorious reply as:
Say Aamantu billaah, and then hang on!
Say Aamantu billaah, and then be firm!
Say Aamantu billaah, and then be true to it!
Say Aamantu billaah, and then remain steadfast!
Say Aamantu billaah, and then be upright!
Today, Muslims in the world face harassment at the hands of some security forces. (O he is a Muslim, he must be a terrorist!)
Some are taunted for sporting a beard. (Bearded Muslim! He must be a fundamentalist for sure!)
Some are ridiculed for favoring Shariah laws. (What shariah? Are you crazy? Do you want us to go back to bygone era!)
Some young Muslim boys and girls are laughed at when they say they have to pray (Lo! Maulvi sahib/sahiba is here!)
Some are insulted for telling the truth. (Yeah, yeah! You only tell the truth, all others lie!)
Some are jailed for performing da’wah. (Oh! he wants to change the world, he is a militant!)
Some Muslim women become objects of ridicule for wearing hijaab. (Oh, what a conservative sense of dressing she has!)
Some are mocked at for being a daa’ee. (I know what is good for me, you mind your business!)
In some parts of the world, Muslims are prosecuted for being the followers of Islam. Some are sent to the infamous Guantanamo bay on the basis of mere suspicion. Some mock and make fun of our Prophet, sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, through cartoons, caricature and movies under the pretext of freedom of expression. Some provoke you by burning the pages of the Mus’haf!
Dear brothers and sisters, saying ‘Aamantu billaah’ through one’s tongue may be easy but ‘thummas’taqim’ is no ordinary resolution! Carrying out the demands of ‘Aamantu billaah’,'I believe in Allah’ in certain cases need one’s firm resolve.
You need to adopt firmness in your profession of faith and be strong especially in times of fitna (trials and tribulations) and distress resulting from one’s professing of Islam.
‘Uprightness and being steadfast’ is very much necessary in times of satanic temptations when one’s desires could lead to unknown debris and pitfalls.
Being steadfast is also necessary while witnessing large scale persecutions and killings of Muslims that is made to happen every now and then in this so-called modern world where the dictum ‘might is right’! rules the roost!
We need to recall the sacrifices of Sumayyah radhiyallaahu anha, the first martyr in Islam; the inhuman sufferings of Bilal bin Rabah radhiyallaahu anhu at the cruel hands of Umayyah bin Khalaf, the iron resolve of Ka’b bin Malik radhiyallaahu anhu when he was tempted by the King of Ghassan during the social boycott after the Ghazwa Tabook, to mention a few examples.
Now you understand how the concisest of answers/solution can be difficult to practice.
But then hope and positive approach is the way of Islam.
Where there is hardship, there is relief!
You find a silver lining in the otherwise dark clouds of pessimism.
Allah’s assurance makes a Muslim sail against the tide.
Allah Himself is the solace for those Muslims who believe in Him and seek His help, and He never lets His believers down!
No wonder then that Allah subhanahu wa Ta’aala gives glad tidings to those Muslims who believe in Him and thereafter prove their mettle by leading a true Islamic life demonstrating sincerity of belief and firmness of resolve:
“Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah ” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.” (Surah Fussilat 41: 30)
“Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then remained on a right course – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Surah al Ahqaf 46: 13)
May Allah guide us to remember Him, to be grateful unto Him and to perform the best possible ibadah in the finest of manner to the best of our capability seeking His pleasure and a reward as great as the heavens and the earth.
Jazakallaahu Khayra for reading this post.
I would request you to read Istiqaama: The Way of the Believer beautifully written by Sr. Farhia Yahya.